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What is there to restrain the state from persecuting Tamils all over again?

June 21 (TC) Last week, the Rajapaksa regime took one more giant leap back into the past. A peaceful pre-election meeting organised by the TNA in Jaffna was attacked by the army. As the news trickled out, the authorities, with drear predictability, denied both knowledge and responsibility. “This has not come to my attention”, the army spokesman said, dismissively. The attack is neither a figment (of anti-Rajapaksa imagination) nor a fabrication (by anti-Rajapaksa conspirators); more..

Cabinet waives Rs.212 million VAT from the Central Cultural Fund

June 21 (FT) In an effort to boost development at Sri Lanka’s key archaeological sites the Cabinet has decided to waive Rs.212 million of Value Added Tax (VAT) that was owed from the Central Cultural Fund. The Central Cultural Fund owes Rs. 212 million of VAT to the Govt for the period from August 2002 to December 2005. Minister T.B. Ekanayaka had pointed out that the Central Cultural Fund does not have sufficient income to pay salaries and maintain the regular services of the fund. more..

Bhadraji Mahinda: Man with Many Talents

EP teacher transfers stopped by President

June 21 (DM) The controversial transfer of teachers taking place in the Eastern Province had been stopped on the instructions of the President with immediate effect, SLMC MP H.M.M. Harees said. Ruling party MPs of the Eastern Province had requested the President to stop the transfer of teachers during the Govt Parliamentary Group meeting chaired by President Mahinda Rajapaksa last night. The President called the Eastern Province Governor Rear Admiral Mohan Wijewickrama and more..

Ravi case: Order on July 7

June 21 (DM) The order on the submissions, by UNP MPs Ravi Karunanayake and Wijedasa Rajapaksa in the case filed by the Southern provincial council member Maithri Gunaratne challenging the appointment of Mr. Karunanayake as national organizer, was fixed for July 7. The defendants said the petitioner had not proved that Mr. Gunaratne was a member of the UNP at the time he filed the case on May 10. They said in their submissions that there was no plaintiff and defendant in this case because more..

Sangakkara finally breaks his England hoodoo

June 21 (CI) A grand total of 369 overs were lost to the rain in the course of England's three Tests against Sri Lanka - which is roughly 26 and a half hours' worth of play, or nearly four full days out of a possible 15. It was only fitting, therefore, that on the stroke of tea on the final afternoon, yet another dirty great cloud rolled across the Rose Bowl to extinguish the final embers of a contest that, but for a crazy 24 overs in Cardiff last month, more..

Divineguma sees massive development

June 21 (DN) A massive development in the vegetable, fruit, coconut and inter crops cultivation sectors, as well as livestock, fisheries and cottage industrial sectors are envisaged under the Divineguma, project first round being implemented throughout the country, said Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa. One million domestic economic units will be launched under this programme launched countrywide to uplift the nutrition and income levels of the family in particular, he said. more..

Thugs hamper running of EECTCSL

June 21 (Island) The Interim Board appointed, by the Commissioner of Cooperative Development, to run the affairs of the Education Employees Co-operative Thrift and Credit Society Limited (EECTCSL), are facing problems from a bankrupt leftist party which once controlled the society, Chief Secretary of the Interim Board Nandasiri Nanayakkara said. He said the leftist party, which took control of the EECTCSL through the Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) in January 2009 and more..

University teachers take to the streets today

June 21 (Island) University teachers will take to the streets, in Colombo today, protesting against the government’s delay to provide solutions to their demand for a pay hike. Members of the FUTA will commence their protest march from the Colombo University and walk to the Public Library at Independence Square Avenue. FUTA President Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri, said that at the end of the protest march, they would hold a public lecture at more..

Millions of Sri Lankan devotees pay homage to sacred Buddhist relics from Pakistan

June 21 (APP) Millions of devotees paid homage to sacred relics of Lord Buddha from Pakistan during a 17-day exposition of the sacred relics in Sri Lanka. These sacred relics were sent by the Govt of Pakistan on the special request of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, during the visit of President Asif Ali Zardari to Sri Lanka. In addition to the millions of devotees the President, the Prime Minister, Speaker, several MPs and other prominent personalities paid homage to more..

'We will mete out justice without favouritism'

June 21 (DM) Minister Kumara Welgama had directed SLTB chairman M.D. Bandusena to suspend with immediate effect the services of a Matara depot Superintendent who had allegedly swindled Rs. 1.7 million of SLTB funds with and initiate an inquiry into the fraud. The minister, who paid a surprise visit to the Matara depot inspected the activities of the depot and listened to the grievances of employees as well. He told the employees that he would not use a different yardstick to more..

Crocodile Farm at Muturajawela soon?

June 21 (Island) The Department of Wildlife is planning to open a park for crocodiles inside Muturajawela sanctuary, located just south of Negombo. The Sanctuary covers an area of approximately 6,000 hectares, inclusive of the Negombo Lagoon. "The park will be declared open in the near future mainly to promote eco-tourism and for conservation purposes. We hope to attract a lot of tourists since the park will be close to the capital," more..

Polls chief agrees to recount – AG

June 21 (Island) The Commissioner of Elections has consented to hold a recount of all the votes polled at Kolonne, during the March 18, 2011, Pradeshiya Sabha elections, Senior State Counsel Anusha Samaranayake told the Court of Appeal yesterday. She said that the Commissioner had written to the Attorney General that he did not object to a recount. The Senior State Counsel, appeared for the Commissioner of Elections, made the first respondent, in the Writ Application filed by more..

CEA to collect 5000 MT of e-waste

June 21 (Island) The Central Environment Authority expects to collect 5,000 metric tons of e-waste by the end of this year. CEA Chairman Charitha Herath said that so far the 14 organisations, which were working jointly with the CEA, had collected 3,000 metric tons of e-waste as against the 2,000 metric tons collected last year. He said the main purpose of the exercise was to get rid of the hazardous waste that pollutes the environment and causes serious illnesses. more..

EU Parliament ‘strongly believes EU, SL can work together

June 21 (IL) The Report of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with South Asia following their visit to Sri Lanka from 22-26 February 2011 for the 6th EP/Sri Lanka Inter-Parliamentary Meeting was tabled in Brussels last week. The report presented by the Chair of the Delegation Ms. Jean Lambert (Greens/UK), details the Delegation's interactions in Sri Lanka with the Hon. Speaker, senior Ministers, members of Parliament, Senior Officials, more..

Opposition MPs seek more funds

June 21 (DM) The UNP will ask the govt to allocate at least one per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the decentralized budget to opposition MPs, National Organizer Ravi Karunanayake said. He said the UNP would make this request through an adjournment motion to be moved in parliament this evening. Mr. Karunanayake said at present only Rs.5 million was given to opposition MPs through the decentralized budget to carry out various development projects in their respective electorates. more..

Nearly 15,000 mosquito breeding places found in a day

June 21 (Island) The Health Ministry, which launched its mosquito eradication week yesterday, found 14,886 mosquito breeding places within a day. Additional Secretary to the Ministry Dr. Palitha Maheepala said that the programme was implemented in 305 MOH areas and 58,706 places were checked by its officials. He said that the ministry had to file cases against 1,170 persons for paving the way for mosquitoes to breed in their premises. more..

No clear answers from SLC!

June 21 (Island) Sajeewa Rajapakse, Treasurer, Sri Lanka Cricket who has been an employee of SLC for the last six years, stated that this is the first time that SLC has sought a government grant to settle their debtors. Rajapakse said so at a media briefing held by SLC to respond to recent negative reports published in the media. Two hours into the briefing, all Sri Lanka Cricket officials walked off, skipping many questions posed by mediapersons. more..

Last of stranded Sri Lankans leave Kandara bridge

June 21 (AN) The Sri Lankan Consulate cleared Monday the last batch of 117 stranded workers who were languishing under Jeddah's Kandara bridge, a popular location for stranded foreign laborers. "This was the last batch of the 1,000 Sri Lankan workers who were living under the bridge in Jeddah since November," said Consul General Sabarullah Khan. He added that the final group comprising 53 women were temporarily housed at special accommodation given by the govt at the more..

Show cause letter to Sajith not delivered due to court case

June 21 (Island) A letter calling on Sajith Premadasa to explain his public utterances against the UNP leadership, including Ranil Wickremesinghe, has been drafted by the party hierarchy, but not delivered due to the ongoing legal proceedings challenging the appointment of the National Organiser. Informed sources told The Island that since Premadasa has of late been publicly targeting the leadership and Wickremesinghe in particular, with some very strong statements, more..

'Rs.2 bln grant not rejected'

June 21 (DM) With reference to the June 15 Daily Mirror lead story headlined, ‘Ministers no-ball two billion grant to SLC’, Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has sent following statement: “Being chosen by cricket governing body -- the ICC -- to co-host its flagship event the 2011 ICC. Cricket World Cup provided Sri Lanka with the perfect opportunity, as a nation, to promote the country’s image and more..

His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith visits New York, USA

June 21 (IL) Sri Lankans in the tri-state area had a rare opportunity to witness the first visit of the His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith to celebrate the Holy Eucharist with nine co-celebrants at St. Rita's Church in Staten Island, New York, USA on June 17, 2011. His Eminences' message to the community was to reach out to every individual, especially to the affected parties of the conflict. His Eminence stressed the importance of more..

UN has not acted against SL - GL

June 21 (DM) External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris stated yesterday that the United Nations had not taken any action against Sri Lanka or accepted the many allegations levelled against the government and the armed forces. “The UN has not taken any action against Sri Lanka or accepted the allegations by Channel 4 or the controversial Darusman report,” Peiris told Daily Mirror. more..

Tharanga to face ICC doping panel

June 21 (AFP) Sri Lanka opener Upul Tharanga will appear at an ICC hearing later this week to answer doping charges, officials said Monday. Tharanga tested positive for a banned drug after Sri Lanka's World Cup semi-final against New Zealand in March, and will face the panel at the ICC headquarters in Dubai on Friday. Tharanga's case was fixed for June 24 and the 26-year-old had already hired a lawyer to defend him at the hearing. more..

'Govt. has not granted 7% bus fare hike'

June 21 (Island) Minister of Private Transport C. B. Ratnayake said that at no time had he decided to grant permission to private bus operators to increase bus fares by 7 per cent. "I am yet to work out the formula for a bus fare hike. This I would do after the final meeting the President of the Lanka Private Bus Owners Association and representatives of affiliated organizations on Thursday," he said. more..

Elections to 22 local councils in September

June 21 (DM) The elections to another 22 local councils will be held in September with nominations to be received in August. President Mahinda Rajapaksa postponed the elections to 23 local councils – the Municipal Councils of Colombo, Sri Jayewardanapura, Moratuwa, Negombo, Gampaha, Galle, Matara, Kandy, Matale, Nuwara Eliya, Kurunegala, Badulla, Ratnapura, Anuradhapura and Kalmunai and the Urban Councils of Kolonnawa and Hambantota and more..

'President pursuing JR’s failed policies'

June 21 (DM) JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was pursuing the same method of governance and economic policies of former President, the late J.R. Jayewardene, unchanged but multiplied several times over. “JR followed an economic policy that depended on investments and so does MR. This govt has violated the country’s laws to attract investors to Sri Lanka with the Shangri-La Corporation land deal being an example of this. more..

Registration of tamils in north to be stopped

June 21 (DM) The TNA has withdrawn its petition to the Supreme Court on the registration of civilians in the North after an undertaking given by the Jaffna Security Forces Commander Mahinda Hathurusinghe that such registrations would be stopped. Senior attorney and TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said the party decided not to proceed with the motion filed earlier against what it saw as a subtle form of racial profiling. more..

SL highlights ‘Channel 4 News’ role in C4 episode

June 21 (Island) The govt of Sri Lanka alleges the Channel 4 News, based at the Independent Television Network (ITN) building, 200 Grays Inn Road, London, had produced a controversial documentary – ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ – at the behest of those hell-bent on undermining post-war reconciliation efforts. Govt sources said that Channel 4, which telecast the documentary on June 14 and Channel 4 News were two different organizations involved in an operation spearheaded by more..

U.S. fails to move beyond words against Sri Lanka for war-crimes against Tamils

June 21 (AHN) The United States on Monday failed to go beyond stating a few more words about the atrocities committed in Sri Lanka against Tamils and other minorities during the war, even after more damaging evidence is emerging according to statements made by the U.S. State Department. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, “Let me say that U.S. personnel have seen the film. It includes some very disturbing images. more..

Sri Lanka on Failed State Index 2011

June 22 (ET) India's neighbours - Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka - are featured in the list of the most failed states", the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine said in its latest annual ranking. Pakistan is at number 12, Myanmar is at 18, Bangladesh (25); Nepal (27), Sri Lanka (29) and Bhutan is at 50 in a list of 60 countries in which African countries dominate. Other countries in the top 10 are Chad, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan more..

No to more foreign students - IUSF

June 22 (DM) Increasing the quota of foreign student admissions hinders Higher Education chances for local students, the IUSF said as they criticized Higher Education ministry’s alleged plans to recruit more foreign students to universities. According to IUSF Convener Sanjeewa Bandara, the quota of foreign student admissions which was only 0.5 percent has been increased up to 5 percent through a circular issued by the UGC to be effective from this year’s admissions onwards. more..

SLC Chairman, Secretary rush to India

June 22 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chairman, D. S. de Silva and secretary, Nishantha Ranatunga will be in India to meet the Indian cricket board officials tomorrow (22) and they will try to convince them to send few players' to participate in the forthcoming Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL). The minister said, "I have instructed the chairman and the secretary to rush to India and convince the Indian board officials to allow their players to more..

FR petitions on behalf of students

June 22 (DM) IUSF said that fundamental rights petitions will be filed at the Supreme Courts on behalf of the three students of the Sri Jayawardenapura University who were arrested last week and are currently being held by the CID for interrogations. “We are also planning to file complaints at the Human Rights Commission regarding the unlawful arrest of these students. We will also be taking steps to raise awareness on the human rights violation of these students both locally and internationally,” more..

Sick protest is off

June 22 (NN) A sick leave campaign by teachers in the eastern province over teacher transfers being carried out in the province has been called off. Sri Lanka Teachers’ Association Secretary Joseph Stalin said that the sick leave protest was called off as the teacher transfers in the eastern province has been suspended. Stalin said a decision was taken yesterday to go on sick leave after talks to resolve the issue had failed. Negotiations were held yesterday with more..

Right to Information Bill presented by the opposition defeated

June 22 (NN) The right to information bill was presented in Parliament by the opposition UNP this afternoon. UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya presented the bill. However the govt strongly objected to the bill resulting in a debate between the govt and the opposition. UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe told parliament that the opposition had been urging the govt to present the bill but it failed to do so. more..

Sri Lanka looks to expand economic links with Russia

June 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka is expanding economic ties with Russia as the country looks to rebuild its economy after a 30-year war with a large state run firm being invited for talks on the oil and gas sectors and air links resuming, officials said. President Mahinda Rajapaksa attended an economic forum in the Russian city of St. Petersburg last week accompanied by a team of officials which included central bank Governor Nivard Cabraal. "We need to build new contacts and new co-operation to more..

Jayalalitha urges PM to secure release of 23 fishermen

June 22 (ENS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to intervene and secure release of 23 Indian fishermen arrested by Sri Lanka on June 20, saying frequent incidents of arrest and detention of fishermen crossing IMBL is a 'vexatious issue' and worrisome'. Referring to the latest incident where the island republic's Navy had arrested 23 Tamil Nadu fishermen 'who accidentally strayed into Sri Lankan waters,' she said more..

'Reveal findings of Commissions'

June 22 (DM) UNP today requested the government to submit to Parliament, the reports of the Mahanama Tilakaratne commission appointed to probe the recent Katunayake FTZ incident and the Shirani Tilakawardane Commission appointed to probe the arms deals. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that these reports should be submitted to the House as those who are responsible for these incidents and deals should be brought to book. more..

Sri Lanka rickshaw drivers say no to Nano taxis

June 22 (AFP) Hundreds of rickshaw drivers blocked streets in Colombo on Tuesday to protest against the entry of India's Tata Nano, billed as the world's cheapest car, into the island's taxi market. The Federation of Self-Employees (FOSE) said its members, who mostly drive smoke-belching tri-shaws, would lose business if a taxi service using Nano cars launched earlier this month was allowed to expand. The Nano service is pitched at a lower price than air-conditioned cabs and more..