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Timber racket bared

July 20 (NN) The wildlife department and civil defemce force have busted a massive timber racket in the Somawathiya forest reserve. Officials said that the racket was discovered following the arrest of two suspects yesterday. The suspects had revealed information regarding the racket. Wildlife department officials in Kantale and the civil defence force had discovered a large number of tress razed to the ground as well as animal traps in the forest reserve. more..

Sri Lanka prisoners end hunger strike

July 20 (Xinhua) Prisoners who had staged a hunger strike in Sri Lanka's northern town of Vavuniya finally gave up, officials said Tuesday. At least 36 prisoners began the strike last weekend demanding quick action over the legal process or release of them. "I discussed with them in the presence of a local bishop. They accepted my explanation on the process and decided to stop protest action", V.R. de Silva, the prison chief, said. The hunger strike began with more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 19.07.2011

Time for terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna to think and change!

July 20 (LG) Subject to correction Wikipedia information about the controversial terrorism expert Rohan Guneratna confirms his position as international terrorism expert. It states: ‘Rohan Gunaratna (born 1961) is an international terrorism expert. He is the head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.’ He had appeared in media interviews and write-ups as an international more..

Finding my own world

July 20 (LG) Fact, Knowledge and Truth are the intellectual parallels of Body, Mind and Soul. In terms of work I call them Money, People and Ownership. Fact/Body/Money has specific form and is limited in movement by the boundaries of that form. Knowledge/Mind/People is a combination of the other two and when expressed indicates the level of combination of the other two. Truth/Soul/Ownership, is an inner experience which to me is never lost once we realize It. Once I realized It, I felt more..

New two-story building donated to Navalar GTMS by Uva Province

July 20 (Cimic) The new two-story building constructed at Navalar Government Mixed Tamil school (G.M.T.S), Kopay with financial assistance of the Uva Provincial Council was declared open by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday. The Principal of the school Mrs. Shanthini Vageeshan welcomed the President on his arrival before he received blessing attending a special pooja at the Hindu temple inside the school premises. more..

India: South Asia’s USA

July 20 (DM) The love-hate relationship between India and Sri Lanka roots to the bygone eras when myth was synonymous with history. For them, even after so long, Lanka is the land of Ravana- the king who had a sophisticated flying machine when all they had was a set of tools to build the Rama Sethu. Today, India has become a necessary evil whose equal proportions of generosity and interference towards Sri Lanka have questionable cores. Hardly, a day passes without some Indian politician voicing more..

Dharma, Justice and Dynamic Lawyering

July 20 (DM) The MCC lecture by Sangakkara was considered courageous and forthright for highlighting the corrections needed in Sri Lanka cricket. Similar occurrences would be rare among legal practitioners in this country where violations of ethics need remedy. Affidavits before the Supreme Court, submission for rules to the Supreme Court, representations to the Chief Executive, His Lordship and now Her Lady the Chief justice, the Judicial Service Commission, interviews with more..

A cultural revival in the North and East

July 20 (SO) Culture and Arts Minister T.B. Ekanayake said everybody should join hands to formulate a special program to safeguard the cultural heritage of the country. The Minister in an interview with the Sunday Observer said the country's heritage belongs to every citizen in this country. There is an urgent need to launch a national movement to educate all communities to protect the country's cultural heritage. more..

Whither University Education?

July 20 (DM) The training of the young entrants to the universities seems to be never ending. First they were requested to follow leadership training courses where they underwent training in what one hopes will help them to cope with the unholy situations of ragging and the regular close down of universities due to student clashes. In fact it is seldom that any university is able to have a continuous academic year of education. The universities themselves while more..

Transform Lanka into a liberal humanitarian democracy

July 20 (DM) Our beloved Sri Lanka appears to be at the crossroads, though the war is over on the ground here in our country, our enemies have continued the war by other means and we need to deal with this before the situation gets out of hand. That is how many concerned citizens see things: One issue of great concern has been reports of the rise of the so called Sinhala ‘nationalists’ agenda on the 1950s and 60s. There is no doubt that it was Sinhala chauvinism that led to more..

A solution can never manifest itself if it comes at the cost of other party

July 20 (DM) India and Sri Lanka are consistently engaged in working out a practical solution to the issues involving their fishermen. Given the close proximity between the two coastlines, and the depleting fisheries resources in the area, as also the livelihood issue involving fishermen on both sides, our two govts are giving special attention to the problems that have arisen conerning what is called the fishermen issue between the two countries. more..

Editorial: The ladies' meet in Chennai

July 20 (Island) US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who arrived in New Delhi on Monday, on a three-day visit reportedly for the second round of US-India dialogue on counter-terror, civil nuclear power, shared concerns over Pakistan and Afghanistan and the like is scheduled to meet Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J. Jayalalithaa today. Of Clinton's visit, what is of crucial import to Sri Lankans is its Chennai leg because Sri Lanka is expected to figure in her talks with Jayalalithaa, more..

Editorial: Cricket, survival and the family tree

July 20 (DM) Reports of the parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) investigating Sri Lanka Cricket make disgusting reading. We don’t hold a bat for ex-Sri Lanka Cricket President Thilanga Sumathipala, but what he did and did not do was like a single stump compared with the large scale plunder taking place today. The public can only imagine what kind of punishment is most appropriate for the last set of SLC officials who were removed last month. more..

Future of higher education in Sri Lanka

July 20 (BL) Dr. Gamini Wickramasinghe, current Chairman of Bank of Ceylon is perhaps better known for his pioneering role in the IT industry. His company Informatics, established in 1983 is still a powerhouse of software development pelting out new and innovative software products for the international market. What is not so well known is the fact that he is also a pioneer of private education, setting up Sri Lanka’s first international campus to more..

Amendments to the Tobacco and Alcohol Control Act have been held up

July 20 (Island) Amendments to the Tobacco and Alcohol Control Act have been held up by the Legal Draftsman’s Department for about a year without any explanation for the delay, Minister Maithreepala Sirisena complained. He asked the media to give publicity and condemn the delay and silence on the part of the LD Department to combat abuse of tobacco and alcohol. "Hundreds die daily in this country due to this menace. We have proposed amendments to bring this under control to more..

Free and fair election will be cornerstone of political solution

July 20 (TC) The forthcoming local authority elections to be held on July 23 are taking place in 65 towns, urban areas and rural parts of the country. However, the main focus of political interest has been on Jaffna in the north where a large number of govt ministers and senior politicians of opposition parties are presently campaigning. The northern elections, while local in scope, are of national importance because of the unresolved grievances of the Tamil people and more..

Five-day week for docs is talking point in health circles

July 20 (ST) Health circles are abuzz with the news that the Chilaw General Hospital has implemented a five-day work week for govt doctors, while senior officials deny that any such decision has been taken on this “sensitive issue.” Continuity is of paramount importance in patient care. No circular with regard to a five-day week for state doctors has been sent out. Both the Health Ministry and provincial sources say no firm decision has been made. more..

More obese women than men

July 20 (DN) A recent study conducted by the Health Ministry revealed that about 25 per cent of Sri Lankan women and 17 per cent of men are suffering from obesity, a Health Ministry spokesman said. According to the spokesman, the same study revealed that 67 per cent of Sri Lankan women and 81 per cent of Sri Lankan men are physically inactive and do not get adequate exercises. The study shows that only 20 per cent of Sri Lankan adults eat the required amount of vegetables. more..

IIFA: Govt. owes millions to hotels

July 20 (DM) The govt is yet to pay millions of rupees to three leading hotels in Colombo for the expenses involved in the IIFA film festival two years ago. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake raised the issue in the House and said bills amounting to Rs.72 million had to be paid to the Cinnamon Grand Hotel and Rs. 29 million to the Cinnamon Lakeside. Mr. Karunanayake said two years had lapsed after the film festival attended by many Bollywood film stars, but the tourism authorities had failed to settle the bills. more..

Maiden landing at New Kilinochchi Airstrip

July 20 (FT) A Y12 aircraft of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) made the inaugural landing at the newly constructed airstrip located in Kilinochchi, a former LTTE stronghold yesterday. The aircraft piloted by Wing Commander Sarika Aranayake and Squadron Leader Dharshana Dias landed at the Kilinochchi airstrip in the presence of the Commander of the Air Force Air Marshal Harsha Abeywickrama. The SLAF Commander Kilinochchi, Major General Nandana Udawatte and more..

UNP accepts Sports Minister’s challenge

July 20 (Island) The UNP yesterday accepted the challenge, thrown by Minister of Sports Mahindananda Aluthgamage, to prove that there had been malpractices in constructing the Suriyawewa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota. The cricket ground, the newest international venue of Sri Lanka, hosted two matches of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. UNP MP Tissa Attanayake said that his party was ready to debate the alleged malpractices during the construction of the venue. more..

Destroyed dead whale arouses controversy

July 20 (BBC) Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DFAR) cast doubt over a whale destroyed by Sri Lanka Navy in the shores of Mannar. DFAR official has written to the Secretary to the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources that a substance called 'amber' found in the whale had disappeared with the disposal of the whale. The Trincomalee Regional Inspector, DFAR, Neil Montague said that the value of the substance, 'amber' could be around hundred million rupees. more..

Inspectors expect Speaker, SLFP Gen. Secy. to discipline Muthuhettigama

July 20 (Island) Sri Lanka Police Inspectors’ Association is pushing for action against UPFA MP Nishantha Muthuhettigama for abusing the OIC of Akmeemana police recently. A spokesperson for the 8,000-member strong association said that they expected Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa to take the SLFP politician to task. Asked whether the association intended to launch a campaign to pressure the govt to discipline the MP, the spokesman said more..

622 debt cases pending

July 20 (DM) Six hundred and twenty two cases were pending at debt conciliation boards at the end of last year, Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem told parliament yesterday during the debate on amendments to the Debt Conciliation Ordinance. The minister said 322 cases had been settled while 437 were resolved outside the conciliation boards or had been otherwise disposed of. He said the boards had performed satisfactorily and informed the House that changes would be made to the laws more..

A third of Nation building tax to PCs

July 20 (Island) Deputy Finance Minister Geethanjana Gunwardena told Parliament yesterday that the govt would direct one third of the revenue drawn from the Nation Building Tax to Provincial Councils. That would be in compensation for the removal of powers, by the 2011 budget, from the provincial councils to levy business turnover taxes he said. The govt had taken action to remove the business turnover taxes collected by the revenue departments of the provincial councils and more..

CID to track computer crimes

July 20 (DN) A Cyber Crime Unit (CCU) and a Digital Forensic Lab have been set up by the CID to assist the public who have been deceived by organised computer crime. This Computer Crime Act No.24 of 2007 was presented for Cabinet approval by the then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on May 2, 2005. The Act was enacted in July 9, 2007. The DIG Criminal Investigation Department set-up this unit specially on the direction of more..

Case against Dhanuna’s mother postponed

July 20 (DM) The Colombo High Court yesterday postponed for September 14 the trial against Dhanuna Thilakaratna’s mother Asoka Thilakaratna who was indicted by the Attorney General on charges of money laundering. The case was taken up for inquiry by High Court Judge Deepali Wijesundera. Senior counsel Ananda Wijesekera with Niroshana Perera appeared for Ms. Thilakaratna while senior state counsel Riaz Bary appeared for the prosecution. more..

Trouble brews for tea plantation youths

July 20 (UCAN) Working as child laborers, illiteracy and underage sex are the main reasons why youths from tea plantations very nearly always have bleak futures, Caritas Kandy says. These were the main reasons highlighted in an awareness mission carried out by Caritas Kandy in Matale yesterday to enable youths to identify the causes of their problems and how they can be overcome or avoided in the future. More than 100 youths aged 15 to 25 were asked to act out and more..

Bathiya & Santhush on YaTV

Mysterious force at work: Minister

July 20 (DM) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said a mysterious force is at work, delaying the approval of the legal draft which contains amendments to the Tobacco and Alcohol Control Act. Speaking at the 4x4x4 programme (an awareness programme focused on four diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and respiratory diseases) held in assistance with the WHO yesterday, he said that a draft containing amendments to the Tobacco and Alcohol Control Act more..

Rs. 1 billion cancer hospital for Kandy

July 20 (DN) A state-of-the-art Rs. 1 billion, five storeyed cancer hospital, billed to be the best of its kind in the South Asian region that can accommodate up to 300 patients, will come up in Kandy soon. The proposed hospital comprising a five storeyed building, which will be built adjacent to the present Kandy Hospital premises will have all the modern amenities. It will be a great relief to all cancer patients living in the Central, Northern, Eastern, North Central, North Western, more..

Sri Lanka welcomes sovereign rating upgrade

July 20 (Island) Minister Basil Rajapaksa and the Central Bank yesterday welcomed Fitch and Moody’s sovereign rating upgrade of Sri Lanka and stated that their confidence was built in measures taken towards the macroeconomic stability and improvement of the economy over the past several years would yield further favourable results in coming years. Commenting on the recent decision by two major international rating agencies to upgrade more..

Philippines, Sri Lanka close air deal

July 20 (BW) The Philippines and Sri Lanka have agreed to increase the number of allowed flights between their capitals, with the latter granted unlimited air service rights to international airports outside Metro Manila besides, Civil Aeronautics Board Executive Director Carmelo L. Arcilla told reporters via text on Tuesday. This latest pact made Sri Lanka the second country after Malaysia to benefit from the “pocket open skies” policy adopted by the Aquino administration last March. more..

Sri Lanka to commemorate NAM’s 50th Anniversary

July 20 (AT) Sri Lanka’s Ministry of External Affairs and the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS) is to co-host to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) and it will be held in Colombo on 21st July, 2011 under the theme “NAM - Half a Century of Achievement : Our Common Vision for the Future”. This is the first commemorative event at national event to be organized by a NAM member country to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Movement. more..

Newly appointed UN Coordinator visits conflict-affected North

July 20 (NN) The UN says that considerable challenges remain in the north facing communities and families who are trying to rebuild and sustain decent lives. UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Subinay Nandy, who is on a visit to the north said that reconciliation was key to underpinning a durable peace and a secure foundation for people to re-establish their lives. The newly-appointed head of the United Nations in Sri Lanka is more..

JVP alleges local government bodies have weakest governance

July 20 (FT) The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) says the local government bodies are the weakest governing system in the country. JVP politburo member K.D. Lalkantha told a meeting in Elahera, Polonnaruwa that when the central government, provincial council and local government systems were compared, the local government system was the weakest. He said the local government bodies have been unable to reach their potential when carrying out their duties. more..

Sri Lankan family pardons killer of housemaid

July 20 (AN) The family of a Sri Lankan maid murdered in Saudi Arabia has agreed to pardon her killer and accept SR50,000 in blood money, the Sri Lankan Embassy here announced on Tuesday. Pavani Devi Sinnaiyah, 36, who was working in Qurayat in Al-Jouf province, was killed by her Saudi sponsor on Jan. 19. Her remains were repatriated home early this month. Although her sponsor claimed that she died under mysterious circumstances, following investigations the police arrested him as a suspect. more..

'We don’t need advice from other countries'

July 20 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday that the govt had no intention of taking advice from Europe or any other power to resolve the country’s problems. Addressing an election rally in Kilinochchci in support of the UPFA candidates contesting the local govt elections in Jaffna, he said, “We do not intend to get advice from Europe or any other power to resolve our problems. We have the capability to find answers in a cordial and peaceful manner. more..

Temporary IDs for eligible voters

July 20 (DM) Kilinochchi District Secretary Mrs. Rupawathie Ketheeswaran said that a special programme will be held for issuing temporary identity cards for those who are eligible to vote at the local govt elections in the Kilinochchi District where 60% registered voters consisting 61,217 have no National Identity Cards. Their identity cards have been lost during the conflict period. Within a couple of days, action will be taken to issue temporary ID cards to the voters. more..