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Lankan envoy not a war crime suspect-Australia

July 18 (DM) The Australian Federal Police said that they had dismissed war crimes allegations against Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Australia, Thisara Samarasinghe more than four months ago, the Australian based 'Canberra Times' reported. A Federal Police spokeswoman said it had evaluated the information in the submission and would not investigate allegations against Admiral Samarasinghe. more..

'Unlike some of previous Commanders I always listen'

July 18 (CG) Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya says unlike some former Army Commanders, he always listens to any soldier who comes to him. Jayasuriya did not mention who these former army commanders were. “Unlike some former Commanders, I always listen to everyone who comes to me. I used to listen to their viewpoints and be sensitive to their pulses. more..

Sri Lanka can easily emerge as the new great maritime nation

July 18 (SL) The Indian subcontinent will drive the world economy in the future, and at the heart of this new maritime region, and at the heart of world trade is Sri Lanka. I believe that Sri Lanka could easily emerge as the new great maritime nation – joining the ranks with Singapore and the UAE as a leader in the maritime world, said Noboru Ueda Chairman and President of ClassNK in Colombo on Tuesday, July 10. more..

'Ten political parties funded from abroad'

July 18 (DN) Minister Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday stated in Parliament that 10 political parties among the 64 political parties recognized by the Elections Commissioner, receive funds from foreign countries. He revealed that the Democratic People’s Liberation Front receives Rs 3.6 million annually, while the Padmanaba Eelam People’s Revolutionary Front receives Rs. 875,000 and Eelavar Democratic Front receives Rs 800,000 annually from more..

Nearly 400 Govt. members hold Swiss Bank accounts: Kiriella

July 18 (DM) Nearly 400 prominent persons attached to the govt had deposited money in the Swiss Bank, UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella said yesterday. Mr. Kiriella who was speaking during the debate on increasing the fuel allowance of Bribery Commission officials charged that the govt had done nothing to investigate allegations about these people who had deposited their money in that bank. He said Sri Lanka had failed to fulfil the assurance given to the UN that independent commissions more..

'Sri Lanka must produce professionals in technical, vocational fields'

July 18 (DN) The era of producing professionals of a high standard of excellence in technical and vocational fields has begun with the new graduates and diplomates of the University of Vocational Technology, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said addressing the University's first convocation yesterday. The University established in 2009 under the wings of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development held its inaugural convocation more..

Sri Lanka stocks down 0.6-pct

July 18 (LBO) Stocks fell 0.6 percent Wednesday, with large cap stocks losing ground, brokers said. The Colombo All Share Price Index fell 30 points to 4,822 and the S&P 20 Index of large cap stocks fell 0.4 percent to 2742.75. Turnover was 383 million rupees. Sampath Bank was the dominant contributor posting 166 million rupees to total turnover. DFCC was flat up 10 cents to close at 104.50 rupees. Dialog Axiata PLC, the country’s largest mobile phone operator, slipped 10 cents to close at 6.00 rupees. more..

Editorial: Blatant abuse of public funds continues unchecked

July 18 (DM) The issues of integrity, accountability, transparency and good governance among political leaders and top officials have reached crisis proportions with the country losing billions of rupees in dwindling foreign exchange. The latest case, as exposed in the media recently, was that of the controversial Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal investing some Rs.3.5 billion in bonds in Greece. He reportedly did it without the approval of the Monetary Board. more..

COPE alleges FR violation of public and private sector workers

July 18 (Island) The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) has said that the govt cannot afford to pay PAYE (Pay as You Earn) tax on behalf of public enterprises employees in view of an expanding budget deficit. The watchdog committee, at a recent session, lashed out at those public enterprises continuing with the practice. According to COPE, 28 state enterprises have paid PAYE tax amounting to Rs. 1,244,853,595.29 more..

Asia Pacific e-Government conference starts in Colombo today

July 18 (GDI) The two day Asia Pacific e-Govt conference will commence in Colombo today. The conference being organized jointly by the FutureGov, Asia Pacific's leading public sector modernization magazine and the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka will be held at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel. The summit conference named as FutureGov Summit SAARC 2012 takes a comprehensive look at the issues at the heart of information more..

Instead of brickbats words of praise from Britiain

July 18 (Island) Contrary to usual stern lectures that Sri Lanka got from the West in the past, British High Commissioner John Rankin now says that post conflict development activities in the North and the East are progressing well and the way things are happening there is quite encouraging. "When I visited Jaffna a couple of days ago I realized that Sri Lanka has achieved a considerable progress during the recent past where the post conflict developments work is concerned. more..

‘Child abuse prevention, responsibility of all’

July 18 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that everyone is duty-bound to protect children from child abuse if they are to wipe out this menace faced by the younger generation. The President was addressing the recipients of “Ranbima deeds” at Temple Trees yesterday. Around 5,000 families, who had lived for long in govt owned lands received Ranbima deeds from the President. The event was organized by the Land Reform Commission (LRC). more..

Lanka court postpones Tamil prisoner's funeral rites case

July 18 (PTI) A petition filed by the parents of a deceased Tamil prisoner demanding his funeral to be held at their native place was postponed to July 20 by the Sri Lankan Supreme Court today. Ganesan Nimalaruban a prison inmate in Vavuniya jail in northern Sri Lanka was injured late last month as were several other LTTE suspects when the prisoners took hostage three prison guards. He died later. The case would now be heard on July 20, lawyers said. more..

'Govt. does not have a clear-cut solution to the issue'

July 18 (Island) The leader of the Democratic People’s Front, Mano Ganesan yesterday said that although the govt from time to time claimed that the problems the Tamil political detainees were faced with would be addressed, it was without a solution. He said that all the Tamil political parties were anxious to know the Supreme Court ruling on the death of the LTTE suspect, Ganesan Nimalaruban today. Nimalaruban, a detainee at the Vavuniya prison died on July 04 more..

UNP is united -Sajith

July 18 (DM) UNP deputy leader Sajith Premadasa said today that he and the party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe were of the same mindset and was working towards achieving victory at the forthcoming elections. “As an active member of the party I have been involved in the nomination process at election time. The UNP has always worked together and its members are united in achieving victory. There is no question about that,” he told a news conference. more..

SL's loan paybacks will amount to over two trillion rupees

July 18 (ST) The total amount to be paid back at the end of the period of loans obtained by Sri Lanka during last 15 years to countries and institutions amounts to US $ 15,386.8 million (over two trillion rupees), Parliament was told today. Minister Dr Sarath Amunugama said Sri Lanka during the last 15 years had obtained loans from China, the US, India, IMF, World Bank, ADB, and the JBIC. The amounts to be paid back is as follows: China US $ 4,901.6 million more..

Sri Lanka cuts 2012 tea output forecast on drought

July 18 (Reuters) Sri Lanka now expects 2012 tea production of around 325 million kg, below its target of 330 million kg, as output has fallen in the last five months due to drought, the state-run tea board said on Wednesday. Tea production in the first half of the year fell 4.3 percent year-on-year to 163.26 million kg from 170.66 million kg and June output fell 13.2 percent to 25.8 million kg compared with 29.74 million kg in the same month a year ago. The tea board had earlier expected output to be more..

SLMC to go independent of ruling coalition in provincial polls

July 18 (PTI) SLMC has announced that it will contest the eastern provincial council polls independent of the ruling coalition, just days after it had decided to go with the govt. "We have failed to get the necessary agreements that we sought with the govt, so we have decided to contest on our own", a SLMC source said. SLMC sources said the party was not receiving any assurances from the UPFA on the quota of seats more..

Two TNA candidates withdraw due to threats

July 18 (DM) Two TNA candidates have withdrawn their candidacy due to threats by an unknown gang in the Batticaloa district, former MP M.K. Sivajilingam said. Mr. Sivajilingam told Daily Mirror that the TNA was to file nominations for the district today, but the list had to be prepared again after the withdrawal of candidacy by two members. He said political groups having links with the UPFA had started threatening their political opponents. “This is a serious trend at the very beginning,” he said. more..

Malaysia asked where money for Lanka went

July 18 (CG) Malaysia’s Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy has been asked to clarify where the money collected under the Sri Lanka Tamil War Victims Relief Fund in 2009 has gone, the Malaysian media reported today. G Asoghan, chairman of the Jalan Bagan Luar branch, said Ramasamy must explain what happened to the estimated RM73,000 collected from mainly Malaysian Indians for the fund. He said his branch was indirectly involved in the issue as it more..

JVP wants prompt action to settle university crisis

July 18 (ST) The JVP today urged the govt not to further aggravate the ongoing crisis in the universities and take immediate action to find answers for the grievances of university teachers. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake making a special statement in Parliament said that the university teachers were on a strike action with four demands which are reasonable and these demands must granted to more..

LTTE cadre arrested at BIA

July 18 (CG) An LTTE cadre who had fled the country during the war was arrested at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) when he returned from abroad, police spokesman Ajith Rohana said. The LTTE suspect, identified as Sinathamby Pathmanathan, had been in Qatar but was arrested at the airport on Monday night when he had attempted to slip back into the island undetected. Pathmanathan had a warrant against his name at the Batticaloa High Court and was evading arrest over several terrorist activities. more..

No jobs for 2010-11 graduates

July 18 (CT) Unemployed graduates today launched a protest campaign opposite the Public Administration Ministry against the govt’s decision to not provide employment for people who graduated in the years 2010 and 2011. Around 100 unemployed graduates gathered outside the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs this afternoon, and held up placards demanding govt jobs should be provided for all unemployed graduates, regardless of which year they passed out of university. more..

We approve amendments to the Act : Theras

July 18 (DM) In a special statement to the PM and Buddha Sasana Minister D.M. Jayaratne, the Mahanayakes of the three Nikayas have called upon them to bring the amendments to the Buddhist Temporalities Act to Parliament without delay. In this letter by the Mahanayake theras, they have stated that the Prime Minister had said in Parliament, published in the newspapers on July 5 2012, that there was no agreement more..

No rift with UPFA says Hakeem

July 18 (CG) SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem says there is no rift between his party and the ruling UPFA following the decision by the SLMC to contest the local council polls in the east on its own. Hakeem says the decision by the SLMC to contest the election under the tree symbol in the eastern province was taken following a mutual understanding reached with the UPFA. He said that the SLMC will now finalize its nominations and file them in all three provinces tomorrow. more..

President to intervene in market affairs again

July 18 (DM) The Commissioners of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Director Board of Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), members of the Colombo Stock Brokers Association (CSBA) and several high networth stock market investors have been called for a special meeting by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa to discuss the current situation of the Colombo bourse. Letters have been sent to the above bodies by the Presidential Secretariat calling for a special meeting which is more..

Sri Lanka Debrief 18.07.2012

Indians may get freer access to Sri Lanka pepper soon

July 18 (LBO) Indian citizens may get freer access to buy Sri Lankan pepper with the prospects of a volume ceiling on trade between the countries being relaxed soon according to a statement made by India's envoy to Colombo. Sri Lanka is not exporting pepper to India under a free trade agreement because a volume ceiling of 2,600 tonnes had been placed. "It is under control and will be taken care of before too long," India's high commissioner to Colombo Ashok Kantha told more..

Summons issued again on former AG

July 18 (DM) The Colombo Fort Magistrate today summoned Seylan Bank Chairman and former Attorney General Mohan Pieris to appear in Court on July 24 in connection with a case filed by a bank customer that funds in her account had been misappropriated. Summons were issued on the former AG due to his position as the Chairman of the Bank. In her complaint to the Colombo Fraud Investigations Bureau, Shirani Anoma Dullewa of Nawala said she opened an account at more..

Sri Lanka Australia-bound boat people held

July 18 (PN) Sri Lankan authorities have arrested another 41 would-be illegal immigrants heading to Australia in the fourth successful raid in as many days, officials say. The boat was intercepted off Sri Lanka's eastern coast on Tuesday and the passengers were escorted to the port of Trincomalee, 260 kilometres northeast of the capital Colombo. "This boat had 37 men and four women," a navy official said, asking not to be named. more..

Tourism forges ahead in the East

July 19 (NS) The Eastern coast of Sri Lanka boasts of many attractions unique to Sri Lanka. The natural harbor in Tincomalee, Nilaveli Beach, Pigeon Island and several other locations have the potential to make the region a tourist destination. Tourism is the most important sector that had kept the country going in terms of bringing in foreign revenue. While export items such as tea, rubber and textile also bring in a huge amount of money, tourism has been at the top. more..

Ensure freedom of religion without deceit

July 19 (NS) “The accepted theory of freedom of religion is the freedom to believe in any particular religion of one’s own choice, changing one’s religion should be a personal decision taken independent of any coercion, influence, terror, deceit or secrecy.” The above is an excerpt from Chapter 6 (page 89) of the report of the Commission that the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress appointed to inquire and report on the unethical conversions of Buddhists to other religions. more..

Sexual Violence and Child Abuse

July 19 (DM) Sexual violence and child abuse are abhorrent crimes that evoke the righteous indignation of the people. The media should be commended for giving due publicity to the more serious instances which would galvanise public opinion against the alarming rise of these crimes. Such action is necessary in the face of apathy on the part of the authorities who follow an ostrich policy of denying any rise in the wave of crime and act in a manner which more..

Tiring out the world?

July 19 (DM) The pace of the world today leaves little time for issues and events that may have a long-lasting bearing on individuals and communities. Translated, it could mean that the international community could well throw up its arms in disgust and pass on, or end up doing rash and negligent acts that could have consequences for the affected nations and communities, unknown to the rest of the world and unacknowledged by the perpetrators. For the youth of the 21st millennium, Afghanistan and Iraq are the prime example. more..

Penal reform

July 19 (DM) People indulge in crimes due to errors of judgment in the mind. The cure perhaps should be in a medical facility. Correctional facilities should play such a role. Currently our system is 400% above capacity, is drug and disease infested and a school for crime. As a result, the country has an overcrowded system with prison establishments in precarious condition. With a focus solely on incarceration, there is insufficient emphasis or concern for the imprisoned and more..

Sumanthiran spinmeister of ‘past’ times?

July 19 (LB) TNA MP M. Sumanthiran says, genuine reconciliation is about ‘dealing with the past in a truthful manner’ and self-determination ‘does not mean negating the rights of the majority…’ Q: You had addressed the audience at the ‘Platform for Freedom’ in Matara recently, and you were quoted as saying it’s the first time a Tamil politician got an opportunity to speak in the South. Do you advocate in everything there should more..

Every visit to Jaffna can be a learning experience to those who are outside of it

July 19 (DBS) It was past eight pm and most of the two to three hundred strong audience present at the open air theatre of the Centre for Performing Arts in Jaffna had not dispersed. They had come to be part of the golden jubilee celebration of the CPArts founder, Fr N M Saveri. Most of the audience was composed of women and youth. Despite the lateness of the hour there was no sign of uneasiness or tension. This was unimaginable during the years of the war. more..

Unitarist mindset most visible obstacle for Peace, Reconciliation and National Integration

July 19 (DBS) Giving an interview to The Hindu, appears to have become a perennial practice of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. In this interview, he has revealed that “We want to hold elections in September 2013. We are working towards it [the elections] in a systematic manner.” President Rajapaksa who has great liking for elections at whatever level and who has initiated recently preponing three provincial elections more..

Mud that makes the blood boil

July 19 (Island) These days, I rarely feel like thanking the Govt for anything. It squandered the opportunity it had post-war to push through a deal with the TNA and put the country on a new and more productive, forward-looking track, preferring instead to focus on consolidating its own power. Now the discussion is back to its old pattern, with neither side trusting the other and neither side feeling like compromise. Meanwhile, it has allowed the law and order situation to more..

Puppies, Pigs, Mosquitoes and the rules about bureaucracy

July 19 (CT) In a weekly telecast comedy show one interesting question was asked about the measures taken to eradicate dengue fever. It asks why insecticides are not being used for this purpose. It appears that much that is going on in the name of controlling dengue is propaganda instructing people to turn coconut shells upside down and to throw away ‘pol combe’ and things like that accompanied with the threat that if these things are not done people will be fined. more..