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Free seed paddy for flood hit farmers

Aug 16 (Island) Cabinet approval has been given for the provision of free seed paddy to farmers of flood-hit districts, Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene said. The heavy rain and flooding have damaged large tracts of paddy land in the North Central, Eastern and Northern Provinces and the Mahaweli areas. About 150,000 acres of paddy cultivation and 45,000 acres of additional crop cultivation were completely damaged by flood, Abeywardene said. more..

NGO involved in foreign job scam

Aug 16 (DM) The Mt Lavinia Police had commenced investigations to apprehend an owner of an NGO and his wife for defrauding several persons for a sum of Rs 6 million promising foreign jobs. The suspect had opened and NGO institution 3 years ago in a building facing the Mt Lavinia Police Station. It is noted that the suspect had received the support of a powerful politico in Colombo and had also received assistance from a Presidential advisor. He had also distributed consumer goods to more..

Don’t be evasive like ‘grease devils’ – JVP tells Govt.

Aug 16 (LT) The govt is making use of the fear that is present in certain parts of the island due to rumours that have been spread regarding a mythical concept of a ‘grease devil’, to indirectly make evil, harmful, and untrue statements against the JVP states a communiqué issued by the Political Bureau of eh JVP. The communiqué states the bankrupt attempt by the govt to slander the JVP by a news item published in a state news paper today is deplorable. more..

Court refuses newspaper’s objection against order

Aug 16 (DM) The Colombo District Court yesterday refused the preliminary objection raised by the Sunday Leader newspaper and its editor against the enjoining order obtained to prevent publishing articles defamatory of senior counsel Nalin Ladduwahetty. Additional District Judge T. D. S. Gunasekara refused the preliminary objection raised by the newspaper and its editor, Frederica Jansz and ordered each defendant to pay Rs. 25,000 to Mr. Ladduwahetty as legal costs. more..

Elephant census -report out in two weeks

Aug 16 (DM) A comprehensive report into the findings of the wildlife census that was conducted last weekend would come out in two weeks. H.D Rathnayake Director General of the Wildlife Department said that the census conducted was a success despite the boycott staged by an NGO, adding that they would reveal their findings on the wild elephant population in the country to the public in due course. “Around 100 officials from a certain NGO was expected to join in the census but more..

SL v Aus, 3rd ODI: Series on the line for struggling Sri Lanka

Aug 16 (CI) The series is less than a week old, but it will be decided by Tuesday night if Australia continue their winning form after comfortably taking the first two matches. The eight-wicket victory in Hambantota on Sunday was almost a carbon copy of the opening win in Pallekele: Sri Lanka won the toss and batted poorly, failing to see out their overs, and then couldn't build any pressure on Australia in the chase. more..

Sri Lanka does not have claim on Katchatheevu: BJP

Aug 16 (DC) Questioning the legitimacy of the Indo-Sri Lanka accord on Katchatheevu with the island nation “dishonouring” the agreement, BJP state president Pon Radhakrishnan pitched for scrapping the accord. “Sri Lanka is unwilling to accept the agreement. It has ruthlessly been killing the Tamil Nadu fishermen…. and there is no point in India honouring the accord. Any agreement should be mutually respected,” he said and contended that the 1974 Indo-Sri Lanka pact ceding Katchatheevu to the island nation was invalid. more..

China Merchants to invest $500 million in Sri Lankan port

Aug 16 (CD) China Merchants Group Ltd (CMG), one of the nation's largest State-owned conglomerates, is investing in a container port in Sri Lanka as it seeks to expand in South Asia. "The Colombo South Container terminal is CMG's largest investment project overseas", and the port will have annual throughput of 2.4 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEU) after opening in 2013, Fu Yuning, chairman of CMG, said. Under the agreement between CMG and the Sri Lankan govt, more..

Wildlife Dept. plans to inflate jumbo census figures – Experts

Aug 16 (Island) Conservationists, environmentalists and elephant experts yesterday claimed some senior officials of the Wildlife Department were planning to claim that there were more than 7,000 elephants in the country. They said that the Department purposely avoided most of the experts to act according to a hidden agenda of some politicians eager to get young tuskers direct from the wild to their respective electorates. more..

Kinniya mob violence brought under control

Aug 16 (Island) The unrest in Kinniya, over the arrest of 26 persons by the Police on Sunday (14) night, had been brought under control after the suspects were released on police bail yesterday afternoon. Media Spokesman for the Navy, said that among those arrested were fishermen for illegal fishing practices, including using dynamite. He said that a group of persons had surrounded the Navy Camp at Kinniya yesterday and demanded that it be removed immediately. more..

Dry fish boxes contained Prabhakaran’s posters

Aug 16 (Island) Some boxes containing dry fish, imported from South India, had contained posters of Prabhakaran and Jayalalithaa. A trader from the South said that he found similar posters when he opened the boxes containing dry fish purchased from a wholesale dealer in the Pettah recently. The traders in the South said that the law enforcement authorities should take cognizance of the fact that certain elements are attempting to sow the seeds of hatred and more..

NHSL Director vacancy: GMOA urges ministry to call for interviews

Aug 16 (Island) The GMOA has urged the Health Ministry to follow instructions issued by the Public Service Commission and call for interviews for the post of Director of the National Hospital. The National Hospital is the largest hospital in South East Asia and it cannot function with an acting head, it has said. A GMOA spokesman said there were a hundred vacancies in the Health sector which needed to be filled by qualified more..

UNP groups speak out against reformists

Aug 16 (DM) Opposition UNP leaders of several provincial councils yesterday came out strongly against the UNP reformists and challenged them to contest at elections for Municipal Councils in Colombo and elsewhere and prove their popularity and capability. Central Provincial Council Opposition Leader Kasthuri Anuradhanayake and two other UNP Provincial Council opposition leaders told a news conference that those who were unable to more..

No AG instructions, Thamalini further remanded

Aug 16 (DM) The Colombo Chief Magistrate today remanded the LTTE Political Division Leader Subramaniam Sivagami alias Thamalini till August 29 as the Attorney General had not sent his instructions on the report sent by the CID on the suspect to the Attorney General. The Magistrate Rashmi Singapulli made this order on considering the request made by the CID. They submitted that the Division had sent the extracts of more..

Moragoda, Muzzamil likely to head UPFA-UNP battle in Colombo

Aug 16 (Island) With elections to many important local government authorities to be held in October, the UPFA’s and UNP’s Colombo mayoral candidates seem to have emerged. Former Minister Milinda Moragoda, who lost at the last General Election, was expected to lead the UPFA team while UNP Western Provincial Councillor A. J. M. Muzzamil, who was a confidant of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, was being tipped ahead of more..

FTZ unions protest CID intrusion

Aug 16 (DM) The proposed Private Pensions Bill was shelved following massive trade union campaigns and a killing of a Katunayake FTZ worker last May, but trade unions have complained to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the IGP over recent intrusions by the CID. Trade union representatives said CID officers raided, intimidated and harassed the staff members of union offices involved in the protests without a search warrant. Writing to the Police Chief, more..

Ban Ki-moon didn't submit panel report to Geneva

Aug 16 (ICP) Asked about an editorial accusing UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of being "lax" on countries such as Sri Lanka, Ban's spokesman Farhan Haq countered that Ban had "on his own authority appointed a Panel of Experts" on Sri Lanka. ICP asked if Ban had even transmitted the Panel's report to the Human Rights Council, and if he finds it unfortunate that the Human Rights Council did not take up or act on the detailed report. more..

Parties interview prospective candidates

Aug 16 (Island) Political parties such as the UPFA, UNP, JVP, SLMC, NFF and the DPF are in the process of interviewing prospective candidates for the forthcoming local govt elections to 23 Local Govt bodies, including 17 MCs, 5 PSs and one Urban Council for which nominations open on Thursday. Minister Dullas Alahapperuma, when asked whether the UPFA would nominate former Foreign Minister Milinda Moragoda as the mayoral candidate for more..

Police make breakthrough into attack on News Editor

Aug 16 (Island) A special police team on Sunday arrested a suspect who is alleged to have unleashed the brutal attack on the News Editor of the Jaffna based ‘Uthayan’ newspaper, Gnanasunderam Kuganathan, on July 29. The initial investigations have revealed that the assailant, a resident of Jaffna, had been given a contract by a lawyer to attack the journalist. The police said that the suspect was a notorious criminal and more..

COPE critical of state banks over paye tax

Aug 16 (DM) The parliamentary Committee On Public Enterprises (COPE) was highly critical of the state banks when it was revealed that they were violating the tax law, Inland Revenue Act and the principle of equal treatment by paying the paye tax of employees, a parliamentary source said. He said COPE Chairman D.E.W. Gunasekara had instructed the Auditor General to submit a report about this violation of the tax law while other public and private sector employees more..

Tharanga ton pushes Sri Lanka to 286

Aug 16 (CI) Upul Tharanga drove Sri Lanka to their most competitive total of the past week as they sought a victory to keep the series alive in Hambantota. Tharanga's century helped the Sri Lankans reach 286 for 9 after they were sent in by Michael Clarke, but the total looked like being even greater until Doug Bollinger sparked a late revival from the Australians. Bollinger finished with 4 for 42 and more..

Rizana’s sub agent arrested

Aug 17 (NN) The sub-agent who had sent Sri Lankan domestic Rizana Nafeek to Saudi Arabia while she was underage, was arrested today. The sub-agent was arrested by the CID based on a statement made by Rizana’s mother. Rizana Nafeek was held in May 2005 on charges of killing a baby who was in her care in Saudi Arabia. Rizana Nafeek said that she had tried her best to protect the baby who choked when she was caring the child. Human Rights groups across the world have flayed Saudi Arabia for more..

Cultural Exhibition on Japan's culture and lifestyle

Aug 17 (GDI) The Embassy of Japan and the Japanese Language Teacher's Association of Sri Lanka has organized a Japanese Cultural Exhibition on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st August 2011 at the Harold Peiris Gallery, Lionel Wendt, Guilford Crescent, Colombo 07. The exhibition is designed to display Japan’s culture and lifestyle as well as promote tourism to Japan and thereby to further enhance the friendly relations between the peoples of Japan and Sri Lanka. more..

SEC permits margin loans by brokers

Aug 17 (LBO) Stock brokers will be allowed to give margin facilities to clients using their net liquid asset, the Securities and Exchange Commission said following requests by the industry. The SEC clamped down on broker credit as a bubble developed in the market last year and brokers also borrowed from banks to give credit to retail investors. Speculative retail buying became the mainstay of Colombo's market after foreign investors started to sell out of overvalued stocks. more..

Quasi law to be amended: Hakeem

Aug 17 (DM) Amendments will be introduced shortly to the marriage registration and divorce law of Muslims to meet today’s requirements, Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem said. During a discussion he had with the Council of Quasi Judges at his ministry, Minister Hakeem said the law pertaining to marriage and divorces among Muslims requires amendments and Quasi Judges who attended to those functions need to be aware with the Quasi Law in practice in other Muslim countries. more..

Delegation from Gazprom meets G. L

Aug 17 (DM) Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs met with an 8-member delegation led by the Managing Director of Gazprom International Mr. Gulev Veleriy at the Ministry of External Affairs in Colombo. Associated with the meeting was the Ambassador for the Russian Federation in Sri Lanka, Vladimir P. Mikhaylov. Gazprom is one of the world’s largest energy companies. Its major business lines are geological exploration, production, transportation, storage, more..

High demand for teachers in former conflict zone

Aug 17 (IRIN) As thousands of students begin uninterrupted schooling after a lapse of years, education officials in Sri Lanka's former northern conflict zone are facing a shortage of teachers. John Edward Solemn, assistant education director of Vavuniya South, an educational division, said the lack of teachers, especially in rural schools and in the subjects of English, mathematics and science, was a major concern for the region. more..

Sri Lanka cement supplies disrupted amid price controls

Aug 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's cement supplies remain disrupted amid price controls and posturing by rulers and the co-operative sector involved in another controversy, in a repetition of a similar debacle in the poultry sector. Three cement firms have written to Sri Lanka's consumer affairs agency which has imposed price controls on cement to raise prices by 35 rupees to 785 rupees a per 50 kilogram sack. The firms said world market prices and raw material prices have increased. more..

Sri Lankan minister criticises SM Krishna

Aug 17 (PTI) A Sri Lankan minister on Tuesday criticised the External Affairs Minister SM Krishna's suggestion for investigation into alleged human rights abuses in the island during the final battle with the LTTE. "The Indian foreign minister has said that human rights abuses in Sri Lanka need investigation. I would like to tell him that investigation must start with the time of Indian troops in Sri Lanka," Wimal Weerawansa, the leader of the NFF and the Minister in the govt said. more..

I am everybody’s leader: Ranil

Aug 17 (DM) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesighe said those who participate in the Sathyagraha that is being organised by the party reformists would not be considered as party members. He said no UNP member would participate at tomorrow’s Sathyagraha. Mr. Wickremesighe who made a special statement to the press said the reformists are trying to create a clash at today’s working committee meeting of the party to stop the appointment of the nomination board. more..

'There isn’t a single stateless person in Sri Lanka'

Aug 17 (DNA) With reference to the article titled ‘Kashmiri Pandits, Sri Lankan Tamils and Indian hypocrisy’ by Aditya Sinha, editor-in-chief, DNA, on July 31, I wish to point out some factual inaccuracies. It was surprising to note your lament in favour of, in your words ‘a large exiled community: the Sri Lankan Tamils.’ Your sympathetic expression for Sri Lankan refugees — ‘since 1983, three lakh Sri Lankan Tamil refugees have come to India. more..

Police trail for two actresses peddling With narcotics and brothel marketing

Aug 17 (LP) Police have thrown the net for the arrest of two film and teledrama actresses reportedly peddling with heroin and supplying young teledrama actresses and beautiful girls to brothels,top police sources said. The two actresses in question have reportedly left their residences and are in hiding to evade arrest. Police said the mobile telephone numbers of the two suspects have been disconnected to avoid contact on those lines which they had earlier operated to carry on more..

AG appointed in a hurry after JVP pointed out illegality of having the post vacant

Aug 17 (LT) After the JVP MP Anura Dissanayake pointed out that Sri Lanka was the only country where the Auditor General’s post has been vacant for more than a year the govt has hurried to appoint an Auditor General. Accordingly, the govt has appointed Mr. H.A.S. Samaraweera who was the acting AG as the new Auditor General. Mr. Anura Dissanayake on the 9th said in Parliament that the post of Auditor General that is directly responsible for the Parliament and more..

Sri Lanka shrs surge on hopes of margin trade relaxation

Aug 17 (Reuters) Shares shot up to a two-month high on Tuesday due to a decision by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to ease margin trading ban, boosting retail buying, while foreign funds turned net buyers after remaining net sellers for 15 sessions. The island nation's main share index closed 3.13 percent or 214.21 points firmer at 7050.74, the highest since June 14. SEC on Tuesday said it will ease a margin trading ban for stock investors following brokers' complaints. more..

Media organisations protest in Jaffna

Aug 17 (ST) Five media organizations today held a protest against the attack on the News Editor of the Uthayan newspaper, G.Kuhanathan. The protest in Jaffna town was by the Sri Lanka Working Journalsits' Association, Free Media Movement, Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum, Tamil Media Alliance and the Federation of Media Employees Trade Union. Police claims to have arrested the person responsible for the attack. But, the Editor of the Uthayan newspaper T.Premananth said that more..

Tough action against those who spread rumours; IGP

Aug 17 (DM) Tough action will be taken against those who spread rumours about ‘Grease Devils’, IGP N. K. Illangakoon said. He said that the police arrested five such persons on Monday who were spreading rumours in Gampola. “The situation in the Eastern Province is under control now. The police have taken steps to maintain law and order in the areas where the incidents took place,” he said. Police have so far arrested 47 persons involved in robberies and more..

'There is a plan to disrupt the Sathyagraha'

Aug 17 (DM) The UNP Sathyagraha at Sirikotha will be held as planned, UNP reformist parliamentarians told the Daily Mirror. Refuting claims by UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe that the Sathyagraha would not take place, Dayasiri Jayasekara expressed his conviction that Sathyagraha would go ahead as planned. “This is not a fight of the Ranil faction or the Sajith faction it’s a request by the common man. We believe that Karu Jayasuriya is the most suitable to lead the party at this juncture. more..

'Tamil killings were just collateral damage'

Aug 17 (SMH) The top Sri Lankan diplomat in Australia has rejected a call by the Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, for the United Nations to re-examine allegations of war crimes during the bloody end to the country's three decades of civil war. Last month a spokeswoman for Mr Rudd called on the UN Human Rights Council to revisit the claims of war crimes and to ''examine whether their original findings on the civil war can still be regarded as well-founded." But the Sri Lankan high commissioner, more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 16.08.2011

ICEU calls for Gazette on CoL allowance

Aug 17 (SL) A private sector trade union has called on the govt to take measures to gazette the increased cost of living allowance to the private and semi-govt sectors. The JVP affiliated Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU) has threatened to launch a series of protest campaigns from September 1 if authorities fail to gazette the cost of living allowance for the private and semi govt sectors that was increased to Rs. 280. ICEU Head Wasantha Samarasinghe said the private sector more..