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Film reveals atrocities in final months of Civil War

July 19 (IPS) A new documentary showing graphic footage from the end of Sri Lanka's war against the LTTE in 2009 is rejuvenating calls for an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity. "Sri Lanka's Killing Fields", screened at the U.S. Capitol Friday, is "a gruesome example of humanity at its worst", said lawmaker James McGovern, co-chair of the House of Representatives' Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, who introduced the film. more..

Water pirates to be hunted down

July 19 (Island) The National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) has taken steps to nab water pirates in Colombo and the suburbs, an official said. "We have established a special unit to nab water pirates. It is headed by a chief engineer in the NWSDB," Deputy General Manager, Western and Central (NWSDB), Gerard Fonseka said. Nearly 120 such illegal water tappers in Colombo are nabbed every month by the NWSDB. There has been no need to implement such programmes in more..

Talks on to work out practical arrangement on fishermen: India

July 19 (PTI) Observing that "special attention" was being given to the problems of fishermen, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao today said India and Sri Lanka are talking to work out a "practical arrangement" to help fishing communities of both sides to live peacefully. "To find a solution to the issue, India and Sri Lanka are engaged in a dialogue at all levels aimed at addressing it comprehensively and working out a practical arrangement which would allow fishing communities on more..

Damaged vehicle issue pushed to president

July 19 (FT) As thousands of substandard fuel damaged vehicle owners await compensation from the government the Ceylon Motor Traders’ Association (CMTA) stated that they would appeal to President Mahinda Rajapaksa if their concerns were not alleviated. CMTA President Thilak Gunasekera said that the organisation was besieged with calls from the owners as well as the general public on what steps to take to gain compensation for their damaged vehicles. more..

Sri Lanka: university salaries among the lowest in all of Asia

July 19 (AN) Sri Lanka’s university professors are among the worst paid academics in Asia with salaries of 20,700 rupees (US$ 190) for junior lecturers and 57,000 rupees (US$ 520) for senior professors. For this reason, the Congress of Religions has called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Education minister, the govt and professors to find a “just and peaceful solution” to the issue. The Congress also expressed concern over govt interference in university affairs, more..

Rice prices dropping further

July 19 (DM) Paddy and rice prices, which have decreased are expected to fall further next week with more stocks coming into the market. Nearly all varieties of rice now cost less with the average price of a kilo of Kekulu rice ranging between Rs.50 and Rs.60 while a kilo of Nivdu rice costs between Rs.58 and Rs.65. Other varieties including Basmanthi and Keeri Samba had also decreased in price with a kilo of Basmathi costing between Rs.80 and Rs.100 while a kilo of Keeri Samba costs more..

Sri Lanka's fiscal prudence under IMF helps rating upgrade

July 19 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's efforts for fiscal discipline under an IMF loan programme amid a post-war economic recovery with high growth and moderate inflation have helped to boost country's rating and outlook, two global rating agencies said on Monday. Fitch Ratings upgraded Sri Lanka's Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency Issuer Default Ratings to 'BB-', three notches below the investment grade, from 'B+', more..

SF counsel seeks time to proceed

July 19 (DM) The Counsel for former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka yesterday moved for time from the Supreme Court to obtain instructions as to whether to proceed with the fundamental rights petition against his arrest and detention. The Bench comprising Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, Justices K. Sripavan and S.I.Imam fixed the matter to be mentioned on July 25. Counsel Shibly Aziz PC appeared for the Petitioners Mrs Anoma Fonseka and Ms Shamila Perera who filed the petition for Fonseka. more..

Two million bank heist at Kosgoda

July 19 (Island) A two member gang on a motor cycle robbed Rs. 2 million worth of gold jewellery that had been taken out of the vault for customers to redeem at the People’s Bank branch at Kosgoda, Balapitiya yesterday morning (July 18). According to Police sources the robbers had arrived at about 10:00 a.m., assaulted the security officers on duty, taken their weapons and entered the bank. He said that they had even fired in the air to scare the onlookers. more..

'Govt trying to hoodwink the Tamils'

July 19 (LB) UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayaka charged that the UPFA govt was currently indulging in shenanigans with a view to deceiving not only the western nations but the country’s own people, pretending to look for a solution to the long-drawn out ethnic issue. The UNP MP Attanayaka alleged that the govt was determined to hoodwink the Tamil people for the umpteenth time by calling for the setting up of another All-Party Parliamentary Select Committee as more..

TNA will not withdraw from LG elections

July 19 (Island) TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah says that TNA will not pull out from the forthcoming local govt elections despite the obstructions to their election campaign in the North and the East. "The TNA is looking forward and working hard to secure a victory in both Northern and Eastern regions," he said. Former TNA MP M. K. Sivajilingam warned that his party would pull out of the local govt polls if harassment persisted even after it was brought to the notice of more..

Lankan patient with record parasite

July 19 (Island) A large protozoan parasite ‘Balantidium coli,’ whose host is the pig, was found in a Sri Lankan. The spokesman for the Health Ministry said yesterday that the Medical Research Institute had identified it as the largest microscopic protozoan parasite found in the body of a Sri Lankan. He said the parasite leaves its normal host the pig through the fecal-oral route from its normal host, the pig. Contaminated water is the most common mechanism of transmission. more..

'People living off NGOs ruining Sri Lanka'

July 19 (DN) “Certain people who made money through NGOs are trying to tarnish the image of the country by spreading false propaganda”, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. President Rajapaksa was addressing a mammoth rally in Tamil at Velanei, Kayts in Jaffna yesterday in support of the UPFA candidates contesting the forthcoming local government elections. The President was accorded a rousing welcome on arrival at Velanei by thousands of cheering people. more..

Rare orchid found in Sri Lanka

July 19 (DM) A team of Sri Lankan researchers on fauna and flora have found a rare species of orchid that had never been reported in the country. It transpired that the orchid identified as Nervillia plicata is also used as a medicinal plant in several other countries. The researchers said that more than 100 different species of Nervilia plicata had been found in Africa, India, China, Malaysia, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand but not in Sri Lanka. more..

CAFFE alleges unlawful campaign in North

July 19 (DM) The Campaign for Free and Fair Election (CAFFÉ) yesterday said it was unfair for anyone to blame the entire security forces for applying undue influence on the people in the North as only a small politically motivated group were allegedly engaged in illegal activities aiming the up coming local govt election in the area. CAFÉ Executive Director Keerthi Tennekoon told a news conference that this solitary group of security forces was politically motivated and more..

Elephants not mated; now for illegal logging

July 19 (LB) For years the Sri Lanka Tamed Elephant Owners Association has been telling us that there is a severe shortage of tamed tuskers in the country, and that this has made it almost impossible to organize cultural and religious peagents. Diyawadana Nilame Nilanga Dela said that the Dalada Maligawa was also finding it difficult to find a suitable elephant to carry the tooth relic casket, at the Esela Perahera. more..

Hemasiri elected Vice President of AOC

July 19 (DM) President of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka, Hemasiri Fernando had the rare honour of being elected as a Vice President of the Asian Olympic Council at their General Assembly on July 1. Hemasiri Fernando has been a versatile sportsman having represented the country in rifle shooting. He represented Sri Lanka in the small bore rifle shooting event at the 1982 Asian Games held in Delhi and finished sixth. more..

'CEB will have to depend on private power producers'

July 19 (Island) The Ceylon Electricity Board would have to depend on independent power producers with water levels receding in major reservoirs, though the Lak Wijaya (Norachcholai) and Yugadanavi (Kerawalapitiya) were fully operations, senior officials said on Monday (18). The storage capacity by Monday noon had dropped to 22.9 per cent. There were no rains in the Mahaweli areas. more..

Ranil demands Select Committee on foul petrol

July 19 (Island) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday demanded that a parliamentary select committee be appointed with regard to importing substandard petrol. He said that he would request the govt to consider the appointment of the PSC as an urgent matter and that this suggestion requesting the appointment of the relevant Select Committee will be handed over to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa this week. more..

FTZ attack: Court calls for medical reports

July 19 (DM) The Supreme Court yesterday directed the Court Registrar to obtain the medical reports and treatment sheets from medical Officers and the National Hospital Director in respect of the Free Trade Zone workers who were injured in the police attack on May 30. Ten Katunayake Free Trade Zone (FTZ) workers filed fundamental rights violation petitions alleging the police brutally assaulted them during a peaceful demonstration by more..

'The new UN resolution will not cover the Sri Lanka conflict'

July 19 (NN) The United Nations says a new resolution adopted by the UN Security council last week will not cover the conflict between the military and the LTTE which ended in May 2009. The UN Security Council had adopted a resolution last week expanding the “naming and shaming” list to include parties who attack schools and hospitals. When asked if the resolution will mean Sri Lanka will be included in the list as there were allegations during the war that more..

Sri Lanka to conduct National Exams Online

July 19 (AT) For the first time in island nation, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Higher Education had planned to conduct National Exams online. According to the Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education, Dr. Sunil Jayantha Nawarathna, as a pilot project government has conducted an online English Language test for the students who have been selected for the local universities. Nearly 160,000 students sat for the examination and more..

Even local stars to skip Sri Lanka's league

July 19 (AFP) Sri Lanka's top stars will skip most of the matches in the country's inaugural premier league Twenty20, dealing another blow to the struggling event, an official said on Tuesday. Skipper Tilakaratne Dilshan, former captains Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, all-rounder Angelo Mathews and slinger Lasith Malinga are among local players expected to miss most of the 10-day tournament starting Thursday. more..

Reconciliation in Sri Lanka: Harder than Ever

July 19 (ICG) Two years since the defeat of the LTTE, Sri Lanka is further from reconciliation than ever. Triumphalist in its successful “war on terror”, the govt of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has refused to acknowledge, let alone address, the Tamil minority’s legitimate grievances against the state. The regime destroyed the Tigers by rejecting the more conciliatory approach of prior governments and more..

Polls chief vows to take tough stand

July 19 (DM) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Desapriya yesterday vowed to political party representatives and election monitors that he would take steps to annul or postpone polls if the abuse of state resources and other malpractices continued. The abuse of state resources, unlawful cut-outs and posters and inter party and intra party violence were among the key issues brought to his notice by representatives of various political parties. more..

'No development projects without EIA reports'

July 20 (Island) The Govt will not engage in any development projects without the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report, Minister S. M. Chandrasena said. He scotched rumours that the govt is to amend the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance and Forest Ordinance to facilitate the massive development plans particularly in view of the Hambantota Commonwealth Games in 2018. Environmentalists say plans are afoot to amend the Fauna and Flora and Forest Ordinance to more..

Sri Lankan company to invest in star class resort project in Maldives

July 20 (HNS) Prominent Sri Lankan business enterprise, Malwatte Valley Plantations PLC, has recently disclosed its intentions to invest in a resort island in Maldives. Malwatte Valley Plantations revealed that the proposed resort island project will include 70 star class villas with an estimated cost of 26 million US dollars. The company recently informed its shareholders and the Colombo Stock Exchange that they intend to raise over Rs.606.59 million from a rights issue, more..

Basil Rajapaksa wants to develop Neduntheevu/Delft into eco-tourist resort

July 20 (DBS) Economic Development minister & Presidential sibling Basil Rajapaksa has blueprint to develop Neduntheevu/Delft into an eco-tourist resort. Neduntheevu meaning long Island in Tamil is Sri Lanka’s largest off shore Island. It is in the Palk straits & is called Delft in English. The oval shaped flat Island is about 50 sq km in area. It is roughly 8 km in length & 6 km in breadth.It is 28 miles away from Jaffna city. more..

Sri Lanka proposes 20-pct minimum public float for stocks

July 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's capital markets regulator has called for public comments on draft rules proposing a 20 percent minimum public float as a continuous listing requirement on the Colombo bourse. The SEC said the draft rules, aimed at promoting a liquid, transparent market with a better price discovery mechanism, were prepared after considering comments received from the public during an initial public consultation process. It has asked for comments on the draft by August 08, 2011. more..

Sri Lankan media voices concerns about Rajapakse’s pro-China orientation

July 20 (wsws) A lengthy editorial in the Sunday Times in Sri Lanka late last month highlighted the nervousness in the country’s political and business circles that President Mahinda Rajapakse is aligning the country too closely to China, with potentially damaging consequences. The occasion for the editorial was Rajapakse’s attendance for the first time at the 15th annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum — commonly referred to as the “Russian Davos.” more..

Plea to Jakarta not to send back Tamil refugees

July 20 (FMT) Penang Deputy Chief Minister P Ramasamy hopes that the Indonesian govt will not sent back the 89 Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka who were detained in Indonesia. The 89 Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka were detained by the Indonesian authorities in the waters of New Galan as the refugees were attempting to reach New Zealand. “While Indonesia has the right to protect its territorial integrity, it is hoped that the govt would exercise more..

Inquiry into complaints - CPC

July 20 (DM) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation said today that it will begin inquiries on more than 4000 complaints from vehicle owners whose vehicles have been damaged by the use of substandard petrol in order to provide compensation. A CPC source said that the CPC has received 3500 phone calls and 650 written appeals requesting compensation from the CPC from July 4 to 17. “We have collected the appeals that were made to us in writing and will carry out a separate inquiry on each one,” more..

Awaiting report on Lankan on board hijacked oil tanker

July 20 (DM) The External Affaires Ministry is awaiting a report from the Sri Lankan consulate in Nairobi, Kenya regarding the Sri Lankan on board the United Arab Emirates flagged oil tanker that was reportedly hijacked on Sunday. It was earlier reported that the pirates hijacked a United Arab Emirates owned and flagged oil tanker with a crew of 16. The ship was reportedly captured on Sunday morning while on its regular route from UAE to the Somali port of Berbera in the Indian Ocean. more..

'Sri Lanka may not take last IMF loan tranche'

July 20 (LBO) There is a "strong possibility" that Sri Lanka may not take the final tranche from the IMF under a 2.6 billion US dollar bailout program Fitch Ratings Asian Pacific director Art Woo said. "There is a strong possibility that the govt will not accept the final disbursement there," Woo told a teleconference a day after upgrading Sri Lanka's sovereign rating by one notch to 'BB-'. Woo said the IMF program is formally scheduled to end in March 2012, more..

A bizarre tender notice from LMSL!

July 20 (LT) It is revealed that the tender called by the government owned ‘Lanka Mineral Sands Ltd.’ (LMSL) on 24th June for selling thousands of metric tons of illmenite, rutile and hi ti ilmenite has been created to prevent any competition. The advertisement states applications for tenders could be obtained only till 2.00 p.m. on the 24th the day the advertisement appeared which means those would be bidders had only five hours from 9.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. to collect application forms. more..

Blaze victim's body set to be repatriated

July 20 (GDN) THE body of a Sri Lankan housewife, who died from third degree burns after a fire broke out in her apartment, will be repatriated tonight. Woshintha Thushari Kuruppu Arachchige was pronounced dead at Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) last Tuesday, eight days after she was admitted. The GDN reported on Friday that the 35-year-old and her husband Lalith Kumara, 38, had just moved to their new flat in Sitra, according to officials. more..

Drag racers beware

July 20 (DM) Drag racing has again been reported in several roads in Colombo in the night as the security restrictions have been relaxed and the police vows to take action against those engaging in this dangerous sport that poses a threat to road users. Police said that if anyone wants to have races in the roads they should take permission from the city traffic police but would not give clearance for such activities to be taken in roads which are extensively used by the public. more..

Vehicle bonanza for Sudharshani & Weerasekera

July 20 (LT) It is reported that approval has been given again to MPs Dr. (Ms.) Sudharshani Fernandopulle and Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera to import duty free vehicles. Normally Parliamentarians and others get approval to import vehicles without duty only once in five years. Both these Parliamentarians had imported duty free vehicles while they were still state employees and had to wait till the five years lapsed to get approval to import vehicles without paying duty. more..

Speaker to decide if the parliament has a right to debate the hedging issue

July 20 (NN) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa told parliament today that he will decide either tomorrow or on Thursday if parliament has a right to debate the hedging issue. He said this after the govt had objected to moves by the opposition today to raise the issue during parliament proceedings. Govt MP Nimal Siripala Silva said that the hedging issue cannot be discussed in parliament as the matter is before a court. However JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanaike said that the issue can be discussed as more..

Court orders arrest of Radaliyagoda

July 20 (DM) The Colombo Fort Magistrate today ordered the Colombo FIB to arrest and present in Court ITN journalist Sudharman Radaliyagoda who is alleged to have provided forged document to two scrap iron traders to obtain 1828 tonnes of scrap iron from Sri Lanka Telecom. The Court earlier ordered the FIB to conduct a speedy investigation against the ITN journalist Sudharman Radaliyagoda in a case where two scrap iron traders had been remanded for more..