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War may be over but Sri Lanka is still far from peace

Sep 13 (UCAN) Like many ethnic Tamils in northern Sri Lanka, for the last four years Reverend Father Regno Bernard has been waiting patiently for a sign. Not from his God—from his govt. “After the war people expected a lot from the government, that there would be reconciliation, peace. But the people have been deceived,” says Father Regno, director of HUDEC Jaffna, the social arm of the Catholic Church of Jaffna. more..

Random checks on imported milk food to continue

Sep 13 (Island) The Health Ministry said that tests would continue on milk products and supplementary food items. Spokesman for the Health Ministry Dharma Wanninayake said the Health Ministry had authorised the release of all nutrition supplements containing whey protein into the market as they had tested negative for Clostridium botulinum toxic bacterium. Wanninayake said that tests carried out by more..

US puts Lanka on notice

Sep 13 (CG) The US has warned that if Sri Lanka fails to address accountability issues through its own internal process then there will be pressure exerted towards an international process. Nisha Desai Biswal, President Barack Obama’s nominee to be Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian affairs, said this while addressing the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee in her confirmation hearing. more..

Two ministries in ‘Power’ struggle

Sep 13 (Island) Environment and Renewable Energy Minister Susil Premajayantha is considering the possibility of amending certain clauses in the 2007 Sustainable Energy Authority of Sri Lanka (SLEASL) Act, which earlier came under the Power and Energy Ministry. Ministry Secretary B.M.U. D. Basnayake said that they were in the process of amending a set of clauses in the Act. "We have to refer this to the Cabinet more..

'Sri Lanka external accounts stabilized by $750mn bond sale'

Sep 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka's external accounts will be strengthened and the balance of payments will turn into surplus after 750 million US dollars were raised by a state-run bank, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. National Savings Bank sold 5-year bonds at 8.875 percent Friday, over 350 basis points higher than the 530 basis points paid by Bank of Ceylon, another state-run bank paid earlier in the year. more..

Commonwealth: Don’t attend summit in Sri Lanka

Sep 13 (HRW) The heads of Commonwealth govts should not attend the 2013 Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka in November because of the govt’s unwillingness to address ongoing human rights concerns, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the 54 heads of Commonwealth countries. Those govts deciding to attend should send a low-level delegation as a public message of dissatisfaction. more..

TNA’s demand for keeping troops in barrack a joke - Ex-Tiger spokesman

Sep 13 (Island) Former LTTE media spokesman ‘Daya Master’ said the TNA’s demand, that security forces be confined to barracks, was ridiculous. He said he would render his fullest support to the UPFA at the forthcoming provincial council elections and added that those living in the North had implicit trust in the government and would be very cautious in exercising their franchise. ‘Daya Master’ hoped to contest the PC election on the UPFA ticket but was not given nomination. more..

Will Colombo be shut down?

Sep 13 (CT) A news report said some 31 schools in Colombo are to be shut down in the countdown period and during the CHOGM, scheduled to be held in the country in two months time. Is this just the beginning of a complete shutdown of Colombo? Will offices and workplaces also be called upon to work with skeleton staff, in order to reduce congestion on the city streets? We know that one of the smallest countries in the world trying to host the Heads of State of some 54 countries and more..

WikiLeaks: EPDP sold Jaffna children

Sep 13 (CT) “The children are sold into slavery, usually boys to work camps and girls to prostitution rings, through EPDP’s networks in India and Malaysia. Sunthararaj maintains that children are often smuggled out of the country with the help of a corrupt Customs and Immigration official at BIA in Colombo.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. The CT found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. more..

The visit by madam Pillay: Imperialist politics, regime change and the R2P?

Sep 13 (CT) The recent visit by Navi Pillay will turn out to be a dramatic turning point in the future of the country. Her reports could either sound the death-knell to the Rakapakse Regime, or be given a new lease of life. It is a matter of how the symphony will be orchestrated by the US, the supreme grand conductor of the UN. It is not Madam Pillay who would decide on the follow-up. Madam Pillay could be expected to play her role professionally and with detached objectivity and integrity. more..

Polls Chief to meet party top brass today

Sep 13 (Island) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has invited the Secretaries of the mainstream political parties for a crucial meeting to be held at the Elections Secretariat at 2.30 p.m. today, in view of complaints against the Governors of the Northern and Northwestern Provinces. PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi, CMEV Executive Director Dr. Pakiasothy Sarananamutthu and CAFFE Executive Director Keerthi Tennakoon have been invited to more..

Central Bank and Sri Lankan Banks senior officials meet their Chinese counterparts

Sep 13 (GDI) A delegation of senior bankers headed by Ajith Nivard Cabraal, the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, held one-to-one high-level discussions with the representatives of the People’s Bank of China, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the China Development Bank and several foreign banks operating in China during the period 11th to 13th Sept 2013. The discussions mainly focused more..

Sri Lanka rupee steady; likely to gain on $750 mln from bond sale

Sep 13 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan rupee was steady on Friday as dollar sales by banks offset importer demand for the greenback, with dealers expecting the rupee to appreciate in the short term due to $750 million in inflows from a bond sale by a state-owned bank. The 5-year bond from National Savings Bank (NSB) was priced to yield 8.875%, tighter than the initial talk of 9.25%. Dealers said it was still "very expensive" compared with other Sri Lankan debt papers. more..

Yala closure: A chance to rethink park strategies

Sep 13 (ST) The move to close the Yala National Park during the drought has been welcomed by environmentalists. After the park was closed in 2007 during the drought, followed by a terrorist attack the same year, the park remained closed until the war ended in 2009. Since then Yala has not been closed. The custom of closing Yala during the drought started long years ago when the park was a game reserve and hunting was permitted. Hunting was deemed inhumane during the drought more..

Defeat of terrorism ensured stability of region -GL

Sep 13 (Island) Had it not been for the defeat of terrorism in Sri Lanka, the position regarding stability of the neighbouring countries and the safety of sea lanes, across the Indian Ocean, would certainly have been one of continuing turbulence and turmoil today. It is for this reason that Sri Lanka’s achievement against overwhelming odds, could clearly be said to have brought in its wake tangible benefits not only for the island nation more..

Colombo residents move SC against CMC

Sep 13 (Island) Residents of the Nugagahapura Housing Scheme in Polhengoda, Colombo 5, have complained to the Supreme Court that the Colombo Municipal Council and the connected authorities have continuously failed to construct a protective, retaining structure, to prevent the collapse of the earth embankment, which poses a grave threat to the property and the lives of the people living in the housing scheme. The houses were constructed at the foot of that earth embankment. more..

'Monitors singing for their next meal'

Sep 13 (Island) Minister Susil Premajayantha accused most local election monitors of trying to exaggerate the incidents in the run-up to the Provincial Council elections, with an eye on drawing more foreign funding. He said that local election monitoring organisations running on foreign funds had to show the work they had done to their foreign masters and therefore they blew small incidents out of proportion and complained to the Elections Commissioner. more..

Video: SLC Exco member demands awards controversy investigated

Sep 13 (DM) The controversy surrounding the Sri Lanka cricket awards deepened yesterday as a furious SLC executive committee member reportedly wrote officially to SLC President and Secretary to call for an immediate inquiry into the episode. SLC President Jayantha Dharmadasa said last night that he would consult the top brass of SLC today to decide on the next step. The member in question who more..

Rejection of postal vote applications: JVP teachers’ union smells a rat

Sep 13 (Island) The Ceylon Teachers’ Service Union (CTSU) yesterday protested against the rejection of more than 300 postal vote applications sent by teachers in the Kurunegala and Matale Districts. CTSU General Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe said the Elections Department had rejected 223 postal vote applications from teachers in the Polpithigama Education Division in the Mahawa Education Zone and 13 teachers from the Kuliyapitiya Education Zone in the Kurunegala District. more..

Do not sentence Kurunegala to the same fate as Colombo - UNP

Sep 13 (AD) The UNP called on govt action to prevent Kurunegala suffering the same fate as Colombo in the wake of charges that part of the heroin consignments flowing into Colombo now finds its way into Kurunegala. Speaking at a press conference, UNP MP Eran Wickremaratne stated that four or five MPs were involved in bringing down stocks of ethanol while the acts of a few in parliament were bringing the entire parliament into disrepute. more..

Sri Lanka's economy grows 6.8% in 2013 June quarter

Sep 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka's economy grew 6.8% in the June 2013 quarter from a year earlier, statistics office said. The agriculture sector shrank 1.1%; industry grew 10.1% and services 6.6%. In agriculture tea had contracted 0.5%, rubber had grown 2.0%, coconut had shrunk 25.4% and paddy was up 2.1%. Fishing contracted 5.3%. In industry manufacturing was up 5.3% with textile and apparel up 6.2%. Mining was up 12.6%. more..

Judicial remand of TN fishermen extended till Sept 24

Sep 13 (PTI) A court in Sri Lanka on Friday extended till September 27 the judicial remand of 31 fishermen from Karaikal and Nagapattinam, arrested by the island navy in July last for allegedly entering their territorial waters. Trincomallee Magistrate Pasis passed the order extending the remand of the fishermen, arrested on July 31, fisheries officials in Rameswaram said quoting information received from Sri Lanka. They also said that 34 other fishermen from the two places more..

War-era vehicle with explosives found in Lanka

Sep 13 (PTI) Some 100 kgs of explosives have been discovered in a lorry seized in 1996 at the height of the Sri Lankan civil war and held since at a police station here. The lorry containing the explosive Trinitrotoluene (TNT) was held on suspicion for carrying explosives from the north to be used for the frequent attacks carried out by the LTTE at the time in Colombo. The parked lorry which was in disintegrated state at the Kotahena police station in north Colombo was to be removed more..

CHOGM: SL happy over visit of British Premier

Sep 13 (DM) External Affairs Ministry Secretary K. Amunugama said Sri Lanka was pleased with British PM David Cameron’s decision to attend the CHOGM to be held in Colombo. He said Sri Lanka warmly welcomed Mr. Cameron and the entire British delegation that would be participating at the meeting. “Britain has a special place in the Commonwealth because it originated it and thereby has a special obligation and responsibility to more..

Fitch Affirms Sri Lanka's Dialog Axiata at 'AAA(lka)'/Stable

Sep 13 (Reuters) Fitch Ratings has affirmed Sri Lanka-based telecoms company Dialog Axiata PLC's (Dialog) 'AAA(lka)' National Long-Term rating. The Outlook is Stable. Parent support: Dialog's rating reflects Fitch's expectations that its 83%-parent, Axiata Group Berhad of Malaysia (Axiata), is likely to provide support if required, given operational and strategic linkages between the companies. Linkages include a common brand name and common creditors which more..

Health trade union confederation finds fault with Technology Ministry

Sep 13 (Island) The Health Service Trade Union Confederation (HSTUC) accused the Ministry of Technology, Research and Atomic Energy (MTRAE) of interfering in the affairs of the Health Ministry by carrying out DCD tests on imported milk powder. Addressing an emergency Press Conference, HSTUC Joint Chairman Ravi Kumudesh alleged that the Minister of MTRAE and the Industrial Technological Institute (ITI) had flouted the authority of the Health Ministry by meddling more..

UAE assures Sri Lanka of continuing support and increased investment

Sep 13 (MEA) Minister G.L. Peiris met with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the UAE, in Dubai for bilateral discussions recently. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the international conference organized by the govt of the UAE and attended by Ministers representing more than 20 maritime nations, on the theme of counter piracy and security of sea lanes. more..

Teledrama star arrested for prostitution

Sep 13 (Island) A 22-year-old tele-drama star was arrested for prostitution by the Kandy police at a guest house in Heeressagala. The Vice Branch of the Kandy police had raided the guest house on a tip-off. It has been revealed that the young artiste charged her clients between Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 10,000 per visit. Police had obtained a Court order to detain her for a medical test. IP Pradeep Kottage, OIC Vice Branch with WPS 502 Kusum and WPC 7011 Sandya of the Children’s and more..

India mulls tri-series involving Pakistan, SL

Sep 13 (PTI) The BCCI could explore the possibility of hosting an ODI tri-series involving Pakistan and Sri Lanka later this year and the modalities are likely to be discussed during the Asian Cricket Council meeting here on Saturday. The officials from the three boards will be present at the meeting and there is a strong chance that the BCCI might propose to have a tri-series sometime in December in India. PCB chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed, SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga and more..

SLC asks Ford to reconsider decision

Sep 13 (CI) In a meeting with Graham Ford on Friday, SLC has asked the senior team's coach to reconsider his decision to not renew his contract with the team. The lure of a job with Surrey does not feature in Ford's request to end his tenure as the coach, SLC heard in the meeting in which it hoped to convince him to stay. "Surrey had approached him, but they haven't offered him a job," SLC CEO Ashley de Silva said. more..

Eight arrested with Prabhakaran posters

Sep 13 (DM) Jaffna Security Forces Commander Mahinda Hathurusinghe said 8 people were arrested at Kodikarmam in Jaffna on charges of having in their possession posters containing the picture of former LTTE leader Vellupillai Parabhakaran. He alleged that they were campaigning for the TNA at the elections to the Northern Provincial Council. At the time of the arrest they had some 300 such posters and that several others too were known to be having these posters in their possession. more..

Clarify move to supply naval warships to Lanka: CPI

Sep 13 (PTI) CPI asked the govt to clarify its reported move to supply two naval warships to Sri Lanka to strengthen its capability to guard its maritime boundary. Observing that the govt has not contradicted reports that the warships built by a Goa-based defence public sector unit would be given to Sri Lanka, CPI National Secretary D Raja said "The move is highly condemnable because these warships are not going to be used against China or Pakistan." more..

Sri Lanka says approach of each state to reconciliation must be context-specific

Sep 13 (IL) Sri Lanka has highlighted the highlight the need to adopt "a pragmatic, context specific approach in addressing issues of transitional justice" and noted that "the approach of each state to reconciliation must be context-specific, taking into account the particularities of each state and the aspirations of its people". Intervening during an Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on 'Truth, Justice, Reparation and more..

Why the Defence Secretary is right!

Sep 14 (CT) This writer is by no means an apologist of the militarization of the country; however, for once, he could not help but agree with some salient points that the powerful Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the chief protagonist of the militarization, had raised during his address at the Defence Seminar held last week. He referred to the 'possibility that extremist elements may try to promote Muslim extremism in Sri Lanka' and also noted that one reason for the more..

Dead men talking

Sep 14 (CT) Reporting on Lanka's blood-soaked years, I watched names disappear from my notebook. This is one box nobody would like to check on his CV. Not even the most battle-hardened hack. But, early in September of 1989, I found myself in the wrongest place at the wrongest time. And witnessed my first, and hopefully only, live (apologies for that horrible malapropism, but we are all brainwashed by news TV now) execution ever. This was in the middle of Galle Road, more..

Smuggling contraband: Quaint methods adopted to avoid detection

Sep 14 (SO) Smuggling goods by devious means has become a common curse faced by many countries in the world today - from human trafficking to smuggling of jewellery, antiques, minerals, weaponry, biological items ans of course, the money spinner -narcotics. The perpetrators use devious methods to smuggle the contraband into or out of a country, despite the watchful eyes of Customs officials who more..

Gotabaya’s statement has shocked the Muslim community

Sep 14 (DBS) Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s statement on what he described as the “emergence of Muslim extremism” has shocked and dismayed the island’s besieged and helpless Muslim community. Addressing a defense seminar at Galadari Hotel. Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa stated that the country was faced with an uphill task of tackling Sinhala hardliners as well as Muslim extremists. He added that “it has been observed that there are some foreign groups that wish to more..

Sri Lanka’s Muslims: The end of the road

Sept 13 (CT) Sri Lanka’s Muslims are at an unprecedented and ominous crossroads. The community there is faced with an existential threat at the hands of an increasingly militant Buddhist minority, while the nation’s Muslim parliamentarians appear to be more powerless and mute than at any time since 1947. This impotence is startling because the current parliament holds the largest number of Muslim cabinet ministers and deputies (four in each category, respectively) in history, more..

How Nidhanaya was reborn

Sept 13 (CT) Till December last year, one of Sri Lanka's priceless treasures was believed to have been lost irretrievably. There was not a single negative of Lester James Peries' 1972 masterpiece Nidhanaya (Treasure), whether in Sri Lanka or anywhere else in the world. There were three copies in the National Film Corporation's archive located at Sarasavi Studio, but these were afflicted by the 'vinegar syndrome' due to more..

River for Jaffna project envisages conversion of Jaffna lagoon into a freshwater lake

Sep 14 (DBS) A seminar was held recently at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre at Kirulapone for the reawakening of the long-delayed ‘A River for Jaffna’ project. The Chief Spokesperson at the seminar was Dr. D.L.O. Mendis, who briefly outlined the project followed by a discussion and the seminar was attended by numbers of senior engineers. The Jaffna Peninsula has no rivers and the people depend on rain water for domestic use and cultivation. more..