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Must strengthen ties with other countries; Minister Gajadeera

Aug 12 (HN) Several Ministers and Parliamentarians expressed views regarding various issues at functions that were held in different parts of the island. Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Chandrasiri Gajadeera at a function that was held today to declare open the newly constructed Archaeological Museum at Tharaka-Kotuwa in Matara expressed these views regarding the importance of strengthening relationships with other countries. more..

Sinhala family in the South donates 1500 books to Jaffna library

Aug 12 (IL) Jaffna Library received another round of generous donation of 1500 books from new supporters, this time a Sinhala family in Nugegoda, Colombo. With sheer intention of quenching the thirst for knowledge of Jaffna students and other interested readers, a generous family in the south donated a volume of valuable books to the Jaffna Library recently. The donation coordinated by the Security Forces Headquarters- Jaffna included 1500 books on more..

Elephant calf sacrificed for President’s ‘Prana Pooja’

Aug 12 (LT) An elephant calf has died in Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage on the 9th. The calf had been born on 16th January to the she elephant called ‘Lasanda.’ However, this elephant mother had been separated from its calf on a request by the President and was offered to Vishnu Temple at Devinuwara. The calf, saddened by the separation from its mother, had refused to consume milk given to it instead of its mother’s milk. As a result the calf developed diarrhea and died due to more..

Agriculture sector on the decline

Aug 12 (SL) The govt has informed parliament that the country’s agriculture sector has recorded a negative growth of 5.1 percent during the first quarter of this year. The Mid Year Fiscal Position report that was tabled in parliament has attributed the decline in the agriculture sector to the two waves of floods that hit the country. The report however has stated that the overall economy had recorded a positive growth of 7.9 percent during the period, in comparison to more..

Grease Yaka and Bhoothaya only rumours

Aug 12 (HN) 2 persons have been killed after workers of two estates in Haputale panicked over the presence of a grease yaka. The Haputale Police stated that 2 more persons were seriously injured in the incidents. A person who had arrived at the Haputale estate has been tied to a tree and has been tortured. Police officers who arrived at the scene were also assaulted and one Police officer has been admitted to the Diyathalawa hospital. more..

Children in the North, unable to bear hunger, sell pieces of bombs & mines

Aug 12 (LT) Children in Jaffna, despite threats to their lives, are collecting pieces of iron and other metals to be sold to quench unbearable hunger pains states ‘Thinakural’ a newspaper published in Jaffna. According to ‘Thinakural’ children in Killinochchi and Mullaithivu districts collect pieces of land mines, anti-personal mines and metal parts of other military equipments. The children enter areas declared by security forces as unprotected areas too to collect more..

'Govt. has handed over oil resources to India'

Aug 12 (LT) Petroleum resources of this country have been completely handed over to India through privileges and benefits given to Cairn India, the Indian company that has been given the tender to excavate and explore for oil in Manna Basin said the DNA Parliamentarian Anura Dissanayake in Parliament yesterday. He said this participating in the debate on ‘Strategic Development Project Act’ presented by Minister Basil Rajapakse in Parliament yesterday (10th). more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 11.08.2011

Sri Lanka citizens group concerned over lawlessness in the north

Aug 12 (LBO) Friday Forum, a Sri Lankan citizens group fighting to re-establish rule of law and liberal democracy, has raised fresh concerns about lawlessness in the island's north after an elderly Tamil journalist was brutally assaulted. "We unequivocally condemn the brutal assault on Gnanasundaram Kuhanathan, news editor of the Tamil-language daily Uthayan on Friday, July 29th evening," Friday Forum said in a statement. "The violence meted out to Mr. Kuhanathan by more..

IDP camp in the dark

Aug 12 (SL) The We Are Sri Lankans (WASL) organization that works for the welfare of the IDPs alleges that certain IDP camps lacked the basic facilities. The WASL organization says that the electricity supply to the Poonthottam camp in Vavuniya has been disconnected for the past three days. Executive committee member of WASL, Udul Premaratne has said that over 150 families still residing at the Poonthottam camp were facing severe hardships due to the lack of electricity. more..

China's fullest support to Sri Lanka at international level

Aug 12 (HN) Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao stated that China is committed to strengthening the friendship with Sri Lanka and will extend its fullest support in all necessary situations to Sri Lanka at the international level. He said this during a bilateral meeting with visiting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Prime Minister's residence in Beijing today. Expressing his gratitude for the Chinese assistance for the number of ongoing projects more..

Bi-regional Meeting on Scaling up Malnutrition in Colombo

Aug 12 (GDI) Minister Maithripala Sirisena commended the assistance being given by the United Nations and the World Health Organization for eradicating malnutrition in Sri Lanka. The Minister addressing the South-East Asia and Western-Pacific Region Conference on Nutrition held in Colombo yesterday stated that while there is malnutrition in developing countries, both underweight and overweight people has become a double burden to most countries across the globe. more..

Sri Lanka youth team into the tough group

Aug 12 (MS) Following the pattern of last few decades, Sri Lanka, is once again drawn into the tougher group in the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup 2012 in Australia. The group 'D', where Sri Lanka will be taking part in the first round, will consist of South Africa, Bangladesh and Namibia. The associate members, Scotland, Nepal, Ireland, Afghanistan, PNG and Namibia will join the 10 Full Members in the 12 team competition to be played in Australia. more..

JHU urges India to protect Buddhist pilgrims in TN

Aug 12 (DM) The JHU urged the Indian Government to take necessary action and to ensure the security of Buddhist pilgrims who have been threatened and physically abused in Tamil Nadu. “These groups with links to the LTTE had threatened most of the pilgrims not to visit the state,” Ven Hadigalle Wimalasara Thera said. The JHU further stated that these incidents arose following the meeting the US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton had more..

New Traffic regulations on expressways

Aug 12 (DM) New traffic regulations are to be put in place for motorists using the new super highways and expressways, which are to be commissioned in the near future, according to highly placed police sources. Currently the police are discussing the regulations with the Department of Motor Traffic. The existing fines will be increased for traffic violations taking place on super highways and expressways. A special police division will handle the traffic on the expressways that more..

New Traffic regulations on expressways

Aug 12 (HN) Residents in Otta-mawadi area in Valachchena launched a protest this afternoon to oppose the actions taken by the police to release a suspect who harassed a woman in the area yesterday. Our reporter in the area stated that people have closed shops and participated in the protest. Following the incident yesterday, people living in Nawal-adi area in Valachchena have hurled stones at police. Two police personnel were injured and several police vehicles were more..

Sri Lankan protest over 'disappeared'

Aug 12 (BBC) Weeping parents have been demonstrating in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, asking what has become of close family members who have disappeared. The protesters gathered on a hot street corner near the town hall. Most of those grieving were Tamil and from the former war areas of north and east Sri Lanka. They solemnly held pictures of their missing loved ones. The issue of disappearances still causes agony for many Sri Lankans, more..

An innocent man remains in detention since August 2008 after being tortured into a confession by the TID

Aug 12 (LG) Mr. Kalappam Manoharan (32) of Ratwatte Lower Division, Ukuwela in the Matale district was illegally arrested by officers attached to the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) branch of Kandy Headquarters Police Station on 11 August 2008. Monoharan, a casual labourer, lived in the same village his whole life. After he was arrested he was severely tortured and later forced to sign a document prepared by the police officers. more..

The US enter Sri Lankan airspace

Aug 12 (LG) Recent reports in the Sri Lankan press have revealed that American airplanes entered the territorial airspace of Sri Lanka. Interestingly this has been both denied and confirmed by the govt who are very good at first denying things and latter admitting to them. This comes in light of the fact that this same govt is now admitting that civilians were killed in the final stages of the war against the LTTE. However, the intrusion into Sri Lankan airspace has been empathically denied by the US navy. more..

Massive crowds throng Agri Exhibition in Vavuniya

Aug 12 (SO) A large crowd of over one hundred thousand including farmers schoolchildren, teachers, workers visited the National Farmers Week 2011 and Agri Exhibition held at Vavuniya Seed Farm recently. It was organised by the Agriculture Ministry and opened by Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne on the invitation of Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena. Delivering the inaugural address the Prime Minister said that the country can be easily self sufficient in food, if more..

Tamil Sri Lankan Airlines

Aug 12 (LG) I respond to the article ‘Depart paradise through hell’ by Mr. Tissa Jayaweera, Chairman, International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka. The article was published in Sri Lanka Guardian. The above article came with a picture of Sri Lankan Airlines plane and I immediately felt upset. I felt upset because ‘I am Sri Lankan’. Mr. Tissa Jayaweera – Chairman, International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka is NOT Sri Lankan. Another way of saying it is: - through the eyes of others more..

The displaced Northern Muslims of Sri Lanka

Aug 12 (TC) It has been widely established as fact that ethno-political conflict and civil war between the Tamils and the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka have generated immense sufferings among the Tamil and Sinhalese ethnic groups at the level of the masses. However, very little has been discussed about the plights of the Muslims of the North and East, particularly the former who became victims of the Sri Lanka’s long running ethnic conflict. In October 1990, the entire Muslim population of more..

Accidents – Who is responsible?

Aug 12 (SL) Eleven year old Raja left home at 3 p.m. one afternoon promising to return home early. His friends were standing eagerly outside his house, waiting for little Raja to bring out his new cricket bat. He was his mother’s favourite and often received new gifts. Raja’s father had died a few years ago and since then this little boy had always promised his mother that some day he would grow up to be a doctor and would look after his mother and little sisters. more..

An open letter to TNA leade

Aug 12 (TC) Dear Mr.Sambanthan, Please accept my apologies for not addressing you as Sir. I do not address any one so, except my teachers. However, please do not consider this an attempt at disrespect. You have many attributes needed to be a ‘leader’ of the Tamils, but for the lack of courage and a vision, have not been able to become so. You continue to be a typical Tamil politician of the old mould. This is unfortunate, because the Tamils desperately need a ‘Leader’. President Rajapakse at one meeting referred to you more..

TNA’s withdrawal from talks and the emerging political paralysis

Aug 12 (TC) The recently concluded LG elections provided evidence, if evidence was needed, of a divided polity. Amidst accusations of violence, intimidation, and killings, the Tamil people voted, the TNA emerged triumphant, resilient, re-asserting its dominance in the North. The UPFA-led Govt swept away the rest of the polls, as expected. Expected: lacks excitement, unexciting, stale news; given the absence of any serious opposition, given the resources at its command, given the power it wields. more..

Vanishing Dambana Adhivasis

Aug 12 (NS) It was high noon when I arrived at Dambana in Mahiyangane, an ancestral habitat of Adhivasi community in Sri Lanka; on the eve of the celebration of International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, which falls on Aug. 9, celebrated by United Nations every year to promote the livelihood of the indigenous people around the world. I went to Dambana to get a first hand account of the Adhivasi community. In the jungle of Dambana, I was accompanied by a more..

Despite rhetoric how seriously is the Rajapaksa regime committed towards a political settlement?

Aug 12 (TC) The collapse of the Government –TNA talks has an air of inevitability about it for no other reason than the central one of the seriousness and commitment of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime towards a political settlement, its rhetoric notwithstanding. We are back to the APRC, albeit by another name and back perhaps, to another protracted process of rhetoric and repetition, prevarication and procrastination. To the rest of the world, the regime will point to a process and more..

Cousin Noel's E-mail

Aug 12 (DM) The great majority of people are unaware that cats– pussycats have their own kingdoms. Some kingdoms were small, like down- the- alley affairs, others were medium sized–this part- of- the- town ones, while the big hefty ones were city-based. And because the governors divided their country into provinces pussies too divided city kingdoms into zones. (Pussies have plastered every human being on the planet with common identification tags–governors.) Apart from a few rogue cats–pukka free more..

Harold Sirisena has sent more than 1M books to Sri Lanka, but the next shipment may be his last

Aug 12 (SL) An old, immobile, sweltering trailer lists in a parking lot on the West Shore; but it remains a key component of an effort to positively change the lives of people who live half-way around the world. Over the past 25 years, Harold Sirisena has shipped hundreds of thousands of books to students, young and old, in his native land of Sri Lanka. And this trailer has supported that effort for the past 10 years. more..

Editorial: That hullabaloo in the House

Aug 12 (Island) President J R. Jayewardene is long dead but his Constitution keeps memories of him alive. Hardly a day passes without the country facing a problem that stems from that flawed document, which perhaps is the Constitution with the highest number of amendments in the world. The TNA is up in arms against a decision by the Elections Commissioner (EC) to reduce the number of parliamentary seats in the Jaffna District due to a decrease in the number of registered voters there. more..

Editorial: Democracy, diversity and a man for all seasons

Aug 12 (DM) Statesmen or stateswomen and philosophers have repeated and reiterated the truism that the cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy. This view was shared by one of Sri Lanka’s statesmen of recent times, though fortunately he did not rise to the levels of an all powerful executive president and even when he was tipped to become the prime minister, racist or extremist forces intervened to block his appointment. Lakshman Kadirgamar, like the world famous and widely revered Thomas More, more..

Fresh success for Govt. in raising funds via Development Bonds

Aug 12 (FT) Central Bank said yesterday it raised US$ 166 million via a mixed Sri Lanka Development Bonds (SLDB) issue which was successfully concluded. The Govt originally offered SLDBs of $ 75 million in 3-year tenor and $ 50 million in 4-year tenor were offered for subscription at a rate of US Dollar 6 month LIBOR plus a margin to be determined through competitive bidding. The offer was opened from 04 – 11 August 2011 for bidding with the settlement on 18 August 2011. more..

Helping visually impaired children

Aug 12 (SO) She is young and suave and nursed a dream to contribute to the betterment of society, especially children who have been physically debilitated by blindness. Perhaps she may have nurtured this desire after joining the Girl Guides Association of Sri Lanka. She is none other than Shimalka Bodaragama who has two accolades to her credit. She won the first runner-up title at the Derana Miss Sri Lanka contest and the Miss “Sunday Observer” title this year. She visited the Deaf and Blind School in more..

Eco Destruction In The Sinharaja Forest

Aug 12 (SL) The construction of a hotel in the Sinharaja forest reserve has irked environmentalists who claim that authorities continue to turn a blind eye to the destruction of one of the world’s primary forests. The hotel project which commenced in 2009 and stopped briefly has re-commenced construction. The Rainforest Ecolodge Hotel Project at Ensalwatte Estate in the Sinharaja Division in Viharahena, Kotapola had been given the green light to commence construction work on February 17, 2009 by more..

Sri Lanka not giving up hopes on number one rank

Aug 12 (Island) Despite a crushing defeat in the first One Day International of the five match series against Australia, Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan hasn’t given up hope on leading his team to the number one ranking in the world. A 4-1 series win would have helped Sri Lanka to topple Australia from their number one rank, but defeat on Wednesday meant that Sri Lanka will have to now win all four remaining games of the series to achieve the prestigious top spot. more..

Docs on war path in Ratnapura district over irregular transfers

Aug 12 (Island) The doctors of the Ratnaprura district yesterday warned that they would resort to a one-day token strike next Tuesday if the Regional Director of Health Services fails to annul all irregular transfer orders given to several doctors in the district. The Assistant Secretary of the Government Medical Officers’ Association, Dr. Sankalpa Marasinghe warned that the doctors would strike if steps were not taken to cancel the transfers within the next few days. more..

Sri Lanka my second home - Asha Bhosle

Aug 12 (DN) "Sri Lanka is very similar to India in many ways. The only difference is in the language. The people look like us and their lifestyle is similar to ours. I do not feel a major difference when I visit the country. I am very much at home here," says India's iconic playback vocalist Asha Bhosle. "Working with Sri Lankan talent had been a refreshing experience for me. Some people are of the belief that veterans should duet with veterans but I do not share this idea because I do not have an ego. more..

Colombo marathon with an international flavour

Aug 12 (DM) A dozen countries will send their runners for the Colombo Marathon that will get underway on October 2 from Torrington Square. This marathon is being organized with the aim of drawing parallels with other major city marathons and is conducted for the eleventh year by Lanka Sportreizen in conjunction with Sri Lanka Tourism, SriLankan Airlines, Ministry of Sports, Athletic Association of Sri Lanka, Ministry of Education, Municipal Councils of more..

Young Sri Lankans at WYD to make society a “place of love”

Aug 12 (AN) “The kids going to Spain will represent Sri Lanka. They will have many experiences to bring home to make our society a place of love,” said Mgr Chandrasiri Perera, bishop of Ratnapura, who is going with the Sri Lankan delegation to the World Youth Day (16-21 Aug.) that left tonight for Madrid. Foreign donors paid for the airfare but the kids applied themselves for their visas. Under the aegis of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka (CBCSL), the Laity Commission of Sri Lanka and more..

Naval officers detained over disappearance of firearms

Aug 12 (DM) Colombo Chief Magistrate ordered the CID to file their investigation report in court on September 7 on three naval officers who allegedly disappeared with a T56 gun, 120 rounds of bullets, 4 magazines and a belt given to an unknown person in navy uniforms. CID producing the three suspect Navy officers, Asanka Batuwatte, Prasanna Amaranath Wijetunge and Anura Kumara Athugala from Southern Galle Naval base before Colombo vacation Court Magistrate Prasanna Alwis and submitted that more..