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‘Homeland Act’ to replace PTA

Sept 26 (LB) The Govt plans to introduce new legislation to replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) along the lines of the US Homeland Security Act before the commencement of the next UNHRC sessions in March 2012, having taken into consideration the pressure exerted on Colombo by the international lobby regarding its human rights record. Meanwhile Attorney General Eva Wanasundara confirmed that the govt is keen to introduce a new Act similar to those dealing with terrorism in countries such as US, UK and Australia, and more..

Ban admits lapse in communication

Sept 26 (DM) UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon, during a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, had acknowledged that there had been a lapse in communication between the two sides, and agreed to leave this behind and move forward with the essential aspects of reconciliation, a spokesman for the president said yesterday. President Mahinda Rajapaksa met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, yesterday. The secretary general raised the issue of the emergency regulations. more..

'LG body can be effective under opposition'

Sept 26 (SL) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe says that a local govt body managed by the opposition could be effective in development work although the central govt is under a different party. Wickremesinghe made this comment at an election rally in Nuwara Eliya referring to the effective work carried out by the Nuwara Eliya Municipal Council. He has said that the Nuwara Eliya Municipal Council had won several awards at competitions organized by the provincial council. more..

Sri Lanka faces rupee dilemma

Sept 26 (Island) Sri Lanka is facing a rupee dilemma as the market continues to exert pressure on the exchange rate although Central Bank intervention is keeping the rupee stable against the dollar in the face of severe import pressure. This, on the other hand is applying pressure on domestic interest rates. An Indian based capital markets research broker, Religare, says Central Bank intervention was necessary, and that the pressure on the exchange rate was temporary. more..

All stakeholders join for World Tourism Day

Sept 26 (FT) Sri Lanka Tourism is planning a range of celebrations for World Tourism Day, linking all public departments, the organisation said in a statement yesterday. This year’s World Tourism Day will be celebrated under the theme of ‘Tourism – Linking Cultures’ set by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation on 27 September. The main focus of this year’s theme is to foster awareness among the international community of the value of tourism and more..

Tissa admits JVP turmoil setback to Opp. campaign

Sept 26 (Island) UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that the ongoing leadership crisis in the JVP would cause a debilitating setback for the Opposition. He said that the trouble in the Opposition would be advantageous to the govt and every effort should be made to avert intraparty trouble. He said that there had been many internal disputes in the SLFP, too, though President Rajapaksa talked as if his party were free from trouble. more..

President reminds Ban Ki-moon of broken promises

Sept 26 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday reminded Ban Ki-moon that when the two met in 2010, the Secretary General gave an assurance that the Darusman panel was established only to provide advice to the UN chief personally and that it had no investigative role. This was conveyed when President Rajapaksa met with UN Secretary General at its Headquarters in New York. The Sri Lankan side read verbatim the minutes kept during the meeting held in 2010 when they last met. more..

India advises Lanka how to curb external interference

Sept 26 (Island) India believes that an agreement between the Sri Lankan govt and the LTTE will thwart external interference in post-war Sri Lanka, according to a statement issued by the Indian High Commission in Colombo. Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai make this assessment following a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in New York on the sidelines of the UNGA. more..

Police and land powers not needed -- CMs

Sept 26 (DM) The chief ministers of the provincial councils have resolved that police and land powers are no longer required for the provincial councils to discharge their duties, provided they are given sufficient funds to carry out development work. The decision has been taken at a time when there is a debate on the need to devolve powers to the provinces, particularly the north and the east. Central Province Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake who was elected the chairman of the Chief Ministers Forum more..

SL asks: Can a banned terror group move judiciary in US?

Sept 26 (Island) The Sri Lankan govt yesterday said that in spite of accusing its military of massacring as many as 40,000 civilians, the LTTE had had to depend on an LTTE cadre, Vatsala Devi to move the US judiciary against President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Ambassador Shavendra Silva, former General Officer Commanding of the celebrated 58 Division, over war crimes relating to the death of a hardcore terrorist, Thambirajah Ramesh. more..

Archbishop’s office slams US cable

Sept 26 (SL) The Archbishop office in Colombo has strongly rejected a leaked Wikileaks cable which allegedly reveals how Archbishop Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith lobbied the US govt against international pressure on accountability for war crimes. The cable written on October 2, 2009 recounts details of a meeting between the Archbishop and the US Ambassador in Colombo Patricia A. Butenis, where the Archbishop is alleged to have said he believed President Rajapaksa personally was a good man and more..

Cement Corporation set to revive KKS plant

Sept 26 (DM) The Sri Lanka Cement Corporation has started work on restoring the Kankesanthruai cement factory while taking action to assess the quality of the stock of clinker available within the premises, officials said. The factory ceased operations in 1990 following the escalation of violence between the security forces and the LTTE at that time. Chairman Sisira Paranagama said that the Corporation was currently studying several options. more..

'Don’t reduce three parliamentary seats from Jaffna electoral district'

Sept 26 (AT) It is not the opportune time to reduce three parliamentary seats from the Jaffna electoral district, based on the population of the Jaffna peninsula, urges Minister Douglas Devananda. He has brought to the notice of President that Jaffna Peninsula faced a three decade long ethnic conflict. He said, due to the abnormal condition prevailed after eighties, the people of Jaffna fled for safer heavens. more..

Mahinda says UN visit productive, successful

Sept 26 (FT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa described his engagement with the United Nations member countries last week as very successful for him personally and Sri Lanka at large. “I am very happy with the visit as it was very productive and through our discussions we were able to portray the true picture,” President Rajapaksa told the Daily FT. “We have never hesitated to meaningfully engage with the UN,” he said during a brief relaxed more..

Hospital attendant recalls SWRD’s final moments

Sept 27 (DN) Former President JR Jayewardene had willingly offered the hospital ward room in which he was obtaining residential treatment to former Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike when he was admitted to the Colombo National Hospital after being shot by an assassin on September 25, 1959 at his Rosmead Place residence. Late SWRD Bandaranaike’s 52nd death anniversary falls today. Recollecting the past, retired hospital attendant Simiyel Ranamuka, 95, who attended to more..

Minister refutes electricity generation reports

Sept 27 (GDI) Minister of Power and Energy refuting malicious rumors has said that the rainfall experienced since the beginning of September has increased the water levels of the Rantambe reservoir to 35% and it could further increase with the ensuring rains, although it was around 20% in the months of June and July. The Minister has said that recently the Electricity Board in coordination with the Mahaweli Authourity successfully carried out some urgent maintenance work and more..

Commercial Bank reduces interest

Sept 27 (NN) The Commercial Bank has slashed its interest rate on Gold Loans by three percentage points, significantly enhancing the value of this precious metal as a means of raising funds at short notice for any business or personal purpose. The Bank has announced that interest on Gold Loans has been cut from 14 per cent per annum to just 11 per cent, enabling borrowers to raise money at less than 1 per cent per month, one of the lowest rates for Gold Loans more..

Jay walker fined and warned

Sept 27 (DM) A jay walker who crossed the road away from a pedestrian crossing was fined Rs.100 by the Colombo Traffic Court Magistrate today. The jay walker Mohamed Musthafa was produced before the Colombo Traffic Court Magistrate Jeyaram Trotsky by the Metropolitan Traffic Police and submitted that the accused was arrested while going across the road without using the pedestrian crossing. The police said they are conducting classes for those who violate pedestrian crossing law to more..

CEB to Plant Trees

Sept 27 (NN) The CEB is in the process of implementing island wide tree planting campaigns on the instructions of the Minister Champika Ranawaka, in the catchment areas with the intention of preserving the springs that feed the reservoirs. The first phase of this tree planting campaign commenced on the 24th and 25th of this month concurrent to the ministers Sabaragamuwa tour. To preserve the power transmission line network the CEB is carrying out a clearing campaign. more..

UK 'complicit in torture' as Tamils return to Sri Lanka

Sept 27 (C4) Britain is leaving itself open to allegations it is complicit in torture by sending failed Tamil asylum seekers back to Sri Lanka despite evidence physical abuse is a "daily reality", a charity warns. The charity Freedom from Torture said a number of Tamils were due to be forcibly removed by the UK Border Agency and flown back to Sri Lanka on Wednesday. The group says it has credible evidence that members of the Tamil minority are more..

Sri Lanka bourse steady amid credit, global woes

Sept 27 (Reuters) Stock market narrowly edged up on Monday from a seven-week low, ending four straight falls as investors snapped up battered shares though a liquidity shortage and global worries cooled sentiments, dealers said. The main share index closed 0.02 percent or 1.42 points up at 6,736.02, from the lowest since July 28. It is still Asia's best performer with a return of 1.51 percent on the year. Traders said some market players tried to boost the trend by more..

PHIs launch trade union action

Sept 27 (AD) Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) in the North Western Province have launched a trade union action today against police interference when performing their duties. President of the Public Health Inspectors’ Association, Upul Rohana said that they are protesting a false allegation made by Kurunegala SSP that the PHIs were directly involved in the illegal cattle trade. Rohana stated that from today all PHIs in the North Western Province will withdraw from assigned duties under the Animal act with relation to cattle slaughter. more..

Tri-Forces assist UDA to develop main towns

Sept 27 (GDI) The Chairman of the UDA Chanaka Kurukulasuriya said that a streamlined programme is in operation for the development of main towns in the country. Under this programme several main towns including Colombo, Kandy, Matara and Galle are being developed. Priority under this programme had been given for the development of Colombo. The development of the Galle road from Kollupitiya to Bambalapitiya has now being completed. more..

Sri Lankan dengue experts: ‘We knew nothing'

Sept 27 (Nation) “We did not know what Pakistanis expected from us. We landed in Lahore and started providing guidance to the people of Punjab regarding elimination of dengue. But now we know that we’ve learnt a lot from them instead,” said the head of a Sri Lankan medical team currently assisting Pakistan, Dr. Thissera Hasitha. Dr. Hasitha, who was speaking at a reception arranged for them by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif at Chief Minister’s Secretariat on Sunday, more..

Sri Lanka tops value destinations

Sept 27 (UKPA) British holidaymakers may be struggling with poor euro exchange rates but some long-haul destinations are proving financially attractive, according to a survey. Sri Lanka has emerged as a clear winner in a holiday cost-of-living index of long-haul spots compiled by Post Office Travel Money. For a basket of 10 categories including a meal out, drinks and sun cream, Sri Lanka was 38% cheaper than its nearest rival, Thailand. Vietnam, now welcoming an increasing number of UK visitors, was the third least expensive country in the list, more..

‘Sri Lanka needs a solution that accommodates Tamil hopes’

Sept 27 (Hindu) Sri Lanka needs a solution to the ethnic question, home-grown or otherwise, to accommodate the just demands and aspirations of the Tamil-speaking people within the framework of the unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka, N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu, said. “We do not want a solution imposed from outside. But there must be a solution. It does not matter whether it’s a home grown solution or whether you have been more..

'Tough laws needed' for child abuse

Sept 27 (BBC) The minister in charge of children's affairs in Sri Lanka has called for tougher laws against child sex abuse. Minister Tissa Karalliyadde said the authorities are "sad and surprised" at the scale of child abuse surrounding religious centres in the island. He was commenting on recent reports of a spate of child abuse involving Buddhist monks, a Christian pastor and in children's homes, some of which are run by organisations funded by churches. "Existing legal provisions are not strong enough to deal with child abusers," more..

Explosion reported in Weerawila

Sept 27 (DM) An explosion took place in the ammunition dump of the Weerawila Army camp situated near the Weerawila Air Force Base last evening injuring a soldier. “It was an accidental explosion as we do not handle that much of ammunition and explosives. We admitted the soldier who suffered minor injuries to the nearby Weerawila Hospital,” Military Spokesman Brigadier Nihal Hapuarachchi said. Meanwhile the Air Force said they had sent their standby emergency reaction team to more..

Pranab Mukherjee asks Sri Lanka for early resumption of talks with Tamils

Sept 27 (PTI) India has asked Sri Lanka for an early resumption of talks with TNA, the umbrella organisation of Tamil political parties, and to resolve core political issues in a timely manner. The issue was emphatically put forward by the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, when he met his Sri Lankan counterpart Sarath Amunugama, here last week on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank. more..

Sri Lanka export shift to Asia seen difficult

Sept 27 (LBO) Sri Lankan exporters face difficulties in trying to shift from traditional markets in the West which are stagnant or growing only slowly to fast-growing emerging markets in Asia, an official said. "It's not going to be easy," said Anura Ekanayake, former chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the island's top business chamber. Exporters' products, production lines and business relationships are mostly shaped to suit Western markets and big changes more..

Sri Lanka to boost trade ties with Iran

Sept 27 (LBR) Sri Lanka is looking at boosting trade with Iran, by improving mutual market access while a high level delegation has been invited for the export exhibition in Sri Lanka next year to explore trade opportunities, the ministry of Industry and Commerce said. “Our exporters’ main concern is that the lack of direct access to Iranian markets,” said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce. “Both countries should take necessary steps in this regard,” more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 26.09.2011

'Reject action to promote mechanisms that lead to partiality'

Sept 27 (AD) At the Right of Replies of the 26th Plenary Meeting of the UNHRC, Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam made a statement in reply to the credibility and independence of the LLRC report and also commented on the transmission of the Ban Ki-moon’s report on Sri Lanka to the UNHRC. The Ambassador condemned the apriori judgment made on the domestic mechanisms used by the govt to resolve the issue of reconciliation. Furthermore she stated that the report forwarded by more..

Malaysia to relook at RM3b Sri Lanka highway project

Sept 27 (FMT) The Malaysian govt will be resubmitting a proposal to revive Sri Lanka’s 110km Colombo-Kandy Toll Expressway project worth US$1 billion, says Special Envoy (Infrastructure) to India and South Asia, S Samy Vellu. The contract of the construction of the highway was supposed to be awarded to Malaysia in 2003. “However after a feasibility study, the idea was dropped by both the governments and the highway is still unconstructed, to-date. more..

U.S. fingerprint database used to identify suspected Tamil rebels

Sept 26 (NP) The United States has told Canadian authorities that two migrants who arrived off the B.C. coast in 2009 aboard a smuggling ship are suspected Tamil rebels, according to a senior American counter-terrorism official. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security identified the suspected rebels during fingerprint checks of 76 Sri Lankan asylum seekers who sailed to Canada from Southeast Asia two years ago aboard the cargo ship Ocean Lady. more..

'Sri Lanka forex intervention based on expected inflows'

Sept 27 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's intervention in the foreign exchange market has taken into account expected future dollar inflows and will go forward in spite of persistent IMF pressure to limit it, the central bank said on Monday. Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said the govt was confident of its position based on expected dollar inflows. He spoke after the IMF last week said it had not set a timetable to review of Sri Lanka's progress under a $2.6 billion loan, more..

Church accused of 'being silent'

Sept 27 (BBC) A Catholic priest who stayed in a govt declared 'safe zone' during the last stages of war has strongly criticised the Church in Sri Lanka for being silent about the plight of trapped civilians. In an open letter to the Pope, Fr GA Francis Joseph has blasted Church authorities for not raising its voice at a time some western countries and the UN 'voiced their dismay' at Sri Lanka govt's military strategy. "Last night's toll of the dead is 3318 and of the injured more than 4000," more..

S W R D Bandaranaike remembered

Sept 27 (AT) Today (26) is former Prime Minister Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike’s 52nd death anniversary. He was gunned down by a man wearing Buddhist robes, while another man wearing Buddhist robes, the head of the powerful Kelaniya Rajamahaviharaya, acted as the chief conspirator who planned the actual killing. These two individuals desecrated the very robes they were wearing, and the philosophy they had vowed to follow when they donned the robes. more..

Case filed against Sri Lanka's ex-General Shavendra Silva

Sept 27 (LG) American University Washington College of Law's Human Rights Clinic in a press release issued today (23) said that it has filed civil action at the District Court of New York Southern District (SDNY), on behalf of two Tamil plaintiffs against Sri Lanka's ex-Army General and currently Sri Lanka's Acting Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Shavendra Silva, on charges of torture and wrongful death. The civil action under the Torture Victims more..

'Equality for all sovereign nations'

Sept 27 (LG) Justice and fair play is of paramount importance to all members of the World Family consisting of 193 nations expecting justice and fair play equally. It is the principle on which the United Nations Organization was established in place of less effective League of Nations in order to settle differences among Nations based on “Dialogue, Deliberation and Consensus”. It is agreed by all the mighty and small nations during deliberations Conventions and more..