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Ministers hail Defence Secy’s speech

Aug 4 (DN) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s speech at the release of the report Humanitarian Operation-Factual Analysis, July 2006-2009 is a good reply to the Channel 4 videos and Darusman Report. Sri Lankans living all over the world should use it as a reply to all anti - Sri Lankan elements, Minister S.B. Dissanayake said. He said that there was a possibility of atrocities by the LTTE during the last days of the humanitarian operation but not from the govt or Sri Lankan armed forces. more..

US condemns assault

Aug 4 (DM) The United States strongly condemns violence against members of the press in Sri Lanka. They said that the United States was deeply concerned about the recent assault on the News Editor of the Jaffna based Tamil daily News Paper, Uthayan, Gnanasundaram Kuganathan. The United States Embassy in Colombo had said that violence against journalists and attempts to silence their voices, threaten their freedom of expression, impair reconciliation and undermine democracy. more..

Development Diaries - August 01st 2011

SCB hedging deal: CPC need not pay deposit for appeal

Aug 4 (Island) The Commercial High Court in London has ruled that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) will not have to pay US$ 162 million as deposit for their appeal against the judgment delivered in favour of the Standard Chartered Bank, in the hedging deal signed between the bank and CPC in 2007/2008. The Standard Chartered Bank had initiated legal action in the London Commercial High Court to recover US$ 162 million from the CPC. more..

Nearly 160,000 schoolchildren, have eye defects

Aug 4 (DN) Nearly 160,000 schoolchildren suffer from eye defects while another 400,000 are threatened with possible eye defects. “Most schoolchildren are subjected to eye defects due to genetic factors,” a Health Ministry spokesman said. He also said children with eye defects should examine their eyes at least once in every six months. The Vision 2020 programme launched by the Health Ministry to provide free spectacles to 20,000 schoolchildren last year and this year. more..

Chamal laughs off heckling by AIADMK MPs in Lok Sabha

Aug 4 (Island) Speaker of Sri Lankan Parliament Chamal Rajapaksa took in his stride heckling by half a dozen AIADMK parliamentarians during a visit to the Lok Sabha on Monday, and even invited them to visit the Jaffna peninsula to see for themselves the situation on the ground. The AIADMK MPs, led by M Thambidurai, stood up and started shouting slogans as Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar introduced a Sri Lankan parliamentary delegation led by Speaker Rajapaksa more..

England Lions v Sri Lanka : Silva sparkles before quicks strike back

Aug 4 (CI) As the senior England side did against India, the Lions fought back when a match appeared to be drifting away from them against Sri Lanka A at Scarborough. Jade Dernbach and James Harris struck with the second new ball as five wickets fell for 33 runs after the visitors' middle order had taken them to the brink of a lead with captain Kaushal Silva making 89. Sri Lanka's openers, Malinda Warnapura and Lahiru Thirimanne, gave the team a solid start more..

Sinhala and Tamil for public servants

Aug 4 (DM) The National Languages Training Institute said it was training another group of officials to teach Sinhala and Tamil to public servants. The Institute’s Director General Prasad Herath said the training programme had been arranged on the instructions of National Integration Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara because the present cadre of some 600 teachers was not sufficient to meet the teaching requirements. About 160 teachers are expected to attend the course more..

Sri Lanka needs war crimes tribunal, NDP says

Aug 4 (CBC) Canada should press the United Nations to set up a tribunal in Sri Lanka to deal with suspected crimes against humanity, the NDP said Wednesday. A United Nations report has already called on the organization to set up a commission to look into human rights violations committed by both the Sri Lankan military and the Tamil Tiger rebel group. "Both sides need to acknowledge and take ownership of their actions and injustices that more..

Impose Economic Sanctions on Sri Lanka: Vaiko to Govt

Aug 4 (PTI) MDMK chief Vaiko today demanded that India impose economic sanctions and revoke all commercial and trade agreements signed with Sri Lanka and join the world community in punishing the government there for alleged war crimes. Releasing a video CD of alleged human rights violations by the Sri Lankan military during the last days of the civil war here Vaiko said the Indian government should stop supporting the Mahinda Rajapaksa government. more..

'International community watching SL’s response'

Aug 4 (DM) While refusing to comment on the latest report released by the Sri Lanka Defence Ministry on the humanitarian operation as the UN has not yet received any official communiqué, the United Nations said yesterday that the international community was watching very closely how Sri Lanka was responding to the national accountability process. UN spokesperson said that it was “…aware of the report and simply to restate at this point that national accountability is the key here. more..

Scouting Sri Lanka cricket talent in post-war north

Aug 4 (BBC) In a large green field, its grass finely cropped, young cricketers are training in the late afternoon sun. The youngest form a circle in one corner doing fielding practice while, in the middle, about 25 older boys get expert coaching in batting and bowling. This ground has come a long way from its previous incarnation. Here at the former headquarters of the Tamil Tigers, their leader, Prabhakaran, used to deliver his annual war speech on more..

I am umpire in leadership game - Dayasiri

Aug 4 (DM) UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera who called himself “an umpire in the game for power in the party” said yesterday that he would rule the right person out at the appropriate time. Mr. Jayasekera made this point in response to a question raised by journalists as to whether he had become a referee in the political game that was taking place for the leadership of the party. The UNP MP said he would set things straight at the party’s parliamentary group meeting to be held on August 9 and more..

Sri Lankan pilgrims attacked in Chennai

Aug 4 (DM) 84 Sri Lankan pilgrims had come under attack in Chennai yesterday by goons describing themselves as ‘black tigers,’ family members of the Sri Lankans said. The Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai had transferred the pilgrims to a hotel in a safe area. Three of the 84 had been injured. A relative of one of the victims told Daily Mirror that a team from the Deputy High Commission had transferred the pilgrims to another hotel to ensure their safety. more..

Reconciliation efforts fail: Karu-Ranil factions to fight it out

Aug 4 (Island) The stage is now set for a full-blown leadership battle between UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and the party’s co-Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya, according to Sirikotha based sources. Reformists say a one-on-one at Sirikotha yesterday between Wickremesinghe and Jayasuriya failed to settle the dispute over the latter’s compliance with a request from the other co-Deputy of the UNP Sajith Premadasa to take over the party leadership. more..

Mahaweli settlers left in the lurch

Aug 4 (Island) The Mahaweli Authority has so far failed to issue deeds to the blocks of land occupied by the settlers, in the Mahaweli C Zone, who had been living there since 1982, Uva Provincial Minister Anura Widanagamage said. This has caused problems to about 80 per cent of the 30,000 families who were settled in the Mahaweli C Zone, he added. The settlers are not in a position obtain housing loans, build houses, obtain water service, electricity etc. due to not possessing deeds. more..

JICA delegation meets minister

Aug 4 (DN) A high-profile delegation led by Senior Vice President, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) met Kenzo Minister Basil Rajapaksa on Tuesday. During his stay in Sri Lanka Oshima will inspect some of the JICA assisted rehabilitation and reconstruction projects in the Northern Province. Minister Rajapaksa thanked the Japanese govt, JICA and Japanese people for the help and assistance extended to the Sri Lankan government and the people. more..

Repatriating Tamil Tigers: A tacit pact with Sri Lanka?

Aug 4 (FMT) Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy has accused Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein of having a “tacit” pact with Sri Lanka in repatriating Tamil Sri Lankans detained here under the Internal Security Act (ISA) to their country of origin. “The LTTE is dead and gone after its final defeat in May 2009. Why the Malaysian govt wants to arrest, detain and deport members of this former outfit remains unclear. more..

Uthayan attackers still at large

Aug 4 (DM) The two men who had assaulted chief news editor of the Jaffna based Uthayan newspaper, G. Kuganathan were still at large, police said. Police had deployed several teams into the area to arrest the two men who had arrived on a motorbike to assault the news editor. IGP N.K. Ilangakoon has handed over the report on the attack on the Uthayan News Editor to President Mahinda Rajapaksa last morning. more..

Senaratne gets tough with errant fish stall owners

Aug 4 (Island) Though he had made many enemies due to his commitment to eliminate extortion at the new fish market complex in Peliyagoda, he would leave no stone unturned in his efforts to put an end to illegal fishing practices, said Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne. He said he would not rest until he established proper discipline among the fish traders and ended their fishy business. more..

Another indictment on Lalith Kotelawala

Aug 4 (DM) The Attorney General issued another indictment yesterday on Lalith Kotelawala and other directors of three subsidiary companies of the Ceylinco group (including Ceylinco Shriram) over defrauding of depositors by collecting deposits by promising attractive interest rates and thereby committing a criminal breach of trust. Twelve accused, including Ceylinco chairman Lalith Kotelawala and more..

TNA slams Champika on Anti-Tamil comment

Aug 4 (SL) The TNA has demanded equal rights for Tamils and slammed a comment by a government minister who they say made derogatory comments against the Tamil population. “We will not allow the government or anyone else to treat the Tamils as a minority anymore. If the Sri Lankan government thinks the Sinhalese are the majority and the Tamils are the minority, then they are mistaken,” more..

Army Act gives Appeal Court power to issue writ – Counsel

Aug 4 (Island) Section 79 of the Army Act expressly gives the Court of Appeal power to issue writs, even when the convening officer is the President. The Army Act is still in force, Romesh de Silva PC, told the Court of Appeal Yesterday. He was appearing for General Sarath Fonseka, who had petitioned the Court against the findings of court martial II. The conviction of court martial II was not confirmed by the President. more..

Sri Lanka launches a Peace Collection Project

Aug 4 (AT) The three decades of terrorist war in Sri Lanka has rendered 82,000 women as widows by the end of the war in May, 2009. The Minister of Industry and Commerce plans to revive the country’s handloom textile industry in the war-torn north-east with a project modeled on the Rwandan Peace Collection where baskets woven by war-widows were sold at Macy’s department stores. The initiative plans to support a portion of the female headed households in more..

Cervical cancer on the rise

Aug 4 (DM) Cervical cancer is on the rise in Sri Lanka and the neglect and indifferent attitude among middle aged women in particular, to undergo a simple ‘Pap smear test’ had played a major role for the phenomena. Studies have revealed that on average 500 women annually die from complications developed from cervical cancer while 1,000 women become victims of cervical cancer every year. more..

Polls chief defends his decision

Aug 4 (Island) Polls Chief Mahinda Deshapriya defended his decision to reduce the number of elected members allocated to the Jaffna electoral district in line with the latest electoral register. Deshapriya emphasised that the reduction of elected MPs from 9 to 6 had been effected in keeping with the recommendation of a three-member Delimitation Committee appointed in 1979 by the then President J. R. Jayewardene. more..

TNA- Govt. talks:Round 10 today

Aug 4 (Island) The 10th round of talks between the high level committee, appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and the TNA Parliamentary delegation, led by MP R. Sampanthan will take place at the Presidential Secretariat today (4) at 3.00 p.m. The TNA delegation had placed a set of proposals, before the government delegation several months earlier, as a solution to the national question. more..

Sri Lanka Havelock City apartments in demand

Aug 5 (LBO) About a quarter of apartments in two new high-rise blocks to be built by Sri Lanka's Overseas Realty in its Havelock City project have already been reserved even before construction has started, an official said. Overseas Realty chief executive Pravir Samarasinghe said demand for apartments was high and that only 10 units remained to be sold in the two towers with 226 apartments built in the first phase. Overseas Realty (Ceylon), a unit of Singapore's Shing Kwan group more..

Decisions taken by the Cabinet at its Meeting held on 03.08.2011 .

Aug 5 (GDI) The Draft Convention between the Govt of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Govt of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital. The above convention has been negotiated and concluded in keeping with the Government Policy to enhance economic relations between Sri Lanka and Luxembourg. Sri Lanka is expected to be benefitted through the promotion of more..

Welfare of Lankan Tamils top priority

Aug 5 (IANS) Underlining that the welfare of Tamils in Sri Lanka is of utmost importance, India Thursday urged Sri Lanka to pursue a lasting political settlement that provides for harmonious co-existence of all communities, including minorities, in the island-nation. Making a suo moto statement in the Lok Sabha on "The Situation in Sri Lanka", External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna called for a "just and fair" settlement of the Sri Lankan political problem and more..

Sri Lanka highway contract goes to China firm

Aug 5 (LBO) Metallurgical Corporation of China, a Chinese state-run building and engineering firm is to design and build a section of a highway around the capital Colombo that will connect three other expressways now under construction. The Cabinet of ministers had approved the signing of an agreement between Metallurgical Corporation of China and the state-run RDA for the road contract, a statement said. The section of the road known as the Outer Circular Highway to more..

Sri Lanka bourse ends flat on low trade; rupee weaker

Aug 5 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's bourse ended sideways on Thursday with thin retail trading driving it nominally lower, while the rupee weakened on importer dollar demand, traders said. The main share index edged down 0.04 percent or 2.81 points weaker to 6,809.78, its third fall after hitting a three-week high on Monday due to hopes of better earnings and a relaxation of a margin-trading ban. "The market came down came mostly on retail selling," more..

Groups ask Swiss to prosecute Sri Lankan diplomat

Aug 5 (AP) Two advocacy groups asked Swiss authorities Thursday to pursue war crime charges against a former Sri Lankan army commander now serving as a European diplomat. The Swiss-based groups Society for Threatened Peoples and TRIAL said they filed a confidential complaint with Switzerland's attorney general against Jagath Dias, a former major general in Sri Lanka's final offensive that smashed a 26-year rebellion by ethnic minority Tamils in May 2009. more..

'When journalists are assaulted I visit them in hospital'

Aug 5 (AD) I am not the Defence Minister and as the Defence Minister the President has directed the Inspector General to look into the legal matters of the crimes involving the media, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella stated. Addressing a media gathering held today, he stated that as the Media Minister his role was to visit those in hospital whenever such an incident took place and also to bring king coconut for them. He jokingly added that king coconut was equal to saline. more..

US to provide assistance on nuclear material

Aug 5 (AD) An agreement was made for co-operation between Sri Lanka and USA to provide Technical Assistance regarding Sri Lanka’s nuclear and other radioactive material that are used in civilian applications. The US Department of Energy under its global threat reduction initiative programme has initiated a collaborative project with the Atomic Energy Authority to provide Sri Lanka with the necessary technical assistance to facilitate physical protection instruments where high radio activity more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 04.08.2011

UK visa applicants arrested

Aug 5 (DM) Two Sri Lankan visa applicants have been arrested in the last two weeks for using deception and false identities to apply for UK visas. They were referred by the UK Border Agency to CID police in Colombo. The visa applicants were applying for settlement and student dependant visas. The two visa applications have been refused and the applicants will have a 10 year ban on travel to the UK. In addition they now face prosecution for their actions. “We will not tolerate abuse of the UK’s immigration rules. more..

CMC on lunch packets

Aug 5 (DM) The Colombo Municipal Council has called on all lunch packet sellers to get registered with their respective Medical Officers of Health to get training on food preparation, packing and selling in order to ensure quality services to the public. CMC Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam denied speculation that some 300 registered lunch packet sellers in the Colombo city limits will be removed from their locations. The CMC said instead that it would be carrying out training to ensure that more..

Last rites for elephant with 'longest tusks in Asia'

Aug 5 (BBC) TAn elephant said to have the longest tusks in Asia has died in Sri Lanka. The animal, named Millangoda Raja, was about 70 years old and had served in a ceremonial capacity for several decades in the city of Kandy. Many Asian elephants, smaller in stature than their African cousins, fail to grow tusks at all. But Millangoda Raja's tusks were so long that they reached to the ground. There are now plans to stuff the dead elephant and put him on public display. more..

Fines for those who fail to purchase a bus ticket

Aug 5 (DM) The Transport Ministry said today that SLTB buses will introduce fines for those who fail to purchase a bus ticket and said that fines will be increased for the none-issue of bus tickets to bus passengers by bus conductors in order to stop the prevailing bus ticket issues. Transport Deputy Minister, Rohana Dissanayake said that a bus fine for passengers travelling in a SLTB bus without a ticket was Rs.250 in addition to double the amount of the general bus fare. more..