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MR orders probe

Aug 1 (NN) President Mahinda Rajapakse has ordered an investigation into the attack on the news editor of the Uthayan newspaper. Gnasundaram Kuganathan sustained serious head injuries in the attack and is in critical condition at a hospital in Jaffna. Bandula Jayasekera, Director General of the President’s media unit said that the President has instructed the police chief to submit a report on the attack. Kuganathan was attacked on Friday with iron rods by two men more..

Two with LTTE links repatriated to Sri Lanka

Aug 1 (Bernama) Two people detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for links with terrorist group LLTE have been repatriated to Sri Lanka. Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said details on the repatriation of the two will be revealed tomorrow. He said the ministry is considering to release Immigration Department officers detained under ISA for their involvement in human trafficking. "We are considering to release the officers as they may have more..

Jayalalithaa reiterates demand for Lanka economic embargo

Aug 1 (ANI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has urged the Central Government to impose an economic embargo on Sri Lanka for alleged 'war crimes' and atrocities committed on the ethnic Tamil community by the Mahinda Rajapakse-led Government. A recent UN report accused Colombo of targeting Tamil civilians during the army onslaught on the militant outfit, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), in 2008-2009. more..

Ruhuna wins inter-provincial T20 title

Aug 1 (ST) Ruhuna emerged as champions of the Sri Lanka Cricket inter-provincial Twenty20 tournament in a one-over eliminator after the final ended in a thrilling tie in Colombo today. Both teams scored heavily but ended their respective innings at 198 runs apiece forcing the match officials to bowl a decider over per side. Wayamba bowling in the opportunity to defend their title scored six runs but Ruhuna batsmen slammed nine runs in five balls to clinch their first T20 domestic title. more..

Visitors turned away at zoo due to over crowding

Aug 1 (ST) Hundreds of people who turned up to visit the National Zoological gardens at Dehiwala were disappointed as they were turned away on Saturday due to over crowding, an official said. "Even on Sunday we have received a large crowd and even finding it difficult to issue tickets to them", an official said. He said if people would come earlier in the day it would help them to visit the zoo without being disappointed. Some of those who were turned away told more..

Sri Lanka war zone port wrecks out by November

Aug 1 (LBO) An American salvage company has begun clearing wrecks from a port in Sri Lanka's former northern war zone ahead of dredging and repair work that will enable resumption of commercial activity. Resolve Salvage and Fire, a Singapore subsidiary of US-based Resolve Marine Group, said it was awarded the contract for the Kankesanturai harbour wreck removal work by Shipping Corporation of India. Wreck removal is to be completed by mid-November 2011. more..

Officers refuse to drive away elephants from A’pura to give way to ‘Dayata Kirula’

Aug 1 (LT) An operation, urged by a political need due to the holding of ‘Dayata Kirula’ exhibition, to drive wild elephants in Ullukkulama area in Anuradhapura to Wilpattu is underway. However, Forest Officers have rejected participating in the drive due to elephants getting injured in the operation says our reporter in the area. Forest Officers say elephants get blinded and deaf and their hind legs get injured as live bullets and crackers are used in the drive. more..

TULF condemns decision to reduce number seats in Jaffna

Aug 1 (ST) The moderate Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) today called the Commissioner of Elections not to reduce the number of parliamentary seats for the Jaffna district until all persons are resettled in the area. V. Anandasangaree, President of the TULF in a letter to the Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya to recommend to the Government to have the status quo maintained till absolute normalcy is restored and the unauthorized settlements are withdrawn. more..

'Communalism is a disease; there is only one medicine for it'

Aug 1 (LT) Communalism can be defeated only by stabilizing democracy, equality and providing equal opportunities to all says the Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe. He emphasized that time has come to struggle to establish a state of the working people that would include all these qualities. The JVP Leader made these observations participating in the seminar held at the end of the programme ‘Let’s fly together!’ organized by the Socialist Youth Union (SYU) more..

Rizana still hopeful

Aug 1 (NN) Rizana Nafeek, who is on death row in Saudi Arabia, remains hopeful she will be freed soon on humanitarian grounds. Doctor Mrs. Kifaiya Ifthikar, who meets Rizana in prison every month, said that the girl who has been charged with murdering her employer’s child in Saudi Arabia, is in good health and good spirit. Doctor Ifthikar told News that she conveyed a message to the parents of Rizana who are in Muttur, Trincomalee last week. more..

Under the tamarind tree

Aug 1 (Himal) Sri Lanka seems always to have been associated with sorcery, the supernatural and the downright strange. One early account claimed that the island’s inhabitants were a race of magicians, another that the island was full of devils; the modern researcher Patrick Harrigan claims that there are oral traditions that tell of hidden portals through which those with extraordinary mental powers can travel to distant places, even other worlds and dimensions. more..

Stage set for the Kandy Perahera

Aug 1 (ST) The 'Kap' planting ceremony at the four Devales , Maha Vishnu, Natha, Katragama and Godess Pathinim, has taken place marking the commencement of the Kandy Esala Perahera. The 'Kap' which was brought from Aluthnuwara was distributed at the Dedimunda Devale on Saturday at the auspices time of 7.05 am in Kandy. The Diyawadana Nilame Pradeep Nilanga Dela, Basnayake Nilmes of the four Devales Mohan Pannabokke, Rohana Pranagama and S.Wekagodapola were more..

Cuba's Revolution & LTTE's Lost Game

Aug 1 (LG) 58 years ago, on July 26, 1953, 160 Cuban rebels attacked Moncada Barracks near Santiago de Cuba. Had the rebels been able to take the fort with 1,000 troops—a good possibility—it would have started a revolution that might well have defeated the dictatorial regime of Fulgencio Batista within a short time. The main cause for failure was a missing vehicle with their heavy weaponry. Nevertheless they were able to cause three times the numbers of casualties that they suffered. more..

UN HR Rapporteur denied access to Sri Lanka since June 2009

Aug 1 (LG) The Internet is the "key means by which individuals can exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression, as guaranteed by article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights," according to a report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, which was submitted to the body's Human Rights Council recently. more..

Annual festival of Mavaddipuram Hindu Temple culminates

Aug 1 (Cimic) Annual Festival of Mavaddipuram Sri Skandha Hindu Temple that was held for 24 days culminated on Saturday with Water Cutting ceremony at the Keeramalai beach with participation of hundreds of devotees. Hindus from various parts of the country daily attended the poojas in large number since the 6th of July, the first day. Famous cart festival was held on the 26th. Main Pooja on the same day was arranged by the Security Forces more..

Suspicious sand shipment from Hambantota port

Aug 1 (LG) A consignment of 6000 metric tonnes of sand was shipped to the Maldives about two months ago from the new Hambantota port amidst concerns that it may have come from the illegal sand mining business in the area. Port authorities told the media that this was carried out by a private company that had brought in a vessel of 8 metres depth to the port. Officers from the Customs Department were present on the occasion when the shipment occurred and the due port charges were also levied, more..

Lesson from Norway to unite against extremists

Aug 1 (LG) Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist proved what we were attempting to establish for a long period. That is, terror is a method which can be utilized by either the left or the right. There are many including Kumar the cricketer, who believe that any terror action should be connected to some sort of communism. Sure, Breivik thought himself to be a revolutionary, but he is a committed anti-communist. He thought it was gruesome having to commit these terrorist acts, more..

Heart under attack!

Aug 1 (NS) If statistics are anything to go by, then Dr de Silva’s analogy of the large incidence of NCDs in the country to a ‘tsunami’ is hardly an exaggeration. At present, NCDs account for the highest number of hospital admissions and highest number of deaths in hospitals as well. While heart attacks and cardiovascular problems lead the rest, most of the others follow close behind which is not surprising since each of these NCDs are closely inter-lined and more..

UPFA representing South and TNA representing North must talk to each other seriously

Aug 1 (TC) The North and South are divided in their voting. But they are very clear about who should represent them. Hence, even though the elections were divisive the franchise has become a powerful tool which shows that the political groups of the North and South must sit down and engage in serious discussions. The 2010 Presidential elections, the 2010 General elections and the recently concluded local government elections all show that there is a clear polarisation of more..

Many ills of Sri Lanka stem directly from Kumaratunga political sins of omission and commission

Aug 1 (TC) President Chandrika Kumaratunga always wrote well and spoke eloquently when she resisted a propensity to be overly loquacious. While her recent peroration contains many intelligent and valid points, her credibility and their validity comes into serious question because she is not an independent observer or a reformist leader-in-waiting, but precisely a two term president who won by record majorities, and was indeed the immediate predecessor of the present incumbent. more..

'Reconciliation process was damaged by TNA during election campaign'

Aug 1 (TC) An Interview with Basil Rajapaksa by Namini Wijedasa Q: How would you assess the outcome of the local government election in the north? A: As a country, this result, as well as the results in March 2010, are very encouraging. It gives strength to the president and to the Mahinda Chinthana Idiri Dekma. I don’t want to separate the north from the rest. Q: But the UPFA lost in the North? A: If you analyse election results more..

Editorial: A failed 'Shock and Awe' op

Aug 1 (Island) John Perkins, in his famous book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, tells us how jackals are called in when economic hit men fail to deliver the goods in facilitating the exploitation by the Gobal North of the developing world. These oppressive methods are, however, not confined to the economic front as could be seen from the on-going 'war crimes' offensive against Sri Lanka. When the diplomatic hit men of the West fail to achieve their targets, more..

Editorial: Democracy through undemocratic moves?

Aug 1 (DM) It was certainly an interesting turn of political events that held fort the last couple of days, as the Sajith Pemadasa camp within the UNP sought to remove Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe in a seriously faulty plan of action. Increasingly seen as an arbitrary move far removed from the democracy that so-called reformists are demanding, the conspiracy seemed to have fallen flat on their faces barely hours in- to it coming to light. Quite apart from how an aging more..

Colombo-Matara Expressway: First phase opens in August

Aug 1 (SO) The much awaited first stage of the Colombo-Matara Expressway up to Galle would be opened next month, enabling a driver from Colombo to reach Galle in less than one hour. Though the condition of Sri Lanka’s roads is much better than they were earlier, a highway was a crying need since over 100,000 new vehicles join the road each year. Slow driving and traffic jams result in time and fuel waste, pollution and more accidents. more..

Two routs and a curious blessing

Aug 1 (LB) The facts from last week are well known except for the man who came from Mars, but are still worth the repetition here. Out of 65 local government areas that polled last week, 45 went to the ruling in the UPFA, while 18 out of 26 local bodies in the north and east went to the TNA. This was a rout for the opposition UNP and JVP everywhere in the country, while it was also a rout for the government party in the North which lost badly to the TNA. more..

Channel 4 upsets Mahinda’s victory party

Aug 1 (SL) The UPFA of President Mahinda Rajapaksa scampered home with another decisive victory at the last mini elections by securing more than comfortable majorities in 45 of the 65 areas where the polls were held. This facile victory whether by the use or misuse of state resources was a surprise only to a fractured UNP. True, the ruling party takes all at mini elections as history would show. The opposition has yet to take at least a small portion of the veneer away from a more..

Cement in crisis!

Aug 1 (FT) Construction has ground to a halt with the Rs. 250 billion industry facing a severe cement shortage, say industry experts, calling on the Government and private sector to work together to provide a short-term solution. CIOB President Dr. Rohan Karunaratne told the Daily FT that they had received calls from builders stating that there was such a severe shortage of cement in the country that during the past few days, construction had ground to a virtual halt. more..

Power for 200,000 families in N&E

Aug 1 (NS) Minister Champika Ranawaka, on an inspection tour of the Mahawa consumer services centre on Thursday, July 28 to ascertain its progress, said that moves are afoot to provide electricity to the entire North Western Province. “By next year we hope to provide electricity to the entire province,” the minister said and added that Rs. 8 billion had been allocated to provide electricity to 200,000 families in the province at a cost of Rs. 108,000 allocated for each family. more..

Lanka invites Iranian investors

Aug 1 (Island) Minister Rishad Bathiudeen invited Iranian investors to exploit opportunities in Sri Lanka stressing several areas which could be utilized for development. He made the proposal to visiting Iranian vice Minister Mansour Borghai. He said the country was witnessing an 8 percent growth rate which is expected to increase to 9 percent in 2012 and 13 thereafter while the government focuses to double the percapita income from US$ 2,000 to US$ 4,000 within the next five years. more..

'CATIC deal suspension vindicates us'

Aug 1 (DM) UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva said that his struggle against the CATIC deal appeared to have borne fruit with the govt finally having to suspend the deal. “We are happy to note the new developments with regard to the Galle Face land sale to CATIC where the President had ordered that the sale be halted and the terms and conditions reviewed,” he said. Dr. de Silva said that it was now clear that his party was right from the beginning and more..

Media attacks in ‘Wonder of Asia’

Aug 1 (FT) Dissent is not disloyalty. Yet, time and again it is treated so. In most instances the people to pay that price are journalists and the latest in a long line is the Uthayan News Editor who was attacked and is currently in a critical condition. A senior journalist of Jaffna’s leading newspaper, he was mercilessly attacked on Friday night by two armed men with iron rods. Gnanasundaram Kuhanathan, 58, News Editor of the Uthayan, was attacked when more..

Mathai outlines a series of proposals

Aug 1 (BL) IMF Resident Representative in Sri Lanka Dr Koshy Mathai in an illustrative 60 minute long presentation outlined a range of proposals Sri Lanka needed to adhere to if it was to sustain its healthy growth, which the post war nation was enjoying at present. Speaking at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (ICASL) on ‘Economic Outlook and Policy Issues,’ recently, Dr Mathai impressed upon the need for Sri Lanka to focus more on promoting Sri Lankan exports overseas. more..

Reformists won’t leave UNP

Aug 1 (Island) The group campaigning for Co-Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya to replace Ranil Wickremesinghe as leader will not leave the UNP, but continue their agitation from within, says Rosy Senanayake MP. She said that they would not do a repeat of 2006, when Karu led a revolt to dethrone Ranil and on failing in his mission joined the govt with 17 others. "No, we will not leave the party. We are UNP’ers foremost and want to ensure that more..

Typhoid hepatitis raises head in Colombo

Aug 1 (Island) With Typhoid and Hepatitis raising its ugly head in Colombo again, the Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) with the assistance of the local police have commenced raids on eateries and star class hotels in the metropolis. Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the CMC Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said that the CMC will not issue any food licences to food outlets and even star class hotels unless they adhere to CMC rules and regulations to more..

Rajitha says Sajith has given up his ambition to lead UNP

Aug 1 (Island) On time UNPer Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that UNP stalwart Sajith Premadasa had realized that he could not become UNP Leader therefore he had suggested Co-Deputy Learder Karu Jayasooriya be elected as UNP Leader. The Leadership crisis in the UNP had taken a dramatic turn. Although several UNP stalwarts had changed loyalties, UNP Leader was unruffled because he was certain that he would remain as UNP leader, he said digressing at a media conference more..

Wimal lashes out at JVP over illegal detention claim

Aug 1 (Island) NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa, MP, accused the JVP of playing politics at the expense of Sri Lanka. Former JVP heavyweight, alleged that the bankrupt JVP leadership had thrown its weight behind an ongoing campaign spearheaded by self-exiled Sri Lankan Tamils to haul up Sri Lanka before an international war crimes tribunal. He was responding to allegations that thousands of Tamil political prisoners were being held illegally in spite of the conclusion of more..

Kashmiri Pandits, Sri Lankan Tamils and Indian hypocrisy

Aug 1 (DNA) In two recent books on Kashmir (The New Intifada In Kashmir and A Tangled Web: Jammu & Kashmir), one repeatedly comes across an argument that has lingered during the past 20 years, an argument that is bothersome simply because Indian conservatives use it to hold to ransom any meaningful discussion of the main issue in Kashmir, which is the people’s desire for freedom. This issue is of Kashmiri Pandits and their exile from their homeland. more..

Speaker, other top officials on visit to India

Aug 1 (DM) A top level Parliamentary delegation is to fly to India today (1), confirmed source said. The delegation was due to meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as well as the Lok Sabha Speaker, other top officials on Indian visit The Sri Lanka – India Parliamentary Friendship Association led by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa including Ministers Dinesh Gunawardena, W.D.J. Seneviratne, Rizath Badhiutheen, Deputy Minister Muthu Sivalingam, MPs Selvam Adaikkalanathan, more..

Development Diaries July 27, 2011

Rent-a-car owner disappears with 40 vehicles

Aug 1 (Island) A person who ran a prominent rent-a-car service at Kirulapone has allegedly sold about 40 vehicles, which he had taken on monthly rent. Colombo Fraud Investigation Bureau (CFIB) last Friday recovered one of the missing vehicles opposite Global Towers on the Wellawatte marine drive. A senior police official told The Island that those enticed by high rents had handed over their vehicles without bothering to check on the businessman. more..