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Aerial topographical maps taken of North to identify cultivable land

July 2 (Island) For the first time in Sri Lanka the govt was able to take 1 x 20,000 scale colour aerial topographical maps of all land available for development in the Northern Province following the successful liberation of the country from terrorism, Surveyor General Mahes Fernando said. He said that the programme to take aerial maps of the Northern Province commenced on the advice of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to identify all arable land for development of agriculture and other activities. more..

Cancer may spread to number one spot

July 2 (DM) Citing rapid urbanization and highly competitive lifestyles as the main causes for cancer today, the Cancer Hospital Director yesterday predicted that the disease could be the number one killer in Sri Lanka in a decade or two. Speaking in Dondra at the launch of 670km ‘Trail’ peace march from the South to the North organized by the Colours of Courage Trust and sponsored by several corporate sector giants to raise funds for a cancer ward in Jaffna, more..

Contaminated CPC fuel:UNP calls for investigation

July 2 (Island) Minister Susil Premajayantha said that the problems relating to petroleum contamination, which mostly affected motor cycles and three wheelers, had been sorted out’ and no further complaints had been received. He said that 20,000 tons of refined fuel had been bought urgently and by the time that it reached the filling stations their tanks were empty. The fuel may have mixed with the residue at the bottom of the tanks causing problems for motorists. more..

23 fishermen return to Mandapam

July 2 (Hindu) Twenty-three fishermen, who were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy recently for trespassing into the island nation's waters, returned to Mandapam on Thursday along with five mechanised fishing trawlers. The fishermen, mostly from Thangatchimadam and Pamban in Rameswaram island, were released on Wednesday after legal formalities. The repatriation took place at the IMBL near Katchatheevu. A Sri Lankan Naval ship, which brought the fishermen, more..

Rizana release :MDL wants Govt. to intervene

July 2 (DM) The Mothers and Daughters of Lanka (MDL) Organisation yesterday asked the government to intervene in order to save the life of imprisoned Sri Lankan maid Rizana Nafeek in Saudi Arabia. The Organization also asked the government to put in place laws that will ensure the safety of the women who leave the country for work as it is they who bring in most of the foreign currency. “It is the women who suffer and work hard to bring in so much of foreign currency not only more..

Govt saved People’s Bank from privatization - President

July 2 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said the government led by him succeeded in saving the People’s Bank and other State banks which were to be privatized by some former authorities. He said that the government was able to defeat various conspiracies hatched by certain elements to make this bank bankrupt which was established by T.B. Illangaratne as the finance minister in the Sirimavo Bandaranaike government of 1961. more..

Elephant Pass saltern to produce 70,000 tons of salt annually

July 2 (Island) The Elephant Pass saltern would have, after its reopening, the capacity to generate nearly 3,000 employment opportunities, Secretary to the Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development, V. Sivagnanasothy said. "It is expected to boost the national economy," he said. Once reopened, the saltern would be able to produce nearly 70,000 tons of salt annually.Currently, feasibility studies were being conducted to more..

Sri Lanka moots multi departmental body to sustain long term export upswing

July 2 (Island) Sri Lanka is mooting a single coordinating mechanism consisting of vital government departments to sustain its long term exports upswing. Sri Lanka has also identified three emergent challenges to future exports growth, according to minister Rishad Bathiudeen, the ministry said in a communiqué issued earlier this week. "Sri Lanka needs to firmly focus on a collaborative approach to overcome more..

New Lankan delegation to seek clemency for Rizana

July 2 (AN) On an initiative made by Sri Lanka’s Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem, the Sri Lankan govt plans to send a special delegation to seek clemency for Rizana Nafeek, the housemaid who was sentenced to death by a high court in Saudi Arabia for the murder of a four-month-old infant in her care. A three-member bench sentenced Nafeek for killing the baby she was entrusted to look after in the absence of her Saudi employers at home. more..

IDP camps to close by December: Ministry

July 2 (DM) The Resettlement Ministry said yesterday steps were being taken to close all IDP camps located in the North and the East by the end of this year. More than 95 per cent of internally displaced people – a total of 255,238 -- had been resettled in areas of original residence. “Some 17,000 IDPs living at the Ananda Kumaraswami and Kadirgamar IDP camps will be resettled in the next few months in the Puthukudirippu area. more..

'Fish production will increase to 685,000 MT in coming years'

July 2 (Island) Minister Rajitha Senaratne emphasized that the Fisheries Industry achieved 24 per cent progress in 2010, but his goal would be to achieve 50 per cent steady progress by the end of 2013. The activities of the Fisheries Industry influenced the people to upgrade their eating patterns which directly improves the health of the people. By making good quality fresh fish available. more..

SLN responds to Channel 4 News allegations

July 2 (Island) Responding to ‘Channel 4 News’ allegation that the govt of Sri Lanka had deliberately denied food to those trapped on the Vanni east front during the final phase of the Vanni offensive, navy headquarters yesterday said that the a food ship reached the North less than a week before the LTTE collapsed on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon on May 19, 2009. Four vessels, Sinhabahu, Green Ocean, Binhtan and City of Dublin had more..

'Let me save cricket from this mafia'

July 2 (Island) Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage requested all media to help him save cricket from a mafia and hold democratic elections to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) next year when he introduced the new four-member SLC Interim Committee yesterday (1). "Let me save the game from this mafia. I don’t have any personal agenda. Let me appoint a correct person democratically to head the cricket board next year more..

Academicians in making and unmaking of a nation: relevance to Sri Lanka

July 3 (TC) Chairman Sir, Members of the Naro Udeshi family, Nirupama my old friend from her days as the Hindu’s Colombo correspondent, distinguished ladies and gentlemen: Good evening. I am pleased to be here and honored by the invitation to speak today. When the Gandhi foundation asked me if I would speak today on academics in the making and unmaking of a nation, I readily agreed; not least because as an academic I found the subject fascinating and this an occasion, even an excuse, more..

For provincial councils to work effectively distribution of powers must be explicit and devoid of ambiguity

July 3 (TC) The on-going debate as to whether it should be 13th Amendment ,13 Amendment plus or no 13th Amendment, seems misplaced considering that it has been a part of the Constitution since 1987 and that under the 13th Amendment together with the Provincial Councils Act no 42 of 1987, Provincial Councils have been established since 1988 and are operating in all the provinces of Sri Lanka bar the northern province. more..

'Lanka, a powerful hub soon in South Asia'

July 3 (SO) Minister Wimal Weerawansa said Western forces are well aware that the country will move forward in another 10 years under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, it will turn into a powerful country in the South Asian region which cannot be turned back again. Western forces don’t want to let that happen and further they want to destabilise the country. That is why they are trying to take revenge from the President and the Govt. more..

‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’

July 3 (LG) I rise to raise two issues. First, I want to ask a series of questions on the Government's view of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and, through them, to ask a series of questions of the Sri Lankan Government. I understand that the UN Secretary-General is due to receive a report on 13 April produced by a three-member panel that has been mandated to advise him on options for addressing accountability for crimes committed during the final stages of more..

Avoidable fishermen issues between India and Sri Lanka

July 3 (LG) In recent times, we frequently hear about the fishermen from Tuticorin / Rameswaram region in Tamil Nadu who go for fishing, being arrested by Sri Lankan coast guards. The latest incident, when 23 fishermen from Tamil Nadu were taken into custody by the SriLankan govt and then released after some time caused considerable concern in Tamil Nadu. Certainly, such incidents and the consequent strain in relationships are avoidable if only the Govt of Sri Lanka and more..

'Channel 4 video, a blatant lie '

July 3 (SO) Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dr. Palitha Kohona said the commentator John Snow and the UK-based Channel 4 (Ch-4), which made the video – Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields - depending heavily on information from the LTTE’s propaganda arm, TamilNet, had deliberately produced the video to influence international public opinion and arouse sympathy towards the LTTE and its cause. Dr. Kohona, together with his deputy, more..

Editorial: President reiterates supremacy of Parliament

July 3 (SO) President Mahinda Rajapaksa reiterated his faith in parliamentary democracy when he said that finding a solution to the problems faced by people living in the North and the East lies entirely with Parliament and not with the Executive Presidency. The President told the monthly Breakfast Meeting with media heads at Temple Trees on Tuesday that a solution to the problems in the North and the East could be found through a Parliamentary Select Committee as more..

Editorial: Chinese Colonialism

July 3 (SL) Are you in the government? Are you in the Rajapaksa family? If not, then the Chinese government is probably no great friend to you. The Chinese government’s relationship is state to state, not person to person. It is important to remember this, and doubly important to remember that you, unlike Louis XIV or Mahinda VI, are not the state. The Chinese are building ports, infrastructure and public spaces. Remember who did that last time? It was the British. more..

Health downside of the upside of urban life

July 3 (ST) Has a boon turned into a bane? Since time immemorial, humans have striven to “better” their lives, moving from forests to dwellings along waterways, gradually setting up villages and finally building towns. Even now the yearning among many is to leave behind the village or the rural environment not only for the glitter and glamour of the town or the urban area but also for the easy lifestyle that beckons. What does this entail especially in more..

Editorial: Foreign students in local universities

July 3 (NS) For some time now, Sri Lanka’s higher education system has been in turmoil. Many campuses have been closed for short periods, students have been protesting against ‘mandatory’ leadership training for new undergraduates and even university teachers are up in arms, demanding higher salaries. The government has taken these issues in its stride. The tough talking Minister of Higher Education, S. B. Dissanayake has been uncompromising in his stance. more..

Editorial: PSC politics

July 3 (LB) There is no escaping the Parliamentary Select Committee which would now come into being as the latest in a series of appointed bodies, tasked over the years, with coming up with a political formula for the so-called problems of the North and East. Some of the previous committees appointed were invested with something of a magical aura to them — they were expected to spring the rabbit out of the hat, abracadabra. Nothing happened. We have been here before. more..

Former CJ’s unprecedented role in political office

July 3 (SL) The recent appointment of former Chief Justice Asoka de Silva as senior legal advisor to the President has raised eyebrows amongst the legal fraternity. Senior constitutional lawyer, R.K.W. Gunasekara said that there was no clear indication of the tasks Presidential advisors were meant to perform. “No-one knows how they’re selected and what they do,” he said. He added that the Attorney General’s department consisted wholly of more..

Editorial: Right to Information

July 3 (Island) It is most unlikely that Sri Lanka, despite the efforts of liberal politicians like UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya and former Justice Minister Milinda Moragoda, will in the short term be blessed with a Right to Information law (RTI) that has strengthened democracy not only in the more developed countries of the West but also in India where it is playing a very useful role in the fight against corruption and governmental excesses. more..

Editorial: Govt. says ‘No’ to a modern citizen’s Right

July 3 (ST) The slip showed badly; this Government made it clear it has no intention of bringing in a Right to Information Law that will allow citizens to have access to official information that affects their daily lives. So, secrecy in Government will continue to be maintained. The people, ordinary people, will have no business getting to know how their money will be spent or how govt decisions are taken, and why so. That will continue to be the exclusive preserve of more..

'Govt. rude, drunk with power'

July 3 (LB) Deputy Leader of the UNP, Karu Jayasuriya, in an interview with LAKBIMAnEWS said that Right/Freedom to Information is now widely being incorporated in the Constitutions of many countries. Even the Maldives is planning to introduce a Right to Information Bill and it is only we who are lagging behind in South Asia. Excerpts: Q: •This is the second time you presented a Freedom of Information (FoI) Bill to Parliament. Why did you more..

Coming weeks crucial for both govt., opposition

July 3 (NS) By making hasty decisions to exit from the PSC - more in the form of a knee jerk reaction rather than after carefully evaluating the implications - the opposition would only be aiding and abetting the government if it does indeed have any inclination to bulldoze its own proposals through the PSC. The opposition cannot ignore the fact that India in particular would observe the PSC with interest and will have ways and means of making its intentions clear. more..

The weekly political review

July 3 (NS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa called on the developed world last week to uphold the interests of the developing world as far as their economies are concerned. He made theses observations inaugurating the annual sessions of the 50th Asian-African Legal Consultative Organisation held in Colombo last Monday. President Rajapaksa’s remarks are quite appropriate since Sri Lanka has made a tremendous progress as an emerging economy in the Asia region, especially more..

LG polls in north just three weeks away

July 3 (NS) Voters will walk into polling booths around the country to cast their votes to elect representatives for 64 Local Govt bodies in just over three weeks. Part of the importance of the election lies on the fact that some areas – where civil administration had come to a grinding halt due to thirty years of bloody conflict – are seeing democratic processes being practiced after a long gap. The Nation talks to key representatives of the three main political more..

IPU in quandary over Fonseka

July 3 (Island) It’s election time again in the country with polls to 65 local govt institutions being held on July 23. This not the second leg of the LG polls but merely the completion of the first leg of the election. The polls in many LG institutions were postponed due to litigation and the number and wide distribution of the litigation postponements shows the extent of the crisis. Hardly a district was left unaffected. The district wise breakdown of the litigation affected LG bodies more..

Commonwealth, people’s wealth or whose wealth?

July 3 (LB) If election monitoring organisations such as CAffE are of the opinion that there is no fundamental freedom of expression, or room for political action, in the North, in the wake of elections for 20 local government bodies, and if the govt neglects to come up with devolution proposals at the consultative sessions with TNA held at Temple Trees last week — what could be the administration’s recipe for the north and east? Of course it is the freshly minted Select Committee, more..

Two days off for docs, death knell for patients

July 3 (ST) As moves are underway to implement a five-day working week for government doctors, concern is being expressed in health circles whether it will be the last nail in the coffin of a doddering state health system. Is it the right time to give the weekend off to doctors, a senior health source asked, pointing out that the country was in the vice-like grip of a burgeoning dengue epidemic. All is not right with the health system, another said, more..

'PSC – a step in the right direction to evolve a political solution'

July 3 (Island) The Deputy General Secretary of the JHU and Western Provincial Council Minister Udaya Gammanpila yesterday appreciated the government’s move to appoint a PSC to find a solution to the national problem. "We agree to the formation of a PSC as it means holding direct talks with the TNA. Otherwise, the President has to continuously keep his coalition partners briefed of the progress and going back and forth on agreements and disagreements", he said. more..

Govt. willing to pay blood money

July 3 (NS) The govt has expressed willingness to pay the blood money to secure the release of Rizana Nafeek the Sri Lankan housemaid who stands condemned to death. The Saudi court condemned Rizana to death for allegedly causing the death of a four-month-old baby who was under her care during her tenure as housemaid in a Saudi household, cabinet spokesman Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said. He said the Saudi Monarch, King Saudi temporarily suspended the death penalty on Rizana following an appeal by more..

New traffic plan to ease congestion, say police

July 3 (ST) In a move to reduce traffic congestion within Colombo city, Traffic Police conducted a rehearsal of a new traffic plan to be implemented along Galle Road and Duplication Road. A senior police officer said they would decide on the implementation of the proposal on the outcome of the rehearsals. The main feature of the new traffic plan is that, Galle Road is one way towards Kollupitiya junction from Dickman’s Road junction. Earlier Galle Road was one way towards more..

Plantations - pawns of trade unions

July 3 (LB) Sri Lanka’s trade union success in June of a 25 per cent wage increase for 600,000 plantation workers is more than what meets the eye. The island’s economically vital tea, rubber and other plantations are pawns in the hands of trade unions backed by the politicians who control the unions. President, Planters’ Association of Ceylon - Lalith Obeysekera’s assertion that the new raise to Rs.515 per day will need a further Rs.10 billion per year for the next two years, more..

SLAAS deeply concerned over ‘sweeping statements’ on arsenic in rice

July 3 (Island) Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science (SLAAS) last week said that as an organization dedicated to the promotion of science and scientific inquiry in the country, it is deeply concerned that sweeping statements have been made public on a subject that has far reaching impact on lives and livelihoods of people, violating the accepted norms in presentation of new scientific knowledge. For several weeks a public controversy has raged more..

Bouncers and Yorkers at new boys at SLC

July 3 (ST) Come Monday morning the much talked about cricketing citadel of Sri Lanka will be headed by a new administration replacing the much-maligned administration of spinner D.S. de Silva who almost managed to run the game in Sri Lanka aground. Maybe the term of the new team headed by former Cricket Board president Upali Dharmadasa is limited. The ICC which has had enough of these politically-loaded cricket administrations has more..