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Editorial: End of an era?

Aug 28 (LB) The lifting of Emergency regulations after what has practically been a 28 year long haul of national insecurity, could be termed as the end of an era — a bad one. All predictions are that the current decision spells the definitive end of Emergency rule in this country with no likelihood of Emergency being re-imposed in this post-war era marked by an absence of armed confrontation. In this regard, the national reaction on the whole, though positive, has been sullied by the rather pessimistic more..

Private sector seeks fine tuning in Budget 2012

Aug 28 (BL) Top private sector officials representing several industries while being roundly appreciative of the govt’s previous 2011 budget, say they expect the 2012 budget proposals currently being prepared to address pivotal areas of economic development. What they saw as key were addressing certain far-reaching areas in terms of providing respite to the property and construction industries in view of the flagship nature of those projects and towards the goal of positioning more..

Editorial: Decent election in Colombo a distinct possibility

Aug 28 (Island) Mr. Milinda Moragoda, the UPFA’s candidate for the Mayor of Colombo, took expensive advertisements last week extolling old-style politics that did not flow from the barrel of a gun. Although Moragoda leads his own political party, whimsically named the Ceylon National Congress after the organization so-named on the Indian model by this country’s original Independence seekers (we will not call them fighters as there was no fight for Independence here as in India), he has joined the SLFP more..

Editorial: Miles to go towards democracy

Aug 28 (ST) No doubt, President's announcement this week in Parliament, proposing the lifting of Emergency Regulations under the Public Security Ordinance (1947) will be greeted by (virtually) all in this country with a sigh of relief. It is still not clear when it would be done, but the suggestion alone is good enough news for the moment. Sri Lanka has been governed by Emergency for far too long and people, especially an entire generation, have forgotten what it is like to live in a non-Emergency state. more..

Sports channel denies getting preferential treatment from SLRC

Aug 28 (ST) The Carlton Sports Network (CSN) says it will pay for the video footage that it has sought from the archives of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) and denied it was getting preferential treatment to obtain this valuable material. Janaka Ranatunga, Director Administration and Finance of CSN said that the SLRC routinely get requests and gives audio visual material to the public as well as organizations at an acceptable commercial rate and more..

Victory at local polls: Icing on the cake for UPFA

Aug 28 (NS) Just when Sri Lankans thought they had their last helping of elections for a while, another round of keenly contested polls has been announced, for 23 local bodies, mostly municipal councils in the major cities to be held on October 8. The announcement itself marks a change of stance from the ruling UPFA. Earlier, the government had contemplated not holding municipal elections in the major cities, toying with the idea of administering these regions with a specially authorised body. more..

Ranil assures support to fight external threats

Aug 28 (NS) The Emergency which was lifted on Thursday has a 58-year history in the country. The Emergency came into operation for the first time on August 12, 1953. It was declared as a measure to bring under control the situation triggered by an opposition-called island-wide Hartal to protest against an increase in the price of rice and several other measures that hit the poor masses in the country. Thereafter, successive govts imposed the Emergency to manage events like communal riots, more..

‘Grease devil a creation of foreign elements’

Aug 28 (NS) The story of grease devils doing the rounds in many parts of the country is just like another Darusman Report and Channel 4, aimed at discrediting the Govt and creating tension among the population. It was fabricated by interested foreign powers and certain local groups and planted in this country, said Fr. Sarath Hettiarachi, Presidential Religious Coordinator. He was addressing a press conference organised by the Information Department at its auditorium on Thursday. more..

Muzammil’s Challenge

Aug 28 (Island) A.J.M.Muzammil finally made it, being nominated as UNP mayoral candidate for the Colombo Municipal Council. Usually being nominated for the Colombo mayoralty by the UNP is equal to actually getting the post – so strong has the UNP’s hold on the Colombo city been since 1956 when V.A.Sugathadasa became UNP mayor of Colombo establishing a hegemony that has lasted over half a century. What is important about Muza’s candidature is that this is the first time in 15 years that a Colombo politician from more..

Which devil to vote for?

Aug 28 (LB) For once, the civil society narrative and the govt narrative on a single issue seems to be one and the same. On the curious but explosive issue of the ‘grease devils’ the general NGO and so-called civil society narrative in the past week has been that this is an organized attempt by certain politically radicalized elements to create a fear psychosis, and blame it on the army, so that the state would be forced to remove military encampments particularly in the Eastern Province in which more..

Malinga likely to come out of Test retirement

Aug 28 (ST) Pace ace Lasith Malinga may come out of retirement to be a part of the Lankan line-up for the second Test against Australia which is scheduled to begin at the Pallekelle Stadium on Sept 8, it is reliably understood. A high official of the SLC said:“We have made a request from Malinga to consider coming out of retirement and be a part of the line-up for the 2nd Test at Pallekelle and he still has not responded to our request, but he was not unfavourable to it either. more..

First-ever international camp for differently-abled girls in Sri Lanka

Aug 28 (Island) Smiling faces showed that it is possible to give girls who are differently-abled a chance of being part of society. The international camp, which was held from August 11-17 at the grounds of Ladies College, Colombo, was founded by The Branch of Differently Abled and given the name ‘Creating our Future’. The camp provided 120 children from Hong Kong, Kenya and different places in Sri Lanka a week full of activities. Besides a sport festival and camp fires, there was an more..

Lanka Hospitals celebrate birth of 200th IVF baby

Aug 28 (Island) The hospital’s IVF centre was opened in 2009 and has accomplished a feat of 200 new-born babies since then. The birth of the 200th IVF baby was may be the most important of the many milestones for the fertility centre in the past two years. Lakith Peiris, CEO of Lanka Hospitals, said the objective of the centre was always clear. "It is our aim to bring joy to couples who were distressed without children for many different reasons and give them a glorious family life. more..

Gold medallist takes the bus home

Aug 28 (ST) There was nothing special about the journey back home for gold medallist Upamalika Ratnakumari, the only female athlete to represent Sri Lanka at the recent 73rd Singapore Open Track and Field Championship 2011. On arrival at the BIA, Katunayake, she took public transport to Colombo, from where she took another bus to her hometown, Dambulla. Upamalika was the only female in the Sri Lankan contingent of five athletes attending the championship. more..

President sugar-coats Govt.’s undemocratic practices with removal of Emergency

Aug 28 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa came to Parliament last Thursday, and this time he brought with him some good news. The Emergency Regulations (ER), last imposed in August 2005, five months before he took office as President, are to end by next month, he announced. It was a move welcomed by Govt and Opposition members alike. It was at the end of his address to Parliament that the President announced he was proposing the lifting of ER. “I am satisfied that there is more..

Greasing the lifting of Emergency Rule to live the same

Aug 28 (SL) The week that went by was gripped by the Grease Devil Fever amongst the people, mainly in the North, East and the Central Hills of the country. But the attention that the Grease Yakka received in the media disturbed the ruling politicians mainly due to the inability of the Police and the Military, to allay the fears of a frightened public. The govt reacted in the only manner it has experienced success in recent times, by using the goodwill of the military. Secretary Defence thought it more..

Wanni doctors were Coached – Wikileaks

Aug 28 (SL) A US embassy cable released by the Wikileaks website last week quotes a former US official in Colombo as saying that a group of doctors who were in the Wanni during the war, had been “coached” on what to say at a press briefing in Colombo after they were arrested. Dr T. Sathiyamoorthy, Dr T. Varatharajah and Dr. Shanmugarajah, who while in the Wanni, had made claims of heavy civilian casualties, contradicted their statements at a press briefing organised by more..

UNP virtually two parties with nomination rifts

Aug 28 (LB) The confusion regarding the UNP nomination lists for the forthcoming October 8 local govt elections took another dramatic turn as Colombo District UNP MP Mohan Lal Grero threatened to act independently in Parliament, unless UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe resolved the issues with respect to the mayoral candidacy for the Dehiwala-Mt Lavinia Municipal Council. The UNP nominations board, in which Grero was not included, despite him being the organizer for Ratmalana, appointed more..

Eva, Sri Lanka’s first female AG

Aug 28 (LB) Informed govt sources said that the incumbent Solicitor General Shanthi Eva Wanasundera, is likely to be sworn in as the country's new Attorney General (AG) from September. When appointed, Wanasundera will become Sri Lanka's first female AG. Incumbent AG Mohan Peiris is due to retire on August 30 this year, and President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to appoint Eva Wanasundera as AG. With the appointment of Wanasundera as the new AG, the vacant post of Solicitor General would more..

Grero gives Ranil 3-day ultimatum

Aug 28 (NS) The crisis ridden UNP’s internal issues took a different turn yesterday when a Colombo district MP severely criticized the party leadership for nominating the former mayor of Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia as the mayoral candidate of the party at the forthcoming local govt elections. UNP MP Mohanlal Grero gave the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe three days time to keep the list of candidates at the Dehiwala-Mt Lavinia municipal council open without a mayoral candidate. more..

Lanka-Libya company sacks workers

Aug 28 (ST) Amidst a revolution in Libya, a key Lanka-Libya joint venture, which contributed towards the development of the livestock industry in the country for more than 25 years, has served termination notices on its employees while a liquidation process is pending. The Sri Lanka-Libya Agricultural and Livestock Development Company (LAN-LIB) coming under the purview of the Ministry of Livestock and Rural Community Development has served termination notices on its employees from August 31. more..

Dr. Chris Nonis takes over as HC in UK this week

Aug 28 (Island) Dr. Chris Nonis will assume duties as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to London on September 1 succeeding Nihal Jayasinghe, who completed his stint in January this year. Dr. Nonis qualified in London, with a First Class Honours Bachelor of Science degree from the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, obtained his MBBS from the Royal Free Hospital Medical School, University of London, having completed his electives at Massachusetts General Hospital, more..

Top ministers under SIS scanner

Aug 28 (SL) The State Intelligence Service (SIS) is monitoring the movements of some political parties and groups supportive of the government as well as two Cabinet Ministers namely Champika Ranawaka and Wimal Weerawansa, intelligence sources said. Among those under the scanner is the Patriotic National Movement (PNM), National Freedom Front (NFF) of which Minister Wimal Weerawanse is a member and the Jathika Hela Urumaya, of which Minister Champika Ranawake is a member. more..

Vasu anticipates ‘Grease Devils’ and other devils to vanish with lifting of Emergency

Aug 28 (Island) The most significant result of lifting the emergency law is the opportunity it will provide to a group of detainees amounting to 6000 in camps to get their release, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Minister of National Languages & Social Integration and Secretary, Democratic Left Front, said in a statement yesterday. It will no longer be possible to suppress the rights of the general public and the working class to display posters, carry out protests and organize rallies, etc. more..

PTA suspects’ fate uncertain?

Aug 28 (LB) The high command at the Police Department is to meet with Attorney General (AG) Mohan Peiris to discuss what measures they should take with regard to some of those who are being detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), consequent to the Gazette notification on the removal of the state of emergency on August 25. It is said that around 100 suspects are currently being detained under the PTA and as per that act, such suspects could be detained for as long as 540 days. more..

Crucial weeks ahead for Sri Lanka internationally

Aug 28 (ST) President had a special message for his cabinet ministers. He told them at the weekly meeting on Wednesday they would all have to be present in Parliament the next day, Thursday. However, he did not tell them why. Senior Minister P. Dayaratne was to point out that he had to be at the Kachcheri in Ampara, which district he represents as MP, to hand over nomination papers of UPFA candidates for the local polls. "Hand over that task to your Private Secretary and more..

Marked improvement in Colombo-Tuticorin ferry service

Aug 28 (NS) The Indo-Lanka passengers shipping service started in July this year between Colombo and Tuticorin has shown a marked improvement with an increase in passenger traffic between the two ports, a highly placed Ceylon Shipping Corporation official told The Nation. However, as of now, the majority of passengers are Indians, mainly small time traders, taking full advantage of the 100kg baggage allowance per passenger, the official said. So far the vessel has completed 18 voyages. more..

Inferior ceramicware a health hazard!

Aug 28 (NS) While the food you consume is safe, the plate you eat from could be carrying health endangering chemicals! This warning comes from the Chairman, Dankotuwa Porcelain, Sunil Wijesinha who claimed that today, most govt departments opt for inferior low quality imported ceramics thereby carrying a health risk. This was because there was the danger of such products releasing harmful chemicals, warned Wijesinha. He said so while appealing to the govt to address this issue. more..

USD$ 108 million transmission tower to be built in Colombo

Aug 28 (Island) The government has decided to go ahead with the construction of the 350-meter common transmission and communication tower at an estimated cost of USD$ 108 million on seven and a half acres of prime Beira waterfront land at D. R. Wijewardena Mawatha said Anusha Pelpita, Director-General of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL). more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Aug 28 (ST) The divide between the law makers in Parliament and the law breakers outside is only the small stretch of water at Diyawanna Oya. An old, winding road cuts through the banks past a man-made mound to link the Pelawatte Road (near Parliament roundabout) to Pitakotte-Talawatugoda Road in the direction of the Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital. A new wider road, some two kilometres in extent, to replace this is almost complete but more..

Over 1.5 million voters eligible to exercise franchise at Oct. 8 local poll

Aug 28 (Island) Deputy Commissioner of Elections W. P. Sumanasiri said that according to the electoral Register for 2010, 1,589,622 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise for 6488 candidates belonging to 25 Political Parties and 104 Independent Groups contesting 17 Municipal Councils, five Pradeshiya Sabhas and one Urban Council on October 8 to elect 420 members. more..

Fresh attempts at clearing sub-standard cement

Aug 28 (ST) A fresh attempt to clear a stock of cement which failed to meet required local standards was rejected by the Sri Lanka Customs on Friday. Customs officials said that the importer of the cement – the Sri Lanka National Co-operatives Board (SLNCB) which comes under the purview of the Co-operatives and Internal Trade Ministry -- had provided a certificate on the cement standards from a London institution. more..

'Lanka ready for pro-LTTE challenges at UNHRC'

Aug 28 (SO) Sri Lanka is ready to counter pro-LTTE propaganda during the UNHRC sessions in September and post-conflict development and resettlement progress will help us counter-attack these dark forces, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said in an interview. Minister Samarasinghe will lead the Lankan delegation to the UN Human Rights Council’s 18th regular sessions that will be held from Sept 12 - 30. more..

No more high security zone

Aug 28 (LB) With the lapsing of the Emergency on Tuesday, the LTTE will no longer be proscribed and there will be no more High Security Zones as per the law. “With the state of Emergency lifted, all regulations promulgated under Emergency automatically lapse,” said Saliya Edirisinghe, director legal at the Civil Rights Movement. “Among them are regulations that proscribed the LTTE and created High Security Zones in the country.” more..

'Treat us like any other,' Blake to be told

Aug 28 (Island) The government is likely to urge US not to adopt a different approach relating to accountability issues vis-a-vis Sri Lanka to appease those undermining post-war recovery plans on behalf of the LTTE, a proscribed organization in many countries including the US, UK and India. Sri Lanka will assert that it should be treated like any other country fighting terrorists and not isolated at the behest of more..

Nominations closed: Off to the hustings

Aug 28 (ST) As nominations closed for the 23 Local Authorities on Thursday, political parities and independent groups launched their campaigns with the stage set for a close contest more among own party members. Pocket meetings, poster campaigns and door-to-door campaigns are mostly by mayoral candidates vying for the post, which is expected to step up in the next few days. There are 6,448 candidates eligible to contest more..

'Diaspora’s bid to mislead us will not succeed'

Aug 28 (NS) The widow of the late LTTE political wing leader S. P. Thamilselvan, Shashirekha in an exclusive interview with The Nation goes back to her youth, learning Bharata Natyam, becoming a dancing teacher, meeting with the LTTE leader Prabhakaran and Thamilselvan. She recounts her experiences in the terrorist group-controlled north including the fate that befell her. more..

Middle East crisis: Tea trade in turmoil

Aug 28 (ST) Continuing political turmoil in the Middle East has badly hit Sri Lanka’s tea exports. A whopping 78 per cent of Sri Lanka’s annual tea exports of 300 million kilos are sent to Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya both in bulk and value-added form, but only 55 million kilos (or 30 per cent of the total exports) has been sent for the first six months of this year, tea export officials said. more..

Linking of India-Lanka power grids planned

Aug 29 (Hindu) With the 30-year conflict and the state of emergency coming to an end in Sri Lanka, India and the island nation are contemplating an ambitious project to connect power grids of the two countries with undersea cables to allow bilateral trade in power. Sri Lankan High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam told presspersons here on Saturday that a feasibility study decided it was “doable”. The project was still in preliminary stage and the points of more..

Sri Lankan Air Force plane makes emergency landing in Chennai

Aug 29 (UNI) A Sri Lankan Air Force plane made an emergency landing at Chennai airport at 0835 hrs today when the pilot of the aircraft noticed that two of its four engines had failed. According to airport sources, the aircraft, which was also carrying seven Lankan army officers, was bound for Eastern Naval Command headquarters at Visakhapatnam. When the aircraft was flying over Chennai, the pilot noticed the snag and sought permission to land. more..