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Ambassador’s suspicions proved true

Sep 28 (Island) During the month of August 2009, when Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Italy Hemantha Warnakulasuriya suspected that the Embassy’s funds had been and were being misappropriated, he informed the then Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama and former Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona of his suspicions. A team of investigators, from the Foreign Ministry, comprising Chief Accountant K. D. Ranjith and Director more..

'Even Judges, lawyers not conversant with new laws'

Sep 28 (Island) Even some judges and lawyers are not conversant with the new laws passed by Parliament, Deputy Minister of Justice Reginald Cooray says. He emphasised the need to educate the public on the laws passed by Parliament. Cooray said that judgments on similar cases could vary according to personal prejudices of judges. Because of that the ministry would introduce guidelines for Magistrates shortly. more..

Nurses to launch token strike on Thursday

Sep 28 (SL) The All Ceylon Nurses Union (ACNU) has threatened to launch a token strike on Thursday to protest against the government’s failure to address their demands. The ACNU said the nursing staff of 20 main hospitals in the country would join the token strike. The head of the ACNU, S.B. Mediwatte expressed confidence that at least 70 per cent of the nurses would participate in the sick note campaign. more..

UNP says Namal groomed as MR’s successor

Sep 28 (Island) UNP MP Harin Fernando says President Mahinda Rajapaksa is openly promoting his eldest son, MP Namal Rajapaksa, as his successor. The Badulla District MP alleges that President Rajapaksa had accommodated MP Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka’s delegation to the 65th United Nations General Assembly to declare him as his successor. Addressing the media at the Opposition Leader’s Office on Monday, more..

UNP’s 10-day deadline lapses

Sep 28 (DM) As the 10-day deadline to reform the UNP ends today the pro-reforms members are to meet up soon to decide on the next course of action to urge the leadership to implement the reforms. UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera who had been pushing for the implementation of party reforms said they would meet up soon this week to make a decision. The party assured the reformists during the working committee meeting on September 18 that a draft to change the party constitution to more..

AG picks holes in J’pura hospital financial statements

Sep 28 (Island) The Auditor-General has made some startling revelations in his report on the Financial Statements of the Sri Jayawardenepura General Hospital Board for the year ending December 31, 2008. The report dated August 13, 2009, notes numerous irregularities in the Statement. Accounting deficiencies have been observed in the construction of the official quarters of the Director where the depreciation for more..

Govt appropriates Tamils’ lands in Batticaloa district

Sep 28 (TN) Aaraiyampathi Social Development Organization (ASDO) in Batticaloa district alleged Deputy Minister M.L.A.M Hisbulla of converting lands of the Tamils in Kaangkeayanoadai village into a Muslim village in the name of ‘The Village of Peace’ with funds from Iranian government. The foundation stone has been laid for this purpose without the knowledge of the Local Government Body of the area and more..

Maldives thanks MR

Sep 28 (DM) Maldivian Vice-President Dr. Mohammed Waheed Hassan speaking at the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly has thanked Sri Lanka and President Mahinda Rajapaksa for his support during the Maldivian political crisis while calling on the International Community to assist Sri Lanka in rebuilding after the 25 year period of conflict. “I would like to thank the international community for their engagement and assistance to find a peaceful solution to the political conflict in the Maldives, more..

HSZs give way to schools

Sep 28 (DN) The Government has initiated measures to release several schools in the High Security Zones in Jaffna. Vasavilan Central College in the Palali High Security Zone will be handed over to the students today, by Northern Province Governor G A Chandrasiri and Jaffna Security Force Commander Maj Gen Mahinda Hathurusinghe. In 1990, after the HSZs were declared in Palali, the school was closed and temporarily functioned in Urumbiray in Jaffna. more..

Mangala interrogated over 'dictator' posters

Sep 29 (BBC) The main opposition UNP has accused the authorities of undermining democracy by intimidating parliamentarians. It says that Mangala Samaraweera, the first foreign minister under Mahinda Rajapaksa's presidency, has been unfairly questioned for hours by the police. Mr Samaraweera has admitted responsibility for printing a poster depicting the president as a dictator. The BBC could not contact police about the matter despite repeated attempts. more..

Sri Lankan boxer Nilmini Jayasinghe targets London 2012

Sep 29 (BBC) Nilmini Jayasinghe says she is determined to take part at the London Olympics despite her failure at the most recent world championships. The first female boxer to win a world title for Sri Lanka, Nilmini did not qualify from the preliminary rounds in Barbados and told the BBC: "I am really disappointed. I won my first fight but it was very difficult against the Chinese woman boxer [Cancan Ren]. more..

Sri Lanka Debrief News - 28.09.2010

Sri Lanka gives half of billion dollar bond to US investors

Sep 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka has allocated investors in the United States 52.5 percent of its billion US dollar bond, which was issued at 6.25 percent but was trading at a slightly lower rate. The central bank said in a statement that global investors’ demand for the bond exceeded 6.3 billion dollars within 14 hours of opening on September 27, 2010, being over-subscribed by more than six times. The bond issued at 6.25 percent was quoted at more..

US higher education promoted to enhance bilateral cooperation

Sep 29 (SLNN) Representatives from 23 American universities participated in the Linden U.S. University Fair that was held in Colombo on Monday. Embassy officials hope that the event, which is a collaboration between the U.S. embassy, EducationUSA and Linden Tours, will help forge stronger bilateral relations between the two countries in the years to come. “I would like to see the number of Sri Lankans studying in the United States continue to rise, more..

Sri Lanka starts nuclear power study, talks with Russia

Sep 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka has begun a study to build a nuclear power plant to meet growing electricity demand and is in talks with Russia and other countries to get technology and training, an official said. "We're considering nuclear power as an option in our long-term generation plan for 2025," power and energy minister Patali Champika Ranawaka told a news conference. more..

Service of 7 principals suspended for grade one frauds

Sep 29 (NF) The principals of seven schools in the Western Province have been suspended from service in connection with various malpractices when admitting children to Grade One. Inquiries were underway against those principals. Meanwhile, secretary to the Western Province Education Ministry said that 50 complaints had been lodged with regard to malpractices while admitting children to Grade One. more..

Train tragedy at Katunayake: Residents blame malfunctioning signal lights

Sep 29 (NF) The postmortem into the incident where three persons died at the Katunayake level crossing was conducted today. Those killed when the train knocked the motorbike they were travelling on was a nine-month-old child, his mother and a relative. The motorbike had been travelling from the Averiwatta area in Katunayake towards the Katunayake main road and the train had been plying from Colombo to Chilaw. more..

Trial of former Sri Lankan army commander is adjourned

Sep 29 (BBC) The trial of Sri Lanka's former military commander has been adjourned for a day, as the country's powerful defence secretary arrived in court. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, widely regarded as the mastermind of the military victory over the Tamil Tigers, was to have testifed against Sarath Fonseka. But the army commander during the time of his victory was ill, causing the proceedings to be delayed. more..

Third anniversary of Buddhist monk massacre in Myanmar commemorated

Sep 29 (AN) Human rights activists, lawmakers and religious leaders took part in a sit-in organised by Friends of the Third World (FTW) to commemorate the massacre of Buddhist monks in Myanmar on 27 September 2007. For about an hour, protesters sat silently in front of the Myanmar Embassy in Colombo, holding placards and banners with signs in English and Sinhala that said, “Free Political Prisoners,” “Listen to the People”, more..

Coalition of forces trying to paint a target on Sri Lanka's back through three-pronged effort

Sep 29 (TC) What better sign that Sri Lanka is a functioning democracy, than the very presence of the TNA in parliament? I can think of members of the First World who would not and do not permit such parties to function. Months after a bloody thirty years war, with a heavy military presence in the former conflict zones, a party which was a fellow traveller of the defeated terrorist enemy, was elected as the main representative of the Tamil people of the North. more..

Experience of a Sinhala family touring the Jaffna 'Cantonment'

Sep 29 (TC) The winding narrow lanes with the Palmyra fences almost reaching the tar, ‘herds’ of cyclists (they ride five or six abreast and this I am told is a form of enjoyment)…….are still there. A recent visit to Jaffna after the first sprinklings of rain from the inter monsoonal showers showed us just how different and hauntingly beautiful the landscape could be. more..

It is the thirteenth and not the eighteenth that has to go

Sep 29 (LG) The Sri Lankan democrats of both the right and the left are very much concerned of the eighteenth amendment. They are of the opinion that the relevant amendment was passed in the Parliament in undemocratic ways and that it should go. However, they have up to now not come with any undemocratic method that has been adopted by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa or by the government. It is true that certain UNP MPs crossed over and the SLMC voted with the government. more..

Road to realise ‘Mahinda Chintana vision’

Sep 29 (LG) The main focus of the Presidential Election Manifesto 2010 – Mahinda Chintana: Vision for the Future – is on achieving medium-term economic prosperity in Sri Lanka. The end of the armed conflict has now opened up the opportunity to bring about economic benefits of the open economy at full potential. These internal factors along with the contemporary global economic recovery have brought about a rare opportunity for Sri Lanka to more..

Locally studying Medical students of foreign Universities need not sit for Act 16 Exam

Sep 29 (GDI) Sri Lanka will emerge as a centre of excellence for tertiary education inclusive of medical studies once over 20 non -state universities are set up in the country early next year, said Mr Sunil Navaratne Secretary to Ministry of Higher Education. He that over 20 countries have so far made enquiries and expressed their willingness to set up branches of foreign universities here. more..

'No reason for people to flee Lanka'

Sep 29 (GDI) Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G.L. Peiris told his Canadian counterpart that with the end of conflict in Sri Lanka, and the return of peace and stability to all parts of the country, there was no reason for people to flee the country on any grounds. ‘The UNHCR has also recognized this position in a recent statement’, he said. During bilateral discussions with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, more..

Sri Lanka gets more Jet flights

Sep 29 (LBO) India's Jet Airways said it plans to introduce daily flights to the Sri Lankan capital Colombo from Delhi and Mumbai to cater to the rising number of visitors to the island. The two new flights starting from November 5, are in addition to the existing daily Chennal – Colombo service, with which the airline launched its international operations in 2004. India's second biggest airline, will deploy 170-seater Boeing 737-800 for more..

'The country is a dictatorship'

Sep 29 (NF) The country is a dictatorship, says MP Mangala Samaraweera. After being questioned by the CID today in connection with the printing of a poster, the United National Party MP said that by the way he had been questioned by the CID, it had been proved beyond any doubt that the country was indeed a dictatorship. “Of course the officials were very courteous. But by what happened today and the way they grilled me more..

Editorial: A Jumbo U-turn

Sep 29 (Island) The UNP is where it is today with no prospects of winning elections in the foreseeable future because it chose to appease the LTTE and grovel before Norway and other LTTE backers in the international community. Having turned the tables on the Kumaratunga government in 2001 within seven years of its formation, the UNP made a costly blunder by catering to the whims and fancies of the LTTE at the behest of the western governments more..

Editorial: Vested interests trying to kill Bibile again

Sep 29 (DM) At first sight, one would assume that the provision of safe, effective, low cost medicines to all Sri Lankans would rank high among national health priorities. This is quite a wrong assumption. It does not matter that the financial savings to the nation would be enormous; unnecessary suffering and misery due to easily treatable illnesses could be avoided and countless lives saved. more..

Storm over China's Sri Lanka port

Video and audio discs drive book fair demand

Sep 29 (UCAN) Video and audio discs of Mother Teresa and a local priest musician proved popular at Sri Lanka’s 12th International Book Fair last week. More than a million visitors packed the Sept. 18-26 fair at the Bandaranayake Memorial International Conference Hall in Colombo. Christians flocked to stalls operated by the Catholic Book Depot, Claretian Publications and the Ceylon Bible Society. more..

Big Apple visited by a big number and Shanghaing Colombo

Sep 29 (SL) Menika despairs; Menika mourns; Menika feels useless. What’s overtaking Sri Lanker is totally mind boggling, incomprehensible, unnecessary and destructive with frightening finality. OK, OK, don’t castigate me as the local Cassandra crying out dire predictions, uselessly. I tell you my apprehensions which are shared by the many, especially the backbone of the country – its women. more..

Lankan Captain of UAE registered-vessel shot dead

Sep 29 (NF) A Sri Lankan captain serving on a merchant vessel registered in the United Arab Emirates has been shot dead. He had been identified as 54-year-old Sunil Dharmaratne, a resident of Homagama. The Lankan ship captain had been serving on the vessel 'Ocean Trite' as captain for nearly four years. Diplomatic sources say that this shooting had occurred on Sunday as more..

Disappointed! That’s what we are

Sep 29 (ST) My dear Mahinda Maama, I thought I must write to you even though you are in New York because I am a bit puzzled by what you have been doing in the recent days although I must admit that I have been quite surprised by your cleverness in manipulating matters to your advantage, especially regarding the eighteenth amendment. Firstly Mahinda maama, it does baffle me as to why you needed over a hundred people to more..

Sloppy research and reporting: Obfuscation for whose benefit?

Sep 29 (SL) We used to have newspapers in this country that didn’t seek melodrama at the expense of fact. That time seems past, unfortunately. While I have no quarrel with material written with verve and flair, much of the biased reports better fitted to the teledrama/soap opera format cannot but make one’s stomach turn! Recent reports in newspapers (The Sunday Leader not included), on the Sri Lankan Tamils who landed on Canada’s more..

'I will not auction party positions'

Sep 29 (DM) Stating that no one in the party had discussed party reforms with him in the past few days, UNP Hambantota District MP Sajith Premadasa said yesterday that he was not prepared to auction positions in the party as suggested by some members. He made this point with regard to reports that successful negotiations had been held to finalise party reforms. more..

Male nurse accused of corrupt practices

Sep 29 (Island) A male nurse attached to the Renal Dialysis Unit of the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital had violated all rules and regulations by purchasing Hospital equipment from outside while it was available in the Hospital. He had submitted the bills to the Hospital Director for reimbursement, the GMOA charged yesterday. Dr. Nalin Ariyaratne, Assistant Secretary of the GMOA told The Island that more..

Science teacher shot by desperate lover

Sep 29 (SL) Laksitha Damayanthi, a school teacher of the Siyambalanaduwa Maha Vidyalaya was shot dead allegedly by a young man who entered the school on Thursday morning. The young man identified as Chathura Saranga, (27) a married man and a resident of Badulla had thereafter shot himself. He is reported to be a father of two. Lakshitha Damayanthi (25) a resident of Giripitiya in Siyambalanduwa who was a science teacher received gun shot injuries and more..

Kabir to announce UNP stance

Sep 29 (DM) The main opposition UNP yesterday said MP Kabir Hashim who had successful discussions on party reforms with the pro reforms group and the party leadership would make an announcement regarding the party stance this week. Responding to a question raised by journalists regarding the lapse of the 10-day deadline given to present party reforms, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said Mr. Hashim who negotiated the 10-day deadline at more..

A loser for Foreign Minister?

Sep 29 (LB) The UPFA government which is seemingly enjoying unprecedented political power both within and outside parliament with over 150 MPs at its disposal currently, is apparently up to some good tricks again. According to informed sources, the UPFA administration which is facing growing calls from the US and the European Union (EU) to submit to an international war tribunal over alleged crimes committed during the latter stages of the humanitarian operations against the LTTE in 2009, has more..

Big price paid for China, India’s help

Sep 29 (LB) Sri Lanka’s political foolhardiness in its inability to solve peacefully its domestic ethnic minority issue over the last fifty or so years, as an independent sovereign nation state has, as a consequence of a bitterly fought civil war, pulled her into the vortex of a new geo-political game played amongst India, the United States and China in which the island nation’s sovereignty is in danger of being compromised. more..

Gota orders probe into Bodhiraja Mt. trade stall allocations

Sep 29 (Island) The police have launched a high profile investigation following allegations that unscrupulous elements, with political backing, had obtained trade stalls, at Bodhiraja Mawatha, meant for pavement hawkers removed on a Defence Ministry directive. DIG Anura Senanayake said that he received instructions from Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to conduct an investigation and more..

Over 32 projects to add energy

Sep 29 (DN) The Government has implemented 32 projects in respect of the power and energy sector during 2006 to 2010. The Government has allocated millions of funds for these projects including two atomic energy base projects. The Kerawalapitiya Combined Cycle Power Plant Project has already been commissioned adding 300 MWs to the national grid. The Government has allocated Rs 36,823 million for this project. more..

Bail application of Capt Senaka Silva

Sep 29 (DN) Colombo High Court Judge Depali Wijesundera yesterday reserved its order for December 13, in respect of an application for bail for Capt Senaka de Silva, the second accused in a case where Sarath Fonseka is charged for harbouring forces’ deserters during the election campaign. Sarath Fonseka is charged with harbouring deserters during the election campaign and Capt Senaka de Silva is charged with aiding and abetting Sarath Fonseka. more..

LTTE detainees will be treated differently

Sep 29 (BBC) Government of Sri Lanka says that suspected Tamil Tiger detainees cannot be treated under the same law as everyone else. Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardhana told the BBC, that any country in the world would agree that they could not be treated like ordinary criminals. Earlier in the week, The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) stated Sri Lanka has failed to adhere to international law in detaining suspected Tamil Tigers. more..

Railway technologists warn of strike

Sep 29 (SL) The Railway Technologists Union (RTU) has warned of trade union action if the government fails to address their grievances that have been submitted as 10 demands to the Transport Ministry. The RTU has warned of resorting trade union action if there was no positive outcome from the discussions to be held with Transport Minister Kumara Welgama. The union said their demands had not been granted for the past 13 years. more..

Norwegian NGO picked to evaluate failed Sri Lankan peace process

Sep 29 (Island) Norway-based NGO Christian Michelsen Institute (CMI) has won a major contract from the Norwegian government to appraise the Norwegian peace efforts in Sri Lanka, with the emphasis on the disastrous 2002 bid, launched during the tenure of the then Sri Lankan Premier Ranil Wickreemsinghe. The evaluation team is led by Gunnar Sorbo. Among the other experts involved in the process is Prof. Jonathan Goodhand. more..

Anuruddha’s bribery trial re-opens in October

Sep 29 (Island) The Colombo High Court Trial, against General Anuruddha Ratwatte, will resume on October 11, 2010, before Judge Sunil Rajapakse. Ratwatte is facing charges of bribery and corruption for allegedly failing to explain why his declared assets were in excess of his known income. Yesterday the case was called before Judge Deepti Wijesundera and listed for hearing before Judge Sunil Rajapakse at a later date. more..

UNP decision on reforms this week

Sep 29 (SL) The UNP says that UNP MP Kabir Hashim would announce to the media this week the party’s stance on the reforms programme following discussions with the pro-reforms group and the party leadership. The 10 day deadline given by several UNP MPs who threatened to sit independently in parliament if the party leadership failed to implement the party reforms ended yesterday (28). more..

Mahanayakes ask President to release General

Sep 29 (LT) The Mahanayakas of the four Chapters have asked the President to take measures to release former Commander of the Army Gen. Sarath Fonseka considering the great service he rendered to the country. Mahanayake of Shyamopali Sect of Malwatta Chapter Most Ven. Thibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala Thero, Mahanayake of Asgiriya Chapter Most Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkithe Thero, Mahanayake of Sri Amarapura Sangha Sabha more..