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Sri Lanka failed bank re-incarnation opens for business

Aug 1 (LBO) The failed Pramuka Bank had been given the nod by the Central Bank to re-open for business from August 01, as the state owned Sri Lanka Savings Bank Ltd, the regulator said. The new bank will settle the liabilities of Pramuka to depositors and creditors according to a scheme to be announced soon, and take all action to recover any dues, the Central Bank said in a statement. more..

Govt. Information Department’s mission is to become the premier media institution in South Asia

Aug 1 (GDI) Minister of Mass Media and Information Anura Priyadarshana Yapa stated that Government Information Department as the focal point of processing Government’s news faster to the general public is fulfilling a major task in dissemination of information. Addressing the launching of activities of the Department for its celebrations for the 60th Anniversary- the Diamond Jubilee from July 31, 2007 to July 31, 2008, more..

'Aksharaya' film should be destroyed; says the Chief Justice

Aug 1 (LeN) The Supreme Court today (31) ordered the Public Performances Control Board to watch Ashoka Handagama's film 'Aksharaya' again and to give its decision on 06 August. Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva said that the Supreme Court would take a suitable verdict following the Public Performances Control Board decision. more..

SOS from four more migrant workers likely to face Rizana's fate

Aug 1 (LeN) The Welfare Association of the Western province Foreign Employees and the Employment Agencies states that four more Sri Lankan migrant workers are facing the threat to be beheaded like the underage housemaid Rizana Nafeek and urges the government to act fast to save their lives. The Chairman of the Association Faizer Makeen made this request participating in a press conference held today (31) at Hotel Nippon and more..

Secrets revealed on ransom seeking telephone numbers

Aug 1 (LeN) Certain sub agents of mobile phone SIM cards provide false details to the parent companies and obtain active SIM cards to use for the ransom taking, threatening and other crimes, the Police have revealed. According to a press statement issued by Senior Superintendent of Police Rienzi Perera of the Police Public Relations Bureau, Chief Inspector Thilakarathna of the Crime Operation Branch of the Mirihana Police station has revealed this crime through a clue he received. more..

'Tamil liberation and Prabhakaran are far apart'

Aug 1 (CC) Prominent writer on Sri Lankan issues and editor of the Subidchamand websites published from Germany and USA Satchi Sith ananthan, was in Sri Lanka for a few days recently following his tour of some countries where Sri Lankan Tamils have made their new homes. He spoke to us freely about the current situation in Sri Lanka and the Tamil Diaspora and also made pointed references to certain historical realities in the country to which our politicians had turned a blind eye thus causing deadly consequences. more..

Lokuarachchi sets up thrilling win for Sri Lanka A

Aug 1 (CI) Dammika Prasad held his nerve to edge Sri Lanka A to a thrilling one-wicket win over Yorkshire. Sri Lanka reached their target of 240 with 10 balls to spare - a relatively comfortable victory in the end, having been in the perilous position of 73 for 6. The win was set up by a superbly controlled yet aggressive partnership between Thilina Kandamby and Kaushal Lokuarachchi who put on 128 for the seventh wicket, hauling Sri Lanka out of the depths and into a position from which they could genuinely attack the target. more..

UNP insists on Select Comm to probe tiger deal

Aug 1 (ML) The UNP yesterday once again demanded the appointment of a parliamentary select committee to probe the controversial tiger deal charging that Highways Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle had confirmed the payments made to the LTTE a week ago. A motion together with documentary evidence calling for a parliamentary select committee to probe the tiger deal was handed over to Speaker WJM Lokubandara by SLFP MP Sripathi Sooriyarachchi during the last parliamentary session. more..

A President’s dead currency

Aug 1 (ML) The political success of the Jana Rala march in Colombo was to fortify and strengthen the Ranil-Mangala alliance as much as it was to uproot the confidence of an alarmed President Mahinda Rajapakse. If perhaps Ranil Wickremesinghe had a Thomas Didimus in his own camp before the crowds thronged to Hyde Park last Thursday, by midnight a mass conversion had taken place. more..

Sri Lankan Tamils: Anatomy of Indian involvement

Aug 1 (ML) For long, Indian intelligence has been blamed for the debacle in Sri Lanka. For the first time, the developments as seen by the Indian intelligence then have been presented. This paper was prepared for a talk at the National Defence College, New Delhi, on July 16. The core problem in Sri Lanka is one of identity. The Tamils want to preserve their identity. The Sinhalese want to overrun it. No solution has emerged ever since Sri Lanka became a republic almost 60 years ago. more..

JHU boycotts APPRC sessions

Aug 1 (ML) The Jathika Hela Urumaya has not attended the All Party Representative Committee sessions for four consecutive days after their proposals for the unit of devolution to be the local authority was rejected by the committee. The APRC has by majority view decided to go with the province as the unit of devolution while it was also decided to reject the unitary state concept as the nature of the State. more..

LTTE move to terrorise civilians: army

Aug 1 (Hindu) At least three soldiers and two cadres of the Tamil Tigers were killed in the battles in the north in the last 24 hours even as the LTTE accused the military of targeting the fishermen community in Mullaitivu. According to the Defence Ministry, the soldiers were killed when the LTTE triggered a claymore mine targeting the army personnel in Jaffna on Tuesday. more..

Tamil Nadu deports four suspected Tamils back to Sri Lanka

Aug 1 (AT) Four Sri Lankan Tamils said to be from the east of Sri Lanka were arrested and deported to Colombo by the Q Branch police from Tamil Nadu, India on Tuesday afternoon. According to Police report, Kajenthiran Subramaniam, Kajan Sri Shanmuhathevan, Sivatharan Sivarasa, Thamaraimanalan Thillai Nayakam arrived from Sri Lanka on a three months tourist visa. They were arrested on 29 July in Chennai and were deported in a Colombo bound flight yesterday afternoon from Chennai. more..

Peace Secretariat slams Gareth Evans’ call for international intervention in Sri Lanka

Aug 1 (AT) The Peace Secretariat has lashed out at Gareth Evans, the head if International Crisis Group, for categorizing Sri Lanka as a case for international intervention by putting it into the R2P basket – “right to protection”, the new term coined by ICG for international intervention. Gareth Evans argued in his lecture titled “The Limits of State sovereignty: The Responsibility to Protect in the 21st Century” delivered yesterday that more..

Religious leaders discuss how to address Sri Lanka’s problems together

Aug 1 (UCAN) When three men on two motorcycles called out for Venerable Hadungamuwe Nandarathna Thero one Sunday, the Buddhist monk was in his temple preparing to leave for a religious ceremony. As he came out, they shot him dead and sped off. Venerable Weligam Dhamiswara Thero told a gathering of 54 religious leaders about the May 13 murder in Trincomalee, to underscore his suggestion that they join together to tackle the problems that plague Sri Lanka. more..

My Good Friends, The Sinhalese-Up, Close And Personal

Aug 1 (TC) The Island of Sri Lanka in South Asia is inhabited by many different communities of people. These differences range from ethnicity to language spoken to religious affiliation to culture and a broad spectrum of other intangibles. These differences all contribute to a cosmopolitan society and that means that it is multi- this, that, and the other in a bewildering mixture of ‘markers’ as identities merge and re-emerge. more..

Proposed Electoral Reforms Will Reduce Muslim Representation

Aug 1 (FI) The submissions of the Interim Report of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Electoral Reforms was followed by a series of interviews of senior representatives of political parties and by a few articles on the subject in the Daily Mirror and Sunday Times. Having made written representations in due time to the PSC on the question of providing adequate representation in Parliament to the Muslim community without fruit, I write this in the context of the Final Report which is forthcoming; the main idea is more..

Approaching Ethnic Problem as Terrorist is like Catching Cobra by its tail

Aug 1 (FI) Some of our political leaders are, as it is said, trying to catch the cobra by the tail, based on the presumption that there is no ethnic problem but only a terrorist problem. What they do not realise is that it is suicidal to catch the cobra that way. Reminiscing of the pre-Independence days, there seems to have been no ethnic issue but only a host of national issues, such as winning full Independence, language problem where the mother tongue is neglected, more..

Intellectual property rules hold back poor countries: expert

Aug 1 (LBO) Developing countries Sri Lanka must be provided policy space in areas like intellectual property and get a comparative advantage in world markets, academics say. “There is a great divide between the rich world and the poor world. We can see astonishing wealth being enjoyed by some countries [while] billions of people experience enormous poverty,” Tony Anghie, professor of law in the University of Utah says. more..

Eastern Province elections: Sri Lanka Peace Secretariat writes to Co-Chairs

Aug 1 (ISL) Your attention may have been drawn last week to articles in some newspapers which claimed that the LTTE had declared there would be a bloodbath in the East if elections were held. I believe the articles appeared only in Tamil language papers, so it may be necessary for you to ask for a precise translation of what was said. more..

Erik Solheim exposed by Norwegians Against Terrorism

Aug 1 (AT) With extracts drawn from Erik Solheim’s book “Nærmere" the Norwegians Against Terorism (NAT), an Oslo based NGO, has highlighted aspects of Solheim’s career which includes -his role as a recruit to the Norwegian Air Force during which time he was sentenced to jail for stealing the uniform of an officer - his relationship with Arne Fjotoft, the man who headed the Norwegian World View aid organisation which was riddled with corruption, more..

Sri Lanka needs more protectionist agricultural policies: agri economist

Aug 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka needs a more protectionist trade policy to ensure vulnerable sections of society are protected from the negative effects of liberalization while enabling its advantages to be exploited, a top agricultural economist said. "There must be proper timing of liberalization," Anura Herath, senior agricultural economist of the Ministry of Agriculture Development said Tuesday. more..

Sri Lanka to go for higher volume with 'good' offer for sovereign bond: CB Governor

Aug 1 (LBO) Attractive offers from international banks for a sovereign bond has made it likely that Sri Lanka will raise 500 million dollars rather than 400 million dollars, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. "It is likely that we will go for 500 million dollars," Cabraal told LBO. "I think the rates were good." more..

New railway carriages to arrive next month

Aug 1 (GDI) Following the cabinet approval for the procurement of passenger carriages for Sri Lanka Railway, the Transport Ministry has taken steps to import 100 new railway carriages from China. Accordingly the first fleet of 25 carriages will reach Sri Lanka by 03 September, which is scheduled to ship from China on 20 August. According to relevant Ministry officials, the remaining 75 carriages will arrive here with in the next three months in three separate fleets consisting 25 in each. more..

National programme for the development of Kithul products

Aug 1 (GDI) The Government has launched a national programme for the development of Kithul palm products. Kithul has been used in the country for many centuries. However, sugar had taken its place a two or three centuries ago. Kithul has been the main source of sweetener for Sri Lankans. The trunk of the palm has been used as a hard timber. Until recently sweet toddy, treacle and other products made out of kithul sap were produced only for the domestic market. more..

Aid 'pouring' into east development

Aug 1 (BBC) War and the development are two things that could not go together, the Sri Lankan government said. Addressing the first public rally in the eastern province after recapturing the area from Tamil Tigers, Minister Felix Perera said the government is determine to call for local elections in the east as soon as possible. "However, you would not get everything at once," the Fisheries minister warned. more..

Refugee seeks permission to stay outside camp

Aug 1 (Hindu) A 29-year-old Sri Lankan refugee, accused of running a brothel, has moved the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the Collector here to extend the permission, which expired on Tuesday, allowing her to stay outside the special camp for refugees. Disposing of her writ petition, Justice V. Ramasubramanian said the Collector was at liberty to pass appropriate orders after hearing the petitioner and considering the objections raised by the Police Commissioner, more..

80 fisher folk societies meet the President

Aug 1 (LD) As a result of a series of agitations by the fisher folk from the 23rd - 31st July, and a protest rally on the 30th July, the President gave their unions an opportunity, to discuss matters with him. Accordingly, representatives of 80 fisheries societies including those in areas such as Negombo and Chilaw began a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa at around 10 a.m. today (Aug. 01). more..

Students of University of Aesthetic studies tear gassed as well

Aug 1 (LD) In a recurrence of events inside three days, the police used teargas on students of the University of Aesthetic Studies who were staging a protest at Lipton Circus in Colombo today to demand solutions to problems in their campus. When the protesting students attempted to march to the University Grants Commission (UGC) to seek a meeting with its chairman to discuss grievances, they were confronted by the police who blocked their path with barbed wire barriers. more..

Tamil Nadu fishermen ‘net’ two 120 mm ‘ammo’

Aug 1 (PISL) Two 120 mm mortar rounds which had accidentally fallen overboard during a mid-sea transfer carried out by the LTTE in Indian waters had been found off Kanyakumari, a fishing village on the Tamil Nadu coast over the weekend. The chance recovery made about 15 nautical miles off Uvary by Tamil Nadu fishermen highlighted the LTTE’s continuing presence in the Indian waters. The bombs, each weighing 20-25 kgs had been neatly packed in wooden boxes. more..

For Peace to prevail Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism should subside -Bishop

Aug 1 (LNP) `It is extremely difficult for the people to enjoy their rights and dignity as equal citizens of a country as long as Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism prevails here,` said the Bishop of Jaffna, Rev. Dr. Thomas Saundaranayagam Tuesday, addressing a gathering to mark the tenth year completion of the service in providing nutrition feeding to schoolchildren in Vanni by the Human Development Centre (HUDEC-Caritas), the social arm of the Catholic Church of Jaffna, sources in Vanni said. more..

Australia tightens noose on Lankan visa applicants

Aug 1 (LNP) The Australian government has tightened the noose on Sri Lankan visa applicants, especially those seeking student visas, in the wake of the ongoing conflict in the country and has also updated its travel advisory to Australian tourists asking them to reconsider the need to visit the country. The Daily Mirror learns the Austrlian High Commission in Colombo has rejected several visa applications from students, mostly Tamil students from the north and east, seeking to enter Australia for higher education purposes on the basis that they may try to stay back illegally. more..

Politico`s brother mining sand illegally, claim residents

Aug 1 (LNP) Residents in Polonnaruwa have complained to the environmental authorities that the brother of a powerful Minister in the area backed by a paramilitary group is engaged in illegal sand mining along the Mahaweli Ganga close to the Manampitiya Bridge. They say that the politician`s brother is carrying out large-scale sand mining using backhoes. `This person resorts to thuggery to keep the small-scale sand miners away,` another resident said. more..

Drug Policy to banish ad-hoc pricing

Aug 1 (LNP) The National Drug Policy, drafted by the National Drug Authority to streamline and monitor pharmacies and end the current practice of ad-hoc drug pricing is to be implemented this year, Health Department sources said. A Health Ministry spokesman said they were hopeful of implementing the law within this year. `The Minister is determined to leave no stone unturned and ensure a perfect Act with no loopholes for offenders to go scot-free,` he said. more..

Essential food prizes stable for next 2 months

Aug 1 (GDI) Under the prize stabilization agreement reached with the Essential Food Commodities Importers and Traders Association, the Government will maintain the lowest prices for many of the food items including all the essential food items, Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Cooperative Service and Consumer Affairs Bandula Gunawardena said. The Government will maintain this price rate at all it’s outlets for the up coming two months. more..

Boom in IT literacy rate

Aug 1 (SAMN) ICTA Consultant J.K Perera said the country’s IT literacy rate is between 15 percent to 20 percent. ICTA is targeting to increase this amount to 60 percent. Earlier only the Western Province contributed to the country’s IT literacy level. But there is a significant growth in the rural communities who have IT literacy. Under the Nenasala initiative ICTA was able to establish 400 Nenasala units around the country. The 400th Nenasala was established yesterday at the Colombo District Secretariat. more..

Pictorial: Kaavadi, Milk Pot carrying devotees fulfill vows in Colombo

Aug 1 (TW) Festival of Paal Kudam (Milk Pots) and Kaavadi of the Arulmigu Sri Sivasubramaniya Swamy Temple in Ginthupitty was held on July 29 th 2007 in the morning. Six hundred devotees have fulfilled their vows by carrying Paal Kudam (Milk Pots) on their heads, and Kaavadi on their shoulders. The festival was spectacular. Kaavadi-Kaavu means carry, thadi means piece of polished wood. more..

Only forces personnel to carry arms

Aug 1 (SAMN) Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, reiterated that there was no need for anyone but the security forces to carry arms in the east, the government peace secretariat said Tuesday. “There was no need whatsoever for arms to be borne by anyone except the security forces, and such activities should be stopped,” the secretary said addressing a meeting to discuss the eastern development programme held in Colombo last week. more..

Sri Lanka rupee flat near lows, shares end weaker

Aug 1 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee ended flat on Wednesday near life lows, while shares fell as small investors sold telecom shares and foreign investors bought stocks in conglomerate John Keells Holdings in high turnover, traders said. The rupee ended at 111.77/111.81 per dollar compared to Tuesday's close of 111.75/111.83. The rupee closed at 111.75/111.85 on July 23, which in turn equalled life lows hit at 111.78/111.82 the previous week. more..

Remembering Professor Nandadasa Kodagoda

Aug 1 (SAMN) The Tenth death anniversary of the late Professor Nandadasa Kodagoda falls on Thursday. Emeritus senior Professor in Forensic Medicine, Professor Nandadasa Kodagoda was a former Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Colombo, and was later appointed its Vice Chancellor. He was the Chairman of the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board and the Chairman of the Alcohol and Drug Information Centre. more..

Railways AGM charged with corruption

Aug 1 (SAMN) The Colombo Magistrate Tuesday fixed trial in the case against an Additional General Manager attached to the Department of Railways, who was arrested for the alleged misappropriation of nearly Rs. 10 million. The accused, G. R. Padmasiri Chandratilake, was arrested by the Commission to Investigate into Allegations of Bribery or Corruption and charged under the Bribery Act. more..

Govt. to raise local food production

Aug 1 (DN) The Government under the auspices of President Mahinda Rajapaksa will shortly launch a massive “ Food Production drive “ to increase the country’s indigenous food production. Under this food development drive, the Agricultural Development Ministry intends to cultivate 15 different crop varieties unique to each area islandwide, Agricultural Development and Agrarian Services Development Ministry Secretary T. M. Abeywickrema told farmers at a discussion yesterday. more..

Child Rights awareness programme for police

Aug 1 (DN) A programme to empower police on child rights organised by the Monitoring and Review division of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka was held at the Ananda Jayasekara Conference Hall, Tourist Police, Polonnaruwa on July 26 and 27. There were about 58 participants from the police stations of Polonnaruwa district. Special attention was given to the officers of the Women and Children’s desk of the Police stations in selecting participants. more..

Ministry to stop training Nurses, Paramedics by 2009

Aug 1 (DM) The Ministry of Health will stop training Nurses and Paramedical staff by the year 2009, as the full cadre required for state hospitals for the two professions would then have been filled, Minister of Health Care and Nutrition, Nimal Siripala De Silva said yesterday. He added the training of Nurses and Paramedical staff will be carried out by universities in the future, and Nurses will have the opportunity of obtaining a degree while Paramedical staff will be able to read for their BSc. more..

New State co. to compete with private sector

Aug 1 (DM) The Cost of Living Committee decided yesterday to establish a new state company, affiliated to the Co-operative Wholesale Establishment (CWC), to import essential items and market them in competition with the private sector and to purchase local produce. The Committee, chaired by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka, took this decision as a part of the government’s plan to cushion the burden of the consumer created by the soaring cost of living. more..

Fighting between troops and rebels kills 6 in volatile northeast

Aug 1 (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers killed three Tamil Tiger rebels fleeing the island's northeast early Wednesday, a day after a bomb blast blamed on rebels killed three soldiers in the north, the military said. Soldiers ambushed the rebels in Thambalagamuwa town, in eastern Trincomalee district, about 215 kilometers (135 miles) northeast of the capital, Colombo, said military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe. more..

Tea, Garments Win Buyer Approval for Labour Practices

Aug 2 (IPS) Sri Lanka is regularly hauled up by western donors for its dismal human rights record, but its biggest exports, tea and garments, are gaining global recognition for ensuring workers' rights and welfare. Products like "ethical teas" and "ethical bras" (lingerie), which recognise labour rights in the workplace, have gained significant consumer loyalty in U.S. and European markets. more..

Sri Lanka to sell treasuries at post offices, central bank offices

Aug 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank which runs the public debt office for the finance ministry opened a new network of offices to sell treasury bills to retail customers with the help of a state-owned savings bank. Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said central bank regional offices in Matale, Anuradhapura as well as regional offices of the cheque clearing house will be used to sell treasury bills to the public. more..

Sri Lanka insurer makes motor accident claims even easier

Aug 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Union Assurance made it easier to claim motor accident insurance in the highly competitive industry by allowing policy holders to drive off without waiting for assessors to arrive for inspections. A few years ago another insurer transformed the industry by doing away with the requirement for a police report, giving claims in cash on the spot. more..