Sri lankan's Unbiased Online Daily

Sri lankan's Unbiased Online Daily


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

AIT and Asian University launch first of its kind 5-Year Unified

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Leading the way in innovation for education, The Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) has launched a Five-Year Unified International Bachelor’s-Master’s Degree Program with the Asian University (AU).
The new joint program is the first of its kind in Thailand and provides a fast-track opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree recognized by both schools in less time and at lower cost than traditional programs.

According to the memorandum of agreement (MoA) signed on 27 September by the President of AIT, Prof. Said Irandoust, and the President of AU, Dr. Viphandh Roengpithya, at the celebration of AU’s 10th Anniversary, the strategic tie-up will cover the academic fields of information systems engineering and electrical and electronic engineering. The AIT-AU partnership agreement is expected to produce world-class research scientists and engineers in computer science and telecommunications.

“We are delighted that AIT and the Asian University have agreed to collaborate to offer this first of its kind Five-Year Unified International Bachelor’s-Master’s Degree Program in Thailand. This unique and innovative academic program in computer science and telecommunications brings together the synergies of our two fine
institutions and will benefit all our students immensely,” AIT President Irandoust said at the signing ceremony.

Spread over five years, the program will operate in two phases. Phase one will see participating students spend their first three-and-a-half years of bachelor’s level study at Asian University, located in Chonburi. The accelerated nature of the new curriculum will allow undergraduate students to earn up to 12 master’s level credits by taking advanced level courses, thus eliminating half a year of total course work. Students possessing an accumulative GPA of 3.00 will then enroll at AIT’s campus located in Pathumthani for their last one-and-a-half years of graduate level study leading to a master’s degree.

Officials of both academic institutions stressed the international character of this program. While at AIT, students will study with world-class faculty and scientists using only English, and join students from as many as fifty countries at one of Asia’s most multicultural graduate institutes. The curriculum will be developed and
finalized by both institutions.

Former Prime Minister of Thailand, H.E. Mr. Anand Panyarachun, KBE, who is the founding chair of Asian University, and the former Chairman of the AIT Board of Trustees from 2000-2006, also attended the MoA singing ceremony.

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Fitch Affirms Citibank N.A. Colombo's 'AAA(lka)' National Long-Term Rating

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Fitch Ratings has today affirmed the 'AAA(lka)' National Long-term rating assigned to Citibank N.A.- Colombo Branch (CitiSL). The Outlook remains Stable.
CitiSL is a branch and part of the same legal entity as Citibank N.A. ('AA-' (AA minus)/Rating Watch Negative), which is a fully-owned subsidiary of Citigroup Inc. As such, CitiSL's rating factors in the financial strength of Citibank N.A. which is currently rated higher than the sovereign long-term foreign currency issuer default rating of 'B+'/Stable.
The bank's performance has improved considerably over the last two years. Profits increased by 86.8% yoy in FY07 (6.2% in FY06) and ROA improved to 2.5% in FY07 (FY06: 1.6%), on the back of steady growth in net interest margins (NIM) and rapid increases in non-interest income. Non-interest income has been an important contributor to CitiSL's profits in recent periods with the bank's growing trade finance and investment banking business generating increased revenues in terms of fee and commission income. High fee and commission income earned on the structuring and sale of hedging derivatives also played a particularly important role in H108, causing annualised ROA to rise further to 5.8%.
NIMs have historically been lower than the sector due to CitiSL's large corporate and government loan exposure where margins are generally thinner. However, margins have moved inline with the private licensed commercial bank (LCB) sector since FYE07, and rose to 6.3% in H108 from 4.9% in FY07 (FY06: 4.3%). This is mainly on account of re-pricing within the bank's loan portfolio and increased investments in higher yielding assets.
Due to its stringent credit evaluation criteria and strategic focus, CitiSL's loan exposure has continuously remained at the top end of the credit spectrum. At H108, 85% of loans were to large corporates and 14.5% to the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and GoSL-owned entities. The bank's gross NPL ratio was 0.5% at H108 (0.5% at FY07) and NPLs are fully covered by specific provisions resulting in a zero net NPL/equity ratio.
While CitiSL's selective lending policies have enabled the bank to maintain a healthy loan portfolio - with a gross NPL ratio that is amongst the lowest in the local LCB sector, it has nevertheless resulted in some credit concentration within the lending portfolio. The bank's 20 largest group borrowers accounted for 82% of total loans at H108 (85% at FYE07). As a result, the loan book is susceptible to some fluctuations upon loan settlement. Loan growth was 69.8% yoy at FYE07 and followed a contraction of 21.2% yoy at FYE06.
The bank's asset book is funded primarily from deposits (43.3% at H108), with borrowings at 26.4% at H108 and equity at 20.7% at H108. Furthermore, deposit concentration is high, with the top 20 depositors accounting for 75% of deposits at H108 as deposits are predominantly from corporate and institutional sources.
CitiSL was established in 1979 and functions through a single branch in Colombo. The bank operates within a niche market comprised of multinationals, leading Sri Lankan corporates and the GoSL. It is the third largest foreign bank and accounted for 1.6% of Sri Lankan LCB assets at FYE07.

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Navy Elites destroy two LTTE boats- Pooneryn

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The elite Special Boat Squadron (SBS) sailors of Sri Lanka Navy attacked and destroyed two LTTE assault boats, appeared off Pooneryn Sea last night (Sept 29), Navy sources said.

According to the sources, SBS boats patrolling in area detected the two LTTE boats moving close to the coast from Pooneryn to Kalmunai point (K-point) around 11 PM. The SBS sailors launched a surprise attack at the terror boats and confirmed both boats were destroyed, the sources said.

The sources citing the SBS reports added that there were 8 LTTE cadres onboard and confirmed all were killed in the attack. A search operation has been launched in the area.

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At least 50 terrorists killed, over 20 injured in yesterday's confrontations at Wanni

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Terrorist casualties were observed on the rise according to Wanni battlefield reports as security forces were making their presence felt at the corridor of Kilinochchi, in the verge of mounting a full fledged assault at the Tiger heartland.

Pitched fighting is expected in the forthcoming weeks as troops have taken on positions to flush out the last LTTE presence in the bastion Kilinochchi township, after a decade, defence observers state. Tension prevails according to reliable information within LTTE ranks, after Army Chief Lt. General Sarath Fonseka declared to launch the first rounds at Kilinochchi, this week, addressing a gathering on Thursday (25).

According to finalized military reports received, at least 50 terrorists were killed and 22 others wounded in yesterday's (Sep 29) fighting, at the Kilinochchi and Mullaittivu battle fronts. The surge of LTTE battlefield losses recently, pronounce, of what is expected to come, the observers added.

"Overall, this is totally quite different from what the LTTE and its pay masters had anticipated, taking consideration into its campaign to portrait a 'humanitarian catastrophe' in Wanni. Both the Tamil and International community has shown great resilience keeping faith in the government's stance to liberate thousands stranded with LTTE", he further said.

10 soldiers have laid their lives and 32 others wounded during confrontations with LTTE on Monday.

At the combined Vavuniya - Mullaittivu battlefront, troops clashed with LTTE in several locations reportedly killing 22 terrorists and injuring 2 others. According to reports troops clashed with LTTE at Veddamakilam, Akkarayankulama North, Kokavil North and Palamoddai general areas.

11 terrorists were killed ambushed in general area North of Kokavil, at around 1.25p.m., according to reports. Meanwhile, troops have recovered a decomposed LTTE body along-with 2 T-56 assault riffles, a map and an I-com set during a search operation conducted in general area West of Akkarayankulama. Meanwhile, troops while consolidating defences North West of Mankulama, have come across a barren land stretch, bearing construction signs of a heli-landing pad. This site was earlier targeted by the Air force jets on several occasions, which was used as a training ground for LTTE suicide bombers, military said.

At Kilinochchi battlefront, at Manniyakulama troops repulsed an LTTE counter attack while consolidating defences in the area, at around 10.30a.m. 5 soldiers also laid their lives and 12 others were reported wounded in the fighting, military said.

Separately, troops have recovered an LTTE terrorist body subsequent to a confrontation in general area Kariyalaimodai, at 7a.m. Troops also uncovered a T-56 assault riffle and 3 hand grenades in the search operation.

Meanwhile, troops of the 59 Division operating in general area North of Andankulama confronted have confronted with LTTE in several occasion, reportedly killing 11, while injuring 20 others. According to reports, 5 soldiers have laid their lives and 18 wounded in the confrontations.

In general area Andankulama, troops forced into 8 LTTE bunkers and a 75m length trench line seizing total control, also capturing a haul of weapons from LTTE.At least 50 terrorists killed, over 20 injured in yesterday's confrontations at Wanni

Terrorist casualties were observed on the rise according to Wanni battlefield reports as security forces were making their presence felt at the corridor of Kilinochchi, in the verge of mounting a full fledged assault at the Tiger heartland.

Pitched fighting is expected in the forthcoming weeks as troops have taken on positions to flush out the last LTTE presence in the bastion Kilinochchi township, after a decade, defence observers state. Tension prevails according to reliable information within LTTE ranks, after Army Chief Lt. General Sarath Fonseka declared to launch the first rounds at Kilinochchi, this week, addressing a gathering on Thursday (25).

According to finalized military reports received, at least 50 terrorists were killed and 22 others wounded in yesterday's (Sep 29) fighting, at the Kilinochchi and Mullaittivu battle fronts. The surge of LTTE battlefield losses recently, pronounce, of what is expected to come, the observers added.

"Overall, this is totally quite different from what the LTTE and its pay masters had anticipated, taking consideration into its campaign to portrait a 'humanitarian catastrophe' in Wanni. Both the Tamil and International community has shown great resilience keeping faith in the government's stance to liberate thousands stranded with LTTE", he further said.

10 soldiers have laid their lives and 32 others wounded during confrontations with LTTE on Monday.

At the combined Vavuniya - Mullaittivu battlefront, troops clashed with LTTE in several locations reportedly killing 22 terrorists and injuring 2 others. According to reports troops clashed with LTTE at Veddamakilam, Akkarayankulama North, Kokavil North and Palamoddai general areas.

11 terrorists were killed ambushed in general area North of Kokavil, at around 1.25p.m., according to reports. Meanwhile, troops have recovered a decomposed LTTE body along-with 2 T-56 assault riffles, a map and an I-com set during a search operation conducted in general area West of Akkarayankulama. Meanwhile, troops while consolidating defences North West of Mankulama, have come across a barren land stretch, bearing construction signs of a heli-landing pad. This site was earlier targeted by the Air force jets on several occasions, which was used as a training ground for LTTE suicide bombers, military said.

At Kilinochchi battlefront, at Manniyakulama troops repulsed an LTTE counter attack while consolidating defences in the area, at around 10.30a.m. 5 soldiers also laid their lives and 12 others were reported wounded in the fighting, military said.

Separately, troops have recovered an LTTE terrorist body subsequent to a confrontation in general area Kariyalaimodai, at 7a.m. Troops also uncovered a T-56 assault riffle and 3 hand grenades in the search operation.

Meanwhile, troops of the 59 Division operating in general area North of Andankulama confronted have confronted with LTTE in several occasion, reportedly killing 11, while injuring 20 others. According to reports, 5 soldiers have laid their lives and 18 wounded in the confrontations.

In general area Andankulama, troops forced into 8 LTTE bunkers and a 75m length trench line seizing total control, also capturing a haul of weapons from LTTE.At least 50 terrorists killed, over 20 injured in yesterday's confrontations at Wanni

Terrorist casualties were observed on the rise according to Wanni battlefield reports as security forces were making their presence felt at the corridor of Kilinochchi, in the verge of mounting a full fledged assault at the Tiger heartland.

Pitched fighting is expected in the forthcoming weeks as troops have taken on positions to flush out the last LTTE presence in the bastion Kilinochchi township, after a decade, defence observers state. Tension prevails according to reliable information within LTTE ranks, after Army Chief Lt. General Sarath Fonseka declared to launch the first rounds at Kilinochchi, this week, addressing a gathering on Thursday (25).

According to finalized military reports received, at least 50 terrorists were killed and 22 others wounded in yesterday's (Sep 29) fighting, at the Kilinochchi and Mullaittivu battle fronts. The surge of LTTE battlefield losses recently, pronounce, of what is expected to come, the observers added.

"Overall, this is totally quite different from what the LTTE and its pay masters had anticipated, taking consideration into its campaign to portrait a 'humanitarian catastrophe' in Wanni. Both the Tamil and International community has shown great resilience keeping faith in the government's stance to liberate thousands stranded with LTTE", he further said.

10 soldiers have laid their lives and 32 others wounded during confrontations with LTTE on Monday.

At the combined Vavuniya - Mullaittivu battlefront, troops clashed with LTTE in several locations reportedly killing 22 terrorists and injuring 2 others. According to reports troops clashed with LTTE at Veddamakilam, Akkarayankulama North, Kokavil North and Palamoddai general areas.

11 terrorists were killed ambushed in general area North of Kokavil, at around 1.25p.m., according to reports. Meanwhile, troops have recovered a decomposed LTTE body along-with 2 T-56 assault riffles, a map and an I-com set during a search operation conducted in general area West of Akkarayankulama. Meanwhile, troops while consolidating defences North West of Mankulama, have come across a barren land stretch, bearing construction signs of a heli-landing pad. This site was earlier targeted by the Air force jets on several occasions, which was used as a training ground for LTTE suicide bombers, military said.

At Kilinochchi battlefront, at Manniyakulama troops repulsed an LTTE counter attack while consolidating defences in the area, at around 10.30a.m. 5 soldiers also laid their lives and 12 others were reported wounded in the fighting, military said.

Separately, troops have recovered an LTTE terrorist body subsequent to a confrontation in general area Kariyalaimodai, at 7a.m. Troops also uncovered a T-56 assault riffle and 3 hand grenades in the search operation.

Meanwhile, troops of the 59 Division operating in general area North of Andankulama confronted have confronted with LTTE in several occasion, reportedly killing 11, while injuring 20 others. According to reports, 5 soldiers have laid their lives and 18 wounded in the confrontations.

In general area Andankulama, troops forced into 8 LTTE bunkers and a 75m length trench line seizing total control, also capturing a haul of weapons from LTTE.

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Troops March Forward Sacrificing Their Lives

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WANNI: AS the fourth “Eelam” war was entering a decisive phase with KILINOCHCHI almost in sight, pitched confrontations in the WELIOYA sector under 59 Division, Task Force I and Task Force II troops in KILINOCHCHI and north of VAVUNIYA continued for another day on Monday (29) bringing further losses to the enemy.

During these clashes, troops smashed six bunkers and a few bunker lines in PALAMODDAI, AKKARAYANKULAM, ANDANKULAM and KARIYALAMODDAI areas. Troops also after those clashes found one dead Tiger terrorist, two T-56 weapon, ten hand grenades, 1700 T-56 ammunition rounds, 100 Multi Purpose Machine Gun (MPMG) rounds, two claymore mines, two MPMG links, twelve field dressings, two terrorist uniforms and several food items.

At least thirty-nine Tiger terrorists lost their lives, unable to face the fire-power of the troops during those clashes. Fifty-two more Tigers suffered injuries in the fighting that occurred in above areas.

Five soldiers including one officer made the supreme sacrifice during clashes at VANNARIKULAM and ANDANKULAM on Monday (29). Nineteen brave soldiers injured in the fighting were evacuated to hospitals.

Meanwhile, troops serving PALAUTTU in the eastern port city of TRINCOMALEE found one T-56 weapon from the St. Lurdu church graveyard on Monday (29).

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Troops Locate Terrorists’ Clandestine Airstrip; A Major Breakthrough

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MULLAITTIVU: 57 DIVISION troops, now dominating north of VANNIVILANKULAM located an LTTE airstrip this afternoon (30) from the general area of PANIKKANKULAM, about 7 km north-west of MANKULAM and about 500 m to the west of A-9 road when the troops brought the area under their control.

The location of this 500 m long airstrip, believed to have been perhaps used by terrorists for landing of their light aircraft in any emergency, struck a major blow to their escalation of terrorist acts. It is also believed the airstrip could have also been used as an open parking space or a hangar, in a way.

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Murikandy Terrorists Felled

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WANNI: TROOPS operating in the general area west of KOKAVIL observed a terrorist movement, closer to captured MURIKANDY Railway Station this morning (30) and fired at them using small arms. The troops confirmed that three terrorists were killed.

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Murikandy Terrorists Felled

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WANNI: TROOPS operating in the general area west of KOKAVIL observed a terrorist movement, closer to captured MURIKANDY Railway Station this morning (30) and fired at them using small arms. The troops confirmed that three terrorists were killed.

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Lorry in Food Convoy Offers C-4 Explosives

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OMANTHAI: A METICULOUSLY planned clandestine operation of losing Tiger terrorists was once again exposed this evening (30) at about 3.30 p.m. at the OMANTHAI cross-loading point when one of the lorries, hired by VAVUNIYA District Secretary for transport of essentials to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), had 2.5 kg of C-4 explosives in its driver’s possession.

Initial investigations revealed that the lorry driver, an apparent suspected proxy to the terrorists had kept those explosives, meticulously concealed amidst food stocks that were to make for un-cleared areas as part of a convoy of thirty lorries, hired by the VAVUNIYA District Secretariat.

A total convoy of sixty lorries with essentials are expected to cross the OMANTHAI gateway by Thursday (2) evening, following an understanding that has been made between the Government and World Food Programme (WFP). Thirty lorries of the total fleet have been hired by the WFP.

The lorry driver in question during interrogations after detection has admitted to concealing the explosives, but the Security Forces subjected the lorry for a thorough inspection and finally found a makeshift false compartment that has been fixed after welding it thoroughly.

At the time this story was pasted, the lorry has been taken away for further investigations along with the driver.

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Sri Lanka Central Bank to Give Guidance to Market, Cabraal Says

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By Anusha Ondaatjie

Sri Lanka's central bank plans today to give ``some guidance'' to the market amid a global stocks rout prompted by the rejection of a $700 billion bank rescue plan by U.S. lawmakers, Governor Nivard Cabraal said.

``We are monitoring the global situation and after looking at our inflation numbers today, there are some responses we will be making,'' Cabraal said in a telephone interview from Colombo.

The U.S. House of Representatives rejected the legislation yesterday in a 228 to 205 vote, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling 778 points for its biggest point drop ever and extending the worst global sell-off in 21 years. Senators say they have no choice but to revive the measure, which is designed to restore confidence in the U.S. banking system.

``The bailout package will have to come as the risk is far too great for the U.S. to go without it,'' Cabraal said. ``The markets shouldn't act in such a panic.''

The Sri Lankan central bank plans to make an announcement later today after the statistics department reports September's inflation rate, Cabraal said.

``Overall we have seen the market reaction to our monetary policy with inflation easing,'' the governor said. ``We will also want to let them know the expectations going forward.''

Consumer prices in the capital Colombo rose 24 percent in September from a year earlier, after increasing 24.9 percent in August, according to the median estimate of nine analysts in a Bloomberg News survey. The statistics department will announce the figure at 3:00 p.m. local time today.

Sri Lanka policy makers have kept monetary policy tight by reducing the amount of funds in the banking system.

The central bank this month said rising food production and easing global commodity markets, along with ``demand-management measures,'' will help further ease price pressures after inflation slowed for a second month in August.

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Lawyers take to the streets

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Lawyers in the Supreme Court showed solidarity with colleague J.C. Weliamuna and staged a protest this afternoon (Sept. 30th) to condemn the hand grenade attack on his home two days ago.

They marched from Hulftsdorp Courts Complex to Keselwatte Junction.

Speaking here, Bar Association President Upul Jayasuriya said the anti-corruption and human rights crusade by Mr. Weliamuna would not be halted by harming his life.

Not just 100 or 500, more than 5,000 individuals of the calibre of Mr. Weliamuna will take that campaign forward, he said.

The BASL chief said the IGP should not take this attack lightly and must bring the culprits to book and ensure there would be no repetition of such incidents.

Mr. Weliamuna, who is also executive director of Transparency International Sri Lanka, spoke here and thanked his colleagues for their support.

He said he has continued threats to his life, the latest being an unknown visitor to his office just this afternoon inquiring after him, regarding which a complaint has been lodged with Keselwatte Police.

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UNP Pradeshiya Sabha member assaulted

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UNP Pradeshiya Sabha member Sumangala Samaraweera was allegedly assaulted by the Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Prasanna Ranaweera today. Lankadeepa correspondent who was also at the scene had received injuries.

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Two Pakistanis arrested for heroin possession

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Two Pakistani nationals were arrested by the Colombo Narcotics Bureau near the Wattala Supermarket for the possession of 425g of Heroin.

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Sri Lankan born Singapore opposition leader dies

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Veteran Singapore politician JB Jeyaretnam has died of heart failure in a Singapore hospital, aged 82.

He was the first to break a government monopoly on power in Singapore when he won a seat in parliament in 1981.

He had been forced into bankruptcy over defamation cases won by the government but was planning a new run for office.

Dubbed the Grand Old Man of opposition politics, analysts said Mr Jeyaretnam was a thorn in the side of Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan-yew.
Born in 1926 in Jaffna, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Mr Jeyaretnam trained as a lawyer in Britain before making his home in Singapore.

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Lankan found guilty of smuggling people

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A Sri Lankan man living in upstate New York has been sentenced to time served, about seven months, for smuggling people from Canada into the United States by boat.
Mohanraj Selvarajah will likely face deportation following Monday's sentencing in federal court in Buffalo.

According to court papers, the 48-year-old Lockport resident told investigators he was given $5,000 to buy a boat in September 2007 and was told he would be paid more to smuggle three people into the United States.

He was arrested after a witness spotted him dropping people off at a Buffalo boat launch and called authorities.

Selvarajah's lawyer says he will likely be returned to Sri Lanka alone, while his wife and three children remain in Canada, where they moved after his arrest.

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Warrants on Emerald Finance directors

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In a case filed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in the Kandy Primary Court against Emerald Private Finance Company of Gampola, Kandy Primary Judge Nandana Weerasinghe ordered the new directorate of the finance company to submit to the Central Bank withi a month, the details of the accounts of all depositors of the finance company.

Following a motion by the state counsel, the judge issued warrants on the Directors of the finance company who were not present in court.

The Central Bank was represented by the State Counsel, Attorney-at-law Ananda Kumara Herath appeared for the defendants who were required to be present in court on December 11.

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Fonterra re-assures its milk is safe

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Fonterra Brands Lanka yesterday re-assured consumers in Sri Lanka that its ANCHOR, ANLENE, RATTHI, SHAPE UP and ANMUM Milk powder products are made from milk sourced solely from New Zealand and are 100% safe to consume.
The company further stated that all liquid milk and yoghurts marketed under the NEWDALE, RATTHI, ANLENE and ANCHOR brands are made with local milk sourced from farmers in Sri Lanka and tested to meet the highest International and local standards including ISO 22000 and HACCP.Fonterra Brands Lanka Managing Director Achyut Reddy said all their products are subjected to rigorous quality controls in every aspect of production from sourcing of raw milk through the manufacturing and distribution process.

“Further reassurance comes from the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) which has categorically stated that they have confidence in the integrated food safety regulatory and industry controls that are in place in New Zealand from where Fonterra Brands Lanka sources its milk powder,” Fonterra Brands said in a statement.

Mr. Reddy emphasized that the milk contamination issue in China involving 22 dairy companies was confined to products manufactured with China-sourced raw milk and had absolutely no bearing on products marketed by Fonterra in Sri Lanka.

“We view consumer safety and health issues with great seriousness at Fonterra” said Mr. Reddy “and will continue to ensure that our products meet the highest safety and quality standards.”

He thanked the consumers for the great trust and loyalty they have placed in the Fonterra brands over the years and said that Fonterra will continue to always live up to the consumer’s trust and expectations.

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Sakvithi scam: Police after lady lawyer and IP

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The police investigating into the major financial scam involving English tutor Sakvithi Ranasinghe are now after a lady lawyer and a Police Inspector who have reportedly fled their homes, whilst the staggering amount topped Rs. 700 million by yesterday.

Police Spokesman Ranjith Gunasekara said the Mirihana police completed a recording of 1327 complaints yesterday of individuals who were deceived by the great impostor.

The legal officer of the bogus financial institute, a lady lawyer who was in charge of all monetary agreements between the company and the depositors is currently absconding, the police said.

An inspector attached to the Police Communication Division in Mirihana was found linked to the scam after he had personally removed several computers that were at the office of the financial institute in Nawala soon after the exposure.

He had not reported to work since then and did not obey orders of SSP Nugegoda Division Deshabandu Tennakoon to appear before Mirihana police yesterday.

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Colombo stocks sink, more negative contributors

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The Colombo bourse sank on Tuesday with many blue chips recording sharp falls and in addition the bulk of the transactions were on the negative (minus) list, brokers said.

The All Share Index slumped by 43.27 points or 1.98 % to 2,142.26 while the Milanka dropped sharply by 55.43 points or 2.26 % to 2,397.19. Turnover was Rs 121 million.

Brokers said of the 173 companies traded, 117 companies saw prices fall while only 14 saw gains. The balance was unchanged.

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GMOA to protest about doctors killing

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The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) is to launch an islandwide protest over the shooting of a female doctor in Bandagiriya, Hambantota, GMOA spokesman Dr Upul Gunasekara said.

He said that the GMOA will be meeting today to decide on the protest campaign.

Dr. W.D.Lakshmi, 38 of the Central Dispensary at Bandagiriya was shot dead on Monday night as she was examining a patient.

A soldier attached to the Udawalawe camp is reported to have shot her. The soldier is reported to have an affair with the doctor earlier, hospital sources said.

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Ganeshan regrets Canada's opinion on Bahu

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MP Mano Ganeshan says all peace loving people are shocked to learn Canadian High Commission's refusal of visa to New Left Front Leader Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne, saying his actions constitute LTTE membership.

"Fanatic forces in this country use Tiger label arbitrarily. This label is put on many human rights defenders, NGOs, antiwar activists, media personnel. Even members of the international community have not been spared of Tiger label. Canadian action goes well in line with the fundamentalist forces here," said the Civil Monitoring Committee Convener and Western People's Front Leader in a statement.

The statement also said, "Vickramabahu is a committed human rights activist. He fought against the human rights abuses then in 1989 when thousands of Sinhala young men and women belonging to JVP faced state and paramilitary death squads. He is fighting now against abductions and extra legal killings when Tamils face death squads."

"Many of his comrades of 1989 have changed sides now and some have even become the very perpetrators. Bahu has not changed. He is one of the very few Sinhala politicians who adamantly propose justice and peace for the oppressed Tamil and Muslim communities. His party’s stand on the national question is ahead of many ethnic parties. He stands for the right of self-determination. It cannot be Bahu’s fault if LTTE or any Lankan Diaspora campaigners around the world demand the same set of rights. Nobody labeled him with JVP when Bahu fought on behalf the human rights of JVP youth in 1989. But when he supports human rights and political aspirations of Tamils, he is branded a Tiger."

"Bahu was to attend a conference in Toronto titled ‘Ending the war and bringing justice and peace to Sri Lanka 25 years after July 1983’ organized by Toronto based Canadian Forum for Justice and Peace in Sri Lanka. It is sad that Canada is sending wrong signals to all Sri Lankans at a time when Tamils feel that our international friends have failed to stop the human rights violations and influence the government towards a reasonable political solution."

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PB issued notice

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Dr. P.B. Jayasundara should personally clarify to the Supreme Court whether he is still holding an executive or supervisory position in a state institution, Chief Justice, Sarath N. Silva said today (Sept. 29th).

The CJ was taking up a petition filed by Presidential Advisor, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, which cited that his fundamental rights have been violated by the transfer of an eight-acre land belonging to Sri Lanka Ports Authority to John Keels Holdings during the tenure of Dr. Jayasundara as Chairman of Public Enterprise Reform Commission.

Issuing notice, the bench headed by the CJ directed Dr. Jayasundara to appear before courts on October 08th.

Earlier, the SC found the former PERC Chairman guilty of having misused public property.

Citing that the CID has failed to take action despite the court ruling, a motion has been filed in court.

In accordance with a court directive issued when the case was took up last, IGP Jayantha Wickremaratne and DIG of the CID, Sisira Mendis appeared before court today.

Appearing on behalf of the petitioners, Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Nihal Sri Amerasekere, counsel Sumanthiran said that his clients had refused to give a statement to the CID.

At this point, the CJ questioned whether the CID has obtained a statement from a single person over the matter even after Dr. Jayasundara was found guilty by the highest court of the country.

Questioning the need to obtain statements from the petitioners, the CJ said that the petition has been filed on behalf of the public and the police should have studied the documents pertaining to the court ruling.

Noting that misusing public property is an offence under criminal law, the CJ added that legal measures can be sought against any offender.

Reprimanding the police for failing to take any action, he further said that the DIG of the CID, who is being paid by the public’s money, should resign.

He further questioned what steps the Bribery Commission has taken against this person who was proven guilty of having misused public property.

Additional Solicitor General, U.A. Wijetillake said that the Bribery Commission is to submit a report to Parliament after conducting an investigation.

“The SC is the highest legal institution in the land. Retired judges in the Bribery Commission think that this is the English Privy Council. It seems to us that they have done nothing on the matter. It is regretful. Are you appearing for Dr. Jayasundara?,” he asked.

The CJ also noted that the police having failed to act in accordance with a court ruling would have to be taken as a mark of contempt of court.

Upon being questioning whether Dr. P.B. Jayasundara is currently holding any position in the state, counsel Sumanthiran said that he is Chairman of SriLankan Airlines, Director General of Securities and Exchange Commission and has recently been appointed a presidential advisor.

The CJ observed that Dr. Jayasundara, who had violated the oath of office that they would uphold the Constitution, should not hold public office.

Dr. Jayasundara should not only have been suspended but also charged under criminal law, he added.

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Chief Justice blames Atorney General, IGP and CID chief

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The Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva reprimanded the Attorney General, the Inspector General of Police, the Director of Criminal Investigation Department and the Bribery or Corruption Investigation Commission for not ignoring the Supreme Court directive on former Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara.
The Supreme Court made this reprimand when a fundamental rights petition filed by Presidential Adviser Vasudewa Nanayakkara and Licensed Accountant Nihal Sri Amarasekara was considered. The petition was on not implementing law against Dr. Jayasundara who was ordered to pay Rs. 500,000 for causing a financial damage to the state.

The Chief Justice stated that the CID Director has to resign from the post since he failed to act in accordance with the Supreme Court directive. He further said that Attorney General, the Inspector General of Police, the Director of Criminal Investigation Department and the Bribery or Corruption Investigation Commission have committed a serious crime by not implementing Supreme Court order.

The petition was considered by a panel of judges comprised of Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, justices Ms. Shirani Thilakawardhana and Nimal Gamini Amarathunga. The Solicitor General appearing for the Attorney General stated that he would not appear for Dr. Jayasundara in this case.

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38 vehicles rented by Sakvithi disappeared

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(Lanka-e-News, ) An officer of special crime division of Mirihana police station says that complaints have been received regarding the loss of 38 vehicles rented by Sakvithi Ranasinghe on monthly basis.

They include six vans, 26 motorcycles, one lorry, four cars and one Land Cruiser.

Sakvithi is believed left the country after swindling around Rs. nine billion from depositors.

Vans were rented on a Rs. 25,000 per month basis.

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43 Tamils arrested in Wellawatte, Wattala, Katunayake

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Forty three Tamils including were arrested in Wellawatte, Wattala, and Katunayake in several cordon and search operations conducted by the Sri Lanka Police, assisted by Sri Lanka Army (SLA), and home guards, from Sunday evening till Monday morning, sources in Colombo said.
Most of those arrested were residents of north and east. Some of the arrested had been staying in lodges and with relatives to go abroad for employment and others had been working in business establishments.

A Tamil woman was arrested in Wellawatte along with four Tamil men, sources said.

All are being detained in police stations in the Colombo city and being interrogated.

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LTTE: SL military post raided in Trincomalee, 4 killed

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Four Sri Lankan military personnel, including Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and homeguards, who were manning a military post in Kantha'laay (Kantale) in Trincomalee district were killed Monday morning when Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE) carried out a raid on the military post in the high security area, LTTE's Trincomalee command has claimed in a note issued to media on Tuesday. Two firearms were seized in the raid, the Tigers said.
One T-56 assault rifle, 30 rounds and a shotgun were seized and the cadres safely returned to their base, according to the LTTE.

The raid took place at Seranawa around 9:00 a.m. on Monday.

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Exports likely to reach US $10 billion by 2010 – Experts

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Recently 16th annual NCE awards were held at Hilton Colombo where Sri Lankan exporters were awarded for their excellent business skills.

Speaking at the occasion Mr Ajith Cabraal, Governor Central Bank said that looking at the present scenario it can be assumed that by 2010 the exports of the country will reach US $10 billion mark.

According to the experts, the desired target is not difficult to achieve as Sri Lankan exports have come a long way. The total value of exports reached an all time high of $863 million in December 2007. The country is also maintaining an economic growth of around 7 percent in the last three years.

Industry insiders opine that proper infrastructure needs to be developed and correct planning can boost the ailing sectors that were previously booking loses.

The NCE awards have become one of the most prominent ceremonies that appreciate the exporters’ contribution to the overseas earnings of the nation. This year more than 143 entries had come, which shows the popularity it has gained from the time NCE was initiated.

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15,000 newly displaced from Ki'linochchi swell Vanni IDPs to 230,000

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Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), a humanitarian organization helping the displaced population in Northeast, in a report released Tuesday said, with the food stock in private stores and co-operative stores reaching dangerously low levels, the humanitarian conditions of the more than 230,000 Internally displaced are rapidly deteriorating. Since the departure of foreign NGOs on 16th September under Colombo's directives, 15,217 new IDPs from Ki'linochchi and Poonakari has joined the refugee population, the report added.
"In Ki'linochchi Town and its suburbs there are 3-4 attacks by Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) K-fir bombers and artillery shelling by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA). As a result, the schools, government departments and the local administrative services are not functioning at full capacity," the report said.

Pointing out that that Sri Lanka's "Ministry of Defence (MoD) has not allowed any food convoys to cross the Omanthai checkpoint into the Vanni since 5 September denying humanitarian assistance to the displaced and non-displaced population," the TRO report further said that, "The departure, on 16 September, of the United Nations (UN) & international NGOs (29 UN expatriate staff and 13 international NGO staff) from the Vanni effectively suspended all international assistance to the IDPs and the protection that such international witnesses provide."

The report added that the restriction on the number of lorries crossing the Omanthai checkpoint created severe shortages of essential food items (rice, flour, lentils, sugar, and milk powder). The meagre stocks that the GA and private traders had have now been depleted and the population are facing a severe crisis.

TRO appealed to the Government of Sri Lanka, the International Community, the UN and international NGOs to ensure that adequate amounts of food, medicine and other essential humanitarian relief are allowed to pass through the Omanthai Checkpoint. TRO report added that, "at least one month's stock of food must be kept in the Kilinochchi & Mullaitivu Districts to ensure the needs of the civilian population can be fulfilled should the A9 route become unsafe or not secure or the IDPs are forced to move once again."

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Monday, September 29, 2008

AHRC calls for probe on Weliamuna attack

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The Asian Human Rights Commission has called on the Sri Lankan government to thoroughly investigate the grenade attach on the home of human rights lawyer J.C. Weliamuna.

AHRC said in a statement that last night (Sept. 28th) at 11:40 pm in Colombo, Sri Lanka a grenade was thrown inside the house of the leading lawyer J.C. Weliamuna, who is the Executive Director of Transparency International in Sri Lanka, and a well- known human rights lawyer.

Severe damage was caused to a part of the upper floor of the house, and the sound of the explosion was heard several miles away.

After calling the police and examining the premises another unexploded grenade was found.

Mr. Weliamuna said that he has all his life had no personal enemies and therefore this attack has to be connected to his work.

Mr. Weliamuna has appeared in many sensitive cases relating to corruption and abuses of human rights.

Several cases are pending in which some powerful politicians are the defendants.

Last week, Transparency International published a report, in which Sri Lanka was listed as 92 on the corruption list.

Mr. Weliamuna has constantly appeared in many well known human rights cases on behalf of victims of torture, extra-judicial killings and disappearances.

Last Friday the Supreme Court issued special orders for investigation of a case that Mr. Weliamuna appeared in which a young man from Kandana complained of attempted assassination by some police officers.

Yesterday morning Mr. Weliamuna moved a motion at the Bar Association of Sri Lanka regarding a lawyer who has received death threats due to appearance in an extra-judicial killing case where the victim had been the complainant in two cases regarding police officers, for bribery and torture.

The Bar Association unanimously resolved to pursue the complaint of the lawyer and condemned the interference into the work of lawyers and resolved to pursue the matter with the Inspector General of Police and other authorities.

"This attack is chilling but not surprising. Threats and attacks are targeted at everyone who tries to highlight the abuses of politicians and state officers," said Basil Fernando, the director of the Asian Human Rights Commission.

"Now senior lawyers themselves are being targeted for nothing other than being engaged in their professional duties to their clients."

Fernando further said, "even at the worst times in the late 1980s no senior lawyer was targeted. What is taking place is a most comprehensive form of repression with the view to silence everyone who is making any attempt to seek protection of law. This is one of the most terrible times in the country."

The Asian Human Rights Commission calls on the Sri Lankan government to thoroughly investigate this matter with a Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of the Criminal Investigation Division (CID).

There is all the likelihood of the investigation being mishandled unless special attempt is made for inquiries to be conducted by a competent and independent SIU.

It is also the duty of all the lawyers and the Bar Association of Sri Lanka to come strongly in support of one of its members who has taken a very keen interest in the rights of others.

The Supreme Court and the judiciary also need to take up the issue of the protection of the lawyers.

AHRC also calls upon the lawyers outside Sri Lanka to intervene with the Sri Lankan government to condemn this attack and also to ensure an independent inquiry by a competent body.

The UN agencies and the international anti-corruption and human rights organisations should intervene for the defence of one of the best known human rights defenders in Sri Lanka.

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Worthless leaders will not be allowed to hijack UNP, says Wajira

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Galle district United national Party (UNP) MP Wajira Abewardhana says that he will not allow ineffective leaders who cannot be an alternative to the present leader to capture the party leadership.

Mr. Abewardhana emphasized that he would not allow anyone to destroy the party leadership and to let the government to manipulate the UNP.

He made these observations at a function held in Sarana Reception Hall to hand over life insurance policies to the UNP local government representatives of Gampaha district.

Mr. Abewardhana charged that the persons who try to change the party leadership are becoming the pets of the government. He said that he would not allow them to destroy the party with the proposals brought from Temple Trees. Party enemies and the government have launched a massive campaign against the UNP manipulating all media and a group from UNP who are ignorant of this are shouting for a leadership change, added Mr. Abewardhana.

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Air defence exercises over Sigiriya, low flying aircraft likely to be reported - SLAF

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The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) will hold air defence exercises between 7 and 8.30 this evening, in the Kantale and Sigiriya regions, SLAF Spokesman Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara said.

Low flying aircraft maybe reported during the exercises, he added.

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SC orders to remove barricades on the Galle road

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The Supreme Courts today ordered the Police Chief to remove all barricades on the Galle road from Kollupitiya to Galle Face before January next year.

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United States condemns attack on residence of Sri Lankan human rights activist

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The Embassy of the United States in Sri Lanka today condemned the recent attack on the residence of the Executive Director of Transparency International Sri Lanka and well-known human rights attorney, J.C. Weliamuna.

The US Embassy in Colombo, issuing a media communiqué, commended Weliamuna’s work as a defender of those who seek to fight corruption, protect the victims of abuse, and advance the cause of human rights in Sri Lanka.

“We look to the authorities to launch an immediate investigation into this act of violence and bring the perpetrators of this crime swiftly to justice,” stated the US Embassy.

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UNP condemns ARMY chief's remarks

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The UNP has condemned the statement made to a Canadian newspaper by Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka regarding minority communities.

The UNP organized a media briefing at the Opposition Leader's Office in Colombo this morning (Sept. 29th), where MPs from Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities spoke.

One of them, Kabir Hashim, said his Muslim community was having very close ties, even blood relationships, with the majority Sinhalese.

At a time when war in the north is entering a decisive stage, statements like the one made by the army chief were totally uncalled for, he said.

Muslims' acceptance of Lt. Gen. Fonseka for having liberated the east would be affected by his statement, said Mr. Hashim.

Also condemning the statement, MP Vajira Abeywardena said he did not propagate war as a Buddhist.

There are only peaceful achievements, he said, pointing to Karuna and Pillayan having entered the democratic mainstream as examples.

MP Ravindran, a Tamil, said he was grieved to hear such a statement coming from a responsible public official.

He called for an end to war and for a negotiated political solution, and said statement that divided the communities should be condemned.

In an interview with 'National Post' of Canada, Lt. Gen. Fonseka has said, "…..they (minorities) must not try to, under the pretext of being a minority, demand undue things."

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauff Hakeem has also condemned the army commander's remarks.

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SLAF attacks terror bunker lines

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Sri Lanka Air Force MI 24 attack helicopters lunched strikes at a terror bunker line located 3 Km North of Vannerikulama around 12.15 this afternoon (Sept 29), the Air Force sources said.

Air Force spokesperson Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara speaking defence.lk said that the air strikes were launched in support of Task Force 1 troops operating in the western half of the Kilinochchi front.

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Wanni liberation continues

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Finalized reports on yesterday's (Sept 28) incidents settled terrorist deaths at 23 and casualties at 9. Also, 15 LTTE cadres were marked as either killed or wounded. Four soldiers laid down their lives at the battlefield while 26 others suffered injuries.

On the Kilinochchi battlefront, troops of 57 division continued their offensives in the Akkarayankulam and Kokavil areas during the day. During the clashes reported from Akkarayankulam area, one soldier was killed and 6 others suffered injuries. Meanwhile, during operations conducted in the north of Kokavil area troops found two T-56 weapons, 3 LTTE dresses and 3 cyanide capsules.

In a separate confrontation occurred in the Mankulama area on Saturday (Sept 27) evening troops found one terror dead body and 2 T-56 riffles.

On the western half of the Kilinochchi front, troops of Task force 1, confronted with a group of terrorist in the Manniyankulam area around 9.30, last morning. Intercepted terror radio transmissions confirmed 12 terrorists were killed and 7 others were injured in this incident. Also, 2 soldiers laid down their lives and 11 others sustained injuries.

In separate incidents reported from Vannerikulam and Panaikandamadu areas during the day one soldier was killed and 4 others suffered injuries.

Meanwhile , Task Force 2 troops operating in the Vavuniya front had two separate confrontations with the terrorists in the Palamodai area last afternoon and claimed 3 terrorists were killed. Troops also found one T-56 weapon and 2 hand grenades. In a separate incident reported from the Kummakulam area, a soldier suffered injuries due to an AP (anti personnel) mine explosion during morning hours.

Troops of 56 division maintaining the active defence on either sides of the A-9 road on the Vavuniya forward defence, attacked a terror bunker located in the Koliyakulam area around 6.35 AM. Ground sources confirmed one terrorist was killed in this incident.

Also in the Navatkulama area, troops opened fire at a group of terrorists around 10 AM and claimed one terrorist was killed.

Meanwhile on the Mullaittivu front, troops of 59 division had day long clashes in the Andankulam area and claimed 5 terrorists were killed , 4 others wounded and 15 more were either killed or wounded. Also, a soldier suffered injuries due to terror mortar fire during one of the incidents. Troops also removed 226 AP mines and 12 IEDs during days mine sweeping operations in the area.

In the Jaffna theatre of operations , a sniper deployed in the Muhamalai area confirmed shooting down of one LTTE cadre last evening.

Counter terror operations are being continued.

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Air Force fighter jets pound LTTE gathering - Kilinochchi

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Sri Lanka Ari Force fighter jets pounded an LTTE gathering point detected 2.5 Km North of Vannerikulama , on the Kilinochchi battlefront at 4.10 PM , Air Force spokesperson Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara said.

He added that the air strike was successful.

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Hand Grenade explosion injures 8 civilians - Kaattankudi

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A hand grenade explosion has been reported from the Kaattankudi town in Batticaloa around 7 PM this evening (Sept 29).

According to the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS), an unknown person has exploded the hand grenade at the public bus stand. Eight civilians have suffered injuries and one motorbike received injuries in the explosion, the sources added.

Police conducts further investigations.

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Civic Activists face dangerous trend

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On Saturday night an unidentified gang lobbed two hand grenades at the residence of Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) Director and Attorney at-Law J.C Weliamuna. Mr. Weliamuna’s residence is located in close proximity to a police station (Kohuwela), and an army camp (Kohuwela-Pepiliyana road. The attack demonstrates the blatant disregard criminals now have for regular structures of law and order.

The National Peace Council of Sri Lanka condemns the grenade attack on the residence of J C Weliamuna. The NPC views this attack as part of a broader assault on human rights, good governance, accountability and integrity in public life and thus demands stern action be taken against those responsible. We are particularly saddened by this attack as it had taken place at night, when his family and two young children were present. Mr Weliamuna has been a colleague and partner in work we are doing. We appreciate his courage and commitment to the rule of law and to integrity in public life.

Mr. J.C. Weliamuna is presently involved in a number of cases which deal with infringements upon fundamental rights and public interest litigation. Of particular interest are pending cases which involve government officials and member of the police force. Furthermore, last week Mr. Weliamuna made submissions to the Supreme Court, stating that a fellow lawyer had been subjected to death threats for fulfilling his professional duties.

The attack on Mr. Weliamuna is thus suggestive of a dangerous trend of intimidation and interference in the country’s legal processes. The NPC views this attack as an attempt to harm and intimidate a lawyer and civil society activist and to possibly send a warning to all advocates of human rights, good governance, accountability and integrity in public life. This act of violent intimidation can be interpreted as a thinly veiled attempt to silence critical and dissenting voices in the country.

We join the Free Media Movement (FMM), civil society activists and the Bar Association of Sri Lanka’s (BASL) in condemning this attack as an act which threatens not only us all but the very democratic values upon which our respective professions and institutions are founded.

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Commonwealth on global food and energy crisis

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The Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit (CPSU) is hosting a workshop on 1st October to discuss issues facing Commonwealth Finance Ministers. Guests including experts in the field and Commonwealth High Commissioners will examine potential policy solutions to rising fuel and energy prices ahead of the Commonwealth Finance Ministers’ Meeting in Saint Lucia next month.

Taking place at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in London , the meeting will hear from a range of speakers including policy experts and representatives from international development charities, Inter-Governmental Organisations and Commonwealth governments.

The workshop comes at a time when across the Commonwealth, but particularly in many poorer countries, individuals and communities are suffering due to increasing costs of food and fuel - fundamental to people’s well being and livelihoods.

The CPSU’s Director, Dr. Victoria teVelde said,

“Rising costs of fuel and food are causing immediate suffering and economic concern across the Commonwealth. CPSU welcomes the chance to organise this important discussion before Commonwealth Finance Ministers’ meet in St Lucia next month. This workshop and CPSU’s briefing document will inform the debate to help ministers find sustainable, practical solutions to the global fuel and food crisis.”

CPSU members will attend the Commonwealth Finance Minister’s Meeting from 6 – 8th October in St Lucia . Copies of CPSU’s policy briefings will be circulated to all Finance Ministers in advance of the meeting.

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EU condemns the grenade attack on JC's residence

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The European Union condemns the grenade attack of 27th September that targeted the residence of the Executive Director of Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL), Mr. J.C. Weliamuna who is a prominent and respected lawyer.
Although there is no indication on the reasons or on the perpetrators of this attack, it is assumed that the attack may have been against the important Human Rights and Anti corruption work Mr.Weliamuna was involved in.
The EU notes with concern the trend in attacks and threats on journalists, civil society organizations and now a lawyer. We believe it is important that the essential work of civil society organisations such as that of Transparency International Sri Lanka should be supported and that its Representative and staff are safeguarded.
The European Union urges the Government of Sri Lanka to do everything possible to investigate fully this incident and to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.

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John Keells Holdings’ Consumer Foods Sector again bagged two Silver

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John Keells Holdings’ Consumer Foods Sector yet again bagged two Silver
Awards at last week’s 16th annual “NCE Export Awards 2007” for the second consecutive year.
The two Silver Awards in the ‘Extra Large Business Group Category’ went to Keells Food Products PLC and Ceylon Cold Stores PLC for reaching significant milestones in their respective business activities in the international arena Organized by the National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka for the 16th consecutive year, the NCE
Awards are Sri Lanka’s most prestigious awards which recognise and reward the outstanding export performance of companies which provide goods and services from Sri Lanka.

The JKH Consumer Foods Sector is home to some of Sri Lanka’s strongest and most popular food and beverage brands, all of them being market leaders in their respective categories. The Keells Foods brand of processed meats is considered a
“Preferred Brand” by thousands of discerning consumers, and, by almost all star class hotels and catering institutions in Sri Lanka.

Manager Exports for JKH Consumer Goods Christy Fernando said, “Keells Foods further consolidated its strong market presence in India, Dubai and Maldives and went on to record a 26% growth in export sales during the Financial Year 2007/2008”.

Elephant Soft Drinks with its value added portfolio of sub brands, together with Elephant House Ice Creams, have reached many international markets through the taste preferences of numerous Sri Lankans domiciled in various parts of the globe.

“Elephant Soft Drinks now commands a significant presence in the international arena. Elephant Ginger Beer made from locally grown natural ayurvedic ginger continues to make inroads to many international markets. The distinct flavour and medicinal properties of this product have captured the attention of the rapidly growing
natural and organic foods market. Notwithstanding tough competition in the beverage sphere, Elephant Ginger Beer (EGB) successfully entered five new markets in 2007/2008 across over 25 countries while Elephant House Ice Cream’s market leader position in the Maldives makes it grow from strength to strength amid tough competition
from various international flavours and brands”, Fernando added.

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Xerox introduces Digital Press to Sri Lanka

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Lumen Technologies announced the launch of the long awaited Digital Press Solutions from Xerox to the Sri Lankan market in order to meet the short run requirements of the local graphics industry (commercial printers, publishers, pre-presses, etc.)

The Digital Press is ideal for producing high-end collateral, direct marketing and photo specialty products, jobs that typically generate the most profits for print providers. It is an addition to Xerox's industry-leading production digital portfolio, following the revolutionary Xerox IGen 3, which led the industry into a new into a new age of digital color printing.

Chief Operating Officer of Lumen Technologies, authorised distributor for Xerox in Sri Lanka, Rukshan Sheriff, said, "Our aim is to offer our customers the best solutions to their business needs. Every high-quality color print that comes off the Digital Press will help set our customers apart from their competition with full color and monochrome high speed digital presses offering benchmark productivity, print quality and economy".

Since color consistency and predictability are critical to customers, repeat jobs will always look the same with the Xerox Digital Press. It also creates offset and photo-quality images with consistent color from the first print to the last. Breakthrough technology with more than 400 new parts and subsystems, as well as new patented technologies, combine to enable the press to generate its high-definition image quality.

Sheriff said that the increase of productivity from 25% to 35% on a Digital Press will be through the automation of operator tasks, such as not needing to stop the machine to replace the developer with the new carrier dispensing system. “By automating operator tasks on a press, the need to stop the press for adjustments is greatly reduced. As a result, overall operating costs decrease and the break-even point improves between digital and traditional offset printing. In fact, it is faster and more economical to print short run jobs on a Digital Press”, he added.

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Two trains collided -one killed

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Two trains were collided in Ganemulla a short while ago.One person was killed and at least 15 persons have been injured due to the train accident in Ganemulla, railway officials said.

Two trains had collided. One of them was the Inter city train heading to Kandy and the other was the slow train travelling from Fort to Polgahawela.

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Two trains collided -one killed

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Two trains were collided in Ganemulla a short while ago.One person was killed and a number of persons were injured.

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LMSL case: Supreme Court says CID director should be removed

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The three-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva on Monday chastised the Criminal Investigation Division (CID), the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption and the Attorney General for failing to take any action pursuant to the Lanka Marine Services Ltd (LMSL) 21 July 2008 judgment.

When the case came up for hearing on a motion by the petititioner Vasudeva Nanayakkara asking why no action has been taken following the judgment, the Chief Justice made mention of the fact that no action had been taken despite months since the judgment was handed down and said the Director of the CID should be removed.

The Court also issued notice on former Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera to appear on October8 and explain to the Court his new duties as Advisor (to the President) to ascertain if he is indeed holding public office after the Court clearly stated previously that he was not fit to do so. The Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) were present in court while Dr Jayasundera and Directors of John Keells Holdings were not present, as they hadn’t been noticed to appear.

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LTTE terrorists in Army uniforms commit violence in Jaffna

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Troops patrolling in the Makiyapiddi area in the Jaffna peninsula observed three LTTE cadres clad in Army uniforms around 11 this morning (Jaffna).

When troops asked the suspects who were loitering near a Hindu temple to identify themselves, the suspects lobbed two hand grenades at troops and escaped. During the search operations troops found 2 hand grenades, 3 sets of Army combat uniforms, and a grenade launcher with one round.

A senior defence official in the area speaking to defence.lk said that the motive of the terrorists is to tarnish the good image of the security forces by committing violence against civilians in guise of security forces' personnel.

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Annual General Meeting of the Chamber of Construction Industry

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5th Annual General Meeting of the incorporated Chamber of Construction Industry Sri Lanka will be held on 30th Sept. 2008 at the Ballroom of Hotel Galadari, Colombo.

The AGM will commence at 5.45 p.m. and will be followed by a Forum, Fellowship and cocktail reception. Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Minister of Construction and Engineering Services will be the Chief Guest. Hon. Prof. G.L. Peiris, M.P. Minister of Export Development and International Trade will deliver the keynote address at 7.15 p.m.


Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, a corporate member of the Chamber will make a presentation on “Investment Opportunities in Sri Lanka”.


Representatives of Founder member associations such as Sri Lanka Institute of Architects, Institute of Town Planners of Sri Lanka, The Surveyors Institute of Sri Lanka, Institute of Valuers of Sri Lanka, Institute of Quantity Surveyors Sri Lanka, Insurance Association of Sri Lanka, The Association of Consulting Engineers, Sri Lanka and National Construction Association of Sri Lanka, with statutory agency members, corporate members and individual members are expected to attend the AGM at which the office bearers and members to the council will be elected.

Archt./Plnr. Deshabandu Surath Wickramasinghe and Vice Presidents Eng. D.D. Wijemanna, Valuer S.N. Wijepala and Archt. Rukshan Widyalankara who have been holding office from the very inception of the Chamber which was established in the year 2001 are expected to be re-elected without a contest.

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Depositors demand money back from ‘Danduwam Mudalali’

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Over 3000 people had surrounded the house of Piyadasa Ratnayake (Danduwam Mudalali) in Gurupokuna, Hungama on Friday after the Central Bank announced that he was among those operating an unregistered finance institution.
Those who surrounded his house had demanded that their deposits be returned with the promised interest. Since there had been a large crowd, Ratnayake had used loudspeakers to calm the crowd and had told them that he had assets to pay back the deposits with interest.

The Central Bank had given one month’s notice to Piyadasa Ratnayake to apply to be registered as a finance company and the necessary prerequisite was to deposit Rs. 200 million with the Central Bank.

Addressing the agitated depositors Ratnayake said he would carry forward his business activities and would not leave the country. He promised he would make his institution a legitimate finance company and had showed a document to this effect to the crowd.

He also played an audio recording asking him to come to Colombo to register his company. Once he assured that he would register his company the depositors had calmed down.

However security had been provided to Ratnayake’s house by the Hungama police following the incident.

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Medirigiriya tensed following police shooting

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A tensed situation developed in Medirigiriya, Polonaruwa after police shot dead a man who failed to stop at a check point. Two policemen and two civilians were injured in an ensuing clash.

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Police Commandos thwart terror infiltration bid - Ampara

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Police Special Task Force (STF) commandos thwarted an LTTE infiltration bid at Kalawanchikudi in Ampara district this morning (Sept 29).

According to the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) an STF patrol has detected a suspicious boat moving in the Kodamadhu lagoon around 5 AM. When the STF personnel challenged the persons on the boat, they have opened fire at troops. STF troops effectively overpowered the terrorists and destroyed the boat.

During the subsequent search, STF troops found two bodies of slain LTTE cadres, along with one T-56 riffle, two hand grenades, one claymore mine, one radio antenna, ammo, LTTE uniforms, explosives and other military gear.

Police conduct further investigations.

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Adequate food supplies for Wanni

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Dismissing certain reports about a shortage of food and other essential items in the Wanni, Essential Services Commissioner S.B.Divarathna said yesterday that there was enough stocks for six months stored in Vavuniya, and these would be delivered continuously to Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi.

According to Divarathna 75 to 80 lorries are already being loaded with stocks amounting to 1,000 tons expected to reach uncleared areas before next Saturday.

This is to be followed by another consignment of 4,000 tons of essential items in the coming weeks. According to Divarathna, UN representatives have been allowed to accompany the convoys to witness the distribution.

Divarathna added that this was the first time that such a large convoy would reach these areas as the normal practice was to send around 20 lorries at a time.

He added that 250 field trucks had been reserved to transport essential items without delay although Government Agents in the areas possessed enough stocks for the time being.

Authorities said moves are underway to make Vavuniya a humanitarian assistance hub to help an exodus of IDPs due to the military operations in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu.

Strict orders have been relayed to both Security Forces and authorities to make a safe passage for civilians fleeing from uncleared areas and make all arrangements for their safety and wellbeing, authorities said.

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Tiger Points in Ponnar Challenged

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JAFFNA: ARMY troops continued attacks on Tiger points in the general area of PONNAR on Sunday (28) evening around 5.00 p.m.. As a result, one terrorist was confirmed killed by the troops.

JAFFNA troops launched an attack on a few terrorist bunkers Saturday (17) early morning destroying four of them.

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Navattikulam Terrorist Hideouts Attacked

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VAVUNIYA: A FEW more Tiger hideouts in the general areas of NAVATTIKULAM and north of PALAMODDAI came under Army small arms and RPG (Rocket Propeller Gun) fire Sunday (28). Four terrorists were confirmed killed during confrontations. Troops recovered one T-56 weapon and two hand grenades belonging to terrorists in the area.

Two soldiers were also injured in the encounter and admitted to hospital.

Another soldier who was injured in the explosion of an anti personnel mine was also referred for medical treatment.

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Soldier Injured in Suicide Blast Succumbs to Injuries

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ANURADHAPURA: ONE out of three soldiers who were admitted to ANURADHAPURA General Hospital following the LTTE suicide explosion in VAVUNIYA town Sunday (28) succumbed to his injuries whilst being treated in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit).

Lance Corporal R.M.J. HERATH (28) of Sri Lanka Army Service Corps was on duty at the roadblock near the place of the incident and was initially admitted to VAVUNIYA hospital with severe injuries sustained due to the explosion. He was a resident of POLPITHIGAMA, KURUNEGALA.

Later, he was transferred to ANURADHAPURA along with eight other injured persons for further treatment.

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LTTE Loses 4 km of AKKARAYANKULAM – MURIKKANDY Road

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KILINOCHCHI: TROOPS of the 57 Division, crushing Tigers’ military power further towards the A-9 road, captured a 4 km area along the AKKARAYANKULAM – MURIKKANDY road by Sunday (28) afternoon around 3.00 p.m. after intensive fighting.

Clashes commenced around 8.00 a.m. in the morning and continued until the terrorists holding positions along the captured block of the AKKARAYANKULAM – MURIKKANDY road were defeated killing seven LTTE fighting cadres.

One soldier laid his life and three others sustained injuries.

Clearing operations are continuing.

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Tigers Bringing Suicide Jacket, Arms & Ammunition Bumped Off

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AMPARA: SPECIAL TASK FORCE (STF) troops on ambush near the KODAMADU lagoon in KALAVANCHIKUDY, AMPARA observed an LTTE boat in the lagoon around 5.00 a.m. Monday (29) morning.

STF ordered the suspects who got out of the boat to stop, but those men they suddenly opened fire at the troops, prompting the troops to respond with small arms.

STF counter fire caused damages to one LTTE boat simultaneously and it exploded emitting a huge pall of smoke.

Troops immediately cordoned the area and conducted a search to find two LTTE dead bodies, one T-56 weapon, four magazines, 110 ammunition rounds, one suicide jacket, ninety-five M-16 ammunition rounds, seven micro pistol rounds, one claymore mine fixed to a coconut shell, 300g of explosives, one Icom antenna, two hand grenades, two detonator codes, one LTTE uniform and uniform accessories, one cyanide capsule and one mobile phone.

It is suspected those Tigers arriving from MULLAITTIVU sea areas have abortively tried to infiltrate the east with a view to committing violence in the area.

Police and Army investigations are on.

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Blast damages motor cars -No casualties

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A blast has occured inside a vehicle at Malwatta road in Colombo Fort a short while ago.Police say there is no casualties.However a nuber of vehicles have been damaged due to the blast.

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Illicit liquor death toll rises to 19

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The death toll of people who had consumed illicit liquor in Weliveriya rose to 19 today. Over 40 people are still receiving treatment in hospitals. Police have arrested six persons including a woman in connection with the illegal brewery.

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Bomb blast at Fort

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A blast was reported near the Khan Clock Tower, Fort area- Colombo a short while ago.Wait for details.

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Chathurika sues film director

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The Colombo District Court has issued an enjoining order preventing a film director from selling and releasing a collection of film songs following a civil suit filed by a budding actress Chathurika Peiris.

The Colombo District judge Sisira Ratnayake issued this order following a plaint filed by the young actress Peiris against N. S. Niranjan, a film director from India.

In her plaint, Chathurika Peiris stated that she signed an agreement with the defendant film director in June 2005 and having completed a major part of the film, production was stopped and the director left for India. Nearly two years later in April 2008, he had returned and wanted her to complete the production. She claimed that she was promised the lead female role but was not awarded it as pledged. The young actress said that having restarted the film after two years her appearance and the suitability to the role had changed and she wanted to know how she was going to be paid to complete the production.

In the meantime, the director has released a CD with the visual of the cast including hers and she complained that she is a popular actress and due to the alleged incident,a damage of ,Rs. 10 million had been caused to her popularity.

The court issued an enjoining order preventing the sale of the CD till October 9 and issued notice on the defendant.

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ZOA says its programme manager did not join LTTE

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Referring to an article in the newspapers which states that ZOA’s Kilinochchi Programme Manager has joined the LTTE as a fighter, ZOA yesterday said that the news was incorrect and groundless.
A ZOA statement said: “The government has given instructions to all UN Agencies and NGOs working in the wanni to relocate their humanitarian and development operations to Vavuniya before Monday, September 29.”

“In compliance with the government’s instructions, ZOA has relocated the concerned programme Manager, its only international staff member in the region, to Vavuniya and report to work at ZOA’s Vavuniya on Friday 26 September.

‘The Programme Manager and other ZOA employees in the wanni were solely involved in humanitarian aid like distribution of food and shelter materials to many displaced civilians.”

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Shipping company starts a joint venture in Sri lanka

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September 24, 2008 was a red letter day for the shipping industry when Wallem Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd - joint venture between Wallem and Co., Hong Kong and Dev Engineering (Pvt) Ltd., Sri Lanka, was launched at the Mt. Lavinia Hotel.

The new ‘ship’ of Wallem Lanka (Pvt) Ltd is set to sail on a voyage of setting professional standards in its quest for assisting Wallem’s pursuit to have the most professional seafarers in the industry serving in Wallem ships.

This is an ideal opportunity for Sri Lankans aspiring for a professional training qualification and career at sea with the provision of invaluable international exposure, dealing with international commerce and transport and technical expertise. Wallem Lanka expects this joint venture to be mutually beneficial for Wallems and Dev Engineering by training and harnessing the best of seafarers in Sri Lanka, whilst the joint venture company affords a great opportunity for Sri Lankans to be gainfully trained and employed thereby bringing in the much needed foreign exchange to the country.

Wallem & Co., the oldest ship management company in the world and one of the largest, started a joint venture in Sri Lanka in association with Dev Engineering (Pvt) Ltd to train and harness the manpower potential in Sri Lanka for seafaring. The new joint venture company called ‘Wallem Lanka (Pvt) Ltd’ was launched at a glittering ceremony an event of the type that had never been seen before by the maritime fraternity in Sri Lanka.

Wallem & Co is the world’s oldest Ship Management Company, having been started in 1903 by Haakon ‘Typhoon’ Wallem in Shanghai. In 1947, Wallem moved to its headquarters in Hong Kong and has been in Hong Kong since then.

Wallem at times has been ship owners, but have always been shipping agents, ship brokers and, since 1971, third party ship managers. Wallem & Co is also one of the largest ship management companies in the world today, managing in excess of 350 ships. Wallem has spread all over the world and has over 6,000 people working in Wallem managed ships and another 600 people work in about 50 Wallem offices in 18 countries.

Customers under Wallem management have full on-line access to the procurement, accounting and personnel records for their ships.

Wallem is still shipping agents all over Asia, air cargo agents in Malaysia, Thailand and Manila, shipbrokers in Qingdao, Hong Kong, Taipei and Hamburg.

Wallem develops maritime software in-house in the Philippines.

The largest three tankers ever built were in full technical management with Wallem Ship Management until they were taken out of operation due to impending MARPOL (Marine Pollution Prevention) regulations.

Wallem leads in successful shipping joint ventures in China: the Pen-Wallem Agency network in all major Chinese ports, Cosco Wallem Ship Management and Wallem Maritime Training Center in Qingdao.

A Green award winning company, paying highest market rates in way of salaries to staff emphasizes the importance of looking after the welfare of officers and their families. As a result most of the afloat and ashore staff, have long service records with the company and are very proud of their association with the company.

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Five Media condemns attack on Weliamuna

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Five Media, the five organizations for media freedom, has vehemently condemned the grenade attack on the home J.C. Weliamuna, prominent attorney-at-law, and Executive Director of Transparency International Sri Lanka.

According to reports, the attack took place around 11:45 pm on September 27th, in which two grenades were thrown at the premises, one of which did not explode.

Five Media said in a press release, "We understand that while there is damage to the house, there were no physical injuries sustained by Mr. Weliamuna or his wife and two infant children who were in the house at the time."

In what has become a familiar, horrifying pattern in respect of similar attacks, Mr. Weliamuna’s home is located close to a police station (Kohuwela), an army camp (Pepiliyana), a regular army mobile checkpoint at night and a major checkpoint and roadblock (at Saranankara Road bridge).

Mr. Weliamuna, who is a well-known human rights lawyer, appears in a number of important fundamental rights cases, some of which involve high officials of the present regime.

In particular, we note that Mr. Weliamuna was counsel in a fundamental rights application involving serious police malpractice that came up for hearing last week, in which the Supreme Court ordered a special investigation regarding the police on questions relating to criminal intimidation and filing of false charges against the petitioner by the police.

In addition to his legal practice, Mr. Weliamuna is engaged in the public campaign against bribery and corruption in his work with TISL, as well as civil society advocacy in regard to the non-implementation of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution.

In the recent past, we note that TISL has published a Corruption Perception Index and that Mr. Weliamuna has been an active voice against insidious attempts to whittle down the scope of the 17th Amendment.

Five Media says it considers this attack as a matter of grave significance.

It is an attempt to harm and intimidate a lawyer and civil society activist, and through such attacks to send a broader message to those who represent the cause of human rights, good governance, accountability and integrity in public life.

This reprehensible act of violent intimidation therefore is an attempt to silence critical and dissenting voices, including civil society and the media.

It also represents a clear challenge to the independence and integrity of the legal profession, and contempt for the rule of law and legal processes.

Five Media urges media and legal professions, civil society, and the judiciary to regard this attack as an act of aggression against all of us and the democratic values upon which our respective professions and institutions are founded.

It calls upon authorities to immediately conduct a full, independent, and impartial investigation into this attack with a view to apprehending and prosecuting the perpetrators, and to make such findings public as a matter of urgency.

We hope that such an investigation will not go the way of such investigations in a countless number of cases before, whereby nothing tangible has ever resulted by way of bringing the culprits to justice.

The five media organisations would like to express their concern for and solidarity with Mr. Weliamuna and his young family at this time of acute distress.

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Gati opens office in Dubai Airport Free Zone

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Gati, a leader in the express distribution and supply chain solutions in India, has made its foray into the Middle East market setting up operations in Dubai Airport Free Zone.
Gati has offices in China, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. In India, Gati has over 4000 vehicles on road covering 594 out of 608 districts, with mechantronic warehousing facilities of 1.5 million sq. ft. across all major cities in the country.

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Malaysians passports abused by Lankans - envoy

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Malaysian passports were often abused by nationals from China, Sri Lanka and India to gain illegal entry into Britain, Malaysian High Commissioner to Britain Abdul Aziz Mohamad said.

“And Malaysians are frequently reported as acting as facilitators to arrange for other nationals to enter Britain,” he said when briefing the Malaysian community in London on the proposed visa ruling for Malaysians travelling to Britain.

Malaysia is in the top five countries whose citizens are consistently being denied entry into Britain. Malaysians are also among the top 10 nationalities who overstay and in the top 20 for overall immigration abuses. He said Malaysians had been in Britain’s bad books over visa abuses, with about 1,500 of them refused entry last year.

Aziz said the Home Office’s third and last stage of its visa-waiver test for Malaysia and 10 other countries was expected to run until January or February next year.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

CPA STATEMENT ON THE RECENT COMMENTS BY GENERAL SARATH FONSEKA IN CANADA'S NATIONAL POST

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The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) is deeply concerned by and strongly disapproves of statements made by the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, General Sarath Fonseka, in an interview with Stewart Bell of the National Post newspaper of Canada, published on 23rd September 2008.

In this interview, General Fonseka has made some disquieting observations of a highly political nature. Among other things, General Fonseka has stated that,

"I strongly believe that this country belongs to the Sinhalese but there are minority communities and we treat them like our people...We being the majority of the country, 75%, we will never give in and we have the right to protect this country...We are also a strong nation ... They can live in this country with us. But they must not try to, under the pretext of being a minority, demand undue things."

These sentiments, which General Fonseka has made public on several other occasions in interactions with local and international media, are cause for alarm in at least two respects. Firstly, the fact that the Commander of the Army feels free to represent his personal opinions and enter into public discussion about policy matters that are constitutionally the proper domain of the political executive, and indeed is allowed to do so repeatedly without any restraint by the political executive. Secondly, the highly contentious and insensitive nature of what is apparently an ideological perspective that is held by General Fonseka about the nature of the Sri Lankan polity, the political anatomy of the conflict in Sri Lanka, and the means of its resolution.

In regard to the first concern, it should be noted that while constitutional practice in Sri Lanka leaves much to be desired from the perspective of both democratic values and postulates of constitutional government, one cardinal principle of democratic government that has at least hitherto been adhered to is that of civilian control over the military. Thus policy-making and the political direction of any governmental programme involving the military are matters for elected officials of the executive, who are, moreover, responsible and accountable to Parliament and the people for both such policy and the conduct of the military within the framework of government policy, the law, and the Constitution. A necessary implication of this principle is that members of the armed forces desist from engaging in political debate through public expression of private opinions. The military is enjoined by legal duty and constitutional obligation to the direction and control of the civilian political executive; it is not their task either to make policy or to express preferences.

We recall that on the one occasion in this country in which the military attempted to overstep its role in 1962, that attempt was brought swiftly, firmly, and decisively under control by a democratically elected and legally constituted government led by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, which is also the principal party of the current governing coalition. For General Fonseka to be given the unbridled leeway to volunteer political opinions about the ethnic conflict is therefore not merely a clear violation of a fundamental principle of democratic government; it also suggests that the present government does not apprehend the chilling dangers of allowing military men to venture into the arena of political debate. It is because of the fact that Sri Lanka has succeeded in upholding the principle of civilian control over the military that we have escaped the unfortunate experiences of neighbouring countries such as Pakistan.

Quite apart from this departure from established principles about the proper boundaries of civil-military relations in a democracy are the contumelious political opinions of an ethnic-ideological nature that are evidently held, and abrasively articulated, by General Fonseka. By making politically uninformed statements about which community 'owns' Sri Lanka, General Fonseka demonstrates the discredited majoritarian mindset that views the Tamil and other minority communities with a lack of respect and dignity. It also displays his ignorance and utter insensitivity to the political aspirations of a people the government is claiming to liberate, aspirations based on equality and dignity. They also lend credence to the fundamental argument that military men necessarily do not have the competence to engage in public policy debates, especially about a matter as complex and fundamental in Sri Lankan politics as the resolution of the internal ethnic conflict in the context of ethnic and religious diversity.

General Fonseka's opinions seem also to be inconsistent even with the avowed policy of the present government, expressed most recently this week by the President at the U.N. General Assembly, that the war is against terrorism and the LTTE, and not the Tamil people; that the restoration of democracy and development in the North and East is a priority; and that a political solution must be evolved through the APRC which involves devolution, power-sharing, and a recognition that Sri Lanka belongs to all communities.

For these reasons, we deplore and condemn in the strongest possible terms the abhorrent and unacceptable statements made by General Fonseka; call upon the President to take immediate action to prevent statements of this nature being made in the future; and to ensure that public confidence in the government's commitment to and respect for the proper constitutional boundaries between the civil and military realms is restored.

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REMOVAL OF INTERNATIONAL NGOS WORSENS CIVILIAN PLIGHT

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--Jehan Perera

Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Prof. Walter Kalin, who visited Sri Lanka recently laid down the appropriate guidelines to be followed in dealing with the victims of Sri Lanka’s earlier phase of war, tsunami and displacement. He said that displaced persons have the right to go back to their homes in the conflict zones or relocate to any other part of the country. He said that the UN and humanitarian organisations have a vital role to play in securing the lives of the people. He also said that lasting peace was only achievable if they were assured safety and security from war and bombs, compensated for lost property, provided with reconstructed houses and safeguarded against discrimination.

But with government troops nearing the LTTE’s administrative capital of Kilinochchi statements by government spokespersons exude confidence that Sri Lanka has had enough with foreign advice, and will do things its own way. Those in charge of the war effort in particular have reason to be upbeat in their mood. The government’s progress on the battlefield has gone better than anticipated. The town of Kilinochchi is within range of the government’s firepower. There is a human trait when things go well to believe in the correctness of one’s own assessment of the current position. But when this is coupled with the narrowing of vision that accompanies ethnic nationalism, the possibility of mistakes becomes higher.

One of the areas in which the government has taken strong but questionable action has been with respect to international humanitarian organizations. Earlier this month the government requested the international humanitarian organizations working in the north to vacate the battle ground areas. The government’s justification for this order was that it could not guarantee the safety of international humanitarian workers and did not wish to see a repeat of the tragedy that occurred in the east. Two years ago 17 national aid workers belonging to an international humanitarian organization were summarily executed in a battle zone.

But there has also been a perception within the government, and one that is shared by the wider population, that many international organizations have been sympathetic if not downright supportive of the LTTE. There have been many public speeches by government members that NGOs are pro-LTTE and cannot be trusted, and this charge has received wide publicity in the government-controlled media and also in sections of the nationalist media. After the government forces started to recapture territory held for a long period by the LTTE they began to find equipment and other donations of international NGOs within captured LTTE bases. This gave rise to the suspicion that the NGOs had been deliberately supplying the LTTE.

Sections of the media, especially those of the government-controlled media, gave wide publicity to these findings that were adverse to the NGOs claim to be impartial and neutral humanitarian actors. However, speaking to the UN General Assembly last week, President Mahinda Rajapaksa himself admitted that the LTTE had been taking a portion of the relief supplies that the government itself was sending to the people in the LTTE-controlled areas. The President did so to highlight the more important point that Sri Lanka was unique amongst war-affected countries, in that it did not discriminate against people living in rebel-held areas, but supplied them irrespective of where they lived.


NATIONAL INTEREST

Despite President Rajapaksa’s statesmanlike speech in New York, the government’s insistence that international NGOs should leave the northern battle zones continues to prevail. Government spokespersons have said they have evidence that some international NGOs have tried to cover up the extent of LTTE take-over of their supplies, while some of them may have permitted their supplies to fall into LTTE hands. Powerful sections of the government believe that the international NGOs are on the side of the LTTE. Accordingly, the government’s decision to completely handle the distribution of food and other relief items is seen as being in the national interest.

As its alternative to the presence of international humanitarian organizations within the LTTE-controlled areas, the government has requested them to deliver their assistance through the government’s administrative system that continues to operate within the LTTE-controlled areas. The government has reason to be satisfied that its administrative system continues to function in LTTE-held areas. The government has also offered the international NGOs an opportunity to travel with the food and relief convoys into the LTTE-controlled areas and to ensure that the relief supplies are handed over to the care of the Government Agent of the area.

However, the problem is that the government officials working in the LTTE-controlled areas have to be very mindful of what the LTTE also wants. Their salaries are being paid by the government and they are responsible to the government. But it is also likely that the government officials in the north are more fearful and possibly supportive of the LTTE, and are less independent of them, than the international NGOs. In the past the LTTE has assassinated several government officials, including Government Agents who headed the district administration, presumably for non-compliance with their directives. On the other hand, the LTTE has not dared to punish any international member of an NGO in a similar manner.

What this means is that the government’s decision to evacuate the international NGOs from the north is likely to lead to greater LTTE dominance over the issuance of food and other relief items. It is not reasonable to expect the government officials working in the LTTE-controlled areas to be independent of the LTTE and to check them in case of any abuse of those relief supplies. Ironically, with the departure of the international NGOs at the government’s behest, there will be no one who can independently monitor the distribution of relief supplies and report back without fear of being punished by the LTTE.


HUMAN SHIELDS

Fortunately, there is still time for the government leadership to reconsider their stances in favour of the civilian population. At the present time, it is reported that Kilinochchi has become a ghost town with most of its inhabitants having fled to the eastern part of the Wanni. Therefore the problem of civilian casualties and human shields is reduced. The problem will arise after the battle for Kilinochchi, if the government forces decide to carry on the battle to the last LTTE-hold town of Mullaitivu in the Wanni. At that point there will be nowhere left for the civilian population to flee.

The government needs to consider if it is doing what is right by the civilian population by ordering the evacuation of the international humanitarian organizations. The government’s most recent decision to permit the international NGOs to accompany the humanitarian convoys into the LTTE-controlled areas is a positive development, but it is unlikely to prove sufficient. If limited to having the international community verify safe receipt of the supplies, it will not help in the distribution process after the convoys leave. After the international NGOs leave the area having ensured that the supplies are delivered to the Government Agent, there will be no one who can independently monitor what happens to those supplies.

One of the fears expressed about the plight of the civilians is that they will be utilized as human shields. If the international humanitarian organizations do accompany the relief convoys sent in by the government, without safeguards for longer term monitoring, there is the distinct possibility that they will be giving legitimacy to a process that is open to abuse. There is a possibility of the LTTE ordering the government officials to send the supplies to areas they consider strategic in order to compel the people to also move there. The government officials working in the LTTE-controlled areas may not be in a position to give advance notice of such decisions, let alone challenge the LTTE on them.

The UN spokesperson is reported to have said that relief workers would be part of the convoys going into the LTTE controlled areas in keeping with international obligations during conflict situations. The hope has also been expressed that this measure would be reassuring to the people of those areas that they have not been abandoned to the mercies of the two armed combatant parties, and that the international community continues to watch over their welfare. However, it is important that the international humanitarian organizations led by the UN should also insist that they be permitted to stay on to monitor the distribution of the relief supplies, as that too is part of their international obligation.

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Tuk-tuk drivers turn life-savers

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Knotting bandages, carefully lifting an injured person and applying pressure to a bleeding wound are not usually all in a day’s work for tuk-tuk drivers.

But a pre-hospital care training programme will make thousands of scooter taxi drivers throughout Sri Lanka proficient in first-aid procedures that could help save lives and prevent disabilities, according to health professionals.

Usually blamed for causing road accidents, the three-wheeler drivers are being taught the basics of first aid, including managing bleeding, burns and fractures, checking airways for obstructions and deciding when to use the wheelbarrow lift or the fireman’s lift.

“Three-wheeler drivers are usually the first to arrive at the scene of a road accident,” said Adrian Mutupulle of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS), pointing out that tuk-tuks are a popular and quick way to get about. “We are training them to be first responders when they get there.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) and an NGO, Medical Teams International, are funding the project, which is seen as a significant step towards improving the first response system on the island where only the capital, Colombo, can boast a fully-fledged ambulance service. The training, targeting some 4,500 three-wheeler drivers, 1,300 traffic police officers and about 1,000 civilians, was planned around World First Aid Day on 13 September and is the first step in a continuing programme.



“Road accidents are one of the leading causes of death here,” said Lanka Dissanayake, WHO’s national consultant in charge of non-communicable diseases. “We want to assist the Ministry of Health to train the first responders to meet an emergency situation without causing any more trauma for the victims.”

Many accident victims are transported to hospital in scooter taxis, often increasing the risk of aggravating injuries. “Cervical and spinal injuries are the main cause of permanent disability and can be made worse during transportation,” said Dissanayake. “With proper lifting techniques, this can easily be avoided. Lives can also be saved by keeping the airways of the injured person open. Even removing helmets has to be done carefully.”

At a training session organised by the SLRCS, first-aid instructor Thilak Kumara asked drivers from Negombo in the western Gampaha District how a broken leg could be stabilised before the patient was carried.

Participants eagerly offered suggestions such as using a plank or a broomstick. But Kumara showed them instead how to use the patient’s uninjured leg as a splint and demonstrated the correct way of binding the two limbs together with bandages.

“I have taken patients in my vehicle before, but this is the first time I saw how it should be done correctly,” said Gerard Priyantha, one of the participants.

Nishantha Silva, another driver, recounted how he had recently helped a person who was knocked down by a motorcycle and taken him to hospital. “His leg was bleeding profusely and I held it tightly hoping it would stop.” At the training session he learnt that he could have more effectively staunched the bleeding by applying pressure farther up the thigh.

Dissanayake said tuk-tuk drivers could not be discouraged from ferrying injured people to hospitals “because very often there is no other alternative”.

“This training should be given to more people, not only to three-wheeler drivers,” said W. Jayatilleke, who pointed out that when he rushed an accident victim to hospital, he lost out on other hires and it meant the loss of a day’s work if he had to give evidence about the accident later on.

He has felt the brunt of relatives’ ire who sometimes blamed the taxi drivers for making the patient’s condition worse after a ride in the cramped three-wheeler. “At least now we can confidently tell them that we know something of how to care for accident victims.”

The trainees were given certificates, a first aid kit, first-aid brochures to distribute and a sticker saying, “I have been trained in First Aid” to display on their vehicles.

The SLRCS hopes to have a refresher course to evaluate the trainees’ performance after six months, while the WHO is considering linking up with other UN agencies to extend the programme to cover a larger target group.

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SLAF raids LTTE positions

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Sri Lanka Air Force carried out two separate air strikes targeting LTTE positions in Mullaittivu and Welioya fronts this afternoon, 28 September.

The first attack was launched around 3.00 p.m targeting the observed LTTE reinforcement teams in general area 5Km northeast of Akkarayankulam to assist the ground troops of 57 Division, Air Force spokesperson Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara said.

Meanwhile, MI-24 helicopters raided LTTE bunker positions in general area Thandimurippukulam, east of Oddusudan, in Welioya front around 3.45 p.m, spokesperson added.

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Wanni liberation operation in progress; 21 terrorists killed, over 20 injured

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According to the finalized military report received from the battlefront said that 21 LTTE terrorists were killed and 11 others suffered injuries in confrontations took place in Mullaittivu, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Welioya and Jaffna fronts yesterday, 28 September. 11 more terrorists were reportedly either killed or wounded.

Troops of 57 Division operating in Mullaittivu district had confronted with LTTE terrorists in Akkarayankulam and Kokkavil areas killing 2 terrorists and injuries another. 3 soldiers laid their lives for defending the motherland while another 3 sustained injuries during these clashes.

In Kilinochchi front, six LTTE terrorists were killed in confrontations ensued between LTTE terrorists and troops of Task Force 1 in Vannerikulam area. Two soldiers made their utmost sacrifice for defending the motherland while another 12 received injuries. By intercepting LTTE communication it is learnt that 6 more LTTE terrorists had been killed and 2 suffered injuries in a clash occurred in general area Manniyakulam on 26 September.

In Vavuniya front, troops of Task Force 2 confronted with LTTE terrorists in general area Palamoddai. 4 LTTE terrorists were killed and 8 others suffered injuries in these clashes. In the same front, troops of 56 Division, gunned down 2 more LTTE terrorists in general area Vedamakilam.

In Welioya front, 2 LTTE terrorists were killed while another 11 suffered injuries due to the clashes reported in Andankulam area. 11 more terrorists reportedly either killed or wounded.

In Jaffna front, army snipers deployed in general area Muahmalai gunned down an LTTE terrorists during the daytime yesterday. Meanwhile, 2 LTTE terrorists suffered injuries while another 3 reportedly either killed or wounded in clashes reported in Ponnar and Muhamalai respectively. 8 soldiers sustained injuries in LTTE attacks in general area Ponnar, Nagarkovil and Muhamalai areas.

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LTTE Fires Artillery & Mortars towards Advancing Troops

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KILINOCHCHI: TROOPS on advance in the KILINOCHCHI front met Tiger resistance in AKKARAYANKULAM area Saturday (27). Terrorist fire power was overpowered by the troops killing two terrorists and injuring one. Two soldiers caught up in explosions of terrorist IED (Improvised Explosive Device) and anti personnel mines sustained injuries and were admitted to hospital for treatment. At the same time, a few rounds of artillery fired by terrorists fell near the troops killing three soldiers operating in AKKARAYANKULAM area.

Meanwhile, seven terrorists lost their lives in confrontation with the troops inching forward in VANNERIKKULAM and north of KARAMADDAKULAM areas Saturday (27). Shower of LTTE mortar fire directed from their gun positions in VANNERIKKULAM between 6.00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m. injured nine soldiers while seven more soldiers sustained injuries in separate confrontations and anti personnel mine explosions in the same area.

Two more soldiers who bravely fought the Tiger terrorists sacrificed their lives in the general area of VANNERIKKULAM, the same day.

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Suicide attack in Vavuniya

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One civilian was killed and nine others were injured in a LTTE suicide bombing in Vavuniya a short while ago, Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said.

A suicide bomber on a bicycle had rammed into a threewheeler carrying three police constables and one woman police constable. The four constables and the driver of the threewheeler were injured in the attack, but the threewheeler driver succumbed to his injuries later.

Two army soldiers and one female soldier at an army checkpoint in the vicinity and two more civilians were also injured in the blast, Brig. Nanayakkara said.

The attack took place at 3.30 this evening at Second Lane in the Vavuniya Town near the main bus stand.

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Weliweriya moonshine death toll rises to 12

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The death toll of the Weliweriya alcohol poisoning case has gone up to 12, Gampaha Hospital sources said.

All victims showed clear symptoms of methyl alcohol poisoning, an ingredient used in the manufacture of kasippu, Gampaha Hospital Director Dr. Dhammika Mayadunne said.

It is suspected that this particular brew had a high concentration of methyl alcohol.

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Several Indian fisherman attacked in Lankan waters

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One Indian fisherman was killed and 100 injured in a firing incident when they were fishing near Katchatheevu in Sri Lankan territorial waters late last night, the Times of India reported.

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Sri Lanka's war entering tragic phase- Canadian MP

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Canadian MP and Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic Bob Rae says Sri Lanka's war is entering a tragic new phase as violence between the government and the LTTE spirals out of control.

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France says govt has obligation to protect civilians

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The Presidency of the Council of the European Union, France, has said in a statement the Sri Lankan government is obliged to ensure the protection of civilians in the north and to meet their needs.

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Protests in Tamil Nadu gain momentum, Jayalalithaa extends support

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In a significant move amid the building momentum in Tamil Nadu where Tamil leaders are voicing their support to the Eezham Tamils as the Sri Lankan forces intensified their attacks on Vanni, the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the Leader of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, J. Jayalalithaa, Saturday extended her support to a fasting campaign being organised by the Communist Party of India (CPI). In a letter to D. Pandyan, the general secretary of the CPI in Tamil Nadu, Ms. Jayalalithaa said her party extended wholehearted support to the success of the campaign, which highlights the problems and urges to safeguard the lives, properties and the rights of the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

The CPI organised fasting campaign is to take place in all the district capitals of Tamil Nadu state on 02 October that falls on the date of Mahatma Gandhi's birthday.

The CPI has urged the Centre in India to pressurise the Sri Lankan government to immediately halt the killings and to return to the path of negotiations, stating that the war being waged by the Sri Lankan government is against Tamil speaking population in general and that it was not viewed as a war against a militant movement.

The leftist parties in Tamil Nadu, which aim to form a third front in the coming elections, have extended their support to Eelam Tamilas Tamil Writers Association also voiced for the rights of Eezham Tamils.

In the meantime, Dr. S. Ramadoss, the founder-leader of Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) in Tamil Nadu has also announced a protest on 30 September.

The president of the movement Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) K. Veeramani and Thol. Thirumavalavan, the leader of the political party Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Kadchchi (VCK), courted arrest last Tuesday along with five hundred of their cadres while attempting a rail blockade in Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu, to protest against Indian aid to the Sri Lankan state.

The reports of the engagement of Indian military radar operators in the wake of an attack by the Tigers on Sri Lankan Forces Vanni Headquarters (SF-HQ) in Vavuniyaa, in which at least two Indian personnel were wounded, have fuelled the protests in Tamil Nadu against Indian military aid to Colombo against Tamils.

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LTTE Administration collapses

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Kilinochchi is now a 'ghost town' with the LTTE withdrawing all its offices, business establishments, hotels and media centres following the rapid advancement of the security forces towards the region from various directions in the Wanni, informed sources said. The LTTE had even abandoned its 'Peace Secretariat' and the adjoining buildings where most of the meetings with key figures of the international community had taken place with the LTTE's late political wing leader S. P. Thamilselvan and its late theoretician Anton Balasingham, sources said.

The 'Peace Secretariat' of the outfit built with several millions of rupees was equipped with the latest communication facilities. The Secretariat was also furnished to international standards and Pulithevan, one of the lieutenants of Thamilselvan was the head of the Secretariat. The buildings put up by the LTTE in Kilinochchi for its political activities were built soon after the Norway mediated Ceasefire Agreement was signed in February 2002, the sources said.

According to sources the Norwegians had also helped the outfit financially to construct its new buildings in Kilinochchi for political activities. As the civilians began to move out from Kilinochchi, police stations, court houses and other administrative centres that had been set up by the LTTE collapsed with the outfit's henchmen running helter skelter in the region, the sources said.

Meanwhile, innocent civilians in the region are between the 'devil and the deep blue sea' struggling to escape from the clutches of the LTTE who have made them scapegoats for their final show down with the security forces.

Civilians have now moved towards the eastern direction from Kilinochchi to areas such as Akkarayan, Viswamadu and Puthukudiyiruppu which are located east of the A-9 highway. With the LTTE forcibly preventing civilians moving into Government controlled cleared areas, they would face severe hardships in getting essential supplies when the battle enters its final phase, the sources said.

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Sri Lanka high commission in London strongly condemns acts of vandalism against Buddhist temple

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London's Sri Lanka High Commission in a statement issued to the press, "strongly" condemned the "cowardly acts" of vandalism targeted against the Saddhatissa International Buddhist Center, in Kingsbury in London.

The statement said, "The High Commission firmly believes those who took part in this act of destruction do not believe in religious pluralism and tolerance which are basic tenants of liberal democracy today."

The Buddhist monks in the temple said they suspect the crime had been committed by elements connected to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) sympathizers in the area.

The following is the full statement issued by the High Commission: " The Sri Lanka High Commission in London strongly condemns the cowardly acts of vandals who damaged the Sri Saddhatissa International Buddhist Centre in Kingsbury, London, which had taken place during the early hours of September 26, 2008.

"The Sri Saddhatissa International Buddhist Centre which was established in 1990 has been one of the Buddhist Centres of excellence in the United Kingdom not only propagating Buddhism but also actively engaged in various social, economic and spiritual services to the neighbourhood.

"The High Commission firmly believes those who took part in this act of destruction do not believe in religious pluralism and tolerance which are basic tenants of liberal democracy today."

The Brent Press office of the metropolitan Police issuing another press release said that they were appealing to the public to help the police identify the criminals

The following is the full text of the release: "Police are appealing for witnesses after receiving reports of criminal damage to the Sri Sadahatissa International Buddhist temple, Kingsbury, NW9.

"On 26.9.08 approx 1.30 am. two males were seen near the temple, they smashed the front windows of the property and then two vehicles, which were parked on the driveway. Both offenders then made off in an unknown direction.

"Both suspects were wearing dark clothing.

"Any witnesses are asked to call Brent CID on 020 8733 3159 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

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LTTE Fires Artillery & Mortars towards Advancing Troops

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KILINOCHCHI: TROOPS on advance in the KILINOCHCHI front met Tiger resistance in AKKARAYANKULAM area Saturday (27). Terrorist fire power was overpowered by the troops killing two terrorists and injuring one. Two soldiers caught up in explosions of terrorist IED (Improvised Explosive Device) and anti personnel mines sustained injuries and were admitted to hospital for treatment. At the same time, a few rounds of artillery fired by terrorists fell near the troops killing three soldiers operating in AKKARAYANKULAM area.

Meanwhile, seven terrorists lost their lives in confrontation with the troops inching forward in VANNERIKKULAM and north of KARAMADDAKULAM areas Saturday (27). Shower of LTTE mortar fire directed from their gun positions in VANNERIKKULAM between 6.00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m. injured nine soldiers while seven more soldiers sustained injuries in separate confrontations and anti personnel mine explosions in the same area.

Two more soldiers who bravely fought the Tiger terrorists sacrificed their lives in the general area of VANNERIKKULAM, the same day.

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Troops Recover Abandoned LTTE Items

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BATTICOLOA: TROOPS during search and clear operations in ILUKKAVEDDI area, BATTICALOA recovered one T-56 weapon, three hundred and twenty-nine (329) rounds of ammunition and twenty-five T-56 magazines Saturday (27) around 5.25 p.m.

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LTTE Excavator Found; Trench & Bunker Captured

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WELIOYA: FIGHTING in ANDANKKULAM area that continued Saturday (27) caused death to two terrorists and injured twenty three. Troops on search operations found one excavator used by the LTTE to dig trenches and construct sand bunds. One such ditch excavated to a length of 50 m with an earth bund on one side of it was captured by the troops in the same area around mid noon. One Tiger bunker built in ANDANKULAM area also fell into the hands of soldiers while another bunker was completely destroyed in RPG (Rocket Propeller Gun) fire by the soldiers. Troops later recovered two Multi Purpose Machine Gun (MPMG) links, 5 m of detonator code, seven hundred and fifty (750) rounds of ammunition, two knives, one groundsheet, thirty-five anti personnel mines and fourteen Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) from the area.

Similar clashes in RANABAPURA area injured one more terrorist. A soldier with injury sustained in the clashes at RANABAPURA was referred for medical treatment.

Another soldier on clearing operations in the general area of KOKKUTHUDUVAI was injured in a booby trap explosion on Saturday (27) morning around 10.45 a.m..

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LTTE-Occupied Building Captured

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VAVUNIYA: A BUILDING earlier occupied by the terrorists was found in the PALAMODDAI area Saturday (17) around 10.40 a.m.. The house had been abandoned by the terrorists who fled in fear of advance of the troops. The same area saw three more confrontations between the troops and terrorists who lost eight fighting cadres. Same fighting injured four soldiers. Troops on subsequent search recovered two hand grenades from the area.

An evening attack by the troops on LTTE bunkers in VEDAMAKULKAM area destroyed one LTTE bunker and killed two terrorists.

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Eleven Tiger Bunkers Destroyed

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JAFFNA: ARMY TROOPS in PONNAR launched an attack on a few terrorist bunkers Saturday (17) early morning destroying four of them. Confrontations Troops confirmed that two terrorists suffered injury in the clashes ensued between the troops and terrorists. Terrorist fire during the incident injured two soldiers.

Fresh confrontation in the general area of NAGARKOVIL caused injury to one more soldier.

In two separate clashes at MUHAMALE around 2.20 p.m. and 3.15 p.m., troops destroyed seven Tiger bunkers killing one terrorist and injuring three.

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Terrorist at Bunker Shot Dead

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VAVUNIYA: ARMY TROOPS in the general area of KOLIYAKULAM observed a movement of a Tiger terrorist closer to his bunker Sunday (28) morning around 6.35 a.m.. Troops fired small arms and RPGs (Rocket Propeller Guns) on the terrorist point and confirmed the death of one terrorist.

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TMVP camp in Batti attacked

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A TMVP camp in Batticloa has come under attack last night, TMVP sources said.

It is reported that the LTTE was behind the attack.

One TMVP cadre was killed and eight were injured in the attack.

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Senior lawyer J. C. Weliamuna's house come under attack

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Senior lawyer and Executive Director of Transparency International Sri Lanka J. C. Weliamuna's residence came under a hand grenade attack last night.

A family member told TimesOnline that a grenade was thrown at one of the balconies of their house located in a private lane off Dutugamunu Street in Kohuwala.

The attack was carried out at approximately 11.40 pm and police arrived on the scene to investigate. A door and some windows have been damaged in the attack.

According to Mr. Weliamuna's family, he had no personal disputes with anybody. They attributed the attack to one of the many sensitive court ca

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Report soon on milk powder testing

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A report on samples of milk powder sold in Sri Lanka, which was sent to be tested in Singapore in the wake of the crisis that erupted in China due to consumption of melamine-contaminated infant milk, is expected within two weeks, Consumer Affairs Authority Chairman Rumy Marzook said.

As the Government awaited the report, Customs authorities stepped up their surveillance on milk powder being imported to Sri Lanka, especially taking steps to monitor the original country of importation.


Milk powder packets on the shelves in a supermarket
According to Sri Lanka Customs, Sri Lanka has imported 248,000 kg of milk powder and dairy products from China till August this year, with 17,000 kg being imported last month. However, Customs Director General S. A. C. S. W. Jayatilake said that infant milk powder was not imported from China.

Officials ruled out contamination of milk powder imported to Sri Lanka as imported items including milk powder are tested well as prescribed under local food laws before they are brought into the country.

“Food items being brought into Sri Lanka are subjected to several tests. We would continue to monitor these food items, including milk powder. We need to pay attention to the third country. For instance items come in from countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai. These countries import from China, so in such cases we would monitor these items, to know where exactly they are imported and would perform thorough tests”, Mr. Jayatilake said.

Milk powder samples imported to Sri Lanka are tested by the Food Control Administration Unit of the Health Ministry and the Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI). Tests are also carried out by the Atomic Energy Authority for radiation in milk powder. Only then will it be released by the Customs.

Following the death of three babies after consuming milk tainted with the toxic chemical melamine in China, the Government ordered that samples of milk powder be sent to an internationally accredited laboratory in Singapore to ensure that milk products available in local markets were safe. Over 54,000 children have sought medical treatment in China while almost 12,900 are currently hospitalized.
“These tests are being carried out through an abundance of caution,” Mr. Marzook said.

Samples from several companies producing milk related products, including Fonterra Lanka, Nestle, Maliban and Kotmale were sent to Singapore last week, he said, adding that ad hoc samples will also be collected from other companies and individuals importing milk powder to Sri Lanka to be sent for testing.

Several samples were also sent to the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) for testing. Trade Ministry Secretary Dr. R. M. K. Ratnayake assured the public that there was no reason to worry.

“The tests are being carried out as a precautionary measure to dispel fears. There is no cause for alarm”, he said. However, he said children below six months should not be given powdered milk.

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Wildlife society wins top UNDP award

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The Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society is among 25 recipients of this year’s Equator Prize, awarded by the UNDP Equator Initiative. The Equator Prize is an international award that gives recognition to outstanding efforts to reduce poverty and help communities through conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity. Under the UNDP Equator Initiative, governments, businesses and communities work together to raise income levels and protect the environment in tropical countries, which contain the world’s greatest concentrations of biological wealth.

In its citation, the Technical Advisory Committee of the UNDP Equator Initiative said:

“The level of competition for the prize was extremely high and the depth of nominations received was truly impressive. Among this year's remarkable entries, you provided us with a strong demonstration of the inventiveness of community-based work currently being undertaken in the tropics.”

Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society founder president Ravi Corea will receive the award on behalf of the society at a ceremony to be held in Barcelona, Spain.

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Bandula - the Budget shop bungler?

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Minister of consumer affairs, Bandula who is always in the news allegedly for taking wrong decisions and introducing insidious price hikes against consumers has once again hit headline news for suddenly closing the Rajagiriya budget shop complex in view of the SAARC conference held in July. It is alleged that this was done in total disregard of the interests of the shop owners and the public.


The shop owners in the complex who were seriously affected by this decision are to sue the Minster on the ground that they have incurred immense losses as a large quantity of their food items were destroyed during the closure because expiry dates have passed on many of them. This was the consequence of the haphazard actions of this Minister who did not care even to give prior notice, they allege.

Earlier, the District Court had give an order against the CWE (of the Ministry) not to remove any item in the complex, not even padlocks.

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British PM meets Rajapaksa, conveys acute concern

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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Secretary of State for Department for International Development Douglas Alexander met with President Mahinda Rajapakse of Sri Lanka in New York Friday to discuss the situation in Sri Lanka. "The recent increased hostilities in the north of Sri Lanka are of acute concern to the UK Government," said a joint statement from the British International Development Minister Shahid Malik and Lord Malloch Brown, calling on both the parties, the GoSL and the LTTE, to respect their obligations under International Humanitarian Law to enable free access for humanitarian agencies. The statement also urged LTTE to take urgent action to allow free movement of civilians.
Full text of the statement follows:


The following is a joint statement from DFID Minister Shahid Malik and Lord Malloch Brown in response to the emerging situation in Sri Lanka:

"The recent increased hostilities in the north of Sri Lanka are of acute concern to the UK Government. We welcome the Government of Sri Lanka recognising its responsibility to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians affected by the conflict and its continued co-ordination with humanitarian agencies.

"Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Secretary of State for Department for International Development Douglas Alexander met with President Mahinda Rajapakse of Sri Lanka in New York today to discuss this situation.

"We urge the Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to take urgent action to allow free movement of civilians. We call on both parties to respect their obligations under International Humanitarian Law to enable free access for humanitarian agencies and the protection of civilians affected by the conflict."

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Wild in Sri Lanka

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By Christine Pemberton

We arrived at the gates of the delightfully named Wasgomuwa Strict Natural Reserve, in central Sri Lanka, in a flurry of dust and cars. Three vehicles, three drivers, our family of four, my dear Sri Lankan friend whom I’ve known for practically forever and his five bodyguards, his 86-year-old great aunt Ena, and her 75-year-old butler who studiously carried her handbag.

The park reception was a little overwhelmed by us all. The bodyguards were there because my friend has a job that puts him at risk. They were armed, as any self-respecting bodyguard should be. But the park doesn’t allow firearms. The four of us were not Sri Lankans so had to pay a different rate. Did a SAARC national and three SAARC residents get a cheaper rate? All these negotiations took time, but in the end were amicably resolved. The guns were allowed, we had to pay foreign rates, and were then told with big smiles that we were probably the first foreigners to camp in the park.

I soon understood why auntie Ena had travelled with so much luggage. The circuit bungalow doesn’t provide food or towels, just bedding and two cooks, so auntie Ena and the long-suffering butler had packed food and drink for the 15 of us for two days, a massive undertaking. Auntie Ena had also brought table-cloths, towels, sheets, extra pillows and spare mosquito nets, as well as other travelling essentials such as lemon-flavoured gin and cashewnuts for snacks. Oh, and a coffee percolator. And binoculars. And bird books, amid much cursing that she had forgotten the tree identification book. Auntie Ena’s endless bags and cooler boxes were a nostalgic statement on the way people used to travel in the good old days.

Once we had offloaded all the supplies, and decided that we would all sleep out on the verandah rather than in the rooms, which meant moving a lot of furniture, we were ready for our first game dive.

The system in Sri Lankan parks is that you can drive your own vehicle, but must take along a park official. The parks open at dawn and you can drive until sunset — driving with headlights is not allowed. Wasgomuwa is famous for its elephants, which we would see in abundance over the next two days. We saw breeding herds of elephants with tiny one-month-old babies, and we were recipients of a couple of serious charges by the anxious matriarchs.

One afternoon, we watched a large herd eating by the shores of a hyacinth covered lake. I tried not to feel jealous of the far superior camera lens poking out from the other vehicle there. Possibly they made too much noise, but suddenly one of the matriarchs charged and as the other vehicle fled off down the deeply rutted track, two more elephants joined in, and they all trumpeted at the departing Landrover.

Our turn came a little later, and we were forced to reverse quickly back down the track and then shoot off, as one of the larger elephants came after us. They are fiercely protective of their babies.

Sunset came quickly and we headed back to the bungalow, for drinks on the verandah and delicious food courtesy of auntie Ena. We were introduced to "lampreis", rice and a mixture of curries, which had been cooked at home, wrapped in banana leaves, and tied up with string to form a neat parcel. The circuit bungalow staff steamed them, cut open the string with a flourish, and dinner was served.

We all got up before dawn, had tea and coffee in the cool pre-dawn darkness, and set off on our morning game drive just as the sky was getting light. Sightings were good: wild buffalo, spotted deer, a huge water monitor, jackals, and more birds than you could shake a stick at, including the marvelously extravagant Malabar Pied Hornbill, which sports a striking horned bill complete with a casque on top.

Back to the circuit bungalow for breakfast of freshly made rotis and curry and sambols galore. By 9.30 am we dozed the morning away until lunch, which was then followed by another siesta, to give us energy after all that food. Then it was time for afternoon tea and yet more food and we just about rolled into the vehicle for the evening game drive. Off we went, to see elephant and buffalo and cheetal, which were all marvellous, but then, just as the light was fading into sunset, we saw leopard. A magnificent, dark coloured young leopard strolled out of the jungle, glanced at us, and continued haughtily on his way. The ranger told us he hadn’t seen a leopard in over seven months, and the driver confessed it was only his fourth leopard in over 40 game drives. Much pleased with ourselves we headed back in fading light to the bungalow, for yet more food and drink and talk about the day’s sightings.

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Pickpocket – Sakvithi’s” Partners Safe

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Police has arrested 06 people who worked for the racketeer Chandana Weerakumara alias Sakvithi Ranasinghe. They have now deployed a special police team to arrest 15 more employees of “Pickpocket – Sakvithi” including K. B. Kesara a Director of Sakvithi’s bogus financial institution and the lady lawyer who was involved in the company’s legal activities.

Meanwhile the victims of the financial fraud raise their concerns over the manner the police try to relieve “Kala Keerthi” Edwin Ariyadasa instead of making him equally responsible for this crime. “Kala Keerthi” Edwin Ariyadasa’s photograph was appeared on almost all the news paper advertisements which requested people to invest money in their so called “Investment Plan”.

Sri Lanka is a country where even an obituary notice can not be published without producing the death certificate of the deceased. We believe that the government should take immediate action to stop newspaper companies from publishing any advertisement which request public to “invest” money, without obtaining copies of proper legal documents issued by the Central Bank.

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Pickpocket – Sakvithi’s” Partners Safe

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Police has arrested 06 people who worked for the racketeer Chandana Weerakumara alias Sakvithi Ranasinghe. They have now deployed a special police team to arrest 15 more employees of “Pickpocket – Sakvithi” including K. B. Kesara a Director of Sakvithi’s bogus financial institution and the lady lawyer who was involved in the company’s legal activities.

Meanwhile the victims of the financial fraud raise their concerns over the manner the police try to relieve “Kala Keerthi” Edwin Ariyadasa instead of making him equally responsible for this crime. “Kala Keerthi” Edwin Ariyadasa’s photograph was appeared on almost all the news paper advertisements which requested people to invest money in their so called “Investment Plan”.

Sri Lanka is a country where even an obituary notice can not be published without producing the death certificate of the deceased. We believe that the government should take immediate action to stop newspaper companies from publishing any advertisement which request public to “invest” money, without obtaining copies of proper legal documents issued by the Central Bank.

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"Believe me, I’m not a thief,’’ says Edwin Ariyadasa

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The police investigating a massive financial fraud committed by a person who called himself Deshamanya Sakvithi Ranasinghe Sir are in a dilemma over the action to be taken against Edwin Ariyadasa, a prominent media personality who had functioned as the joint director of S. R. Property Sharing Investment (Private) Limited, set up by the suspected conman.

There has been no final computation yet on the total extent of desposits taken by the company although over 4,000 depositors had put their money into the venture and complaints continue to flow.

Police have arrested several persons, including a retired army officer employed by the suspect who is not in the country. The statement of Ariyadasa, who had been the highest paid employee at the unauthorized company, has been recorded.

The Sunday Island learns that many persons who had lodged complaints with Mirihana Police regarding their losses had claimed that they received assurances from Ariyadasa with regard to stability of the operation in which he participated.

Police said that although the suspect was known as Sakvithi Ranasinghe, the company had been registered by a person identified as Abaya Ranasinghe Mudiyanselage Chandana Weerakumara and Jamburuthugoda Gamage Kumari Anuradhini of 175/4, Madiwela Road, Embuldeniya, Nugegoda.

With the help of Ariyadasa, one of Sakvithi’s employees had visited `Temple Trees’ where he had the opportunity being photographed with the President, the sources said.

Responding to our queries, the sources said that Sakvithi had taken advantage of this meeting, the sources said, emphasizing that a visit to `Temple Trees’ wouldn’t have been a reality without Ariyadasa’s help.

Ariyadasa has received a monthly payment of Rs. 100,000 for promoting the business interests of the suspect. The sources said that under an agreement the suspect had with Rupavahini, he conducted English classes on the national channel (Sunday afternoon at 3.30 p.m.). The agreement with Rupavahini followed his agreement with TNL to air English classes, the sources said

Responding to our queries, the sources said that the day before a large group of people surrounded Ranasinghe’s office in the Mirihana police area last Monday (22), he had advertised his business. According to an advertisement, with photographs of the suspect and Ariyadasa who was identified as the project director, depositors were offered a monthly interest of Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 6,000 for each Rs. 100,000 deposited with him.

He also offered a monthly interest of Rs. 6,000 for deposits of Rs. 200,000 or more. The advertisement published by Sakvithi House Constructions (Pvt) Limited gave mobile telephone numbers of four of Sakvithi’s employees responsible for bringing in new deposits. Among them was the employee who had visited Temple Trees with Ariyadasa.

The sources pointed out that the advertisement referred to the programme conducted by Sakvithi on Rupavahini Sunday afternoon. It was evidence that this particular programme too, had been used to entice more investors, the sources said. Ariyadasa also appeared on this programme along with Sakvithi.

Police said that over 4,000 people had been deceived by the racketeer. Some of them, in their statements to Mirihana Police, had said that they felt comfortable with Ariyadasa’s guarantee.

The sources said that the suspect had given two luxury cars to two young girls employed at his office. They played a critical role in deceiving the victims, the sources said, adding that some of the employees may have taken money secretly despite the majority of them being the recipients of handsome commissions for bringing in fresh investments.

Ariyadasa said that he too was deceived by Sakvithi Sir. Responding to our queries, he said that he received a monthly payment of Rs. 100,000 inclusive of a range of allowances.

"But I was never part his financial dealings," he said, acknowledging that his name had been exploited to entice depositors.

Ariyadasa had joined Sakvithi in April last year on the invitation of Lanka Jayawardene who had been with the Agriculture Department for a long period. "We met on April 18, 2007," Ariyadasa said, adding that he had received appointment as the Programme Director of IT Management Solution which was primarily responsible for promoting Sakvithi’s English training package.

"Believe me, I am not thief," the respected media personality said when The Sunday Island asked him whether he was fully aware of the exploitation of his name to dupe thousands of people.

According to him, Sakvithi through his contacts in the Army and the Health Ministry had the opportunity to market his English training course at training facilities for nurses and army bases at Weli Oya, Maduru Oya, Galkulama, Galkiriyagama, Nelunkulama, Minneriya and Polonnaruwa and many other areas.

"Both officers and men brought course material priced at Rs. 3,000," Ariyadasa said, adding that Sakvithi had at least 100 employees based at his head office. "It was a big operation and people I am sure were tempted by unprecedented interests offered," he said.

Asked about his visit to Temple Trees with K. B. Kesara, an executive with Sakvithi’s group, Ariyadasa said that the President had invited him on December 3 last year to felicitate him on his birthday.

"Kesara offered to take me to Temple Trees and he accompanied me to the meeting with the President." Ariyadasa failed to explain how the Sakvithi executive who offered to drop him at Temple Trees had managed to gain entry without being invited.

Ariyadasa said that Sakvithi was a monster who deceived him and destroyed his image.

Police headquarters yesterday said that over 800 complaints had been received by Saturday. Police said they weren’t in a position to estimate the total amount of money collected by the fraudster as complaints were being received even now.

The total number of depositors could be over 4,100, police said on the basis of the documents recovered from Sakvithi’s office.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Drunk men confront Navy patrol

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One man was killed and four, including two sailors, injured following a confrontation when a group of drunk men attempted to grab the gun of a Navy of patrol in Palliawatte, Watta

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Millions worth of iron removed from Colombo Harbour

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A consignment of iron worth millions of rupees had been removed from a dismantled two-storey storage complex at Colombo Harbour and taken for use at construction activities at Hambantota Harbour, 'Ravaya' reports.
A first attempt to remove the consignment was prevented by Customs officials, who found that the required documents were no submitted.

Later, the Customs had been told that the cast iron was being taken to Hambantota Harbour.

When the newspaper contacted Sri Lanka Port's Authority's chief engineer Janaka Kurukulasuriya, he has said the iron would be used for certain changes to be effected to iron gates at Hambantota Harbour.

He also said the entire consignment has now reached the destination.

However, sources at Hambantota Harbour say they are yet to receive any iron consignment.

According to the sources, the work presently underway involves only the filling of marshy land and the building of roads.

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Govt. wants independent commissions curtailed

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Transparency International alleges 29 ruling party MPs have moved to curtail powers of the independent public, police and judicial services commissions enacted through the 17th Amendment to the constitution.
Executive Director of TI J.C. Weliamuna says that these MPs have sent a written request to Constitutional Affairs Minister Dew Gunasekara regarding their objective.

Mr. Weliamuna said this would take the country's constitution back to the 1972 period.

According to a government minister who wished to remain anonymous, these MPs have said unlimited powers being enjoyed by independent commissions comes in their way in taking decisions on public petitions.

The MPs have asked that constitutional amendments be brought in to allow parliamentary committees to mediate in orders of independent commissions.

Several opposition MPs who have come to an understanding with the government are supporting this proposal.

Mr. Weliamuna said that such amendments would once against deny these commissions their independence and allow politicians to rule the country according to their wishes.

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Since 4 to 5 middlemen are involved in the trade:

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Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Felix Perera, presenting Regulations under the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act, said there was a demand from countries like Japan but they insisted on international standards free from an accepted content of mercury and cadmium. Increasingly such standards are being insisted by the countries that import fish and we had to adhere to such standards.

He said the prawn farms that had once recorded a considerable growth but after 2005 prawn culture was affected due reasons like white spot disease and the export quantum fell to 1,500 tons but it rose 3,500 metric tons in 2007. With the new regulations to be introduced prawn culture could be expanded to 4500 hectares.

There were 40,000 direct employment opportunities and 20,000 indirect employment opportunities from prawn culture industry and the national economy too benefited by this industry.

Joseph Michael Perera (UNP) Though the government says it spends a large sum of money to protect mangroves in Negombo area a 2-acre mangrove had been destroyed by a some politicians and were the conservation officials not aware anything about it but the District secretary had all the details. The fishery industry depended on the mangroves and it should be protected.

Minister of Plantation Industry Milroy Perera said the consumer had to pay high prices for fish since there were 4 to 5 middlemen who were involved in the trade before fish came to the market. In the 1960s a pound of Seer fish was only three rupees but now a kilogram of Seer fish was 700 rupees.

Chandrasena Wijesingha( JVP) said fishermen had to keep their boats without putting them to sea because of the high prices of fuel. The government should give some relief to the fishermen when the fuel prices go down in the world market.

Samansiri Herath (FNN) Puttalam District government should try to avoid the monopoly of the prawn industry by a section of people and should put up prawn purchasing centres so that the monopoly could be challenged. There was insufficient freezing facilities at the Negombo and Kalpitiya fishery harbours.

Deputy Minister of Fisheries Neomal Perera said he was happy to have joined the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse who had helped to develop the fishery industry. The imports of canned fish will be reduced in 2009 by 50 percent and instead start exporting fresh water fish.

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UNP asks its MPs to pick their shadow cabinet portfolios

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The UNP has asked its parliamentarians to name the three shadow cabinet portfolios, each of them would like to handle.

Media spokesman of the party Gayantha Karunatillake told The Island, that according to a decision arrived at this week’s parliamentary group meeting, each MP was expected to project himself a shadow cabinet minister, in charge of three portfolios.

"The MP’s were asked to state their preferences to Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera, who in consultation with the party leadership would determine the allocation of subjects, based on their abilities."

Asked if a shadow cabinet minister would be entitled to at least one of the subjects under his or her purview, in a future UNP government,

UNP Karunatillake said that no such guarantee had been given. "But their performance would certainly stand them in good stead, in the future."

He, said that due to the large number of ministries that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has created, with scant regard to the drain on the treasury, they have no option but to ask each of their MP’s, to monitor at least three ministries.

Once the shadow cabinet ministers are appointed, we will be able to further highlight the rampant corruption and inefficiency in government, he added.

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We are born to be cheated; the story of the victims of Sakvithi racket

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Mirihana police is overwhelmed with the flow of complaints regarding the massive racket conducted by Sakvithi Ranasinghe who fled the country after swindling around 9 billion rupees from unsuspecting investors.

An English education programme of this person is broadcast every Sunday 3.30 PM by Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation.

He ran a house and land sales business and an international school in the address No: 08, Nawala Road, Nugegoda.

He lured clients who expected high interests to invest in his business through a broad advertising campaign in which veteran media person Edwin Ariyadasa also appeared. Ariyadasa who has Rohana Pradeepa and Kalakeerthi titles in his name appeared in the advertisements as a Project Director of this business.

A large photograph of President Mahinda Rajapakse posing with the Sakvithi Group director board was displayed in the office of this business to assure the trust of the clients. The President has won the title of Sri Rohana Janaranjana.

Today these Rohana Pradeepas and Sri Rohana Janaranjanas are silent as around 6000 persons who were lured to this business due to the power of their images and due to their own folly remain desperate.

Many victims said in angry tone that Edwin Ariyadasa prompted the clients arriving in to Sakvithi Constructions Company to invest there saying that he himself would do so if he had money.

Many invested their EPF, entire savings of the life and money obtained through selling property in this racket seeking high yields despite repeated media advertisements of the Central Bank advising people not to deposit money in the unauthorized institutes.

Many have invested money without the knowledge of their spouses and therefore ask not to post their photos in media. Some wanted to cover the ways they earned money. Sakvithi has manipulated their fears very cunningly for his business.

Many raise doubts why the suspects have not been arrested whilst 4000 complaints have been recorded by Mirihana police.

A person with underworld links called K.B. Kesara who was the Managing Director of the company intimidated and even molested women who came to the office to withdraw their money. The victimized women asked with tearful eyes if Mirihana police was unaware of this kind of persons.

Managing Director K.B Kesara published newspaper advertisements and collected around five million rupees until September 21 although he knew that Sakvithi Ranasinghe fled the country on September 09.

K.A.C. Rajapakse of Minuwangoda said, “I saw an advertisement stating that Rs. 6000 would be paid for the first three months and then Rs. 4000 monthly interest would be paid for each Rs. 100,000. I invested a million rupees. Now almost 17 months have passed. Interest was paid in the first few months. Later I asked to withdraw Rs. 300,000. They asked me to make a written request and I obliged to it. They asked me to come on November 26. We invested there since we saw photos of the President with the Directors of this company and due to the images of the likes of Edwin Ariyadasa.”

Adikaram Mudalige Dorothy Samarathunga says, “I deposited Rs. 1.7 million since I wanted a house. Mr. Sakvithi hand shook with me and promised I would definitely be rewarded. I did not withdraw monthly interest since I needed a house. With interest the total is now around Rs. 2.1 million. I have lost both money and house. Later I purchased a house. I asked for Rs. 300,000 to build a house there. Nalaka Thushara Karunarathna who worked in Sakvithi’s staff intimidated me before my husband in a room in a lower floor of the office.”

Chaminda Gunarathna of Gampola says, “I invested Rs. 500,000 of my savings earned through 14 years service in operation areas as a soldier. I withdrew 10 months interest. They don’t allow us to talk to other people when we come to the office to withdraw interest. I felt suspicious and asked the money to be returned. They asked for six months. When I came to collect money I came to know that the office was closed. Out of Rs. 500,000 I invested here, Rs. 150,000 was acquired by mortgaging a land. I am penniless now and I cannot face my family. I am still in the service.”

H. A. Dayananda of Gampola says, “I deposited Rs. 3.5 million in February 2008. Withdrew Rs. 300,000 interest. With interest, they should pay me Rs. 4.5 million. When we began to suspect and asked for the money to be returned, they asked for a letter and told us to come on September 23. We trusted this company since Mr. Edwin Ariyadasa was a reputed person. We deposited money acquired by selling a house belonged to us. On the day we sold the house Mr. Sakvithi Ranasinghe came to our house with Mr. Ariyadasa. Both of them went with me when I deposited money in Sakvithi’s account. I admitted both of my children to international schools and now I have no money to pay their school fees. We have lost property and livelihood.”

This is not the first time this kind of racketeers swindled Sri Lankans. Sri Lanka’s rule of law suits to this kind of persons very well. It is no secret that the Sri Lanka’s biggest fraud, Rs. 350 billion VAT scam had unofficial state assistance. Such a country is a paradise to the cheaters as well as to the cheated.

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No food, no water, no medicine and no treatment to pregnant mothers; Vanni people roam here and there in fear of death

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The parliamentary group leader of the Tamil National Alliance R. Sampanthan says that Vanni civilians live in fear risking their lives amidst discriminate air and land attacks.

He made these observations in a discussion with a weekend Sinhala newspaper.

MP Sampanthan said that people have lost free life due to attacks of the state security forces and move from place to place away from homes for safety amidst shortages of basic needs such as food, water and medicine and losing their children's education.

He further says that the government has neither plan nor need to address the woes of Tamils and only thing they do is damaging Tamil people in a move suspected to amount to genocide.
"There are elements that go against solutions in the government. They need no solutions even after the conflict. The government is unaware that sovereignty of the country should be safeguarded on the basis of the fundamental rights of people. The two phenomenons are interconnected. But the government does not respect the fundamental rights of the Tamils.

"The allegation that the LTTE is manipulating people as a human shield cannot be assumed. They sacrifice lives to safeguard the homeland of the Tamils. The government fabricates charges like the LTTE has made Tamils scapegoat to cover up the allegation that the government is disregarding one minority community of the country.

"Vanni civilians suffer amidst maximum difficulties. They have nothing to eat and drink. There is no treatment to the pregnant mothers. No medication in hospitals. They live in fear of their lives. We always appear for them. We make aware the international community on the injustices caused by the government. We complain to human rights organizations."

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Number of sports stars and police officials among those hoodwinked by Sakvithi Ranasinghe

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Mirihana police Fraud Investigation Bureau says that there are around 50 police officers among the thousands of people hoodwinked by fraudulent financial company owned by Sakvithi Ranasinghe. The Inspector General of Police has sought a list of the names of those police officers and the amount they have deposited.

An official of the Mirihana police Fraud Investigation Bureau said that there are Senior Superintendents of Police, Assistant Superintendents of Police and Chief Inspectors among the police officers.

Mirihana police further says that there a senior officer of the Army, intelligence wing officer, several cricketers and a woman sports star among the victims.

Among the victims we met, there was an intelligence officer of the Sri Lanka Air Force too.

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Double murder in Batti and Ampara

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A villager from Settipalayam in Kalavanchikudi, Batticaloa was shot dead last night, police said.

Police Spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekara said the victim has been identified as 53-year-old D. Gopalan Pillai.

Kalavanchikudi police is investigating the incident.

Meanwhile the bound and gagged body of an unidentified male has washed ashore at Nindavul 4, a coastal vilage in Samanthurai, Amparai.

SSP Gunasekara said the body was discovered yesterday evening and Samanthurai police is carrying out investigations.

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Suspended sentence for Lankan woman

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A Sri Lankan mother-of-three who ran a brothel from a terraced house in Britain was given a nine-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay £15,000 as fine.
Court was told that 34-year-old Yasmin De Silva who ran a house of ill repute in Norwich Avenue, Bournemouth had made at least £500 a day from immoral earnings.

Judge John Harrow warned De Silva that if she did not pay up within four months she would face being jailed for 12 months.

Earlier Bournemouth Crown Court heard how De Silva had been arrested after police stumbled across the brothel while executing a drugs warrant.

Officers discovered huge quantities of condoms, business cards offering escort and massage services, sex toys and accounts books.

As well as De Silva, there was "a maid" responsible for meeting and greeting clients, answering the phone and cleaning, two English women and a Lithuanian girl. No drugs were found during the raid.

The court was told that Sri-Lanka-born Desilva was paying £250 rent and spending around £400 on advertising each week. She was estimated to have made a profit of around £500 a day.

De Silva, of Windham Road, Springbourne, pleaded guilty to managing a brothel between July 4, 2004 and June 9, 2007.

In her defence the court heard that her takings were nearer £1,000 a week and that if she was jailed her family would be split up.

Judge Harrow told her: "You ran an illegal business as you must have known from the outset. It was clearly profitable but it has to be said there is no suggestion that you coerced or compelled any of these women to participate.

"These working girls were there of their own free will, sharing the profits with you."

De Silva was also ordered to complete 100 hours unpaid community work.

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Some TNA MPs welcome referendum to extend govt’s term: Neomal Perera

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The Deputy Minister of Fisheries Neomal Perera told Parliament yesterday that some of the TNA MPs had told him that they would welcome a referendum to extend the government’s term until 2017.

“Some TNA MPs have told me personally that they wouldn’t mind if the President extends the government’s term until 2017 by holding a referendum,” he said speaking during the debate on the National Aquaculture Development Authority Act in the House yesterday..

He said these TNA Mps had said so because they know they would not be elected to Parliament again.

Mr. Perera invited the TNA to join the government stating that they would also be able to go abroad and participate in the government’s development, if they did it. “You will be able to go abroad like the Eastern Province Chief Minister Chandrakanthan and participate in the country’s development work,” he pointed out.

He slammed the opposition stating that they talk to the gallery and go home without looking at the reality when the government is trying to bring peace to the country and engaged in vast amount of development work.

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Lankan born terror suspect found guilty in Canada

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A Sri Lankan born Toronto man became the first Canadian found guilty, on Thursday, of participating in the activities of a terrorist group, one with bold but not well-formed plans to attack targets in Toronto and Ottawa, the Canadian media reported.
The man, who was the test case for anti-terrorism laws Canada introduced in 2001, cannot be named because he was a juvenile when he was charged. He was among 18 people arrested following a series of police raids in June 2006.

Police and prosecutors said the people arrested planned to bomb government buildings including the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation., and raid Parliament to decapitate Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

"I am satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that a terrorist group existed," Justice John R. Sproat of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice said during the reading of his judgment, which lasted about one hour. "Planning and working towards ultimate goals that appear unattainable or even unrealistic does not militate against a finding that this was a terrorist group."

Despite the guilty verdict, the man, now 20 years old, has not yet been formally convicted. That process is frozen until the court reviews an application from his lawyer arguing that many of the group's activities were made possible by a paid police informant who committed illegal acts himself.

While the testimony from that informant, Mubain Shaikh, clearly influenced the judge's decision, the informant said outside the courthouse here that he disagreed with yesterday's ruling.

"I don't believe he was a terrorist," Shaikh said of the defendant.

"I don't believe he should have been put through what he was put through. But that's our system."

Wiretaps, videotapes made by Shaikh, his testimony and other evidence painted a picture of a group whose specific objectives were unclear, whose activities were often apparently benign and whose abilities to carry out a plot were, at best, limited.

In this trial, most of the evidence focused on the suspect's participation at two camps staged by the group, which has come to be known as the Toronto 18.

But in his ruling, the judge said that even commonplace activities can take on a different meaning within the context of a camp where leaders made inflammatory remarks about destroying "Rome" and marching in Washington. "As a matter of common sense, engaging in activities such as physical exercise and rafting is by no means inconsistent with the existence of a terrorist group," Sproat ruled.

The judge allowed that the suspect, who was born in Sri Lanka and who was a recent convert to Islam at the time of his arrest, may not have realized what he was getting into up until the time of the first camp, where a somewhat disorganized attempt at target practice was made by participants.

But a long and often rambling speech by the group's leader, who cannot be identified because he still faces trial, made the group's aims clear at the end of that first camp, the judge ruled.

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Sakvithi probe: police Record 177 fresh complaints

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Amazement continues in the major financial scam linked to the infamous English tutor Sakvithi Ranasinghe, where the police had recorded 177 fresh complaints throughout yesterday revealing a loss of a sum of Rs. 108 million.

Mirihana police conducting the probe recorded 177 fresh complaints yesterday and found the largest single deposit made was Rs. 3.5 million by a visually handicapped person among yesterday’s lot.

Police spokesman Ranjith Gunasekara told the Daily Mirror the person had received a land in Wadduwa from a foreigner sometime ago. He had then sold the land and bought a land from Ratmalana where he again sold it for Rs. 4.2 million. Out of that he had deposited Rs. 3.5 million with the Sakvithi Finance.

The total number of complaints had reached up to 742 so far and money lost in the scam was roughly estimated at Rs. 478 million.

Meanwhile, a special police team was probing the prime suspect Abeyratne Mudiyanselage Chandana Weerakumara Ranasinghe alias Sakvithi Ranasinghe (38) who was reported to have fled the country to India.

Local police seek Interpol assistance to trace the absconding suspect whilst six suspects who worked under him were now being questioned in police custody.

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Sakvithi Finance co., employee surrenders

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An employee of the Sakvithi Finance Co., surrendered before the Gangodawila Magistrate and made a confidential statement about the dealings of Sakvithi Sir’s financial scam.

The employee Dharshani Maduwanthi surrendered before the Gangodawila Magistrate Wasantha Jinadasa through the Attorney-at-Law Vidura P. Manchanayake and made the statement.

Mr. Manchanayake informed the Magistrate that his client was only an employee under Sakvithi Ranasinghe. She wanted to make a confidential statement voluntarily in respect of the dealings and the financial scam committed by her employer.

The Magistrate remanded the suspect Dharshani Maduwanthi till October 6, after recording the two and a half hours confidential statement by the suspect in the magistrate’s chamber.

Attorney-at-Law Vidura P. Manchanayake with Ruwan Alwis, Janaka Weliwatta, Bharatha Amaratunga P. Patabendige and Ms. Shama Chandrasena appeared for the suspect.

According to the District Fraud Bureau Mirihana, this once popular English teacher had defrauded over Rs. One hundred and six million in this financial scam.

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No plans to distribute Dahaiyagala sanctuary land to people - Champika

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Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Champika Ranawaka yesterday scoffed at rumours that there is a move to distribute part of Dahaiyagala sanctuary - that connects Udawalawe National Park and Bogahapattiya Forest reserve - among people.
Addressing the National Seminar of the Biodiversity Baseline Survey held at Sausiripaya yesterday the minister said under the Flora Fauna Act it would be illegal to distribute sanctuary land and the rumours of the land distribution are spread by groups with vested interests.

The Minister also declared that plans are underway to upgrade Bogahapattiya forest reserve to the status of conservation forest in the best interest of elephants in the area. He dismissed rumours that there is a plan to close the Bogahapattiya elephant corridor as malicious allegations.

Commenting on the biodiversity baseline surveys, Minister Ranawaka said the origins of them in Sri Lanka can be traced to 1980s, during the early days of the implementation of Accelerated Conservation Review.

“This survey was limited to 30 lowland rain forests and was later followed by the National Conservation Review (NCR) from 1991 – 1996. All natural forests of 200 hectares or more were included in the NCR. Among these surveys the current one undertaken by the Department of Wildlife Conservation is the most comprehensive project which provides valuable information required for management” said the minister.

The baseline surveys, according to him, are useful to figure out what we have conserved so far where they have been conserved and it also provides a baseline against which we can monitor changes in distribution and abundance of biodiversity over time.“Armed with such information, we can manage our protected areas in ways that maintain and even enhance their wealth of plants and animals. Such information also enables us to strengthen our national system of protected areas by filling in gaps in representation of biodiversity and develop sound polities that safeguard this natural heritage and the ecosystems that sustain our society over the long-term” he added.

The current Biodiversity Baseline Survey carried out in seven pilot sites - Horton Plains, Peak Wilderness, Ritigala, Wasgomuwa, Bundala, Udawalawe and Minneriya - provides information on six major living organism groups namely mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes and vascular plants.

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CITY HOTELS’ SECURITY UNDER ASSESSMENT: GOVT.

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The Government is currently assessing the security situation in all metropolitan hotels as this matter had come under discussion between Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Tourism Minister Milinda Moragoda on the establishment of the City Hotels Security Advisory Committee headed by Bernard Goonetilleke that took place on Wednesday at the Defence Secretary’s office in Colombo.

Goonetilleke told the Daily Financial Times yesterday that the establishment of the committee was carried out in a bid to assess the current status of the security in the city hotels. Rajapaksa had focused on the fact that major hotels and business establishments are close to each other and therefore there is an additional reason for both sides to take additional precautions and noted that among many things the desirability of carrying out baggage and parcel checks when they are delivered to hotels so that attempts are not made to compromise security.

“In the coming weeks we will meet with the senior managers and owners of the city hotels individually, and discuss the arrangements in place at present and if necessary the requirement for additional arrangements,” he explained. This will be carried out in a bid to “not allow for any threats to the city hotels to take place,” Goonetilleke said.

The City Hotels Association has been having a continued interaction with the defence authorities in the past six months, according to Goonetilleke on the security situation in city hotels and he noted that this would provide additional confidence among travellers at the hotels that they will be staying in.

In response to the query as to whether there was a likelihood of any concerns by travelers in this respect, he pointed out that, “I don’t see why they should be concerned when their security is taken care of.”

The chairman explained that while the hotels have their own security arrangements these will be assessed and depending on the facilities available will be analysed as to whether any additional measures are required.

He further stated that the meeting was based on issues concerning the “current context in the world where developments are taking place on security.”

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UK tells LTTE to let civilians leave

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The British Foreign Office has urged the LTTE to act urgently to allow free movement of civilians from the Wanni. "The recent increased hostilities in the north of Sri Lanka are of acute concern to the UK government," said junior Foreign Office minister Mark Malloch-Brown and aid minister Shahid Malik in a joint statement.

"We welcome the government of Sri Lanka recognising its responsibility to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians affected by the conflict and its continued co-ordination with humanitarian agencies," they added.

But they said: "We urge the LTTE to take urgent action to allow free movement of civilians.

"We call on both parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law to enable free access for humanitarian agencies and the protection of civilians affected by the conflict," they added

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown discussed the situation with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse in New York on Friday, in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, the Foreign Office added.

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UN to resume food distribution to Wanni

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The first convoy of food supplies since 16 September will travel under the UN flag to areas held by the LTTE in the north in the next few days, Neil Buhne, the UN Resident Representative in Sri Lanka has said.

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Jaffna Prison overcrowded with humanitarian protection seekers

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Prison in Jaffna, temporarily housed in a private building that can accommodate only one hundred, has become crammed with more than three hundred inmates, who have sought humanitarian protection from the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission in Jaffna. Many of them have been languishing in the prison for more than two years. Meanwhile, two youths sought protection custody on Thursday as persons appearing for interrogation at SLA camps in Thenmaraadchi and other areas in Jaffna peninsula had been killed by unidentified gunmen while returning home after interrogation in the recent past.

A 25-year-old driver from Chanthirapuram, Madduvil North in Thenmaraadchi and a 24-year-old youth from Kadduvan, Chu'n'naakam South in Valikaamam sought protection Thursday with Human Rights Commission (HRC) Jaffna office due to death threats by Sri Lanka Army (SLA), sources in Jaffna said. SLA soldiers had been continually forcing both the youths to appear at their local SLA camp for interrogation, the youths said in their statements to the HRC.

The youth from Kadduvan is a father of one child.

HRC officials took steps to place the two youths in the protective custody of Jaffna Prison.

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Kaarainakar, Trincomalee Tamils abducted in Colombo

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Two Tamils, one a native of Kaarainakar in Jaffna district, and the other from Lingkanakar in Trincomalee district, had been abducted in two separate incidents in Colombo, according to complaints lodged with the Dehiwala Police and Fort Police by their relative
The first abduction took place at Sea Street on September 17. The victim had been identified as Thiyagarajah Jegan, 29, of Lingkanakar in Trincomalee and had been working in a jewelry shop located along Sea Street for the last two years. On the day of incident he left home around 8:00 p.m. but failed to return home, according to a complaint by his mother to the Fort Police. The victim was arrested in 2007 and was later released. His mother had told the police she suspected her son had been abducted.

In the second incident Subramanian Sritharan ,39, of Kaarainakar who had been working in a hotel for the last three years had been abducted by a gang of six armed men on September 19 in a white van. He had been married, and his wife and child have been living in Canada. The victim had already made travel arrangement to join his family in Canada, according to complaints with the Dehiwala Police by his relatives.

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Upcountry Tamil reported missing in Colombo

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A thirty-eight-year old Up Country Tamil was reported missing in Colombo since September 21 Sunday evening, according to complaints lodged with the Grandpass Police and with Civil Monitoring Committee by his relatives.
Sinnasamy Thiruchelvam, residing Navagampura in Grandpass in Colombo-14, left home around 4:00 p.m. to his work place located along Messenger Street in Colombo-12, and has failed to return home.

The victim is a native of Mecca Estate in Maskeliya division in Nuwara Eliya district in central province.

Mr. Sinnasamy had been living in Colombo for several years.

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Burmese student monks' demonstration in Sri Lanka

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Burmese student monks and Sri Lanka monks demonstrated outside the Burmese Embassy on September 26th. September 26th is the first anniversary of the bloody Saffron Revolution led by the Buddhist monks in 2007 that was crushed by the country's military government. They peacefully demonstrated by chanting the "Metta Sutta" (the Buddha's words on loving-kindness) in front of the Burmese Embassy in Sri Lanka.

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Two new SDC regions in China and Bangladesh

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Two new regions of the Society of Dyers and Colourists have joined its global community for colour, the SDC Jiangnan Region in China and the SDC Bangladesh Region. They are the latest recruits to an increasingly global professional body and educational charity that now boasts regions in seven countries including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong.

Comments Clare Moore, SDC membership and qualifications officer, ‘We are delighted to welcome these fledgling regions to the SDC at a time when the contribution of the Society to colour education, skills enhancement and best practice is attracting attention and gaining support worldwide.’

The SDC Jiangnan Region, which means south of the Yangtze River and includes Shanghai, Zhejiang Province and Jiangsu Province, held its inaugural lecture during a recent visit by SDC president, Susan Williams, and chief executive, Kenneth McGhee. Honorary officers include Prof. Fang (chairman), Ms Xia Zhang (secretary) and Ms Anli Tian (treasurer) – all from Jiangnan University.

Championed by Mr Hitendra Barmma of Brinntex Inc – now honorary chairman – the new SDC Bangladesh Region adds to the Society’s fast growing presence in Asia. Mr Hafizur Rahman has been appointed secretary and Mr Muhammad Shah Jalal, treasurer.

All the Society’s regions around the world will soon be invited to select finalists for the 2009 SDC Global Design Competition, the final of which will be held in Goa, India in conjunction with the Society’s international colour conference ‘Sustainability in Coloration: Vision 2020’ which takes place on 25–26 June 2009 and is hosted by SDC India EC.

The Society has individual, professional members in 49 countries, with patron supporters in 12 of these, and is the world’s only qualifying body for practitioners in colour.

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18 Sri Lankan refugees reach Dhanuskodi

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Eighteen refugees from Sri Lanka landed on Arichalmunai, Dhanuskodi, bringing the total number of refugees who have reached Rameswaram this month to 133, according to aid agencies.


The refugees, who had travelled in a small fishing boat from Mannar, reached Arichalmunai on Wednesday night in a group that included at least seven children. One of them was a oneyear old, brought to India by his widowed mother wrapped in a large polythene bag. “The sea was terribly rough and being a small boat, we were completely drenched throughout the journey,” the woman’s 18-year-old brother said.

The child however, was coping with his ordeal better than the other children, most of whom were still upset over the dangers of the journey and were pining to return home.

Some of the children had not had food in at least 24 hours and the night was spent on the open beach of Dhanuskodi. Each adult had paid Rs 13,000 to the illegal Sri Lankan ferry to make the journey, while the children were charged at half rate. However, the baby’s passage was free of cost.

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IDP Voices - Balu Selvanayagam

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We were living in Andankulam in Mannar. We displaced to Madhu but later we were told to go back to Andankulam by the LTTE. Sometime later, from Ankankulam we displaced to Periyamadu and from there we displaced to Iluppakkadavai. From there because of shelling we displaced Paliyaru. From there we again displaced to Kanesapuram. From Kanesapuram we displaced to Anaivilunthan. From there we displaced yet again to Murippu in Kilinochchi. From Murippu we have come here to Vaddakachchi.
In Ankankulam I worked in a bakery. I have three children; my youngest is nine months old. Since we started this repeated displacement a year ago, we have no income. I cannot find work. We keep selling our small possessions to buy food. The last thing we sold was the tiny gold earring of this child. She is now wearing an imitation earring.

We have not received much assistance in the form of relief. This hut is no protection from rain. If it rains we have to seek protection in a temple; that is all we can do.

IDP Voices - Kumar Vijayaranee

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Sri Lanka squad for Canada T20 title

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Sri Lanka Saturday named a 15-member squad Saturday for the inaugural four-nation Twenty20 tournament to be played in Toronto next month.
The squad does not include a specialist wicket-keeper, with Tillakaratne Dilshan standing in for regular keeper Kumar Sangakkara, who recently underwent finger surgery in Australia and will miss the Canadian outing.

The tournament, scheduled to run from October 10-13, pits Sri Lanka against Pakistan, Zimbabwe and hosts Canada.

Sri Lanka squad:

Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Udawatte, Chamara Kapugedera, Jehan Mubarak, Thilina Kandamby, Farveez Maharoof, Thilina Thushara Mirando, Nuwan Kulasekera, Ajantha Mendis, Dilhara Fernando, Jeevantha Kulatunga, Dilhara Lokuhettige, Kaushalya Weeraratne.

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81 LTTE rebels killed: Lankan Army

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At least 81 LTTE cadres were killed as Sri Lankan armed forces using fighters and artilleries pounded Tigers' stronghold, with troops reported to be on the outskirts of the key Kilinochchi town.

The fighter jets targeted female 'Black Tigers' training facility at Rathnapuram, Kilinochchi, as well as LTTE logistic centres and vehicles storage areas in a major escalation of the country's ongoing civil strife.

The Defence Ministry said that at least 81 Tamil Tigers were killed as jets pounded Black Tiger' training facility in the embattled northern Lanka.

The rise in the heat of the battle comes amidst reports that Sri Lankan forces are within sights of the town, considered to be administrative and military headquarters of the LTTE.

"Sri Lankan Air Force fighter jets have launched a precision air strike at the LTTE's main female 'Black Tiger' training facility located at Rathnapuram, Kilinochchi this afternoon," an official said.

"The target was located 1.5 km East of the A-9 trunk road and North of the Iranamadu Tank," Air Force spokesperson Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara said, adding the target was acquired on real-time ground information.

According to available information, serious damages were caused to the facility as intense activity was reportedly taking place during the time of the attack.

"The site is known to be the main female 'Black Tiger' training and coordinating facility and a most frequented location by LTTE's intelligence wing chief, Pottu Amman, the Defence Ministry quoted military sources as saying.

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Air Strikes at female 'black tiger' training facility- Kilinochchi

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Sri Lankan Air Force fighter jets have launched a precision air strike at the LTTE's main, female 'black tiger' training facility located at Rathnapuram, in Kilinochchi, Saturday (Sep 27), at around 12.15p.m.

"The target was located 1.5km East of the A-9 trunk road and North of the Iranamadu Tank", Air Force Spokesperson Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara said speaking to defence.lk.

According to the Air Force Spokesperson, the target was acquired on real-time ground information received.

The site is known to be the main female black tiger training and coordinating facility and a most frequented location by LTTE's intelligence wing chief, Pottu Amman, military sources said.

Over the years, the facility has been used to engineer LTTE's most barbaric suicide attacks in the South, particularly in Colombo, military sources said. According to available information, serious damages were caused to the facility, as INTEL reports confirmed intense terrorist activity during the time of attack.

Armoured LTTE vehicles fitted with anti-air guns were observed rushing to the target location immediately after the attack, while reliable sources in Wanni said that people were ordered to stay away from the main roads in Kilinochchi by the outfit.

"Some serious damages have been caused and it is likely they (LTTE) will take time to reveal or remain tight lipped as usual over the incident", defence observes said citing intercepted LTTE communication.

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Troops foray terror defences; 4 terrorists killed - Kilinochchi

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Troops of Army Task Force 1 operating on the western half of the Kilinochchi battlefront, attacked terror defences in the Manniyakulam area, 12 km northeast of Nachchikudha at 12.30, last afternoon (Sept 26) , battlefield reports said.

According to the reports, troops had observed 4 bodies of slain LTTE cadres lying in the forward area following the clash. One of the bodies had been collected and taken to the rear areas , the reports added.

Later, intercepted terror radio transmissions revealed that 14 terrorists had been killed and 15 others wounded during the incident. Troops suffered no casualties.

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INGO kingpin with Italian passport joins LTTE as fighter

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The Kilinochchi Project Manager of an INGO known as Zoa has joined the LTTE to fight the Sri Lanka Army. He, an Italian passport holder, has informed the Colombo-based head of Zoa, in writing, of his decision to fight for the cornered Tigers.

The Ministry of Defence told The Island yesterday that Zoa had informed it of the situation and forwarded a copy of the letter from its Project Manager, the latest LTTE recruit. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, asked for comment, said he was aware that a Zoa official had joined the LTTE.

According to sources, Zoa had tried repeatedly to persuade its Project Manager to leave Kilinochchi but in vain.

Zoa is a key member of the UN-led Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA), which has been active in the Eastern Province and in the Jaffna Peninsula.

Government sources said it was evident that the Zoa manager had been working for the LTTE throughout his deployment in Kilinochchi during the past several years.

Sources said that the government would have to review the process of allowing international humanitarian workers to enter the country as there was believed that at least some of them were working for the LTTE.

The UN Colombo is expected to explain its position on the Zoa Project Manager shortly, as Zoa is a prominent CHA member.

Zoa is the second INGO found to be directly involved with the LTTE. The first one was the Norwegian People's Aid, which has recently moved out of Kilinochchi leaving behind about 40 vehicles, including earth moving machines.

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Tiger Movement Fired Upon

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HAMBANTOTA: EXCHANGE of gunfire occurred between the troops and Tiger infiltrators in BLOCK 3, YALA Saturday (27) around 3.45 p.m., after soldiers on duty in the area opened fire at a suspicious terrorist movement in the jungle area.

Terrorists, while firing at the troops, withdrew and disappeared in the jungle.

One soldier who was injured due to Tiger fire later succumbed to injuries.

Army commenced a search operation in the area.

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LTTE Loses More Bunkers & Trenches in Welioya

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WELIOYA: TROOPS in WELIOYA, after they attacked a Tiger bunker line in ANDANKULAM captured one bunker and one trench line Friday (26). Six more bunkers in the same area were destroyed by the troops. Five of them were targeted by armoured tanks.

Similarly, a line of five bunkers in KUMULAMUNAI came under forceful attack of the troops Friday (26).

Friday’s clashes in ANDANKULAM, KUMULAMUNAI and RANABAPURA areas killed at least eight terrorists and injured over thirty.

One soldier serving in the WELIOYA front laid his life during fighting.

At the same time, during clearing operations, troops recovered three anti personnel mines and eighteen IEDs.

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Intensified Fighting Kill More Terrorists; Troops Recover Four Terrorist Dead Bodies

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VAVUNIYA & KILINOCHCHI: CONTINUING confrontations at NAVATHKULAM and north of PALAMODDAI in VAVUNIYA killed six LTTE terrorists Friday (26). One LTTE bunker and three trench lines north of PALAMODDAI also fell into hands of troops at the end of fighting. Troops recovered four hand grenades, two pouches, one hundred rounds (100) of ammunition and one terrorist cap from the area.

In the meantime, troops launched an attack on an LTTE bunker line at AKKARAYANKULAM in KILINOCHCHI Friday (26) afternoon and destroyed one bunker. The incident killed seven terrorists and injured three more. One soldier sustained injury in explosion of a terrorist IED.

Similarly, troops in KALAYAPARU area in KILINOCHCHI killed four more terrorists during fighting. Subsequently, troops recovered one LTTE dead body, one T-56 weapon, ninety rounds of ammunition, three magazines and one belt order from the area. Two soldiers were injured in terrorist fire and explosion of anti personnel mine.

The same day, heavy clashes erupted in the general area of VANNERIKKULAM killing seventeen terrorists and causing severe injuries to one more.

Meanwhile, an LTTE attack on the Security Forces FDL (Forward Defence Line) in MANNIYANKULAM was repulsed by the troops who killed eighteen terrorists in the area. Two LTTE dead bodies were recovered by the troops during subsequent search. One LTTE dead body was recovered by the troops. Eight soldiers were injured in fighting.

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Fisherman Injured in LTTE Fire

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JAFFNA: LTTE terrorists opened fire at a flotilla of fishing boats that went to sea from the GURUNAGAR jetty Friday (26) around 10.00 a.m.. Fishermen were engaged in their daily catching some kilometers away from the jetty when terrorists fired at them from POONARYN area, according to one fisherman who escaped unharmed.

One fisherman in one of the boats sustained severe injuries in his neck due to LTTE fire. However, others managed to return to the jetty with the injured person.

The injured fisherman, A. SATHYAPILLE of No 43, 3rd CROSS STREET, GURUNAGAR was admitted to JAFFNA hospital for treatment.

The same day, terrorists fired mortars towards the troops at ARIYALAI and MUHAMALE. Two soldiers serving in those areas laid their lives. Three others were admitted to PALALY Army hospital for treatment.

One more soldier was injured due to explosion of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at MUHAMALE Friday (26).

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Loads of bombs and weapons found - Negombo

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Police have found over 100 kg of C-4 high explosives, one T-56 riffle, one suicide jacket, claymore mines, night visions, remote control devices and limpet bombs from an unoccupied land in Kudapaduwa, Negombo this evening (Sept 26).

Police suspects that LTTE terrorists had kept these weapons to be used in intended attacks against civilian and security forces targets in the South.

More information will follow.

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Protests in Sri Lanka Ponzi capital

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Protests erupted against authorities in a sleepy Sri Lankan fishing village which can almost lay claim to be the Ponzi capital of the world, after a financier in the area was blacklisted as running an illegal business, police and residents said.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka named Piyadasa Ratnayake, a financier in Hungama in Southern Sri Lanka popularly known by the alias Danduwam Mudalali or the 'punishment businessman.'
Residents say he had acquired the name in his school-going days when the naughty young Ratnayake was repeatedly punished by his teachers.

'Danduwam Mudalali' had originally started lending money to small fish retailers at high interest rates, charging daily interest rates to become prosperous.

Later on, he had started getting money from others and re-lending, paying 7 percent a month 'interest' for his 'depositors'. By this time nobody knew where his money was being 'invested' to pay such a high return.

But people were coming from all parts of the island and giving him money to get 7 percent interest which is annualized at around 90 percent.

Along with Ratnayake, the Central Bank also named five other businesses as carrying on illegal finance businesses. One of them - ' Sakwithi House Constructions' - had already collapsed, leaving thousands penniless.

Such operations are known as Ponzi scams, named after Charles Ponzi, an Italian who lived in the US city of Boston in the early part of the century.

Ponzi claimed to run a business arbitraging on the price differential of international postal reply coupons between the US and Italy.
But a typical Ponzi scam operates by paying off earlier depositors with the money coming from later ones, until the business collapses.
In Hinguma, on Friday, about 300 people had come to Danduwam Mudalali's house demanding their money back. Police said a mobile patrol was sent to the place and officers had observed the financier starting to re-pay depositors.

Residents say announcements were made by loudspeaker as each depositor was re-paid, in a bid to instill confidence.

When he ran out of cash, post-dated cheques were given, police said.

Residents say a group of people had then protested against the central bank saying they wanted to protect Danduwam Mudalali.

Danduwam Mudalali had, by this time, spawned several copycat 'financiers' who were attracted to the business by the apparently easy manner in which the 'financier' was getting 'deposits'.

A former associate of Danduwam Mudalali had set himself up as Dhadi Danduwam meaning 'greater punishment.' He gave an interest rate of 100 basis points above the benchmark 'Danduwam' rate.

Dedi Danduwam alias 'Saman' was now locked up on a drugs charge, police said.

Residents say some law enforcement officers who deposited money with Danduwam Mudalali was also given the Dedi Danduwam rate of return.

In Sri Lanka authorities kept interest rates far below inflation for almost four years, printing money to finance budget deficits.

State banks in particular kept savings rates around 5.0 percent while inflation raged above 20 percent.

Negative real rates, or even low nominal rates amid low inflation, can make ordinary people easy prey to scammers.

Meanwhile, just off Hungama yet another person had set himself up as 'Maraneeya Danduwam or deadly punishment. The 'deadly' rate of return was 200 basis points above the Danduwam benchmark.

Yet another group had started collecting money paying a lower rate of return. They were known as Lihil Danduwam or light punishment firms. They offered rates about 300 or 400 basis points below the benchmark Danduwam rate.

The 'lihil' rate artists were reputed to be 'depositing' their money with the Danduwam and Dedi Danduwam operators after keeping a large profit.

They were acting in much the same way as the likes of Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns and Goldman Sachs happily parked high yield 'sub-prime' securities in each other to boost returns, as the Fed cut rates as low as one percent, while fiscal deficits widened.

'Agents' who brought money to the larger Danduwam operators were also paid a 100 basis point commission - much like an arrangers fee in Wall Street.

The musical chairs in financial capitals, powered by unceasing money printing by the Fed in particular and reserve currency central banks in general, collapsed in August 2007.

In Hungama it is just starting. But there is no Ben Bernanke to create paper money out of thin air and bail them out.

And there is also no ex-Danduwam chief executive officer as finance minister to engineer a bailout package, or give a banking license to Danduwam Mudalali overnight to make him eligible for central bank liquidity.

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Groundviews shortlisted for 2008 Manthan Award

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Groundviews was selected for the 2008 Manthan Award.

The Manthan Award is a first of its kind initiative in India to recognize the best practices in e-Content and Creativity. The Digital Empowerment Foundation in partnership with World Summit Award and American India Foundation launched the award in 2004.

This year, the Grand Jury for the Manthan Awards reviewed a total of 284 applications received from 8 countries in South Asia and 28 States and Union Territories in India, across 13 categories. At the end of the Jury process, only one-fourth of the total nominations were shortlisted for an award.

Sri Lanka has come out on top with 18 nominations. Groundviews is shortlisted under the e-news category.

The final awards will be presented in Delhi on 18th October.

Groundviews takes this opportunity to congratulate all the other nominees from Sri Lanka.

Groundviews is Sri Lanka's first and award winning citizens journalism website features an unparalleled range of ideas, opinions and analyses on humanitarian issues, media freedom, human rights, peace, democratic governance and constitutional reform.

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The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative - Statement of Concern on Sri Lanka’s Non-Inclusion on CMAG’s September 2008 Agenda

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The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) expresses its concern that Sri Lanka has yet to feature upon the agenda of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG).

Sri Lanka lost its seat in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) during the earlier part of this year (May 2008), on the basis of scrutiny of its human rights record. Its current military offensive in the north of the country raises further concerns around the Government’s adherence to its “Voluntary Commitments” (human rights commitments) made at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) during from the Universal
Periodic Review. When also examined alongside the Sri Lankan National Human Rights Commission’s history of variance and non-compliance with the Paris Principles, it would appear critical that Sri Lanka be included on CMAG’s agenda this year.

CMAG, the guardian of the Commonwealth’s fundamental values, which is intended to address and take action in response to breaches by Commonwealth countries, has seen Sri Lanka seated in its group across two consecutive terms. CMAG is due to meet in New York on 27 September 2008, in the capacity of its role to deal with serious or persistent violations of the Commonwealth's fundamental political values. However, the only country currently on its agenda is the Fiji Islands.

There is potential for an escalating situation of impunity in the northern region of Sri Lanka – where, last week, the Sri Lankan Government, ahead of its major military offensive on Northern part of the country, ordered aid workers to depart the area, saying it could not guarantee their safety. This is particularly the case where, in a repeat unlawful action that occurred during June 2007, Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary advised thousands of Tamils living in Colombo, on Saturday, 20 September 2008, to return to their villages in the north of the country ahead of the offensive, referring to their presence in the capital as a national security threat; those Tamils remaining resident in Colombo having been required to register with the Police. Given the intensity of the attacks on the region, which already had a large internally displaced population, along with the fact that independent media have been banned from entering the region and recent unconfirmed reports that have suggested unprecedented and at times indiscriminate attacks on civilian populated areas, there are fears of a developing humanitarian crisis. The resumption of armed conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been reportedly accompanied by widespread human rights abuses by both sides.

While the LTTE has continued its deliberately provocative attacks on the military and Sinhalese civilians as well as its violent repression of Tamil dissenters and forced recruitment of both adults and children, the government is using extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances as part of a brutal counter-insurgency campaign. The likely result will be the further cycle of war, terrorism and repression of human rights. Without ignoring or minimising the serious violations of the LTTE, the international community should bring more pressure to bear on the government, whether it be via United Nations mechanisms, a reappraisal of aid policies and/or intensified political engagement.

Given that CMAG’s fundamental task is that of a “watchdog within the Commonwealth”, in order to assess the nature of any infringement and recommend measures for collective action from member countries, CHRI urges it to include Sri Lanka upon its agenda for its meeting this month. In doing so, CMAG will continue to help protect and promote the Commonwealth’s key values across its member states in the twenty-first century.

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Japan Funds Agro Well Project in Anuradhapura District

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The Government of Japan through its “Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human
Security Projects (GGP)” has provided US$ 48,511 (approximately Rs.
5,166,384) to construct 15 Agro Wells in the Maddyama Nuwaragampalatha DS
division in Anuradhapura, which will be implemented by the “Women’s
Development Society.”

The farmers in the Maddyama Nuwaragampalatha currently depend on rain water
and can only cultivate for three months in a year due to scarcity of water.
These agro wells will enable the farmers to cultivate throughout the year
and will improve their livelihood. In addition, these Agro wells will
improve the health and hygiene conditions of the area by providing clean
water, which is expected to benefit 75 families directly and 200 families
indirectly.
The GGP is a scheme that funds NGOs and local authorities to implement
projects which directly benefit grassroots communities. During the current
year, current year, the GGP has funded projects for the livelihood
development of the East, infrastructure development in rural Badulla
District, and de-mining projects in the North and East.

The signing of the Grant Contract took place on 26th September, 2008
between Mr. Kaoru Shimazaki, Chargé ď Affaires of The Embassy of Japan, and
Ms.Wijitha Basnayake, Chairperson of the “Women’s Development Society,”
in the presence of other officials at the Embassy of Japan in Colombo.

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Jaguar and Porsche assembly plants insist on promised concessions

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Universal Autoassembly Private Limited and three other petitioners had complained to the Supreme Court that the Minister of Industrial Development had failed to recommend the petitioner companies for the exemptions from excise duty, for the local assembleyof Jaguar cars, Porsche vehicles and Bejing Automobiles.

The petitioners said President Rajapaksa under Section 3C of the Excise (Special Provisions) Act No. 13 of 1989, (as amended) had ordered that the petitioners be given this tax concession. The order had been gazetted on June 5, 2008.

The petitioners added that they had learnt of a recent Cabinet decision to amend the applicability of this Excise Duty Exemption.

The petitioners had said that had it not been for the duty exemption for locally assembled vehicles, they would not have proceeded to set up an assembly plant, with the approval of the Board of Investment.

They alleged unreasonable treatment by the first respondent, Minister of Industrial Development Kumara Welgama and other Ministers of the Cabinet and requested Court to grant them interim relief by directing the respondents to abide by the order made by the President. The petitioners requested Court to declare the violation of their fundamental rights by the respondent Cabinet of Ministers.

The petition was called before the Supreme Court yesterday and was listed for support on October 8, 2008.

Sanjeewa Jayewardene, appeared with Rajiv Amarasuriya, instructed by Sugath Perera Associates for the petitioners.

The Bench comprised, Justice Raja Fernando, Justice J. Balapatabandi and Justice P. A. Ratnayake.

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More job opportunities for skilled workers in Europe

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Following the successful completion of his tour of Europe, the Minister of Foreign Employment and Welfare, Keheliya Rambukwella said that there is good potential in Europe for Sri Lankans to work as migrants.

According to the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) Chairman, Kingsley Ranawaka, as a result of the negotiations held with the authorities of several European nations, Sri Lanka will be entering into MoUs with Poland and Romania before the end of the year and with France in January.

Ranawaka also added that opportunities in industrial, construction and hospitality sectors for skilled labour would be on offer for Sri Lankans who possess skills and qualifications in accordance with international standards.

The SLBFE recently initiated a number of steps to discourage the common practice of sending unskilled domestic workers and encourage skilled migrant labour for higher wages.

In a bid to strengthen matters pertaining to migrant labour the Government recently took steps to sign MOUs with several countries regarding worker rights, welfare and employment opportunities.

Authorities have also signed MOUs with the UAE, Jordan, Libya, Bahrain, Korea and Kuwait seeking better protocol on issues related to Sri Lankan migrant workers.

According to Ranawaka, Sri Lanka plans to enter into similar MOUs with Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Japan in the future.

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LTTE associates attack a London temple after President visited it

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Lanka-e-News' London reporter says that a mob has attacked Kingsbury temple in London yesterday (26) damaging door and widow panes and two vehicles parked in the premises after President Mahinda Rajapakse visited the temple on his way to New York to participate in the UN General Assembly.

Our reporter says that the monks residing in the temple have identified two persons as they fled after breaking several glasses by attacking with an iron rod and the monks say they are LTTE sympathizers.

The President visited this temple on September 20 and the chief prelate of UK Glayaye Piyadassi Thero invoked blessings to him.

The attack has taken place around 1.35 AM. The damage caused to vehicles is estimated around 25,000 pounds. No monk residing in the temple has been harmed. A complaint has been lodged in Metropolitan police and an investigation is underway.

Our London reporter says that three previous times as well the LTTE associates pulled down the lion’s flag hoisted in the temple.

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Govt’s call to vacate Kilinochchi ignored

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The Government’s call for the residents of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu to move out to safer locations has so far not had the expected response.


According to authoritative sources from the Vavuniya Kachcheri, despite the Government’s request for the public to move out of these areas and proceed to Vavuniya, so far there has not been any report of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) entering Vavuniya.


The Government appealed to the residents in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts to leave the area without risking their lives. The Air Force, dropping leaflets from the air, requested the civilians to flee to safer locations in view of the much anticipated military onslaught against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).


However, despite repeated appeals by the Government, The Bottom Line reliably learns so far no civilian has arrived in Vavuniya.


Vavuniya Kachcheri sources said while the Government in collaboration with the World Food Programme and the UNHCR are fully geared to provide shelter and food to the nearly 200,000 IDPs who are expected to visit Vavuniya, so far nobody has entered Vavuniya.


“We are ready with six transit camps to house the IDPs temporarily. They will be here for two to three weeks in these transit camps. We are also ready to provide them with long term camping facilities following their stay at the transit camps. For this, we have identified three locations. But sadly, so far nobody has come,” Kachcheri sources said.


Meanwhile the source said as there was no sign of IDPs entering Vavuniya, the Government has already dispatched lorry loads of food to Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu.


In the absence of the non governmental organisations and other aid workers, the food convoys will be channelled through the respective Grama Sevekas.


“We know that majority of the civilians are prevented from entering Vavuniya by the LTTE. The Tigers are using the innocent civilians as human shield. But what can we do? If the people want a quick solution to the problem of terrorism, then they must enter Vavuniya some how,” the officials said.

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Police given time to answer in Rosy, Chandrani FR case

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The Supreme Court has given the respondents, Bambalapitiya OIC Upul Seneviratna, IGP Victor Perera and the Attorney General, time to file answers in Fundamental Right (FR) Applications filed by UNP Parliamentarian Chandrani Bandara and Colombo West Organiser Rosy Senanayake.


Senior State Counsel Riyaz Hamza moved for time to file answers on behalf of respondents when the cases came before the Supreme Court. The Bench comprising Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, and Justices Raja Fernando and P.A. Ratnayaka gave them time till January 21, 2009.


Sujeewa Senasingha, instructed by Integrated Associates, appearing for petitioners told the Court that he is not objecting to give time or respondents to file answers.


Serasinghe further submitted to Court that the UNP, together with certain other opposition political parties, organised a lawful peaceful protest against the rising cost of living and the escalating fuel prices on June 3, 2008 and some Police stations made applications to Colombo Chief Magistrate to stop the said protest. The Chief Magistrate rejected those applications.


When the petitioners were participating in the said protest, the first respondent had insulted them and abused them in filth, the counsel said.

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Appointing PB as ‘advisor’ in contempt of court charges UNP

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The UNP yesterday charged that the impending appointment of former Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera as a ‘presidential advisor’ by the Mahinda Rajapakse administration is in contempt of court.

UNP Parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella at a media briefing held in Colombo yesterday said that the government’s decision to appoint the former Treasury Secretary as a presidential advisor was against the Supreme Court judgment and said that the Attorney General (AG) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) have failed to abide by the court ruling.

"The last paragraph in the judgment has clearly ordered the IGP and the AG to take ‘necessary action’ against the Treasury Secretary for violating government rules and regulations. But instead of doing so the Rajapakse administration is planning to appoint a person found guilty by court as a presidential advisor which is against the Supreme Court ruling," claimed Kiriella.

According to Kiriella a ministry secretary can be held responsible while having limited powers but a presidential advisor has no responsibility but has unlimited powers.

"At a time when Jayasundera was answerable to the President, cabinet, parliament and also the Public Service Commission (PSC) he still could commit offences, but what would happen once he is appointed as an advisor which has unlimited powers and is not answerable to any person?" questioned Kiriella.

That would be disastrous and will create a serious situation than ever before," Kiriella added.

Speaking further Kiriella noted as to why the Rajapakse administration is reluctant to take action against Jayasundera and said it was due to his involvement in all government illegal dealings.

"It is a public secret as to how Jayasundera as a government servant had a hand to the Mihin Air and Mig deals and also as to how he was involved in the LTTE deal the Rajapaksa’s had before the Presidential election. As a result the Rajapaksas do not want to remove Jayasundera believing that he would spill the beans," said Kiriella.

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Silencer Gun & Dead Tiger Found after Clashes

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WELIOYA: INTENSITY and ferociousness of the ongoing battles in WANNI was reaching new heights as triumphant troops were inching forward to reach their goals amidst rains of enemy fire in the WELIOYA sector as of Thursday (25).

The strategic ANDANKULAM and KOMALAMUNAI areas witnessed close fights bringing death to at least six terrorists and injury to fourteen more. At the end of the fighting, troops collected one dead LTTE cadre, one silencer gun with a telescopic lens, five magazines, twenty ammunition rounds, one I-com set, one night vision device, one belt order, nearly one hundred ration packets, a stock of medicine, maps and one hundred and seventeen anti personnel mines. Those fights, including one attack against an LTTE bunker continued until late in the evening.

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3 air raids targeting LTTE strong points

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Sri Lanka Air Force fighter jets raided identified three separate LTTE locations in Kilinochchi, Mullaittivu and Vavuniya districts throughout the day, 26 September.

Air Force spokesperson, Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara, speaking to media said that the first air raid was launched around 9.45 a.m. targeting LTTE gathering place in 2 Km north of Akkarayankulam in Kilinochchi district.

Meanwhile, fighter jets simultaneously engaged in two more LTTE bases around 1.45 p.m. today. One of the two targets was an LTTE storage facility located in 2 Km south of Piramantalkulam in Mullaittivu district while the other was an LTTE supply base located 1 Km southeast of Puliyankulam in Vavuniya district, the spokesperson added.

Air Force confirmed that three targets were engaged accurately.

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Security forces on the doorstep of Kokkavil - Mullaittivu front

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Security forces personnel engaged in Wanni liberating operation in Mullaittivu front are on the eve of another significant victory against LTTE terrorists as the troops of 57 Division advancing into the Kokkavil general area this afternoon, 26 September.

According to the latest information received from the forefront, the troops of 57 Division are in close vicinity to the Kokkavil railway station complex.

More information will follow ..

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New bid to identify the mysterious 'Mr Patel'

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A RENEWED appeal has been launched by a national charity to identify a mysterious man from Sri Lanka found dead in bed at Torquay's Grand Hotel nearly 11 years ago to the day.
Mr Patel, the name he used to check in, was thought to have links with the Tamil Tigers terrorist group — but his true identity was never established.
He was found dead — possibly from cyanide poisoning —at the seafront Grand on September 24, 1997.
Missing People, the UK's leading charity for missing and unidentified people, today made a fresh appeal for information in the hope of finally solving the case.
Mr Patel, reckoned to have been in his 30s, had checked into the hotel on September 23.
He was about 5ft 8ins tall, of medium build with neatly trimmed black hair and a pock-marked complexion.
He had distinctive scars on both of his shoulders which suggested he had links with the Tamils. He was wearing a T-shirt, jeans and a leather necklace.
Missing People has checked their missing person's records for clues as to a possible identity, but as yet no conclusive match has been made.
Teri Blythe, Head of Missing People's Identification department, said: "In most cases an unidentified person is also a missing person, so it is likely that this man will have family and friends out there who do not know his fate.
"We therefore hope that this appeal will bring some vital clues that will lead us to identify this body and put an end to someone's distress."

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PayMate Forays Into International Market

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PayMate has forayed into the international market by partnering with Bank of Ceylon (BOC) from Srilanka, Everest Bank from Nepal and the one of the largest card issuers and acquirers from the Middle East, to offer services like remittances and retail payments via mobile. With these alliances, PayMate is looking to extend its mobile payment platform to neighbouring countries.
The customers will be able to register for these services via their bank network. Once registered, they will receive a four-digit PIN, which they can then use to authenticate their transactions on their mobile, whether it is retail payments or remittances.
PayMate sees exciting opportunities in neighbouring countries which have similar demographics to India and can be treated as microcosms. Our experiences and learnings in India can be applied with greater effect and therefore results,” said Ajay Adiseshann, MD and founder, PayMate.

According to R.K. Ummat, Everest Bank, “The banking scenario in the country is definitely undergoing a revolution with our customers getting highly tech-savvy. The mobile subscriber base in Nepal is also rapidly increasing. Partnering with PayMate will enable the subscribers of Nepal Telecom and 2,00,000 strong Everest Bank customer base to avail of the user-friendly mobile payment services. Moreover, the mobile services scenario in the country is developing rapidly, and we are extremely excited about our association with PayMate and Nepal Telecom.


Commenting on the association, Dr Gamini Wikaramasinghe, chairman, BOC, shared, With the mobile phone increasingly becoming the one-stop-shop for consumers, a simple and secure service like PayMate now offers unparalleled convenience for our customers. BOC has been in forefront of offering newer services to its customers by associating with PayMate. We aim to offer the best of m-commerce solutions to the Sri Lankan market through knowledge sharing and technology expertise.

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Partial transcript of the National Post’s interview with President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka

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Q. You campaigned on a platform of negotiating with the Tamil Tigers. What happened?

A. I was elected somewhere around the 18th of November [2005]. So we said we were ready to talk to them and [Tamil Tigers leader Velupillai] Prabhakaran himself said that this man is a practical man. His first statement was that, so I said that we need to start negotiating. Then they said, ‘Yes just wait for a few weeks' and started attacking us. They started killing. 5th of December, they killed about 13 unarmed soldiers; they were taking food to the camp, then they killed them. That was the first incident. Then I said, ‘Don't do this, we will negotiate.' But in a few days they killed at least five, six, then they killed civilians, children, mothers, pregnant mothers. So they were doing this for about seven months. I didn't even react because I was planning to negotiate with them. I was trying to talk to them. People thought that I am very weak. And some ambassadors came and told me, from the West, ‘What are you doing?' I said, ‘I am trying to talk to them. That's why I don't want to do anything.' They were sympathizing with me, the way that this man [Prabhakaran] was going on. Army commander was in Colombo, they tried to kill him [in April 2006]. Then only one day, that evening, I ordered the Air Force to go and attack one or two camps. That was the first reaction. Then again that evening I said, ‘No, enough.' But I was again trying to persuade them. We went to Geneva, the Norwegians got involved and in Geneva in the middle of the discussions suddenly these people [the Tigers' delegation] got up and went. Then they agreed to come back for a second time. Twice in Geneva and once in Oslo. Oslo meeting, they refused to meet the delegation that we sent. When they came back, again they attacked my brother, defence secretary.... Then they closed down the ... water that was flowing towards the eastern province. Farmers were without water for their paddy fields. Actually that was drinking water also. Then we tried to negotiate to open it. For five days we were trying to negotiate. No. They thought we are weak. That was the time I said, ‘No. Because of the farmers and the people it's a humanitarian problem.' I said, ‘Now it is enough' and gave the orders to go and open the [sluice gate]. When we opened that, the next day itself these people came and attacked the Trincomalee harbour and the Muttu, they took over Muttu. So from that time I ordered them to clear the place, so we cleared it. And we went on, we not only liberated [eastern Sri Lanka] from the Tigers but immediately we had local government elections.


Q. Is this war almost over?

A. Yes, I think so.


Q. Why do you say that?

A. It will take a little more time. I would say, terrorism you can't just finish it overnight. Because the time within the last 20 years and the ceasefire, within that two years of ceasefire they managed to arm themselves. I mean, they have brought sophisticated weapons, guns, ammunition, and they were training so all that, that is because of the ceasefire. So our government didn't check their baggage. It was all open to them and everybody knew that they were taking weapons, buying weapons and the ships came and unloaded. All this happened in that period. So really what they do is, when they are weak, they want a ceasefire. They will go behind the international community and say, ‘Now pressurize the government, we are ready to talk to them.' That is the time that they recruit people, train them and equip with weapons.


Q. How is this going to end?

A. We have told them now, if they are surrendering tomorrow, we can stop all this and start negotiating again. They are not surrendering themselves. So militarily, we have to defeat the terrorists and then with the civil society we have to give them a political solution. ... I have already appointed another all-party committee to give me a proposal for the entire country.


Q. If the military defeats the Tigers, then what? How will you resolve the grievances of Tamils?

A. Then we will negotiate with them. First let us defeat the terrorists. Then as soon as we defeat them, we will let the civilians take over the administration there. We must have the administration first. And start developing the area. We will have elections. This is a democratic country.


Q. What are you doing about international human rights abuses concerns, especially abductions and disappearances?

A. Now I will give you one good example. Recently near the Hilton [hotel in Colombo], there was a bomb blast. A suicide cadre. Now the identity card says that he is a Muslim. But we managed to get the SIM of the mobile [phone]. So we traced from that that he had given calls to various places. The last call was from [the rebel capital] Kilinochchi. That is the order to go and blast the place. So he had given a call to some place in Batticaloa or Trincomalee. So we went there to find. That was his house. He was a Tamil. And parents, as soon as he left to Colombo, they have gone to the police station and made a statement that army came and checked them and thereafter a white van came and abducted this man. Can you imagine? Now this is a good example. And some of these people who are claiming that they were abducted are in Paris or in Germany or in London or in Canada.... Certainly we take them into custody. Why should we abduct them? It is much better to take them and keep them. All these suspects, we take them into custody. And they have given us a lot of information. We have found a lot of things. Ammunition, explosives. But if there is a complaint, certainly we look into it. And I must tell you that even in the army, the forces, we have human rights units. There is a major general, a Tamil lady, who is in charge of human rights. So every day they will go and teach them and give lectures.


Q. What would you say to Canadians who support the Tamil Tigers?

A. They must stop this. They should not encourage the terrorists. They are not helping the Tamils. The Tamil people have been killed more than Sinhalese leaders, they have killed Tamil leaders, democratic leaders who had been in political parties, leaders of political parties who were against this man [Prabhakaran]. They have killed more Tamils. Anyone who spoke against them [the LTTE] is killed, so they should not encourage this, they must stop this, they will never succeed. Prabhakaran will never succeed. They must not encourage it. Tamil people must understand that we can live together, and there are no barriers.

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Family man reported missing in Jaffna

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A young family man from Chaddanaathar Veethi area within the Jaffna Municipality limits has been reported missing since 4 July, according to a complaint lodged by his wife with Human Rights Commission (HRC) in Jaffna. The disappearance has taken place a day after the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers took away photos of her husband from their house, she said in the complaint.
The SLA soldiers who came to victim's house had threatened him several times.

The victim, Arumaithurai Kishorkumar, 23, a driver is the father of a two-month-old child at the time of his disappearance.

Two brothers of Kishorkumar have gone into hiding due to continuous deaths threats, the wife further said in her complaint to the HRC.

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Nishantha Ranatunga approved as manager

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The Sports Minister has approved the nomination of Nishantha Ranatunga as manager of Sri Lanka team for the upcoming Twenty20 tour of Canada. He has been nominated by the Interim Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket.

Mr. Ranatunga has represented Sri Lanka at two ODIs and has played 92 Division One matches.

The tour of Canada begins next month.

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6 unauthorized financial institutions banned

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The Central Bank yesterday (Sept. 25th) banned six unauthorized financial institutions, including Sakvithi House Constructions (at 08, Nawala Road, Nugegoda), whose owner had defrauded more than Rs. 09 billion from the public.

This is the first instance that the CB had publicized the names of illegal financial institutions.

The other five are Okanda Finance (at 22/1 A, Vaidya Road, Dehiwela), Nadini Finance (at L-02/17, Reality Plaza, Ja-ela), D.K. Udayasiri (at 412/2, Gala Junction, Kiribathgoda and 187/B, Wedisinghe Trade Complex, Kurunegala), Piyadasa Ratnayake alias 'Danduwam Mudalali' (at Gurupokuna in Hungama) and Sriyavi Homes, Lands and Investments (at 283, Dandugama, Ja-ela).

According to CB, these institutions have been ordered not to carry on finance business by accepting money from the public as deposits or in any other form and the lending of money on interest and/or the investment of money in any manner.

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Opposition objects to minister as PSC head

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Opposition MPs have raised in Parliament the appointment of a government minister to head a parliamentary select committee tasked with investigating allegations of a secret pact with the LTTE.

Subsequent to a claim by the opposition of such a pact, Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara today (Sept. 26th) told the House that a PSC headed by Nimal Siripala de Silva and also comprising 21 members would inquire into it.

Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera objected to the minister's nomination, since the allegation was leveled against the government.

His opposite number Dinesh Gunawardena noted however, the nominee by the speaker could not be challenged.

Two other PSCs were appointed to probe the controversial purchase of MiG-24 aircraft for the Air Force and alleged discrepancies at the Department of Inland Revenue.

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2 JVP MPs complain against Basil Rajapaksa

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JVP MPs Anura Kumara Dissanayake and Sunil Handunnetti have complained to Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara about an incident of breach of their parliamentary privileges involving MP Basil Rajapaksa.
In separate complaints, they pointed to the September 24th meeting of Committee on Public Enterprise, where the ruling party member had verbally abused them over an appointment to the Water Board.

The two JVP MPs request the speaker to take action against the Mr. Rajapaksa and to ensure the dignity of all COPE members.

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Protest rally at UN against SL genocide - Tamilnet

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In an attempt to draw the attention of the United Nations, over 1,000 American and Canadian Tamils and friends of Tamils protested in front of the UN Headquarters in New York on September 24th, reports ‘Tamilnet’.

Denouncing the visit to the UN by Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the protestors demanded sanctions against Sri Lanka, and advocated invoking the principle of Responsibility to Protect as a means to halt what the protesters alleged ‘genocide of Tamils’, it adds.

The protesters chanted "Rajapaksa, don't come to the UN, go to The Hague."

A petition signed by the rally attendees addressed to Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon was handed over to the UN.

The appeal says the Sri Lankan government has abdicated its responsibility to the Tamil inhabitants of the island and the international community embodied in the UN must begin to enact its ideals for the unilateral protection of the vulnerable Tamil people.

The petition proposed possible action by the UN such as sending an independent monitor from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, setting up internationally supervised safe havens for civilians in active conflict zones, a total ban on military aid to Sri Lanka, prosecution of the individuals in the Sri Lankan government and its armed forces for ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocide on the island, and arranging for a special session on Sri Lanka.

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Ratnasiri pays a floral tribute

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Prime Minister Mr. Ratnasiri Wickramanayake pays a floral tribute at the Bandaranayake Memorial at Horagolla Friday to mark the 49th death anniversary of the late Prime Minister S.W.R.D.Bandaranayake.

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Death toll in moonshine case increases to six

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The death toll in the illicit moonshine tragedy in Weliweriya, Gampaha rose to six yesterday with more than 52 others hospitalized, some of them in life threatening condition, police and hospital officials said.

Police said that they were searching for the kingpin of the moonshine business from where the victims had consumed the brew.

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Colombo stocks ease

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Colombo stocks saw index-strong JKH, Dialog and Commercial Bank losing at Friday’s closing to slip the market, but with relatively high turnover.

JKH which opened flat in the morning was down by 25 cents to close at Rs 86.25, Commercial Bank lost 25 cents to close at Rs 70.75 while Distilleries was down 50 cents down to Rs 72.

“A transfer of 5.2 million shares in CT Land likely to be within the CT Group at Rs 17 a share boosted the turnover in the market,” a stock analyst said.

The All Share Index lost 3.52 points to 2,209.05 while the Milanka dipped by 5.01 points to 2,484.25. The turnover was Rs 175 million.

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Ayurvedic Research Institute to treat Cancer patients

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The Navinna Ayurvedic Research Institute has begun to treat cancer patients following the success in a research conducted on the indigenous medicine to treat the desease, the Government Information Department said in a statement.
“It has been confirmed that spreading of cancer could be controlled by immunizing the Cancer patient with indigenous medicine,” Directress of the Ayurvedic Research Institute and Consultant Dr. (Mrs) Dayangani Senasekara said.

The Information Department quoted her as saying that the life expectancy of Cancer patients could be extended enabling them to lead a normal life by restoring their previous appearance.

According to statistics, there were 13,364 cancer patients in 2005, of whom 7306 were females and 6058 males. Dr. Jayatilake said that most of the patients had been able to lead a normal life and their health condition returned to normal.

The Ayurvedic Research Institute and Institute of Indigenous Medicine jointly with the Kelaniya University, Kalubowila hospital, University of Colombo and the Sri Jayawardenapura University are currently conducting research on liver cancer.

The results are being anticipated by the Research Institute in a few months time.

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Constable sentenced to jail

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Mount Lavinia Magistrate sentenced a police constable who had assaulted attorney-at-law Mr. W. Dayaratne, at present President of Sri Lanka Bar Association (BASL) in July 2003 and causing him injuries to one year rigorous imprisonment.

Additional Magistrate Dharshika Wimalasiri convicted Hemalgamage Sarath, a police constable attached to Colombo Emergency Service who had assaulted Mr. Dayaratne on July 17, 2003. During the trial it was revealed that a neighbour of Mr. Dayaratne living at Muragan Place, Colombo had knocked against a vehicle of a police officer attached to Wellawatte police station.
Subsequently the accused police constable who was attached to Wellawatte police had come with a group of policemen and had attempted to attack Mr. Dayaratne’s neighbour. When Mr. Dayaratne intervened and questioned the group of policemen, the constable had assaulted him. Subsequently the attorney had lodged a complaint at Wellawatte police station and had gone to Colombo South hospital but had been unable to get medication as there was a strike by the health workers. He had then got admitted to a private hospital.
On the instruction of then Inspector General of Police, Criminal Investigation Department had conducted an investigation and had arrested the constable. He had been identified by Mr. Dayaratne at the identification parade.

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PAFFREL to launch mobile service

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People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) is to launch a mobile service to provide national identity cards for voters.

PAFFREL Deputy Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said that this would be a part of a large CEDA project under which a mobile job market, and human rights workshops would be conducted.

The first mobile NIC clinic as it is called would be held in Thalalla in Matara on October 18 and 19.

Mr. Hettiarachchi said it will be possible to provide an identity card in half an hour as officers of the Department of Registration of Persons, Grama Niladharis will be present and there will be facilities to take photographs.

“We have decided to launch this project as a follow up to our action of getting the national identity cards compulsory,” he said.

PAFFREL has also decided to start a job market project under which a three year programme would be launched together with business chamber representatives and the Ministry of Skills Development.

In addition a human rights activity programme has also been planned under which a two day workshop would be held bringing eminent human rights activists and the stakeholders together.

The main objective of this is to bring the government and the human rights activists who have different attitudes on human rights together and bridge them to build up an understanding.

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Challenges can be faced: Wimal

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National Freedom front Leader Wimal Weerawansa said that Sri Lanka is strong enough to face the challenges of the world market even without the GSP+ tax concession of the European Union.
“If we give in to the demand of the EU and obtain the GSP+ tax concession it could compromise the sovereignty of the country” he said. Addressing a press conference yesterday at the National Freedom Front office MP Weerawansa said that the intention of foreign powers is to create political instability and bring in to power those whom they can control.
Moreover, he appealed to the European Union not to make the GSP+ concession a tool to control the country.“They are using the GSP+ concession issue to punish the government for not listening to the calls by the European union to go back to peace negotiations with the LTTE”, he said.

He called on garment factory workers and the public to urge the European Union to extend the GSP+ concession without exerting undue pressure on the Sri Lankan government.EU’s GSP+ tariff concession enjoyed by Sri Lanka accounts for 9% to 14% tax waiver for exports from Sri Lanka to the European Union countries.

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Heated exchange of words between govt & opposition

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A heated exchange of words took place between government and opposition MPs in Parliament today over the conduct of MPs Anura Kumar Dissanayake and Basil Rajapaksa at the COPE meeting on Wednesday.

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Basil’s behaviour is ‘exemplary’ - Speaker

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When the JVP raised a privilege issue today over the behaviour of Nation Building Minister Basil Rajapaksa at Wednesday’s COPE meeting, Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara said that during today’s meeting Mr. Rajapaksa’s behaviour has been exemplary.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Look after civilians, Ferrero-Waldner urges Sri Lanka

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All sides in Sri Lanka's long-running conflict should do more to protect civilians and uphold human rights, European Union foreign affairs commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said Thursday.

'The rights and needs of civilians and those who are internally displaced by the ongoing conflict in the north (of Sri Lanka should be) fully respected, in line with international humanitarian law. Their safety and freedom of movement must be paramount,' Ferrero- Waldner said in a statement.

After a meeting in New York on the fringes of the UN General Assembly, Ferrero-Waldner called on both the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to allow full access to relief supplies for refugees.

'I am preoccupied by the continuing disrespect for human rights by all sides and am very concerned by reports of forced recruitment and summary executions by the LTTE. These violations must cease and the perpetrators brought to justice,' she said.

Ferrero-Waldner is the top foreign-policy official at the European Commission, the EU's executive.

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Sri Lanka Aims to Meet Asia's Demand for Technology Graduates

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Sri Lanka hopes to take advantage of the growing regional demand for information technology graduates. A new training institute opens next year to provide skilled graduates to meet increasing demand. Ron Corben recently visited Colombo and has this report for VOA.

On the outskirts of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, construction is fast progressing on a new $5.7 million information technology and management institute.

The institute, at Malabe, sits in a new industrial park for information technology businesses. The institute is the dream of veteran Sri Lankan businessman, Neville Fernando

Fernando, who personally financed the institute, says language courses are key to the institute's program, so that graduates will be able to work for multinational companies.

"So what we teaching will be IT-related subjects, even the English language course. All this will be IT-based so that they work in any IT factory anywhere in the world. Even Korean, Japanese, Chinese will be taught because in the Asian region there is a lot of demand for IT technicians," he said.

Mr. Fernando hopes the institute will allow more young Sri Lankans to stay at home to study, instead of going abroad. The campus will have space for 1,000 students, and will offer classes in business administration, communications technology, and management in areas such as tourism.

Vickum Senanayake is the Sri Lanka country chief for the U.S. technology company Oracle. He says the number of technology graduates each year falls short of demand.

"Our need is around 20,000 graduates coming out of the university and various other tertiary education institutes. But we produce maybe about a maximum 3,000, 5,000 in the IT sector," he said.

Senanayake says there also is a gap between the skills needed and the training offered at existing schools. He says the IT industry has been grappling with these problems for more than five years.

An even bigger problem is persuading graduates to stay in Sri Lanka, instead of seeking jobs in other countries.

"It is a huge concern not just for Oracle but the industry as a whole. People who get skilled up are quite valuable to the industry and we keep losing these people to the region or the West mostly and lots of skilled migration," he said.

The dean of the new institute's information technology faculty, Chandima de Silvais, thinks the school will go a long way toward meeting demand in Sri Lanka. But, he says, India will remain a draw for many graduates.

"In terms of India as a destination for employment I do not think Sri Lanka or any other Asian country can match. There are thousands of jobs demands in India. Our institute can cater to that in time to come. But in terms of education alone Sri Lankan parents might still opt to send their children to a good institution in Sri Lanka. So I think it would be a landmark in Sri Lankan education," he said.

Businesswoman Geetha Karandawala says the institute comes at an opportune time in Sri Lanka's IT development.

"People are beginning to see particularly the IT-related career pathways and Sri Lanka because of its language skills and I think it is a very good area for future employment and career development. If the timing is right then the project works and I think the timing is right now for this kind of project," she said.

Sri Lanka is gaining attention from international companies looking to invest in its IT sector. One international bank already plans to set up a support office in Sri Lanka to take advantage of the country's English-speaking workers and trained technical staff.

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37 Tamil civilians seek protection with security forces- Pulmoddai

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37 Tamil civilians belonging to 9 families Thursday (Sep 25) have sought protection with security forces at Pulmoddai, South of Mullaittivu.

The civilians including 15 children, 8 females and 14 males have braved their way along the choppy Eastern waters on two boats into the liberated territory, who are reportedly locals from Mullaittivu, military sources said.

"We had no option other than to make our move despite presence of sea tigers along the Mullaittivu coast. Now we know our lives are in safe hands and our children spared from been dragged into the battlefront", a mother was quoted as saying with our correspondent.

Their eyes were glittering with hopes of a new life, and why not after decades of unprecedented hardships at the hands of LTTE, our correspondent said adding that these people will be sent into the civilian welfare centers in Vavuniya and Mannar.

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37 Tamil civilians seek protection with security forces- Pulmoddai

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37 Tamil civilians belonging to 9 families Thursday (Sep 25) have sought protection with security forces at Pulmoddai, South of Mullaittivu.

The civilians including 15 children, 8 females and 14 males have braved their way along the choppy Eastern waters on two boats into the liberated territory, who are reportedly locals from Mullaittivu, military sources said.

"We had no option other than to make our move despite presence of sea tigers along the Mullaittivu coast. Now we know our lives are in safe hands and our children spared from been dragged into the battlefront", a mother was quoted as saying with our correspondent.

Their eyes were glittering with hopes of a new life, and why not after decades of unprecedented hardships at the hands of LTTE, our correspondent said adding that these people will be sent into the civilian welfare centers in Vavuniya and Mannar.

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Villager shot dead in Wellawali, Ampara

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A villager identified as V. Thambirasah (42) from Mandoor 1 in Wellawali, Ampara was shot dead last night, police said.

Police Spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekara said Mr. Thambirasah was in his backyard at around 9pm when an unknown gunman had fired at him, killing him on the spot.

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Committees on MIG deal, alleged pact with LTTE and Inland Revenue

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Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara today appointed three committees to look into the charges against the controversial MIG deal, government’s alleged secret pact with the LTTE and the charges against the Inland Revenue Department.

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CB names unauthorized finance institutions

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Central Bank has named Okanda Finance, Sakwithi, Piyadasa Ratnayake, Nadini Finance, D.K Udayasiri and Sriyawi Homes as unauthorized finance institutions.

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Next Commonwealth leaders meeting to be held in Sri Lanka

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The next Commonwealth leaders' meeting is scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka in 2009.

Presidential media unit said the commonwealth leaders who met yesterday in New York have decided to hold the next meeting in Sri Lanka.

The leaders of the 53-nation commonwealth meet biennially to discuss a wide variety of issues including democracy, good governance and global trade. According to the sources next year’s meeting will focus on global terrorism.

The commonwealth leaders met yesterday in New York on the sidelines of the General Assembly had preparatory discussions on the Millennium Development Goals. Global and local impact of rising food prices was also on the agenda today for discussions to explore ways to address the challenges of and opportunities for increasing food production.

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Sri Lanka Tourism gets global spotlight on World Tourism Day

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Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism, Renton de Alwis, has been invited by the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to speak at a special Think Tank event to be held in Lima, Peru, on September 27, 2008, the Word Tourism Day.

The conference theme is “Tourism: Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change”. This interactive thinktank is hosted by HE Dr. Alan Garcia Perez, President of the Republic of Peru and HE Dr. Mercedes Araoz Fernandez, Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Peru in conjunction with UNWTO.

The forum will cover state-of-the-art of global thinking on Tourism and Climate Change with a strong focus on solutions. Discussions will include the UN roadmap, to adapt, mitigate, use new technology and provide financing for developing countries.

It will also cover the UNWTO/UNEP Davos Process on how to implement it around the world.

In October last year, Sri Lanka Tourism launched a pioneering initiative “Tourism Earth Lung Towards Carbon Clean Sri Lanka,” at UNWTO/UNEP/World Economic forums, conference held in Davos, Switzerland, details of which are available on the website www.earthlung.travel.

Organisations such as, UNWTO and PATA have recognised this initiative as one with potential to grow to be a global initiative for tourism destinations.

This year in Sri Lanka, World Tourism Day celebrations will focus around making Yapahuwa an eco-destination where general measures will be adopted to ensure the greening of its environment.

“Tourism Earth Lung: Towards a Carbon Clean Sri Lanka”, initiative aims to mitigate carbon related climate change issues though catalytic actions of the tourism industry working closely with the Ministry of Environment Natural Resources and all other stakeholders in the service, production and other industries.

The Peru event is to be broadcast globally through all media and will feature Sri Lanka Tourism Earth Lung initiative recognising its pioneering status. The initiative focuses on the areas of stopping deforestation, reforestation, use of conserving energy initiatives and mitigating pollution at the source. It aims to make Sri Lanka a carbon neutral to assist destination by 2018, with all stakeholders and the people of Sri Lanka mobilised towards the effort.

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Catholic Bishops ask LTTE to release civilians

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Catholic Bishops Assembly of Sri Lanka yesterday asked the LTTE to allow the civilians to reach the more secured areas from Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu.
Issuing a special statement Catholic Bishops pointed out that the civilians should not be used as human shields in the ongoing war in Northern region.
The Bishops said they are seriously concerned over the hapless situation faced by the displaced people who are still living in uncleared areas.
Catholic Bishops said despite the arrangements made by the government to deliver all the necessities to the displaced people in the rebel held areas, some food stocks are not reaching the people due to the disturbances by the LTTE.

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Lanka refutes unfair allegations by HR Advocates

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In a right of Reply exercised by Sri Lanka following the panel discussion and interactive dialogue on missing persons, under item 3 on Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development at the 9th Session of the Human Rights Council, on 22 September 2008, Mr. Yasantha Kodagoda, Deputy Solicitor-General, Attorney-General's Department stated the following.
"Mr. Moderator, let me at the very outset express to the Government of Pakistan and its people my Government's condolences regarding the most gruesome terrorist attack that took place in Pakistan last weekend.
Mr. Moderator, it is indeed very unfortunate that two organizations which addressed this august assembly abused this debate by engaging in a naming and blaming exercise distorting the truth. It was alleged Mr. Moderator, that an ethnic profiling exercise is afoot in Sri Lanka. We deny this allegation.
In Sri Lanka, we have a well functioning and vibrant Supreme Court which engages judiciously in the promotion and protection of human rights. It is unfortunate, Mr. Moderator, that the advocates of human rights who make these unfounded allegations against Sri Lanka, do not use this effective, domestic, legal remedy to obtain appropriate redress to the victims they allege to represent.
Mr. Moderator, we are indeed conscious that disappearances are a phenomenon that plagues human civilizations. We are committed to upholding the rule of law and working with UN mechanisms to resolve this issue even at a time when the very unitary character and the existence of my country are being threatened by ruthless terrorists.
Mr. Moderator, we fully endorse the continuation of this debate on disappearances during the future sessions of this council. In our view, this process should be aimed at supplementing the mandate of the UN working group on enforced disappearances and the very useful work being done in the field by the ICRC.

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Air Force Fighter jets pound terror positions - Kilinochchi

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Sri Lanka Air Force fighter jets pounded LTTE reinforcements detected in the Akkarayankulam area this afternoon (Sept 25). Air Force spokesperson , Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara speaking defence.lk said that the air strike was taken at 2.20 PM targeting an LTTE gathering 1 Km North of Akkarayankulam Tank bund.

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Troops four kilometres away from Kilinochchi town: Army Commander

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(AFP) - Forces have advanced to the outskirts of Kilinochchi, the army chief announced Thursday.

"Our forces are around four kilometres (2.5 miles) from Kilinochchi town. In fact we can see some of the buildings," Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka said. He also said the leader of the LTTE, Velupillai Prabhakaran, was "now a caged animal."

"Our military campaign won't stop until we liberate our motherland from the LTTE," Fonseka added.

Fonseka, who was speaking at a book launch in the capital Colombo, did not say when he expected the town to fall. But he suggested a fresh offensive would begin in the coming days.

"We will fire the first shots towards Kilinochchi town next week," he said.

Earlier the Defence Ministry said troops operating in the Kilinochchi and North of Vavuniya fronts were further pushing their defence towards Jaffna-Kandy (A-9) road from west of Wanni.

According to the defence sources in the front troops of 57 division were getting closer to Kokavil and troops of Task Force 2 are heading towards Mankulam.

Troops of Army 57 division attacked 2 terror bunkers situated in the west of Akkarayankulam last afternoon and confirmed both bunkers were destroyed. However, terror casualties in these incidents were not known.

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Palestinian president Abbas to visit Sri Lanka

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will visit Sri Lanka on October 9, diplomatic sources said today.

A highlight of his visit will be the official opening of the Palestinian-funded Yasser Arafat mosque at Beruwela, the sources said.

Mr. Abbas will also meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is a patron of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement of Sri Lanka and hold bilateral talks.

Early this year Sri Lanka opened a diplomatic missions in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

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Enraged homeguard kills soldier and airman

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An enraged Home Guard shot dead a soldier and an airman in Mahaoya, Ampara following a heated argument, Police said.

A Civilian seriously injured in the shooting has been admitted to hospital.

It was not immediately clear the reason for the argument.

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Eight million the Single Highest Deposit racketed by Sakvithi Sir

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A staggering sum of Rs.8 million has so far been reported as the single highest deposit made in the controversial financial instituting run by English tutor Sakvithi Ranasinghe who is currently absconding, police said.

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Govt. hides report faulting ex-military chiefs

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The government has swept under the carpet a report by a presidential commission that inquired into alleged irregularities in military procurements in the period 2000-2005, internal military sources said.
Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed this commission in 2006 soon after his election as President, on the basis of media reports that claimed a wrongdoing in the purchase of 30 mm firearms for the Navy.
Headed by Supreme Court judge Shirani Thilakawardena and SC judges Nimal Dissanayake and Nissanka Udalagama as members, the commission had its closed-door sittings at the BMICH, Colombo.
After concluding its deliberations, the commission handed over a report of recommendations to President Rajapaksa a few months ago, the sources said.
The report has implicated several former commanders of the armed forces in dealings that had lost more than Rs. 01 billion to the state and recommended punishment including the suspension of their civic rights.
They include Navy's Admiral Daya Sandagiri, Army's General Lionel Balagalla, Air Marshal Jayalath Weerakkody of the Air Force and former Navy Chiefs of Staff Rear Admirals Mohan Wijewickrama and Sarath Weerasekara.
However, most of these ex-military officers hold important positions in state institutions at present, according to the sources.
Gen. Balagalla is presently Chief Executive Officer of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, while Rear Admiral Wijesekara is Director General of the Civil Defence Department.
Air Marshal Weerakkody is due to take up functions as Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in Pakistan.
Admiral Sandagiri was posted to the Defence Ministry as a Deputy Secretary, but lost the position later over a legal issue.

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Over 20,000 fled to India since 2006 - JVP

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JVP Propaganda Secretary Vijitha Herath says an estimated 20,446 Sri Lankan Tamils had sought refuge in India in the two-year period since January 2006. Refugee camps in Tamil Nadu, South India are presently sheltering 95,219 Sri Lankans, including 28,000 who have citizenship of neither country, he told the media in Colombo today (Sept. 25th).


Mr. Herath said respective governments had failed to address the issue of these refugees, which had been used by the international community to interfere in Sri Lanka's internal affairs.

Amendments to the Citizenship Act presently before Parliament after approval by the Cabinet will negate the charge of step-motherly treatment of Sri Lankans with Indian origin, he said.

However, the JVP Propaganda Secretary admitted a difficulty in obtaining exact figures of Tamils fleeing to India, as most of them migrate illegally.

He added that Tamils with Indian origin began to be settled by Norwegian NGO Redbana and Gandhian in Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi Vavuniya and Mannar districts after 1978.

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Construction Chamber promotes use of IT in Project Management

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The competitive position of relevant Stakeholders of the Construction Industry depends on their ability to provide a Quality Service On Time at Competitive Price Levels which would require efficiency at all levels of Project Management. With ever increasing opportunities existing in overseas markets, especially in the Gulf, and the need for the industry to aggressively embrace an Export Culture over the next decade, increased efficiency and competitiveness of firms is the key to survival and growth in today’s global market environment.

The use of Information Technology Applications in the Construction Industry is not a new phenomenon but should be widely adopted by all industry stakeholders who are keen on competing for business opportunities, not only in Overseas markets but domestically as well. All avenues that could provide a particular business entity with a competitive edge should be explored and the use of Information Technology Applications is a tried and proven means to this end.

It is in view of the above that the Chamber of Construction Industry Sri Lanka is hosting an Interactive Workshop on “Information Technology for Effective Project Management” on 30th September 2008 at Hotel Galadari, Colombo. The workshop will be conducted in a simulated environment where participants will be given hands on exposure on the use of Application Software to manage various elements of Construction Projects.

This workshop comes at a critical time when the demand for construction is volatile which further emphasizes the need to utilize all available tools and mechanisms to be efficient and competitive to secure business opportunities, not to mention the increased sophistication of stakeholder needs, short lead times, rising cost of construction, shortage of labour, increased regulations and environmental concerns among others, faced by the Industry.

Prof. Chitra Weddikkara, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Moratuwa will deliver the keynote address followed by a lecture on "Effective Project Management - Use of IT" by Dr. R. Rameezdeen, Head of the Department of Building Economics, University of Moratuwa and a presentation by Mr. Jayachandran, Chief Engineer, Department of Buildings, on how to control project costs. IT Specialists will be on hand to demonstrate the use of selected IT Applications in relation to project management coupled with simulation exercises to give participants a better understanding.

It is the firm belief of the Chamber that if industry stakeholders expose their personnel to valuable programmes and initiatives of this nature, they would be able to identify IT related areas in their respective businesses which need capacity development leading to increased efficiency of operation and greater competitiveness enabling them to meet industry challenges that are already at their doorstep.

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Fighting continues: troops getting closer to A-9 road from West

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Battlefield reports received yesterday (Sept 24) indicate that troops operating in the Kilinochchi and North of Vavuniya fronts were further pushing their defence towards Jaffna-Kandy (A-9) road from west of Wanni. According to the defence sources in the front troops of 57 division were getting closer to Kokavil and troops of Task Force 2 are heading towards Mankulam.

Troops of Army 57 division attacked 2 terror bunkers situated in the west of Akkarayankulam last afternoon and confirmed both bunkers were destroyed. However, terror casualties in these incidents were not known.

Meanwhile, troops of Army Task Force 1, operating in the western half of the Kilinochchi front confronted with a group of terrorists in the Nachchikudha area last evening. 3 soldiers suffered injuries during this incident. Terror casualties were not known. On the same day afternoon, snipers deployed in the Nachchikudha forward area confirmed shooting down of one LTTE cadre.

In the Vannerikkulam area, troops confronted with a group of terrorists around 8 AM and claimed 4 terrorists were killed and at least 6 others were wounded. Later in the same day afternoon, troops attacked and captured an LTTE bunker located elsewhere. Intercepted terror radio transmission revealed 3 terrorists killed in the incident. Troops found a T-56 riffle along with 300 ammo and a radio communication set. Meanwhile, snipers deployed in the Vannerikkulam forward area confirmed shooting down of one LTTE cadre during morning hours.

Troops of Task Force 2 operating in the Vavuniya front had three separate confrontations with the terrorists in the Palamoddai area during the day and claimed 6 terrorists were killed. Also, troops found one T-56 weapon with 65 rounds, 3 RPG bombs, 3 hand grenades, and one pouch following one of the confrontations.

Meanwhile, troops of 56 division maintaining the active defence in the either side of the A-9 road in Omanthai attacked a terror bunker located in the Navatkulam area around 11 AM. Troops confirmed one terrorist was killed and the bunker was partially destroyed.

Troops of 59 division operating in the Mullaittivu front had daylong fighting in Andankulama forests reserve and claimed 5 terrorists were killed, 8 others wounded and 17 more were either killed or wounded. Also, 4 soldiers suffered injuries during these incidents.

Meanwhile on the Jaffna theatre of operation, troops maintaining active defence in the Muhamalai area attacked a groups of terrorists detected in the forward area around 10 last night. Troops found a body of an LTTE cadre during subsequent search. Later, intercepted terror radio transmissions revealed 2 terrorists were killed in the incident. One soldier was killed and another suffered injuries due to IED and AP mine explosions occurred elsewhere.

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Police Commandos uncovers explosives- Wattala

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Police Special Task Force (STF) personnel uncovered one T-56 riffle along with 116 rounds and half a kilogram of C-4 high explosives from Wattala area during a search operation yesterday (Sept 24).

According to the STF sources the items were found last afternoon from an unoccupied land situated close to an International School in the Hekitta area. The STF suspects the items might have hidden by the LTTE in order to use them for an intended attack.

Further investigations are in progress.

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7 LTTE terrorists killed, 7 wounded at the Kilinochchi battlefront

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7 LTTE terrorists were killed and similar numbers reported wounded, Wednesday (Sep 24), at the Western Wanni battlefront in the Kilinochchi district.

According to military reports received, 5 terrorists were killed and 7 injured when troops forced into an LTTE bunker defence in general area Vannerikkulama, at around 8a.m. Meanwhile, terrorist was killed sniped in the same area at 9.20a.m, military said citing ground troops.

Similarly, a terrorist was reported killed sniped in general area Nachchikudha, at 12.30p.m, according to military reports.

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Thirty-Seven More Civilians Disobey Tiger Diktats & Reach Army Troops with Infants

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WELIOYA: THIRTY-SEVEN besieged men, women and children in ALAMPIL, south of MULLAITTIVU center braved the LTTE obstacles and restrictions to reach the Army troops in ARISIMALE, PULMODDAI on two boats Thursday (25) morning at about 10.30.

The group consisted of three breast feeding infants and all their belongings including jewellery and money. They had secretly left their homes around 5.00 a.m. on Thursday (25) unnoticed by the terrorists.

Army troops received those fleeing thirty-seven Tamil civilians, including five small boys, ten little girls, eight women and fourteen men and entertained them to refreshments and meals before arrangements were made to re-locate them. Those civilians, in spite of warnings issued by the LTTE, had risked their lives in the seas after starting off their journey from MULLAITTIVU early in the morning.

Following initial investigations, those civilians are to be re-located elsewhere until normalcy is returned to the WANNI.

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Simultaneous Infiltration Attempts Foiled; Muhamale South LTTE Leader Felled

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NORTH: TROOPS serving NAGARKOVIL Forward Defence area and KILALY Defence Line areas in JAFFNA overpowered two infiltration attempts of the terrorists late night on Wednesday (24) at about 10.00 p.m. after opening fire on them.

Simultaneous attempts at NAGARKOVIL and KILALY claimed the lives of eight Tiger terrorists, including the LTTE’s MUHAMALE South leader, ‘VARDAN’ as a result of the strong fire-power of the alert troops.

A search conducted later on by the troops collected one of the dead terrorists. It is believed two separate groups of terrorists while simultaneously trying to enter through troop defences, expected to trick the troops into a trap.

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Troops Overrun Two More Terrorist Bunkers

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WANNI & NORTH: TROOPS of the 57 Division and Task Force 1 operating in KILINOCHCHI district stormed and captured two more Tiger terrorist bunkers on Wednesday (24) from VANNARIKULAM and ANDANKULAM areas and recovered one T-56 weapon, one radio set and 300 rounds of T-56 ammunition.

Similarly clashes in AKKARAYANKULAM, NACHCHIKUDA, VANNARIKULAM, ANDANKULAM and adjoining areas got rid of nine terrorists and injured at least thirty-one more, according to monitored and confirmed technical sources.

Eight valiant soldiers sustained injuries in those clashes during Wednesday (24).

Meanwhile, clashes that erupted in NAVATKULAM, PALAMODDAI and surrounding areas in the north of VAVUNIYA claimed the lives of seven Tiger terrorists who tried to resist the advance of the troops into those areas. The clashes went on till about 4.30 in the evening.

In the meantime, one soldier laid his life following explosion of a booby trap in MUHAMALAI, JAFFNA on Wednesday (24) around 2.00 p.m. Another anti personnel mine explosion triggered by terrorists in the same area at about 4.15 p.m. injured one more soldier serving the area.

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Fitch: Increased Liquidity Pressure on Sri Lankan Finance Cos

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Fitch Ratings has today commented that challenges to liquidity in the Sri Lankan Registered Finance Company (RFC) sector could arise if the weak macroeconomic environment continues.

The sector Outlook is Stable to Negative, reflecting the agency's view that the ratings of well capitalised RFCs with an established franchise should remain unchanged in the short to medium term - i.e. they should be better able to weather the current weak macroeconomic conditions. However, some negative rating actions could be expected on the smaller RFCs with weak deposit franchises and low support elements if the high inflationary, high interest rate environment were to persist, with liquidity increasingly becoming a challenge.

Fitch notes that whilst RFCs are currently meeting the statutory minimum liquid ratio of 15% as imposed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), maintaining liquidity could become a challenge in a scenario where deposit growth slows or contracts, and asset quality weakens substantially over a short time horizon. Rising interest rates since the latter part of 2006 coupled with inflationary pressures has impacted credit quality in the sector, with its client base coming mostly from the relatively riskier market segment lying beyond the risk appetite of commercial banks. This is depicted by rising delinquencies over the period with the gross NPL ratio rising to 13.8% at end- June 2008 (Q109) from 11.5% at end-March 2007 (FYE07). The RFCs' loan book primarily consists of leases and hire purchase for the financing of relatively lower-value commercial vehicles. Fitch observes that deteriorating asset quality is exacerbated by the challenge of fully recovering dues on the sale of foreclosed assets, owing to a declining demand for vehicles in tandem with falling profitability throughout the economy.

In addition to credit risk, RFCs are subject to significant market risk, as fixed rate vehicle leases and hire purchase agreements with average tenures of five-years are primarily funded by customer deposits which mature in one-year or less. Deposits, which accounted for 63% of the RFC funding base at Q109, are benchmarked against deposit rates of private licensed commercial banks (LCBs). RFC rates on one-year fixed deposits are restricted to the CBSL cap which was imposed in 2005 at 3% above the preceding quarter's weighted average 364 day Treasury Bill (T-Bill) rate.

Fitch observes that the gap between the CBSL cap, the average RFC one-year fixed deposit rate and the average private LCB one-year fixed deposit rate has progressively narrowed during the latter part of 2006 and early part of 2007 as commercial banks scrambled for growth and liquidity. However, since then the gap between RFC rates and private LCB rates has significantly widened, and RFC rates have moved close to the CBSL cap as they continued to grow in a period of high inflation and high interest rates, while LCBs have correspondingly eased off on growth. The increasing premium on RFC rates over commercial bank rates is indicative of increased liquidity requirements within the sector as a result of their continuing growth and rising credit costs.

Effective from 1 April 2008, the CBSL reduced the ceiling on a one-year fixed deposit to 2% above the 364 day T-Bill rate. Fitch observes that the probable intention of the reduction was to mitigate aggressive growth in the current environment, and thereby minimise rising systemic risk in the RFC sector. However, whilst some RFCs are recognising this and are curtailing growth, Fitch observes significant growth in a number of RFCs. This could be detrimental as the credit profile of these companies could deteriorate if the current economic climate were to persist. In such a scenario, improving liquidity by way of deposit mobilisation could become a challenge. Furthermore, Fitch notes that whilst the larger established RFCs are able to minimise re-financing risk as they continue to have access to institutional funding, most commercial banks have made policy decisions to curtail growth to the large majority of this sector; therefore short-term liquidity relief and refinancing of borrowings would be an increasing challenge to a number of the smaller companies.

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Four dead, 20 ill after consuming illicit liquor

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At least four people have died and 20 fallen seriously ill after consuming illicit liquor in the Weliveriya area last night, police said. While samples of the liquor were sent to the Government Analyst, police are hunting for the illicit liquor den owner who is believed to be absconding.

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Nation bids farewell to a statesman

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The nation bid farewell to former President D.B. Wijetunga today. His remains were taken to parliament this morning for parliamentarians to pay their last respects before being airlifted to Kandy for the funeral

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Former UNP Provincial Councilor's house set on fire

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Former UNP North Central Provincial Councilor Hemantha Hettiyarachchi's house was set on fire last night.

He claimed the fire cost him Rs. 3.5 million in damages. The house has been completely ruined, he said.

Mr. Hettiyarachchi has complained to the Polonnaruwa police.

No one had been at home when the incident took place.

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More civilians come to govt. controlled areas

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A group of 37 civilians arrived by boat to government controlled areas this morning, the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) said.

They arrived at the Pulmudai army camp at 10.30 this morning from Allampil in Mulativu.

There had been nine families in the boat consisting of 14 men, 8 women, 10 girls and five boys.

The group will be transferred to the Thirukkovil army camp, the MCNS said.

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Athugala suspends ‘Alakamandawa’

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Questions have been raised over the sudden halt of popular ‘Alakamandawa’ programme of state-run Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation following a directive by Chairman Ariyarathna Athugala.

Speaking to ‘Lankadissent’ a senior SLRC media man said on condition of anonymity that the programme had been stopped without prior notice, after it featured Dharmasiri Bandaranayake, a film and teledrama producer disliked by the chairman.

Many who watched the first episode of the program featuring Mr. Bandaranayake were puzzled when the remaining part was not telecast the following week.

In addition, the producer of that ‘Alakamandawa’ program has been cast out from the program, the source added.

In recent times, several program producers and directors have been dismayed by the chairman's unruly actions and certain programmes, including tele dramas have been similarly suspended, the media man said.

The above source was contacted after attempts to reach the SLRC Chairman failed.

Meanwhile, reports allege the SLRC Chairman has informed the management not to use for any further programmes a presenter who had invited Mr. Bandaranayake to a ‘Nuga Sevana’ programme.

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Co-chairs discuss latest fighting

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Co-chairs to the peace process – the US, the European Union, Japan and Norway met in New York yesterday (Sept. 24th ) to discuss the latest fighting in Sri Lanka, including the need for both sides to protect civilians, a US diplomat said.

"The fighting has been expanding, heading toward the north," Richard Boucher, the assistant secretary for south Asian affairs, said after attending the meeting at the US mission of the United Nations in New York, AFP reported.

"We're placing a lot of emphasis right now on the protection of human rights for civilians who are caught in the fighting and the democratic government's responsibility for respecting and extending human rights protections to the people in the areas they take over," Mr. Boucher said.

The participants in the meeting also discussed the need for both sides to make sure they are ensuring humanitarian deliveries to the people displaced by the fighting.

These points are being made to Sri Lankan officials both at the UN General Assembly in New York as well as in Colombo he said.

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Keheliya returns the British ruling party slap on the face asking who the Western corrupt politicians are in LTTE payroll

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(Lanka-e-News,) Our London sources say that the Sri Lankan media spokesman on national security Minister keheliya Rambukwella's statement at a London press conference that certain corrupt politicians of Western world are in the payrolls of the LTTE, has made shockwaves among the Labor Party politicians.

At this press conference held on September 22 parallel to the British Labor Party annual convention, Minister Rambukwella made an extra attempt to prove that LTTE had links with Al-Quida.

The Minister pointed out that there are large numbers of Tamils in some constituencies of Western countries. Some corrupt politicians in the Western world are in LTTE's payrolls and they support LTTE terrorism, he said.

It is understood that the Minister summoned the press conference urgently to answer the lobbying of some pro-LTTE sections against Sri Lanka government at the Labor Party congress.
Sen Kandaiah representing British Tamils said before 10,000 party members that Sri Lanka state is violating human rights of Tamils. He asked from the party to consider the violence and human rights violations against Tamils in Sri Lanka to be considered as an alarming sign.

The Labor Party congress was broadcast by BBC with potential of creating a great impact on people.

UK Foreign Minister David Miliband and other orators stressed the ethical duty of UK regarding the other countries of the world and Sen Kandaiah’s speech on Sri Lankan Tamils was also in that line of thinking. He made this speech as a number of Ministers, EU MPs and representatives of international organizations were on the stage.
Minister Rambukwella's press conference has been understood as a reply to Kandiah's speech. The Minister pointed out that Al-Qaida obtained technology for massive bombs like Islamabad Marriott hotel explosion from LTTE resembling it to 1996 Colombo Central bank bomb. He further guessed that the suicide kit was also introduced to Al-Qaida by LTTE.

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Sri Lankan launches Beijing web check-in

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Sri Lankan Airlines has launched an online check-in facility in Beijing Capital International airport that saves passengers from having to queue up to check-in. The service is available on Sri Lankan’s website.

Passengers from Beijing can choose their own seat on the aircraft through the system with a corresponding reduction in the time spent in the check-in area.

Online check-in opens 24 hours before a flight and continues until two hours before the scheduled departure. One person can even check-in groups of passengers, if the required information and reference numbers are available.

Passengers proceed direct to the baggage drop counter, where their bags will be weighed. Any excess baggage matters will be handled at that time. Those passengers who require special care, such as infants and wheelchair passengers, will not be able to check-in online, but will continue to be handled by Sri Lankan staff.

Sri Lankan operates three flights from Beijing to Bangkok and Colombo, connecting passengers to its global network of 41 destinations in 22 countries.

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Fitch Affirms Peoples Leasing Co. Trust 32

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Fitch Ratings Lanka has today affirmed the National rating on the lease backed trust certificates ( LBTCs) issued by Peoples Leasing Co. Ltd. Trust 32 (PLC32), as follows:

LKR188.4m, LBTC affirmed at 'A-(lka)' (A minus(lka)); Outlook Stable

The affirmation is based on the uninterrupted payouts made to LBTC investors during the period under review (December 2007 to August 2008) and the debt service cover being maintained above the trigger of 1.15. The affirmation also takes into account the high level of credit enhancement to investors in the form of excess collateralisation. The rating of the LBTCs is credit linked to that of the originator, as the trust enjoys full recourse to the originator in the event that cash flows from the underlying assets fall short of meeting investor payouts. However, such recourse has not been utilised to date.

Fitch notes that despite credit enhancement being sufficient to support a higher rating, structural constraints in the form of unhedged interest rate risk on the floating rate notes and the absence of a higher rated pre-defined alternative servicer restricts the rating of PLC32 to that of the originator. The absence of minimum quality criteria when replacing assets, lack of a minimum excess collateralisation trigger to trap excess cash and the untested nature of bankruptcy proceedings for the mortgaged leases (as a liquidity facility is not incorporated into the transaction) are further constraining factors of the rating.

While the transaction documents require the replacement of assets every quarter, only two such replacements have occurred to date. Nevertheless, the agency does not view this as a serious concern given the high level of credit enhancement in the form of excess collateralisation.

Around 54% of the outstanding principal on the notes had been paid off as at August 2008, reducing the balance of the LBTC principal to LKR188m. Excess collateralisation averaged 93% for the review period compared to 32% in the previous review period, mainly due to asset replacements in January 2008, which carried a higher principal outstanding than the assets removed. The increase in pool principal also resulted in the average debt service cover ratio of the transaction increasing to 1.45 compared to 1.23 for the previous review period.

Monthly collections of current dues and overdues averaged 57% and 60%, respectively, for the period reviewed compared to 53% and 52%, respectively for the previous period reviewed. Around 92% of total dues since inception have been collected as at August 2008. Pre-terminations of leases averaged 0.66% of the monthly opening pool principal during the same period compared to 0.45% for the previous review period, while a total of 8.4% of the initial pool principal was pre-terminated as at August 2008.

The rating addresses the timely payment of interest and capital on the LBTCs, which are backed by a pool of leases that were originated by People's Leasing Company Limited ('A-(lka)' (A minus(lka))/Stable).

Rating Outlooks have been published for all newly issued Asia Pacific Structured Finance tranches since June 2008, and concurrently with rating actions for tranches issued prior to June 2008. Unlike a Rating Watch which notifies investors that there is a reasonable probability of a rating change in the short term as a result of a specific event, rating outlooks indicate the likely direction of any rating change over a one- to two-year period.

A performance report will be available shortly on the agency's websites www.fitchratings.com and www.fitchratings.lk.

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Lanka not signing defence pact with Pakistan

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Denying that Sri Lanka is on the verge of signing a defence pact with Pakistan, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said his government was friendly with all nations.

Responding to questions during a meeting with the Foreign Correspondents Association, Rajapaksa said that there was no agreement to boost military cooperation between the two countries. "There is no pact, we maintain friendly ties with all countries."

Diplomatic sources said that Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had submitted a draft defence cooperation agreement to Sri Lankan foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama, on the sidelines of the Saarc Summit, held in Colombo recently.

Pakistan, presently supplies Sri Lanka with small arms and ammunition and also trains a large number of its military personnel.

Though, India has yet to respond to a Sri Lankan proposal for a defence pact, it remains uneasy about the growing military influence of Pakistan and China in Sri Lanka.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

LTTE RADAR point neutralized in air assault - Poonaryn

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SLAF MI-24 helicopter gunships launched a nighttime air assault at an LTTE RADAR point located in the coast of Nagavanthurai, Poonaryn yesterday(Sep 24), at 10 p.m.

Air Force sources said, that the target was neutralized in the precision raid.

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Sri Lankan financial racketeer fled to India, police say

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Police investigations have revealed that Sakvithi Ranasinghe, an English tuition master who was engaged in a massive racket amounting to more than Rs. five billion through several fraudulent investment companies, has fled to Chennai.

The individual has used his real name Ranasinghe Arachchige Chandana Weerakumara Ranasinghe in the passport. Police have taken steps to seek the assistance of Interpol to arrest the racketeer.

Over 4,000 Sri Lankans have been hoodwinked by bogus companies that promised unbelievable dividends for their investments. Police have so far arrested five persons regarding the case and 40 staff members of those bogus companies are also being interrogated.

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Corrupt Jayasundara appointed as Adviser to carry on old deals, charges Kiriella

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(Lanka-e-News, United national Party (UNP) MP Lakshman Kiriella charges that the President is going to appoint Dr. P.B. Jayasundara as a Presidential Adviser with the hope of carrying on old deals with his support while keeping a proxy in the actual post.
He made these observations addressing a press briefing held yesterday (23) in the official residence of the Opposition Leader. He pointed out that in the case that led to the resignation of Dr. P.B. Jayasundara, there was a number of charges against him.

MP Kiriella said that a Ministry Secretary has to answer to the President, parliament, cabinet and Public Service Commission. But a Presidential Adviser needs not to do so thought he wields power in a broad arena. He pointed out that it is expected to carry on the same old deals with him while keeping a proxy in the actual post of Secretary.

MP Kiriella points out that a Presidential Adviser who has power but needs not to be answerable is a worse scenario. He said that appointing Jayasundara to a post of Presidential Adviser is in contrast to the theme, objectives and the essence of the Supreme Court verdict. He further said that the government needed to protect him since he was the person who gave legal protection to the corruption of the government. He says that Dr. Jayasundara is behind the massive scams including Mihin Air, Mig deal and financing LTTE and the government does not want to anger him.
The UNP MP showed that the Public Service Commission that acts against the public servants who commit offences has failed to act against P.B. Jayasundara who was proved guilty of corruption. Moreover, the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General have also failed to act despite their responsibility has been mentioned in the court ruling. MP Kiriella said that the government proved the allegations that it did not safeguard the rule of law through these acts.

Dr. P.B. Jayasundara is to be appointed as a Presidential Adviser to control the Ministry of Finance through him, alleges UNP MP Kiriella.

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CPC Chairman fuels fraudulent ships at loss

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(Lanka-e-News, ) Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) workers suspect if the terrorist organizations are supplied fuel through a bunkering businesses run by the Chairman of CPC with powers of his position.

They say that the Chairman's obstinate decisions cause massive losses to the CPC and point out that the Chairman is supplying fuel to several selected ships at a lower price than the market fuel price.

A liter of diesel that is sold at Rs. 110 per liter locally is sold at Rs. 95.14 to several ships including MT Queen Energetic under the Chairman’s instructions causing Rs. 14.86 loss per each liter of diesel. Around 300,000 liters of diesel have been sold to these shops so far and the loss caused to the CPC is Rs. 4,458,000.

This deal has been underway since last 18th under 30 invoices bearing numbers 4802866 and the serial numbers below it. When the ships are fuelled the details such as the owner of the ship and to whom the fuel is sold by the ship and the quantity of fuel are mentioned clearly in the invoice. But nothing was exposed here raising doubts. This bunkering is carried out within the high security zone.

Reportedly, the Chairman's bunkering business has no license. CPC privatized its bunkering arm and now eight private sector companies carry out bunkering with license.

The trade unions question how the Chairman supplies diesel at a lower price to the ships while the Minister of Petroleum and Petroleum Resources says that the advantage of the decrease of world fuel price cannot be given to the consumers immediately.

CPC levies a cess (a development levy) of Rs. 15 per literof petrol and Rs. 10 per liter of diesel since September 17. The Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe said in the parliament yesterday that imposing a cess without parliamentary approval is a breach of parliamentary privileges.

Meanwhile, the CPC Chairman and the subject Minister repeat that the CPC is still losing. But the Chairman has made an urgent order to purchase a brand new Montero at the cost of Rs. 14,900,000 in addition to a fleet of two more Monteros worth around Rs. Rs. 30,000,000.

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CPA launches ‘Never Again in Sri Lanka’ website

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The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) announces the launch of ‘Never Again in Sri Lanka’, a new website that features 22 videos in Tamil, Sinhala and English on the anti-Tamil pogrom of July 1983 in Sri Lanka.
The 30 second videos on the site feature renown Sri Lankan civil society, film, teledrama, entertainment, academic and religious personalities.

Recognizing the enduring value of these short clips for advocacy, CPA created the site to use these videos as a focal point for on-going discussion and reflection on the events of July 1983.

The design and functionality of the site makes it easy to leave comments, integrate videos into social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, MySpace) and share content with other websites and blogs.

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) was formed in the firm belief that there is an urgent need to strengthen institution- and capacity-building for good governance and conflict transformation in Sri Lanka and that non-partisan civil society groups have an important and constructive contribution to make to this process. The primary role envisaged for the Centre in the field of public policy is a pro-active and interventionary one, aimed at the dissemination and advocacy of policy alternatives for non-violent conflict resolution and democratic governance. Accordingly, the work of the Centre involves a major research component through which the policy alternatives advocated are identified and developed.

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ADRA Improves Living Conditions for Sri Lankan Refugees in India

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Through the continued work of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), more than 47,000 Sri Lankans refugees who fled to India due to the ongoing civil war in their homeland will receive assistance, including better access to clean water and enhanced sanitation, personal hygiene classes, and waste management training.

The 12-month long Water Environment Sanitation and Shelter (WESS) project, valued at more than $707,000 and funded by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) through the ADRA Germany office, is improving access to clean water in 67 camps throughout the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The projects is helping install water pumps and tanks, build and refurbish latrines, and improve the existing surface drainage system. ADRA is also providing community and household bins, establishing compost beds, and equipping waste management services with the tools necessary to maintain a sanitary environment.

"ADRA India's intervention on water and sanitation for our community has made a drastic change in providing us a hygienic environment," said Annalakshmi, a 32-year old project beneficiary living in the Vazhavanthankottai camp in Tamil Nadu. "I feel proud being a member of our refugee camp and I hope ADRA India will be with us all the way to achieving our dreams of making our community a model one."

In the same region, ADRA is also building new shelters and improving existing ones, and providing training on accident risk mitigation. ADRA's projects have increased the capacity of refugees by teaching them how to support themselves financially through various livelihood activities and maintain a better level of health through education, training, and facilities improvement.

"We are committed to continuing to offer humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka's most deprived and disadvantaged people living in the refuge camps, as long as it's needed," said Paulo Lopes, country director for ADRA India.

Since 1983, Sri Lanka has been entangled in a long and bitter war between Sri Lankan government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), commonly known as the Tamil Tigers, who have been fighting for an independent homeland in the northeastern part of this island-nation. As of November 2007, there were at least 131,000 Sri Lankan refugees in India, of which 111,000 arrived before 2002, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Recently, a surge in the fighting has left more than 1,000 soldiers and civilians dead, and caused the displacement of an additional 135,000 people, mostly of Tamil origin from northeastern areas of Sri Lanka. UNHCR estimates that nearly 23,000 people have crossed into India to seek refuge.

Since 2006, ADRA India has supported Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu, largely as a result of financing partnerships with ECHO, New Zealand's International Aid and Development Agency (NZAID), ADRA Norway, ADRA Germany, and ADRA New Zealand.

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Analysis: Sri Lanka: Rwanda II in the Re-making

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By Ranji Samuel



After fourteen years of the failure of humanity in Rwanda, the re-making of Rwanda II is reaching the crucial face in Sri Lanka. The machete-wielding government-sponsored forces that went on a killing spree of the minority Tutsis in 1994 and murdered 800,000 people in 100 days. It's a damning indictment of world leaders and UN bureaucrats who failed to stop the genocide. Once again, this time it is the minority Tamils in Sri Lanka. The world stands still as a mere spectator when the minority Tamils faces the same fate in the northern Sri Lanka.

Fears of a humanitarian crisis are mounting in northern Sri Lanka as troops press ahead with an offensive to capture territory from Tamil rebels. A week ago the UN and other agencies pulled out of the area, where fighting has displaced more than 200,000 people.

“Although I appreciate and respect the security rules that govern aid workers and understand why we had to leave, I still have to deal with a great sense that I abandoned those people” said one aid worker who was forced withdrew from the region by the Sri Lankan government.

"It's like an open prison," for Tamils in Sri Lanka, says Gajendran Ponnambalam, the Member of Parliament for Jaffna and a member of the country's main Tamil opposition party. Even though he is an elected representative for the region, Mr. Ponnambalam lives 400 kilometers away in Colombo. Jaffna is too dangerous. A half a dozen Tamil opposition party MPs were assassinated in last 4 years.


"There is absolutely no security. All the Tamil members of parliament from Jaffna have been threatened. The government uses paramilitary groups to carry out these threats,” he further said.

The news media played a crucial role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Local media fuelled the killings, while the international media either ignored or seriously misconstrued what was happening. 14 years later, a similar scenario is in the making. The government of Sri Lanka has ordered the workers International and local Non Governmental Organizations to leave the Tamil area where more than 200, 000 refugees are languishing under trees. In the pretext of safeguarding the NGOs, the government has effectively eliminated all credible eyewitnesses for a pending human tragedy.

Civil authorities in the northern Sri Lanka say that providing essential relief to the displaced in the Killinochchi district has become difficult as fighting intensifies.

Government Agent Nagalingam Vedanayagam said that about twenty five thousand are displaced as civilians flee their villages fearing further fighting.
Another Government Agent from the northern Sri Lanka was suddenly transferred out of recently. It was believed that a statement he made, on the situation of displaced people from the region, at a meeting presided by a top government official, might have been the cause according to reports. Sources said the Public Administration Ministry was directed to move out the government agent due to reasons of security.

The history has a habit of repeating itself. “What got my attention in Tamil problem was an incident in one paragraph in the Hindu news paper back in June 1981” says senior Indian journalist Anita Prathab.

“When I saw this news item, I was shocked because I can understand two group of community fighting each other and they do that in India all the time. But, the fact the library was burnt down, that to my mind the biblical wars” says Anita Prathab. To Anita it brought her the image of the burning down of Alexandria library. “When a library is burnt down, it is an orchestrated, pre-meditated act to hit at the very cultural root and identity of a group of people. Some thing seriously wrong in Sri Lanka” she further said.

In June 1981, the government forces where two senior Cabinet ministers masterminded and executed the burning down of the Jaffna library alleges Tamils in the area.

Sri Lanka's police have started registering thousands of people, nearly all the ethnic Tamils, who have fled the war-torn north for the capital Colombo.

One man waiting outside a school in the suburb of Wellawatte told TNS that Tamils were being singled out and the registration drive was a human tragedy.

In the last 25 years more than 80, 000 Tamil Civilians have been killed, about 400, 000 has fled the country and another million were made internally displaced. Neither Sri Lankan constitution nor the Sovereignty of Sri Lanka could prevent the killing of the Tamils and their exodus.

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Security for Radhika insufficient - FMM

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The Free Media Movement is concerned that sufficient security is not provided to journalist Radhika Devakumar.

She is receiving treatment at Colombo National Hospital after being shot in an attempt on her life.


A lone gunmen stormed her house at Kattankudi around 7.30 pm on September 08th and shot her at point blank range, the bullets entering her shoulder, abdomen and chest.

The FMM charges that the government did nothing to ensure medical attention to her or for transfer her to Colombo for further treatment.

Media organizations hired an ambulance from Red Cross to transport her to Colombo, convener of the FMM Uvindu Kurukulasuriya said.

Despite it being clear that the attack was an attempt on the journalist’s life, only one police constable has been deployed for her security at nights.

Noting that the ministerial subcommittee on media has not responded to calls to strengthen her security, the FMM emphasizes that Ms. Devakumar’s life is still under threat.

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Lake House doubles allowance after protest

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A protest by journalists attached to Lake House resulted in the management deciding to double an allowance to purchase books.

They had been given a Rs. 5,000 allowance every September in view of Literary Month, but the amount had been reduced to Rs. 1,500 this year.

The figure was increased to Rs. 3,000 at a discussion this afternoon (Sept. 24th) attended by chairman Bandula Padmakumara, directors, editors of Lake House publications and 10 journalist representatives.

However, journalists said they are not satisfied with the increase, but suspended their protest after the directors promised to meet tomorrow and consider a further increase.

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CPI 2008: Sri Lanka is 92nd in the Corruption Index

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Sri Lanka occupies the 92nd position among 180 countries in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2008 conducted by Transparency International (TI), the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption.

Sri Lanka's score remains at a low 3.2, indicating a serious corruption problem in the public sector. Neighbouring countries except Bhutan, all score below 3.5. Lack of transparency in political finance and poor parliamentary oversight are quoted as a key governance problem in Sri Lanka. Only India (3.4) and Sri Lanka are above a score of 3 with Maldives (2.8), Nepal (2.7), Pakistan (2.5) and Bangladesh (2.1) remaining with low scores. Analysts attribute India's position to the implementation of the Right to Information Act.

Explaining the significance of the CPI, Transparency International Sri Lanka's Executive Director J C Weliamuna said that the Index ranks countries in terms of the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians. It measures each country's level of corruption and places it on a scale from 0 to 10, where 10 stands for 'highly clean' and 0 stands for 'highly corrupt'. The CPI focuses on corruption in the public sector and defines corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain. In conducting the surveys used in compiling the Index, questions that relate to misuse of public power for private benefit are asked. These include bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement and embezzlement of public funds. Questions that probe the strength of anti-corruption policies are also included. While the CPI 2008 has drawn on 13 different polls and surveys from 11 independent institutions, TI has strived to ensure that the sources used are of the highest quality and that the survey work is performed with complete integrity.

The 2008 Index indicates that irrespective of the countries being rich or poor, or being in the East or West, corruption prevails. Corruption is an issue which needs to be tackled separately with dedication. Among the poor countries, Barbados (7.0), Chile (6.9), Slovenia (6.7), and Estonia (6.6) have scored higher. They are known to take serious measures to beat corruption within their countries. In the last slot in the Index are Somalia (1.0), Myanmar (1.3), Iraq (1.3), Haiti (1.4), Afghanistan (1.5) and Sudan (1.6). This is attributed to the internal and external conflicts and dictatorial regimes that existed in those countries and is quoted as an eye-opener to countries like Sri Lanka with the ongoing internal conflict. Topping the list for 2008 are New Zealand, Denmark and Sweden sharing the highest score of 9.3 followed immediately by Singapore (9.2), Finland 9.0) and Iceland (8.9).

"Stemming corruption requires strong oversight through parliaments, law enforcement, independent media and a vibrant civil society," says Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International in a media release issued in Berlin. "While these institutions are weak, corruption spirals out of control with horrendous consequences for ordinary people and for justice and equality in societies more broadly," she added.

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Tamil Nadu leaders seek Indian intervention in Sri Lanka

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Tamil Nadu political leaders K. Veeramani and Thol Thirumavalavan courted arrest along with several supporters on Tuesday Sep 23, to demand India’s intervention in Sri Lanka.

Dravida Kazhagam leader Veeramani before being arrested said the Government of India should immediately intervene in the Tamils’ issue in Sri Lanka and desist from assisting the Sri Lanka Government that is seeking a military approach.

Thol Thirumavalavan, who heads the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi said ‘It is a matter of national shame that some defence personnel from our (country) were found assisting Sri Lanka’s military establishment a few days’ ago’.

His reference was to the injuries two Indian radar technicians suffered when the LTTE executed a pre-dawn land and air attack on a Sri Lankan military base in Vavuniya earlier this month.

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Two Soldiers Injured

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JAFFNA: FIGHTING OCCURRED closer to the MUHAMALE FDL (Forward Defence Line) when the troops met resistance from Tiger terrorists Tuesday (23).Two soldiers were injured in confrontations and admitted to PALALY Army hospital for treatment.

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Two More Dead Tigers Delivered to ICRC

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VAVUNIYA: TWO MORE dead bodies of Tiger terrorists died during battles in AKKARANAKULAM area were delivered to the officials of the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) around 2.00 p.m. on Wednesday (24) across OMANTHAI Entry/Exit point.

The ICRC officials took away the remains into un-cleared areas north of OMANTHAI.

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Suicide Jacket & 8-kg Heavy Claymore Unearthed

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TRINCOMALEE: GROUND TROOPS on receipt of information unearthed a 8-kg heavy claymore mine, one suicide jacket, two anti personnel mines, two T-56 weapons, six T-56 magazines, 100 T-56 ammunition rounds, four LTTE combat kits, two pouches and one electric detonator from PALLECHCHENAKULAM area, TRINCOMALEE Wednesday (24) morning at about 9.30 a.m..

The stock has been kept buried behind a house when the troops following precise information stormed the place and unearthed the place.

Police and the Army troops are conducting investigations.

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Canada says Bahu an LTTE member, refuses visa - Bahu refused Canadian allegations

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Canadian High Commission in Colombo last week denied visa to the Leader of New Left Front and General Secretary of New Sama Samaja party, Dr Wickramabahu Karunaratne, saying that his past actions "constitute membership in the LTTE," and therefore, Dr Karunaratne fails the admissibility tests laid out in Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).


"It has been reported that you have publicly participated in LTTE activities by personally and knowingly attending and speaking at pro-LTTE events such as Pongo Thamil [sic] in Madrid and in London. In addition, you have publicly announced your support for B.Nadesan. As a prominent member of a political party that has historically and consistently shown support for the LTTE we can conclude that your actions constitute membership in the LTTE," a letter from C McKinney, First Secretary, Immigration at Canadian High Commission in Colombo said.

Dr. Karunaratne, who commented that the move, based on "absolute lies" was "un-democratic" and said he intrepreted it as a message to "fall in line" with the rest of the Sinhala politicians and activists, at a time when most of them who were earlier seen as moderates, have succumbed to the pressure from the Rajapaksa regime, yielding direct or indirect support to its military campaign against Tamils.

Dr. Karunaratne is the only notable Sinhala politician in Colombo, giving voice to Tamils right to self determination.

In a note to media, he also asked whether the Canadian authorities banned entry to the British parliamentarians who had addressed the Pongku Thamizh meetings in London.

Karunaratne said that he has never been to Spain, and that he could not attend Pongku Thamizh meeting in London due to delay in obtaining a visa.

He added that his socialist party "defended the right of self determination of the Tamil people and the autonomy for the Tamil home land since 1974,"...and "stood for voluntary unity of Sinhala and Tamil nationalities."

Karunaratne pointed out that the "LTTE is a Tamil nationalist bourgeois party that uses the method of terror in the course of the struggle," and therefore, not compativlw with his socialist party that "believes in mass actions."

In a letter to Canadian High Commission in Colombo, Karunaratne said: "if you have such credible evidence of my self being a member of the LTTE, I am sure you would have shared that knowledge with the Mahinda regime. It is strange that the government has taken no action what so ever." Canadian officials "ludicrous claim" is not taken seriously even by the war mongering Sri Lankan government," he said.

He asked clarification on whether he has "the right to appeal against your [Canada's] irresponsible and dangerous conclusions."

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McCain Scores Support From Conservative Tamil-Americans

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Ethnic Tamil-American group throws its support to McCain and Palin. A McCain administration "will be supportive of our concerns, and the most pressing of these is the continuing slow genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka," said a press release from the group.

Republican candidates Senator John McCain and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin have gained another support group in their campaign for the White House. The group, Conservative Tamils for McCain, has announced their support of the McCain-Palin ticket. The group appended the following statement, which describes their hopes for a McCain presidency.

The statement reads:

We Conservative Tamil Americans hope that when John McCain becomes president of the U.S. next January, he will be sympathetic to our concerns. Specifically, we are distressed by the continuing slow genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka. We think that he will be as concerned as we are about the destruction of the Tamil people and their culture in Sri Lanka.

We support Senator McCain in his pursuit of the presidency because we agree with him that the Sri Lankan civil war will be a continuing "headache" for the U.S. as this war continues. We hope that President McCain will use the influence of the U.S. to achieve a political settlement that will end the civil war and allow all Sri Lankans to live in peace on their island

We urge the 44th president of the Unite States, Mr. McCain, to send an envoy like former senator George Mitchell (as in Ireland and the Middle East) to talk to both parties in Sri Lanka and draw a road map to peace in Sri Lanka. The road map can be drawn from the successful models of Montenegro, Bosnia, East Timor, Quebec, Slovakia, and Kosovo.

Successive Sri Lankan governments have done nothing to resolve this vicious civil war for more than sixty years, and we believe that they will do nothing to resolve it unless they are forced to do so.

Tamils are weary of waiting for a reasonable devolution from Colombo. German Ambassador to Sri Lanka Jürgen Weerth in August 2008 said that he has also given up hope of finding any solution for Tamils that involved the Colombo government. Germany, he said, did not believe in allowing the majority community to rule over minorities. "A country should have a give-and-take policy when ruling. Each community should be given preference, instead of supporting one community," he said.

Weerth further said that Sri Lanka should establish the rule of law, and eliminate human rights violations in the country. He said that while Sri Lanka has a good constitution, the government ignores it.

An outgoing British High Commissioner

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UNP goes to Supreme Court on oil prices

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Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) today filed a Fundamental Rights petition in the Supreme Court against the government for not bringing down oil prices subsequent to the recent decline of world oil prices.

General Secretary of the party Tissa Attanayake said that he had filed the petition this morning on behalf of the UNP.

UNP has named Minister of Petroleum Resources Development A.H.M Fowzie, Chairman of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation Asantha De Mel and another four as the respondents.

In the petition the opposition has pointed out that the basic fundamentals of the Sri Lankans have contravened due to the government’s failure to reduce the oil prices.

Attanayake said that they have appealed the Supreme Court to null the cess tax on oil prices that was imposed by the government few days ago.

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STF commando killed, 3 wounded in Ampaa'rai - LTTE

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A Sri Lankan Special Task Force (STF) commando was killed Wednesday around 11:30 a.m. in kagnchikudichcha'ru in Ampaa'rai district, while the STF commandos were engaged in a search operation, according to LTTE officials in the East. The STF personnel were caught up in a Tiger booby trap when they were on a search mission in the jungle area.
Three STF personnel were wounded in the explosion.

The STF has not issued any details of the ambush claimed by the Tigers.
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CEB owes Rs. 40 billion to CPC - John Seneviratne

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Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne told parliament today that the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) owes the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) Rs. 40 billion of which Rs.16 billion was for this year.

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Investigation", unnecessary for GSP+ - Rohitha

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The Government finds the procedure of instituting an “investigation” to determine if the GSP+ concession can be extended to Sri Lanka unnecessary and inappropriate, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said when he met Benita Ferrero Waldner EU External Relations Commissioner in New York.

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Basil-Anura Kumara lock horns

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Senior Presidential Advisor MP Building Basil Rajapaksa and JVP parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake had locked themselves in a noisy brawl at today’s COPE meeting in parliament. Eyewitnesses said both MPs had jumped at each other for a round of fisticuffs and it was after a lot of effort that the MPs present had separated the two.

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Talks only when Tigers give up arms- President

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President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly today said that the government would only be ready to talk to the LTTE when it is ready to commit itself to decommissioning of its illicit weapons and dismantling of its military capacity, and return to the democratic fold.

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Country papers presented

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The participants from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, presented country papers on Research, Development and Technology Transfer in Agricultural Mechanisation, and Policies and Extension Programmes related to small Holder Farm Mechanisation in the respective countries. Condition of small farmers and situation of agriculture and mechanisation status are similar in these countries including some backward areas of India.

Dr Pitam Chandra, Asst Director General ICAR, New Delhi, along with Sudhir Shah of M/S Mahindra and Mahindra (Tractor Division) chaired the Technical session. Excerpts from India like Dr KK Tyagi, Principal Scientist from IASRI, New Delhi on Mechanisation survey, Kale Director, CFMTTI, Budhani on testing and training, and Dr Surendra Singh, Project Co-ordinator, All India Co-ordinated Research Project on Farm implement and Machinery on R and D and technology transfer, presented the Indian Scenario of agricultural mechanisation.

It has been felt necessary to have collection of information and formulation of database on status and availability of farm machinery in the SAARC Countries for formulation of a common policy on mechanisation of small holder agriculture for the region. Sharing of knowledge on training, demonstrations, and custom hiring Entrepreneurship development and success stories in imperative for deriving mutual benefits from experiences in the countries of the region. This would help in identification of regionally differentiated mechanisation packages suitable for various diverse situations in the SAARC countries.

Before the Technical Session Dr BS Pathak, Director Sardar Patel Renewable Energy Research Institute, Vallabh Vidyanagar in his key note address said that though there has been a strong plea for many years in India to give a start to decentralisation of industrial activity and services by locating agro industries and their ancillaries in the villages, preferably in the production catchment.

This will create employment without dislocation, reduce product loss, open the way for the farmer to share the benefits of value addition and reduce transport transport cost as the processed products have less mass and require less space. Most process residues of agro industries, which create a problem of disposal in towns, can be used as animal feed or organic manure or for irrigation.

The acceptance of this approach would lead to improvement in power supply, roads, communication, health services and educational facilities in the rural sector, which will benefit millions. If this happens, mechanisation will play an even more important role in upgrading production agriculture in South Asia.

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Another billion cellphones

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Research firm Frost and Sullivan forecast that in 2012, not only will Thailand no longer be an "emerging economy," but that the eight emerging economies in Asia-Pacific will have 1.06 billion yuppiephone subscribers; the billion-phone countries are Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.


Your CAT Telecom signed deals with two Korean content services to put, er, content on Hutch and other parts of the nation's Number 4 yuppiephone service, the CDMA network; senior executive president of vice Jirayu Roongsrithong was so excited that he forgot to name the Korean providers or the sort of content we can expect on the trial service within three months or so, but these days one expects period soaps and mindless game shows from Korea.


Finally, the No 1 yuppiephone network Advanced Info Service announced it will begin broadcasting "real-time" news video clips over your mobile phone, for a small consideration of course, and let's not vent wonderment about how a video clip can be real-time; Prattana Leelapanang, the assistant president of vice for wireless business marketing, explained that news is the most popular content, although content accounts for only 15 per cent of all non-voice services, followed by music and photos; AIS claims that 350,000 customers have signed up for mobile TV, much of which is provided by T-News Agency.


President Wichian Mektrakarn of No 1 yuppiephone network Advanced Info Service was aghast that the PAD protesters believed he would disconnect their important calls about anti-government demonstrations right in the middle of the calls; he also pointed out that it would be almost impossible and hugely labour-intensive to do so; Mr Wichian explained helpfully that security forces had call-blocking hardware that could stop all mobile calls in any selected area - not that he was suggested police or the Army would actually do any such thing.


It's just not fair that there are no adverts on TrueVisions pay-TV network, the former UBC, declared MCOT Plc board members, who apparently don't watch TrueVisions; therefore, MCOT is going to allow TrueVisions to run advertising, so long as it gives a chunk to MCOT, and to heck with that old contract which forbids advertising on pay-TV because, you know, subscribers should get some benefit; for now TrueVisions gives 6.5 per cent of its subscriber fees to MCOT as a skimming fee and fire insurance, and TrueVisions has suggested it switch and give 6.5 per cent of advertising fees instead.


Malaysia served harsh notice to three of the four WiMax licence holders to use them or lose them; with WiMax only barely, tenuously available, the P1, REDtone International and Asiaspace services now have to expand service to 25 per cent of the population by New Year's Eve, or big trouble; Minister of Energy, Water and Communications Shaziman Abu Mansor bragged, "Frankly, I am just waiting for whoever that can't deliver," so he can hook the licences back in, and give them to someone who can deliver; one reason Mr Shaziman is so tough is that no firm given third-generation mobile licences managed to meet the main licence terms, and he probably wants to make an example of someone.


No 2 yuppiephone network DTAC decided that third-generation data services are going to be so big that they require an 850-million-baht call centre of their own; located in Rangsit, staffed by 1,000 commuters, it is DTAC's fourth call centre after the two in Bangkok and one in Chiang Mai, which already handle up to 100,000 calls a day, mostly seeking information on DTAC prices and billing problems; Tipayarat Kaewsringarm, chief customer officer, said 3G competition will be intense, and customer service matters.


With almost half of US and European companies cutting back IT spending in the economic doldrums, China and India have begun to sprint away; analysts Forrester Research said IT spending in the Asian giants will grow 18 per cent this year, against 5.2 per cent globally and even less than that in the West; it may be a bit of wash for a while, though, because US ($484 billion) and European ($436) companies spend far more than India ($25.2 billion) and China ($54.7 billion) counterparts; Thai IT spending this year is expected to be around $4.36 billion, up 9.3 per cent from 2007.


Ralph and Phyllis Tarrant of Sheffield, England, celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary ; they received a gift that is impossible in Thailand - a telegram from Queen Elizabeth; imagine that, a telegram, remember them?

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Beef up security in Weligama - Rauff

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Government should beef up security in Weligama immediately to avert another communal clash, SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem said in parliament .

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SC allows media and rights groups to intervene against Mervyn

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The Supreme Court today had allowed intervention by three media and two rights groups in the FR case filed by a media station against Minister Mervin Silva.

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STF recovers explosives, arms and ammunition from Wattala

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The Special Task Force today recovered 565 grams of C-4 high explosives, a T-56 weapons, two magazines, 124 bullets, Code seats and currency notes from Hekitta, Wattala.

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Sri Lanka Parliament proceedings cancelled tomorrow to pay last respects to Late President

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Sri Lankan main political party leaders yesterday decided to cancel the Parliament proceedings as the casket carrying the late President D.B Wijethunga's remains is scheduled to be brought to the Parliament tomorrow.

Late President's casket will be brought to the Sri Lankan parliament at about 9:00 a.m. for the legislators to pay their last respects.

Speaker W.J.M Lokubandara said the remains will lay for two hours in the parliament. Following the viewing the casket is scheduled to be taken to the Sri Lankan hill country where the funeral is to take place with full state honors at Gatambe, Kandy tomorrow evening.

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Finance Minister Siyambalapitiya assures explanation on the ‘Sakvithi’ fraud

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Finance Minister (non-cabinet) Ranjith Siyambalapitiya told Parliament today that the House would be given an explanation regarding the incident where English tutor turned ‘businessman’ Sakvithi Ranasinghe had allegedly swindled more than Rs. 900 million from the public.

He following discussions with the Central Bank officials the explanation would be given.

“It is timely to bring about strict laws when dealing with financial institutions. He said that the Central Bank needs to take measures to identify fraudulent financial activities”, he said.

The Minister replying to a question raised by the National Freedom Front parliamentary group leader MP Wimal Weerawansa on whether the Central Bank has a proper mechanism to observe finance institutions and identify suspected financial institutions offering high interest rates.

MP Weerawansa said that recent financial fraud of by Sakvithi Ranasinghe owner of ‘Sakvithi’ financial institution have left a huge number of people depressed after investing on the institution and finally the whole amount is missing.

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Tax on property developers reduced

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The five per cent tax charged from property developers and buildings of more than 5,000 square feet would be reduced to one per cent with effect from today, Urban Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said.

Minister Gunawardena said the tax which was charged under the Urban Development Act, was utilized to provide better houses for the families s living in shanties.

Minister Gunawardena said that this decision was taken following requests made by property developers and the BOI promising to contribute Rs. 150 million for the housing projects.

He said along with the completion of 1,000 houses, another 3,000 houses are to be constructed for those living in shanties.

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Doctor accused for murder of garment employee takes poison, condition serious

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The doctor in remand custody for allegedly murdering a garment sector worker is reportd to have consumed poison and is in a serious condition, hospital sources said.

The doctor has been admitted to the national hospital.

This was the second attempt on his life while in remand custody. Earlier he triedto hang himself.

The doctor had allegedly raped the garment sector employee and at the Negombo hospital and thereafter murdered her. The body was found in the garden of the hospital.

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JAAF’s campaign wins AME awards 2008

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At a very high profile and an elaborate awards function in Macau, China on Wednesday 17th September 2008, Grey’s global marketing campaign ‘Garments without Guilt’ was declared a winner in the highly competitive Asian Marketing Effectiveness Awards 2008.

“Garments Without Guilt” (GWG) is a campaign that is creating impact in key markets around the world. This marketing initiative is the positioning prompt for Sri Lanka Apparel’s global business initiative.

“This international recognition comes at an opportune time, when Garments without Guilt is already bagging widespread global media attention and accolades. This campaign has delivered on an international scale and with every passing month, we push the envelop further to deliver more impact.” says Ajai V Singh, Vice- President and Country head, Grey Colombo.

‘Garments without Guilt’ was adjudged a winner in a rather challenging category where business performance is not based on big dollar budgets, but extremely clear strategic thinking and equally immaculate execution and monitoring. The business impact of the brand marketing campaign becomes a criteria while creating consumer connections.

Grey’s new age marketing approach for Garments without Guilt was a clear differentiator in a room full of both regional and global heavyweight brands. “This campaign has legs as it is based on a solid idea which will definitely deliver on creating a robust brand” says Sailesh Wadhwa, Director Strategic planning Grey Colombo.

The high profile event was attended by Asia-Pacific regions top marketing, advertising and media professionals.

Asian Marketing Effectiveness Awards, now in its 6th year is not only about identifying the Asia-Pacific region’s top creators, but rewarding those that add value to consumers and businesses, and truly define and build habits — the key difference between marketing and effective marketing.

It is unique in its vision to recognise brand value, insightful strategies that think about the consumer, build the product, and package and price it right — using communication and retail activation to drive sales. It’s about marketing communication effectiveness measured on real results [ROI] and business transformation.

Each entry is judged on the base of demonstrated real results and effectiveness based on business objectives. They are designed to set the standard for effective marketing within the region, and aim to uncover the campaigns that show results through innovative spirit, and combining creativity with effectiveness to build world class brands.

JAAF through its Sri Lanka Apparel - Garments without Guilt global campaign is championing the cause of ethical apparel manufacturing and sourcing. The campaign has been well received by global apparel industry, partner buyers, international media, and international consumers at large.

The campaign gains its strength from the fact that the Sri Lanka is the only outsourced manufacturing country in Asia which has signed up to 39 of the ILO Conventions and is one of the only 2 countries in world to have been granted concessions by the European Union under the GSP + scheme for good governance.

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Stop funding Tiger terror - TMVP leaders appeal to Tamil expats:

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TMVP Leader Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan (Karuna) and his deputy, Eastern Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan yesterday appealed to Tamil expatriates in Canada and elsewhere to stop funding the Tiger war machine.

In separate exclusive interviews with Stewart Bell of the National Post of Canada, the duo said the funds remitted by expatriates are used for Tiger military procurements, not humanitarian assistance.

Muralitharan said money sent from abroad to help civilians in uncleared areas was routinely used to buy arms.

He called Canada the number one source of external income for the LTTE, followed by Switzerland. He said while Canadians might believe the money they send to uncleared areas is being used for humanitarian aid, Prabhakaran uses it all to buy military hardware instead.

"They use all the money for the war," he said. "They didn't give anything to the people."

The money from overseas feeds not civilians but a procurement network that buys weapons and ships them to the island, he said.

"They have a lot of money. They bought many ships for smuggling arms," he said. "Diaspora people, they don't understand what is happening in Sri Lanka."

The Eastern Province Chief Minister Chandrakanthan echoed his leader's views. He said Tigers supporters in such countries as Canada are misguided and should stop sending money to the LTTE.

"A lot of these people who keep shouting, 'We want a separate state' are not aware of what the conditions are here," said Chandrakanthan. Muralitharan, who spent 22 years in the Tigers, said he broke with Prabhakaran in a dispute over Norwegian-brokered peace talks. He thought there was a good deal on the table but Prabhakaran wanted to restart the war, he said.

"He got angry with me, but he's a very angry person," he said. "I told him, 'I don't want to fight with you. We are brothers and sisters."

"Prabhakaran had no political vision," Chandrakanthan said in an interview. "If the Sri Lankan Army hits, he wants to hit back. He really relished hitting back, fighting, rather than thinking politically, where do we go from here?"

He believes if he can succeed in the East, the Tigers will realize there is a better way, but he holds out no hope that Prabhakaran will surrender his dream of a Tamil homeland called Tamil Eelam.

"Prabhakaran will not give up his thought of a Tamil Eelam. So long as Prabhakaran is there, he will always want people to believe that he can deliver Tamil Eelam, and Tamil Eelam in his vision includes the east as well." But he believes the Tigers are almost finished, bottled up in the north, having lost 60% of their territory and running out of fighting men and women.

"He can't go on like this because there is a limit to the manpower that he commands," Chandrakanthan said. "Just by shortage of manpower he will lose."

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

29th National Conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka

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Over 600 participants will be attended top forthcoming 29th National Conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka [ICASL] which is to be held on 10th of October in Colombo.
This two day conference will accommodate a group of eminent and respected personalities and they would conduct the technical sessions over two days.
Speaking to media Chairman of the ICASL Nishan Fernando said the conference will be inaugurated by Alok Prasad , the High Commissioner of India .The conference also provides a conducive base of networking , an invaluable tool in management .

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Air Force Jets raid hideout of LTTE kingpins- Kilinochchi

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Sri Lanka Air Force fighter jets launched a nighttime raid targeting a well guarded hideout of high profile LTTE cadres in Kilinochchi, said the Air Force sources.

Air Force spokesman, Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara speaking to defence.lk said that the air strike was taken at 8 PM (Sept 23) targeting the terror kingpins' hideout located in the Piramantalkulm area , in Kilinochchi district. He added that the exact damage caused to the terrorist in the attack is yet to be verified.

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Who’s the Next Hindu Priest on LTTE Murder List?

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FINAL JOURNEY of the LTTE slain Chief Hindu Priest (Kurukkal) Rev. Thivathunaraja (43) at Trincomalee Konesvaram Hindu temple is to take place today (24) at Trincomalee Galpalliya Hindu Cemetery in accordance with Hindu funeral rites and rituals.

The much-respected Chief Priest of Hindu Tamils in Trincomalee was mercilessly silenced by Tiger pistol men on Sunday (21) evening while he was riding his motorbike to attend a funeral. His remains lay in state at the Trincomalee Urban Council Hall for the public to pay their last respect after arrangements were organized by the District Secretariat, following a request made by clergy and family relatives.

The savagery of this senseless attack on the popular chief priest who has been preaching non-violence and co-existence in the eastern port city of Trincomalee for the last twenty-five years, took resident Tamils as well as others by surprise plunging all of them into a state of shock, revulsion and grief. Slain Rev Thivathunaraja (43), giving fullest support for the sustenance of peace and harmony in the area, helped the Security Forces maintain law and order and resolve civil matters amicably. He was the one who performed Hindu religious rites during ‘Ranaviru Upahara’ ceremonies during the past three years in Trincomalee while tiring to promote religious harmony among all three major ethnicities.

Needless to mention, Tiger terrorists by their conduct have once again proved that neither their deteriorating organization, nor their proxies give any respect to the Hindu religion which is venerated by millions of Hindus across the globe. In other words, the Hindu religion itself is experiencing the brunt of the systematic LTTE terror attacks, irrespective of the fact that Tigers for their own sustenance, had right throughout flourished, using Hindu temples as their hide-outs, fronts or underground weapon distribution centers. They were safe heavens in disguise.



The brutal murder of this Hindu priest who has been the guiding star for many other leading priests in the region, as their beloved spiritual patron, has opened a Pandora’s box at international Tamil Diaspora, as devotees across the world, began expressing their outrage and revulsion. As usual, slaying of a holy man for LTTE means just another “murder” for those weapon-brandishing vultures, no matter whether it goes against Hindu faith or not. He was the father of five school-going children, two girls and three boys. His wife is from Batticaloa area.

The civil society for over twenty years has witnessed how those religious men in Hindu temples are systematically decimated through the power of LTTE bullet. According to statistics, Tiger terrorists have decimated over twenty Hindu priests to this date and shamelessly desecrated the sacred precincts. Here is a brief catalogue of a few selected such assassinations carried out by Tiger terrorists in the past few years.

Hindu priest Rev. Chelliah Parameshwran Kurukkal at Santhiveli Pillaiyar Kovil, Batticaloa, who applied holy ash on President Mahinda Rajapaksa, during his visit to Vakarei after the east was liberated, was cold-bloodedly murdered in February 2007. He simply blessed the Head of the State on his arrival in conformity with much-cherished and venerated Hindu practices and traditions. The shooting earned the wrath of all religious denominations across the country.

In the early 1980s, LTTE sparked off the killing orgy after felling the 77-year old Hindu clergy, Narasimman in front of his Veerama Kali Amman Temple in Nallur. He was accused of being an informant to the Security Forces in Jaffna. Similarly, the former Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duraiappa was assassinated in the precincts of the famous Perumal Temple in Karainagar when he just stepped out after offerings in 1976. The list goes on.



On 14th November 2005, Rev. Sabhanandam Sharma (30), Chief Priest at Anjaniyar Hindu Kovil in Maradanamadan, Jaffna was brutally butchered by the LTTE inside his car (WP HM-7980) while he was returning from the Kovil after routine religious rituals in the temple were over.

Another Hindu Priest that mercilessly fell prey to LTTE bullets was Rev. Kandaswamy Senthil Kumar, Trustee at Uyilandankulam Kovil in Kolombothurai, Jaffna. The immediate reason announced for his assassination was his inability to pay ransom to the LTTE, as demanded by them.

Rev. Vaitheevara Aiyar Wengoda Krisna Sharma, of Sirakkatti Vinayagar Kovil in Jaffna reportedly went missing on 26th May 2006. Later, it was found that the priest was abducted by Tigers and later killed by those abductors. Two days later, his bullet- riddled dead body was found near the Kaithady bridge on 6th June 2006. The brutal death evoked public outrage and protests, but it was again silenced by the Tigers issuing threats. Terrorists also killed two innocent Japanese monks in Aanaikoddai, Jaffna while they were moving about in the peninsula chanting for peace.

The famous Perumal Hindu Temple in Jaffna town and Thelippalai Durga Amman temple were repeatedly robbed of its jewellery and valuables taken away for LTTE’s war chest irrespective of the protests. In the meantime, LTTE operating overseas has also been managing Hindu Temples in Paris, Norway, Germany, Canada and in the UK in order to collect “holy” money for war-mongering. Most of those temples are aimed at minting money for the LTTE in Sri Lanka with a view to destabilizing the country.

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Military-LTTE clash in Yala

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A clash between the military and the LTTE at Yala National Park left one soldier wounded in the early hours of this morning (Sept. 23rd).

The injured with a damaged pelvic bone was admitted to Kataragama Hospital, from where he was transferred to Hambantota Hospital.

Military sources said soldiers had observed an LTTE group in the national park and had launched an attack.

The soldier was wounded when the fire had been returned.

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Military solution will completely deny peace"

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A group of academics has stressed that seeking a military solution to the national problem would completely deny peace in Sri Lanka.

It said in an appeal, "it is the unresolved ethnic problem and the prolonged military conflict that have created conditions for the abhorrent human rights violations and unbearable sufferings of the internally displaced persons.

"Power sharing with maximum devolution of power to the minorities within a united Sri Lanka is the way to peace."

"We call for immediate ceasefire, and negotiations between the warring groups to recommence; with the goal of setting up an interim administrative structure for the north east of the country as first step to permanent peace," the academics added.

Signatories to the appeal are Dr. Wickramabahu Karunaratne, Dr. Selvy Thiruchandran, Dr. Nimalka Fernando, V. Thirunaveukkarasu, Prof. Kumar David, Chamil Jayanetti, Dr. Jayampathi Wickramaratne, Prof. Sumanasiri Liyanage, Prof. S. Ganesan, Dr. S.P. Wickramasinghe, Prof. Gamini Kulatunga, Prof. Michael Fernando, Kuhanendran, Kugadasan, Lakshman Gunasekara, P.S. Soosaithasan, Sabry, Seelan Kadirkamar, and Varda Kumar.

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Ranil questions CESS on fuel

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Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has questioned the imposition of a CESS on fuel without first informing the House. He told Parliament during a debate today (Sept. 23rd) the move was a disrespect on the House.

The government has imposed a Rs. 15 and a Rs. 10 tax on petrol and diesel respectively to cover up the inabilities of the Treasury, Mr. Wickremesinghe charged.

He questioned as to why the benefit of the world market price reduction of oil could not be passed on to local consumers.

Responding, Petroleum Minister A.H.M. Fowzie said the CESS had to be imposed as the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation earns a profit only through its sale of petrol.

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Mahinda & Rajiva bluffing, says AHRC

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The Asian Human Rights Commission has written an open letter to Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe on the killing of Nishantha Fernando, a complainant in a bribery case and a torture case against several police officers in Negombo.

AHRC Executive Director Basil Fernando says, “The AHRC did not receive any reply or even an acknowledgement of our letter from you or your ministry’s secretary. What action you took on this very serious request for assistance on death threats we do not know and to our knowledge the family also, has not heard from you or your ministry’s secretary.”

The AHRC had previously written to Minister Samarasinghe and his Ministry Secretary about death threats to Nishantha Fernando and his family on 24th June, 2008.

Addressing this second letter, the AHRC Executive Director notes, “You yourself, and the secretary to your ministry have been making solemn statements before the forums of the United Nations and other public forums, affirming the government’s commitment to provide witness protection to its citizens. However even in this simple matter where a man has directly sought your protection against death threats you have been unable to provide any form of protection to him.”

Making note of the proposed Bill for the Assistance and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses, the letter says, “The famous Draft Bill for the Assistance and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses that was introduced to parliament in June, is still pending. Despite of the many glowing speeches of the speedy passing of this law, persons like Mr. Fernando have not lived to see the benefit of such a law. Naturally, no one can be blamed for reacting to such deaths with a cynical conviction that all such talk about witness protection is just political bluff.”

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Preparing for Ramadhan

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With the Ramadhan festival at hand this young boy was seen selling scull caps at a stall in Colombo.

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Mismanagement of Mihin led to the downfall - Mahindananda

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During the debate on Mihin Lanka in parliament today Government Minister Mahindanada Aluthgamage said that the mismanagement of the air line led to its downfall.

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Lankan Consulate in Dubai cracks whip on agents, sponsors

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The Sri Lankan Consulate in Dubai has temporarily blacklisted and banned a number of recruiting agencies in the UAE, following the brutal assault on a 46-year-old housemaid that led to her permanent loss of hearing.

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CPC losses reach Rs. 17 billion for 2008

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The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has incurred a loss of Rs. 17 billion from January 2008 to date, Petroleum Resources Minister A.H.M. Fowzie said in parliament today.

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Dr Wickramabahu Karunarathne's visa to Canada rejected

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The Candian High Commission in Colombo has rejected temporary resident visa to Canada for Dr Wickramabahu Karunarathne, President, Left Front and General Secretary, New Sama Samaja party claiming that he is a member of the LTTE.

Dr. Karunarathne has responded back to the High Commission.

Earlier the High Commission in a letter to Dr. Karunarathne informed him the visa had been rejected.

”It has been report that you have publicly participated in LTTE activities by personally and knowingly attending and speaking at pro-LTTE events such as Pongu Thamil in Madrid and London. In addition, you have publicly announced your support for B.Nadesan (LTTE police chief). As a prominent member of a political party that has historically and consistently shown support for the LTTE we can conclude that your actions constitute membership in the LTTE”, the letter from the Canadian High Commission said.

“As a result of your membership in this organisation you are inadmissible to Canada pursuant to section 34 of the Act and therefore I am refusing your application”, the letter signed by the First Secretary Immigration, C. Mckinney said..

Dr. Karunarathne in his letter said :

“Thank you for your letter dated 16 Sep 2008, which I found quite amusing.

Firstly, let me correct some absolute untruths included in your letter. I have never been to Spain; and I could not attend Pongu Thamil meeting in London as I got the British visa after the event.

Secondly, our party is a socialist party that believes in mass actions while the LTTE is a Tamil nationalist bourgeois party that uses the method of terror in the course of the struggle. If you have an iota of knowledge in political science you will see that I could not be a leader of the New Sama Samaja party and also be a member of the LTTE. Of course we have defended the right of self determination of the Tamil people and the autonomy for the Tamil home land since 1974. In spite of that, the LTTE has used terror against our party members. Disregarding that, in common demonstrations that demands human rights for Tamils we have participated with LTTE supporters. How ever in all such meetings we have stood for voluntary unity of Sinhala and Tamil nationalities.

Thirdly, if you have such credible evidence of my self being a member of the LTTE, I am sure you would have shared that knowledge with the Mahinda regime. It is strange that the government has taken no action what so ever. Your ludicrous claim is not taken seriously even by this chauvinist war mongering government.

Finally if you have any sense of democracy left, please let me know whether I have the right to appeal against your irresponsible and dangerous conclusions.

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'Mihin Air to fly again': Chamal Rajapakse

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Minister of Ports and Aviation Chamal Rajapakse, vowed to bring back Mihin Lanka budget airlines following in-depth business plans to be put into action from December, this year.

According to the Minister the plans would be first submitted to the Parliamentary Consultative Committee for further consultation.

He admitted that administrative failiure led to the suspension of Mihin Air and promised that an efficient management would be appointed.

Minister Rajapakse said this ending the adjournment debate on Mihin Lanka airlines where the opposition members feared a continuous loss following the suspension after 13 months of operation from April, 2007 due to the incurring loss of 3.2 billion rupees.

The government has submitted a cabinet paper to allocate 3.7 billion to purchase 6 airlines from China.

Opening the adjournment debate on Mihin Air, JVP Parliamentarian Sunil Handunnetti told the House that the government should not proceed with the purchasing of another six aircraft for the airline.

Funds should not be allocated from the 2009 budget without holding an inquiry on the Rs. 3.2 billion loss the institution incurred just by having two aircraft, he said.

He added that a number of government institutions had funded millions of rupees, but the administration failed to run for long.

The MP memtioned that the airline was established to provide services to Sri Lankan workers, especially housemaids but failed to do so. Instead political trips were made using this airline, he said.

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Sri Lanka Workers Congress demands 5,000 rupee bonus for Deepavali

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Ceylon Workers Congress has demanded the plantation companies to give a bonus of 5,000 rupees for all estate workers to celebrate the forthcoming Deepavali Hindu festival.

According to industry sources, last year the amount given was 3,000 rupees. With high rates of inflation in the country the CWC reportedly have sought the increased amount.

Industry sources fear that non-payment of this advance will lead to industrial action

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Thousands of complaints flowing to police regarding Sakvithi financial racket in Sri Lanka

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Mirihana police have limited recording complaints at 100 per day in relation to the massive investment racket conducted by Sakvithi Ranasinghe, a famous English tutor who hoodwinked more than 4,000 Sri Lankans through a broad advertising campaign.

The racketeer is now at large and believed have left the country. Four persons who worked in his company have been arrested by the police.

Ranasinghe manipulated the images of famous media persons also to lure people to his racket. The Police said the suspect had amassed more than 500 million rupees from individuals promising heavy returns on their money.

Police has sought a report from the Company Registrar through courts aiming to arrest the Directors of this company.

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Transparency International releases Corruption Perception Index

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Sri Lanka moved two positions up in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index prepared, by Transparency International, the global coalition against corruption, compared to last year. In 2004 Sri Lanka was at the 67th position, but dropped to 78 in the following year and in 2006 it further went down to 84th position and last year to the 94th position. This year Sri Lanka has been ranked at the 92nd position.

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Liberation operations make further progress; terrorists suffer heavy losses

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According to military reports received yesterday (Sept 22), terrorists suffered further losses during heavy confrontations continued in the battlefronts in Wanni. The reports reveal that at least 23 terrorists were killed during yesterday's incidents.

Troops of the Army's 57 division operating in the eastern half of the Kilinochchi battlefront continued their offensives in the Akkarayankulam and Vannivilankulam area during the day.

Troops attacked terrorists at several instances and claimed one LTTE bunker was destroyed, 4 terrorists killed and 3 others wounded. Also, troops found a highly decomposed body of a terrorist along with one T-56 weapon, one satellite phone along with other military items during the daytime.

In the general area Vannivilankulam, 57 division troops found 2 bodies of LTTE cadres along with one T-56 weapon in the morning. Elsewhere, snipers deployed in the forward area confirmed shooting down of one LTTE cadre.

Meanwhile, troops of theTask Force-1 operating along the western half of the Kilinochchi front continued their operations in the Nachchikudha and Vannerikkulam areas during the day. Troops attacked 5 LTTE bunkers in separate incidents and claimed 7 terrorists were killed and 10 others wounded. A soldier suffered injuries due to terror mortar fire during one of the incidents occurred in the Vannerikkulam. Also, snipers deployed in the Panaikandamadu area confirmed shooting down of 3 LTTE cadres during the day's operations.

Troops of Task Force- 2 operating in the Vavuniya front had several confrontations in the Palamoddai area, west of the A-9 road during the daytime and claimed 4 terrorists killed and 5 others wounded. Also, 56 division troops maintaining active defence in the east of A-9 road attacked an LTTE bunker located in the Navatkulama area, last morning and claimed 2 terrorists were either killed or wounded.

Troops of the 59 division operating in the Mullaittivu front made further progress in their operations in the Andankulama area along the day.

Troops captured an LTTE field fortification located in the Mullaittivu forest last morning. According to the reports, the fortification is consisted of 2 triangular shaped overhead bunkers and 2 huts. Troops suspect the terror base to be the 'Pasarai' Sea Tiger base.

During the other confrontations occurred in the area troops claimed 4 terrorists were killed, 3 others wounded, and 14 more were either killed or wounded. Meanwhile, troops engaged in mine sweeping operations in the area removed 147 AP mines and 2 IEDs.

Counter terror operations are being continued.

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STF averts LTTE infiltration attempt: body recovered- Batticaloa

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Police Special Task Force (STF) personnel confronted a group of terrorists, killing one, Tuesday (Sep 23) in general area Narakamulla, Batticaloa, at around 12.30 a.m.

Subsequently, troops have recovered a body of a slain terrorist along with few other military hardware including a T-56 assault riffle, 4 T-56 magazines, an I-com set, one binocular and a claymore exploder.

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Sea Tigers’ ‘Pasarai’ Sea Tiger Camp Stormed & Captured

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WELIOYA, JAFFNA & EAST: COLUMNS of valiant troops, now closing in on MULLAITTIVU stormed LTTE’s famous “PASARAI” Sea Tiger base in ANDANKULAM in the WELIOYA sector and brought the entire complex with triangular bunkers providing overhead protection on Monday (22) after resisting the fire-power of the enemy.

The Sea Tiger camp, believed to have been used by terrorists operating as Sea Tigers had two separate huts which served as sentry points. The camp has been surrounded by three triangular-type tall bunkers with overhead protection layers made of concrete.

Meanwhile, troops continued their provocations against terrorists in the same area till about 6.00 p.m. on Monday (22) by way of engaging terrorist bunker lines and also firing artillery rounds against their positions. Troops also came across 147 anti personnel mines and seven Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) that had been kept hidden by terrorists.

During those clashes in ANDANKULAM, at least seven more Tiger terrorists fell dead and fourteen terrorists suffered injuries.

Meanwhile, suspected terrorists on a three-wheeler have shot and killed two women in the VAVUNIYA town late night on Monday (22). The reason for the killing is yet to be identified according to the Police.

In the meantime, several rounds of clashes in NAVATKULAM and north of PALAMODDAI resulted in the loss of four terrorists and injury to at least seven more terrorists.

Troops in KARANIPPAIKULAM during a search came across skeletal remains of a dead Tiger terrorist along with one LTTE belt, one pouch, one grenade, one anti personnel mine and a few more LTTE items by the side of the skeleton.

Meanwhile, another search conducted in MAKIYAPIDDY, JAFFNA found four 40 mm grenades.

Similarly, following information, the Police conducted a search in VAKAREI, VERUGAL and SINNAGANGA areas and uncovered five outboard motors of 15 HP hidden in a jungle.

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Transport of Essential Items to Un-Cleared Areas Continues

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WANNI: SEVENTY-THREE (73) lorry loads of food and other essential items had been dispatched to un-cleared areas in the northern province during the period between 05 September 2008 to 11 September 2008.

Those consignments had reached areas in KILINOCHCHI and MULLAITIVU districts via OMANTHAI and UYILANKULAM Entry/Exit points.
The stocks contained rice, dhal, dried fish, clothes, fuel, spices, building materials, vehicle spare parts, medicine and the such like which are needed for the use of civilians in un-cleared areas.

A total of 1228 civilians had crossed over to the un-cleared areas through those checkpoints while an estimated 1119 civilians had arrived in VAVUNIYA from un-cleared areas during the said period.

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Special Search on to Trace Jungle Based Terrorists

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HAMBANTOTA: A SPECIAL cordon and search operation was immediately launched early this morning (23) around 6.00 a.m. when a team of Security Forces manning security points along the MENIK ganga (river) in the BLOCK 2 in YALA area after observation of some suspected Tiger terrorists, opened fire on them.

Security Forces on duty at those points observed a movement of armed men inside thick jungles off YALA during early hours on Tuesday (23) and closely pursued their movement.

However, those terrorists suddenly opened fire on the troops but the Security Forces responded to their fire. As the shooting escalated, terrorists withdrew further deep into the jungles.

One soldier sustained injuries in the encounter and was admitted to KATARAGAMA hospital for treatment. A well-coordinated search is on in the area at the time this report was filed.

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Bunker Destroyed, Three Dead Tigers & Weapons Recovered

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KILINOCHCHI: HEAVY fighting in AKKARAYANKULAM, VANNIVILANKULAM, PANNAIKANDAMADU and VANNARIKULAM during Monday (22) led to the destruction of another LTTE bunker and the recovery of three dead Tiger terrorists (two females and one male) with one satellite phone, three SIM cards, one extra battery, two T-56 weapons, one Light Machine Gun (LMG) drum, two dog tags, four caps, five packs, two ration packets, one medicine packet and one ID in the general area of AKKARAYANKULAM on Monday (22) evening.

Troops also confronted a group of terrorists and conducted searches in the area. Seventeen Tiger terrorists were feared killed and another thirteen more were reportedly injured in those clashes. An LTTE mortar fire attack in VANNIVILANKULAM injured one soldier during these clashes on Monday (22).

Meanwhile, explosion of an LTTE anti personnel mine in PARAPPAKANDAL, MANNAR on Monday (22) at about 6.55 a.m. injured one soldier.

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President can't extend judicial officers - CJ

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The President has no constitutional powers to extend the compulsory retirement age of judicial officers, Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva said yesterday (Sept. 22nd).

The CJ granted leave to proceed with a fundamental rights petition filed in the Supreme Court against the move to “amend the Rules made in terms of [The Public and Judicial Officers (Retirement) Ordinance]” by virtue of a notification in the Gazette(Extraordinary) bearing No. 1562/1 of 11th August 2008.

The petitioner challenges the Gazette notification that seeks to vest powers in the President to extend the age of compulsory retirement of any public officer appointed by him, if he considers it expedient.

The petitioner, Legal Director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, Rohan Edirisingha, cited 21 persons including the Attorney General, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga, the Public Service Commission and the National Police Commission as respondents.

The SC will announce its ruling on October 06th.

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State land given to Berty’s brother-in-law

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A 152-perch land at No. II Grama Niladari Division in the Eastern Nuwaragam Palatha Divisional Secretariat in Anuradhapura has been transferred to a brother-in-law of Chief Minister of North Central Province Berty Premalal Dissanayake.

The land is located in the reservation of Anuradhapura Tank.

It has been given to Ponsuge Bandula Wijesinghe for commercial purposes for 30 years under a gazette notification issued by the land commissioner of the North Central Province R.S.S.S.C. Wijesinghe on August 22nd 2008.

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Vimal and Champika unite; joint proposal for the budget

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National Freedom Front (JNP) and Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) are getting ready to submit a joint proposal for the budget.

JNP General Secretary Nandana Gunathilaka and JHU Media Spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said that the parties expect to forward a proposal that provides relief to people and effect development positively to the President after a dialogue between the two parties.

Mr. Nandana Gunathilaka said that he could not deny the idea spreading in the country that there are many evils in the government. He said that his party joined with the government only to support war and said that they would not expect a good budget from Ministers who think badly.
He further stated that his party was considering a long term set of proposals pertaining to all the Ministries and would agree with JHU without bargaining if they have any proposals regarding the budget. He also said that an official notification regarding these discussions have not been made yet.

Mr. Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe appreciated the NFF proposal and said that JHU also had a set of proposals regarding budget. He said that the parties expected to put forward a set of proposals for the budget with mutual consent.

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Sri Lankan government's decision to remove NGOs is life threatening

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The New Zealand Council for International Development (CID) is very concerned at the Sri Lankan government's request for NGOs to leave the Vanni district and strongly supports the Australian Council for International Development's Executive Director Paul O'Callaghan recent comments in the media.

"Reports from our members indicate internally displaced people in the Vanni are already traumatized and in desperate need of food, medicines, sanitation facilities and shelter," states CID's Executive Director David Culverhouse."

"NGOs are there to assist these people and do so under the humanitarian imperative, that people have the right to receive humanitarian assistance."

"NGOs also play an important role in monitoring the actions of combatants on both sides of the conflict. The removal of NGOs could create an environment where human rights violations may take place with a perceived impunity. We fear that this will lead to a bloodbath."

"We therefore strongly support ACFID's comments and urge the Sri Lankan government to reconsider its decision for NGOs to leave the Vanni region."

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Canadian Charity used for weapons

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Vancouver Sun
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- A former commander of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers has admitted the guerrillas used money meant for humanitarian aid to buy weapons. Col. Karuna Amman said in an interview the rebels routinely bought arms with donations from abroad that were meant to help civilians in guerrilla-held areas. He called Canada the No. 1 one source of external income for the guerrillas, who are fighting for independence for Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil minority.
Karuna spent 22 years in the Tamil Tigers and was a top commander until he defected to the government side in 2004 and took his 6,000 cadres with him. The RCMP and CSIS have long claimed the Tamil Tigers raise money in Canada but this is believed to be the first time a former senior guerrilla has publicly confirmed the allegations. Police say they have documented at least $3 million in money transfers from Tamil Tigers supporters in Canada to overseas accounts linked to the guerrillas.

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Toronto non-profit group raised millions for Tamil Tigers: RCMP

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TORONTO - A Toronto non-profit group wired more than $3 million to overseas bank accounts, some of them linked to the Tamil Tigers, before it was shut down by the government in June for alleged terrorist financing, says an RCMP report released Monday.

The report, marked "Secret" but unsealed by order of a Federal Court judge, provides the first detailed look at the banking activities of the World Tamil Movement (WTM), a Toronto-based group accused of bankrolling Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers guerrillas.

Most of the money, $1.9 million, went to an account at the Bumiputra Commerce Bank in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, that the RCMP report says "is utilized as a vehicle to forward money to the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) from Canada."

The 83-page financial report is the fruit of two years of analysis of banking records seized by Canadian anti-terrorism police who are investigating a financial network run by supporters of the Tamil Tigers that allegedly raised money in Canada to buy arms for the guerrillas

"The bank records seized . . . demonstrate that the World Tamil Movement has developed an elaborate machine like entity that moves throughout the Greater Toronto Area collecting funds with extreme proficiency," the police report says.

Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day announced on June 16 that his government had added the WTM to Ottawa's official list of terrorist groups, alongside the likes of al-Qaida, Hamas and Hezbollah. The WTM is the first Canadian community group to be listed.

The WTM has denied any involvement in terrorist fundraising and vowed to challenge the government's decision, and at a large outdoor rally in Toronto on July 5, Tamils waved Tamil Tigers flags and endorsed a statement condemning Ottawa's decision to ban the WTM.

The minister has accused the WTM of transferring money to LTTE bank accounts in Sri Lanka, but the RCMP's Feb. 1, 2008, financial report paints a more detailed picture of a complex network made up of 20 Canadian bank accounts.

Five banks held the accounts: Toronto Dominion, Bank of Nova Scotia, Royal Bank, CIBC and the National Bank of Canada. The Canadian account holders wired money regularly to accounts in Malaysia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Tamil Tigers-controlled areas of Sri Lanka.

RCMP Corporal Deanna Hill, the author of the police report, wrote that the WTM's financial set-up was "congruent with the money laundering techniques often employed by organized crime groups.

"I also believe that the number of accounts alone demonstrate that the World Tamil Movement has utilized the Canadian banking system to raise funds in a manner that is best suited to financing the terrorist activities of the LTTE."

The Tamil Tigers have been fighting for 25 years for an independent homeland for Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil minority, which has faced discrimination under the island's Sinhalese majority.

In addition to fighting a conventional guerrilla war, however, the Tigers also employ terrorist tactics, such as suicide bombings and political assassinations, which has landed them on international terrorist lists, Canada's included.

The RCMP began investigating the Tamil Tigers' Canadian fundraising network in 2002, focusing on the WTM's large head office in Toronto and its smaller branch offices in Montreal and Vancouver. Police raided the Toronto and Montreal offices in 2006.

Police seized letters from the Tamil Tigers leadership thanking Canada for its donations, explaining how the money had been used to purchase weapons, and asking for more. But much of the police evidence appears to have come from a study of bank accounts held by the WTM and its officers.

The Project Osaluki financial report claims the WTM's most lucrative fundraising method was a pre-authorized payment program, in which the group persuaded hundreds of its supporters to sign forms allowing money to be withdrawn from their bank accounts each month.

The WTM took in up to $763,000 a year using the payment scheme. On a single day in 2005, the WTM withdrew $63,528 from 1,582 bank accounts. "It is obvious from the amounts collected with this method that the pre-authorized payment scheme is effective, timely and spares valued resources," says the RCMP report.

Most of the forms had been signed in Canada but police also interviewed witnesses who said they had signed them at Tamil Tigers checkpoints in Sri Lanka. "Upon their return to Canada, these persons were visited by representatives of the World Tamil Movement to exact the collection of the monthly stipend," Hill wrote.

In addition, the WTM made money through bake sales, car washes, newspaper sales, merchandise sales and festivals, the report says. "To date, the total amount of Canadian dollars that have been forwarded to accounts internationally from accounts controlled by the World Tamil Movement in Canada is $3,101,803.33.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Country sans terrorism soon

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President Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed the hope that very soon all Sri Lankans living overseas will be able to return to a country that had been completely rid of the scourge of terrorism.

Addressing Sri Lankans at the New York Bauddha Viharaya while on his visit to attend the 63rd UNGA Sessions the President said he would not hesitate to take decisions that has a bearing on the future of the country.

He said special attention would be paid to the younger generation who is the future of the country. He said in the face of the multifarious challenges he is confronted with both locally and on the international front they are risking their lives to ensure that the future generation is left with an undivided country.

"Whether you are from Killinochchi, Batticaloa or the South my aim is to treat you all as my children and build a country where you all can live as free citizens," the President said.

The President said a wrong picture is being painted through certain media to Lankans living abroad. "But you who really love the country are aware of the true position and I am sure you will not be deceived by such distortions".

"It is my duty to explain to you the victories and progress we have achieved during the past three years. When I was entrusted with the country three years ago the peoples' expectation was to see the protection of the unitary state of the country. They gave me a mandate to accomplish this task".

"I was elected President at a time the LTTE was spreading it's reign in the North and East. It was preparing to set up a separate state. No sooner I assumed office the LTTE killed unarmed soldiers. They killed 200 innocent civilians including toddlers and pregnant mothers. In the end the LTTE shut down the Mavilaru anicut cutting out drinking water to the people and the farmers' cultivations.

"We held discussions to solve the issue. But the LTTE refused to come to a settlement. There fore, we were compelled to start a humanitarian operation to ensure the innocent people were not deprived of a basic need and to uphold their rights."

The President said they were able to use the Mavilaru operation as a springboard to rid the entire East of LTTE terrorism. Thereafter, they took steps to restore democracy in the region.

"Thus we were able to hold elections in the East barely one year after liberating the province and restore the political and democratic rights of the people".

Significantly, the Chief Minister of the Provincial Council was a former child soldier of the LTTE Sivaneshwaran Chandrakanthan, the President noted.

"At the moment we have launched an accelerated development programme for the East. We have showcased to the world how terrorism could be defeated and at the same time restore democracy and conduct accelerated development."

The President observed there certain organisations who had branded him as a war President. "I am not a war monger. My aim is to create an environment where the innocent people could live enjoying the fruits of freedom and democracy. What we are doing by our humanitarian operation is to achieve this objective".

He questioned how the North could be under the LTTE when all food provisions and medical facilities are supplied by the Government."It is we who pay the pensions of those citizens. So, how can the LTTE claim that this areas is under them".

He said the only thing was the LTTE were not allowing them to enter the North and that it is his mission to change this situation. "I was not elected three years ago only to be the President of the South. Be they from the South, Killinochchi or Batticaloa they are all my children. It is our duty to create the climate for them to live in peace and amity. There has to be a country where they can live together. My mission is to accomplish this task".

The President noted that there was only four and half kilometers more to Killinochchi and it was a matter of time before this will be

liberated. He had instructed the Security Forces to conduct their humanitarian operations in such way as not to harm the civilian population. "We shall liberate the North and develop it.We will grant the people of the North the democratic and political freedom", the President emphasized.

"We care against war.But it is our duty to protect the Motherland. The successful programme of my Government was recently endorsed by the people of North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provinces".

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6 terrorists killed, 5 wounded in clashes - Kilinochchi

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Six LTTE terrorists were killed and 5 others received injuries in confrontations took place in Vannerikulam area in western flank of Wanni battlefront yesterday, 22 September, the defence sources said.

Troops of Task Force 1 have launched an attack targeting LTTE bunker line in general area Vannerikulam around 9.30 am. Troops confirmed that 3 LTTE terrorists were killed and at least 5 others suffered injuries.

Separately, 3 more LTTE terrorists were killed by army snipers deployed in same front during the morning hours yesterday. Two of the three incidents reported in west of Vannerikulam area while the other in Vannerikulam general area itself, sources added.

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Transport of Essential Items to Un-Cleared Areas Continues

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WANNI: SEVENTY-THREE (73) lorry loads of food and other essential items had been dispatched to un-cleared areas in the northern province during the period between 05 September 2008 to 11 September 2008.

Those consignments had reached areas in KILINOCHCHI and MULLAITIVU districts via OMANTHAI and UYILANKULAM Entry/Exit points.
The stocks contained rice, dhal, dried fish, clothes, fuel, spices, building materials, vehicle spare parts, medicine and the such like which are needed for the use of civilians in un-cleared areas.

A total of 1228 civilians had crossed over to the un-cleared areas through those checkpoints while an estimated 1119 civilians had arrived in VAVUNIYA from un-cleared areas during the said period.

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Special Search on to Trace Jungle Based Terrorists

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HAMBANTOTA: A SPECIAL cordon and search operation was immediately launched early this morning (23) around 6.00 a.m. when a team of Security Forces manning security points along the MENIK ganga (river) in the BLOCK 2 in KATARAGAMA area after observance of some suspected Tiger terrorists, opened fire on them.

Security Forces on duty at those points observed a movement of armed men inside thick jungles off KATARAGAMA during early hours on Tuesday (23) and closely pursued their movement.

However, those terrorists suddenly opened fire on the troops but the Security Forces responded to their fire. As the shooting escalated, terrorists withdrew further deep into the jungles.

One soldier sustained injuries in the encounter and was admitted to KATARAGAMA hospital for treatment. A well-coordinated search is on in the area at the time this report was filed.

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False alarm at Angulana, Galle Road reopened

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Police open Galle Road in Angulana, Moratuwa after bomb threat on board bus was found to be a false alarm.

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Supreme Court to review President’s powers

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The Supreme Court yesterday granted leave to proceed with the rights violation petition challenging the Gazette notification seeking to vest powers in the President to extend the age of compulsory retirement of any public officer appointed by the President, if he considers it expedient.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, Justices Shiranee Tilakawardane and K. Sripavan granted leave for the alleged infringement of fundamental right to equality and equal protection of the law. Court also stayed the operation of the said Gazette Notification.

The Chief Justice reiterated that there was separation of powers for law makers and executives and that law making power was delegated power and vesting of power was legislative power.

He said retirement meant the appointment was terminated and employment ceased. “If I reach 65 years of age, I have to go,” he said.The matter would be taken up on October 6.

In the petition The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and its Legal Director Rohan Edrisinha cited the Attorney General, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga, Public Service Commission and National Police Commission as respondents.

M.A.Sumanthiran with Viran Corea and Suren Fernando instructed by Lilanthi de Silva appeared for the petitioners. Deputy Solicitor General Shavindra Fernando appeared for the Attorney General.

The Petitioners made this Application in their own right, and in the public interest, with the objective of safeguarding the rights of the general public of Sri Lanka.

On August 31, 2008, the Petitioners became aware that the President had purported to “amend the Rules made in terms of [The Public and Judicial Officers (Retirement) Ordinance]” by virtue of a notification in the Gazette(Extraordinary) bearing No.1562/1 of 11th August 2008.

The said Gazette seeks to vest powers in the President to, “notwithstanding anything in paragraph (1) of this rule… …if he considers it expedient [to] extend the age of compulsory retirement of any Public Officer appointed by the President”.The Petitioners state that the purported notification by the said Gazette will permit inter alia the extensions of terms of office of certain Public Officers (outside of the consultative mechanisms provided for by the Constitution for the appointment of Public Officers), with the very real likelihood that such extensions may be based on considerations other than on objective considerations which would otherwise be considered by the mechanisms provided for by the Constitution.

They Petitioners maintain that the de facto removal and/or effective circumvention and/or culture of disregard for the said Constitutional and legal provisions erode and jeopardize the Rule of Law which is an essential feature of a democratic State governed according to law.

In the aforesaid premises, the Petitioners contend that the purported Gazette notification is ultra vires and contrary to, and inconsistent with, (the afore-mentioned provisions of) the Constitution, and infringe the fundamental rights of Petitioners, Public Officers and the general public, especially those fundamental rights to equality and equal protection of the law, right against the discrimination on the ground of political opinion, race, religion, language etc and right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of speech and expression as well as the freedom to engage in association with others in any lawful occupation, profession, trade, business or enterprises that are guaranteed by the Constitution.

Petitioners are asking the court to declare that the notification contained in Gazette (Extraordinary) bearing No.1562/1 of 11th August 2008 (P3) constitute present and continuous infringement and involve imminent further infringement of the fundamental rights of the Petitioners, Public Officers and the general public.

They are also asking the court to declare that any steps taken under and in terms of the notification contained in Gazette (Extraordinary) bearing No.1562/1 of 11th August 2008 (P3) infringe the fundamental rights of the Petitioners, Public Officers and the general public and to declare that the purported Gazette (Extraordinary) bearing No.1562/1 of 11th August 2008 (P3) is ultra vires, a nullity and/or void in law;

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Police spokesman had passed false information: SC

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Last Sunday’s registration in schools, temples and police stations in the Western Province was not a direction by the police but by the Citizen Committees which comprised citizens of the relevant areas, the Supreme Court observed yesterday.

The court made this observation when a fundamental rights application filed by the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) was taken up yesterday.

Counsel M. A. Sumanthiran appearing for the CWC informed court the Police Spokesman had announced the registration was done with the approval of the Attorney General whereas it was not so.

Additional Solicitor General Palitha Fernando stated the programme was organised by the citizen’s committees and the area police had assisted the operation.

The Supreme Court Bench comprising Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva and Justices Shiranee Tilakawardena and K. Sripvan noted the Police Spokesman had passed false information with regard to the registration.

The court also made an order on the police to inform the relatives through the area police as soon as possible when a person was taken into custody and receipt of arrest should be forwarded.

The bench made this direction when an application was filed that a person who had gone missing was found in the custody of the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) after 3 days.

Counsel Sumanthiran stated the person Rajaratnam Premaraja from Lindula area had been arrested and on inquiry it was found that he was under the custody of TID.

The Supreme Court reiterated that persons cannot be removed without a court order.

The Chief Legal Officer informed court that newspaper publication in all three languages had been published on Sunday (September 21) with regard to the registration of persons who had come from outside to the Western Province. The case was put off for November 24.

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The Hilton 21 bash in grand style

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Hilton Colombo celebrated its 21st anniversary last Sunday night, in grand style. The event was a celebration of the many prosperous years the Hilton has enjoyed in the country.

Elaborated on the purpose of the event the Food and Beverage Manager Kapila Mohotti stated that the event was a unique one, which focused more on people having a good time and enjoying the 21 exclusive flavours of the Hilton, than on making a profit. He further said that their this objective had been satisfactorily achieved “everyone has done an excellent job and everyone has been giving us good comments through the night”

Speaking of the effort that went into the planning process he said that the event had taken over 5 months to plan and an organising committee of 30, including 15 managers and 15 chefs. The execution of the event that evening had taken over 230 persons from the kitchen, engineering and cleaning departments.From a numerical perspective, Mr.Mohotti explained, the event had cost around 5 million and the estimated turnout was 3000 persons.

Executive chef Rohan Fernandopulle elaborated on the effort and manpower that went into the 21 food stations that were set up. The highlight of which was the 21m long Sandwich which contained 245 feet of bread 40 kg of tuna 30kg of cheese 600 eggs and 30kg of cold cuts.

The 21 stalls saw over a 153 chefs working in 21 teams. The 21 m long flaring bar was manned by the award wining bartenders of the Hilton Colombo show casing their unique talents. The 21 gastronomic flavours were Mexican, Thai, Szechwan, Cantonese, Japanaese, Sri Lankan-Kottu, Sri Lankan-hoppers Napoli, Bologna, English, Labanese, French, Hydrabadi, North Indian, Texan, Bistake, Tempura, Ice creams\ milkshakes and deserts.

One other 21 themed attractions was the 21m ice sculpture, shaped in the form of candles, which were lit though the night. Each ice carved giant birthday candle varying in size, was placed on a carriage carved out of ice and hoisted upon a ramp across the length of the hotels pool. The sculpture according to Chef Fernandopulle had used over 10000kg’s of ice.As part of the Hilton Colombo’s 21 Anniversary CSR activity, part of the proceeds from the event goes to the Ceylon school for the Deaf and blind in Ratmalana. The event also saw performances from this institution including a Gajaba Vannama.

Other performances included the Marinas, Iraj, Centrigardes, Chinthy, Ashanthi, Dushyanth and Hashini, Natasha, Phase 3 and the Revelations, performing on the giant stage set up on the sports centre tennis courts.

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EPDP leader rejected US visa

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The US Embassy in Colombo had refused to grant a visa to EPDP leader and Social Services Minister Douglas Devananda.
Mr. Devananda had applied for a visa to accompany President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the 63rd General Assembly of the United Nations in New York.

Embassy officials had cited a human rights matter for the rejection, the newspaper reported.

The presidential delegation left the island on September 19th to attend the world assembly which concludes tomorrow (Sept. 23rd).

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Blood transfusion kits bought ten months before date of expiry

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Accusing the Health Ministry of a cover up regarding the shocking use of outdated blood transfusion kits, Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena, MP, said that he would bring this to the notice of the WHO.
Although the racket was initially believed to be confined to the National Blood Centre at Narahenpita, Jayawardena claimed that he had been able to gather enough evidence to suggest that the use of outdated kits was widespread. He said that he would meet the Resident Representative of the WHO based in Colombo ,to brief him of the situation. The Sri Lankan Health Minister is the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the WHO.
Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva couldn’t simply wash his hands off this criminal negligence of responsibility on the part of the Health Ministry, the MP said. The interdiction of four personnel, including the director of the National Blood Centre wasn’t adequate, he said, emphasising the urgent need to conduct a comprehensive survey to ascertain the impact of the use of outdated blood transfusion kits on both blood donors and receivers.
The Gampaha District MP said that the Health Secretary, Dr. Athula Kahadaliyanage had ordered the interdiction of personnel on the recommendation of the Public Service Commission (PSC).
Responding to our queries, he said the police were reluctant to investigate the incident as they believed the government was behind the racket. According to him, after receiving information of the involvement of an ambulance driver attached to the Kandy General Hospital in the racket, he had visited the Matale Police as the suspect lived there. "Matale Police were reluctant to act on my information. They wanted me to seek the assistance of the ASP in charge of the area," the MP said.
Referring to the recent admission by Police Chief Jayantha Wickremaratne that the public had lost confidence in the police, particularly its emergency services due to the lethargic attitude, the MP said that subsequently, on the ASP’s intervention, Matale police had searched the suspect’s home before declaring that there was nothing suspicious, the MP said. The MP who had accompanied the police, joined the search and quickly founds two bags full of pieces of blood transfusion kits. The recovery was made in the presence of the suspect’s son. Subsequently, the suspect had surrendered to Matale police and was remanded after being produced before a Magistrate.
The MP said that he had also received information to the effect that outdated kits were kept at the blood crosschecking lab of the Kandy General Hospital. "But I was unable to check the lab, as its keys were with a labourer as claimed by the Senior Medical Laboratory Technician," he said.
He said that outdated blood transfusion kits had been used on both donors and patients at many hospitals, including Kandy General, National Blood Centre, National Hospital, Anuradhapura and Kamburugamuwa in the Matara district.
A senior health ministry official said that Jayawardena shouldn’t seek political mileage by targeting the minister. Fielding questions, he said, he accused the National Blood Centre bosses of misleading the minister when the print and electronic media revealed the use of outdated kits. He said that the Bribery Commission had initiated an investigation while the Auditor General too, was conducting inquiries.
Both Jayawardena and the official admitted that the crux of the issue was the acquisition of a large stock of blood transfusion kits, which were just ten months short of being outdated. They said that the ministry could order stocks with a three year life time. The MP said that the ministry, after ordering an old stock which would have financially benefited the powers that be, had distributed them to hospitals.

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Nation must be grateful to war heroes – Weerawansa

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Leader of the National Freedom Front Wimal Weerawansa said the nation must express its gratitude to the war heroes who were making sacrifices on the warfront for the sake of their country.

"We must not forget that the troops that liberated Mavil Aru, the East, have now entered a decisive phase in their fight against the LTTE terrorism. At this crucial stage we must extend all our support and assistance to boost their moral and we must sink our political differences for that purpose," said Weerawansa on Saturday. He was addressing a special ceremony held at the Army’s 563 Brigade Headquarters in Vavuniya.

"All patriots are duty bound to look after the needs of the war heroes and their family members. The MMM has taken the lead to mobilize public support for the armed forces and the country’s war effort. The MMM, which operates to look after the welfare of family members of the security forces, launched Jayodaye Ranagosha campaign from the Kelaniya Temple and proceeded up to the Dalada Maligawa. We saw how enthusiastically the public took part in it. We collected a great deal of materials to be distributed among armed forces," he said.

Speaking on the occasion, convener of the MMM eminent lawyer S.L. Gunasekera said the on-going military campaign against the LTTE could be considered the biggest ever development project ,as without eliminating terrorism, the country could not develop.

Ven Bengamuwe Nalaka Thera said the MMM had been able to awaken the nation with the Jayodaye Ranagosha campaign. All the patriots wanted to help the armed forces and the police but there had been no mass organisation to coordinate the nation’s effort to crush terrorism and help the valiant personnel engaged in battle. MMM had filled that void, he said.

The MMM visited 563 Brigade Headquarters, 21 Brigade Headquarters in Neriyakulam and handed over stocks of dry rations and clothes to be given to the displaced persons coming from the LTTE areas.

Ven Kotapola Mangala Thera, veteran artistes Cyril Wickramage, Buddhadasa Withanarachchi, Col Anil Amarasekera, Prof Upali Marasinghe, NFF MPs Achala Jagoda and Mohammed Musammil were also present.

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India to launch Bio –Tea project, but long after Sri Lanka

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Asia Siyaka research report quoting Reuters said India, with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) a UN based body will launch Bio Tea production this month. Estimated funding is forecast at $1.6 million.

In local tea circles this is not sensational news because Stassens, the reputed Tea exporter and producer had already launched bio- tea production some ten years ago (On at least two of their holdings) and have now stabilized their markets.

India having entered bio –tea production could have significant repercussions in niche markets that absorb bio – tea.

Naturally this will not happen tomorrow or the day after.

Experts have commented, bio tea production is not a traditional process and needs specific cultural practices. Needless to say benefits of bio tea are substantial and in monetary returns not inconsiderable. Having said that tea circles here need take note that the competition is alive and kicking.

It is reported India would evolve a package of farm practices which will conform to organic tea cultivation. Hundred hectares each have been allocated to three Estates. Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal in Darjeeling, and in Upper Assam. Tea usually takes approximately three years to be productive, and viably so few years more. All in all India would not be a threat at this point of time, but the Tea Board here needs take note now to ready itself for competition that would unavoidably ensue.


Tea auctions last week went through buoyancy in market conditions. All elevations recorded upward price movement and gross sales average reflected Rs.330.14 per kilo effective sale details 10th September.

Brokers said low growns, specifically small holders, and Private Tea factory owners, reaped in good profits. Tea small holders were selling green leaf at approximately Rs.60. per kilo leaving them good profit margins. Tea small holders command quite some respect because they are, arguably, driving the industry. Small holder production is presently at 65%.

Meanwhile Pakistan continues to support Kenyan tea. Pakistan was a major buyer of Ceylons, Their present buying total of Ceylon tea is miniscule is 0.94 %.Kenyan sales to Pakistan is 56.36 %. or 38.2 million kilos.

Teas on sale this week too would reflect tail end of Uva quality. However last week Uvas fared well. realizing prices in excess of Rs. 1000. per kilo.A new entrant to the top seller list was Adawatta, in the lower reaches of Lunugala reputedly a good Uva quality producer. Adawatta sold BOP1 for Rs. 1240. per kilo. Aislaby and Bombagalla continued to maintain their top slot standing and also sold above the Rs.1000. per kilo mark.

Other selling marks that did well were Madulkelle, on the out skirts of the Hunasgiriya Range, bordering Kandy, Carolina in the Watawala basin, Duckwari in Rangala, and Delta in Pussellawa, were also best sellers.

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Clearing and forwarding agents want ombudsman scheme, commission

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Rampant allegations of bribery in the ports have prompted the Association of Clearing and Forwarding Agents (ACFA) to call for the establishment of an ombudsman scheme.

"The president who is the Minister of Finance should appoint an ombudsman who will act independently and impartially to promote integrity in the trade and port which will facilitate the clearance of goods without hindrance," the association said in a statement.

ACFA says that the ombudsman scheme should be a temporary measure until the formulation of a permanent committee to handle allegations of bribery.

ACFA suggests that this committee should formulate an integrity programme and set standards for the wharf business, customs and other government agents involved in the clearance trade.

"An ombudsman scheme will no doubt help but one person would not be able to handle the situation the clearing trade is in; a committee of several people will be required," an official of ACFA said.
"The whole industry knows that bribes are taken and that bribes are being given. But the problem is, how do we get out of it? There has to be complete overhaul in values and attitudes and authorities must engage preventive and control mechanisms to the entire process," he said.


"For about eight months we tried to carry out our dealings with Customs without having to pay bribes to get our goods cleared. But we could not continue to do so any longer.

"It became increasingly difficult for us to clear goods on time and had to pay arbitrary duties which made our products more expensive than our competitors," he told us.

Customs is made up of several divisions and when an agent finds fault with a certain consignment it is referred to the appropriate division. If this division cannot make a ruling it is passed on to another division resulting in delays.

It is somewhere at this point that an agent intervenes and agrees to expedite the clearance of the consignment, for a small under-the-table-fee of course.

The Director General of Customs, Sarath Jayatillake, said that it was a big problem.

While acknowledging the fact that some custom officials were involved in colluding with errant importers to clear undervalued goods, Jayatillake said that it was probably the wharf clerks who solicited bribes to expedite the clearance process.

The ACFA official says that wharf agents comprise of individual licensees appointed by Customs and employers of clearing companies.

"There are honorable agents in the customs houses (the term for private sector clearing and forwarding companies) and customs department and Jayatillake should use his authority to set up a committee to look into these allegations so that the integrity of the profession can be upheld," he said.

He said that ACFA would lobby for the establishment of a committee or ombudsman scheme and give their suggestions when they meet with Jayatillake next month.

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Kiran wins Presidential Export award in ship repairing sector

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Colombo Engineering Enterprises, the leading ship repairing company in Sri Lanka won the Presidential Export Award 1’08 in the ship repairing sector for the second consecutive year, recently.

Having earned a name as the "Model of efficiency" in Shipping, Colombo Engineering enterprises has won twenty two awards to-date for its’ off shores service in the International shipping industry. The Chairman of Colombo Engineering Enterprises is Kiran Attapattu.

In total, the company has won seven Entrepreneurship awards, four Exporter of the year awards, eight National Business awards and one achiever to Industrial Excellence National awards and two Presidential awards.

Its success is largely due to the introduction of state of the art International quality ship repairing technology to the International Shipping sector.

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Third edition of ‘SLMA Guidelines on Vaccines' launched in Sri Lanka

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An updated edition of the Sri Lanka Medical Association's (SLMA's) 'Guidelines and Information on Vaccines' has been published and launched in Colombo recently. It is to be distributed to medical practitioners across the country.
The third book in this series, the 141-page publication is an expanded and revised version which covers 22 vaccines, topics relevant to immunization and contains several valuable annexes.
The 30 chapters of the book are written by 17 specialists from the private sector, universities and the government sector including six from the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health.

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Sri Lanka Marxists urge the government to remove the ministerial post of Nation Building Minister

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Sri Lanka's Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) today urged the President to remove the Nation Building Minister Rohitha Abeygunawarana from his post for bribery and corruption allegations against him.
In a special letter to the President, parliamentary group leader of the JVP, Anura Kumara Dissanayake today suggested to remove the ministerial post of the Kalutara District parliamentarian at least until the end of his investigations.
Bribery allegations against the government ministers are a serious situation, MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake pointed out.
The Minister was reportedly questioned by the CID on bribery and corruption allegations last week.

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Two Tamils reported missing in Kaththaankudi

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Two Tamil youths of Aaraiyampathi were abducted by unidentified armed men who arrived in a white van on September 18, according to complaints lodged with the Kaaththaankudi Police and the Batticaloa regional office of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL).

Yoganathan Suresh, 16, of Navaratnam Street, Aaraiyampathi and Gansehamudaliyar Uhanthan, 22, of Aaraiyampathi East were abducted when they went to Paalamunai Muslim area to sell goats.

Tension escalated between the two communities following the abduction, and Kaaththaankudi Police took immediate steps to diffuse the tension.

The Police have appealed to the public through public address system from mosques in the area to give information about the missing Tamils to prevent further tension between communities, sources said.

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Sri Lanka cable firm to start copper rod plant

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Sri Lankan electric cable manufacturer ACL Cables said it plans to set up a copper rod making plant for its own requirements as well as export as part of its backward integration efforts.
This copper plant is the natural sequence to our development process as we are a big importer of this product," Suren Madanayake, managing director of ACL Cables, said in a statement.
The factory will produce almost double the requirement of ACL Cables and the firm plans to export a large quantity of copper rods to the region.
The statement said the new venture for the manufacture of copper rods should improve ACL's competitiveness and quality standards, since the company will have access to "the purest and finest quality copper".
ACL Cables, which claims a 45 percent share of Sri Lanka's cable market, has four factories in the country manufacturing cables, conductors and enameled wire, and employs over 500 people.
It also exports to India, Australia, the Maldives, Bangladesh and African countries and is seeking new markets, the statement said.
The firm has been grappling with high costs and its group net profits fell sharply to 294 million rupees in the financial year ending March 31, 2008 while sales rose to 8.8 billion rupees.
It has attributed the downturn to high metal prices and lower margins on exports which make up 30 percent of group sales. Also, finance costs almost doubled last year.
The statement said ACL has already completed two backward integration projects.
It set up its own PVC compounding plant in 1993 which helped the company not only to improve the quality of regular compounds imported but also to develop new products such as fire rated compounds and water resistant compounds.
In 2007 ACL started its own rod plant to get various grades of aluminum rods to suit the needs of the local market.
Madanayake said the 2008 Asia Pacific Quality Award ACL Cables won recently should help it boost exports.
"This can only help us to forge ahead to develop other markets across the region and the globe for our products."

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2000 Mini Coop cities to commence next Sinhala New Year-Minister Bandula

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Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Co-operatives and Consumer Service Bandula Gunewardene said 2000 Mini Coop cities will be opened soon.
There are 300 Mini Coop Cities island wide up to now.

Minister was confident that 2000 Mini Coop cities would commence in April 2009.

He further added that a new pension scheme is due to be initiated for the benefit of the 60, 000 Co-operative workers and it include transfers, annual leave and other benefits.

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SL movie disturbs Canada's Tiger agents

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Canada's Tiger agents have requested police permission to stage a protest demonstration against the screening of the Sri Lankan-made movie 'Prabhakaran' that exposes the tragedy of LTTE child soldiers. The film was screened at the Scarborough Cinema hall which comes under the jurisdiction of the Toronto Police.
This is a most opportune moment for all anti-LTTE Sri Lankan expatriates there to draw the attention of Canadians to the evil nature of the Tigers.

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President in New York Buddhist Temple

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President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited to Buddhist Temple in New York yesterday evening. Chief Incumbent of Temple Ven.Walpola Piyananda Thero, Minsiter Nimal Siripala De Silva, Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, UN Ambassador H.M.G.S.Palihakkara, Sri Lankan Ambassador of US Jaliya Wickremesooriya and other Sri Lankans were also present.

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Police search for English tutor who swindled money

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Police have launched a search for English tutor, Sakvithi Ranasinghe turned businessman who has swindled an estimated Rs. 5,000 million from the public, police said.

A large number of persons turned up at the Mirihana police station who had been affected to lodge their complaints today.

He had promised high interest rate returns for persons who deposited money with him, but had failed to pay back.

So far more than 5,000 complaints have been received against him.

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SC bars imposition of Environment tax

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The Supreme Court issued an interim order today barring the imposition of the Environment tax after hearing a fundamental rights application.

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EPF employer contribution to be increased to 14%

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The contribution to the Employment Provident Fund by the employer will be increased by 2% to further strengthen Sri Lanka’s biggest public fund for the benefit of the country, employer and the employee, Labour Relations and Manpower Minister Athauda Seneviratna said.

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Inform relatives on arrests - SC

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The Supreme Court today ordered that when a person is taken into police custody their relatives should be informed and a receipt of arrest issued.

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Trade Union action against non-payment of allowance for SLTB employees

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All Ceylon Transport Workers Union (ACTWU) in a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa says that it has come to the end of its patience and will resort to indefinite trade union action as the government continues to ignore the payment of Cost of Living Allowance to SLTB employees which now stands at Rs. 20,000 per member.

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EU wants Sri Lanka to safeguard civilians

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EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel expressed his grave concern over the escalation of the conflict in Sri Lanka and the effects on innocent civilians. “I’m deeply troubled by the escalation of the violence in Sri Lanka and the terrible impact it is having on the lives of so many innocent civilians,” he said in a statement. Michel said the situation is made all the worse because international relief efforts are having to be suspended because the safety of humanitarian workers cannot be ensured. “I would remind all sides to fully respect international humanitarian law,” he stressed.

Following the government of Sri Lanka’s request for UN and international organisations to withdraw from the conflict area, many thousands of innocent civilians trapped by the conflict will lose access to essential humanitarian supplies, noted the statement. In addition, these people are currently unable to leave the conflict area because of restrictions imposed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and lack of secure escape routes to safer areas. He called on both sides to guarantee the safe transit of humanitarian convoys with food, medical and other essential supplies to people in need.

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OPEN LETTER FROM BENITA FERRERO-WALDNER

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Benita Ferrero-Waldner is European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy said in her open letter to media in Sri Lanka and explained recent critisisam about personal attacks against the Commission’s former Head of Delegation in Colombo, Ambassador Julian Wilson.
She said local media has published a number of articles about this matter and critisised Mre.Julian Wilson .She said these articles have revealed some fundamental misunderstandings about the relations between Sri Lanka and the European Union (EU) and European Commission and I feel the need to put the record straight.

"Let us look at the facts. We have long been a partner of Sri Lanka with our cooperation dating back to 1975 when external trade and development cooperation of the then nine-country European Economic Community (EC) was in its early days. Now the EU has 27 Member States, a population of close to 500 million people, and is a political community of values based on peace and freedom, democracy and the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities. It is the world's largest economic zone, it also spends around 10 billion Euros a year in development assistance projects in all five continents, and has extensive relations with countries throughout the world, based firmly on partnership. With Sri Lanka, we have a “Co-operation and Partnership Agreement” from 1995 signed by the Government of Sri Lanka and the European Community. The first article states that “cooperation ties between the Community and Sri Lanka and this Agreement in its entirety are based on respect for democratic principles and human rights which inspire the domestic and external polices of both the Community and Sri Lanka'she explained.
She said the EU has been accused of having an anti-Sri Lanka agenda. This is nonsense. If the EU has an agenda for Sri Lanka, which is shared by the Co-Chairs of the Sri Lanka peace process, it is that it wishes to see the country reach a peaceful settlement which benefits all the people of Sri Lanka and sets the basis for peaceful and prosperous development for its people. It is in that spirit that we have on several occasions sincerely urged all parties to put an end to violence and to return to the negotiation table, and urged the finalisation of a politically sustainable devolution plan. We are not trying to impose anything on Sri Lanka, not least because we believe for a peaceful settlement to work it has to be home-grown and owned by all Sri Lankans.

The European Commission is not a supporter of the LTTE and condemns all forms of terrorism. In 2006, as is well known in Sri Lanka, the European Union listed the LTTE as a terrorist organisation. The decision was based on the actions of that organisation, and came after several warnings to the LTTE which were systematically ignored. It was also made clear that the decision was directed against the LTTE but not against the Tamil people. Since then, there have been a number of criminal prosecutions in EU member states against LTTE fund raising in Europe. I would thus ask those who seek to accuse any officials of the European Commission of sympathy with the LTTE or any other terrorist organisation to think carefully before making any allegations in future. Such unfounded allegations are not acceptable. They are an insult not only to those named but to all Commission staff, men and women who have chosen to work to spread the values which have created today’s European Union. Julian Wilson is one of those people. If we are vocal, as he was, in expressing our concern at the situation in the country and about human rights and humanitarian issues, it is because these values have always been at the heart of the European Union and indeed our partnership with Sri Lanka. Since 2004, the Commission has provided over € 150 million (over 20 billion LKR) of humanitarian and reconstruction assistance. We provided support after the Tsunami, which came not only from the EU and its member countries, but also from thousands of ordinary European citizens who sympathised with the plight of those affected by the Tsunami. The primary focus of the Commission's humanitarian assistance is to help innocent civilians according to need. We are concerned about the situation today in Sri Lanka. This led my colleague Commissioner Louis Michel, in charge of humanitarian aid, to issue a statement on 15 September expressing concern and calling on all sides to fully respect international humanitarian law.

Let me turn to the subject of GSP+ (the special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance, known as "GSP+" which provides additional benefits for countries implementing certain international standards in human and labour rights, environmental protection, and good governance) on which there has been much speculation in Sri Lanka recently. We do not want Sri Lanka to lose GSP+, which has achieved its objectives in Sri Lanka and now benefits the country massively, with expanded trade with the EU and thousands of jobs. This is exactly why it was created. Which other partners offer Sri Lanka such generous market access? GSP+ is based on clear criteria set out in an EU law, developed to meet the legal requirements foreseen by the WTO. Beneficiary countries made a commitment to respect the principal requirement which is the ratification, incorporation and effective implementation of 27 international conventions specified in the GSP Regulation. If a country which benefits from GSP+ does not ensure compliance with these UN Conventions, it is perfectly normal that the eligibility be called into question. But with Sri Lanka, unfortunately, we have seen many reports and statements from United Nations sources as well as other publicly available information which we cannot ignore. I sincerely hope that Sri Lanka can maintain this important market access preference.

In conclusion, we already have a long relationship behind us and I hope a long and fruitful one ahead. Part of any long-term relationship is the need to be frank and open and I believe it is only through such dialogue that we can move forward. I hope my comments will be taken as they are offered; in the spirit of partnership and friendship with Sri Lanka.

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EU celebrates International Children's Day

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On occasion of International Children’s Day (1 October), the Gods Own Children Foundation with the support of the European Union has the pleasure of inviting the general public & the press to a Disadvantaged Children’s Art Exhibition themed “Needs of Children & Adults in Jaffna”.

The exhibition will be held on 30 September 2008 (9.00am – 8.00pm) & 1 October 2008 (9.00am – 1.00pm), at the St. Paul’s Milagiriya Church Hall, Colombo 4. Entrance to the exhibition will be free.

The drawings of differently-abled children studying at special needs schools in Jaffna operated by Gods Own Children Foundation will be on display. The artwork will be auctioned to the highest bidder in order to raise funds towards establishing a resource centre for the children.

Gods Own Children Foundation is a non profit organisation currently operating three non-fee levying Special Needs Schools in the areas of Ariyalai, Point Pedro and Siththankerny in the Jaffna Peninsula for over 350 children. The Schools accommodate 2 – 16 year old children with physical disabilities as well as children with learning disabilities.

An exhibition was also held in Jaffna on 7 & 8 September 2008 at the Ilam Kalaignar Mandram Hall in Nallur, Jaffna. The exhibition was a great success with an estimated crowd of 5000 attending.

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LTTE receives heavy beating; 36 terrorists killed, 7 terror bodies uncovered - Kilinochchi

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It is confirmed through intercepted LTTE communication channels that at least 36 LTTE terrorists were killed, injuring 18 others during fierce gun battles ensued between security forces and LTTE in the Kilinochchi front yesterday, 21 September.

Troops of 57 Division had confronted with LTTE terrorists, West of Akkarayankulam, East of Akkarayankulam, South of Kokavil and West of Mankulam areas through out the day (21 September), defence sources said.

Seven bodies of LTTE cadres killed in these confrontations were uncovered along with few other military hardware, in subsequent search operations conducted in these areas. One MPMG weapon, one RPG weapon, two LMG weapons, five T-56 assault rifles, one communication equipment and one hand grenade were also among the items found, defence sources added.

Seven army soldiers laid their lives for defending the motherland while 24 others sustained injuries during these confrontations, the reports added.

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LTTE Provincial Leader Muttu among Dead

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VAVUNIYA: VALIANT GROUND troops fighting bitter battles in the WANNI sector continued their advance further into Tiger-held areas for another day on Sunday (21) inflicting more and more losses to the world’s most ruthless terrorist outfit.

A round of confrontation in the east of NAVVI, VAVUNIYA around 3.45 p.m. on Sunday (21) saw troops killing LTTE provincial leader, MUTTU and ten more fellow-terrorists after the troops resisted their firepower. In the same manner, troops fought it out with terrorists in PALAMUNAI and KAMBAKULAM areas in the north of VAVUNIYA between 12.00 noon and 6.30 p.m. At least four terrorists were felled by valiant troops who later found three hand grenades and one pouch. The fighting in KAMBAKULAM caused injuries to one soldier.

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Sri Lanka Police arrest youth with military and intelligence training

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Police have arrested 22 Tamil men suspected of having connections to the LTTE from Nuwara Eliya in the central Sri Lanka. The men reportedly have received training on military activities and military intelligence from the LTTE.

According to Police sources, following the training the men have obtained employment in the area as lorry cleaners and estate sector laborers. They were to be used in a timely manner to start insurgent activities in the Central Province of Sri Lanka.

Police are continuing further investigations.

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JVP opposes Tamil registration

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The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna has protested the government's order for the people from the north to register in centres set up in Colombo and suburbs, BBC Sandeshaya reports. Police have ordered all those who have fled the war-torn north for Colombo in the last five years to attend special registration centres.

It comes after a statement by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya that the LTTE was using the influx of people to infiltrate the south and plant bombs.

BBC Sandeshaya quoted JVP Propaganda Secretary Vijitha Herath as having said the government should not push Tamils towards the LTTE by deliberately targeting them in Colombo.

The party said it supported a systematic approach through government officials to collect data on migrants in Colombo.

But, it is wrong for police to deliberately target Tamils, the JVP propaganda secretary added.

"The constitutional right of the people to live anywhere they wish is not protected by using the police to forcefully register these people," he has said.

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Civilian shot dead in Jaffna

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Unidentified gunmen shot and killed a 25-year-old man Sunday afternoon in Chu'ndikkuzhi near Jaffna secretariat .

The victim has been identified as Tharmalingam Kumararasa, 25, a resident of Allaarai, Chaavakachcheari in Thenmaraadchi based on the information on the Identity Card (IC) recovered from the victim, Police said.

Meanwhile, no one has come forward to claim the body of the victim till Sunday night.

The body recovered by Jaffna police has been transported to Jaffna Teaching hospital for postmortem examinations.

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THE WAR AND INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY

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by Jehan Perera

There has been a tacit international acceptance of the government’s security measures for the north, which have included the request to international humanitarian organizations to withdraw from the battle zones of the north. Underlying this acceptance is the recognition that international organizations require governmental consent for their presence in Sri Lanka. This has been the explicit position of the UN agencies. The UN agencies in particular appear to feel especially obliged to conform to the will of the government, as they are inter-governmental bodies in which Sri Lanka has a sovereign vote. But even other international organizations are cognizant that their work visas are dependent on governmental approval.

The withdrawal of the international humanitarian organisations from the battle zones of the north despite protests by the affected people is indicative of the deference that is being given to the Sri Lankan government by the international community. In addition, the present government has shown itself to be more determined to resist international pressures than any previous government. Even the government headed by President Ranasinghe Premadasa, which did not hesitate to expel a British High Commissioner for complaining about electoral malpractices, gave in to international pressure on human rights issues. It accepted a long list of conditions given by Amnesty International that sought to remedy the human rights excesses of the period of terror in the context of the JVP insurrection.

The present government, however, has successfully resisted pressures from human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and has taken the loss of its seat in the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations with defiance. It appears that the government is similarly prepared to face the prospect of the threatened EU withdrawal of the GSP+ tariff concession that advantages Sri Lankan exports to the large European market. The government has taken several legal measures, including passing new legislation to incorporate international human rights agreements into national law. But it appears unyielding on the issue of the war and the humanitarian and human rights challenges that have arisen from it.

Behind the government's preparedness to justify its human rights performance without substantially changing the human rights situation on the ground is its overriding purpose of defeating the LTTE in battle and eliminating as many of its cadre as possible. As a former human rights defender himself, President Mahinda Rajapaksa would be well aware of international human rights standards and the workings of the international human rights community. The insights of the past and the manner of the final crushing of the JVP's armed insurrection may be determining factors in the government's conduct today.


GLOBAL WAR

The government has a further advantage that it is utilising in its effort to crush the LTTE. This is the dramatically changed international climate that prevails today in the aftermath of the US-led global war against terrorism. The world may be multi polar when it comes to economic and cultural issues. But the world continues to be uni polar on military and political issues with the United States being the sole superpower. The manner in which many countries led by the United States recognised the breakaway state of Kosovo, but in which none so far except for Russia has recognised the breakaway units of Georgia is evidence for this US dominance.

Today it can be seen that the LTTE is being weakened internationally with most countries pursuing and arresting its fund raisers and arms purchasers. It can also be seen that the world's big powers are giving tangible military assistance and intelligence from spy satellites to hasten the military defeat of the LTTE. The line up that militarily supports the government is formidable and includes China, Pakistan, India, Iran and the United States, though not necessarily in that order. This international support from the big powers that count appears to be an important factor behind the government's confidence that it can defeat the LTTE without being excessively cautious about human rights issues.

There is also likely to be another factor at play in the relative pliant international stance in the face of the government’s military programme in the north. This is the breakdown in faith in the ability of the peace process to yield a sustainable solution through negotiations between the government and LTTE. The spirit of optimism about the willingness of the LTTE to enter a process that had a united Sri Lanka, democracy and decommissioning of weapons as its goals that prevailed in the period 2002-04 suffered a severe blow in the period after 2005. The manner in which the LTTE disrupted the Presidential election in that year, and virtually goaded the new president to war, is an indelible memory, though it may be more pronounced in the national community than in the international one.

But the price of this international withdrawal is high, especially to the people in the battle zones of the north. A recent visit by a group of civil society organizations to Vavuniya in the north has revealed that the people feel abandoned and left to their fates in the midst of a raging war. The notion of military victory at any cost has gained ground, not only within the government but also within the larger polity. Opposition parties are prepared to organize mass demonstrations and take the government to court because it has not reduced the price of petroleum products in keeping with falling world prices. But they are not engaging in similar exertions in regard to the humanitarian crisis in the north and meeting the needs of those people.


UNPOPULAR CAUSE

It is unfortunate that the present humanitarian crisis in the north should coincide with the more long term decision of several European countries with a long track record of supporting human rights throughout the world to withdraw from Sri Lanka. European countries which have supported Sri Lanka's economic and human development for several decades have decided to withdraw from Sri Lanka and focus their attention on other parts of the world. They need to reconsider their decision to withdraw, and give greater importance to the principle of solidarity especially at this critical time.

One stated reason for the donor departure is that Sri Lanka has graduated to being a middle income country by international standards and there are countries that are more desperately in need of their support than Sri Lanka. But solidarity also means not giving up on those who have been partners, until they have come out of their problems. The decision to withdraw is doubly unfortunate in that the end of the current phase of intense fighting is likely to see new opportunities for humanitarian and reconciliation work. It is unlikely that either the government or LTTE can sustain the present high level of fighting, casualties and costs.

The major battles that will decide the outcome of the current phase of military confrontation are now taking place. The advantage appears to be with the government. There is a possibility of a change in the character of military engagement from full scale conventional warfare to guerilla and terrorist warfare. Soon there will be a need to rehabilitate and resettle the civilian population and make fresh efforts to conclude the war with a political solution.

At this time virtually the entirety of political society supportive of the present military campaign, and mostly silent about a political solution. The forces of ethnic nationalism are dominant, and leave little space for those who articulate the need for a non military solution. There is a need to for the international community to be present in Sri Lanka and to keep voicing the need for a non military solution that upholds human rights and the rights of ethnic minorities and supporting those who do.

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August tourist arrivals fall 31.4 pct yr/yr

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Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka fell 31.4 percent in August from a year earlier, the Indian Ocean island nation's tourism board said on Monday.
Arrivals in August fell to 30,672 and totalled 288,017 in the first eight months of 2008, down 8.2 percent from a year ago, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority said.
Tourism is one of Sri Lanka's main sources of foreign exchange, along with garments, remittances and tea.
Central bank data showed tourism brought the island $200.7 million in revenue in the first seven months of the year, 4.3 percent less than last year's $209.8 million in the same period.
Last month, tourism board Chairman Renton de Alwis told Reuters that Sri Lanka would not reach its revenue and visitor targets this year due to intensified fighting between the military and the Tamil Tiger rebels in the north.
The tourism authority had set a target of $550 million in revenue and 600,000 foreign visitors this year.
Although most popular tourist destinations are far from the conflict zone, sporadic bomb blasts in and around the capital, Colombo, have dampened arrivals.
A number of foreign embassies have advised their citizens to avoid northern Sri Lanka because of increased violence in a 25-year civil war that has killed more than 70,000 people since 1983 and over 9,000 since late 2006.

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Netherlands Ambassador pays courtesy call to Secretary Defence

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The Netherlands Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Her Excellency Mrs. Leoni Cuelenaere paid a courtesy call to Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Monday (Sep 22) at the Ministry of Defence, Colombo.
A brief discussion was held between the two officials, concerning matters with bilateral interests.

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Protest against President’s UN visit

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A pro LTTE lobby has organized a protest rally opposite the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday against the visit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The organizers have sent emails seeking support for the protest.

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Dental Conference 2010

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In connection with the Asia Pacific Regional Dental Associations Conference 2010, to be held in Sri Lanka, a MoU was signed between Dr. Edric Vonsa of Thailand, the president of the Asia Pacific Regional Dental Surgeons’ Association and Dr. Upul B. Dissanayake, president of the Lanka Dental Surgeons’ Association.
Prof Prasad Amarasinghe, Dr. Oliver Silva the secretary of the Regional Association and Dr. Suresh Shanmuganathan the secretary of the Sri Lanka Dental Surgeons’ Association, were also present as attesting witnesses.

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No reports on Wanni food shortage -ICRC

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The International Red Cross in Colombo (ICRC) says there have not been any reports on food supply shortages in the Wanni where fighting has intensified between government security forces and the Tamil Tigers.
“The food supplies are there and we are constantly monitoring the situation” said Alexandra Matijevic spokesperson of the ICRC.
However, she cautioned that health of the displaced could be a concern with the on-coming monsoon rains.
Matijevic said that the ICRC has taken care of about 84,000 displaced persons in the areas affected by the recent fighting.
“We have been supplying them with water, food and other essential supplies”, Matijevic said.
Speaking on relief operations Alexandra Matijevic said, “The security of civilians and ICRC staff is a concern as the situation is extremely volatile in the Wanni“
She further added that the ICRC gets security guarantees on a day to day basis from government security forces as well as the Tamil Tigers and plans out relief work accordingly.

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Public holiday on Thursday in honour of the late President

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Thursday has been declared a public holiday for the Central Province in honour of the Late President D.B. Wijetunge who passed away at the ICU of the Kandy General Hospital yesterday morning, the Central Provincial Council said.
The State funeral is to take place on Thursday afternoon at the Getambe Municipal Grounds.
The venue and funeral arrangements were decided by the Public Administration Minister Karu Jayasuriya, Central Province Governor Tikiri Kobbekaduwa, the CPC Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake, MPs Abdul Cader and Lucky Jayawardene.
On Thursday morning President Wijetunge’s body would be flown to parliament and then brought back in the afternoon to Getambe for the cremation. Till such time the body is flown to parliament it would lie-in-state at his private residence in Pilimatalawa.
The late President was instrumental in setting up the Regional Broadcasting Services in the country when he was the Post, Information and Broadcasting Minister in the JR Government and his desire to set up the first station in Kandy as the Udarata Sevaya, ran into difficulties due to the lack of a suitable place for it. Subsequently the station was opened in Ruhuna.
The late President was ailing for sometime and always admitted himself to the Government Hospital whenever he fell sick. It was an example in simple and humble mode of living worthy of emulation.
His political career was based on the experience gained as Late Minister A. Ratnayake’s secretary. Since then political career as a parliamentarian, Minister and President brought him many plaudits.
In one of his speeches he is known to have said that the LTTE were terrorists and that there should be no compromise when dealing with it.
The late President was the first Governor of the North Western Province in 1987, when the Provincial Council system came into operation.
During his retirement, he always helped people from whatever strata they came from or irrespective of their political leanings.
The last time he was seen in public was at the launching of his Biography and lived a secluded life due to his failing state of health. He leaves behind his daughter.

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Sakvithi evaporates with five billion rupees in Sri Lanka

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Sakvithi Ranasinghe, the famous tuition master and much talked of creditor who provided lavish interest to investors through his unregistered finance company, has reportedly evaporated with around Rs. 5 billion invested by thousands of Sri Lankans seeking quick bucks.
The tuition master ran a massive advertising campaign in popular media and had headquarters in Nugegoda which have now been closed.
Mirihana police are conducting an investigation aiming to arrest him and believe that the suspect has left the country with his family.
Ranasinghe, who appeared under a false identity, is one of the racketeers who run illegal financial companies providing unbelievable profits to investors in the current context of inflation in Sri Lanka.

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SL Police detain 10 civilians in Batticaloa after slaying of TMVP operativ

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e
Sri Lankan forces and TMVP paramilitary men on Saturday detained 10 Tamil civilians in a cordon and search operation jointly conducted by them in Tha'lavaay area, after a TMVP operative was slain Friday night at the office of TMVP at Tha'lavaay.
40 Tamils were initially taken for inquiries and 30 of them were released while the rest were being detained at Ea'raavoor police. Those in police custody will be produced before Batticaloa courts, legal sources said.

The TMVP is aligned with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) while the Sri Lankan forces operate its armed men as paramilitary personnel in the East.
Earaavoor is located 16 km north of Batticaloa city.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Airtel accuses Sri Lankan telcos of discrimination

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COLOMBO: Indian telecom major Bharti Airtel has charged the mobile operators in Sri Lanka of being discriminatory and trying to block its entry into the Island country.

“Recently, four existing mobile operators of Sri Lanka issued a joint rejoinder to Airtel's plea for fairness in inter connection,” the Indian company said.

Earlier, the operators, while welcoming Airtel to Sri Lanka, also advocated a level-playing field.

“Airtel welcomes their welcoming us and would soon like to see them walking the talk,” the state-run Daily News quoted Bharti Airtel as saying in a statement.

Airtel seeks the very same agenda that has been clearly articulated in the recently issued draft Development Agenda (2006-2016) of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) of Sri Lanka, the statement said.

Promoting competition, improving quality of service, making cellular services more affordable to the rural and urban consumers and discouraging anti-competitive practices are some of the areas TRCSL has proposed to strengthen, Bharti Airtel said.

The Indian mobile giant added that in the same Development Agenda, the TRC has spelt out the issues facing the Telecommunications industry, namely lack of a seamless interconnection regime, lack of effective quality of service management and improve oper ator responsiveness to customer needs.

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LTTE gunmen assassinate head priest of Koneshwaram Hindu Temple - Trincomalee

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LTTE terrorists gunned down head priest of the Knoeshwaram Hindu Temple, Sivakudaracha Kurukkal Sivakuharaja Kurukkal in Trincomalee this evening (Sept 21). According to the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS), the 43 year old priest was shot down while he was riding a motorbike around 6 PM.

According to the source, the victim was highly respected personality among the Hindu Tamils as well as the other communities living in the area. Also, he was marinating cordial relationships with the law enforcement authorities in the district and had performed a great service in building peace and harmony among the different communities.

Police conduct further investigations.

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Air Force launches multiple air raids at terror targets- Kilinochchi

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Sri Lanka Air Force carried out 4 air raids targeting terrorist gatherings in the forward area on the Wanni battlefronts during last few hours (Sept 21).

Air Force spokesperson Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara speaking to defence.lk said the first of the air raids was launched by fighter jets at 11 AM targeting a terror gathering detected 5 km north of Nachchikudha. The attack was launched in support of Task Force 1 soldiers operating on the western half of the Kilinochchi front, he added.

The second air strike was also launched by jets around 12 noon targeting terror location identified 3 km North of Akkarayankulam area, said the spokesperson.

He further said, the other raids were launched as close air support missions in support of Army 57 division troops operating in eastern half of the Kilinochchi front. MI 24 helicopters attacked two terror resistance points, one located 1.5 km southwest of Akkarayankulam at 10 AM and the other located 2 km northeast of Akkarayankulam at 1 PM, he added.

According to the battlefield reports, troops of 57 division are currently engaged in a fierce battle against the terrorists in the Kokavil area. Available information reveal over a dozen of LTTE cadres have been killed so far during these clashes.

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Eight Terrorists Killed

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KILINOCHCHI: TROOPS FIGHTING in northern WANNI area launched one more successful offensive operations against pockets of Tiger terrorists this afternoon (21) killing at least eight Tiger terrorists around 12.00 p.m. to 2.00 p.m. in the general KARAMBAKULAM area according to latest information.

Six Tiger bunkers were razed to the ground and three T-56 weapons along with 32 hand grenades, seven pouches and 15,000 small arms ammunition were recovered during the clashes.

Four soldiers were also reported injured in the incident. Monitored LTTE radio transmission confirmed at least ten more Tiger terrorists sustained fatal injuries in the attack.

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Govt. opposes limiting president’s powers

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Implementation of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution has met with further setback, following the ruling UPFA’s opposition to limiting the president’s powers to appoint members to independent commissions, ‘Ravaya’ reports.

The PSC, chaired by Minister Dew Gunasekara, had met for the 15th occasion on the 11th of September.

The meeting has ended without agreement, even on the date for the next round of talks, the newspaper said.

When contacted, Minister Gunasekara has told ‘Ravaya’ that 90 per cent of issues have been resolved, but declined to deliberate on the outstanding matters.

However, UNP representative at the PSC, Joseph Michael Perera said his party had proposed curtailing the president’s powers on appointing members to independent commissions on recommendation by the Constitutional Council.

The ruling party is opposing the suggestion, Mr. Perera said, adding that there was no point in the UNP’s participation in committee deliberations any further.

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Rat Fever reaches epidemic proportions

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Health authorities today warned the public and especially the paddy farmers to be extra vigilant when they attend to their farm work as the Leptospirosis widely known as Rat Fever has developed into epidemic proportions in the country claiming 33 lives in the last three weeks alone.

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Two LTTE cadrs shot dead in Pothuvil

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Two LTTE cadres were shot dead by the STF in Wadukoddai, Pothuvil today evening, Police said.

They were in possesion of explosives.

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Sounds firing around Colombo harbor due to Navy rehearsal: Police

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The sounds of firing reported around the Colombo harbour are from a rehearsal by the Navy, the Harbour Police said.

The sounds of firing were heard from 8.00 a.m to 8.30 am.

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Canadian government biased on ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka

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By Satheesan Kumaaran


Canadian government biased towards ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka
Canada is home to 400,000 ethnic Tamils subsequent to their fleeing for safety when the Sri Lankan state failed to address their grievances and protect them. Canada has chosen to remain a spectator while the relatives and friends of the 400,000 Canadian Tamils in Sri Lanka seek international intervention with the view to justice for the atrocities inflicted upon the people in the North and East of Sri Lanka by the Sri Lankan Government (GoSL).
Since his election of in 2005, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has continued to emit venomous war cries against Tamils in Sri Lanka and orders his armed forces to invade Tamil villages, towns and cities and causing heavy casualties both in humans and property. The GoSL reports to the Canadian government that the Tamils are terrorists in order to justify its war against the Tamil people. Far from being concerned about the GoSL’s actions against these so-called terrorists, the Canadian government turns a blind eye towards the ethnic conflict. Canadian foreign ministry officials serve without much interaction with Canadian or Sri Lankan Tamils.
Canada’s government needs to find out the real story about what’s going on in Sri Lanka. Canada needs to send a high-level delegation to Sri Lanka’s north and east to observe the situation on the ground and hear from the Tamils living there before making foreign policy decisions about how to respond to Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict.
Tamils in the Vanni (de facto state under LTTE control) for example are in grave danger as Sri Lankan armed forces advance on them with the belief that they could capture Vanni from the LTTE as they have done with other areas in the East and elsewhere. Military overtures will not solve the problem. Rather, both parties need to enter into genuine peace talks to reach a permanent solution to the conflict allowing the Tamils to live in freedom with peace and justice.
Canadian Tamils’ concern
Tamils living in Canada have continually raised their concerns to the government as their Sri Lankan brethren suffer great difficulties during the civil war between the Sri Lankan armed forces and the LTTE in the Sri Lanka’s North and East.
Canada’s former Liberal government, despite its disinterested approach towards Sri Lanka’s internal matters, never agitated the LTTE or the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL). The Liberals embraced the Tamils in Canada and sought local Tamil support. This resulted in more than twelve Liberal MPs being elected with the support of Tamils from the Toronto region alone. They did little to assist the Tamils in Sri Lanka, but they did not put pressure on the Tamil community in Canada like the Conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper has done after coming to power in 2006. He, along with many other Conservatives, has viewed the LTTE as their enemy without even taking the trouble to study the real situation in Sri Lanka and the history of Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict.
Their ignorance towards the violent reprisals of the government against constitutional and peaceful protests by elected Tamil leaders to advocate on the Gandhian mode for Tamil rights to be granted in a quasi-federal model and, consequently, Tamil youth responding by taking up arms against the State to fight for Tamil liberation is an unjust lapse of immense proportion.
In 2002, although the LTTE partially agreed to enter into peace talks on the condition that the GoSL grant Tamils reasonable autonomy, the GoSL led by then President Chandrika Bandaranaike and then by the current President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, rather than accommodating the LTTE declared war against the Tamils with the aim of occupying Tamil areas, causing heavy damages to the lives and property of Tamils in the East, and controlling the LTTE’s stronghold, Vanni, in the North.
All these incidents have raised concerns and frustration among the Diaspora Tamils, most of whom live in Canada. Most Tamils are Canadian citizens and contribute to the Canadian mainstream as peace-loving, polite, hardworking and tax-paying people. Since it came to power, the Conservative government has handled the Sri Lankan Tamil issue quite differently from what the real situation in Sri Lanka warrants. This is despite Canadian Tamils urging their government to step forward to help their brethren living in Sri Lanka by exerting pressure upon the GoSL not to force the LTTE to enter into a conventional war with the Sri Lankan armed forces which would result in heavy casualties among the civilians. The LTTE, on the other hand, maintains their silence, saying that they would want to enter into genuine peace talks with the GoSL in order to find a permanent solution to the ethnic conflict.
The Canadian government’s inaction and apathy could further destabilize the situation in Sri Lanka and result in further casualties and more disaster for the Tamils. The Canadian government’s silence could further encourage the GoSL to proceed with an open war against the Tamil people for their own sinister political motives and to satisfy Sinhalese chauvinism.
The Ground situation in the North
It has to be stated the Canadian High Commission in Colombo has not sent any high-ranking, responsible personnel to Sri Lanka’s North to find out the situation on the ground firsthand thus making it difficult for the Canadian foreign ministry to decide what action it should take towards Sri Lanka.
The recent military operations to capture the Vanni region have caused nearly half a million people to seek temporary shelter from the international aid agencies based in Kilinochchi in the North. In a pre-meditated manner, the Sri Lankan government is trying to eliminate all the avenues of being charged with war crimes, human rights abuses and state terrorism against Tamils exposed by the neutral international human rights organizations and Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) to the international community. These organizations a play critical role in the Vanni region and still provide much needed assistance to the people living in temporary shelters in a very difficult situation.
An outrageous situation has arisen in the Vanni region where the defence secretary of Sri Lanka, and brother of Sri Lanka’s president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has ordered all the human rights organizations operating in Vanni to dismantle themselves and leave the region to set up shop in a government controlled area. He also barred any rights organizations from going into the rebel control area.
Close to 250,000 displaced Tamil civilians have already moved deeper into the heart of the Kilinochchi area, living in subhuman conditions without food, medicine, clean drinking water and even basic sanitation. Sri Lanka continues to use maximum fire power and indiscriminate attacks on these unarmed people. The U.N. recently called the situation in Vanni grim, and yet pulled all their staff out of the region.
The Canadian government has to change its warped foreign policy towards Sri Lanka and look towards the well-being and democratic rights of close to 500,000 people. If the international community, including Canada, does not step in to help the Tamils on the island, we may see another Rwanda.
When Tamils are dying back home, Canadian Tamils cannot be simply spectators and need to come out in protest against the Canadian government for encouraging the Sri Lankan government in the war against Tamils.
Canada’s local politics
Either Canadian political parties have little knowledge of Sri Lanka or it seems that they do not want to spend time and energy to focus on the conflict in Sri Lanka. Canadian political parties regard Sri Lanka as just a tiny nation in the southern tip of India in the Indian Ocean. By contrast, the U.S. has much interest in Sri Lanka because it is located strategically in the Indian Ocean in the middle of sea-lane allowing world ships to ply between West Asia, South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, Australasia, Europe and the Americas. This sea-lane is critical where the world economy is based on the need of oil which is the main commodity transported through this sea-lane.
However, despite its close relations with the U.S., Canada does not worry about Sri Lanka. The Canadian government sits back without worry for the Canadian oil need, as the American oil companies tie up deals with Canadian firms to bring safe transportation from West Asia and elsewhere. This attitude poses a great danger to Canada because the Canadian government has a great opportunity to stand on its own leg for its own economy rather than relying on its giant neighbour to the south.
Canada is basically a bi-party political power allowing the Liberals and the Conservatives to stay in power while other minor political parties like the NDP and Green Party exist solely as pressure groups in parliament with no clear voice. The Liberals never wanted to alienate immigrants living in Canada so they could win the immigrant community vote. To achieve this they chose to not openly support any side in Sri Lanka’s ethnic issue. The Liberals had better relations with the Tamils in Canada and with Sri Lankan government officials in Ottawa and in Colombo.
When the Conservatives were in the Opposition in parliament during thirteen years of Liberals Party governance, they branded the Liberals as the pro-LTTE party who encouraged terrorism in Sri Lanka. The Conservative Opposition questioned the ruling Liberals about allowing a Liberal cabinet minister to take part in a Tamil fundraising event. The Conservatives asserted that the money raised at this event would be spent on weapons to arm the LTTE in its quest to create a separate Tamil state in Sri Lanka. The then Prime Minister Jean Chretien stood during Question Period in the House of Commons to defend his colleagues, saying that money raised would go to support the relatives and friends of Canadian Tamils living in Sri Lanka who were facing food and medicine shortages and that the funds would be used to save lives there.
When the Conservatives came to power in February 2006 they immediately branded the LTTE a terrorist organization and other local organizations as the LTTE’s front organizations. It also urged the local Tamils not to donate any money to the Tamil organizations meant to collect for the Tamils in Sri Lanka saying that the money collected in Canada was used to buy weapons for the LTTE. The Conservatives do not seem to understand the real situation in Sri Lanka. The Tamils living in the North and East are in grave danger and they need the support not the LTTE. Banning the so-called LTTE-front organizations and listing the LTTE as a terrorist organization has alarmed many Tamils around the world.
As we approach the Federal election slated for October 14, 2008, the time has come for the Conservatives, Liberals, and New Democrats to decide what type of foreign policy they will institute to address the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. Do the Canadian parties support the so-called war on terror instigated by the GoSL or do they support the war for justice by the Tamils? This election call comes at a time when Tamils living in Sri Lanka are facing a do or die situation as GoSL armed forces undertake military operations with the hope of victory in Vanni. It’s time for the Canadian political parties to publicly announce what they would do for Sri Lanka should they be elected the ruling party on October 14.
(The author can be reached at e-mail: satheesan_kumaaran@yahoo.com)

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Seven thousand years old human skelton found

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A human skeleton was found in Ambalantota (Sri Lanka). The skeleton, estimated to be more than 7,000 years old, several other prehistoric stone tools including animal remains have been unearthed from the Godawaya archaeological site in Ambalantota. The human skeleton was found in a burial chamber with its head pointing to the North, sources from the Department of Archeology said. A team of archaeologists had conducted this excavation in sand and gravel deposits in Godawaya, supposed to be a historic and pre-historic site with archaeological value.

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United Nations' offices in Kilinochchi looted

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The United Nations in Sri Lanka today announced that its offices in rebel-held Kilinochchi have been looted.

“The UN in Sri Lanka says that it is seriously concerned by theft from its Kilinochchi Offices on Thursday and Friday nights. The UN has drawn this to the attention of the LTTE and says that humanitarian assets and staff ought to be protected at all times in accordance with international humanitarian law,” the UN said in a statement.

Last week, the UN and other international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) based in Wanni, except for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), withdrew from the area and shifted to government-held Vavuniya.

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Rock temple found in thick jungles

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This is an ancient rock temple found in an unreachable jungle area of Deegalla, located seven kilometers from Mathugama.

There is an old statue of Lord Buddha in sleeping posture inside the rock cave. Archaeological research has not been conducted in the area and people believe that the temple belongs to the period of King Weediye Bandara, who had his kingdom in the area in the 15th century.

Rock temple found in Sri Lankan jungle yields historical treasure

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De Mel says UNP can go to court, but fuel price stays

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By Rukshana Rizwie

Despite threats by the UNP threatening legal action against the state and Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) if fuel prices are not brought down, Chairman of the CPC Asantha de Mel challenged the UNP to proceed with threatened legal action.
“What the UNP needs to understand is that we sell the stocks that we bought at high prices,” he said.
“Currently we are using the stocks that we bought in August, where at that time the world market prices were high - hence our costs remain high.” The chairman explained that although oil prices in the world market decreased a few days ago, they shot up again yesterday and stand at $104.55 per barrel. This fluctuation he says cannot easily be reflected in local prices.
“We still have a budget deficit and continue to sell kerosene and diesel at a loss,” he said. “We sell some 40 million litres of petrol and make only six rupees of profit on a litre. At the same time we sell some 140 million litres of diesel and make a loss of 20 to 30 rupees on each litre. Its only takes logic to understand that we are making a loss here.”
This position comes amidst a decline in oil prices in the world market, and the UNP threatened legal action against the government for not granting the advantage of the fuel price reduction to ordinary citizens.
UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake during a press conference urged the government to reduce the fuel prices, saying that a litre of petrol can be sold at Rs. 91.50 and a litre of diesel at Rs. 77.
However, Chairman of CPC Asantha de Mel has ruled out such a possibility of reducing oil prices, saying they continue to make a loss in addition to the Rs.52 billion that they have already incurred.
“The CEB (Electricity Board) owes us 40 billion which they are yet to pay us,” he said. “Prices may have decreased for now in the international market, yet we didn’t go about increasing prices when we purchased at higher prices. For instance although we buy diesel at Rs 140, we sell it at Rs 110, even though we could sell it at a higher price.”
De Mel added that they have the best interests of the consumer in mind, but said yet the CPC also needs to be strengthened since it has to survive and cannot do so with a continuous budget deficit. He added that there likely would be a reduction when discussions on the budget commence in November.

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Police personnel caught on camera

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Lakbimanews

A sub-inspector is alleged to have taken pictures of a female police sergeant while having sexual intercourse with her, and circulated the video among friends.
This video is being circulated among police officers via mobile phone and e-mail. Lakbimanews was able to obtain the footage.
An investigation conducted by Lakbimanews confirmed that the male police officer is a married sub inspector. The female officer is also married and is a police sergeant.
The video confirms that the sub inspector is aware of the camera, and could have used a mobile phone.
However, the female officer has not made any complaint regarding the matter to the police. Police officers, who have the video in their possession, have also not commenced any investigation into the matter.
When contacted, an officer from the Police Children’s and Women’s Bureau said that they can commence investigations only if a complaint is made.
The officer added that they have from time to time, investigated complaints received regarding boyfriends who video their girlfriends on such occasions, as well as cases where people have secretly videoed husbands and wives in bed.

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Aitken Spence to launch Hotel Atithi

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Aitken Spence Hotels and Resorts are pleased to announce the newest addition to its portfolio of hotels in India with the soft opening of Hotel Atithi in Puducherry.
Aitken Spence Hotels is an emerging player in the Indian hospitality arena already managing two other resorts in India - Poovar Island Resort situated on the backwaters of Kerela and Barefoot at Havelock in the Andaman Islands, located on one of the best beaches in Asia, as rated by the Time magazine.
Aitken Spence Hotel Managements (South India) Pvt Ltd is a company incorporated for the purpose of development and management of hotels in South India. It is envisaged that the company will have around ten hotels under its portfolio within the next two years. Aitken Spence Hotels is part of the diversified conglomerate, Aitken Spence PLC. The company operates over 25 hotels in Sri Lanka, Maldives, India and Oman.
“Aitken Spence is looking forward to the commissioning of Hotel Atithi and strengthening its presence in the region. We have recruited a team of young hospitality professionals, majority of whom are from Puducherry. Aitken Spence has earned a reputation as an exemplary corporate citizen especially with its commitment to corporate social responsibility initiatives and is committed to respect and nurture the culture and traditions of the people of Puducherry” stated Mr. J M S Brito, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC.

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Neville to Bangkok

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Veteran journalist and The Sunday Times columnist Neville de Silva is now tipped to be appointed as Minister Counsellor in the Sri Lankan Embassy in Bangkok, authoritative Foreign Office sources said yesterday.
De Silva, now based in London, is the uncle of Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Geneva Dayan Jayatillake and a brother of late veteran editor/columnist Mervyn de Silva.

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President to decide on pardoning SB after UN meeting

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By Kushali Atukorale
President Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to consider the pardoning of United National Party (UNP) National Organiser S.B. Dissanayake, soon after his return from the Annual General Meeting of the United Nations.

Presidential Advisor A.H.M. Azwer said that the President will be giving considerable thought to pardoning Dissanayake, in deference to the request made by Asgiriya Chapter Mahanayake Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thera last Tuesday (16).

“The final decision lies in the hands of the President, therefore, we have to wait and see what steps the President will be taking once he gets back to the country, since it’s a very sensitive case as Dissanayake was found guilty of contempt of court, unlike committing some other wrong,” Azwer added.

Meanwhile, UNP Parliamentarian and leading party rebel Johnston Fernando, said the President might not pardon Dissanayake since he is one of the strongmen in the UNP.

“It’s unlikely that Dissanayake will be pardoned, as the President knows that Dissanayake will not hesitate to expose the misdeeds of the government. Therefore, Rajapaksa might let the chance go by, showing a totally different scenario to the request made by the Mahanayake Thera,” Fernando asserted.

Fernando also said that lack of such strong politicians of the calibre of Dissanayake in Parliament, is reflected in the massive amount of corruption practiced by those in power, “People like S.B. Dissanayake have the ability to expose corrupt Ministers and government officials and intelligently challenge any bill which only favours the government’s henchmen. Therefore, the President will not take a chance in pardoning him,” he added.

Former Minister S.B. Dissanayake, lost his Parliamentary seat because he had been absent from the Parliament for a period of three months in year 2004 and he also lost his civic rights due to contempt of Court and was sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment, when he had criticised the Supreme Court in a political speech using immoderate language, although Dissanayake had been advised not to insult the Courts on a previous occasion. While he was serving his sentence, President Rajapaksa reduced his imprisonment period to a year and half, but Dissanayake was not given a Presidential pardon.

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Tax increases cripple automobile industry

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By Aisha Edris
Soaring interest rates and higher duty fees on the importation of motor vehicles have affected the Automobile industry in the country drastically. Today, the industry has plunged into turmoil; many small scale automobile companies have been forced to shut down their businesses while a few others are running their businesses facing losses, due to the escalating prices of vehicles and less demand available for them. The non conducive business environment has made the business environment for vehicle importers and spare part shop owners tough.

We met with several individuals in the Automobile industry who were severely affected by the skyrocketing duty on imported vehicles and its spare parts. Many businessmen lamented about the increasing burden on them by the government.

Tough Regulation on the industry
Many in the automobile industry were confused as to why the government has been burdening them with a large sum as excise duty, which has sparked a drastic drop in vehicle sales and increased retail prices on imported vehicles.
General Manager, Senok Automobiles (Pvt) Ltd, Rajieve M Fernando explained to The Nation Economist that currently the industry, as a whole, was going through a tough period after the 2008 budget.
“The government increased the import duty on vehicles and spare parts, hence, the prices of vehicles have risen by 200 to 280 percent” he said.

Taxes on a 1800 CC car have risen by 237% to 266% which is an increase of about Rs.420,000. The taxes on vehicles below 1500 cc have risen by 173% to 197% inflating prices by an average of Rs.300,000.
Fernando noted that the many in the industry were confused about the government’s stand on continuous imposition of import duties on vehicles which might lead to the death of the industry.

“The situation in the country is not favouring the industry. The government is tightening its regulations on the automobile industry. It is not fair as this industry is one of the key players in the economy not just because it imports vehicles but the vehicles that are imported are used by both government and private individuals” he said.
He also said that the price of a vehicle is now 200% to 250% higher than the Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) price which is the amount paid to the exporter. The prices nearly tripled because of the CIF prices and various fiscal taxes imposed by the government on the industry.

Death of an industry and winding up businesses due to higher duty
Since the 2008 budget was introduced the automobile industry had been going from bad to worse due to the high prices, the demand for both brand new and used vehicles had fallen drastically bringing shock waves to the importers.
According to a leading Automobile company in the country, the sales of many companies had plunged drastically due to the increasing taxes on imported vehicles. Many small scale (used vehicle) businesses had been forced to shut down their operations noted the businessmen.

“Some businesses are unable to sell even five vehicles per month since people are not willing to buy vehicles at higher prices. In outstation areas more than half a dozen automobile companies have closed down their operations,” he said.
Meanwhile, he also noted that there were several firms who were contemplating to wind up their businesses while several firms had already established their companies in South Africa since it offered less percentage of tax on imported vehicles.

Rise in interest rates
Meanwhile, several businessmen both in the spare part and motor vehicle industry were also affected due to the double digit interest rates in the country. The interest rates in the country rose over 20% and affected not only the motor industry but also several other fixed asset industries.
Rajieve Fernando noted that the severe fall in sales had affected the automobile companies and some of them were running at losses.

“Some of the companies cannot borrow from banks to improve their businesses since they are facing huge losses. Banks are not favourable in providing loans to automobile companies since they are facing losses,” he said.
Meanwhile, a high ranking official of Indra Traders noted that the company had seen a downfall of its sales sue to the increase in interest rates.

“The purchasing power of the people had fallen and they cannot afford to take bank loans or leases to purchase vehicles. We have seen a slight drop in our sales,” she said.
She also explained that optimistic investors who are looking forward to investing in the industry were taken back due to the prevailing uncertainties in the industry.

Last string to survive
Many of the businessmen who offered their opinion noted that their businesses were surviving mainly due to the duty free vehicle permit scheme that the government introduced within the year.
“So many automobile dealers are surviving because of the duty free vehicle permit scheme which allows government servants to import brand new vehicles. The brand new vehicle dealers and other vehicle importers too are surviving because of this scheme and if not our businesses have been shut down after the 2008 budget,” noted Rajieve Fernando of Senok.
While Indra Traders had taken measures to change its mix, according to the official of the Company it had changed its mix from mainly targeting private owned vehicles to selling industrial vehicles.

Fear of more burdens, messing economy
While both Panchikawatte traders and motor vehicles importers were facing turmoil due to the escalating prices, they feared that the government might burden them more in the 2009 budget.
Already there were rumours spreading in the Automobile industry that the government was planning to burden the industry once again. They were worried that if the present situation began to deteriorate the motor industry on the whole would start to plunge into a deep mess further escalating unemployment rate in the country.

A motor industrialist said that there were speculations about government trying to increase the duty on imported vehicles, he warned that if it happens that many people would be drastically affected both directly and indirectly.
He further noted that Ceylon Motor Traders Owners had tried its best to negotiate with the government but all the efforts were gone in vain.

Panchikawatte- haven for spare parts drastically affected
The Nation Economist visited Panchikawatte, the haven for motor vehicle spare parts in the heart of Colombo city. Many traders in the area were mourning over the increasing tax burden on their businesses, many questioned as to why the government was burdening the automobile industry on the whole.

Lower sales and higher interest rates to pay
More than half of the shops in the area were facing a downfall in sales. According to Mohammed Riswan, a motor accessory dealer, his daily income had reduced to more than 50% while he was facing a dilemma of surviving in the skyrocketing industry.
“Many people do not want to purchase motor accessories since it is not an essential item. It is very difficult for me to survive in this business, many of the accessory dealers have started closing down their businesses,” he said.
Shops down Panchikawatte area were deserted with less number of customers visiting shops, many owners said the main reason for the reduction was due to the fall in demand for vehicles and people today could not afford to purchase spare parts due to its high prices.

“We hear that there are less number of vehicles being imported to the country and rest of the vehicles owners cannot afford high prices to purchase spare parts for their vehicles,” noted W G C Fernando.
He further emphasized that there were few customers who did not mind the cost of the spare part if they were getting the originals.

“The general economic situation in the country is not favourable for all the industries. The Automobile industry was particularly vulnerable because the government started to impose a duty on imported vehicles and spare parts,” he said.

Like Fernando there were several other businessmen who were grieving about the volatile situation they were facing. Some were wondering whether they should shut down their businesses and to move in for more profitable ventures while others were trying pass the tough times dreaming for a better conducive business environment.
The businesses in the area were facing dilemma after another, today most of these businesses are facing a crunch as they have been taking bank loans one after the other to import the spare parts.

But unfortunately, these businesses are unable to pay off the bank debts as they are unable to make profits.
Fernando and several other businessmen informed that they had to start cost cutting to save the little income they receive from selling, “We have to pay our workers’ salaries by taking loans and the electricity bills are also paid through loans. Today, banks have informed us that they do not want to give us loans since our businesses are running at a loss,” he said.

Many in the industry suggested that the government should relieve them from tax burden to revive their businesses, and noted that if there were more tax placed on the importation of vehicles the government too would be affected since there would be less number of vehicles imported to the country, they warned.

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New GM at Airport Garden

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Mathew C. Thomas recently assumed duties as General Manager, Taj Airport Garden Hotel, Seeduwa, taking over from Sanjay Singh who moves to India on a new assignment.

Thomas counts 28 years experience in the hospitality industry with specialisation in Hotel Operations and Management and F&B Service. He joined the Taj Group of Hotels in 1980 and has enjoyed postings at the Taj Residency Ernakulam, Taj Residency Vishakapatanam, Taj Coromandel Chennai, Taj Malabar Kochi and the Taj Sheba Sana’a Yemen.

During this nearly three decade period, Thomas has worked in different capacities within the Taj Group and has a vast hands-on experience in related fields in the Hospitality industry. Under his stewardship, the Taj Residency in 2007 was chosen the Best Five Star Hotel in the State of Kerala for three consecutive years (2005-2007). Similarly, the Taj Residency Vishakapatanam, with Thomas at the helm, was chosen the Best Five Star Hotel in the State of Andhra Pradesh in 2003.

“I am indeed very happy to assume office at the Taj Airport Garden Hotel Sri Lanka, my second posting at a Taj property outside India. I find Sri Lanka very similar to Kerala, my hometown and I am sure, I will have a great time in `Lassana’ Sri Lanka”, he said.

Thomas has a Diploma in Hotel Management and Catering Technology from the Institute of Hotel Management Chennai and a Pre-Degree from Loyola College Chennai. An Executive Member of Cochin Travel & Tourism, he is also a member of the Classified & Approved Hotels of Kerala and the Kerala Management Association. A keen sportsman, with a passion for cricket, tennis and chess, Mathew is fluent in Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi, and, is an avid reader.

Situated in amidst a 38-acre coconut plantation sandwiched between the Colombo-Katunayake highway and the celebrated Negombo lagoon, the 120-room Taj Airport Garden Hotel is one of three prestigious Taj properties in Sri Lanka. A haven of spacious comfort, modern amenities and gracious hospitable service, it occupies a strategic location in relative close proximity to the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake.

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Govt. imposes cess on fuel

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The government has introduced a Rs. 15 and Rs. 10 import cess on petrol and diesel respectively from last Wednesday (17).

Trade unions attached to the CPC say that the government’s decision to introduce the new cess would have a direct impact on any possible reduction of local fuel prices in the near future. CPC Chairman, Asantha de Mel said that the cess on petrol and diesel is now in effect as the Gazette notification has already been issued. According to the Gazette notification, a cess of Rs. 15 has been added to a litre of petrol and Rs. 10 to a litre of diesel imported into the country.

According to de Mel, the cess would be applicable to the CPC as well as the LIOC.

De Mel also ruled out any chances of reducing local fuel prices any time soon saying the Corporation needed to recover over Rs. 50 billion of the money lost by the CPC.

We cannot bring down prices immediately as we are burdened with outstanding dues and until we recover these dues the CPC is not in a position to bring down fuel prices, he said.

De Mel added that if the world oil prices remained the same or continued to decline, the government might be in a position to reduce local fuel prices through the next budget.

CPC trade unions however claim that the government should not burden the consumers with high fuel prices due to the outstanding dues amounting to billions of rupees.

Secretary, Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya CPC branch, Ananda Palitha told The Sunday Leader that recovering outstanding dues of the CPC was a matter the government had to deal with without burdening the people.

The CEB owes Rs. 40 billion and other state institutions have to pay the CPC Rs. 10 billion. The government has to find a way of recovering the money and increasing prices is not the answer, Palitha said.

He also said that the new cess on petrol and diesel would prevent the local fuel prices from being reduced.

"When the world market prices increase, the government is quick to increase local prices, but when there is a decline, local fuel prices remain the same and new levies are added to it. The government should immediately bring down local fuel prices, Palitha said.

According to Palitha, the government could sell a litre of petrol for approximately Rs. 111 after purchasing a barrel of petrol at US$ 108 and adding all the relevant taxes.

Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Minister A.H..M. Fowzie was not available for comment.

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Tigers prevent Wanni residents from leaving

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Wanni residents working in international NGOs were prevented from leaving the Wanni by the Tigers, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), one of the INGOs that relocated last week said.

The DRC relocated to Vauniya together with the other humanitarian agencies on the request of the government on September 16.

The DRC however said that the local nationals were not allowed to relocate to Vavuniya by the LTTE. "We are extremely concerned at the plight of the displaced persons in this area. We are looking at all options to be able to provide them with further support as soon as possible. We hope that the displaced peoples’ rights to freedom of movement will be respected in order for them to be able to move to safer areas," Head of the Europe-Asia Section at DRC, Rikke Friis said.

DRC said that its national staff continued to remain in the Wanni region adding that most activities were on hold. DRC has been unable to bring out national staff due to the LTTE pass system that currently does not allow local residents to leave the area.

"It is a terrible situation also for our national staff. We are doing everything we can to be able to evacuate them and hope that we will find a solution soon," he added.

Currently, it is estimated that 200,000 IDPs are affected by the current escalation of the conflict between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE. Further multiple displacements are expected in the very near future, the DRC said.

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Hantana, Karagahatanna declared prohibited zones

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Two mountain ranges, Hantana and Karagahtanna were declared prohibited areas for the public by Gazette notification last week .

"The Secretary to the Ministry of the Minister in charge of Defence shall be the Competent Authority," for the two ranges, the Gazette states.

"No person, other than a person to whom the Competent Authority has in terms of Section 15 issued permit, may enter or remain within,Karagahathanna/Hantana Mountain Range (s) Prohibited Places," the Gazette notifications signed by President Mahinda Rajapakse said.

"Any person authorised to enter or remain within the Karagahathanna/ Hantana Mountain Range Prohibited Place shall within such place engage only in such purpose and subject such conditions as shall be specified in the permit," they said.

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Two sick zoo animals die following treatment

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By Risidra Mendis

Animal rights activists have criticised zoo authorities for the recent deaths of two animals.

Animal rights activists have alleged that a ring tailed coati and a patagonium cavy died after veterinary surgeons injected the animals with a medication.

Speaking to Media animal rights activists said the ring tailed coati died around two days ago while the patagonium cavy died about a week ago. "The ring tailed coati had a problem with its leg. But after the veterinary surgeon injected the animal with medication it died. The patagonium cavy suffered a similar fate," animal rights activists said.

The pair of ring tailed coati and three pairs of patagonium cavy were brought to the zoo from the Praha zoo in the Czech Republic on June 10. The ring tailed male coati is around four years old while the female is around two years old. The male patagonium cavy are between the ages of two to four years old while the females are between three to four years old.

Zoo director Duminda Jayaratne was not available for comment.

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More & More Tiger Terrorists Killed in Wanni Battles

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KILINOCHCHI & WELIOYA : AT LEAST TWENTY-THREE Tiger terrorists were killed and a large number of others reported injured during confrontations erupted between troops operating west of A-9 road and Tiger terrorists Saturday (20) in the general areas west of MANKULAM, NAVADDIKULAM, north of PALAMMODDAI, AKKARAYANKULAM, PANDIVETIKULAM, VANNARIKULAM, PANNAI KANDAMADU and ANDANKULAM in WELIOYA in WANNI frontier.
In the first incident troops confronted a group of Tiger terrorists west of MANKULAM and killed two terrorists who were in the possession of two T-56 weapons along with one radio set and a compass Saturday (20) around 1.30 p.m.
Meanwhile, troops north of PALAMMODDAI area launched an offensive operation to capture a. LTTE trench line ahead of them the same day (20) at about 1.20 p.m.
Two Tiger terrorists were reported killed and four of the other LTTE cadres were injured according to information.
our soldiers were also sustained injuries and evacuated for medical treatment.

One T-56 weapon was recovered during subsequent search operations.
In NAVADDIKULAM area the same day (20) troops stormed a Tiger position and razed one bunker injuring two terrorists.
In another confrontation in PALAMMODDAI area Saturday (20) troops after observing a terrorist movement launched an attack killing five of Tiger terrorists in the thick jungle at about 2.10 p.m.
One T-56 weapon was recovered in the incident.

In the meantime, troops in the general AKKARAYANKULAM area overran a Tiger strong point killing one terrorist Saturday (20) around 2.35 p.m.
Troops suffered no injuries in the incident.

Two more confrontations erupted in PANDIVETIKULAM and VANNARIKULAM areas reported five terrorists killed Saturday (20) during day time.
One soldier was also injured and evacuated for medical treatment.

Meanwhile, in another fierce fire fight in PANNAIKANDAMADU area the same day (20) one valiant soldier sacrificed his life at about 5.50 p.m.

In VANNARIKULAM Saturday (20) troops repulsed several LTTE attempts to breach the security lines by killing at least three terrorists and injuring four more around 10.30 a.m.
Tiger terrorists launched a heavy mortar fire on to the confronted area after the incident.
Three soldiers received fatal injuries due to the mortar fire and succumbed to injuries on admission to hospital.
Meanwhile, troops operating in WELIOYA confronted LTTE terrorists in the general ANDANKULAM area and killed at least seven Tiger terrorists while injuring a large number of other cadres Saturday (20) during day time.

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President Wijetunga's funeral on Thursday

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The cremation of former President D.B.Wijetunga who passed away today morning will take place on September 25, Thursday at the Getambe public playgrounds.

Mr. Wijetunga's remains will be placed in Parliament on September 25 and would be taken to directrly to Getambe for the cremation which takes place in the evening.

The funeral committee said that until 25th the body will remain at his Pilimathalawa residence.

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Another complainant in torture case shot dead - AHRC

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Prompt enquiries from a competent and independent special police unit needs to be conducted into to the assassination of Siyaguna Kosgodage Anton Sugath Nishantha Fernando, says the Asian Human Rights Commission.

Fernando was a complainant in a torture case before of the Supreme Court and a bribery case before the High Court against several police officers attached to the Negombo Police Station, AHRC said in a statement.

Nishantha Fernando, who had made complaints of torture and bribery against a senior police officer and several other police officers, was shot dead today, 20th September 2008, at Dalupotha junction, Negombo.

He was shot at around 10 a.m. and was rushed to the Negombo hospital where he has been pronounced dead.

He was driving his van accompanied by his 11 year old son when two persons travelling on a motorbike came from behind and shot him.

The assassin fell from the motorbike but managed to remount and then and then fled towards Chilaw.

Fortunately, the son was unharmed.

Nishantha Fernando had repeatedly complained to the Inspector General of Police and all local authorities, including the Attorney General, the National Police Commission (NPC) and the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and also to the bribery commission, about the constant threats he had been receiving of assassination of himself and his family.

On the 23rd of June 2008 four men, believed to be hired by the police, arrived at his house and told him to withdraw the fundamental rights complaint currently pending before the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, stating that if within 24 hours he did not do so , he and his family would be assassinated.

He and his family immediately went into hiding and informed the all the relevant authorities of the threat.

The Asian Human Rights Commission also published the story of the threats widely.

He returned to his home after a long period in hiding only recently.

The initial complaint of Nishantha Fernando was against police inspector Mahagamage Dharmadasa for soliciting a bribe of 5,000 rupees (about 46 USD). The Bribery Commission inquired into the matter and filed a prosecution before the High Court of Colombo, bearing number Bribery/1658/2006.

Following the arrest of policemen, about 12 police officers from Negombo attacked the whole family (wife and two children) and seriously injured them.

Thereafter Nishantha Fernando was brought to the Negombo Police Station and further tortured.

A case bearing number SCFR.446/07 was filed against twelve police officers in Negombo regarding this assault.

The Supreme Court granted leave proceed in the case.

Now the case is before the Supreme Court for its final hearing.

Nishantha Fernando and his family had taken all the precautions for their safety and asked all the authorities to provide protection for him and his family.

The Inspector General of Police has written back to the human rights organisations saying that inquiries were being conducted into this matter.

However, this daylight killing of the complainant of a torture case and a bribery case clearly indicates the utter negligence of the police authorities in protecting him.

Despite of two cases pending before the Supreme Court and the High Court, none of the police officers were transferred from the police station and thus they were placed in an advantageous position to take their revenge from a citizen who had dared to complain against them.

In the earlier case of Gerald Perera, a torture victim who was due to give evidence before the High Court against a sub inspector of police and several other police officers who were formally attached to the Negombo Police Station, was shot dead while travelling on a bus.

The sub inspector and another lay accomplice have been charged with murder in that case, and several of the police officers have, on their own, given voluntary confessions to the Magistrate at Wattala about what they knew about the murder.

However, in the torture case against the police officers, they were all acquitted by the High Court Judge, who, while holding that the torture took place at the Wattala Police Station, acquitted the accused as there was no eyewitness to the torture.

The Sri Lankan government has agreed with the Human Rights Council to enact a witness protection.

The Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights introduced this act several months back to the parliament.

However, it has not been passed.

There is no statutory authority take prompt action in order to deal with the request by witnesses who complained about threats to their lives.

There is a callous disregard to all such requests which virtually creates confidence in errant police officers to take revenge their opponents in this manner, AHRC said.

The responsibility for providing witness protection is with the Inspector General of Police but there is nothing on record to show that he has not acted in a manner to encourage attacks on the witnesses.

There is fear now, quite legitimate under the circumstances, that the inquiry into this murder will be hushed up.

There are so many ways of sabotaging inquiry into murders in which the alleged suspects are the police.

The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the Inspector General of Police to initiate prompt and effective investigation into this matter with a special team of competent and impartial police officers.

Leaving the investigation to the Negombo police station or to any of the higher authorities of the police in charge of this area would mean to give opportunity to tamper with evidence and to destroy the possibility of prosecution in this case.

The higher authorities of police in the Negombo area were aware of the cases before the Supreme Court and the High Court against the police officers and about the complaints made by Nishantha Fernando and his family of threats to their lives.

However, these authorities did nothing to protect him.

Therefore to leave the inquiries in the hands of these persons would not create a belief that a credible and an impartial inquiry will be held into this case.

We also urge the United Nations Rapporteurs on Torture and on Extra-judicial Killings and all other relevant mechanisms to take up this case as a matter of priority and demand a proper inquiry into this killing, AHRC said.

We also urge the local human rights community and the media to take up this matter as it raises fundamental issues regarding protection of human rights in Sri Lanka.

We also urge the international human rights organisations to proactively pursue this case, AHRC added.

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Man with many complaints against police shot dead

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A businessman who had lodged several complaints against officers of the Negombo police station was shot dead at 10 am yesterday while driving his van past the Dalupota junction, in Negombo.

Sugath Nishantha Fernando, 36, was with his 11-year-old son at the time of the killing. According to eyewitnesses, two men on a motorcycle had come up from behind and fired at Mr. Fernando. The victim was rushed to hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival. His son escaped unharmed.

Human rights monitors are demanding an immediate and impartial inquiry. It is understood that Mr. Fernando had made a series of complaints of torture and bribery against the police, naming a senior police officer and several other police officers.

Complaints of repeated death threats made to Mr. Fernando and his family were filed with the IGP, the Attorney General, the National Police Commission (NPC), the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, and the Bribery Commission. Mr. Fernando’s family said that no action had been taken in response to the complaints.

According to complaints filed, a group of police officers attached to the Negombo police visited Mr. Fernando at his home on June 28 this year and threatened him to withdraw a fundamental rights complaint that is pending in the Supreme Court. The family reported the matter to the relevant authorities and went into hiding. It was only recently that Mr. Fernando emerged from hiding and returned to his home in Negombo.

In September 2004, Mr. Fernando made a complaint to the Bribery Commission against SI Mahagamage Dharmadasa, who was the then Crime OIC of the Negombo police.

That same month, Mr. Fernando lodged another complaint, this time to the National Police Commission, in respect of the sale of a lorry on allegedly forged documents by the officer in charge of the Kochchikade police station.

In December 2005, Mr. Fernando opened a food outlet in Dalupotha, but closed it later because the business was running at a loss. One of the food outlet employees, Dharmalingun Yogeswaran, complained to the police that Mr. Fernando had forcibly taken Rs. 4,000 from him.

Later that month, Mr. Fernando met the DIG Western Province and gave him a statement in which he denied allegations made against him.

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Harry dominates DCSL annual meeting

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The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Harry Jayawardena-controlled Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka (DCSL) held on Thursday saw Mr Jayawardena, Chairman DCSL, berating a shareholder and threatening to expose him, shareholders who were present at the AGM, said.

"A shareholder by the name of 'Mr. Theagarajah' raised a question asking why the DCSL directors do not hold shares of DCSL in their personal capacity. This angered Mr. Jayawardena,” one shareholder said. He said that Mr. Jayawardena had asked Mr. Theagarajah why he was repeating this question. "He said things to the effect of, ‘This question has been asked many times. You are having an agenda. You are a professional and as a professional you should not be asking such questions. You have an agenda (in asking this question). If you keep on asking this I will have to come out with things about you'," the shareholder quoted the DCSL chief as saying. He said the AGM saw Mr. Jayawardene being arrogant – at most times - to the shareholders. Independent verification of what transpired at the meeting was not possible as Mr Jayawardene was not available for comment.

Before the meeting began, a minute’s silence was observed in memory of former DCSL Chairman Dr. V.P. Vittachi, who died last week. Mr. Jayawardena in his review contained in the annual report has said that several persons filed two fundamental rights applications in the Supreme Court challenging the sale of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) in which the judgment is pending. "Your company has defended these allegations rigorously through an eminent team of legal luminaries," he has said. DCSL which is Sri Lanka’s dominant hard liquor manufacturer with investments in diverse businesses has posted a consolidated net profit of Rs.1.15 billion in first quarter 2009, down by 16% compared to Rs.1.37 billion in the same period last year.

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Lankan expert to address international shipping conference

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Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, Chairman/Chief Executive – Aitken Spence Maritime and Director - Aitken Spence Group, has been invited to present a paper on “State Owned Port Operators – The Way Forward” at the 3rd Southern Asia International Ports, Logistics and Shipping Conference which will be held in Mumbai on September 25 and 26, his office said.

Dr. Dissanayake who has authored numerous articles on Marketing, Ports and Shipping related subjects, has played a pioneering role in developing commercial maritime education in Sri Lanka through the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers in his capacity as the founder Secretary and subsequently Chairman. He is former Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority and Jaya Container Terminals and past Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and has served on the UN/UNCTAD panel as an expert on Ports and Shipping.

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Tilak gets long service award from AMW

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Picture shows Mr Ajita De Zoysa (left) handing over the award to his younger brother Mr Tilak De Zoysa.

Chairman-designate and Managing Director of the Associated Motorways PLC Tilak De Zoysa was recently recognized with a long service award for 30 years service by the outgoing Chairman of the group Ajita De Zoysa at a ceremony held at the company.

Other award recipients were Deputy Managing Director Ranjan De Silva, Personnel Manager Marcus Liyanage for 20 and 30 years service along with 10 other employees.

Besides this children of staff who have excelled day the year 2007 for academic co-curricular and extra activities also received merit awards for excellence in their respective areas.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Former President D.B.Wijetunga passed away

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Former President D.B.Wijetunga passed away in this morning [21] at the Kandy Hospital .
Dingiri Banda Wijetunga was born on February 15, 1916 in Kandy .
Wijetunga was born to a middle class Sinhala Buddhist family living on the outskirts of the then Udunuwara Parliamentary seat in the Kandy District of the Central Province in Sri Lanka. On completion of his secondary education he joined the Co-operative Department as an Inspector.
He closely associated with veteran politicians like George E. de Silva and A. Ratnayake. A. Ratnayake who was then Minister of Food and Co-operatives in the D.S. Senanayake Cabinet took him as his Private Secretary.
He joined the United National Party in 1946. He entered Parliament for the first time when he successfully contested the Udunuwara electorate at the 1965 general election and quickly made a reputation for himself as an excellent Member of Parliament who constantly worked for the welfare of his electors. In terms of meeting the needs of his constituents, he was considered the most effective MP in that Parliament.

He lost the Udunuwara electorate in 1970 but was returned to Parliament in the 1977 UNP landslide, being appointed Cabinet Minister of Information and Broadcasting in the J.R. Jayewardene administration. During this regime Wijetunga functioned in various ministerial capacities holding the portfolios of Posts and Telecommunication, Power, Highways and Agricultural Development.

He served briefly as the Governor of North Western province in 1988 before returning to Parliamentary politics a few months later. In the last general election he contested he secured the largest number of votes in the Central Province.
Wijetunga was surprisingly appointed Prime Minister in 1989 by President Ranasinghe Premadasa.He was the 10th Prime Minister of Sri Lanka . Party heavyweights such as Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Athulathmudali were overlooked apparently because the President favoured a deputy who had no further political ambitions. He also held the Ministries of Finance and Labour and Vocational Training in addition to being the State Minister of Defence in the Premadasa administration.

As Prime Minister Wijetunga performed the role expected of him by the President to perfection, playing second fiddle to the charismatic Premadasa. Within the party however there was a simmering winter of discontent, as cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament found themselves powerless as the iron-fisted President used wide executive authority to centralize power to his office.

The former Prime Ministerial aspirants and arch rivals Dissanayake and Athulathmudali united to lead an abortive attempt to impeach the President. Both of them were expelled from the party and consequently lost their Parliamentary seats.

Athulathmudali was shot dead in April 1993 while campaigning for the Provincial Council elections. The killing provoked widespread protests against the government and allegations were hurled at the President for complicity in the assassination. A week later President Premadasa was also murdered in Colombo on May Day 1993 in a suicide bombing widely considered to be an act of the Tamil Tigers). Wijetunga became acting President till Parliament convened to elect a successor to the slain President in terms of the Constitution.

The amiable Wijetunga was elected unanimously by Parliament to complete the remainder of Premadasa's term. The humble Kandyan farmer was sworn in as the fourth executive President of the country on May 7, 1993.

In a moving farwell speech to Parliament Wijetunga cited Shakespeare's oft-quoted line "Do not be afraid of greatness, Some men are born great, Some achieve greatness, And some have greatness thrust upon them."

As president, Wijetunga set about his work in his own simplistic, inimitable fashion. After the authoritarian Premadasa, Wijetunga ushered in a more political free era.

His rule also coincided with the rise of Chandrika Kumaratunga within the ranks of the SLFP. For some of the elite the daughter of two Prime Ministers was a refreshing contrast to the humble village peasant in President Wijetunga.

His rather hawkish approach to the ethnic conflict also made him unpopular especially among the minorities who traditionally backed his party.

After a decisive defeat in the Southern Provincial Council Election in 1994, he dissolved parliament in August that year, in a desperate bid to stem the rising wave of popularity of Chandrika Kumaratunga.

However his party was defeated in the hustings and Wijetunga graciously appointed Kumaratunga as Prime Minister. Even though under the constitution, Wijetunga was bestowed with wide powers, he wisely chose not to exercise much authority, letting the Prime Minister manage the affairs of the country.

He relinquished office in November 1994 after Kumaratunga was elected President by an unprecedented majority.

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Former Prewsident D.B.Wijetunga passed away

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Former President D.B.Wijetunga passed away in this morning at the Kandy Hospital.He was 93 .

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20 feared killed so far in Pakistan blast

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At least 20 people are feared killed so far following a huge explosion at the Marriott hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan a short while ago. The death toll is expected to rise. Several foreigners among the casualties. Several still trapped.

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Jayasundara to finance ministry through the back door!

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There is a move to appoint Mr. P.B. Jayasundra, who resigned from the post of Secretary to the Finance Ministry and the Treasury, to the Ministry of Finance as an advisor say reports. Mr. Jayasundara was fined by the Supreme Court when it was found that he was involved in an unscrupulous deal when Marine Services Ltd. that belonged to Ceylon Petroleum Corporation was privatized during the UNP regime. Mr. Jayasundara was the Chairman of PERC at the time of the transaction.

As holding a high post in the government is immoral Mr. Jayasundara tendered his resignation on 29th July. However the President without accepting his resignation took him to two international ceremonies as a representative of the country.

However, when several civil organizations were making arrangements to take legal action Mr. Jayasundara's resignation was accepted and now, according to reports, is to be appointed as an advisor to the Ministry of Finance. A senior minister of the government speaking to media said Mr. Jayasundara could be appointed as an advisor on the authority vested on the President and there was no legal obstacle for such an appointment.

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SriLankan Airlines increases passenger convenience through On-Line Check-In

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SriLankan Airlines has been systematically introducing its On-Line Check-In system throughout its route network, significantly improving the level of passenger convenience prior to departure.

On-Line Check-In (OLCI) affords passengers the luxury of checking themselves in through the Internet, long before they reach the airport, and entirely avoiding troublesome queues at Check-In Counters.

SriLankan introduced OLCI at its hub in Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport, last December. Since then, eight of its overseas stations have launched the facility.

Capt. Milinda Ratnayake, Head of Service Delivery, said the target is to provide this facility in every one of 41 destinations as quickly as possible, so that all the SriLankan passengers can enjoy a higher level of convenience.

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We are ready to face any challenge, says Ceylon Petroleum Corporation chairman

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Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) says if any one in Sri Lanka wants to seek the Supreme Court assistance to obtain the advantage of current fuel price reduction in the world market, they are ready to face it. Reacting to Sri Lanka's main Opposition United National Party’s (UNP) announcement, Chairman of the CPC Asantha De Mel said these types of announcements are made by the parties who don’t have any knowledge on the fuel crisis.

UNP parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayaka yesterday said that his party will take legal action against the government for not granting the advantage of fuel price reduction in the world market to the country.

The CPC has been pressured by the public as well as politicians to cut prices as global prices came down recently.

De Mel stressed that the Corporation is not in a position to reduce the fuel prices within this month as the oil is bought on a monthly price and daily fluctuation of price in the world market does not have an immediate effect.

According to the CPC chairman the Corporation is selling a liter of diesel at 110 rupees with a loss of 5 rupees. The main opposition however says that a liter of petrol can be sold at Rs. 91.50 and a liter of diesel at Rs. 77.

Sri Lanka’s politicians use the rising fuel prices as a political tool to sway masses in their favor.

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Sri Lanka Interim Cricket Head's brother to be appointed as the national team manager

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Sri Lankan cricket officials are considering to appoint Nishantha Ranatunga as the Manager of the national cricket team and seeking his willingness.

Nishantha Ranatunga was a former national cricket player who played only two one day internationals for Sri Lanka. He is the younger brother of Sri Lanka Cricket Interim Committee Chief Arjuna Ranatunga.

Currently Sri Lanka national cricket team does not have a permanent manager and under the instruction of the Sport Minister Gamini Lokuge a manager is appointed for each tour.

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Expo Fisheries Sri Lanka 2008 - National Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Exhibition 2008

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The Expo Fisheries Sri Lanka 2008, first ever international fisheries industry exhibition to be held in Sri Lanka is being organised from 7-9 November 2008 at the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre (SLECC), Colombo, Sri Lanka.


The Expo Fisheries Sri Lanka 2008 will provide an opportunity to promote local and foreign manufacturers, technology, equipment and accessories. New Fish processing methods, latest hygienic methods related to this industry, packaging and storage technology together with and Know-how both in the local and foreign markets will be introduced.

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RP, Ind’sia, Lanka to blacklist abusive employers in Jordan

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Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia -- the three Asian countries sending household service workers (HSWs) here -- have agreed to share information on abusive employers and put them on a common blacklist, Philippine Ambassador to Jordan Julius Torres said.

Torres, who has been ambassador here since April, said he is inclined to have the ban lifted -- with conditions. He said negotiations between Philippine and Jordan authorities are ongoing so that the ban will be lifted.

"A few months after I arrived, I already recommended the lifting of the ban" because it does not solve the problem of maltreatment or abuse of employers, he said.

Torres admitted that the deployment of Filipino house helpers to Jordan continues despite the ban which took effect January this year. He said 5,000 Filipino HSWs have come to Jordan since then.

"Hindi ito screen kundi bintanang nakabukas (The ban is not a screen but an open window)," he said.

Torres said the sharing of information among the three countries is part of the measures taken by the embassy so that the deployment ban will be lifted by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration's governing body.

"So those employers who have a record of, for instance, maltreating or not paying the salary of a Sri Lankan household service worker will not be able to hire a Filipino or an Indonesian kasambahay (house help)," he said.

At the same time, the ambassador said the job market here for other types of work for expatriates is just opening up.

"We have direct recruits for workers in hotels, shops, groceries, and banquet halls," he said.

Earlier, vice consul and third secretary Jeffrey Salik said that of the 100,000 HSWs here, 30,000 are Filipinos.

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Lanka battles kill 26 rebels, 1 soldier

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Government soldiers and Tamil Tiger rebels fought a series of battles across Sri Lanka - 's war-ravaged northern region, killing 26 rebels and one soldier, the military said Saturday.
Fighting on the Indian Ocean island has escalated in recent weeks with government forces sweeping deep into rebel-held territory, capturing insurgent bases and threatening to overrun the Tamil Tigers' administrative capital at Kilinochchi.

The latest infantry clashes took place Friday along the front lines in Vavuniya, Kilinochchi, Welioya and Jaffna districts, a military statement said.

Soldiers killed 13 guerrillas in three separate clashes in Vavuniya, while in Kilinochchi nine rebels were killed, it said.

Troops destroyed a rebel bunker in Welioya after a clash that killed three insurgents and wounded 22 more, the military said.

A rebel mortar attack and booby trap explosions in Welioya killed one soldier and wounded five more.

Another rebel was killed in the northern Jaffna peninsula, the statement said.

With most communication with the northern areas cut, rebel military spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not be reached for comment.

Independent verification of the fighting and casualties was not possible because most journalists are banned from the war zone. Both sides have been accused of exaggerating enemy casualties and underreporting their own.

The rebels have been fighting for an independent state in the north and east since 1983, following decades of marginalization of ethnic Tamils by governments dominated by the Sinhalese majority. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

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Court orders to arrest suspects in Kottawa shooting episode

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The judiciary ruled that there is no reason to justify the incident where an army motorcycle squad fired at a speeding van in Kottawa on September 09th, killing the driver.

Homagama Additional District Court Judge, Ranga Wimalasena directed the Homagama HQI on September 17th to produce all suspects of the case before courts two days later.

On receiving a call through 119, the army motorcycle squad that was operating in the area has chased and shot at a van that had not stopped at a police checkpoint in Kottawa Town, Police Spokesperson SSP Ranjith Gunasekara said.

The driver of the van had succumbed to his injuries following the shooting, he added.

He was identified as W. Wimaladharma (35), a father of two, working as a driver of the ‘Studio 300’ in Peliyagoda.

Police had received information that the van was abducting a lady, but on searching the van after the shooting, no one else was found.

In his statement, the Army Lance Corporal who had initially shot at the vehicle said that the van had knocked down one of the bikes of their squad, who were returning after duty.

As the van continued to speed ahead, the motorbike squad had given chase and shot at it, he added.

However, a couple in a motor bike traveling 200m ahead of the van as well as two SLA personnel of the bike squad were also injured as the bullets were sprayed rather than being aimed at the van’s tyres.

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Fighting conitnue in Wanni

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VAVUNIYA & WELIOYA: TROOPS ADVANCING towards north of PALAMODDAI, VAVUNIYA had a series of confrontations with the LTTE terrorists during Friday (19) and were able to kill at least twelve terrorists while injuring five more.

Meanwhile, troops killed four terrorists in two other confrontations in PUVARASANKULAM and NAVATKULAM areas during the morning hours of the same day.

More over troops operating in ANDANKULAM area in the WELIOYA sector killed three terrorists and wounded at least eighteen more during their confrontations with LTTE terrorists on Friday (19). One bunker captured and twenty anti personnel mines recovered. One brave soldier had to sacrifice his life and five others sustain injuries.

Further more in two other incidents in the same area three soldiers were wounded due to enemy mortar fire and improvised explosive device explosion (IED) on the same day.

SOLDIERS OPERATING in KILALY area attack and killed one terrorist around 2.30 p.m. on Friday (19).

Meanwhile, troops were able to recover one Rocket Propeller Gun (RPG), one T- 56 weapon with a magazine, three detonators and a Global Positioning System (GPS) from MADUVIL north in a search operation conducted in the afternoon on Friday (19). Two soldiers were wounded due to booby trap explosion during the search.

Troops serving VAKARAI west conducted a search operation in THONITATTAMADU around 5.15 p.m. on Friday (19) were able to recover seven 152 mm high explosive artillery shells and artillery equipments such as one trail wheel, one equilibrator, one tool box, two seals, four cleaning rods, one oxygen cylinder and one sight box.

In PALAMPATAR, MUTTUR town area, in a search operation police found five 60 mm mortar rounds, five 60 mm mortar chargers and ten hand grenades around 2.30 p.m. on Friday (19).

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Army Commander Reviews Security Situation in Yala

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Commander Of the Army Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka accompanied by a few senior officers of the Army Headquarters, flew to Yala Saturday (20) morning in a bid to review the security situation in the area.

Commander, Area Headquarters Hambantota, Colonel Devinda Perera received the Army Commander on his arrival at the airstrip.

Arrangements in force to ensure security in the area and adjoining villages were discussed at length during the meeting held at the Area Headquarters auditorium.

Senior officers of the Army and the Police including senior DIG, D.W. Prathapasinghe responsible for the security in the area attended the meeting.

Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka gave further instructions on future security arrangements before turning back to Colombo the same day (20).

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All set to welcome Wanni civilians

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President Mahinda Rajapaksa has directed officials to provide all facilities and essentials to civilians from Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts entering cleared areas.

Prior to his departure from the island to attend the 63rd United Nations sessions in New York, President Rajapaksa directed the relevant officials to provide food, pharmaceuticals and other essentials to these two districts and to those arriving in Vavuniya.

President Rajapaksa also thanked the officials, for the provision of essentials to the people of the Mullaitivu district, nine months ago, when the INGO's on LTTE's orders had left the region.



On the advice of Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa and in coordination with the World Health Organisation (WHO), a programme has been already formulated to distribute around 4,700 MT of food items to the masses of the Kilinochchi and the Mullaitivu districts, with immediate effect.

WHO representative in Sri Lanka Mohamed Salhim, Essential Services Commissioner General S.B. Divarathna and Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa are in close consultation to dispatch a consignment of these food items to Vavuniya by trucks and to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of the districts of Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi.

They are also to meet the Wanni Army Commander next week in this regard.

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MI-24 helicopter gun-ships launched effective air assaults at 2 LTTE strong-points

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Air force MI-24 helicopter gun-ships launched effective air assaults at 2 LTTE strong-points located 3km Northwest of Vannerikkulama in Kilinochchi, Friday (Sep 19), at around 7.45 p.m.

According to Air force sources, the targets were taken in support of the advancing troops of the 58 Division.

Meanwhile, Air Force personnel engaged in search operations in general area Kandalkadu, Trincomalee have reportedly uncovered a haul of military items yesterday.

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Two injured in a shooting in Aturugiriya

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Two persons were shot and injured by three unknown persons in a bike bearing a forged number plate at around 9am near a pawn shop at Arangala junction in Athurugiriya.

The injured were admitted to the hospital immediately, police said.

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Two dead after being attacked by wild elephants

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Two deaths were reported in Rahman town in Ampara after wild elephants attacked the town last night, Damana police said.

Last Saturday also a death was reported following attacks by wild elephants.

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Two youths killed in Negambo and Kotahena

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Two youths have been shot dead at separate incidents in Kotahena and Negambo today by unidentified gunmen, police said.

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TMVP cadre shot dead

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A TMVP cadre was shot dead in Batticaloa last night. Police said another cadre was also injured in the shooting.

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Dr. Johnpulle seeking Rs. 50 mn as compensation

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Well known physician Dr. Raja Johnpulle filed a fundamental rights application in the Supreme Court yesterday seeking Rs. 50 million as compensation for the damage caused to his house and property allegedly by UPFA supporters under the protection of police.

Dr. Johnpulle cited North Central Province Chief Minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake, IGP Jayantha Wicremaratne, MP Duminda Dissanayake, the Anuradhapura Fire Brigade Chief, Anuradhapura DIG, Anuradhapura OIC, several senior police officers attached to the Anuradhapura Police Division and supporters of the Chief Minister as respondents.

The petitioner asked the Supreme Court to direct the Attorney General to charge the respondent police officers under the Police Ordinance for the cowardly act they carried out by giving protection to the violent mob who looted and destroyed his house and property worth more than Rs. 40 million.

He asked court to direct the National Police Commission to deem the respondents unfit to hold any office in the Police Department and that none of them should be considered for any promotions.

Dr. Johnpulle said he as a physician was involved in dignified career and was a respectful and well known person among the people in Anuradhapura.

During the period of the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial council elections on August 20, 2008 at about 2.00 pm an unknown person called him on phone and threatened him with death. He also said the man threatened that all his properties would be destroyed.Subsequently he had contacted the Anuradhapura DIG by telephone and informed about the threats. He had guaranteed his safety but he did not take any action to protect him or his properties. After that Dr. Johnpulle had informed about the call to the Opposition Leader, Election Commissioner, Elections DIG Gamini Nawarathna and the Inspector General of Police.

Around 3.15 pm on the same day he and his staff had heard a large crowd coming from the direction of the Anuradhapura town heading towards Kadapanaha area in a violent manner. The front line of the said array was comprised with Motor cycles and there were some police officers coming with them.

Among these cyclists, around 50 Motor Cycles stopped near his gate and some of these cyclists were with their faces covered and had weapons including guns, swords and clubs on their hands.

Some of these men climbed the parapet wall and started destroying the cut out which, displayed a picture of the UNP Chief Ministerial candidate Janaka Perera and when he objected one of the persons dealt a blow on him with a club.

Subsequently he and his staff had to run away to protect their lives while the rioters continued to damage the properties by throwing stones and clubs at his house. Whilst the unruly mob proceeded to damage the house the police officers who came with them kept watching with no resistance and in fact they were giving protection to the mob.

At this moment all the attempt to contact the Head quarter police station Anuradhapura and the DIG failed as the telephones and cellular phones were switched off.

In the meantime, extra units of Police officers had come to the scene but they had done nothing to prevent the incident and were watching the the crime without any resistance.Dr. Johnpulle complained that eye witnesses had given evidence that Chief Minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake and his son, MP Duminda Dissanayake and Kithsiri Ganganath Coordinating Secretary attached to Presidential secretariat were present when the rioters were on the rampage.

However when he came back the day after the incident he found the house completely destroyed with nothing left in it as all ten rooms of the house along with the house hold goods the valuables and the precious souvenirs that were collected over decades were all brought down to ashes. It was further saddening to see that all the vehicles belong to him and some belonging to the patients too were completely destroyed.

On the same date, Dr, Johnpulle had complained to the police about the incident that took place right in front of the eyes of the Anuradhapura Police however up to date any kind of proper investigation had not been done and the Police had taken five days to report the facts to the Magistrates court.

According to the report Anuradhapura police have failed to take statements from victims of this crime and failed to arrest any suspect who has committed this offence though named. Further the Anuradhapura OIC who reported fact to court on August 25 failed to report of the discovery of the four live hand grenades that were found out side the compound and the two Bomb blasts that took place the following day inside the compound of the house.

In an affidavit an eye witness had stated that Anuradhapura HQI and other police officers acted in a cowardice manner encouraging the arson and the mischief that were committed in a capricious and arbitrary manner in violation of the provisions of the Police Ordinance.

The petitioner said under the Police ordinance, a police officer who shall be guilty of cowardice are liable even with imprisonment.

He said the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution was infringed and asked court to award a compensation of Rs. 50 million.

He also asked court to issue an interim order to direct the AG to oversee and direct the investigations in this matter and to charge the Respondents who are police officers under the Police Ordinance for cowardice and or any other provisions of law.

The petition was settled by Upul Jayasuriya and Madhubashana Ariyadasa.

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Security beefed up in Pottuvil

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Security was tightened in Pottuvil after the sudden death of a Muslim youth who was being held in the Monaragala remand prison, police said.

The victim 24-year-old A. Saleem and 18 others were arrested by the Pottuvil police two weeks ago while cutting firewood in a forest at Etimale in Potuvil.The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress which expressed concern over the killing alleged that the victim had been beaten to death by the police. SLMC General Secretary Hassan Ali said that the police had allegedly forced him to admit that he was involved with the LTTE.

Mr. Ali said the victim had only gone to the forest to cut firewood for his livelihood when he was arrested by the police. “Forcing one to agree to their point to justify their conduct has been a usual practice with the police,” he said.

He said the victim had been killed during an interrogation carried out by the police while he was in prison

The SLMC General Secretary said the party had advised mosque authorities in the area to provide information on the killing to them after which the matter would be taken up with the government.

Pottuvil police Inspector Sena Suraweera said 19 people including Saleem were arrested for cutting firewood illegally. They had been remanded by the courts later. Mr. Suraweera said he had fainted while in prison and was admitted to the Monaragala Hospital where he had died.

Police said the suspects were arrested on suspicion that they were supplying food to the LTTE cadres who were hiding in the forest.

Meanwhile Police Spokesman Ranjith Gunasekera said he had not received any report about such an incident.

Judicial Medical Officer Dr. Chandana Kumara who carried out the post mortem decided to send parts of the body to the Government Analyst.

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Lankan on board hijacked ship

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Somali pirates hijacked a cargo ship with at least one Sri Lankan on board, the African Press Agency (APA) reported yesterday.
Among the crew members on board the cargo ship, the Great Creation, were Chinese and a Sri Lankan.

"It was hijacked on Wednesday but its name was known only today and we are continuing to receive more details about the incident," the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said. It said 55 ships were hijacked off the Somali pirate-infested waters since last January.

The increasing numbers of Somali pirates have been attacking commercial and aid ships in the Gulf of Aden off Somali coast that has made Somali waters among the most dangerous in the world.

Meanwhile IMB officials said a Hong Kong cargo ship Centauri en route to Kenya with 25 Pilipino crew members was hijacked off the country’s coast on Thursday.

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Dew alleged violations of election laws and certain irregularities that took place during the August 23 North Central Provincial Council elections.

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A delegation of government and opposition parties yesterday brought to the notice of Constitutional Affairs Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara alleged violations of election laws and certain irregularities that took place during the August 23 North Central Provincial Council elections.

Minister Gunasekara who is also Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to submit proposals to amend the 17th Amendment told Daily Mirror that opposition parties including the UNP, the JVP and some constituent parties of the government alleged that election officials had only allowed SLFP representatives to be present at the counting of preferential votes.

He said this was a serious allegation against the credibility of the election results as well as the impartiality of election officials. “The members of the opposition and the government allies told me they were barred from entering the counting centre at Anuradhapura. They told me about irregularities during the counting of the postal votes. It is surprising the result of postal voting of the Anuradhapura District has not been announced through the electronic media up to now,” Minister Gunasekara said.

He said he brought matter to the notice of the Electoral reforms Sub Committee Chairman Dinesh Gunawardana and wrote to Election Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake.

“We have to make sure there will be no loopholes in the new election laws. The most appropriate way to introduce new laws is through the Parliamentary Sub Committee on Election Reforms,’ Mr. Gunasekera stressed.

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Rupavahini assault case

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The CID told Colombo Chief Magistrate's Court that they have yet to complete the investigations into the Rupavahini Corporation incident where Minister Mervyn Silva had allegedly entered the Rupavahini Corporation premises and allegedly assaulted the News Director T. M. G. Chandrasekera.

Sergeant Wasala Wijeratne of the CID told Additional Magistrate Kumari Abeyratne that they had identified certain persons who were eye witnesses and the Police Division had taken steps to record their statements.

He requested court to grant a date to file the report. During the Magisterial inquiry the suspect Mestriyage Don Upul Nuwan Gunathilake alias Kudu Nuwan was not present in court. Counsel Anton Senanayake appearing for the suspect informed the Magistrate the suspect was in remand custody in connection with another case.

The CID asked the Magistrate to issue them a copy of the remand order. The magistrate fixed the case for November 14 and ordered the CID to file the report on that date.

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Magistrate orders UNP PCM to surrender

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The Ratnapura additional magistrate M.M.M. Mihail issued an open order at the Kalawana Circuit Court directing Hasitha Samantha the UNP member of the Sabaragamuwa provincial council to surrender to court within a month.

He is wanted by the police in connection with an incident of killing and assault.

The magistrate also directed the order be publicised over loudspeakers in the area and also to paste a copy of the order on the wall of the house which Hasith Samantha last occupied.

If the PC member does not surrender to court the judge said that his assets should be taken into court custody.

The order was issued by the Magistrate in response to a B-report by the Kalawana police under section 61 of the criminal procedure code.

According to the police B-report filed in court the councilor is suspected in connection with the murder of Jayasuriya Bandara a CTB depot inspector of Paragala, Ayagama and assault on K.H. Kusumpala a conductor and Sadun Nishantha Senanayake a driver of Weddagala, Kalawana.

The suspect was absconding, police has told court.

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Former Mayor imposed suspended term and fine

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The former Mayor of Kandy, Kesara Dahamsonda Senanayake was sentenced to one-year rigorous imprisonment suspended for five years and fined Rs. 200,000 in default six months imprisonment for committing a monetary loss to the government by using public funds to go to Singapore with his wife instead of attending a conference and a work shop for Mayors in Taipei, Taiwan for which the money was given.

The Colombo Chief Magistrate Nishantha Hapuarachchi yesterday (18) delivering his judgment found the accused guilty on two counts of committing a monetary loss of Rs. 185,185.56 to the government and for intentionally defrauding the government of the said sum of money.The Commission to Investigate into Allegations of Corruption or Bribery framed charges against the accused after an open inquiryat the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court.

The Commission filed charges against Kesara Senanayake for abusing his office as the mayor and committing the offence. The complaint stated that he being the mayor of Kandy was invited by the organizers in Taipei to attend the Conference and the workshop from April 13 to 15.

The mayor intentionally and knowingly had committed a monetary loss to the government by obtaining financial grants from the Kandy Municipal Council on the pretext of attending the conference and workshop organized for the Mayors of Asia Pacific region in Taipai, Taiwan.

The mayor had gone to Singapore with his wife instead of attending the event.

The defence position was that the mayor went to Singapore to obtain the visa from the Taiwan Embassy. However as there was no Taiwan Embassy in Singapore, he was not able to get the visa to travel to Taiwan.

The mayor had heen hospitalized at a Singapore hospital following an accident. As a result he was unable to attend the conference.

Mr. Kesara Senanayake made a statement from the dock and produced documents to prove his admission in hospital.

The Magistrate delivering his judgment stated that the prosecution had proved their case beyond reasonable doubt and the defence had failed to prove their case as they did not provided secondary evidence to establish their position.

The magistrate observed that the accused had not officially informed the organizers of the conference about his inability to attend the conference and the workshop.

He had neither informed the Taiwan Hotel at which lodging had been arranged for him that he would not come as a result of the accident.

On his return to the country he had not notified the Kandy Municipal Council about the accident nor his non attendance at the conference.

Therefore the magistrate observed that the accused had committed the offence and sentenced him to one years rigorous imprisonment on the first count and imposed a fine of Rs 100,000 on two other counts.

Assistant Director (legal) Asitha Anthony of the Commission prosecuted.

Daya Perera, President Counsel with Sanjaya Gamage and Sampath Mendis appeared for Kesara Senanayake.

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Extra Rs. 40 m requested for FM’s overseas tours

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President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been requested for an extra amount of Rs. 40 million for official overseas tours of Foreign Minister, Rohitha Bogollagama, a senior official of the Presidential Secretariat said.

Grants reserved for official overseas tours of the Foreign Minister under the Budget 2008 have been used up within a few months.

Despite receiving information that the FM has been staying in super luxury hotels during such tours, the President has given initial consent to provide the extra amount of Rs. 40 million, the source further says.

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Rubber cultivation in danger in Kalutara district of Sri Lanka

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Kalutara district, one of the major rubber cultivation districts of Sri Lanka is losing the acreage of rubber lands day by day, statistics point out.

Somarathna Poddeniya, a resident of Agalawaththa says that the three major crape rubber factories of the district are in dilapidated condition now.

Rubber plantations of the district are gradually being replaced by oil palm and tea which earn quicker profits to the growers.

Poddeniya points out that oil palm causes faster evaporation of ground water than rubber and as a result the ground water levels drop sharply in dry seasons. Clearing and plotting of rubber plantations by land sales is also considered another reason for the extinction of rubber cultivation.

According to the reports organic technologies used in rubber plantations slow down soil carbon oxidation and increases carbon fixation and storage protecting the environment while helping the economy.

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Cement companies in Sri Lanka urge the government allow price hikes

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Four main cement suppliers of Sri Lanka urged the government to allow them to raise price of cement with effect from next month.

Cement companies have pointed out that with the escalating world prices they cannot sell the cement at the current market price in the country.

According to the sources in Consumer Affairs Authority the discussions are currently underway in the price control unit regarding the proposal made by the.

However, the cement companies have not mentioned the exact amount of proposed price hike, sources said.

A 50 kg bag of cement currently sells around Rs. 750 in the Sri Lanka market and some importers have suspended importing due to lack of profits.

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Sri Lankan police continue to detain SEP member

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By K. Ratnayake
Sri Lankan police have refused to release Socialist Equality Party (SEP) member Velummailum Kamalthasan and his relative Santhiralingam Ilancheliyan, who have now been held without charge for five days in the Negombo police station lock-up.

The pretext for their detention is to allow the police to make “further inquiries” into any connection to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). As part of the government’s escalating war against the LTTE, the security forces have detained thousands of Tamils as alleged “LTTE suspects” under the country’s draconian anti-terrorism legislation.

Police are continuing to detain the two men despite a letter sent by SEP general secretary Wije Dias to the Inspector General of the Police on Wednesday confirming that Kamalthasan is a party member. While opposing the government’s renewed war, the SEP is well known for its longstanding opposition to the LTTE’s separatist program and to terrorist acts in general.

The SEP and the International Students for Social Equality (ISSE) are urging workers and young people as well as World Socialist Web Site readers to write urgently to the Sri Lankan authorities to demand the immediate and unconditional release of Kamalthasan and Ilancheliyan.

The two men were detained on Monday morning while preparing to travel by bus from Negombo to Colombo. Police checking the bus ordered them out for questioning. Despite producing registration documents issued by their local police stations to confirm their identity, they were taken to Negombo police station.

When contacted by the SEP at the Negombo police station, Head Quarter’s Inspector Somasiri Liyanage at first promised to release the two men if the party could prove Kamalthasan was a member. By Monday evening, however, he had changed his tune. Liyanage and an intelligence branch officer Herath told an SEP representative that as the two men originally came from Jaffna, inquiries would have to be made there about any LTTE links.

The police claim they are waiting on information from the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) and Karainagar police in Jaffna. Negombo police superintendent P.S.K. Vithana bluntly refused to release Kamalthasan and Ilancheliyan, declaring that being an SEP member was not a guarantee of having no connection with the LTTE. He did not attempt to justify this malicious lie.

In speaking to Kamalthasan’s relatives, the police have openly expressed their hostility to the SEP, declaring that the party’s intervention had “spoiled the situation”. In other words, the two men are not being held because of possible connections to the LTTE, but because the SEP demanded their release.

The continued detention of Kamalthasan and Ilancheliyan is a clear case of political victimisation and is illegal. Under Sri Lankan law, police can hold a suspect for 24 hours or, in cases of suspected terrorism or conspiracy against the state, for up to 48 hours. After that period, the police must take any detainee to a magistrate’s court to obtain a remand order. Neither Kamalthasan nor his relatives have been told on what legal basis he is being held or why he has not gone before a court

Kamalthasan joined the SEP in 1998 in Poonahari, where he had fled after being displaced from his hometown of Karainagar. After returning to Karainagar, he attempted to earn a living through fishing and making fibreglass fishing boats, but the navy’s restrictions on fishing made that difficult. Like many others, he went to the Middle East as a migrant worker to support his family.

Kamalthasan returned to Sri Lanka last year and has been staying with relatives in Negombo, just to the north of Colombo. He supports his wife, elderly parents and two sisters, one of whom is sick.

SEP representatives who have spoken to Kamalthasan and Ilancheliyan report that the two men are in good spirits despite the difficult and crowded conditions in the police lock-up. They are being held with three other young Tamils who have been similarly detained.

Since plunging the country back to war in 2006, the government and the security forces have unleashed a campaign of harassment and repression directed particularly against the country’s Tamil minority, but also aimed at any critics of its policies. Arbitrary detentions have been accompanied by hundreds of abductions, “disappearance” and murders by death squads operating with the complicity of the security forces.

The defence ministry announced a further tightening of restrictions on Thursday, with an order for all Tamils from Jaffna, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi, Mullaithivu and Mannar who have been living in Colombo for the past five years to register with the police by tomorrow. Commenting last weekend, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse justified the new “security measure,” declaring that “human control” was necessary.

The SEP and ISSE have launched a campaign for the immediate release of Kamalthasan and Ilancheliyan. We call on our supporters, WSWS readers and all those concerned about deepening attacks on democratic rights to write to the Sri Lankan authorities to demand their freedom.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

US initiatives to boost Sri Lanka's regional economy

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The US Friday announced the launch of a new multi-year initiative, funded by the USAID, to promote economic growth in Sri Lanka's war-ravaged eastern province.

The US embassy said in a statement that the new programme, Connecting Regional Economies (CORE), was designed to increase social and economic security "as part of the US government's integrated strategy to address the root causes of conflict in Sri Lanka".

"By addressing the disparity in economic development between eastern Sri Lanka and the more prosperous western province, CORE aims to establish conditions whereby sustained economic development can be launched," the embassy statement said.

It said that the CORE programme will focus on improving the supply chain and market linkages between producers, processors and end markets in five districts of the eastern, north-central and Uva provinces.

According to the statement, the USAID-funded CORE program would be implemented by 'The Services Group', a US-based company, in coordination with five Sri Lankan government ministries.

The USAID has provided more than $1.9 billion in foreign assistance for economic development programmes, infrastructure, stabilization and disaster relief assistance for Sri Lanka since 1956.

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Burmese student monks to demonstrate Burmese Embassy in Sri Lanka

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Burmese student monks in Sri Lanka will demonstrate outside the Burmese Embassy on September 26th. September 26th is the first anniversary of the bloody Saffron Revolution led by the Buddhist monks in 2007 that was crushed by the country's military government.

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Teenage Tiger girl surrenderes herself to police

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An 18 year old female LTTE cadre surrendered herself to the Thirukkovil Police in Ampara this afternoon.

She had run away from a group of LTTE members who had been hiding in the woods.

There were 10 other young girls in the group and she had run away because the conditions were unberable, she had told the police.

Meanwhile Dehiaththakandiya Police found 200 grams of C4 explosives near the SP42 Bedumela fields last night down the Dehiyaththakandiya - Arlagamvila Road.

A "racer bullet" pistol was also found along with the explosives, police said.

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Grenades and mortar rounds found in Palampata, Trinco

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A haul of weapons and ammunition was found in Palampata, Trincomalee this evening, police said.

The items found were ten grenades, several 60mm mortar rounds and five primary charges required for motar fire. The Trincomalee Police Special Investigations Unit found these items four kilometres into the woods of Palampata, police added.

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Armed men get away with Rs. 700,000 from Private bank in Rajagiriya

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Armed men have got away with Rs. 700,000 from the NDB bank branch at Rajagiriya on Thursday afternoon, Police said.

Two armed men had entered the bank at 1.30 p.m had collected the money from the counters and got away in a vehicle of one of the customers.

Welikada Police OIC Neville de Silva said so far no arrests have been made.

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Sri Lanka should declare "No Conflict Zone" for the IPS in Vanni – AHRC

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Hong Kong-based-Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) urge the Sri Lankan government to honour the pledges it has made to provide protection and the necessities of these persons and also create possibilities for those who wish to leave these areas to do so safely. AHRC also urge the United Nations and the international community to assist and to monitor the situation of the internally displaced persons under the present circumstances, via AHRC press release on September 17, 2008.

AHRC said, Jeyapuram Vannen and Akkarayan in District of Kilinochchi be immediately declared a ‘NO CONFLICT ZONE’ for the innocent civilians to find refuge. There is similar requirement also in the area of the District of Mullaithivu. Until this is successfully done all indiscriminate shelling should strictly be avoided.

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No faith motion forced PB to resign - UNP

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The UNP has claimed the undated no-faith motion it had moved against Finance Secretary P.B. Jayasundara had forced him to resign.

Even before he had tendered his resignation, the matter had been leaked to the media, said UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake at a media briefing in Colombo today (Sept. 19th).

The party had tabled an undated no-faith motion in Parliament against the ex-Finance Secretary as that had been the best move possible by an opposition, Mr. Karunanayake said.

Speaking further, the UNP MP said the Central Bank had now resorted to uttering falsehoods to cover up the nudity of the present regime.

The country's debts have doubled in the past three years, he claimed, adding that the government would not be able to raise the 280 million US dollars it needed.

It had been able to find only 59 m USD of a required 70 m USD funding, Mr. Karunanayake said.

He also said the UNP would seek legal redress to ensure the consumer gets the benefit of the reduction of world oil prices to 87 dollars per barrel.

The UNP MP also said SriLankan Airline had suffered a Rs. 9,600 million loss in the past six months.

For the first time in its history, a recent flight of the national carrier had returned from Kuwait without a single passenger, Mr. Karunanayake claimed.

If the airline loses Rs. 2,500 million more, Emirates will take back all its aircraft given on wet lease, he said.

Commenting on the country's hosting the SAARC summit recently, the UNP MP said it had only enabled the foreign minister to undertake tours to several countries.

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Foreign help to test milk powder

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Sri Lanka is to seek foreign expertise to test the quality of imported milk powder.

The country does not have the technical know-how required for the purpose, said Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunawardena at a media briefing in Colombo today (Sept. 19th ).

He said the need for testing imported milk powder has arisen after China reported that several infants have died and thousands more fallen sick after consuming contaminated milk powder.

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The Prime Minister Meets with the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka

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Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda held talks with Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, at the Prime Minister's Office.
At the start of the meeting, Prime Minister Fukuda mentioned the friendly relations between Japan and Sri Lanka. Referring to an exhibition on the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka, which is being held in Japan, he said, "Japan and Sri Lanka enjoy a long history of extremely friendly exchanges. I hope that the exhibition will serve as an opportunity for many of the Japanese people to further enhance their understanding of Sri Lanka." In response, Prime Minister Wickremanayake said, "I believe that the exhibition will play a very significant role in our good bilateral relations. I also believe that the exhibition will help the Japanese people understand the culture of Sri Lanka."
At the meeting, the leaders discussed bilateral relations, the Sri Lanka ethnic problem, situations concerning human rights and humanitarian issues, and economic cooperation.
On bilateral relations, Prime Minister Wickremanayake stated that the people of Sri Lanka have a sense of affinity to Japan, owing to Japan's continued assistance to Sri Lanka's development.
On the Sri Lanka ethnic problem and situations concerning human rights and humanitarian issues, Prime Minister Fukuda expressed his concern about the Sri Lanka ethnic problem and requested strenuous efforts toward the resolution. He also indicated the international community's concern that human rights are not fully protected in Sri Lanka and requested further efforts in this regard. In response, Prime Minister Wickremanayake explained the current situation of the ethnic problem, among other matters, including responses taken by the Government of Sri Lanka.
On economic cooperation, Prime Minister Fukuda expressed his expectation that Japan's ODA loans to Sri Lanka, the implementation of which has recently been decided upon, will help the country's socioeconomic development, and requested effective use of the funds.

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The Danish Refugee Council evacuates Northern Sri Lanka

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Following an ultimatum by the Sri Lankan government the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) together with other international NGOs and UN agencies is leaving the LTTE controlled areas of Northern Sri Lanka. 200.000 displaced people are jeopardized.
International staff have left Kilinochchi in Northern Sri Lanka under an evacuation of organized by the UN. Kilinochchi is a key towns in the Vanni region, an area largely controlled by the LTTE (tamil tigers), now facing an imminent attack from Government forces.
DRC together with other international NGOs and the UN agencies had been requested by the Sri Lankan Government to leave the area by 29 September 2008 at the latest; after which time the Government said they would be unable to guarantee the security of humanitarian aid workers.
"We are extremely concerned at the plight of the displaced persons in this area. We are looking at all options to be able to provide them with further support as soon as possible. We hope that the displaced peoples' rights to freedom of movement will be respected in order for them to be able to move to safer areas," says Rikke Friis, Head of the Europe-Asia Section at DRC.
DRC national staff remain in the Vanni region, and most activities are on hold. DRC has been unable to bring out national staff due to the LTTE pass system that currently does not allow local residents to leave the area.
"It is a terrible situation also for our national staff. We are doing everything we can to be able to evacuate them and hope that we will find a solution soon," says Rikke Friis.
Prior to the evacuation DRC was providing humanitarian assistance and protection, including distribution of emergency food packages, hygiene kits and non-food items. DRC has also been undertaking cash for work programmes, emergency shelter and latrine projects.
Currently, it is estimated that 200,000 or more internally displaced people (IDPs) are affected by the current escalation of the conflict between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE. Further multiple displacements are expected in the very near future.

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HILTON TURNS 21 THIS SUNDAY AMIDST MUCH POMP AND PAGEANTRY

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Hilton Colombo turns 21 year on this Sunday and prepare to be wowed! Slated to be the biggest event of the year, the celebrations include a number of fun-filled events, activities and spectacular entertainment.
Issuing a press statement the hotel said the stunning anniversary party would feature a scrumptious 21 meter sandwich; ‘21 Flavours’, featuring 21 cuisines from around the world; a 21 meter bar; a stunning 21 meter ice sculpture and much more.

One hundred and forty chefs, under the patronage of Hilton’s Executive Chef, Mr. Rohan Fernandopulle will prepare delectable food items for ’21 Flavours’ which will feature 21 different delectable cuisines in 21 stalls. For this amazing display of culinary masterpiece, Hilton’s popular restaurants – Il Ponte, Curry Leaf, and Spoons – will battle it out with Garde Manger, Main Kitchen, Banquets, Pastry, Wok and other team kitchens to delight the crowds with an array of 21 scrumptious cuisines from around the world.

Each stall will be decorated to represent the cuisine served. The best decorated stall will win a grand prize of Rs. 21,000. The stalls will be judged for creativity, innovative use of material and concept. It will be judged by Ms. Nissanka Pethiyagoda. Journalist; Kirsty Hayes, wife of the British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka; Trevor Kennedy, Executive Creative Director, Leo Burnett Sri Lanka; Senaka Senanayake; popular artist, and Felicia Sorensen, Queen of Curries and Sri Lanka's Ambassador of food.

Guests attending the ‘Big 21’ will also be treated to some of the best entertainment acts in Colombo, with all-time favourites such as Bathiya and Santhush, Marians, Iraj, Centigradz, Chinthy, Ashanti, Dushyanth & Ishani, Natasha, Phase 3 and the choral group Revelations.

The event will also feature some stunning flaring performances by some of Hilton’s finest bartenders at the 21 meter bar. At the specially designed bar three types of cocktails and one mocktail will be on offer.

Amongst the many events on the cards, a 21 meter sandwich will be prepared by a team of 12 chefs using a range of Hilton’s signature sandwich fillings. A colossal 21 metre ice sculpture will also be on display at the hotel’s sports centre car park. Shaped in the form of candles, they will be lit up and the sculptures will last throughout the night.

The event will also feature an item by the children of the Ceylon School for the Deaf & Blind and many other exciting surprises making this a “not to be missed” event, ensuring tons of fun and frolic for people of all ages be they adults or kids.

In celebration of Hilton’s 21st anniversary this year, the hotel brought together many splendid activities revolving around the number ‘21’ during the past year to mark the number of years the Hilton has been providing its services in Sri Lanka. Some of the events which took place during the past year include the highly successful ‘2100kg Kottu Party’, the splendid ‘21 hour Latino Carnival’ and the ‘Carols for Charity’ Concert. In addition, among the Big 21 themed events were the giveaways for ‘21 Babies’, the ‘21 Couples Competition’ and the ‘$2100 Presidential Package’ for Valentines Day this year.

With more than 500 hotels and resorts on six continents, Hilton continues to be an innovative leader in the full-service hospitality segment and one of the most recognized global names in the industry. Hilton’s belief that ‘Travel Should Take You Places®’ celebrates a commitment to the guest experience and to the idea that travel can and should be transformative. Hilton’ s variety of services, amenities and programs are designed to give guests more choice and control over their stays so they can be at their best, 24/7 whether they travel for business or leisure. Each unique Hilton hotel and resort is designed to reflect the sense of place of its location; each team member chosen to reflect the local culture and community. Further details can be obtained from www.hilton.com.

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Sri Lanka Insurance gets AA- rating from RAM

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Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Ltd (SLIC) has been rated 'AA-' by RAM Ratings, with a 'stable' outlook, saying the firm is well capitalized, has kept full required reserves but disclosures could improve.

"The rating is supported by the company’s strong competitive position and unparalleled capitalisation as well as the size and strength of its balance sheet," RAM Ratings said in a statement.

"As the oldest player in the industry, SLIC has amassed unmatched strength in its capitalisation through retained profits."

The previously state-run SLIC was privatized in 2003. It is the largest insurer in balance sheet terms and the company accounted for 45.19 percent of industry assets at the end of December 2006.

RAM Ratings said that SLIC had ample financial flexibility due to its robust balance sheet.

But RAM said disclosure and corporate governance had room to improve and as the company implemented new procedures and sought a stock exchange listing, there could be improvements.

At the end of 2006, the firm had shareholder funds of 8.4 billion rupees which was half of the industry shareholder funds.

Though it had lost its earlier monopoly status, after privatization it was improving its market share.

SLIC had an investment portfolio valued at 30 billion rupees, which was the industry's largest.

RAM said the firm had a "respectable" bottom line, without elaborating.

SLIC also had "adequate" portfolio management skills which had brought investment income to the bottomline, even after paying out tsunami related losses.
RAM said the firm had good underwriting capabilities but an "all risk" category coming under the miscellaneous class of insurance had shown a high incidence of claims.

"In the meantime, the company’s life underwriting standards are deemed adequate as they are modelled after those of its international re-insurers, i.e. Munich Re and Swiss Re," the rating agency said.

"The company’s reserving is perceived to be strong. Since FY (financial year) Dec 2006, SLIC has been providing for both life and non-life reserves, as per actuarial recommendations.

"We note that SLIC is also the only insurer that has been able to consistently keep its reserve adequacy ratio above 100 percent in the past 4 years," RAM said.

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International Medical Corps Matched With Top 25 American Express Members Project,

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International Medical Corps has been matched to one of the Top 25 in American Express’ Members Projects, ‘Saving the Lives of Malnourished Children.’

Chosen out of 1,190 projects, “Saving the Lives of Malnourished Children” is now eligible to receive up to $1.5 million in funding. The project with the most votes receives $1.5 million, 2nd receives $500,000, 3rd $300,000, and 4th and 5th $100,000. The funding would bring a vital lifeline to hungry and malnourished children around the world.

We need your help between now and September 29th. Voting is easy and doesn’t cost a thing! In just a click, you can save the lives of thousands of malnourished children.
For severely malnourished children, we offer a step-by-step treatment program that gives them what they need to recover, including nutrient-dense food supplements like the peanut-based product, Plumpy'Nut. Our comprehensive monitoring system saves more than 90 percent of children being treated in our feeding centers. Being one of the Top 5 would mean our nutrition could reach more children around the world who need our help.

Hunger and malnutrition kill more people in the world than HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. As food prices rise, this funding is even more critical. More people are being driven deeper into poverty trying to afford basic staples. Many have nothing to eat at all. Your vote makes it possible for fewer young lives to be lost because they do not have enough to eat.

Getting the word out to your friends and family makes a huge difference! Forward this link to a friend and you bring us that much closer to the $1.5 million to help malnourished children around the world!


International Medical Corps (IMC) is a global, humanitarian, nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through health care training and relief and development programs.

Established in 1984 by volunteer doctors and nurses, IMC is a private, voluntary, nonpolitical, nonsectarian organization. Its mission is to improve the quality of life through health interventions and related activities that build local capacity in underserved communities worldwide.
By offering training and health care to local populations and medical assistance to people at highest risk, and with the flexibility to respond rapidly to emergency situations, IMC rehabilitates devastated health care systems and helps bring them back to self-reliance.


International Medical Corps has received a pledge of $100,000 in matching funds to provide vital health care to millions of children and families suffering in the global food crisis and other emergencies around the world. Every donation made before October 31st will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000. That means that we can double every dollar you provide, multiplying your gift and reaching more children and families who so desperately need our help.

For more information please visit http://internationalmedicalcorps.smnr.us/

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

LTTE boats beaten off Nachchikudha; 10 boats destroyed, at least 25 terrorists killed

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At least 25 terrorists were killed, 10 LTTE craft reported destroyed, including 3 large attack boats in the coastal waters at Valaipadu, off Nachchikudha, following an intense sea battle between Navy and LTTE, Thursday (Sep 18), since 11.30 a.m.

According to naval sources, the battle lasted over 3 hours which erupted 5 nautical miles West of Nachchikudha, forcing LTTE to retreat with heavy damages.

As the battle progressed, naval Rapid Action Boat Squadron (RABS) and elite Special Boat Squadron (SBS) craft were reinforced into the confrontation zone, which launched simultaneous attacks at the approaching LTTE craft. The LTTE boats were led by a senior sea tiger cadre identified as Kadar, military said citing intercepted LTTE communication. An LTTE boat has received damages and was observed towed after the initial interception, according to earlier reports.

Initially 4 suspicious boats were detected off the Valaipadu coast North of Nachchikudha, and confrontation broke-out when the approaching naval craft were attacked by LTTE boats, defence sources said.

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These are the Best Years of Our Forces - Gota

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Q: You will soon complete your third year as Secretary of Defence. What is your assessment of these past years and the role you played there?

Within these three years we’ve achieved a lot. I wouldn’t call these my achievements but it was those of the security forces. I think personally that the people elected the President primarily to solve this problem, and not for anything else. The people despite their silence were unhappy about the trend in the country and wanted the kind of change President Rajapaksa could bring. You can see this clearly in the voting pattern.

When we took over there areas referred to as LTTE controlled areas; they were not accepted by any country, leave alone Sri Lanka. This is one country and for one part to be called LTTE’s is certainly not acceptable. We have been able to bring a lot of these areas under our control and the real victory here is the Eastern province. We’ve had elections there and established a democratically elected provincial government and started a development process. This is a major achievement. The weakening of the LTTE and their sea Tiger capabilities, were areas not tackled for a long time. Maybe smuggling by the LTTE still continues, but in the last year alone we destroyed 10 of their ships and as of today we have complete domination in the sea around Sri Lanka. The Navy has changed its tactics and we’ve been very successful against the LTTE.

And anyone can see our achievements on the ground. And also our success in the air whereby we’ve been able to completely destroy much of their assets and destroy many of their key leaders and we have captured their sea Tiger bases and training camps on a daily basis now. The main thing is that we’ve been able to be accurate in our targets, with no damage to civilians, even though some have tried to paint a different picture. Even the LTTE has not been able to show any civilian casualties because of this. Infact on Wednesday we took a target in Kilinochchi located inbetween a UN organization. Even the UN had commended our ability to target it precisely. Our success has been because of our ability to assess the situation at the beginning very accurately. We did a complete military assessment before we started on the offensives; none of this is done ad-hoc. This was because we wanted to make sure that nothing would weaken the Jaffna peninsula after we had control like we did in the East after it was cleared. We knew we needed extra troops once we came to the Wanni, which is why we planned it in a way that we had the troops. We started a recruitment programme to bring in more cadres but looked essentially at troop welfare because this was an aspect overlooked before.

Q: How would you differentiate between the role of Secretary of Defence in a war torn country as opposed to that of the President as the Commander in Chief?

In our Constitution itself, the Secretary of the Ministry is the chief accounting officer and the one responsible for implementing the policies of the government. My responsibility is exactly that. This is all I’ve been doing for the last two years. Of course it is also my responsibility to help the Defence Minister to formulate the policy with the assistance of the three service commanders, which I did. The first thing we did when I was appointed was to assess the entire security situation in the country and on that basis formulate the policy. My responsibility was the execution of that policy.

Q: Looking back at the last 25 years of the war, which operations brought the biggest dividends for the Sri Lankan government and which would you rate the biggest debacles?

Looking at the successes I’d rate the present period as the best we have ever had. Of course in the past too we have had some successful periods while other proved not so. Liberating the Jaffna peninsula has been the foremost to me, because it is the most strategic to the Northern province, with Trinco, Kilinochchi and Mulaitivu following after. Taking control of Jaffna has been a great success for us. I suppose losing Elephant Pass was strategically one of the biggest debacles, then Wanni, Mulaitivu and Pooneryn would be seen as serious debacles. Of course there are the ones where we unnecessarily gave in like the Eastern province, the surrendering of the policemen. These are incidents we could’ve prevented easily, but happened simply because we had no proper vision.

Q: Government assesses that it will bring the entire Northern Province under its control soon. There is a fear among Tamils that a military victory could prove fatal to any devolution of power. Do you believe in a political solution to the conflict?

What form of devolution is looked at or the very question of a political solution doesn’t fall within my purview. That is for the politicians. But it’s not correct to say the Tamils are in fear because the President has shown through the Eastern province, when many countries in fact advised him against it, that he is sincerely committed to a political solution. Similarly we will have the same program for the North. People don’t appreciate what happened in the East; they have underestimated it. Because, unlike in many similar instances all over the world, the President didn’t put his stooges for the East. Karuna is not a creation of President Rajapaksa. He didn’t select Karuna and made him a political stooge and plant him in the East. They are part of the LTTE and long before President Rajapaksa was elected they broke away from the LTTE due to their own reasons and all the President did was to help Karuna reorganize. He had to give power to someone and he thought they were the best for the job. He only helped them; it was the people who elected them. Karuna is from the area and a leader of the LTTE for the East. The President merely worked with them at this election to get them in to the democratic process. There is a difference in the TMVP. They came on their own and was not created by the government. It was a major success for the government but it was not based on any ethnic basis, because the worst thing is to divide and contest on a community or religious base. It’s very impressive to play with these words like the federal system. But what is most important is what the people in the areas want. Giving different powers to the areas will not solve the problem. The basic problems of the people are far more grave than this. These political solutions are not the solutions for the people; they are for the interested politicians. This is especially so in this part of the world. The US is demarcated in to different states because it’s a huge country. But when you divide regions based on community or religious grounds is never the solution.

Q: Over 80, 000 Muslims were expelled from North by the LTTE in 1990 and now this displaced population- mainly settled in Puttalam district- has risen to 150,000 creating a major demographic distortion in the district. What plans are underway to resettle these displaced Muslims in their original lands?

Resettlement is not my area. I believe people should be able to live any where they want. I feel however there are these organized settlements which we have to be careful about. There are so many people coming from the North and East and settling down in the Western province. If its voluntary that’s fine. But I’m not so sure it is not an organised move. Its important to check if the LTTE is organizing it. They have no means of income but they are paying huge sums and settling down. Where is the money coming from? The strange thing is that when the govt. does it it, becomes govt. sponsored settlement but when an NGO does it, it become right. That is also wrong. This has the potential to change the demography.

Q: Right now bitter battles fought in Wanni area by the Army and the LTTE and the INGOs seem to be in a dilemma over the order to leave the area. What welfare measures are in place for the civilians now trapped in Wanni?

Again NGOs are not my subject except those in operational areas. Most these NGOs are there for various development projects; but given the ground situation there is no possibility of continuing this work. So they need to come out of there. Next more importantly is the security threat. This is very relevant when you look at what happened in Muttur. The parents of those killed blamed the NGOs decision to keep them there despite the situation. We don’t want to get in to the same situation. Certainly when they can do their work again they can go back. The responsibility of the UN primarily becomes that of the host government. We’ve asked them to come out of Killinochchi and relocate in Vavuniya. This is not withdrawing but relocation. The problem is that these foreign analysts don’t know the geography of the country. They think its like Africa and this is some 1000 km move. And don’t forget that even foods and medicines given by UN is still distributed by GAs. Medicines go through govt. hospitals. This system can happen equally effectively from Vavuniya. Then they say they can’t monitor if it goes to the right people. What is the monitoring that happens with the miniscule staff already? Still if they want they can go with the convoys and monitor the distribution. Don’t forget; with no UN system in place, food distribution happened quite effectively in Vakare or Thoppigala by the AGAs.

Q: India earlier this week expressed concerns about the civilians in the Wanni and has continued to maintain that a military solution would not suffice.

This is the problem; anybody will express concern without understanding this whole process. When you say NGOs and a humanitarian crisis you must analyse and say how many of the NGOs were involved in humanitarian work. We have asked them to say what humanitarian work they were doing so we can fill that gap. All we need to do is to arrange the system so that these GAs can come to Vavuniya and collect these goods. The main problem is that people outside don’t know the ground situation here. The fact remains that we can’t change the military plan to suit the UN or NGOs. Military plan must go on. It is then our responsibility to look after civilians, which is why we’ve asked them to come out.

Q: Despite having F-7 interceptors and latest technology, the air force has failed to throw a real challenge to LTTE air power. There are negative reports on the aptitude of the radar system. What really went wrong for the LTTE to outsmart Air Force on seven occasions?

During the last few years especially the LTTE was targeting the Air Force primarily. Why? Because that was proving the biggest threat to them. Why was the Army Commander or the SLAF camps and assets? Because although they have these planes we have complete air superiority. This was a major problem for them. There is no challenge for the SLAF really. I wouldn’t say anything went wrong with our air defence systems. The first time this threat was posed we got a lot of assistance from many countries on how to face this situation. Their assessment was that this was a difficult task because there is no counter for such unsophisticated planes. The air defence systems available now are for more sophisticated ones and not this type of low flying planes. These planes are not even used in conventional warfare because they can’t do much to change the military balance. All it can do is to create a fear psychosis in the people. It can’t do any big damage. There’s no use in going for a highly sophisticated interceptor because it can’t do anything; all we can do is to go at a very crude level solution; which is what we have done. Given this taking that air craft down the last time was a big success. Compare its failure to do any damage the 7 times it came with how effective our 6oo odd sorties carried out in this year alone.

Q: The reported use of CS gas by the LTTE causes serious concerns. Have intelligence reports indicated the possibility of LTTE using stronger chemicals?

No. We are prepared for any situation. It’s not a major threat according to our reports. We are preparing ourselves for any contingency.

Q: The intensity of the international community campaign on human rights seems to be tapering off. What factors contributed to this shift in the approach of the international community towards the government?

Because they now realize that this was because of the bad publicity spread by the LTTE. Of course the govt. was weak in this area. This is the responsibility of the Foreign Ministry, with support from Sri Lankan living abroad irrespective of ethnic divisions. Even the Tamil diaspora is misinformed. When you speak of the international community the main thing is to identify who is most important to us. India is the most crucial for us. Any govt. must give priority to India. India is 100% with us and we understand their concerns and will not do anything that will affect their security. We have the best relationship with India. India also understand why we have to have the relationship with Pakistan and China. Then comes the South Asian region and then the US, UK and the EU. But these countries are all prosecuting terrorists and putting an end to fund raising. This is because our human rights record is excellent. Our forces are not a terror group. You never heard of our troops going and indiscriminately firing at entire villages because there is a good education program on distinguishing between the civilians and terrorists. This is not an easy thing. Its not easy preventing a explosive laden vehical from entering Colombo. These control measures are absolutely necessary despite the inconveniences. Although all Tamils are not LTTE almost all LTTE is Tamil. This is a fact. So obviously the Tamil community get targeted, but not purposely.

Q: There had been reports to the effect that you would join main stream politics as three of your brothers have already done. Do you have any plans to enter parliament?

No. I have no interest in politics.

Q: What are the key differences you note in the Army then and now in terms of man power, hardware and morale and even procurement which has raised certain queries?

One of the main things we’ve concentrated as a crucial measure was troop welfare, from schooling for their children and housing for families to their care after injury. We in fact created a separate unit under one Minister for this purpose alone and the day to day problems. Housing and education are primary in welfare and we’ve taken concrete measures towards this end. We’ve already started a 1500 house scheme in Anuradapura, which is a separate city in itself; with solidly built houses and all the infrastructure facilities in place, which alone cost Rs. 1 billion. Our aim is to give it free if possible or otherwise at a very nominal fee. There is also a loan scheme from the Ministry given without interest. There is a special fund set up ‘api venuwen api’ to facilitate these projects. There is another project is to give them land. We have started a special school for defence services children. This is a very well equipped school with all the modern facilities. We will start similar school in Kurunegala soon.

Then on the inquiries on procurement and all these charges, so we’ve started an institution to carry out these functions. Because when you do purchases in military hardware through a third party and private parties get involved, there are these situations. So we’ve created an institution which will be the intermediate party which will work with these parties and the governments in procurements. We are encouraging more government to government deals as much as we can. But the way it happens in the world is that be it China or the US, though these are government deals they are essentially run like private companies. They have formed companies because it is still a business. It’s a major industry. So we’ve created a similar unit to handle this with minimum participation from third parties. This is easy to tell but so difficult to do. But we have started it and it has produced very good results. If you study it closely it is a very good thing. This is something that I was concerned about and I consider this a major success.

Another area is retirement where sometimes after retiring after 22 years they are comparatively young and they go and join these private security companies, where they are not paid well. This is why we started a private security company from the Ministry where these people can be employed. There is no profit motive in this at all. We want to give a good service and in turn a good salary to the employees. We’ve recruited retired security personelle so far and for the moment we are handling government institutions only. This is a good welfare measure as well.

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Three Km Stretch of Land Falls to Army Within Twenty-four Hours

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WANNI: TROOPS of the Task Force I in WANNI made further progress into KARAMBAKULAM area by another 1.5 km stretch of land as dusk fell on Thursday (18). Today’s domination completes a total of 3 km patch of land that runs along with the KARAMBAKULAM tank bund.

Egged on by the gains on Wednesday (17), troops throughout Thursday (18) advanced further into Tiger dominated areas, north of KARAMBAKULAM killing fifteen more terrorists and injuring eighteen more, ground troops confirmed.

In the latest confrontations for supremacy, three brave soldiers sacrificed their lives on behalf of the country. Twelve more soldiers sustained injuries and were evacuated for treatment in hospitals.

The latest fall of that 3 km long mainland stretch line came as a rude shock to Tiger terrorists, a couple of hours after the Army Commander visited WANNI and returned. Troops are fast consolidating their positions and establishing their presence in the area as this report went to Press.

On Wednesday (17) valiant troops of the Task Force I, getting another mileage in their quest for peace, captured the entire 1.5 km-long KARAMBAKULAM tank bund, about 11 km northeast of NACHCHIKUDA, consequent upon a close fire fight that saw twenty-five Tiger terrorists killed and a similar number badly injured.

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Probe over death of prisoner

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A prisoner at the Moneragala Prison died this morning upon admission to the hospital after falling sick. Police are investigating the cause of the death and whether there was foul play.

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More PC Polls next year

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The government is planning to hold elections to the Western, North- Western and Uva Provincial Councils early next year, highly placed political sources said yesterday.

The matters pertaining to these elections had been discussed at a meeting held between 17 UNP members currently holding portfolios in the government, and senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa recently, at the residence of Public Administration Minister Karu Jayasuriya.

The elections are expected to be held to these three councils by the end of January or February next year.

Mr. Rajapaksa had reportedly said that the elections to the Southern and Central Provincial Councils would be held separately later next year while the Southern Provincial Council Election would be held first. It was also hinted at the meeting that they were looking for a new face to field as the southern chief ministerial candidate.

Supplementary Crops Development Minister Dharmadasa Banda said there was growing concern in some quarters regarding Uva Chief Minister Gamini Vijithmuni Zoysa being re-nominated for the post.

Mr. Rajapkasa had also told the ‘UNP reformists’ that they could contest future general elections under the UPFA’s betel symbol. Some members had expressed their willingness to contest future elections on the UPFA ticket while maintaining their UNP identity while the others were willing to contest as SLFPers.

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CHA concerned over travel pass system for Jaffna

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The Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA) is concerned over the military travel pass system imposed on the civilians to travel out of the Jaffna peninsula.

“In addition to their burden to spend extra money, the requirement to obtain a travel pass is denying their right to travel to other parts of the country, or their freedom of movement and of choosing his/her residence within Sri Lanka as enshrined in Article 14 (1) (h) of the Constitution. .

CHA notes a citizen who wishes to travel outside the Jaffna peninsula has to request in writing to the area military camp commandant (Civil Liaison Officer) to issue him a form to obtain a travel pass and this letter should be countersigned by his area Grama Sevaka.

He is compelled to give out all his travel plans including the details of his present residence, the details of place where he is going to stay in the south and the reason for his travel outside Jaffna peninsula.

CHA says they would welcome a system while being cognizance of security considerations is legal and causes little or no inconvenience to the public is considered.

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High Court judge discharges Minister

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Kandy High Court Judge Jayantha Perera discharged Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage who was one of the eight accused in a case of abduction, unlawful assembly, grievous hurt and simple hurt on two brothers at Paragala in the Nawalapitiya electorate in 2001.

When the case was taken up for inquiry on Wednesday (17), State Counsel N. Marasinghe told court he was seeking to withdraw the charges preferred against the fourth accused (Mahindananda Aluthgamage).

He said the Attorney General had reassessed the evidence and has come to the conclusion that there was no evidence against the fourth accused and the charges preferred against him would be withdrawn, while the other seven stand charged.

The High Court Judge allowed the submissions and discharged the fourth accused (Minister Aluthgamage) from further proceedings.

The accused in this case were W. Prasanna Kumar, B. Sumedha Chamikara, H. Somadasa, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Aluthgamage Ananda Aluthgamage, K. Bandara Nihal Aluthgamage, K. Aluthgamage Weerasinghe and W. Chinthaka Weeraratne.

The accused were charged for unlawful assembly at Paragala on or about December 5, 2001.

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Launch of Lanka’s first ever Film and TV Degree

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The Kelaniya University yesterday launched Sri Lanka’s first ever degree programme in Film and Television, at a simple ceremony held at the University premises.

Veteran filmmaker and one-time National Film Corporation Chairman Dr. D.B. Nihalsingha was appointed as a Senior Fellow in Film and Television to undertake that task, what was again a first for a University in Sri Lanka.

The University’s Vice Chancellor M.J.S. Wijeyaratne handed over the appointment letter to Dr. Nihalsingha at the ceremony which was attended by several distinguished guests including NFC Chairman Jayantha Dharmadasa, Presidential Film Affairs Advisor Ravindra Randeniya, Swarna Mallawarachchi, Chandani Seneviratne, Sarath Dharmasiri and top university officials.

While Prof. Wijeyaratne emphasized that this was a historic moment in the university’s history, Mr. Randeniya said it was a huge victory for the Sri Lankan film industry as a whole.

The four-year degree programme will produce industry-ready graduates who will be able to play crucial roles in the local film industry.

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Wanted JVP PS member surrenders

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Akuressa Pradeshya Sabha Opposition leader Saman Kumara (JVP), who was wanted by the Police over a complaint of attempted murder of the President of the PS Munidasa Gamage of the UPFA, surrendered to the Morawaka Magistrate on Wednesday through a lawyer.
He was remanded till September 24.

Another suspect in the same incident JVP PS member C. Vidanagama is already in remand.

The Chairman of the Pradeshya Sabha, Munidasa Gamage, was shot at while inside his vehicle at Pitabeddera on August 4, last year.

According to initial Police investigations two people who came on a motor cycle in the night had attempted to kill the PS Chairman.

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Berty Premalal accuses party men of sabotage

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Chief Minister of the North Central Province Berty Premalal Dissanayake has accused his colleagues of sabotaging a bid to elect Anuradhapura District councillor Gamage Weerasena as Chairman of the NCP.

A furious Dissanayake alleged that a section of the UPFA members had voted with the UNP to defeat Weerasena, the ruling party’s choice. In an unexpected move, the UNP has proposed P. B. Dissanayake also of the ruling party as the Chairman, thereby forcing the NCP’s Secretary Keerthi Gamage to call for a contest between the two councillors.

Dissanayake has polled 17 votes against Weerasena’s 14. The 33-member NCP Council comprises 20 UPFA, 12 UNP and two JVPers. Only 31 councillors had participated in the voting due to the absence of JVP member Wasantha Amarasinghe and UNP’s Naina Mohammed.

According to political sources Dissanayake had alleged that Weerasena’s defeat was a political conspiracy and action would be taken against the conspirators.

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Supreme Court orders CEB to prepare a system of concessionary tariffs

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Sri Lanka Supreme Court ordered the state owned electricity monopoly Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) yesterday to prepare a system of concessionary tariffs and to submit it to the Court by October 03.

The Supreme Court made this order considering a fundamental rights petition filed by Thiniyawala Palitha Thero of Nalandaramaya Temple, Nugegoda against the May 15th gazette that reformed the electricity tariff system.

CEB, the Minister of Power and Energy and the Attorney General are the defendants of the case.

The petitioner seeks the court to order the defendants to nullify the gazette and to implement a new tariff system since the gazette violates the fundamental rights of the petitioner. The petition was considered by a tri-member panel of judges led by Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva.

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Sri Lanka allows to import fish

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Sri Lankan government announced that it has lifted the tax imposed on importing several fish varieties with immediate effect.

The government said this measure has been taken to curb the high fish prices currently experienced by the Sri Lankan consumers and the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource has been instructed to handle the importation directly.

However, fishing industry sources have also expressed their concern over this decision taken by the government which may directly impact their livelihood with imported fish being sold at lower prices.

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Sri Lanka Cabinet approves tax reduction for locally manufactured motor vehicles

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Sri Lanka Cabinet approved tax reductions to all locally assembled and manufactured cleaner fuel vehicles at yesterday's Cabinet meeting.

Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Champika Ranawake has submitted the proposal seeking approval to implement a proposed excise duty structure to promote the importation of various types of clean fuel vehicles with effect from next year.

In addition the Minister has proposed a tax concession for the local industries for the assembly of cleaner fuel vehicles.

This tax reduction will be applied to all environmental friendly motor vehicles assembled and manufactured locally using local materials with a total value addition of 25%.

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Former US envoy to Sri Lanka dead

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William Howard Wriggins, who was the US ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives in 1977-79, has died, the embassay said Thursday.

An embassy statement said that he died Aug 30 at Hannover, New Hampshire.

Born in 1918, Wriggins had an illustrious career in academia and public service. In 1960 he penned what became a landmark work, 'Ceylon: Dilemmas of a New Nation'.

His interest in South Asia, specifically Sri Lanka, continued his entire life. He authored numerous book and papers on Sri Lanka, including a biography of former president J.R. Jayewardene, which he co-authored with K.M. de Silva.

Wriggins' interest and love for Sri Lanka spanned 50 years. He traveled frequently to the island and maintained close contact with his many Sri Lankan friends up until his death.

He survived by his wife, Sally Hovey Wriggins, three children, and six grandchildren.

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HILTON TURNS 21 THIS SUNDAY AMIDST MUCH POMP AND PAGEANTRY

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Hilton Colombo turns 21 year on this Sunday and prepare to be wowed! Slated to be the biggest event of the year, the celebrations include a number of fun-filled events, activities and spectacular entertainment.
Issuing a press statement the hotel said the stunning anniversary party would feature a scrumptious 21 meter sandwich; ‘21 Flavours’, featuring 21 cuisines from around the world; a 21 meter bar; a stunning 21 meter ice sculpture and much more.

One hundred and forty chefs, under the patronage of Hilton’s Executive Chef, Mr. Rohan Fernandopulle will prepare delectable food items for ’21 Flavours’ which will feature 21 different delectable cuisines in 21 stalls. For this amazing display of culinary masterpiece, Hilton’s popular restaurants – Il Ponte, Curry Leaf, and Spoons – will battle it out with Garde Manger, Main Kitchen, Banquets, Pastry, Wok and other team kitchens to delight the crowds with an array of 21 scrumptious cuisines from around the world.

Each stall will be decorated to represent the cuisine served. The best decorated stall will win a grand prize of Rs. 21,000. The stalls will be judged for creativity, innovative use of material and concept. It will be judged by Ms. Nissanka Pethiyagoda. Journalist; Kirsty Hayes, wife of the British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka; Trevor Kennedy, Executive Creative Director, Leo Burnett Sri Lanka; Senaka Senanayake; popular artist, and Felicia Sorensen, Queen of Curries and Sri Lanka's Ambassador of food.

Guests attending the ‘Big 21’ will also be treated to some of the best entertainment acts in Colombo, with all-time favourites such as Bathiya and Santhush, Marians, Iraj, Centigradz, Chinthy, Ashanti, Dushyanth & Ishani, Natasha, Phase 3 and the choral group Revelations.

The event will also feature some stunning flaring performances by some of Hilton’s finest bartenders at the 21 meter bar. At the specially designed bar three types of cocktails and one mocktail will be on offer.

Amongst the many events on the cards, a 21 meter sandwich will be prepared by a team of 12 chefs using a range of Hilton’s signature sandwich fillings. A colossal 21 metre ice sculpture will also be on display at the hotel’s sports centre car park. Shaped in the form of candles, they will be lit up and the sculptures will last throughout the night.

The event will also feature an item by the children of the Ceylon School for the Deaf & Blind and many other exciting surprises making this a “not to be missed” event, ensuring tons of fun and frolic for people of all ages be they adults or kids.

In celebration of Hilton’s 21st anniversary this year, the hotel brought together many splendid activities revolving around the number ‘21’ during the past year to mark the number of years the Hilton has been providing its services in Sri Lanka. Some of the events which took place during the past year include the highly successful ‘2100kg Kottu Party’, the splendid ‘21 hour Latino Carnival’ and the ‘Carols for Charity’ Concert. In addition, among the Big 21 themed events were the giveaways for ‘21 Babies’, the ‘21 Couples Competition’ and the ‘$2100 Presidential Package’ for Valentines Day this year.

With more than 500 hotels and resorts on six continents, Hilton continues to be an innovative leader in the full-service hospitality segment and one of the most recognized global names in the industry. Hilton’s belief that ‘Travel Should Take You Places®’ celebrates a commitment to the guest experience and to the idea that travel can and should be transformative. Hilton’ s variety of services, amenities and programs are designed to give guests more choice and control over their stays so they can be at their best, 24/7 whether they travel for business or leisure. Each unique Hilton hotel and resort is designed to reflect the sense of place of its location; each team member chosen to reflect the local culture and community. Further details can be obtained from www.hilton.com.

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The Prime Minister Meets with the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka

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Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda held talks with Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, at the Prime Minister's Office.
At the start of the meeting, Prime Minister Fukuda mentioned the friendly relations between Japan and Sri Lanka. Referring to an exhibition on the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka, which is being held in Japan, he said, "Japan and Sri Lanka enjoy a long history of extremely friendly exchanges. I hope that the exhibition will serve as an opportunity for many of the Japanese people to further enhance their understanding of Sri Lanka." In response, Prime Minister Wickremanayake said, "I believe that the exhibition will play a very significant role in our good bilateral relations. I also believe that the exhibition will help the Japanese people understand the culture of Sri Lanka."
At the meeting, the leaders discussed bilateral relations, the Sri Lanka ethnic problem, situations concerning human rights and humanitarian issues, and economic cooperation.
On bilateral relations, Prime Minister Wickremanayake stated that the people of Sri Lanka have a sense of affinity to Japan, owing to Japan's continued assistance to Sri Lanka's development.
On the Sri Lanka ethnic problem and situations concerning human rights and humanitarian issues, Prime Minister Fukuda expressed his concern about the Sri Lanka ethnic problem and requested strenuous efforts toward the resolution. He also indicated the international community's concern that human rights are not fully protected in Sri Lanka and requested further efforts in this regard. In response, Prime Minister Wickremanayake explained the current situation of the ethnic problem, among other matters, including responses taken by the Government of Sri Lanka.
On economic cooperation, Prime Minister Fukuda expressed his expectation that Japan's ODA loans to Sri Lanka, the implementation of which has recently been decided upon, will help the country's socioeconomic development, and requested effective use of the funds.

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The Prime Minister Meets with the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka

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Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda held talks with Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, at the Prime Minister's Office.
At the start of the meeting, Prime Minister Fukuda mentioned the friendly relations between Japan and Sri Lanka. Referring to an exhibition on the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka, which is being held in Japan, he said, "Japan and Sri Lanka enjoy a long history of extremely friendly exchanges. I hope that the exhibition will serve as an opportunity for many of the Japanese people to further enhance their understanding of Sri Lanka." In response, Prime Minister Wickremanayake said, "I believe that the exhibition will play a very significant role in our good bilateral relations. I also believe that the exhibition will help the Japanese people understand the culture of Sri Lanka."
At the meeting, the leaders discussed bilateral relations, the Sri Lanka ethnic problem, situations concerning human rights and humanitarian issues, and economic cooperation.
On bilateral relations, Prime Minister Wickremanayake stated that the people of Sri Lanka have a sense of affinity to Japan, owing to Japan's continued assistance to Sri Lanka's development.
On the Sri Lanka ethnic problem and situations concerning human rights and humanitarian issues, Prime Minister Fukuda expressed his concern about the Sri Lanka ethnic problem and requested strenuous efforts toward the resolution. He also indicated the international community's concern that human rights are not fully protected in Sri Lanka and requested further efforts in this regard. In response, Prime Minister Wickremanayake explained the current situation of the ethnic problem, among other matters, including responses taken by the Government of Sri Lanka.
On economic cooperation, Prime Minister Fukuda expressed his expectation that Japan's ODA loans to Sri Lanka, the implementation of which has recently been decided upon, will help the country's socioeconomic development, and requested effective use of the funds.

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Foreign help to test milk powder

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Sri Lanka is to seek foreign expertise to test the quality of imported milk powder.

The country does not have the technical know-how required for the purpose, said Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunawardena at a media briefing in Colombo today (Sept. 19th ).

He said the need for testing imported milk powder has arisen after China reported that several infants have died and thousands more fallen sick after consuming contaminated milk powder.