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'UNPers demand change in leadership'

Sep 1 (NF) Today the UNPers demand one thing, that is a change in the leadership, says parliamentarian Gayantha Karunathilaka. He made this statement attending a public meeting in the Nalagama, Panduwasnuwara on Monday. “Our people went and held discussions with the President. We didn't even know. We don't know how it came about or how the message was delivered. “They went and held discussions. The leader went. Another team followed thereafter. more..

Sri Lanka blacklists agent who recruited tortured housemaid

Sep 1 (National) Authorities investigating how a Sri Lankan maid working in Saudi Arabia ended up with 14 nails in her body have temporarily barred the local agent who recruited her from soliciting more workers. Sri Lankan officials also have asked Saudi authorities to investigate the agent in the kingdom who was involved in getting the job for the maid, said Mangala Randeniya, deputy general manager of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment. more..

SLFP 59th anniversary when party at its strongest

Sep 1 (DN) The SLFP would mark its 59th anniversary on September 2 with the main ceremony held at Temple Trees under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, SLFP General Secretary Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday. The Minister said that he was happy to note that the SLFP was holding its 59th birthday at a time when the party was at its strongest and at a time when the country was governed by a SLFP led alliance. more..

CEB ordered to connect Jaffna to Nat. grid by 2012

Sep 1 (Island) The Government has directed the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to make use of all available resources to connect power from the national grid to the Jaffna peninsula by 2012, Kilinochchi District Secretariat sources said. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 6 billion. Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Champika Ranawaka, who were in Kilinochchi on Sunday, emphasized the need to complete the project by 2012. more..

Hambantota port not filled with water

Sep 1 (DM) Even though the Hambantota harbour had the water filling ceremony last month, the harbour basin is yet to be filled, the SLPA said. It said the routes and stage constructed for the ceremony were yet to be removed and therefore the filling of water into the basin had been delayed. “We hope to finish removing the routes and stage as soon as possible and start filling the water by September 7 or 8 even though we are scheduled to start the process on September 13,” more..

Nirumpama visit to Lanka will be of no use: Vaiko

Sep 1 (UNI) MDMK general secretary Vaiko today said Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao's visit to Sri Lanka as special envoy would not help mitigate the miserable conditions of Sri Lankan Tamils. Talking to newspersons here, he said there was an initiative at international level to declare Sri Lankan President Rajapakse, "a war criminal". Once this announcement was made, India also would suffer as the UPA government had helped Sri Lanka to destroy the Tamils, he alleged. more..

Laugfs gas price reduced

Sep 1 (DM) The price of a12.5kg cylinder of Laugfs gas had been reduced by Rs.46 with effect from midnight September 1, while the price of a 12.5kg cylinder of shell gas remained the same, said Minister Johnston Fernando yesterday. “The new price of a 12.5kg Laugfs gas cylinder is Rs. 1593 while a 12.5kg shell gas cylinder will remain at Rs. 1652. The new prices will prevail in September and October,” the minister said. more..

Kidnapper throws child into stream

Sep 1 (DM) The nine-year old son of a wealthy businessman of Sapugaskanda, who had been kidnapped for a ransom of eight hundred thousand rupees, escaped after he was thrown into the Victoria Tank in Thalathu Oya by the abductors. The kidnappers who had thrown him into Victoria Tank had done so somewhere in the Thalathu Oya area. But the life of the boy had been miraculously saved as the rocks and the tree roots had prevented him from drowning. more..

'India stood with SL in responding to post-conflict challenges'

Sep 1 (RW) Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao underlined that India stood with Sri Lanka in responding to the challenges posed by the task of resettlement and rehabilitation of the large number of IDPs resulting from the end of armed conflict in 2009. She made this statement during her visit to Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Jaffna yesterday. In particular, she referred to the challenge posed by housing and more..

Sri Lanka trade deficit surges amid economic recovery

Sep 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka's exports grew 13.7 percent to 3.6 billion US dollars in the first half of 2010, and imports expanded 42.1 percent amid an economic recovery, expanding the trade deficit by 108 percent to 2.8 billion US dollars, official data show. In the month of June exports grew 23.4 percent to 697.4 million US dollars, with tea exports up 15.4 percent to 120 million US dollars amid better prices. more..

A series of cases against Chandrika like for the General

Sep 1 (LeN) According to reports reaching Lanka e news, the Govt. is preparing to file a series of legal (or illegal?) cases against former President Chandrika Bandaranaike. It is learnt that like how the Govt. has piled up cases against Gen. Fonseka who contested the last Presidential elections against President Mahinda Rajapakse as an opposition common candidate, preparations are on against Chandrika too. more..

'Ceiling on presidential terms amounts to restriction of right to franchise'

Sep 1 (Island) A ceiling on the number of times a person could be elected President was a restriction on the right to franchise of the people, guaranteed by Article 4(d) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka, Attorney General, Mohan Peiris, PC, yesterday said before a five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court. He said that when the proposed nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution was enacted, more..

'18th Amendment needs no referendum'

Sep 1 (Island) The SLFP says the proposed 18th Amendment to the Constitution can be introduced without a referendum as it does not envisages structural changes to the 1978 Constitution. SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena, UPFA General Secretary Susil Premjayantha and Senior Vice President of the SLFP Nimal Siripala de Silva emphasized that the implementation of the new Amendment was a foregone conclusion. more..

Referendum sought for presidential extension

Sep 1 (DM) A referendum should be held in addition to approval by a two-thirds majority in parliament for the proposed Constitutional amendments to come into force, several petitioners claimed in the Supreme Court yesterday. The intervening petitioners sought a referendum in addition to the envisaged two-thirds majority vote in parliament for the proposed constitutional amendments, when more..

UNP to vote against amendment

Sep 2 (BBC) The main opposition party, the UNP had decided to vote against the 18th amendment to the constitution say the leader of the opposition. Addressing the media, the opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe says the government kept on changing the proposals from one meeting to the other during the bilateral discussions on constitutional changes. The opposition repeatedly accused the government for being deceptive during the discussions. more..

War-weary civilians dream of new homes

Sep 2 (IPS) Ramaih Sathdiyapillai has had enough of life on the run. A native of Kilinochchi district – which was until not too long ago the stronghold of the separatist Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka’s north – she bore the brunt of the war along with tens of thousands of others. As the war between government troops and the Tiger rebels escalated between mid-2008 and mid-2009, civilians like Sathdiyapillai found themselves trapped by the fighting. more..

Saudi official denies Sri Lankan maid was abused

Sep 2 (AP) A Saudi official has denied a Sri Lankan maid's allegations that the couple she worked for in the Arab kingdom hammered nails and needles into her body. Doctors in Sri Lanka have said they removed 13 nails and five needles from L.G. Ariyawathi after she returned from Saudi Arabia last month. The items had been driven into Ariyawathi's legs and forehead, they said. more..

Rao faces some hard questions in Jaffna

Sep 2 (HT) India rejected reports that it was bringing its own nationals to Sri Lanka to carry out reconstruction work in the war-ravaged northern districts. Foreign secretary Nirupama Rao, on a three-day visit to the Island nation, categorically denied that there was any move to bring in Indian labour for reconstruction work here. Construction of houses and other reconstruction work that India was helping Sri Lanka with was being done with local help, more..

Indonesian Court orders Jakarta Buddha Bar closure

Sep 2 (AFP) An Indonesian court ordered the local branch of Paris-based Buddha Bar to close after convicting the licence holder of blasphemy, a lawyer said. It also ordered licensee PT Nireta Vista Creative, the official Jakarta tourism agency and Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo to pay damages of one billion rupiah to the plaintiffs for distress. The city authorities had failed to consider the religious sensitivities when they approved the licence, more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 01. 09. 2010

Constitutional changes in Sri Lanka: Cabaret dance by Burqua-Clad!

Sep 2 (TC) We have glimpses of the unimportant among the constitutional changes contemplated. However, what has been revealed is not what we need. It is like watching an awkward, Burqa-clad cabaret dancer, determined to perform without revealing anything the male audience wants to see! The President has enough votes now to ensure passage of contemplated constitutional amendments through parliament. more..

Could the lessons learnt have been forseen?

Sep 2 (LG) Testimony by former senior officials at the Lessons Learnt panel has provided useful insights into what went wrong with policy perceptions, process and prescriptions during the CFA. Meanwhile the grapevine has it that the Royal Norwegian Government has called for tenders for academics and think tanks which can participate in its own ‘lessons learnt’ inquiry into what went wrong with its own efforts at a ‘peace process’ in Sri Lanka. more..

John Rankin new British high commissioner to Sri Lanka

Sep 2 (LG) John Rankin has been appointed British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives in succession to Dr. Peter Hayes. Mr. Rankin will take up his appointment during February 2011, said the British High Commission in a statement. On his new appointment, Mr. Rankin has said, "I am delighted and honoured to be appointed as High Commissioner to Sri Lanka." "The United Kingdom and Sri Lanka have close and long-standing links, and I more..

Sri Lankan government’s bogus inquiry into the civil war

Sep 2 (wsws) Sri Lanka’s Commission on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation (LLRC) has begun its hearings into the reasons for the “failure of the ceasefire agreement” with the LTTE, the subsequent renewed civil war and proposals for “national reconciliation”. President Mahinda Rajapakse established the commission to fend off international pressure for a war crimes inquiry. more..

Story of Nandakumar

Sep 2 (LG) Nanda Kumar was arrested on April 17 2008, while he was working at the BOI in Balagolla. He was arbitrarily arrested by officers attached to Kandy Police Station without a warrant. After his arrest he was detained at Daulagala Police Station until 22nd August 2008. He was produced 58 times in Teldeniya Magistrate courts and 58 times in the Kandy Magistrate court before he was finally released without any charges on the 18th August 2010 more..

Mervyn Silva exonerated of all charges: Govt.’s tomfoolery and buffoonery at its best!

Sep 2 (LeN) SLFP Gen. secretary and Minister Maithripala Sirisena said, at the disciplinary inquiry conducted against Deputy Minister Mervyn Silva, it was decided to exonerate him of all charges against him. Mervyn Silva was earlier dismissed from his portfolio following the charge mounted against him in connection with his tying a Samurdhi development officer from Kelaniya. more..

CFA & media issues: LTTE propaganda ‘blitz’

Sep 2 (Island) The LTTE moved against the EPDP funded Thinamurasu, a Tamil weekly, as part of its overall measures to target those critical of the CFA and LTTE atrocities. We reported the LTTE move (The Island-April 5, 2002) quoting EPDP leader Douglas Devananda, who accused the LTTE of threatening a private firm, hired by his party to distribute Thinamurasu in the East, to stop delivery or face the consequences. more..

Sri Lankans seen deprived of free trade benefits by protectionist lobby

Sep 2 (LBO) Protectionist lobbies holding up a new free trade deal with India are putting Sri Lanka at risk of being left out of emerging regional trade blocs and depriving consumers the benefits of free trade, an official said. Rohan Samarajiva, chairman of Lirne Asia, a regional think tank, said liberalisation of trade which was opposed by protectionists, could harm some firms in the short term but benefit a larger number of consumers in the long run. more..

GL on Constitutional Amendments

Sep 2 (Island) After two decades, we have a durable peace and an unprecedented degree of political stability. The challenge is to use these opportunities to move the economy of the country forward. There are changes that have to be made with regard to the constitutional framework, the legal system and the regulatory mechanisms now in operation, and that is the basic initiative of the government at this time. more..

Indian Consulates in Jaffna and Hambantota

Sep 2 (Island) Recently, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Romesh Jayasinghe and the Indian High Commissioner, Alok Prasad exchanged letters to establish Indian Consulates in Jaffna and Hambantota. The Jaffna Consulate is to have jurisdiction over the districts in the Northern Province and the Hambantota Consulate the entire Southern province and the Moneragala District. If I recall right, a blogger asked if it was going to be the first foreign Embassy in the ‘state of Eelam’. more..

Sixth Senses CEO to visit Lanka

Sep 2 (BL) The Chief Executive of luxury spa operator Sixth Senses, Sonu Shivadasani, is to visit Sri Lanka next month, to announce the joint venture between his company and Sri Lanka’s resort operator Aitken Spence to construct an up market resort in the Southern Coastal line of the country. “Mr Shivadasani will be here to open the construction of the Ahungalle Luxury Resort and Spa Complex, which was originally billed as Evason Hideaway next month,” more..

Consensus on Governance

Mother finds deaf son in prison 6 days after he went missing

Sep 2 (ST) A hearing impaired youth accused of stealing a mobile phone from a bus passenger was beaten up by the police and remanded in the Negombo prison for six days before his family finally located him. Asanka Weerasuriya, a 20-year-old resident of Wariyapola, told his mother that he was unable to explain himself to the police and was not allowed to contact his family. The youth maintains that he is innocent of the charge brought against him. more..

Elders pushed back at National Hospital

Sep 2 (ST) Elderly people seeking treatment from a special counter at the National Hospital in Colombo are being forced down the queue as corrupt hospital staff, fill up the space with others in exchange for a fee while the officials look on, a patient alleged yesterday. W.B. Milton Perera, a pensioner and a heart patient said that the counter was specially created by the authorities for those over the age of 60 but this area was crowded with younger patients with the help of errant minor staff at the hospital. more..

'Sri Lanka foreign reserves surge to US$5.7bn'

Sep 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka's foreign reserve surged to 5,731 billion US dollars in June 2010 when counting domestically arranged currency swaps, the Central Bank said. In May 2010 the monetary authority reported foreign reserves of 5,032 million dollars. No mention of swaps was made with the release of May data. The central bank uses forex swaps to sterilized excess rupee liquidity. more..

Buddhist ‘tooth’ festival unites Sri Lankans

Sep 2 (UCAN) The most lavish Buddhist festival in Sri Lanka does not feel like a religious spectacle these days, it’s more like a national celebration, say many Christians. Millions of people recently descended on Kandy, a UN Cultural Heritage city in the hills of central Sri Lanka to attend the Esala Perahera (festival of the tooth) during which a Buddha tooth relic is taken around the city in a procession containing brightly costumed elephants. more..

Sri Lanka outrage at ‘Hindu’ sacrifices

Sep 2 (UCAN) Religious leaders and activists are up in arms at what they call the ritual slaughter of hundreds of animals at a temple where Hindus and Buddhists often worship together. Hindu devotees sacrificed some 300 goats and hundreds more chickens on Aug. 25 at the popular Sri Badrakali Amman Kovil temple in Munneswaram, a farming village. Many parents had taken their children to the temple to receive blessings and witnessed the slaughter, they said. more..

President tells young generation: Take up to agriculture

Sep 2 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said the Government has performed an outstanding service to uplift the status of the farmer community in Sri Lanka. He stated that the people should be prepared to make the best use of country’s lands to foster future development. He added that the service carried out by the Government for the development of agriculture sector will ever be remembered by the farmers more..

Chinese investors eyeing on energy, trade and tourism

Sep 2 (DN) Chinese investors have paid immediate attention on exploring the scope of investments they can spearhead within Sri Lanka in primary sectors such as power and energy, trade and tourism. A delegation of high level Chinese investors is now in the country to explore opportunities available and to take part in Sri Lanka’s trade fairs with the aim of gaining insight into the potential investment opportunities in the country. more..

Lasith Rasanjana abduction: Mastermind arrested

Sep 2 (DN) The mastermind behind the abduction of Lasith Rasanjana the nine-year-old boy of Sapugaskanda who crawled to safety after being thrown into an incline on the banks of the Victoria Reservoir in Talatuoya was arrested by Police within eight hours of the ordeal as he arrived at a children’s park in Kurunegala on the Kurunegala-Puttalam road to obtain the demanded ransom from the boy’s businessman father. more..

'No free election can be expected under new amendment'

Sep 2 (LT) A free and fair election could never be expected under the proposed amendment to the Constitution states Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE). CaFFE points out that the constitutional amendment brings the Department of Elections and its officials, the Police and state officials who would function on an election day under the cabinet that is in power at the time. more..

Malaysian cops probe Sri Lankan for planning own kidnap

Sep 2 (NST) Investigations into the kidnapping of three Sri Lankans last week took a twist yesterday when it was learnt that police are probing one of them for masterminding the plan. A police source said one of the two victims who had survived the three-day ordeal here had planned the kidnap of his two friends and himself with the help of locals here. One of the Sri Lankan victims, identified only as Samsudeen, 40, was killed when he tried to escape by more..

Cheap labour from IDPs of Sri Lanka changing the labour terrain

Sep 2 (LP) Working class of Sri Lanka is facing new challenges following the defeat of the Tamil liberation struggle and the capitalist re-unification of the state structure. In the latest development, the garment factory owners struggling to survive amidst the loss of GSP Plus tax concessions from European Union are in a mass recruitment drive of Tamil girls among IDPs for cheap labour in factories. more..

20 pc wage hike for garment sector workers

Sep 2 (CT) The Wages Board has decided that minimum salaries of garment sector workers will be increased by 20 per cent with effect from today (Sept. 01). The gazette notification in this regard has already been released, Secretary of the Labour Relations and Productivity Improvement Ministry, Mahinda Madihahewa said. He added that other benefits would also be increased along with the minimum salary. more..

Sri Lanka shares hit new peak amid new SEC rule

Sep 2 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's benchmark share index rose to a new record on Wednesday, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ordered listed companies to immediately disclose related party transactions. Institutional and foreign investors have long clamoured for prompter disclosure of insider dealings, amid complaints of manipulation. Previously, related-party transactions were only only required disclosure in annual reports. more..

From Colombo to Galle: A Sri Lankan travel revival

Sep 2 (CNN) The palm-tree pattered isle formerly known as Ceylon is recovering from its 25-year civil war and the devastating 2004 tsunami. Plenty of blood has been shed and oceans have been cried over the tear-shaped island of Sri Lanka. But now it is experiencing a resurgence, and nowhere is this more visible than in its capital Colombo and on the road to Galle. Weaving south from Colombo to Galle, the roadside is littered with the hollowed-out shells of more..

Immigration dept. may go on strike

Sep 2 (DM) Immigration Dept. Trade Union would take legal action against a cabinet decision to re-recruit one hundred unskilled employees as staff grade officers, union Officials said yesterday. “These jobs have been given over to officers who may not have the skills required to do our work. They have already been given the uniforms that are worn by us. I have never seen a situation where more..

Editorial: Abortion of truth

Sep 2 (Island) The Sri Lanka Freedom Party seems to have taken the people of this country for a pace of asses. Or, those who voted for it must be feeling quite asinine on seeing what is happening today. It has, following a farcical disciplinary inquiry, held that Mervyn Silva had no hand in the tying of a Samurdhi animator to a tree recently and reinstated him as the Kelaniya SLFP organiser. So, his reinstatement as a deputy minister is only a matter of time! more..

70 Teak trunks on land but only six stumps

Sep 2 (NF) Sigiriya police have unearthed a racket where teak trees, felled from the Inamaluwa Reserve had been transported to another land and were about to be sold on permits obtained by claiming that the trees were from that particular land. Three suspects along with about 70 trunks of teak trees have been taken into custody. According to police, a land had been bought from the Inamaluwa area and teak trees, illegally felled from the Inamaluwa Reserve, had been brought there. more..

Sri Lankan fishermen hard hit by peace

Sep 2 (AFP) Fishermen in the Sri Lankan port of Trincomalee hoped the end of the island's civil war would bring prosperity, but dynamite and corruption now threaten their livelihoods. Trincomalee, on the northeast coast, has one of the world's finest natural harbours and was fiercely fought over during the war until government troops finally defeated the rebel Tamil Tigers in May last year. more..