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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Car Bomb kills 86 in Pakistan city of Peshawar

Car bomb kills 86 in Pakistani city of Peshawar

AP – People gather at the site of an explosion in Peshawar, Pakistan on Wednesday Oct. 28, 2009. A car bomb …
Riaz Khan, Associated Press Writer –
PESHAWAR, Pakistan –



A car bomb tore through a market popular with women in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing 86 people hours after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in the country to show American support for its campaign against Islamist militants.
More than 200 people were wounded in the blast in the main northwestern city of Peshawar, the deadliest in a surge of attacks this month. The government blamed militants seeking to avenge an army offensive launched this month against al-Qaida and Taliban in their stronghold close to the Afghan border.
The blast hit a market selling bangles, dresses and toys in an old part of town crisscrossed with narrow alleys. It set scores of shops on fire, collapsed buildings, including a mosque, and sent a cloud of gray smoke over the city. TV footage showed wounded people sitting amid the debris as people grabbed at the wreckage, trying to pull out survivors before carrying them to a hospital.
One two-story building collapsed as firefighters doused it with water.
Clinton, on her first visit to Pakistan as secretary of state, was three hours' drive away in the capital, Islamabad, when the blast took place. Speaking to reporters, she praised the army's anti-Taliban offensive in South Waziristan and offered U.S. support.
"I want you to know that this fight is not Pakistan's alone," she said in remarks carried live on Pakistani news channels. "This is our struggle as well."
Sahib Gul, a doctor at a nearby hospital, said 86 people were killed and more than 200 injured. Many of the victims were women and children.
No group claimed responsibility for the bombing, but that is not unusual, especially when the victims are Pakistani civilians.
Three bombs have exploded in Peshawar this month, including another one that killed more than 50 people, part of a barrage of at least 10 major attacks across the country that have killed some 250 people. Most have targeted security forces, but some bombs have gone off in public places, apparently to sow fear and expose the weakness of the government.
The Taliban have warned Pakistan that they would stage more attacks if the army does not end a new ground offensive in the South Waziristan tribal region, where the military has dispatched some 30,000 troops to flush out insurgents. South Waziristan is a major base for the Pakistani Taliban and other foreign militants.
North West Frontier Province Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain blamed the militants for Wednesday's attack.
"We are hitting them at their center of terrorism, and they are hitting back targeting Peshawar," he said. "This is a tough time for us. We are picking up the bodies of our women and children, but we will follow these terrorists and eliminate them."

Country burning with problems : only media suppression and people oppression are Govt.’s solutions- Ranil Wickremesinghe

Country burning with problems : only media suppression and people oppression are Govt.’s solutions- Ranil Wickremesinghe


UNP and opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing Trade unions at the Cambridge place Office yesterday (27) , said, while the country is burning with raging problems , the President and his Govt. are not seeking solutions to them , but only moving heaven and earth to suppress the media which exposes the Govt. weaknesses, corruption and backstreet politics , while also oppressing the people with untold hardships.
The Govt. is so jittery and unstable , it is even trying to hide the truths seeping through the media. He was referring to the latest action of the Govt. to forbid publication of reports on military leaders and their entry to politics. This is clear testimony of the Govt.’s worry . It is very unfortunate that this Govt. is obsessed only with matters concerning its power perpetuation . It is shaken because the military leaders , if they come to politics will be a threat to it. It has no concern about uplifting the people or with country’s development and progress. If there is even a slightest threat to its power from the remotest quarters , it gets cold feet . But even if the people are in dire problems and acutely suffering , the Govt. elected by the people for the people is not worried.

It is the President who has the power to decide on the date of the election. He can call for a Presidential election before the term is over . Those decisions are of the President , and the UNP is not concerned about his decisions. The UNP has no need to focus on the Presidential elections until it is announced.. At the moment the focus is on human rights protection , Ranil added.

The emergency regulations do not preclude journalists from reporting on military or matters pertaining to Presidential candidates. Yet , the Govt. is unduly worried. The constitution is more important than the emergency laws . Section 14 of the constitution guarantees freedom of expression of the people. This should be preserved.

There is nothing wrong in the Media Reporting of a military officer going to contest Presidential election. Such news deserve publication not suppressed., he pinpointed

Sri Lanka- Bulgeriya Business Forum

Sri Lanka – Bulgaria Business Forum

A Sri Lanka-Bulgaria Business Forum is being organized by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) with the support of the Foreign Ministry, on Sunday 1st November 2009, from 9.00 to 12.00 hrs, at Hotel Taj Samudra, Colombo (Crystal Lower Ballroom), on the occasion of the visit of a Bulgarian Business Delegation that will accompany the President of Bulgaria on a visit to Sri Lanka.

The Bulgarian delegation to the Business Forum will be led Hon. Traicho Traikov, Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism, and will include leading businessmen from Bulgarian and an Agreement on Cooperation is also scheduled to be signed on this occassion.

It would be appreciated if you could assign a journalist/photographer/media crew to cover the above event.

Please inform the names of your representatives to the following contact details in order to facilitate security clearance.

Tel : 2437633

Fax : 2472488
E-mail : publicity@formin.gov.lk




S. Khan
Director / Public Communications
for Secretary / Foreign Affairs

Death of Sri Lankan national in Italy--Help to Find

Death of a Sri Lankan national in Italy

Help to Find

The Sri Lanka Embassy in Rome has informed the Consular Affairs Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that Mr. Samson Surendran Benedict has passed away in Italy.

The details provided by the Sri Lanka Embassy in Rome are as follows:

1. Name of the deceased : Mr. Samson Surendran Benedict

2. Date of birth : 21.02.1948

3. Place of birth : Jaffna

The Consular Affairs Division of the Ministry has requested assistance of the general public to trace the Next of Kin (NOK) of the deceased person.

Any information of above mentioned person’s NOK or any contact details could be communicated to the Consular Affairs Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the following:

Address : No:14, Sir Baron Jayatilleke Mawatha
Colombo 01

Tel : 2437635

Fax : 2473899

Most prosperity living country in the world

Most prosperity living country in the world
SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) – For those who value their freedom of expression as much as health, wealth, and prosperity, then Finland is the place to be, with an index ranking the Nordic nation the best in the world.

The 2009 Legatum Prosperity Index, published on Tuesday and compiled by the Legatum Institute, an independent policy, advocacy and advisory organization, ranked 104 countries which are home to 90 percent of the world's population.

The index is based on a definition of prosperity that combines economic growth with the level of personal freedoms and democracy in a country as well as measures of happiness and quality of life.
With the exception of Switzerland, which came in at number 2, Nordic countries dominated the top 5 slots, with Sweden in third place followed by Denmark and Norway.

The top 10 were all also Western nations, with Australia (6th place) and Canada (7th place) both beating the United States, ranked 9th. Britain came in at number 12.
In Asia, Japan was the region's highest ranked country at number 16, followed by Hong Kong (18th place) and Singapore (23rd place) and Taiwan (24th place).
Dr. William Inboden, senior vice president of the Legatum Institute, said the lower rankings for Asian nations were largely due to their weak scores for democracy and personal freedoms.
"Many Asian nations have good economic fundamentals, but the Index tells us that true prosperity requires more than just money," Inboden said in a statement.
"Democratic institutions and personal freedom measures are letting some Asian nations down. Furthermore, countries which have low levels of economic stability, such as Cambodia, finish even further down in the overall rankings."
Cambodia came in the 93rd slot while China, with its tight political controls, came in 75th despite booming economic growth.
And the world's least prosperous country? According to the Legatum Index, it is Zimbabwe, with Sudan and Yemen close runners-up.
The index combines objective data and subjective responses to surveys. More details can be found on http://www.prosperity.com.
(Writing by Miral Fahmy, editing by Ron Popeski)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Colombo stocks close lower in broad sell-off


Sri Lankan stocks close lower in broad sell-off

Oct 27, 2009 (LBO) - Sri Lanka stocks closed lower for a second day Tuesday, falling 0.9 percent in a broad sell-off that saw while buyers were awaiting earnings reports, brokers said.
The All Share Index closed at 2,989.05 points down 34.9 points while the Milanka Index of more liquid stocks closed down 1.19 percent (21.7 points) at 3,378 points according to provisional Colombo Stock Exchange data.
Brokers said stocks could be expected to react to earnings in the near term, with the third quarter reporting season just starting, and investors paying more attention to fundamentals following an extended rally that saw the market double so far this year.
Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings closed at 227.0 rupees, down 7.75, Carson Cumberbatch closed at 345.0 down 5.00, Asiri Surgical at 11.00 down 0.50 and Bogala Graphite at 18.50 down 0.75.
In banking, Commercial Bank closed ay 180.0 rupees down 1.25, HNB 167.75 down 1.25, DFCC 149.0 down 1.50 and NDB 185.00 down 2.75.
Dialog Telekom closed flat at 7.25 rupees and Sri Lanka Telecom at 44.00 down 1.00.
Diversified John Keells Holdings closed at 141.50 rupees down 2.50 and Distilleries closed flat at 99.00, Chevron Lubricants closed flat at 182.0.
Colombo Dockyard was down 1.50, closing at 117.25. -->

Kashmiris observe Black Day

Kashmiris observe Black Day

ISLAMABAD, Oct 27 (APP):

Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control and all across the world are observing Black Day, today, to convey to the international community that they reject India’s illegal occupation of their soil. According to Kashmir Media Service,call for the observance has been given by the All Parties Hurriyet Conference and senior Kashmiri Hurriyet leader, Syed Ali Gilani.
It was on October 27 in 1947 when Indian troops invaded Kashmir in clear violation of the partition plan of the Sub continent and the Kashmiris’ aspirations.Senior APHC leader, Agha Syed Hassan Al Moosvi addressing a party meeting in Badgam urged India to shun its intransigence and take steps towards resolving the Kashmir dispute, once and for all.People took to the streets in Habba Kadal, Maisuma and Gaw Kadal in Srinagar against subjecting peaceful protesters in the city to brute force by the troops, yesterday. Several demonstrators were injured and the condition of one of them was stated to be critical.Demonstrations continued in Handwara against the killing of a 12th class student by Indian troops

WHY KASHMIRIS OBSERVE OCTOBER 27 AS BLACK DAY!

Pakistan
Kashmir Black day

WHY KASHMIRIS OBSERVE OCTOBER 27th AS BLACK DAY?

M. Raza Malik

Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control and across the globe observe October 27 as Black Day and consider it as the blackest day in their history. This is the Day when India landed its army in Jammu and Kashmir, in total disregard to the Indian Independence Act and Partition Plan of 1947. In order to change the demographic composition of the territory, Indian troops, the forces of Dogra Maharaja Hari Singh, and Hindu extremists massacred over three hundred thousand Kashmiri Muslims within a period of only two months.

The Indian Independence Act and Partition Plan of 1947 had stated that the Indian British Colony would be divided into two sovereign states, India, with Hindu-majority areas, and Pakistan, with Muslim-majority areas of Western provinces and east Bengal.

India by landing its Army in Jammu and Kashmir, violated the guidelines set for deciding the future of Hyderabad, Junagarh and Kashmir, three of the independent Princely States at that time, which were given the choice either to accede to Pakistan or India, considering the geographical situation and communal demography. It forcibly occupied Hyderabad and Junagarh, which had Hindus in majority but their rulers were Muslims. Kashmir was a Muslim-majority state and had a natural tendency to accede to Pakistan, but its Hindu ruler destroyed the future of Kashmiri people by announcing its accession to India under a controversial accession document (Instrument of Accession). Many neutral observers deny the existence of such document with the argument that had it existed, Indian government would have made it public either officially or at any international forum.

It is a historical fact that if the partition was done on the principles of Justice, then India had no land route to enter into Jammu and Kashmir but the so-called Boundary Commission, headed by British Barrister, Cyril Radcliff, that demarcated partition line, under a conspiracy split Gurdaspur, a Muslim majority area, and handed it over to India, providing it land access to the territory.

Right from the day one, people of Kashmir did not accept India’s illegal occupation and started an armed struggle in 1948, which forced India to approach the UN Security Council to seek its help to settle the dispute. The UN Security Council approved a ceasefire, demarcation of the ceasefire line, demilitarization of the state and a free and impartial plebiscite to be conducted under the supervision of th
e World Body. Although the ceasefire and demarcation of the ceasefire line was implemented while demilitarization of the occupied territory and a free and impartial plebiscite under UN supervision remains unimplemented till date. As a result of the demarcation, about 139,000 square kilometers area of Jammu and Kashmir remained with India while 83,807 square kilometers constituted the territory of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Indian rulers promised before the UN to resolve the dispute and provide the people of Kashmir with their basic right of self-determination, but later backed away from their commitments. India has been putting peace, security and stability of the entire South Asia at stake by demonstrating continued rigidity and stubbornness and not responding positively to the efforts made by the international community to settle the Kashmir dispute since last six decades.

Disappointed at the failure of all the efforts aimed at resolving Kashmir dispute through peaceful means, the people of occupied Kashmir launched a massive uprising in 1989 to secure their right to self-determination. This movement gathered momentum with the passage of time and pushed the Indian authorities to wall, forcing them to sit around the negotiation table with Pakistan in January 2004. The talks process continued till it was hampered after Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008, when India without any substantive evidence laid the responsibility of these attacks on Pakistan and its intelligence agencies.

It is worth mentioning that Pakistan demonstrated considerable flexibility in the dialogue process by floating various proposals including demilitarization, self-governance and joint-management to settle the conflict over Kashmir, but India’s intransigent approach continued to remain the biggest hurdle in making successful any effort made in this regard. The ground situation in the occupied territory remains unchanged, as the confidence building measures and the dialogue process could not provide Kashmiri people respite from the Indian state terrorism.

India has exhausted all its resources and means but has not been able to deter Kashmiris from continuing their liberation struggle. It has given a free hand to its troops and police to subject peaceful protesters to brute force. Over 70 people were killed only within a period of two months in 2008 when Indian police personnel resorted to indiscriminate firing to break up demonstrators in Kashmir. The Chairman of All Parties Hurriyet Conference, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq was placed under house arrest for two months to prevent him from addressing public gatherings. Liberation leaders including Syed Ali Gilani, Shabbir Ahmed Shah, Aasiya Andrabi, Nayeem Ahmed Khan, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Masarat Alam Butt and Muhammad Saleem Nunnaji have been booked under the infamous draconian law, Public Safety Act to keep them away from the people. The troops have been setting new records of human rights violations by killing innocent people, arresting youth, disgracing and harassing women and setting residential houses afire with impunity.

The troops have killed over ninety-two thousand Kashmiris, widowed more than twenty five thousand women, orphaned more than one hundred thousand children and molested or gang-raped around ten thousand Kashmiri women during the past 20 years. The whereabouts of thousands of innocent Kashmiris, disappeared in the custody of troops, are yet to be made known while hundreds of unnamed graves have been discovered in the occupied territory, which are believed to be of disappeared Kashmiris. This whole mayhem is being carried out with the protection of draconian laws, by virtue of which any person can be killed or put behind the bars without any accountability.

The Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Asia Watch and other international humanitarian organizations in their regular reports have been raising their concern over human rights violations in IOK. Even the European Union Parliament during its session in Strasbourg on July 10, 2008 unanimously passed a resolution calling upon the Indian Government to urgently conduct an independent and impartial probe into the issue of discovery of mass graves in the territory. It also strongly condemned unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture, rape and other human rights abuses, which have been taking place at the hands of the occupation troops in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989.

It was yet another exposition of India’s callousness that the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh on India’s Independence Day, this year, tried to hoodwink the international community by stating that the elections in Kashmir had rendered the freedom element irrelevant. The mammoth anti-India protest demonstrations, participated by millions of people in Indian occupied Kashmir, last year, should be taken as Kashmiris’ referendum against the Indian illegal occupation of their soil.

These are the reasons which force Kashmiris to observe October 27 as Black Day. The observance is intended to send a loud and clear message to the international community to take cognizance of the miseries of Kashmiri people, help stop human rights violations in the occupied territory and play its role in bringing about a solution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with Kashmiris’ aspirations. It is also aimed at calling upon India to read writing on the wall, accept the ground realities and come forward with a realistic approach to settle the dispute for the larger interest of the people of the region.


Read Pakistan news paper article (Pakistan daily)

http://www.daily.pk/kashmir-black-day-12579/







Pakistan
Terror group leader arrested in NWFP


PESHAWAR:

Acording to GEO TV repot The chief of the group involved in Hyatabad and Sukarno chowk bombings has been arrested.IG NWFP Malik Naveed while talking to media said the leader of the group involved in Hyatabad and Sukarno chowk. He said no severe reaction of terrorists has been emerged due to better strategy of police. Malik Naveed said red alert security has been imposed in the province and hundreds of militants and commanders have been arres.


US welcomes Sri Lankan probe on US human rights report

US welcomes Sri Lankan probe on US human rights report

The United States (US) has welcomed reports that Sri Lanka plans to set up an investigative commission to probe a US report on allegations of human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. The government had said it will probe the report submitted by the US State Department to the US Congress.
More: http://www.dailymirror.lk/DM_BLOG/Sections/frmNewsDetailView.aspx?ARTID=66004

Sri lankan Business deligation visits Jeddah

Sri Lankan Business Delegation visits Jeddah


A twenty eight member Sri Lankan business delegation headed by the Sri Lankan Export Development Board embarked on a 3 day visit to Jeddah on 24.10.2009, organized by the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Jeddah.

The Business delegation from various sectors will explore the market potentials for further enhancing the export of Sri Lankan products in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The group will visit the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry and arrangements have been made to meet Jeddah based reputed Business community at Chamber of Commerce premises.


They will also visit leading Supermarket chains such as Bin Dawood and Hyper Panda in addition to other reputed companies in Jeddah in order to establish business relationships.

The Consulate General has made arrangements for the delegation to meet Jeddah based Sri Lankans from commercial organizations at the Consulate and to hold discussions with a view to obtain their assistance in trade related matters.

This is the first time a Sri Lankan business delegation comprising of such a large number of participants is visiting Jeddah. It is expected that the visit will help to increase trade opportunities for Sri Lankan products in Saudi Arabia. The Delegation will then proceed to Riyadh on 27th October.

It is noteworthy to mention that the visit has been organized by Consulate General based on the directives given by Hon. Rohitha Bogollagama, Minister of Foreign Affairs at the Conference for Heads of Missions of Middle Eastern countries which was held in Dubai last year.

President to appoint committee to study

President to appoint committee to study

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to appoint an expert committee within one week to verify the facts behind the allegations against the Sri Lanka Government in the report submitted by the US State Department to the US Congress on incidents during the recent conflict in Sri Lanka, Human Rights and Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said.
The Government stance on the report will be announced after the report was made by the committee appointed by the President, he added.
He was addressing a media conference held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday to explain the new situation following the submission of the said report.
Minister Samarasinghe said that the third paragraph of the report itself highlights that the facts included in the report are without any legal value and cannot be proved. They are not in a position to prove the allegation contained in the report. more:
www.dailynews.lk

Russia assures support for Sri lanka

Russia assures support for Sri Lanka





The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergey V. Lavrov met Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa this evening at the President's House in Colombo.
Following the meeting the Russian Foreign Minister with his Sri Lankan counterpart, Minister Rohitha Bogollagama signed a bilateral agreement between the two countries on cooperation to suppress illicit traffic in, and abuse of, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
The Russian Foreign Minister is expected to meet with the Sri Lanka - Russia Business Council and deliver an address at the BMICH this evening.
Sri Lanka's Ambassador in Russia Mr. Udayanga Weeratunga was also present at the meeting.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More funds form Japan to uplift Damabana Hospital

More funds form Japan to uplift Damabana Hospital

The Government of Japan has decided to provide funds for “The Project for Establishment of a New Maternity and Dental Units at the Damabana Hospital, Badulla District” be implemented by the Regional Director of Health Services Office, Badulla.
The grant contract will be signed between Kunio Takahashi, Ambassador of Japan and Dr. Neelamani S.R. Hrwageegana, Regional Director of Health Services Office, Bandulla on Wednesday 21st October 2009, at the Embassy of Japan Colombo 7.

Colombo Stockmarket record declines

Colombo Stockmarket record declines
Declines in the prices of large cap stocks brought down the indices at the Colombo Stock Exchange with the more sensitive MPI losing 151 points (-4.34 percent) to close at 3,327. The broader market index the ASPI lost 100 points (-3.24 percent) to close at 2983.

EU Commission statement on Sri Lanka GSP+ report -Brussels, 19 October 2009

EU Commission statement on Sri Lanka GSP+ report -Brussels, 19 October 2009
Following the adoption of a report on Sri Lanka and GSP+ treatment, the European Commission spokesperson for Trade, Lutz Güllner, issued the following statement :
(Lanka-e-News 20.Oct.2009 12.45PM) "The Commission has completed a thorough investigation into the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and in particular whether Sri Lanka is living up to the commitments it made to respect international human rights standards when it became a beneficiary of the European Union's GSP+ trade incentive scheme which provides for additional trade benefits.The report comes to the conclusion that there are significant shortcomings in this area and that Sri Lanka is in breach of its GSP+ commitments.

Four dead, 20 injured in IIUI twin blasts

Four dead, 20 injured in IIUI twin blasts

ISLAMABAD, Oct 20 (APP): Four persons were killed while 20 persons were injured in twin suicide blasts at IIUI, Police Spokesman informed APP here on Tuesday. Quoting DIG Operations Binyamin, the police spokesman said both the blasts were “suicide”, killing at least four people - three female and one male.
Chief Commissioner Islamabad Fazeel Asghar said the blasts could not be dubbed as security lapse as the police had taken all possible safety measures.
He said investigation was underway. He also avoided questions on identification of the responsible, saying it would be premature to fix responsibility of the blasts.

No need of foreign army assistance in operation against terrorists: Information and Broadcasting Minister Kaira

Pakistan
No need of foreign army assistance in operation against terrorists: Information and Broadcasting Minister Kaira

ISLAMABAD, Oct 19 (APP): Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Qamar Zaman Kaira Monday said Pakistan does not need any foreign army or intelligence assistance on its side of border in the on going operation against terrorists. In a joint briefing with Director General, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Maj General Athar Abbas regarding operation in South Waziristan here, he said Pakistan’s Armed Forces with complete support of nation are capable enough to achieve the targeted results within stipulated timeframe.
He said Pakistan Armed Forces have launched operation Rah e Nijjat after a thorough preparation and within their own resources and expressed the confidence that they would succeed.
He commended their courage and bravery in Swat and Malakand operation, saying the networks of terrorists were smashed there as development work would soon start in the area.
Answering a question, Information Minister, Qamar Zaman Kaira said the government took all political parties and groups into confidence before launching operation in South Waziristan.He said so far 14,500 Internally Displaced Families of Waziristan have been registered and they are being provided food items. Soon they would be provided non food items as well, he added.Giving break up of registered IDP families, he said around 11,000 were already registered while 3500 families were newly registered.The Minister said the government realizes the sufferings of IDPs and would manage finances from its own resources for their betterment. He said the government has always kept the door for dialogue open and added Swat peace deal was a proof of the government’s commitment to settle issues through talks, but our agreements were violated in the past.The Minister said the dialogue with extremists cannot be initiated at this stage and they should surrender themselves first.“The terrorists in Waziristan are anti state and talks with them can only be held after their voluntary surrender,” he said. Answering another question, Qamar Zaman Kaira said Pakistanis are very generous people and usually donate to different charity organisations, but people do not know if any organisation uses this money for negative purposes. He said that is why the government has introduced money laundering laws to check misuse of donations.


Objectives of Rah e Nijat being achieved successfully: DG ISPR

ISLAMABAD, Oct 19 (APP):
The aims and objectives during ongoing Operation Rah e Nijat in South Waziristan Agency are being achieved successfully due to armed forces effective planning, Director General Inter Services Public Relations Major General Athar Abbas said. Briefing media persons about the details of ongoing operation in South Waziristan Agency here on Monday, he said that they were ahead of their objectives according to the set time frame. He said the operation is being carried out with the resources available to them without relying upon any support from outside.
Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira, Principal Information Officer Rashid Ahmed Chaudary, Director General External Publicity Wing and a senior representative of Special Support Group (SSG) were also present.Director General ISPR said the armed forces during the last 60 hours, since the formal launch of the operation have entered 15 kilometers inside Mehsud dominated areas by adopting three pronged advancement strategy. He said the area around Kotkai heights, a home town of Qari Hussain, the notorious mastermind of suicide attacks has been secured.He said forces have also reached Kaskai feature, which is north of Kund and West of Kotaki besides securing Tor Ghundai feature (east of Kotkai) and Shishwarm (north east of Kotaki), overlooking town of Kotkai.Responding to a question he said the effective planning included laying of siege and lethal air strikes weakening terrorists’ positions, including effectively engaging the peaks where Anti Aircraft Guns were installed.About time frame of ongoing operation, he said definitely they have atimeframe in their mind but would not disclose it for the time being and any of divulgence of the fact may cause misunderstandings.To a query about the number of terrorists present in the area, DG ISPR replied that their number was estimated to be around 5,000 to 10,000 with foreign elements in their ranks.Moreover, the Director General ISPR said, majority of the people were forced to join their ranks, who could leave the terrorist outfit as and when they got an opportunity to run away.“Any high value target of foreign origin, if found among the terrorists present in the area, would definitely be targeted,” he said.Presently, the high value target was the terrorists’ leadership that has been marshaling its foot soldiers, he added.To another question, he said the operation was launched at an appropriate time.About the level of force deployment, he said the planners of the operation had decided the numbers under a well thought out plan, taking into account all factors including the nature of the terrain.Answering a question regarding strategy of the terrorists, he said that so far they have been occupying certain mountain peaks and their other hideouts were scattered in the area. About possible supply of arms and ammunition to terrorists from across the border, he said arms and ammunition were being supplied from Afghanistan and the confiscated arms and ammunition included Russian made weapons. About suspected Indian involvement, DG ISPR said, “Foreign intelligence agencies never leave their footprints; we have seized arms but you cannot say that it was truckloads of ammunition. Moreover funding for terrorists elements can also be arranged through various untraceable means.” “We have always emphasized the need for better steps on the other side of the border to block any possible movement of such elements and supply of arms. This can be achieved by setting up of biometrics system and establishment of check posts on the other side as we have already placed such system on our side,” the DG ISPR said. He said that the security forces know that splinter groups existed but their main training ground is located in South Waziristan Agency where the banned organization (TTP) has established its own writ. So, Operation was imperative to make state functionaries work in the area, where the terrorists had also subjugated the local tribesmen, Major General Athar Abbas said.Replying to a question regarding process of dialogue with militant commanders like Maulvi Nazir in Wana, he said the tactics was meant to isolate the main terrorists organization.He said there was no harm in negotiating with such elements to isolate the top terrorists leadership. The terrorists had taken positions on mountain heights with anti aircraft guns but their bastions were effectively targeted and that was why they had deserted the places, he said.Major General Abbas said main areas had been thoroughly surrounded with deployment of armed forces. He however did not rule out possibility ofindividuals sneaking here and there. Giving further details about the operation, he said in the last 24 hours 18 terrorists were killed in South Waziristan Agency while two soldiers embraced shahadat and twelve others were injured. Two ammunition dumps were blown up alongwith 1 x 14.5 mm and 1 x 12.7 mm gun positions at Spin Ghara, he added. He said on Shakai Ladha axis, positions were being consolidated after securing Sherwangi. Parameter of security was being enhanced around Wuzi Sar and Boya Narai. Stiff resistance was faced by security forces in Sherwangi where after heavy fighting, a number of terrorists were killed and their positions captured.One post of 12.7 mm Anti Aircraft gun was vacated by terrorists without fighting, he added.DG ISPR said security forces were also consolidating their positions in the south and south west of Razmak. Rocket fire was received from the direction of Makeen injuring one soldier.Arms and ammunition dumps in the caves between Ladha and Makeen had been destroyed by precision air targeting, he said, adding that terrorists fired rockets at Shakai fort but there was no loss of life.

Twin blasts rocked International Islamic University

Twin blasts rocked International Islamic University

ISLAMABAD, Oct 20 (APP)
Twin blasts rocked International Islamic University on Tuesday at around 3:15pm injuring 13 students and killing a female student on the spot. As per hospital sources, eleven females and two male injured were admitted to PIMS while a body of a female was also brought to the hospital.
Dr Wasim Khawaja, spokesman of PIMS, informed that two human limbs and a head were also brought to the hospital while some of the injured were in critical condition.
The first blast rocked girls section of the university while the second occurred in the cafeteria

Thursday, October 15, 2009

FM calls for continued dialogue with Tamil Nadu MPs

FM calls for continued dialogue with Tamil Nadu MPs


Welcoming the members of the Indian Parliament from the constituencies in the State of Tamil Nadu at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 14th October 2009, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama expressed his appreciation to the team for undertaking a visit to Sri Lanka in order to assess first hand, the current situation in Sri Lanka.
Foreign Minister Bogollagama recalled the invitation extended by H. E President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Hon. M. Karunanidhi and stated that the visit of the multiparty delegation which was currently in Sri Lanka was the outcome of the invitation. The Minister also noted that the delegation had been able to visit Sri Lanka, extending from the north of the country to Nuwara Eliya. The Minister also detailed the historical links between Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu and emphasised the need to continue such interactions. Responding, Mr. T. R. Baalu, the leader of the delegation expressed his appreciation to the Foreign Minister for the arrangements made which enabled the delegation to visit many parts of Sri Lanka, particularly the north of Sri Lanka and the IDP welfare villages. Mr. Baalu stated that the Government of Sri Lanka was doing an “admirable job” and despite some shortcomings, which he conceded were common in such situations.

FOREIGN MINISTER BOGOLLAGAMA INVITES THE TAMILS IN THE USA TO VISIT SRI LANKA

FOREIGN MINISTER BOGOLLAGAMA INVITES THE TAMILS IN THE USA TO VISIT SRI LANKA

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama who was on a visit to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly, on September 27, 2009 met with the Sri Lankan expatriate communities in Boston at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston.
Minister Rohitha Bogollagama was warmly welcomed by a cross section of the people in Boston with traditional Sri Lankan cultural parade. Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya delivered a welcome address and thanked Hon. Minister for taking his time out from his tight schedule to travel all the way to Massachusetts and to have graced this occasion as well as the Boston community who had been assisting the Embassy of Sri Lanka for a long time.

Minister Bogollagama addressed a group of Sri Lankans, most of whom were from the Tamil community. They were a representative group of Academics and Professionals. The Minister in his address gave an overview of the post conflict situation in Sri Lanka and the steps taken by the Government in resettling the IDPs, developing the liberated areas in respect of infrastructure development, fisheries, other industries, education etc. He further explained to the expatriates how the government had successfully resettled the internally displaced persons in the Eastern Province and the development that had taken place in the Eastern Province from 2006-2008 where elections had been held and stated that it had been a victory for democracy.
With regard to Menik farm, he stated that steps were being taken to resettle the IDPs as soon as possible and currently there are fifty two NGOs who are operating in these areas. He further stated that about 180,000 persons had been identified to be returned and the Identity cards were being issued to them. He emphasized the fact that of the one thousand persons, who had been sent to Jaffna , had been experiencing difficulties in identifying their properties after being away for several years.
He also mentioned that the political reconciliation process will be implemented within the framework of the Sri Lankan constitution. The Tamil National Alliance had come on board and was engaging with the government.
He said there were improvements in the economy especially in the agricultural and fisheries sector. Tourism has picked up with more and more tourists are showing interest to visit Sri Lanka . Reserves have been built up, exports have improved and that there has been a comprehensive economical upward thrust. With regard to the relationship with India , he pointed out that the relationship had grown and also with Pakistan with the operation of the Free Trade Agreement.
During the interaction session, Minister Bogollagama responded to a question that Sinhala and Tamil languages were made as national languages under the 1978 constitution and the Fundamental Rights jurisdiction of the Supreme Court which provided relief regarding racial discrimination and that the independence of the judiciary was a major factor in Sri Lanka ’s democracy. There was encouragement among the public sector to learn both national languages by giving an incentive to public servants.
On the question of steps being taken to bring the two communities together, he stated that there were youth exchange programmes, expansion of IT centers by setting up six hundred centers in temples and Kovils at village level. The A 9 road had been reopened and the interaction between people in the North and the South is improving.
With regard to settlement of IDPs, he said it would be an opportunity to provide assistance directly to them by having a mechanism of providing assistance to the IDPs to rebuild their houses through an arrangement with the private banks in Jaffna . Minister also said the demining process has been accelerated and the resettlement in those areas could be affected only after UNHCR certifies that those areas are suitable for habitation.
On the question of mistrust by the Sinhalese of the Tamils, the Minister stated that several Diplomatic Officers who were at present, were from the minority communities. He also mentioned that 54% of Tamils were living outside the Eastern and Northern provinces and there was cordial interaction between the communities. He further emphasized on the necessity of wider interaction between the communities and the need to build a society free of terrorism, extremism and fundamentalism.
He added that relatives who need to contact those in the IDP camps could do so through the Sri Lankan Embassies.
At the conclusion, he encouraged the Expatriate Tamil Community to visit Sri Lanka and to see for themselves the development taking place and invited them to assist in the development process.
Foreign Minister thanked all those who were present for their participation and interaction.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pakistan shuts down two independent news channels

Pakistan shuts down two independent news channels

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan took two news channels off the air Saturday that had been covering attempts by soldiers to capture two militants who broke into army headquarters in an attack on the complex.
Geo and SAMA channels, known for critical reporting of the government, were blocked from broadcasting Saturday evening. Government officials were not available for comment.
ATTACK: Pakistani army headquarters comes under fire
A message from Pakistan's media regulatory body appeared on those channels announcing it was temporarily suspending transmission of "independent news TV channels" until further notice. Several other TV news channels also known for their hard-hitting reporting continued to broadcast.
Like other news channels, the stations had been covering an attack early Saturday on the army headquarters compound by Islamist militants. The military said that two attackers had infiltrated the complex and were holed up inside.
Pakistan blocked the channels when then President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in November 2007. It also briefly blocked Geo during an anti-government rally earlier this year.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tamil Nadu delegation arrive in Lanka, meet TNA MPs

Tamil Nadu delegation arrive in Lanka, meet TNA MPs

A delegation of Tamil Nadu MPs who arrived in the country this evening had talks with a delegation of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarians at the official residence of the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo.
The Tamil Nadu delegation consists of T R Baalu, Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi , T K S Elangovan, A K S Vijayan, Helen Davidson(all DMK); , Sudarsana Natchiappan, J M Haroon, N S V Chithan, K S Azhagiri (all Cong); and Thol Thirumavalavan(VCK).

Dating Older Women

Dating Older Women

The reasons why some men date older women are as varied as the women themselves. These women, because of their experience, often have more wisdom and self-assurance than younger women -- perhaps they may also possess more self-reliance and tolerance.
Some men receive mentoring from older women, who have had more relationship experience and often understand men well.

Some men receive mentoring from older women, who have had more relationship experience and often understand men well. Clearer about who they are and what they want, "older women" may even have an advantage in the dating arena.

In some cases, having a relationship with an older woman may work for men who don't want children:"My wife and I have been married for almost 20 years," says Rocco. "She was 53 and I was 41 when we met. We both shared many values, including our faith. Our children are grown up now, and mine love her. So, it's worked out very well. I tell men who have been divorced at least once to go for an older woman... If you find the right one, don't worry about age -- unless you still want more children."

A man who dates someone who has children his age will run into the occassional social opposition. But there are men (like Ben, 25, who is dating a 45-year-old woman) who can overcome resistance. Ben says:"A woman can be 25 and marry a man of 45 or 55 and, hey, whatever.

Traditionally, it's been ingrained in our psyches... that's the way it goes, but not the other way around. We've always known that age may be an issue. But now that we've been together for a while, I have a new perspective.

Not all men are comfortable dating older women. Some men, like Clyde, worry about the future. Clyde says:"I dated a woman who is 15 years older. We dated for a bit and then settled into just enjoying each others company. She has a fit body and is an attractive woman. People said to me, why don't I commit to her if we enjoy each other's company? I told them I worried about how things would feel in 10 years when she's over 60 and I'm in my 40s... And then further down the years."

Through my experience as a therapist and marriage counselor, age difference isn't as important in a relationship as most people think. What counts is whether a couple can create a working partnership and build an enjoyable life together. So, for you men who've fallen head-over-heels in love with an older woman, I've developed nine tips on how to enjoy your newly found romance:
1. Be a gentleman.

An older woman wants to be treated with respect, like any woman does. While she might attracted to your rebelliousness or youthful attitude, she still wants you to treat her with good manners.

2. Don't get ahead of yourself.

Don't worry about the future until you actually might have one. Take your time and allow the relationship to develop.

3. Stay calm.

You may be excited, but don't overdo it. Have fun and enjoy your dates, but don't come on too strong. She has some reservations, too.

4. Be charming.

Don't underestimate how powerful your smile can be. Use it often, make eye contact, and keep the conversation flowing. Pay attention to what interests you about your date, and show interest in her opinions, experiences, and activities. Be complimentary whenever possible, and respond intelligently to whatever she says.

5. Don't focus on looks.

Give compliments, but focus less on her physical appearance -- she may be anxious about it.
Give compliments, but focus less on her physical appearance -- she may be anxious about it. And even if you're complimentary, she may worry that you're too focused on looks. She wants to be appreciated for who she is, including her intellect and style. Compliments like "That color is lovely on you," or "You look great tonight" are safer than "You're in great shape."

6. Have fun.

Keep your dates simple and have a good time. Focus on being pleasant, and not getting too far ahead of the relationship. Refrain from talking too long about any one subject without inviting a comment from your date.

7. Keep conversation interesting and light.

Feel free to talk about anything, including your personal lives, past relationships, and love in general, but don't be the one who brings up the intimate topics first. Be wary of prying too deeply into her private life and secrets, unless the information is voluntarily offered.

8. Avoid talking too much about yourself.

Keep your focus on learning about your date. Dole out the boring information about yourself. Punctuate your conversation with questions: "What do you think?" "Has it been that way for you?"

9. Pay attention! Listen to answers to your questions.

You have things to learn here! Seek to get to know each other better. No matter how thrilled you may be about her, listening to what she says, watching what she does, and understanding how she feels are the most important things you can do.
http://dating.personals.yahoo.com/singles/datingtips/86378/dating-older-women
Pakistan News

All Terrorists killed in GHQ Gunbattle and situation fully under control: ISPR

ISLAMABAD:
At least four gunmen tried to storm Pakistan’s army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Saturday, engaging in a heavy battle with security forces as they attempted to break the outer security cordon, officials and local news media said.
It was the third attack by militants in Pakistan this week, raising concern that
Taliban fighters were preparing a new wave of attacks as the government planned to launch a military offensive in the frontier region of South Waziristan.

The spokesman Pakistan army Major General Athar Abbas has confirmed that the situation outside army General Headquarters (GHQ) has been brought under total control meanwhile, all four terrorists who carried out gun onslaught at army checkpost, have been killed.
According to sources, four terrorists, driving a white Suzuki van and dressed in army uniform, opened firing and hurled hand grenades at army checkpost outside headquarters’ main gate, which security forces retaliated successfully, killing all four terrorists while two were arrested.
Some security guards were also embrace martyrdom during offensive, Abbas said, adding, army commandos had cordoned off the entire area and search operation remained underway to locate other militants who might have fled through adjacent areas.
The miscreants have been overpowered and the situation is under complete control just after one-hour long gunbattle, spokesman ISPR .According to details suspected militants attacked tightly guarded army headquarters on Saturday, as they were in a white Suzuki vehicle and were intercepted at army checkpost no 1, they opened fire and threw five hand grenades at a main gate, security officials and media said.
“They wore army uniforms and tried to enter the headquarters area but when they were stopped they opened fire and hurled hand grenades and later were killed following a deadly gunbattle,” a security official told media.
Four terrorists were killed and two were arrested during one-hour long encounter and four army men embraced martyrdom, army sources said.
Media sources said firing continued with the two or three gunmen for forty minutes after the attack was launched. Three blasts had been heard, they said.
Soldiers had sealed off roads leading to the headquarters and two helicopters remained hovering over the area.
http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=87495&Itemid=1

http://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=6923542986740901630

A group of Kuwait Journalists undertakes a promotional tour to Sri Lanka

A group of Kuwait Journalists undertakes a promotional tour to Sri Lanka

A 13-member group of Journalists representing both print and electronic media will be in Sri Lanka from 28th Sept. to 05th Oct. on a familiarization cum goodwill tour organized by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Kuwait in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) and the Sri Lankan Airlines.
The Journalists group which is led by Mr.Adnan Khalifa Rashed Ibrahim Al Rashed, Vice President of the Kuwait Journalist Association comprises of high ranking editorial staff from main stream Kuwaiti newspapers such as Al-Jarida, Al-Anbaa, Al-Dar, Al-Watan, Al-Qabas, Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) and the Kuwait Television (KTV), which are extremely popular among the Arabs from Gulf and Middle Eastern countries.
The Ministry of Information of Kuwait, on a request made by the Sri Lankan Embassy selected the group of Journalists for the FAM tour aimed at promoting Sri Lanka as a destination for tourism, investment, leisure, shopping, entertainment etc. The Journalists during their stay in Sri Lanka will conduct interviews with President, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Tourism, Media and other dignitaries as part of their tour itinerary. They will also visit places of interest and attraction throughout the country including Kandy, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Nuwara Eliya and the world heritage sites to get a first-hand glimpse of Sri Lanka's heritage, history, culture & food, leisure, fauna & flora etc. Their programme in Sri Lanka will be coordinated by the Foreign Ministry together with Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau with the assistance of the relevant ministries and departments.
The FAM tour is expected to general much publicity and awareness on Sri Lanka among Kuwaitis through coverage to be given by the media delegation through their respective newspapers and TV channels. It is noteworthy that during the first half of 2009, the number of Kuwaiti tourists to Sri Lanka has gone up by 22% compared to the same period last year.

Foreign Ministry launches website on the 8th Asia Cooperation Dialogue Ministerial Meeting to be held in Colombo in October

Foreign Ministry launches website on the 8th Asia Cooperation Dialogue Ministerial Meeting

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched a website for the forthcoming 8th Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Ministerial Meeting to be held in Colombo on 14th and 15th October 2009 at the BMICH. The theme of this year's meeting is 'Spirit of Asia: Global Economic Recovery and Development Prospects'.

The website which was designed by a team of Information Technology Officers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contains all the relevant information connected to the ACD along with the necessary application forms.
The website can be accessed on: http://www.slmfa.gov.lk/acd

H. E Mahinda Rajapaksa, the President of Sri Lanka will inaugurate the Ministerial Meeting scheduled for the morning of 15th October 2009. Hon. Rohitha Bogollagama, Minister of Foreign Affairs will Chair the Ministerial Meeting. All 31 member countries of the ACD are due to attend the 8th Ministerial Meeting in Colombo.

Eight foods fight Fat

HEALTH
Eight Foods That Fight Fat


Want to lose weight as you chow down? Your wish is granted! (I promise, this is no fairy tale.) Your supermarket is filled with foods that studies show have lipid-melting powers to help melt fat and keep you slim. Stock up on these fat-fighting super bites, and you'll be trimmer even as you indulge. Read on to discover the eight foods that deserve a permanent spot in your fridge—and in your diet!

1.Almonds
These yummy nuts are high in alpha-linolenic acid, which can accelerate your metabolism of fats. In fact, dieters who ate 3 ounces of almonds daily slashed their weight and body-mass index by 18 percent, while those who skipped the nuts reduced both numbers less— just 11 percent—a study in the International Journal of Obesity revealed. Chomp almonds à la carte (limit yourself to 12 per serving to keep calories in check). I get a pack at Starbucks and nibble throughout my day. Or sprinkle them into a recipe such as Black Bean–Almond Pesto Chicken. Go nuts!

2.Berries

I tell my daughter, "These are nature's candy!" Turns out they're also your body's best friends. Strawberries, raspberries and other vitamin C–spiked fruit can supercharge your workout, helping you burn up to 30 percent more fat, research from Arizona State University at Mesa has found. If they're not in season, buy the little gems frozen in a bulk-sized bag so you'll always have them on hand to whip up a Berry Bliss Smoothie or Strawberry-Sunflower Pops, regardless of whether berries are in season.

3.Cinnamon

Adding 1/4 teaspoon to your plate may prevent an insulin spike—an uptick that tells your body to store fat. Sprinkle it on your morning cereal or coffee or on your yogurt in the A.M., or savor it in Apple-Cinnamon-Raisin Oatmeal.

4.Mustard

It's heaven on a soft pretzel, but mustard may also be a weight loss wonder. Turmeric, the spice that gives mustard its color, may slow the growth of fat tissues, a study in the journal Endocrinology finds. Use it on sandwiches instead of mayo, or sprinkle turmeric on cauliflower pre-roasting to give it a kick. Try it on tuna salad—I promise it adds zest.

5.Oranges
This citrus fruit, which contains fat-blasting compounds known as flavones, deserves to be your main squeeze. Women who ate the most flavones had a much lower increase in body fat over a 14-year period, a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes. Eat oranges sliced or swig fresh OJ (including pulp!) to get the best benefit from the fruit.

6.Soybeans

Reason to toss a half cup on your salad? Soybeans are rich in choline, a compound that blocks the absorption of fat and breaks down fatty deposits. Oh, and they're addictively delish! But if breast cancer runs in your family, experts suggest you should talk to your doc before adding soy to your diet.

7.Sweet potatoes

The colorful spuds' high-fiber content means they keep your insulin steadier than their white sisters, which means less fat packed on your hips, research finds. Top a small baked tater with lowfat cottage cheese for a tempting side dish, or whip up Miso Soup With Sweet Potato Dumplings.

8.Swiss cheese

Calcium-rich foods reduce fat-producing enzymes and increase fat breakdown, and Swiss has more calcium than many of its cheesy peers. Choose the reduced-fat variety, such as Sargento. Slip it into your sandwich, put it on top of high-fiber crackers or use it for a healthier grilled cheese. Yum!
For other tricks to eating your way to your healthy, happy weight, load up on these
20 slimming superfoods at www.Self.com

Friday, October 9, 2009

Celinco Leader Kotalawala granted bail

Kotalawala granted bail
(Dailly Mirror)
Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotalawala was granted bail today by the Colombo Chief Magistrate in the F&G Property Developer’s case. He was ordered to surrender his passport and appear before the CID during the last Sunday of every month.
Kotalawala was earlier given bail in another Ceylinco related case as well but remains in remand in connection with several other cases also related to the Ceylinco group. (TFT

Celinco Leader Kotalawala granted bail

Lalith Kotalawala granted bail

Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotalawala was granted bail today by the Colombo Chief Magistrate in the F&G Property Developer’s case. He was ordered to surrender his passport and appear before the CID during the last Sunday of every month.
Kotalawala was earlier given bail in another Ceylinco related case as well but remains in remand in connection with several other cases also related to the Ceylinco group. (TFT)

President Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

President Barack Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

OSLO – President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in a stunning decision designed to encourage his initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism.

Nobel observers were shocked by the unexpected choice so early in the Obama presidency, which began less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama woke up to the news a little before 6 a.m. EDT. The White House had no immediate comment on the announcement, which took the administration by surprise.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee lauded the change in global mood wrought by Obama's calls for peace and cooperation but recognized initiatives that have yet to bear fruit: reducing the world stock of nuclear arms, easing American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthening the U.S. role in combating climate change.

"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," said Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Nobel Committee.

Still, the U.S. remains at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Congress has yet to pass a law reducing carbon emissions and there has been little significant reduction in global nuclear stockpiles since Obama took office.
"So soon? Too early. He has no contribution so far. He is still at an early stage. He is only beginning to act," said former Polish President Lech Walesa, a 1983 Nobel Peace laureate.

"This is probably an encouragement for him to act. Let's see if he perseveres. Let's give him time to act," Walesa said.
The award appeared to be a slap at President George W. Bush from a committee that harshly criticized Obama's predecessor for his largely unilateral military action in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The Nobel committee praised Obama's creation of "a new climate in international politics" and said he had returned multilateral diplomacy and institutions like the U.N. to the center of the world stage.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, who won the prize in 1984, said Obama's award shows great things are expected from him in coming years.

"It's an award coming near the beginning of the first term of office of a relatively young president that anticipates an even greater contribution towards making our world a safer place for all," Tutu said. "It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama's message of hope."
Until seconds before the award, speculation had focused on a wide variety of candidates besides Obama: Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a Colombian senator, a Chinese dissident and an Afghan woman's rights activist, among others. The Nobel committee received a record 205 nominations for this year's prize, though it was not immediately apparent who nominated Obama.
"The exciting and important thing about this prize is that it's given to someone ... who has the power to contribute to peace," Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said.
Obama is the third sitting U.S. president to win the award: President Theodore Roosevelt won in 1906 and President Woodrow Wilson was awarded the prize in 1919.
The Nobel committee chairman said after awarding the 2002 prize to former Democratic President Jimmy Carter, for his mediation in international conflicts, that it should be seen as a "kick in the leg" to the Bush administration's hard line in the buildup to the Iraq war.
Five years later, the committee honored Bush's adversary in the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore, for his campaign to raise awareness about global warming.
Obama was to meet with his top advisers on the Afghan war on Friday to consider a request by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, to send as many as 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan as the U.S war there enters its ninth year.
Obama ordered 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan earlier this year and has continued the use of unmanned drones for attacks on militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a strategy devised by the Bush administration. The attacks often kill or injure civilians living in the area.
In July talks in Moscow, Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed that their negotiators would work out a new limit on delivery vehicles for nuclear warheads of between 500 and 1,100. They also agreed that warhead limits would be reduced from the current range of 1,700-2,200 to as low as 1,500. The United States now as about 2,200 such warheads, compared to about 2,800 for the Russians.
But there has been no word on whether either side has started to act on the reductions.
Former Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, said Obama has already provided outstanding leadership in the effort to prevent nuclear proliferation.
"In less than a year in office, he has transformed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in and rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself," ElBaradei said. "He has shown an unshakeable commitment to diplomacy, mutual respect and dialogue as the best means of resolving conflicts."
Obama also has attempted to restart stalled talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, but just a day after Obama hosted the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in New York, Israeli officials boasted that they had fended off U.S. pressure to halt settlement construction. Moderate Palestinians said they felt undermined by Obama's failure to back up his demand for a freeze.
Nominators for the prize include former laureates; current and former members of the committee and their staff; members of national governments and legislatures; university professors of law, theology, social sciences, history and philosophy; leaders of peace research and foreign affairs institutes; and members of international courts of law.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation welcomed the award on behalf of its founder Nelson Mandela, who shared the 1993 Peace Prize with then-South African President F.W. DeKlerk for their efforts at ending years of apartheid and laying the groundwork for a democratic country.
"We trust that this award will strengthen his commitment, as the leader of the most powerful nation in the world, to continue promoting peace and the eradication of poverty," the foundation said.
In his 1895 will, Alfred Nobel stipulated that the peace prize should go "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses."
Unlike the other Nobel Prizes, which are awarded by Swedish institutions, he said the peace prize should be given out by a five-member committee elected by the Norwegian Parliament. Sweden and Norway were united under the same crown at the time of Nobel's death.
The committee has taken a wide interpretation of Nobel's guidelines, expanding the prize beyond peace mediation to include efforts to combat poverty, disease and climate change.
___
Associated Press writers Ian MacDougall in Oslo, Celean Jacobson in Johannesburg, George Jahn in Vienna and Monika Scislowska in Warsaw, Poland contributed to this report.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Government of Malaysia donates US$100,000 to the Government of Sri Lanka for the welfare of the Internally Displaced Sri Lankans


The Government of Malaysia donates US$100,000 to the Government of Sri Lanka for the welfare of the Internally Displaced Sri Lankans


The Government of Malaysia donates US$100,000 to the Government of Sri Lanka for the welfare of the Internally Displaced Sri Lankans

The Government of Malaysia donated a sum of US$100,000 to the Government of Sri Lanka for the welfare of the Internally Displaced Sri Lankans affected by the conflict.

Accepting the donation on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka from the High Commissioner of Malaysia to Sri Lanka, Rosli Ismail, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama placed on record the appreciation of the Government of Sri Lanka for the symbolic gesture of the strong friendship between the two countries and stated that the Government of Malaysia has consistently been supportive of Sri Lanka’s efforts, especially in the fight against terrorism. He also stated that the donation from the Malaysian Government would go directly to people concerned.

The Foreign Minister then recalled the various meetings and interactions he had had in the recent past with Malaysia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and also referred to the continued dialogue between H. E President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Hon. Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, which have further strengthened the relations between the two countries.

Responding to Foreign Minister Bogollagama, High Commissioner Ismail congratulated the Government of Sri Lanka on the defeat of LTTE terrorism after over 30 years and referred to the defeat as a “big achievement” while reiterating the message of the Malaysian Prime Minister in this regard. He also emphasized the Malaysian Government’s willingness to participate in the economic development of Sri Lanka and assured that Malaysia would continue its economic assistance to Sri Lanka.

Foreign Minister Bogollagama then noted that Malaysia is one of the largest investors in Sri Lanka and expressed hope that further investment would be forthcoming from Malaysia, especially in order to rebuild and develop the north and eastern parts of Sri Lanka. He also pointed out that there were many Sri Lankan investors who had invested in Malaysia and stated that he was pleased that Malaysia was also keen to continue its investments in Sri Lanka, which he said would be mutually beneficial to the two countries. He further stated that the bilateral relations shared between Sri Lanka and Malaysia were “multifaceted” and that both countries work closely on economic and political matters. He added that he looked forward to the continued cooperation between the two countries.

The presentation of the donation took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 13th August 2009 in the presence of senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Malaysian High Commission in Colombo.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Share Market Capitalization top a record Rs. 1 trillion in history


Share Market Capitalization top a record Rs. 1 trillion in history


Market Capitalization reached Rs. 1 trillion (1000 billion) today, for the first time in the history of the Colombo Stock Exchange. The benchmark index rose 1.4 percent in the first half hour of trading to a new record high.
Reuters announced yesterday that the Colombo Stock Market (CSE) is the best performing stock market in the world for the year to date. In the flluctuating pattern this morning, Colombo is now the world's second best performing market up 109.88 percent from the beginning of the year, just behind the Lima General Index in Peru, which is up 110.73 percent up so far this year, according to Bloomberg Newswires data.In third place is Russian RTS Index, up 94.21 percent, with Ukraine in fourth place, up 92.46 percent. Bombay's Sensex is up 75.9 percent

Lanka shares at record high, Asia's top performer


Lanka shares at record high, Asia's top performer




Sri Lanka's stock market .CSE, Asia's best performer, hit a record high on Monday on investor hopes for strong post-war economic growth boosted by easing inflation and declining interest rates.


With a return of over 106 percent so far this year, it is the second-best performing bourse in the world after Lima's stock market. Its rise is around double that of the benchmark emerging market equities index .MSCIEF.


The All-Share Price Index of Colombo Stock Exchange jumped 3.22 percent to 3,115.25 points by 0849 GMT, surpassing the previous record of 3,038.48 points traded on Feb. 19, 2007.
It closed 2.66 percent or 80.23 points firmer at 3,098.24.


"This is more than expected," said an analyst on condition of anonymity. "We expect corrections on some of those shares, which have risen with the rally without any reasons. Only clear signs of quarterly earnings could help to maintain the rise" Danushka Samarasinghe, the head of research at Asia Securities, said the surge was due to improving economic numbers:


"The last quarter of this year and the next year are expected to grow much higher due to optimism on Sri Lanka's post-war economy. We expect the index to move further up as the psychological barrier of the previous record is surpassed."


Sri Lanka won a 25-year war against the Tamil Tiger rebels in May and the market has risen over 62 percent since
Sentiment, mainly domestic-driven, has also been boosted by a fall in inflation to a record low of 0.7 percent in September and a decision the same month by the central bank to cut its policy rates by 50 basis points.
Falling interest rates have prompted many investors to switch out of bonds into stocks, analysts said.
"Interest rates sliding down as low as 10 percent helped the market," said Harsha Fernando, CEO at the SC securities in Colombo. "There is a lot of foreign interest seen."


Analysts and traders said though there have been a lot of queries from foreign funds on the bourse, they are yet to see inflows into the market.
As of Monday, net foreign inflows totalled 530.7 million rupees ($4.62 million) this year, a fraction of the 14.1 billion rupees seen in 2008.
The central bank said foreigners have invested $1.5 billion so far this year into government securities as of Friday and analysts said high yields in the past were the reason for high foreign investments in bonds than sheras.
After such a rapid rise, some brokers said the bourse was now overheated. Reuters charts show that the 14-day relative strength index was at 84 on Monday, above the 70 threshhold used to indicate when a market is overbought.
"Some fundamentally unsound shares have also gone up significantly," said Mohandas Thangarajah, a broker at First Guardian Equities.
"Future tourist arrivals, better economic data, foreign inflows into portfolio investments, and further low interest rates will help to mTurnover on Monday hit 1.06 billion rupees ($9.27 million), more than double of 2008 daily average of 464 million rupees.
The central bank cut its key policy rates on Sept. 11 to four-year lows to compel commercial banks to boost private sector lending and spur faltering growth. [ID:nCOL160992]
The rupee LKR= closed flat at 114.80/85 a dollar with the central bank buying dollars at 114.80, dealers said.
The interbank lending rate or call money rate CLIBOR edged down to 9.491 percent from Friday's 9.455 percent.aintain the upward momentum."
More:
http://in.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idINCOL17522820091005

CaFFE condemn attack on media in Deniyaya

CaFFE condemn attack on media in Deniyaya

Condemning the brutal attack on media personnel who went to cover the misuse of state property in constructing a private road in Deniyaya along with a group of UNP parliamentarians, independent election monitoring body CaFFE expressed their displeasure. Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) Media Spokesman Keerthi Tennakoon issuing a statement said that they are highly concerned about the attack on five journalists who went with a group of UNP parliamentarians to cover the progress of a private road allegedly being constructed using state machinery leading to Bevaraliaya Estate in Deniyaya on Sunday. It stated that the public is highly concerned about the activities of political parties especially during an election period and it is not uncommon to see how media is greatly concerned to cover such activities or events in order to report to the public.Obstructing, harassing and assaulting journalists engaged in duty had been utterly condemned by CaFFE requesting competent authorities to ensure the right and safety of journalists to cover the news in an election period.
http://www.caffe. lk

Friday, October 2, 2009

Elections Commissioner totally blind to election law violations

Media spokesman, Keerthi Tennekoon of CaFFE stated that, because the Elections Commissioner is taking no action against election law violations at this forthcoming Southern provincial Council elections, some of the candidates are openly and brazenly committing breach of election laws. As such this election will go down in election history as one where election malpractices were openly allowed to be committed.At other elections, the elections Commissioner who holds discussions with the party secretaries weekly has had no discussions this time. The Commissioner has not even replied to the letter addressed to him by CaFFE in this regard. The Elections Commissioner has descended to such a level, CaFFE pinpointed. These facts were disclosed at a media briefing today (1) when he spoke about the present situation regarding the elections. The Elections Commissioner gave orders to remove the elections advertisements on either sides of his Office only after the media exposed these illegal acts. If the Elections Commissioner had any interest in halting these election malpractices, he has all the power to take action, he asserted.

More:

Bomb Blast inside a school van in Kurunegala injured school children

Bomb Blast inside a school van in Kurunegala injured school children

A blast has occurred inside a school van in Uduwalpola, Kurunegala this morning. Police say 13 of the passengers which included several school children and the driver sustained injuries following the explosion. The cause of the explosion is not yet known

SL citizens cannot be hauled up before Int. war Courts because I refused to sign the agreement in 2002 –Ranil

SL citizens cannot be hauled up before Int. war Courts because I refused to sign the agreement in 2002 –Ranil

- Rajapakse‘s objective is only to insidiously appropriate others’ credits


(Lanka-e-News)

Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe stated, its is because he as Prime Minister at that time declined to sign the agreement in 2002 when the International war Court was established, that no SL citizen can be hauled up before the Int. Court.The President brags that he will not allow any Forces personnel to be taken before the International war Court for action. But, the actual fact of the matter is his (Ranil’s) refusal to sign the agreement which has precluded the Forces personnel from being charged in the Int. war Court. President and his Govt. have become well noted for this cheap shameless attitude of appropriating the credit which is truly due to others. This is an overriding trait in him in his ignominious politics, Ranil observed.Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing the election rally at Tissamaharama gave this as an answer to President’s empty but loud crowing about on platforms that he will protect the Forces from legal action in the Int. Court.
Even though America has prepared a report on the war crimes relating to SL, according to media revelations; because the agreement was not signed by him (Ranil), there is nothing that America can do by taking it to the Int. Court. However, this issue can be discussed and argued in the Congress sessions. But, on the other hand, in regard to American citizens who are involved in war crimes, action can be taken in the Courts. Hence, it is only American citizens who should fear over war crimes, he observed.
READ MORE:
http://www.lankaenews.com/English/news.php?id=8412

Indonesia quake deaths pass 1,000

Indonesia quake deaths pass 1,000

At least 1,100 people have died in the earthquake that struck the Indonesian island of Sumatra on Wednesday, the UN humanitarian chief has said.
John Holmes said many hundreds more had been injured, and both figures were set to rise further.
Rescuers are working into the night to find survivors in the rubble of hundreds of collapsed buildings.
The 7.6-magnitude quake struck close to the city of Padang, the capital of West Sumatra province.
The earthquake brought down hospitals, schools and shopping malls, cut power lines and triggered landslides.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8286166.stm

SL Govt. welcome UN recommendations

SL Govt. welcome UN recommendations

UN is very concerned about the very slow pace of releases
Sri Lanka says it accepts much of the United Nations' recommendations on its handling of quarter of a million Tamils held in refugee camps.
Authorities in Sri Lanka detained Tamil Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) since the end of the decade’s long civil war, six months ago.
Walter Kaelin, the representative of the United Nations secretary-general on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, who toured the detention facilities urged the government to restore the freedom of movement to internally displaced persons.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sinhala/news/story/2009/10/091001_unmahinda.shtml