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Sunday September 20th, 2009

News Update
Last Updated 24/09/2009 04:55

SC okays PBJ returning
to public office

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court today granted permission to former Treasury Secretary Dr. P B Jayasundara to take up public office by a majority decision of six to one after hearing an application filed by him.

Export Development Minister G. L. Pieris told parliament today that even though the govt. has applied for the extension of GDP+ by three years, it will not let EU... SEE INSIDE

Grand alliance runs into snag
The grand opposition alliance mooted by the former SLFP strongman Mangala Samaraweera might not get off the ground as scheduled on September 27, political sources said... SEE INSIDE

LTTE to function under its
new front PTGTE

With the LTTE being banned in leading western countries, its US leader has announced...SEE INSIDE



                     Book exhibition                

Among the crowds that converged on the opening day of the annual Colombo International Book Fair yesterday at the BMICH were a large number of young eager readers. Our cameraman Rukshan Abeywansha captured this happy scene of an older girl showing an interesting picture in a book to a younger sister eagerly watched by a brother and another sister. The exhibition will continue till September 28


India mum on memorial
Mystery surrounds the failure of India to declare open the War Memorial built by the Sri Lanka Government at Pelawatte, Battaramulla in memory of Indian troops killed here fighting the LTTE, even though now more than an year has passed since its completion.
The memorial constructed in close proximity to Sri Lanka Army’s War Memorial... SEE INSIDE

No presentation of full budget
In view of the presidential and general election that are due to be held early next year, the government has decided to forward a Vote on Account to cover the expenses till the election of the new government, instead of the full Budget that is usually presented each November to cover the following year. SEE INSIDE

Rs 1.2 Million NGO robbery: complainant arrested
Adding a new twist to the payroll money belonging to a Bangladeshi –Sri Lankan Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) operating in Kinniya, Trincomalee, police had arrested the complainant accountant of the NGO on suspicion of staging the incident and the suspect has been remanded till September 28. SEE INSIDE




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Rs. 500 fare hike on AC buses hit Jaffna-Colombo commuters
Commuters are crying foul against a sudden fare hike on the Jaffna - Colombo AC bus service from Rs. 1900 to Rs. 2400, an increase of 500 rupees.
“From Jaffna to Colombo there is an arrangement to carry passengers however there is no such arrangement to carry... SEE INSIDE

Elaborate arrangements for 60th Army Anniversary
Elaborate and multifarious arrangements are in progress in connection with the forthcoming 60th Army Anniversary celebrations that are scheduled to take place from October 2.
“The diamond jubilee which will be celebrated this year is going to be quite a significant one because the armed forces eradicated the LTTE on May 19 which coincides with our 60th anniversary,” said Army’s Chief of Staff, Major general Mendaka Samarasinghe. SEE INSIDE

Nandita Haksar to deliver Rajani Thiranagama Memorial Lecture
The twentieth anniversary of the death of Rajani Thiranagama, human rights activist and head of the Department of Anatomy, University of Jaffna at the time of her assassination, will be commemorated on Friday, September 25, 2009 at the BMICH Committee Room “A” at 6:00 p.m. Rajani was the founder member of the
University Teachers for Human Rights, Jaffna. SEE INSIDE

“Sahalata Multhena” implemented for the promotion of rice flour production
The Ministry of Industrial Development together with the co-operation of the ministries of education is implementing a rice flour production promotion programme with the objective of increasing locally produced rice consumption and to use rice flour in the production of foods including biscuits and bread. SEE INSIDE

Release or mercy killing for convict?  
K P Robert Pias, a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, has petitioned Chief Minister M Karunanidhi asking for his release from the prison or mercy killing. The Sri Lankan Tamil, who has been imprisoned for the last 19 years is on an indefinite hunger strike in Vellore central prison since Thursday morning.
In his petition, available with Express, Pias said...  SEE INSIDE

AGM of patients’ rights movement
The Annual General Meeting of the Peoples Movement for the Rights of Patients (PMRP) will be held on Saturday September 26 from 9 a.m. to noon at the CSR hall
(Fatima Church premises) 281 Deans Road, Maradana. SEE INSIDE

Increase in Indian Technical scholarships
Over the last few years the average number of scholarships under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme that has been extended to Sri Lanka has been 80- 100.
At a reception held by the High Commission of India for the ITEC alumni in Sri Lanka, Deputy high commissioner of India in Colombo, Vikram Misri said “Over the last two years, especially there has been a very distinct part of this programme that has been directed... SEE INSIDE

UNP moving no-confidence motion against Hisbullah
A no-confidence motion against Eastern Province Health Minister M.L.M Hisbullah over allegation of corruption is being moved by UNP member of the Eastern Provincial Council Arasaratnam Sasitharan who claims that he has evidence to prove unbridled corruption.
“I have every document necessary to prove that there has been a stupendous amount of corruption instigated by the Health minister and I am certain of pushing forward the issue along with Minister Basheer Segudawood and others for a no-confidence motion on the 29th when the party leaders meet.” said Sasitharan alleged.  SEE INSIDE

Parachutists throwing financial muscle, cause of violence in Galle
The presence of candidates who have been parachuted from outside who have invested large amounts of money and resources into the Provincial Council election in the Galle District is the reason behind the high number of election law violations in the district, claim election... SEE INSIDE

Son-in-law of murdered elderly couple remanded
The suspected son-in- law of the old couple whose bodies were found in their house at Hospital Place in Embilipitiya New Town earlier this month, was remanded till September 23, by the Embilipitiya Magistrate Chamani Wijesekara when he was produced before Court on September 14. SEE INSIDE




President will exploit disarray in opposition parties
Even as the current focus on the political landscape is in the Southern province where provincial council polls are scheduled in less than three weeks, there is definitely a build up towards the more significant elections that loom ahead: the general and presidential elections both of which will most likely be concluded in the first half of next year.
At first there appeared to be a guessing game as to which poll would come first. Theoretically, general elections are due first and have to be called by April 2010. Presidential elections are not due until November 2011. However, given the present political climate it is extremely unlikely that a parliamentary election will take precedence. SEE INSIDE

GSP+ extension and Bogol’s blunders
Whether the European Union will further extend the GSP+ (Generalised System of Preferences plus) concession granted to Sri Lanka, has become a moot point of discussion in political circles today.
Sri Lanka earns an annual income of US $ 3.3 billion from exports of its locally made garments and porcelainware to EU countries under duty free concessions. This income while accounting for a significant contribution to the country’s overall national revenue, goes a long way in strengthening its foreign exchange reserves.
When the period for which this facility was granted had expired by the end of last year, certain European countries made a collective effort to stop extending it for a further period, charging that Sri Lanka did not deserve it as she was responsible for the Tamil civilians being killed in military operations in the North. In fact, there was a bid to send a team of officials from European countries to inquire into allegations relating to conscription of child combatants and human rights violations in general as a precondition for extending the concession. SEE INSIDE


Role played by Ministry of Power and Energy
Energy Development is the main targeted National Development Programme in the country under the Mahinda Chinthana. The Ministry of Power and Energy has been entrusted with the responsibility of providing the guidance and leadership to meet the electricity requirements of the people: providing a solution to the imminent energy crisis in the year 2012.
It is a great achievement of this Ministry that, under the guidance of HE the President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, they were able to launch a well-planned, long term, middle term and short term programme towards the energy development to overcome the national energy crisis created due to the non-implementation
of timely decisions taken for the power and energy development of the country, in a decade. SEE INSIDE

GSP plus revoke: Who will be the real victims?
Warning alarms ring through the political as well as social circles with the remarks that European Union(EU) may revoke its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus concessions granted to Sri Lanka in a bid to teach a lesson to the government for its alleged human rights violations in the last phase of the three decade long war.
Unlike in the previous occasions where the government firmly stood against the EU allegations saying that the country does not want the GSP plus concession and the main Opposition UNP attempted to take political advantage, both parties are visibly concerned about the plight of the real victims of the revoke and are currently in negotiation with the EU. SEE INSIDE

Uncle Sam: Mother of all war criminals
Robert O’ Blake, former US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and currently Assistant Secretary, South and Central Asian Affairs in the Obama administration, is said to have told Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Washington, Jaliya Wickremasuriya that a report on the conduct of government forces during the war against the LTTE would be submitted to the US Congress tomorrow (September 21).
Robert O’ Blake’s tour of duty in Sri Lanka is described by some observers as consorting with mischief at a crucial period Sri Lanka was engaged in an exercise against terrorism, where the US governments in combating terrorism has still failed. As a national of a country that faced perhaps one of the most ruthless terrorist attacks, which earned the condemnation and the sympathy of the civilized world, one cannot...  SEE INSIDE


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Lanka loses warm-up match to Pakistan
Kamran Akmal hit 82 off 78 balls and Naved-ul-Hasan took 5 for 41 as Pakistan eased to a 108-run victory against Sri Lanka in a one-day practice match played at Benoni in preparation for next week’s ICC Champions trophy.
Pakistan was initially in trouble, slipping to 64 for 3, after the experienced pair of Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf failed to get going. Opener Kamran revived Pakistan by continuing to score at a brisk pace, and they went on to a massive score after Misbah-ul-Haq and highly rated youngster Umar Akmal made half-centuries.
Mahela Jayawardene had called on the top order to fire last week, but it flopped in the face of a daunting target of 307. The biggest contribution from the top five was Captain Kumar Sangakkara’s 21, which meant Sri Lanka was struggling at 83 for 5 by the 23rd over. SEE INSIDE

SLC should take up origin of referral claims with ICC
Come October and the umpires review system will be rolled out in Test cricket permanently following trials over the past year. The referral will allow both the batting side and the fielding side two instances of challenging the umpire’s decision in each innings of a Test match. This rule has been brought forth to reduce the number of mistakes that on-field umpires generally tend to make on the field.
In a way Sri Lanka can lay claim for initially coming out with the idea as far back as 1997 when Senaka Weeraratne, a lawyer by profession and a keen cricket enthusiast published in ‘The Australian’ newspaper under the title ‘Third umpire should perform role of appeal judge’. Since then Weeraratne has made his suggestion public by having it published in various international newspapers and magazines like... SEE INSIDE

Thilan - 1000 Test runs in a year and still hungry
By dropping Thilan Samaraweera from the Sri Lanka Test team soon after the 2006 tour of England the national cricket selectors unintentionally did his career a great favour. At the time he had a decent Test batting average of 41.98 and had played in 39 Tests accumulating 2089 runs with five centuries (highest 142). He had a very poor tour of England by his standards averaging just 4.25 from four Test innings. The selectors usually don’t give explanations for dropping a player and one can only assume that Samaraweera got the axe because his batting was not as enterprising as it should be. He dawdled too long at the crease to accumulate his runs and sometimes put the opposition bowlers on top.
The following year Samaraweera was relegated to the Sri Lanka ‘A’ team and asked to lead them on a tour of England. That’s where he met Chandika Hathurusingha, the former Sri Lanka opener and then coach of the Sri Lanka ‘A’ team. SEE INSIDE


“Tigers forfeited many an opportunity for peace” – N. Sri Kantha
Though they outwardly deny being coerced by the LTTE in the past, now in the absence of the Tiger terror machine the Tamil National Alliance is increasingly behaving like a responsible and reasonable Tamil democratic party. The previous week for the first time they held direct talks with President Rakapaksa on outstanding issues, unlike in the past when they insisted that any talks should be with the LTTE. This week we spoke to one of the stalwarts of the TNA, Parliamentarian N. Sri Kantha, who has some sound and constructive advice to the government
Q: There has been a definite change in the attitude of the TNA in recent days. Is it a case of it evolving into a reasonable Tamil democratic party?
A: I don’t think there is any change in regard to our political stand. We have been right throughout, insisting on the necessity to evolve a political solution with a view to solve the national question once and for all within the framework of a united country. That has been our consistent stand. It might be that there had been some voices among the ranks of the TNA and more particularly the TNA parliamentarians deviating from this stand in the recent past but as a party our stand has been very clear. SEE INSIDE

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