Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year 2009!!!

Relief Package From Government Covering Majority of The Society

Government of Sri Lanka unveiled a major relief package yesterday which will benefit  most of the population in Sri Lanka. This package includes tax reductions, encouragements for industries and specially price reductions of daily needs.

The full relief package is as follows.

  • Diesel, Kerosene and furnace oil reduced by Rs 10/= per litre.
  • Petrol for three wheelers reduced by Rs20/= and by Rs2/= per litre for other vehicles.
  • Bus fair reduced by 4%. Further to encourage travel and tourism 15% reduction of electricity dues for travel and tourism industry.
  • Small traders and exporters given tax concession.
  • Tea industry and rubber industry given Incentives and concessions.
  • Import of cheap tea of banned to protect tea small holders.
  • Supply of mixed fertilizer provided to tea industry.
  • Recovery of loans suspended for one year to protect the tea and rubber industries.
Furthermore LP Gas prices will be also reduced from 20th midnight. Price of a LAUGFS gas cylinder will be reduce by Rs 276 and the price of Shell gas will also be reduced by Rs 166.Government offers this package to maintain the GDP growth at 6% when there is a global economic recession. 

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Timber racket in Tabbowa

 Stanley Seneviratne - Kurunegala North Group Corr.

Police seized a large consignment of illegally felled trees worth millions of rupees during a raid last week in the deep Tabbowa Reserve in the North Western Province.

Police revealed that the trees placed on tractors were ready to be despatched. Several people were also arrested.

The consignment was to be sent to timber merchants in Puttalam.

The sprawling Tabbowa reserve has a wealth of medicinal plants and valuable trees.

The State-owned reserve is being systematically plundered by illicit timber merchants.

The 15,000 acre property on the Anuradhapura-Puttalam road in Kaluwaragaswewa was declared a reserve in July 2001 under the Fauna and Flora Act. According to official information, many valuable trees have already been cut down and what remains mostly is turpentine trees and teak planted by the Forest Conservation Department.

The Police squad was on a special operation to nab persons engaged in timber felling in the sanctuary. The squad set out in a fleet of tractors and travelled 25 kilometres. Due to bad weather the operation lasted for several days.

The operators have used sophisticated machinery to cut down hundreds of trees, Police revealed.

According to official sources, some trees are more than 300 years old. The Tabbowa sanctuary is the largest forest area in the North Western Province.

The Police team led by HQI Upul Chandana was supported by DIG NWP Shantha Rajapaksa, SSP B.I. Ranaweera and ASP I.B. Sugathapala.

The team was assisted by officials of the Police Anti Vice Squad.


Timber racket in Tabbowa
Ceylon Daily News - Ceylon,Sri Lanka
The consignment was to be sent to timber merchants in Puttalam. The sprawling Tabbowa reserve has a wealth of medicinal plants and valuable trees. ...
See all stories on this topic


LTTE Male Suicide Carder Kills 6 in Watthala

A male suicide carder has blown himself near the Watthala St Ann's church killing 6 Civil Defense Force members. According to the available sources he has blown himseld when the officers are trying to stop him entering the nearby CDF office.
There are around 19 people have sustained injuries and admitted to the hospital. LTTE is suffering heavy damages than ever in the Ealam War history. It is reported that Sri Navy has destroyed another illegal arms carrying ship last morning. Meanwhile LTTE has lost many key areas in Mullathive district which is considered as the heart of the mythical Ealam kingdom.

Sri Lanka to launch USD4 billion mega Kalpitya integerated eco-friendly tourism project

Fri, 2008-12-26 03:39

Colombo, 26 December, ( Sri Lanka Government is planning to launch a US Dollar 4 billion eco-friendly mega tourism project in 2009.

According to Bernard Goonatileke, Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Board and Chairman of the Kalpitya Integerated Tourism Development Board, arrangements are completed to launch to turn Kalpitya as the tourist destination for high spenders.

He said that they have planned to develop the mega Kalpitya project as an international tourist destination and the Board has planned to develop 14 islands located in between the North of Puttalam and South of Mannar.

Bernard Goonatileke speaking to Asian Tribune said that the envisaged mega Tourism Projects will be based on nearly 4,000 acres of land. He also revealed that nearly 90% of these lands belong to the Government and the balance required lands need to be acquired at a latter stage of the development.

According to Benard Goonatileke the conceptual plan of the project is to be completed in 4 to 6 years.

He added that the Kalpitya Integerated Tourism Development Board has planned to invite international tender for this project in the early part of 2009, for those interested to indicate to their interest and also to give proof funds available with them to implement those projects.

Interested party has to indicate whether they are bidding for the tourist promotion of an Island or several islands. It is said that interested bidders can also indicate whether interest in participating in other projects such as in hotels, golf course, marinas etc., said Benard Goonatileke.

So far many tourist promotions companies in India, China and in many from Scandinavian countries have indicated their interest in participating in this tourist project.

Asian Tribune learns that the Kalpitya mega integrated project is expected to concentrate on eco-friendly aspects.

- Asian  

Sri Lanka to launch USD4 billion mega Kalpitya integerated eco ...
Asian Tribune - Bangkok,Thailand
... as an international tourist destination and the Board has planned to develop 14 islands located in between the North of Puttalam and South of Mannar. ...
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Nominations of 2 main parties on Dec 30

The ruling UPFA and the main opposition UNP say they will hand in their nominations for upcoming provincial polls on December 30th.

Spokesmen for the two parties say their lists of nominations were in the final stages of preparation.

The leftist JVP says it has finalized its list of candidates.

Meanwhile, an independent group led by a Buddhist monk, Ven. Battaramulle Seelaratana and comprising candidates from Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities, has handed in nominations for Kurunegala district in north western province.

For central province, four independent groups have placed their deposits.

The Police Elections Bureau says the five district secretariats of Matale, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Kurunegala and Puttalam have been provided with additional security for the duration of the nominations that close on December 31st.

Nominations of 2 main parties on Dec 30 - Neth News - As and when ...
The Police Elections Bureau says the five district secretariats of Matale, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Kurunegala and Puttalam have been provided with additional security for the duration of the nominations that close on ...
Neth FM - Daily News - 

Saturday, December 27, 2008

JVP finalizes nomination lists

The JVP said yesterday it had finalized the North-Western and Central Provincial Councils nomination lists which would be handed over to the Elections Commissioner on December 30 or 31.

JVP propaganda secretary and Parliamentarian Vijitha Herath told the

Daily Mirror that the party had picked former provincial councillors Samansiri Fernando and Nimal Herath as the chief ministerial candidates to the Central and North-Western Provincial Councils.  He said the JVP would start the election campaign on January 1.

Meanwhile, the main opposition UNP is reportedly still in the process of preparing its nomination lists. The party is yet to select its chief ministerial candidate to the North-Western Provincial Council with MPs Palitha Range Bandara and Sajith Premadasa turning down the request to contest the elections.

Mr. Bandara said if he became the chief ministerial  candidate, he would be compelled to focus attention on the entire North-Western Province limiting his role in giving leadership to the Puttalam district people and its candidates.

"As the district leader, I want to lead the party to victory in Puttalam. I want to focus my sole attention on it. So, I decided not to accept the party request," he said. 

However, Mr. Premadasa said the party did not even include him in the nomination board and therefore queried how he could become eligible to be the chief ministerial candidate."I defeated President Mahinda Rajapaksa twice in Hambantota polling more votes than him at the general elections in 2000 and 2001.  I have to be grateful to those people. I want to be with them.   If I contest this election, I will have to leave them. At the same time, the party did not consider me when creating new posts. Based on all these matters, I declined to accept the party's request," he said. (KB)

UPFA to complete lists tomorrow


The ruling UPFA coalition will finalize its nomination lists tomorrow for the upcoming provincial council elections and hand them to the Elections Commissioner on December 30, a government Minister said yesterday.


The Ceylon Workers Congress, the Upcountry People's Front (UPF) and the National Freedom Front will also field candidates under the UPFA's betel symbol at the elections.

Minister P. Chandrasekaran's UPF will field three candidates for Nuwara-Eliya and one each in Puttalam and Kandy. Party member and Deputy Minister P. Radhakrishnan said they still remained undecided whether to field a candidate for the Matale district.

"We will not field any candidate in the Kurunegala district," he said.

The Elections' Department will accept nominations for the elections till December 31. (KB)


JVP finalizes nomination lists
Daily Mirror - Colombo,Western,Sri Lanka
"As the district leader, I want to lead the party to victory in Puttalam. I want to focus my sole attention on it. So, I decided not to accept the party ...
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Govt's aim to defeat terrorism, rural uplift and self -sufficiency - Minister Yapa

H.M. Abeysinghe, Kuliyapitiya group correspondent

Priorities of the Government are wiping out terrorism, achieving self-sufficiency in food and providing infrastructural facilities to the rural areas said the Minister of Media and Information Anura Piryadarshana Yapa.

Minister Anura Priyuadarshana Yapa being conducted to the venue to commission the concreted Wadumunnegedara - Nawasigahawatta Road. Pannala Pradesheeya Sabha Member Manjula Herath was also present.
- Picture by H.M. Abeysinghe, Kuliyapitya group correspondent

He was speaking at the ceremony held to mark the commissioning of Wadumunnegedara - Nawasigahawatta Road concreted under the Jathika Saviya Gama Neguma programme.

The Minister said the restoration of this road was a long felt need. During the rainy days the road was impassable and it was reduced to muddy puddles, since water flowed along the road and it was full of ridges.

Several Governments came to power during the last 40 years, but this road remained dilapidated. However even belatedly we restored the most dilapidated part of the road under Jathika Saviya Gama Neguma. The rest will be tarred in 2009.

He said, our aim is to serve the people, we don't consider the politics of the beneficiaries. Whatever political party they support we are duty bound to serve all without discrimination.

The Minister said in 2008 each Grama Niladhari Division was allocated Rs. 5 lakhs for providing infrastructural facilities, spiritual development and livelihood development of the villagers.

In 2009 each Grama Niladhari Division will be allocated Rs. 2 million under Jathika Saviya Gama Neguma programme. After utilisation of such funds social, economic and spiritual development of the villagers would be anticipated.

He said, in addition to village level development the Government had launched a large number of mega development projects. Norochcholai Coal Power Plant, Upper Kothmale Hydro Power Plant, Hambantota Harbour, Deduru Oya and Maduru Oya Irrigation Schemes are a few of them.

When the results of these projects come the living standard of the people would be raised. An agricultural renaissance is also visible throughout the country now, that indicates the self-sufficiency in food would be imminent.

Minister said the government launches all those development projects while making humanitarian operations against the LTTE terrorists. Such operations are not against the Tamil Community but to liberate them from LTTE grip and to grant them the much valued democracy as we did in the East.

No other country in the world makes development operations and military operations simultaneously, but we do.

He said the Government based on Mahinda Chnthana policies go forward like a flowing river. No force could block the forward flow of a river. Similarly no force could hinder the forward march of the Government. The Government is committed to delivering goods for the people, as they are well aware of that fact and they rally around the Government.

Pannala PS Members Manjula Herath, Chandra Kamalasiri Herath and Protus Keerti, Chairman Wadumunnegedara Rural Development Society P.M. Jayawardhana and Ms. P.M. Karunawathie also spoke.

Ceylon Daily News

Govt's aim to defeat terrorism, rural uplift and self -sufficiency ...
Ceylon Daily News - Ceylon,Sri Lanka
Norochcholai Coal Power Plant, Upper Kothmale Hydro Power Plant, Hambantota Harbour, Deduru Oya and Maduru Oya Irrigation Schemes are a few of them. ...
See all stories on this topic 

Ceylinco Chairmen Lalith Kothalawala has been Mobbed at BMICH

Mr. Lalith Kothalawala has been mobbed by a group of Golden Key customers at a function held at BMICH this afternoon. The Goldenkey credit card company which is owned by the Ceylinco group, announced that they have revealed a major credit card scam and will take quick actions to minimize the effect on their customers. As the first step, they had organized two day meeting to discuss about this problem with GoldenKey customers.

According to the available information this credit card scam has been initiated and continued by the chairmen of the Goldenkey LTD and later he has resigned from the company. He has also resigned from the posts he held in Seylan Bank as well as The Finance Company.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

'Gama Neguma' speeds through the villages

Uditha Kumarasinghe

The Government has expended Rs.14,000 million to implement the infrastructure and livelihood development projects of the "Gama Neguma" programme for year 2008,

This development is the main national development drive implemented by the Government to achieve an overall economic growth in the country under the 'Mahinda Chinthana' manifesto.

The 'Gama Neguma' programme inaugurated in 2006 with 119 Grama Niladhari divisions was expanded to cover 4,000 divisions in 2007 and to cover the entire 14,000 Grama Niladhari divisions in 2008.

The provision of Rs.4,000 million allocated in 2007 for the implementation of the Gama Neguma Programme was increased 3.5 fold reaching Rs.14,000 million in 2008, a spokesman for the Nation Building and Estate Infrastructure Development Ministry told the Daily News yesterday.

The prime objective of the 'Gama Neguma' programme is to establish economically stable villages, consisting of communities which upholds moral values. The Nation Building Ministry plays a vital role in decision making and the overall implementation of the 'Gama Neguma' programme..

Under the 'Gama Neguma' programme, it is expected to build up villages with infrastructure facilities such as roads, electricity, irrigation, water supply and other community services. Measures have also been taken to generate employment and livelihood opportunities by developing agricultural projects, small scale industries, enterprises and improving traditional industries unique to the village.

The spokesman said several initiatives taken in 2008 to implement the 'Gama Neguma' programme proved productive and viable. On a directive by President Mahinda

Rajapaksa as the Cabinet Minister of the Nation Building and Estate Infrastructure, the country was demarcated into six zones for the purpose of financial allocations.

A total of 23,912 infrastructure projects and 39,272 livelihood projects have been completed under 'Gama Neguma' programme by August 2008. In addition, a large number of projects to inspire spiritual development are also being implemented islandwide, he said.

The first zone of the 'Gama Neguma' programme covers the Monaragala, Badulla, Nuwara Eliya and Ratnapura districts while the zone two includes Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara and Jaffna districts. Zone three has covers the Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kandy, Matale and Vavuniya districts while Galle, Matara, Hambantota and Kilinochchi districts come under zone four.

In addition, zone five includes Kurunegala, Kegalle, Puttalam and Mannar districts. Zone six covers Ampara, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Mullaitivu districts. The Gama Neguma programme has also given top priority to commence the infrastructure development projects and livelihood development projects in the Jaffna, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Ampara, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Mullativu districts which come under the purview of the North and East Provinces.

Of the proposed 268 infrastructure development projects and livelihood development projects in Jaffna district for the year 2008, the Ministry had completed 228 projects by August this year.

The Ministry has also been able to complete all 24 projects in the Vavuniya district planned for 2008 by the same period this year, headded.


'Gama Neguma' speeds through the villages
Ceylon Daily News - Ceylon,Sri Lanka
In addition, zone five includes Kurunegala, Kegalle, Puttalam and Mannar districts. Zone six covers Ampara, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Mullaitivu districts ...
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Eyesight, dental disorders affect NWP children

S. M. Wijayaratne Kurunegala corr

Nearly two per cent of the school going children in the Kurunegala and Puttalam districts are suffering from poor eyesight while another 20 per cent are suffering from dental disorders.

The North Western Province Provincial Council Health Ministry has planned to conduct 145 mobile eye clinics and 45 mobile dental clinics in schools next year to provide them with proper treatment.

Dr. Nimal Senanayake, DMO of the Kurunegala District told the Daily News that the NWP-PC has allocated Rs. 2.1 million to conduct mobile health clinics for school children.

A batch of 25 PHIs and 48 Family health nurses have been trained to conduct the mobile health clinics. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed the Health Ministry to expedite its programmes to improve the health conditions of the student population with the assistance of health organisations that offer voluntary services.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bank funds for dairy farmers

S. M. Wijayaratne - Kurunegala correspondent

In an attempt to increase milk production in the Kurunegala district, the People's Bank, Bank of Ceylon and Wayamba Development Bank are offering Rs. 500 million as self-employment loans to prospective dairy farmers.

Under the "Mahinda Chintana" development programme of improving livestock development activities in the Kurunegala and Puttalam districts of the NWP, the National Livestock Development Board has launched a programme to educate dairy farmers on modern know-how of reaping good harvests from the dairy industry.

Expertise, high-bred milch cows and other equipment needed by dairy farmers will be provided free by the NLDB and more than 7,500 farmers would benefit from this new project of the NLDB, said K. M. Jayasekara, a senior dairy farmer of the Kurunegala district who is also the President of NWP Dairy Farmers' Association.


Bank funds for dairy farmers
Ceylon Daily News - Ceylon,Sri Lanka
Under the "Mahinda Chintana" development programme of improving livestock development activities in the Kurunegala and Puttalam districts of the NWP, ...
See all stories on this topic


Friday, December 12, 2008

Vaiko not a joker

by K. Godage

Vaiko is scum and to describe him as a Joker is to be kind. He, a supporter of terrorism in Sri Lanka, is a despicable scoundrel.

Yes, we have been far too tolerant of him. How could we ever forget his statement after the attempted assassination of President CBK "She needs to be lucky every time but WE need to be lucky only once", which you reproduced at the commencement of your editorial yesterday? The wretched man was associating himself with the LTTE which had attempted to kill our President! He should have been charged for being an accomplice. We in this soft country did nothing about it. And that guttersnipe has the temerity now to demand an apology from our army commander, who is a living hero of this country for calling this scavenger a 'Joker'. We should ask his friend Jayalath Jayawardena, (who had his photograph taken with this terrorist and got it published in the local newspapers), to invite him to come to this country to receive the apology.

I am more than shocked to learn that the Indian High Commissioner lodged a protest with our authorities. It is India that should even now apologise for what she has done to this country, which was recounted in great detail (quoting Indian sources itself) in an issue of your paper last week. I presume the High Commissioner may have received 'instructions' but this is not acceptable. Even if he did receive 'instructions' I would have thought it incumbent on him to advise his government that such a protest would not contribute towards improving relations with this country.

Vaiko would, no doubt, have been elated at the killing of Indian soldiers of the IPKF by the LTTE; I reproduce a photograph which tells its own story.

I am also surprised to learn that some Lake House editors were removed from office because they printed the Army Commander's views and ruffled Indian feathers. I wonder who advises the Government on its India policy. It could well be some self-proclaimed experts whose knowledge is based on them knowing a few Indian Ministers.

There is absolutely no reason for us to be servile or subservient. We need at all times to be conscious of India's security concerns and conduct our policy in the same manner as the late Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike. We swam close to the shark without being eaten! India has no lessons to teach us with regard to dealing with minorities. She is today paying a huge price for having alienated the Muslim "minority', which consists of 140 million and form 13% of the population. There have been token appointments such as that of President Abdul Kalam but they fool no one. Muslims consider themselves second class citizens, who have been discriminated against in every sphere of life. It is reported that the Indian Administrative Service has less than three percent Muslims. Do we not remember that more than one thousand Muslims were killed in the bloody Gujarat riots in 2002 and no one was charged? This is why the Muslims of India have turned violent.

India should put its house in order before preaching to us. India also has separatist insurgencies in eight States and the Naxalites are gaining ground in many states. In addition to this messy situation she has to deal with the situation in J and K and with it Pakistan and the ISI. Her hands are indeed full. Her involvement in our country is merely to appease a small vociferous Tamil minority in Tamil Nadu, we should put their interest in context and not get hyper sensitive and over react. There is not much that they could do; let us pre-empt by reaching out to our Tamil and Muslim minorities and empower them politically.

To conclude, the headline in the respected Hindu newspaper of the 6th of December – read "India angry and hurt as never before – Prime Minister Manmohan". How much more angry and hurt should we be that our giant neighbour with whom we have a 'blood relationship' should have funded, armed, trained and let loose on our small country over 5000 terrorists who have killed thousands and desecrated our holy places in the process killing hundreds who were at worship?

Should we not also be angry that India continues to seek to bully us. Why should any Sri Lankan apologise to a filthy terrorist from the slums of Tamil Nadu? India should perhaps apologise for what she has done to us and resume our relations afresh based on principles of mutual respect and non interference in our internal affairs. 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Airtel Ready To Launch in Sri Lanka!!!

May be the mostly awaited mobile network Airtel, is about to strart it's operations in Sri Lanka very soon. The launch has been postponing several times since last year by the company. The network prefix will be 075 and the network id is SRI-05. If you do a GSM network search most probably you will be able to see that Airtel network is up and running. In the mean time Airtel has set up some outlets also around the city but still the naming boards are covered.
It is expected that Airtel will offer attractive packages which will make other operators also to slash prices more. Meanwhile existing operators have already taken some measures to strengthen their respective customer base by slash prices and introducing new packages. As the Dialog, the market leader is gradually loosing the market share, Mobitel has aggressively attracted millions of new customers within a short period of time. As a results Mobitel network is being oversubscribed and very often gets busy. In order to keep the customer base steady Mobitel will be required to do a rapid network expansion. 

Monday, December 08, 2008

Australia supports the disabled through ?Development for All?


The Australian High Commission marked International Day of Persons with Disabilities with disabled children from the Puttalam District in an event organised by Child Vision Puttalam. The organisation specialises in the provision of therapy and early intervention for children with disabilities in the Puttalam District. Cecilia Brennan Second Secretary, participated in the event which aimed at encouraging equity in opportunities for disabled persons and their inclusion in society.

As part of Australia?s commitment to increasing social participation for the disabled, the Australian Government will announce a national disability policy in 2009. The new strategy, ?Development for All?, aims to improve quality of life for people with disabilities, strengthen prevention efforts and promote international leadership on disability and development. It also seeks to improve understanding of disability and development across the Asia Pacific region.

An estimated 650 million people across the world have a disability and about 80 per cent of the population with a disability live in developing countries. The Asia Pacific region is home to two-thirds of this population.

In support of the Australian Government?s strategy, the Australian High Commission in Colombo has partnered with local organisations to provide development assistance to the disabled through projects on health care, education, access to facilities and social inclusion. This year the High Commission through its Direct Aid Program (DAP) has funded Child Vision in Puttalam for the purchase and distribution of therapy equipment for disabled children, the Centre for Handicapped Kandy for the provision of limbs for 52 people, three class rooms for the Sith Sevana Children\'s Development Society in Thanamalwila and the Sunera Foundation for workshop on social inclusion through Performing Arts in Anuradhapura.

Australia has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and actively promotes the implementation of the convention, a vital instrument to encourage equity and inclusion for persons with disabilities.

Australia supports the disabled through 'Development for All'
Lanka Everything 


Sunday, December 07, 2008

CAA to nab errant traders during festive season


The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) will nab errant traders trying to exploit consumers during the festive season, said Chairman, CAA, Rumy Marzook.

He said raid squads will be deployed in all districts to check whether traders display price tags and conform to the maximum retail price imposed on essential items under the program.

"The number of complaints regarding non display of price tags and the varying price levels for essential food items has increased.

The CAA has launched an online service to nab shop owners who do not adhere to the regulations", Marzook said.

Random checks will be carried out in selected areas such as Colombo, Negombo, Chilaw, Puttalam, Wattala and Moratuwa where commercial activities are high during the Christmas season.

Marzook said the CAA will take stern action against traders who violate consumer welfare regulations by imposing fines ranging from Rs. 1,000 - Rs. 10,000 on a trader and Rs. 10,000 - Rs. 100,000 on a company.

Dhal, sugar, rice, gram, dried fish and flour are categorised as essential items by the CAA. A maximum retail price has been fixed on rice and chicken.

The maximum retail price of a kilogram of Samba is Rs. 75, Nadu Rs. 65 and a kilo of chicken is Rs. 320.

All LPG sales outlets should have weighing scales for customers to check the weight.

The CAA has called upon consumers to inform them if weighing scales have not been installed in the outlets.

Marzook said the CAA collected Rs. 15 million in fines in 2,900 raids carried out this year.

One-third of the fines will be deposited in the CAA Fund and the rest will be used for activities in the provinces.

The CAA has a list of importers of food items and legal action will be taken against those selling food products containing melamine above the permitted level.

The permissible level of melamine in a product is 1ppn.


CAA to nab errant traders during festive season
Sunday Observer, Sri Lanka - 7 hours ago
Random checks will be carried out in selected areas such as Colombo, Negombo, Chilaw, Puttalam, Wattala and Moratuwa where commercial activities are high during the Christmas season.



Monday, December 01, 2008

How do you see the recent developments taking place in the country?

How do you see the recent developments taking place in the country?

Rishad Bathiudeen - Minister of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services:

The President took the decision to liberate the uncleared areas from Mavil Aru to Thoppigala and now progressing towards the North to end the suffering of the people. While a huge volume of money is spent on these humanitarian operations, Government never neglected the development work of the rest of the country and also in the recently liberated areas. Continuing developing programs parallel to the operations suppressing terrorism is a huge success, specially to a developing country like ours. The development work not only focuses on infrastructure development but it includes several mega projects as well like the Norochcholai coal power plant, Kerawalapitiya power plant and several highways and expressways. This is a huge responsibility. Then we were able to resettle approximately 200,000 of displaced people in the East which didn't happen for a long time in our history. We are conducting many projects to develop the infrastructure as well as the livelihood of people of those areas.

V. Anandasangaree - Leader, Tamil United Liberation Front

It's encouraging on one aspect and distressing on the other. Encouraging in the sense the people who have been suffering for the past 30 odd years trapped in uncleared areas are now escaping from those areas trying to find safety; Gradually getting liberated. In a fight with a ruthless organization like the LTTE, the credit should go to the Sri Lanka Army for the minimal number of civilian casualties. Most of the people who criticize the Government, don't understand the importance of this. If the Army wants it can destroy the Tigers within a few days. But because of the civilian presence the Army is extra cautious. I never supported war but I kept on agitating for a friendly Army coming in to Kilinochchi and liberating innocent civilians. I give the credit to the Army for their methodology. This is what I stress to the international community as well. These people undergo many untold hardships while under LTTE grip like killings, tortures, dark room torture, abductions. I know that people of the Wanni are in a desperate situation where they want the Army to come and free them wherever possible. That, I don't think anyone has the right to comment against.


Sunday Observer

Development budget to address North East shortcomings
Sunday Observer - Columbo,Sri Lanka
Steps have been taken to construct large power generation plants at Norochcholai, Upper Kotmale and Kerawalapitiya. Water supply projects are in progress in ...
See all stories on this topic

Sunday Observer

Development all over in equal fairness
Sunday Observer - Columbo,Sri Lanka
The development work not only focuses on infrastructure development but it includes several mega projects as well like the Norochcholai coal power plant, ...
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Sunday, November 30, 2008

The best of CV Gooneratne and AHM Azwer

The best of CV Gooneratne and AHM Azwer
A. H. M. Azwer

To keep Parliament proceedings alive and interesting is an impossible task for parties representing that August Assembly. For a Speaker, Deputy Speaker or a Deputy Chairman of Committees, it is a headache and a nuisance to have a Member who continues to interrupt each and every Member on his feet.

But, if that Member who disturbs or interrupts the House is a disciplined man, the proceedings turn exciting with other Members responding in a similar manner.

For that, elected Members should have a sound command of the three languages used in the House with absolute knowledge on all Standing Orders of Parliament. Then only they become capable on how and when to disturb a Member who is on his feet.

There was a Member nominated on the National List in 1989 by the UNP who held the record of the most number of interruptions in the House till the year 2000. He was the 'cracking' Member of Parliament A. H. M. Azwer.

The Hansard records many a nickname for Azwer. Deputy Speaker Gamini Fonseka called him-"Jack in the Box". The then Opposition Member, Mahinda Rajapaksa once called him-"Charlie Chaplin". Speaker K. B. Ratnayake described him as-"Heckler in the House". Speaker M. H. Mohamed called him-"Spring Jack" as Azwer sprang up from his seat all the time to disturb the House.

But, C. V. Gooneratne who encountered Azwer thousands of times called Azwer by the name of an animal in Azwer's electorate in the Puttalam District where Azwer represented his people. And Azwer in turn labeled CV with the name of another animal in the Zoo with a tail which jumped from tree to tree, as CV lived close to the Dehiwala Zoo.

C. V. Gooneratne

This honourable man, A. H. M. Azwer was a honest, sincere and a disciplined parliamentarian who never used politics to earn a living. He always led a simple life mingling with the people in the society. Being a State Minister of the Premadasa administration, he had to sell his official jeep (already owned after paying the instalments) to give his daughter in marriage.

Thereafter, he travelled to parliament in a rented out Hi-Ace van. If one monitored the number of interruptions by Azwer in Parliament from 1989-2000, he would have certainly entered the Guinness Book of Records. He played the role of "Lone Ranger" in the two Parliaments he represented as a Government and an Opposition MP to keep the proceedings alive even at times there were no quorum in the House.

He also holds the record of being involved in the most number of verbal battles which led the Speaker to suspend sittings in the House. Also if you count the number of words by Azwer in the Hansard prints, Azwer would certainly out smart all Parliamentarians in the democracies worldwide. Even the legends of the "Mother of Parliaments", the "House of Commons" who spoke for hours during the second world war may not equal that number.


In the bygone days, Parliamentarians debated with discipline and decorum using the command of the language to out smart their opponents during debates. The use of un-parliamentary language was never witnessed by those who flocked the galleries to listen to their elected Members. Humour was met with humour and not with sarcasm.

Azwer's regular partner in battle was the flamboyant former Royal College ruggerite, the six foot C. V. Gooneratne. CV who had a Nelsonian personality inherited a stentorian voice. A well read man like Azwer, CV could fire salvos in seconds.

He had a fine flow of the English Language and the sequence and eloquence of his delivery was excellent. We in the Gallery as Lobby Correspondents for respective newspapers always awaited Gooneratne on his feet as Azwer was sure to take on Gooneratne from the first minute.

Azwer was also a qualified quality interpreter of the three languages in the country able to meet any verbal battle with the experienced members of the House. Of course, the former Royal ruggerite Gooneratne was physically capable of knocking out the verbally strong Azwer in seconds. They both were disciplined men who never stooped to low levels as often seen among many today.


Outside the Chamber, Azwer and Gooneratne were great friends. Inside the Chamber, Gooneratne , before rising on his feet would warn the Chair to keep Azwer under control. Former Speakers M. H. Mohamed, Anura Bandaranaike and K. B. Ratnayake always sought the cooperation of Azwer not to disturb Gooneratne. Azwer could hold himself only for a few seconds.
Parliament building at Sri Jayawardenapura

As the late Gamini Dissanayake repeatedly quipped that Gooneratne had done some "charm" to Azwer, he (Azwer) found difficult to hold himself with Gooneratne. Whenever Gooneratne rose to speak, Azwer followed a ritual to tell the Chair-"Sir, I rise to a Point of Order".

The Chair often ruled that the query raised by Azwer was not a Point of Order. Gooneratne shot back in style to say,-"Sir, I told you Azwer's "Point" is now "Pointless" and "Blunt". Azwer retorted in his inimitable style to add,-"Sir, the Hon. Gooneratne is a man without any "Point" to point". Not giving in Gooneratne referred to Azwer's electorate at Puttalam to claim that "Donkeys" never knew they had a "Point". Azwer valiantly came back to the fray to burst out that "Monkeys" who originated close to the Dehiwala Zoo had only "Tails" and no "Points". "Sir, if Mr. Azwer really knows my "Point", he will run", Gooneratne cracked as the Speaker called both Members to Order.

The Azwer-Gooneratne combination was best ever seen in the recent Parliaments from the Governments and Opposition. They held the floor for hours with brilliant contributions, interruptions, humour and excitement. They both often quoted from intellects like Longfellow, Shakespeare, Elliot, Dickens and so on.

Whenever Gooneratne quoted from Shakespeare, Azwer would disturb him to quote from "Martin Wickremesinghe" and then refer to Charles Dickens" to the annoyance of Gooneratne. From that point it was all humour in the House.

Parliament was quality and entertainment to quantity by these professional members of the House as seniors like Lalith Athulathmudali, Gamini Dissanayake, ACS Hameed, Dharmasiri Senanayake, Lakshman Jayakody, Lakshman Kadirgamar, Anura Bandaranaike, Anil Moonesinghe, K. B. Ratnayake and others were also men of scriptures who chipped in often to add more humour.


C. V. Gooneratne after assuming office as Cabinet Minister for Industrial Development in the Kumaratunga Government began to display a red colour handkerchief in the pocket of his tunic coat. That amused Azwer. Azwer wondered about the sudden change in the attire of his opponent in the Chamber.

Whenever, Gooneratne entered the Chamber, Azwer used to quip," Sir, I first greet that red handkerchief and then my friend Mr. Gooneratne". "You have nowhere else in myself to greet", cracked Gooneratne. "No Sir, I have never gone the "Wild" way that "Oscar' went", Azwer told Gooneratne. Looking to the Chair, Gooneratne quipped, "Sir, I am afraid that my friend Azwer may soon try an "Oscar Wilde' if his focus goes 'wild".

The famous Air Lanka-Emirates deal debate in the House paved the opportunity for all Members and those in the galleries to witness the best of Azwer and CV Gooneratne. Azwer began to focus his eyes on the minister's red handkerchief planning to take on the minister unlike before. Gooneratne used the opportunity to first counter allegations made by UNP MP Karunasena Kodituwakku. Azwer was the Saviour of all in the UNP. Azwer, a shrewd parliamentarian chose to divert the attention of Minister Gooneratne to his red handkerchief knowing well he could disturb the trend of the verbal dose unleashed on the UNP by the minister. Entered Azwer in this way to say-"Hon. Minister your red handkerchief might fall for the lies you utter in this Chamber". Shot back Gooneratne in an angry mood-"Only bulls get excited by the colour Red".


Azwer turned the topic back to the Air Lanka-Emirates deal to claim the deal would deprive the stewardesses of the beautiful Peacock designed saree as their uniform. Gooneratne came back-"Sir, Azwer has another problem when he talks about the removal sarees as his 'bulb' is not functioning now" (Azwer's microphone bulb stood off in the chamber). Azwer complained to the Chair that somebody was deliberately fiddling with his microphone. "Sir, Azwer must call for action to make his 'bulb' function "chipped in Gooneratne. Azwer did not give in but cracked, "Sir, even Mr. Gooneratne's 'bulb' is in the 'dark; as I see it". Looking at the Speaker, Gooneratne quipped, "Sir, if I switch 'on', Mr. Azwer will run". At that point Azwer decided to leave the Chamber saying, "Sir, I have to attend another function". Gooneratne added, "Mr. Azwer, I hope your 'bulb' will 'function' at that function". As Azwer was leaving, Gooneratne cracked that the House was free of "Donkeys". Turned back Azwer to retort -"Sir, the Dehiwala 'Monkeys' are free to have a day on their own". 'Sir, without my friend Azwer in the Chamber, there's no fun", quipped Gooneratne to the Speaker. Just leaving by the Opposition door, Azwer emotionally said, "Sir, with malice towards none, it was all said in fun". "Sir, Mr. Azwer ate into my time, I'll wind up now", said CV Gooneratne.


Later on that day, CV Gooneratne was seen walking in the company of Azwer with the right arm round Azwer's shoulder into the Members' Dining Room. Will we ever witness such dignified conduct, decorum, understanding and unity among Government and Opposition Members today or even in the near future is the vital question.

The late CV Gooneratne, a brilliant gentleman, fine debater and a disciplined parliamentarian will be long remembered by his intimate colleague and fellow Parliamentarian A.H.M. Azwer, another outstanding product, now an Advisor to President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

These men were rare specimen in the annals of our new Parliament in Sri Jayewardenepura, Kotte. Will we ever see the likes of them again?


Thursday, November 20, 2008

GMail Gets New Themes

The popular free web mail service from Google, GMail has added a new feature to the service called GMail themes. GMail themes will
personalize your GMail look according to the them you select. Presently GMail have around
30 very colourful themes to choose from. You can change you them by clicking on "Settings"
and then "Themes" or either the direct link that will be automatically appeared inside
your inbox.
GMail has attracted millions of new users during a short period of time since the launch
mainly because of the new and innovative features offered by the inventors.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pooneryn Falls To Sri Lankan Troops

Another key point in the northern province Pooneryn has fallen to Task Force 1 of Sri Lanka army this morning. Capturing of Pooneryn is very vital to Sri Lankan troop as it opens a land route between South and North. This liberation is after 20 years and will be one of the greatest defeats in the ealam war history because with this lost, LTTE loose the total control of the west coast of Sri Lanka. Meanwhile President Mahinda Rajapakse as well as Gen. Sarath Fonseka have congratulated troops on their victory. Government has also called "War Heroes Felicitation Week" to pay tributes to armed forces of Sri Lanka

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

LTTE Light Aircraft Target Kelanithissa Power Station - Colombo

Military spokesman has announced that two LTTE light aircraft have drooped two bombs targeting Kelaithissa power station. Kelanithissa power station located north of Colombo City is a key station for generating electricity by thermal power mainly for requirements of Colombo city.
Two wings of a cooling fan have been damaged by the blast. Meanwhile it is being reported that fire brigade has been called to the location. Colombo city is being blackout temporally as a security measure.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Anti Aircraft Gun Fires Heard in Colombo

Sound of anti aircraft gunfire heard in Colombo between 11.30 pm to 11.4o pm this evening. According to the available information anti aircraft defence systems have been activated in Colombo fearing of a possible LTTE attack using light airplanes. As a security measure power to the Colombo has also being cut. Meanwhile MCNS reported that two bombs have been dropped near Mannar military installations. Still there are no information available about aftermath.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Musician Premasiri Kemadasa Passes Away

Famouse Sri Lankan music composer Premasiri Kemadasa has passed away this evening at the age of 71.Mr Kemadasa also knows as "Kemadasa Master" well known for exploring the various styles of music around the world and endeavored to develop his very own style of music. He combined Sinhala folk tunes, Western music, Hindustani music  and many other styles of music in his compositions.
Mr Kemadasa is an old boy of  Sri Sumangala College and St. John’s College, Panadura.

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