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Sri Lanka 'drops war censorship'

Nov 1 (BBC) Sri Lanka's government says it is lifting measures to restrict reporting of the island's civil war, just hours after news of the censorship emerged. The cabinet decided to withdraw the law because of the improved behaviour of the media, a government spokesman said. He said the measures were imposed after inaccurate reporting of rebel attacks by some independent radio stations. more..

First phase of Hambantota Port construction to be completed in 3 ½ years

Nov 1 (GDI) “The Government is expecting to conclude the first phase of the Hambantota Port construction in three and half years,” stated the Minister Ports and Aviation Chamal Rajapaksa at the inauguration ceremony of the Hambanthota Port’s construction work today (31st). He added that the financial agreement for the Hambanthota Port Development project with the EXIM bank of China was signed yesterday under the patronage of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Patriotic Marketing initiative in Sri Lanka

Nov 1 (LR) In 1977, Sri Lanka entered into open economy and we were the first to adapt this free market philosophy in the region. India adapted the same in decade later and China is still transitioning into open economy from the communist regime. We were the first to adapt it, still where are we now? India and China has become the new giants in world economy while we have become a nation that depends on other courtiers for mere existence. more..

Former top official of Water Board arrested in fraud case

Nov 1 (LD) A former Deputy General Manager of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWS&DB) was arrested by the CID and produced before the Colombo Chief Magistrate's court today (Oct. 31st) in connection with an alleged swindling of more than Rs. 11 million at NWS&DB's Ampara Division office. The complaint against Premakumar Fernando was lodged with the CID by an Internal Auditor of NWS&DB Priyasumana Fernando in September. more..

Central Bank sees inflation moderating

Nov 1 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's inflation rate is expected to moderate and come down to single digit levels by the end of 2008, but monetary policy will remain tight for sometime, the country's central bank governor said on Wednesday. Inflation as measured on a 12-month moving average was 17.5 percent in September -- its highest level in 13 years -- rising from 17.3 percent in August and way above 11.2 percent in September last year. more..

Sri Lanka A ease to series win

Nov 1 (CI) A comfortable eight-wicket victory for the Sri Lankans in the second one-dayer against Zimbabwe Select saw them take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. After their bowlers had restricted the Zimbabweans to a modest 146, unbeaten half-centuries from captain Tillakaratne Dilshan and Malinda Warnapura guided them to victory with more than 20 overs to spare. The Zimbabweans' decision to bat first backfired as they lost Vusi Sibanda and Chamu Chibhabha with just 13 on board. more..

Sri Lankan Tamils, the ‘Cats Paw’ of the Church

Nov 1 (AT) The Christian denominations were first introduced to Ceylon by the Portuguese who invaded the country in 1505. Their reign was confined mainly to the coastal areas of the country and they vandalized the property in those areas raping women and brutally enforcing their will on the people. Their vagrancy was such that even today when the Sri Lankan landscape is dotted with the ancient ruins of a bygone civilization, the areas occupied by Portuguese are conspicuous by the absence of such evidence. more..

Sri Lanka Points out Inherent Contradictions on International Migration

Nov 1 (AT) In a key note presentation on the subject of globalization, migration and human rights, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam said there are inherent contradictions in several countries with regard to their rhetoric and practice on migration issues. Often it can be observed that migration is being simultaneously encouraged and combated. Policy pronouncements often vary with informal arrangements that are tolerated. more..

India, Sri Lanka to finetune economic alliance by Dec

Nov 1 (TOI) India and Sri Lanka will conclude negotiations for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement by the end of this year. The agreement also provides for opening up the services sector including financial services in both countries. “We are also considering opening up accounting and legal services, which are relatively easier compared to banking. For this, we have to arrive at an understanding with the respective regulators of these professions in India,” more..

Om Shanthi and to Hambantota it would go!

Nov 1 (ISL) The opposition claimed 17 aircrafts were damaged. Some media said 08 were destroyed and 09 badly damaged. But the Opposition never said the most crucial of the losses by the AF was the Beech craft, the most sophisticated spy craft bought in July 2002 during the best period of the Cease Fire Agreement when talks were being scheduled. President Rajapaksa had said he is not worried about all that but only worried about the security forces personnel who lost their lives. more..

Malinga locked and loaded

Nov 1 (BT) Sri Lanka is banking on gunslinging pace outlaw Lasith Malinga to blast a hole through Australia's top order this summer. The speed merchant will be unleashed against Queensland on Friday in the three-day game at Allan Border Field, with the Bulls batsmen the first to taste Malinga's fiery brand of bowling on this tour after he was kept under wraps against the Chairman's XI. more..

Hidden hope: A visit to a Sri Lankan Tea estate

Nov 1 (BNT) Television news bombards us daily with images of global destruction, famine, disease, and wars. No wonder we despair at the future mankind is forging for itself, one filled with hopelessness and religious fanatics hiding behind guns. However, what the news does not show is a modified trend amongst the citizens of the world - a transfer from salvation to liberation; a change in mindset and taking responsibility, teaching other like-minded individuals by example. more..

Maldives, Sri Lanka to sign MoU on sharing defence intelligence

Nov 1 (RMG) In its latest bid to counter terrorism in the Maldives, the country on Thursday will enter into a key MoU on sharing defence intelligence with the neighboring Sri Lanka. The move follows a series of measures to curb extremism after the September 29 blast in Male’. Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama is expected to arrive here tomorrow for the signing of the MoU. more..

The Muslim Dream of Returning Home

Nov 1 (FI) “When I went home again for the first time, I thought, this is the soil I was born in. This is the smell of my land, the red fields, the earth as red as blood. This is what my own land looks like. I wept. I screamed. All the memories I had as a child of every place. When we came home from school we would find the bodies of the slain. Once the helicopter came, the army, and bombed us. I remember all of this. Now we are like tourists. more..

Consensus building for peace

Nov 1 (ISL) What are the fundamental principles that should govern a process that seeks to achieve a lasting peace? How does the public view the present military strategy of weakening the LTTE and what are their expectations of the LTTE? What are the constitutional reforms that are likely to be most acceptable to the Sinhala majority and the Muslim minority? How can peace and normalcy be restored to the north and east? more..

Supremo Gamini’s words came true

Nov 1 (ISL) Gamini’s words came true! - In the last days of the life of the supremo of the silver screen Gamini Fonseka, I told him that the country and the people will forever remember him with gratitude for his services and his name will be written in golden letters in our history. “Are you mad?” He shot back. I asked him why. “The Sinhala people have short memories and, with the passage of time, I’ll be forgotten as it has happened to others”, he said in a deep voice looking up to the sky. more..

We're here to win

Nov 1 (CI) With one warm-up out of the way and one to come before the two-Test series against Australia, competition for Test places is hotting up. I tore my left hamstring in the first tour match against the Chairman's XI in Adelaide, and my focus will be on trying to make the first Test. The openers, Sanath Jayasuriya and Marvan Atapattu, had a fantastic start in that game, with a century stand. more..

UNP wants to reunite with breakaway group

Nov 1 (LD) The United National Party needs to reunite with its breakaway group as part of its efforts to ensure majority strength for toppling the present government, National organizer S.B. Dissanayake says. "They are not enemies of the UNP," Dissanayake told the media in Colombo today (Nov. 01st). However, he said that nothing has been done at official level to bring them back together. more..

Foreign Minister visits Maldives

Nov 1 (GDI) Minister of Foreign Affaires Rohitha Bogollagama is currently on an official visit to Maldives to discuss on gifting of a library building to the Maldives. Minister Bogollagama who left Sri Lanka yesterday (31) will be continuing his stay in Maldives till 02nd November. according to the MoU signed between Sri Lanka and the Maldives on Cooperation in the area of Education, the Government of Sri Lanka constructed a library building in Male’ for the Maldives College of Higher Education to more..

Wheat Flour and Agriculture off Season keeps Cmb. Price Index high

Nov 1 (GDI) The Department of Census and Statistics in their monthly report on Price Situation in Colombo announces that the Prices of Sour Plantains, most varieties of Fresh Fish and Dried Fish and Potatoes have decreased during the month of October. According to a media release issued by the Department the Consumer Price Index of the Colombo City (CCPI) for all items of this year’s month of October was posted at 5723.0 index points, more..

US condemns the LTTE attack on Anuradhapura

Nov 1 (GDI) The recent LTTE attack on the Anuradhapura Air Force Base was condemned by the US. The US Ambassador in Sri Lanka, Robert Blake addressing a gathering of a administrative and executive officers participating at a workshop in promoting good governance and transparency in public service at the CTC Conference Hall, Anuradhapura recently, stated that the US Government and its people condole over the deaths of Air Force personnel in the Anuradhapura Air Force Base attack recently and also condemn the attack. more..

Destiny of housemaid Rizana hangs in the balance

Nov 1 (AT) There is no change in the status of Rizana Nafeek, a native of Mutur, employed as a housemaid, who was sentenced to be beheaded by a Shari’a court in Dawadmi, Saudi Arabia, that she had murdered an infant in her care in 2005. Reliable sources revealed that her destiny still hangs in the balance. Hussain Bhaila, Sri Lanka’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs said, “There is no change in the sentencing of Rizana up to yesterday, and we are following it up at legal and diplomatic levels.” more..

Sri Lanka women keeping economy afloat - UN

Nov 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka is depending on women to earn foreign revenues more than any other country in the world with the bulk of worker remittances and export earnings generated by women, a UN official said. "If you look at both Sri Lanka's primary exports and remittances, women dominate the sectors," said Omar Noman, chief of policy changes and macro economic development at the UN Development Program. more..

Sri Lanka should lower inflation to protect poor people: World Bank

Nov 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka should lower inflation to protect the poor and take steps to clear economic imbalances that were building up, a top visiting World Bank official said. "The rate of inflation is approaching 20 percent, and the government budget deficit and debt levels are too high," World Bank managing director Graeme Wheeler told reporters in Colombo. Sri Lanka has fiscal deficits of more than 8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and more..

Lanka weakest in tackling oil shock

Nov 1 (BL) Sri Lanka has been ranked among Asia’s five weakest countries that could tackle the shock of soaring oil prices. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in a special report released last week listed Sri Lanka along with Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Maldives among those vulnerable for oil shock. This was due to their relatively weak economic capacity to absorb oil price shocks and due to high dependence on imported oil. more..

Corruption booms this year

Nov 1 (BL) Corruption in Sri Lanka has seen a drastic increase this year in comparison to last year, with the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption having already received 549 complaints during the last 10 months alone, in comparison to a total of 401 last year. However, Bribery Commission Director Investigations SSP Neville Guruge, addressing a news conference yesterday, said that when taking both bribery and corruption complaints together, the numbers have seen a drop in comparison to 2006. more..

Inland Revenue Department using underhand tactics to block investigations

Nov 1 (BL) High ranking officials in the Department of Inland Revenue are trying to obstruct the Auditor General’s Department’s investigation into the staggering Rs. 360 billion tax and the Rs. 3.57 billion VAT scam, The Bottom Line learns. The Department’s Senior Commissioner of the Internal Audit Division P. Wickramasena, in a letter to the Auditor General has informed him that it is ‘impossible’ to give all the information he has requested. more..

Corporates to Govt: Resolve tax issues

Nov 1 (BL) Representatives of the Ceylon Chamber Of Commerce (CCC) met with Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera recently, to present him with the private sector’s expectations and input into next week’s Budget presentation. The Chamber’s Deputy Vice Chairman, Dr. Anura Ekanayake, said the trade body requested the government not to introduce any new taxes or impose any ad hoc increases. He said the Treasury Secretary was sympathetic of the high inflationary scenario and prevailing tax system, and more..

This cop could not be bought

Nov 1 (LNP) SSP Neville Guruge, Director Investigations, Commission to Investigate Allegations against Bribery or Corruption had a different story on Tuesday in an era where policemen are being regularly copped on charges of bribery. The Crimes OIC Kalutara South was offered a bribe and he promptly tipped off Guruge`s sleuths. A trap was set and the men offering the bribe of Rs. 100,000 were arrested. more..

Media Center lie exposed, Tri-services Board begins work

Nov 1 (LNP) Contrary to denial by the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) and the Military Spokesman, a tri-services board headed by Navy Chief Vice Admiral has been appointed to investigate the recent LTTE raid on Anuradhapura SLAF base. Army Chief of Staff Major General Lawrence Fernando has been included in the five-man investigation team. Sittings are expected to begin shortly. more..

Parliament not prorogued to avoid appointing committees -- Basil

Nov 1 (LNP) Special Advisor to the President and newly sworn in MP, Basil Rajapaksa told the Daily Mirror that any prorogation of Parliament would not be a move to avoid appointing committees on several controversial issues. The government yesterday expressed concern over its future, while maintaining it was not proroguing Parliament to annul some of the Parliamentary committees and preclude the appointment of certain select committees on controversial matters. more..

Guard dogs as pet poodles, milch cows and consumers

Nov 1 (LNP) In a democracy, it is the public interest that should take precedence over everything else. But, in this country, it has been relegated to the dustbin. The various institutions that have been set up to safeguard the public interest have undergone castration at the hands of powerful politicians and businessmen. The surreptitious insertion of Section 77 into the CAA Act in favour of Prima Company is a case in point. more..

JVP agitates against rising CoL

Nov 1 (SAMN) Sri Lanka Marxist People's Liberation Front (JVP) began a weeklong countrywide agitations starting today, urging the government to bring down cost of living and rein in corruption. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake charging that mass scale money printing by the government has caused inflation to rise to 20 per cent said that the protest campaign will be held at major towns countrywide from November 1 to 6 against government’s wrong economic policies and corruption. more..

SC saves Asokamala for now

Nov 1 (SAMN) The Supreme Court Wednesday issued an interim order restraining the Wildlife Conservation Department Director, the Environment Minister, the Sports Minister and four others from transferring/ exporting/ gifting nine year-old female elephant ‘Asokamala’ to Yerevan Zoo of Armenia in Azerbaijan or any other destination outside Sri Lanka’s jurisdiction until November 21. more..

Karuna Group on abduction spree

Nov 1 (SAMN) The SLMM continued to raise concerns over the activities of the Karuna group in the east while the latter is now seeking a meeting with the SLMM Head Lars Solvberg. The SLMM weekly situation report stated that it had registered several complaints on abductions and killings in the east, with the Karuna Group being the reported perpetrator in all the abduction cases. more..

Govt. facing grave threat: Basil

Nov 1 (SAMN) Special Advisor to the President and newly sworn in MP, Basil Rajapaksa said Wednesday, prorogation of Parliament would not be a move to avoid appointing committees on several controversial issues. The government Wednesday expressed concern over its future, while maintaining it was not proroguing Parliament to annul some of the Parliamentary committees and preclude the appointment of certain select committees on controversial matters. more..

Household meters to go electronic

Nov 1 (DN) The present outdated electricity meters will shortly be replaced by electronic meters throughout the country, said Power and Energy Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne, yesterday. This follows a survey conducted by a three member committee comprising members, Prof. Nalin Wickremaarachchi (Chairman), Dr. Narendra de Silva and Ceylon Electricity Board Deputy General Manager W.D.M. Xavier. more..

Lanka to achieve 100% literacy by 2011

Nov 1 (DN) Sri Lanka would achieve 100% literacy by 2011, beating UNESCO's 2015 target for education goals, by enacting proposals in Mahinda Chinthana Education Minister Susil Premajayantha said yesterday, launching technology giant IBM's Kidsmart IT programme which is expected to integrate IT in to the primary education curriculum. The Kidsmart programme is intended at bringing the latest technology to the door step of the primary education sector, and more..

Malaka case: Magistrate orders to get AG’s advice

Nov 1 (DM) The Mount Lavinia Magistrate yesterday ordered the Bambalapitiya police to forward the case files to the Attorney General for advice in connection with the alleged pistol attack by non-cabinet Labour Minister’s son, Malaka Silva on a patron of a restaurant. Additional Magistrate Ms. Dharshika Wimalasiri also ordered to get instructions on the complaint filed by Malaka Silva against Chartered Accountant Chaminda Senasinghe. more..

Bus commuter seeks court order to remove bus boss

Nov 1 (DM) A bus commuter has filed a writ application in the Court of Appeal seeking an order to remove the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Transport Board. The petitioner K. Ruchira of Bandaragama complained that an unqualified person had been appointed as the head of the SLTB and asked court to issue an order to remove him. The case was taken up before the President of the Appeal Court K. Sripavan and more..

Civil War Brutality Hits New Lows

Nov 1 (IPS) While Sri Lanka’s minister for human rights Mahinda Samarasinghe has denied allegations by a top United Nations official that torture is ‘routine’ in the country, there is little doubt that the renewed civil war has resulted in brutality hitting new lows. In a report on his visit to the island in October, U.N. special rapporteur on torture Manfred Novak said it was "widely practiced," and noted more..

Sri Lanka's budget deficit, debt too high - Word Bank

Nov 1 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's budget deficit and debt levels are too high and renewed civil war with Tamil Tiger rebels is holding back the island's $26 billion economy, a top World Bank official warned on Thursday. "Sri Lanka's economic growth is slowing and it needs to address important macroeconomic imbalances. The rate of inflation is approaching 20 percent, and the government budget deficit and debt levels are too high," more..

Lanka looks to India to tide over milk crisis

Nov 1 (HT) Sri Lanka is looking to India and China to beat down the soaring price of powdered milk, and meet a severe shortage. The Minister for Trade, Bandula Gunawardene, told Daily Mirror earlier this week, that an Indian and Chinese company had sent samples for quality assessment, and that government would allow import of cheaper milk of good quality. It is not clear as to how much powdered milk Indian manufacturers may be able to supply, because more..

Sri Lanka's weak rule of law alarming for economy: World Bank

Nov 1 (AFP) A top World Bank official on Thursday urged Sri Lanka to cut a political deal with Tamil rebels to help spur economic growth which has been hit by an "alarming" disregard for the rule of law. "The conflict remains a major obstacle to Sri Lanka achieving its full potential," the World Bank's Managing Director Graeme Wheeler said after meeting community leaders in Sri Lanka. more..

14 rebels killed in new Sri Lanka fighting, jets pound training base, military says

Nov 1 (AP) Two fierce battles erupted between government troops and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in northern Sri Lanka on Thursday, leaving 14 rebels dead, while air force jets pounded a rebel base, the military said. A group of rebels attacked the government's forward defense line at Muhamalai at dawn, prompting soldiers to push forward and destroy four rebel bunkers, more..

Any Human Rights organitation can visit Sri Lanka -President

Nov 1 (GDI) Addressing a public-rally following the inspection ad progress of the construction of the massive international sea port in Hambantota, President Mahinda Rajapaksa mentioned that today there were no signs of dreaded tyre-pyre burnings, floating bodies in rivers, torture chambers of Batalanda fame and therefore Human Rights organizations could come to the country, travel to any nook and corner of Sri Lanka investigate and prove of Human Rights violations if any. more..

In Sri Lanka, war dead don't add up

Nov 1 (AFP) Judging by Sri Lankan government accounts of Tamil Tiger dead after decades of fighting, there should hardly be any rebels left. Yet the guerrillas keep on fighting, and apparently dying in large numbers -- pointing either to an unlimited pool of combatants or a government wish to boost morale by playing up its prowess on the battlefield. Analysts suspect it is more a case of the latter. more..

Sri Lanka should lower inflation to protect poor people: World Bank

Nov 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka should lower inflation to protect the poor and take steps to clear economic imbalances that were building up, a top visiting World Bank official said. "The rate of inflation is approaching 20 percent, and the government budget deficit and debt levels are too high," World Bank managing director Graeme Wheeler told reporters in Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka telco slashes broadband fees with Wimax

Nov 2 (LBO) Dialog Broadband Networks, a unit of Dialog Telekom launched broadband services offering high download speeds at competitive prices which can potentially take-over the corporate leased line market for internet, officials said. The firm uses Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMax) to offer download speeds of up to 4Megabits per second for a monthly fee of 13,000 rupees and a connection fee of 5000 rupees. more..