9:42 PM

SSP’s wife gets super comfort at Prison

According to Prison sources, SSP Vaas Gunawardena’s wife , Shyamalie Priyadharshini Perera , one of the main suspects in the assault, abduction and illegal detention of IT student Nipuna Ramanayake who was remanded until 31 st August is receiving super exclusive comforts at the Welikada Prison.. From the moment she was remanded on 20th August she had been enjoying all the comforts and conveniences .

These facilities are being provided most secretly and this room had been allotted to exclusive women prisoners only. It has a fan and a bed and other conveniences that could be expected in a home. It is a Prison Hospital ward for women which has been transformed to give all these comforts. A politico’s wife who was awarded a death penalty too used this comfort laden room until she received the Presidential pardon, it has come to light through prison officials.

It has also transpired ,a woman prison Officer is responsible for providing all these comforts to the SSP’s wife , and she is the Officer who greeted the SSP’s wife when she stepped into the prison.

9:41 PM

Move to exhume Bauddhaloka tamil girl victims

The counsel appearing for the family of the deceased in the case of the two Tamil girls found in Bauddhaloka Mw, Jeewani and Sumanthi today moved in court to exhume the bodies of the two Tamil girls and hold a fresh autopsy as they were not satisfied with the one done earlier by the JMO.

The Magistrate had instructed the counsel to plead by way of an affidavit sworn by Move to exhume Bauddhaloka victimsthe parents on the next date of the case.

The parents allege that external injuries were observed, although the JMO had stated that the death of the two girls was a result of drowning.

9:40 PM

Iran to fund Uma Oya project

Irrigation Minister Jayatissa Ranaweera told Parliament yesterday that Surveys and geological investigations are being done for design and construction activities of the Uma Oya project.

This mega irrigation scheme estimated at US$ 590 million is scheduled to be completed by 2014. The Government ceremonially launched the construction work of this project on April 28, 2008 he said.

Of the total estimated cost of the project, US$ 450 million will be obtained from Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI) as a loan while the balance US$ 140 million will be granted by the Sri Lankan Government.

The Minister was responding to an oral question raised by the JVP MP K.V. Samantha Vidyaratne.

Asked on the amount of money that has been obtained upto now, Minister Ranaweera said an agreement has been signed with Iran Government to obtain US$450 million.

In addition, Rs. 7060 million has been allocated by the Treasury for this project. The Uma Oya project consists of 45m high dam at Puhulpola on Uma Oya and the reservoir 30m high dam at Dyraba on Matotilla Oya and the reservoir, 3.8 km long link tunnel connecting Puhulpola and Dyraba reservoirs, 15.2 km long pressure tunnel from Dyraba to power station, underground Hydro-power station with 120mw installed capacity and 3.4 km long outlet tunnel from power station on Alikota-ara.

Meanwhile, the project has also planned to set up a power Transmission line from power station to grid sub station at Badulla and construct a 5 km long alternative road to replace the stretch of Welimada - Badulla road which will go under water due to creation of the Puhulpola reservoir," the Minister added.

9:40 PM

Exam staff to be removed over paper distribution

The examinations department has ordered the removal of examinations staff at an Advanced Level examination centre in Kotikawatte after they had mistakenly distributed papers for students this morning for an exam which was scheduled to be held this evening, a private radio station reported.

According to the report the staff had mistakenly opened the packet containing the exam papers in the morning and distributed it to the students when that particular exam was scheduled to be held this evening.

The Examinations department said that the staff at the particular centre will be removed on Monday.

9:38 PM

Uma Oya Project inaugural ceremony cost Rs. 26 million

The government admitted in Parliament today that it conducted the inaugural ceremony for the Uma Oya Project at a cost of Rs. 26 million even before the feasibility study was conducted.

Irrigation Minister Jayatissa Ranaweera revealed this in Parliament in response to a question by JVP MP Samantha Vidyaratne.

Of this expenditure, Rs. 8.5 million had been spent for advertisement and media, Rs. 2.9 million for refreshment, Rs. 1.6 million for cultural clams.

Besides, Rs. 5.5 million had been spent for the preparation of roads, repairing of buildings and decorations.Two monument towers had also been constructed at a cost of Rs. 5.5 million. The estimated cost for the project itself is US$ 590 million

7:28 AM

SSP Vaas transferred to Headquarters

SSP Vaas Gunawardena against whom there are charges over the abduction, assault and illegal detention of Nipuna Ramanayake of the SLIIT Campus has been transferred to the Police Headquarters with effect from 14th August. This is a step taken by the IGP while investigations are being conducted against the SSP.

Already, two Sub Inspectors have been transferred to Negombo and Kegalle; and four constables transferred to Galle, Kandy, Avisawella and Thebuwana in this connection. Investigations are also being conducted against them in the meanwhile.

However, it is significant to note that no arrests have been made so far although 12 days have already elapsed.

7:26 AM

More than 20,000 have escaped from IDP camps?

More than 20,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) residing in camps in Vavuniya have gone missing, and a census into the disappearances is now nearing completion.

A senior official at the Vauniya Kachcheri said yesterday, “There is a significant and glaring number of missing people from all IDP camps, somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 are no longer there.”

According to him, it’s unclear how so many people had made their getaway as there had been a steady decline in numbers, and nothing concrete to investigate on.

Unofficial sources claimed that some Tiger top leaders who had also been hiding among civilians in the camps have made their getaway, and have reportedly bribed officials with sums running to millions of rupees.

The source added that most of the IDPs have occasionally left camps saying they required treatment from hospitals, especially during some epidemics. Most of them, however, have not returned when they were expected to do so. The senior official said the number of visits to hospitals has been drastically reduced and humanitarian workers are required to see that the needs of IDPs such as medicines are met.

7:25 AM

Bodies of two young tamil girls found

The bodies of two tamil servant girls were found yesterday in a canal opposite the houses where they worked in Cinnamon Gardens. The servant girls were discovered missing in the early hours of yesterday and their bodies were found floating in the canal by neighbours.

The girls had written a note together in Tamil saying: “Because of a reason that causes us unbearable pain we are taking our lives. No one is to blame,” a Police source said.
The servant girls were aged 16 and 18 and were from Maskeliya.

A police officer said they were yet to ascertain the motive for the possible suicide and inquiries are underway.

Police spokesperson SSP Ranjith Gunesekera said that the girls were Tamil. Suicide was possible and however the cause of the death can be established at the inquest.

7:24 AM

Who will be the new Foreign Secretary?

Foreign Secretary Dr Palitha Kohona will leave for New York early next month to take up his new post as Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, informed sources said.
At the time of going to press it was not clear as to who will replace him as Foreign Secretary.
The official government website also announced on Friday that Dr. Kohona, will shortly assume duties as the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, New York.

The incumbent Sri Lankan Permanent Representative in New York H.MG.S. Palihakkara was scheduled to return to Colombo over the weekend for personal reasons prior to completing his term there.
It is also still not clear who will fill the vacancy in Geneva as the Country’s Permanent Representative to the UN there. Dr Dayan Jayatillake was recently recalled without any official explanation.

Foreign Ministry sources said the Geneva slot is likely to be filled by either Aruni Wijewardena or Prasad Kariyawasam, both are senior career diplomats. Kariyawasam has already served a stint in Geneva as the country’s Permanent Representative
It was only in March this year that Jayatillake was given a one year extension.

It is believed that Jayatilleka’s sudden recall is over his getting entangled in public debates over some sensitive domestic issues.
Meanwhile, Jayatilleka yesterday denied rumours that he is to be the next Ambassador to Cuba. He added that the Government of Sri Lanka has not contacted him after informing that his tenure in Geneva will end on August 20.

“I have not been appointed, nor approached, nor has this been mentioned to me at all by anyone in the Government. I think this is merely a rumour without foundation,” Jayatilleka said. “I have had no communication from GOSL following the fax conveying my dismissal,” he added.

Earlier this week media reports circulated stating that Jayatilleka would be appointed as Sri Lanka’s ambassador in Cuba replacing Ms Tamara Kunanayakam. Last month Jayatilleka’s tenure as Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations came to an abrupt end as he was informed that his term in Geneva will end on August 20.

Meanwhile, senior diplomat Ms. Kshenuka Seneviratne is now tipped to assume duties as Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Rome. The current ambassador there attorney at law Hemantha Warnakulasuriya is expected to complete his term shortly.

8:41 AM

Ruling UPFA won Jaffna Municipality

Jaffna People have spoken. Ruling United People Freedom Alliance led by Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa has won handsomely in the Jaffna Municipal Council election.

Out of the 23 seats in the Jaffna Municipality, UPFA won 13 seats, while Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchchi (ITAK) also known as Tamil National Alliance (TNA) won 8 seats, and Independent Group 1 and the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) led by V. Anandasangaree won one seat each.

A Government spokesman said that all credits must go to Minister Douglas Devananda , who made the victory possible for the ruling UPFA.

In the meantime, in the elections for Vavuniya Urban Council, out of the 11 seats, Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchchi (ITAK), won 5 seats, while Democratic People’s Liberation Front (PLOTE) 3, UPFA 2 and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress 1 seat.

In the both elections, Opposition United National Party (UNP) has been completely routed.

8:37 AM

IGP’s action against Nipuna’s abductors awaited (Vas Gunawardena)

As the disciplinary control of the Police is under the IGP once again in the absence of the National Police Commission, authorities are watching to see what action Jayantha Wickramaratna will take against those responsible for the abduction and assault of a 22-year-old information technology student on Tuesday.

According to available evidence Nipuna Ramanayaka studying at the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology was abducted as he was leaving the institution after sitting an examination on Tuesday afternoon by a group who came in the vehicle bearing registration GC-0343 belonging to the Police department.

The youth was later released by the Colombo Crimes Division office at Dematagoda (Vas Gunawardena) after being severely assaulted allegedly in a private house of a senior Police officer, stating it was a case of mistaken identity.
IGP Jayantha Wickramaratna contacted in this regard said he would take the necessary action according to the law of the land once he gets the official probe report into the case.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Ranjith Gunasekera asked about the IGP’s handpicked team probing into the case, said he was not aware of the details or when it would hand in its report.
Meanwhile Nipuna continues to receive treatment at the Colombo National Hospital.

The News-Lanka reliably learns that Nipuna has also been examined by the Judicial Medical Officer for possible institution of legal action against those responsible for the shameful assault.
Director of the National Hospital, Dr Hector Weerasinghe said the victim is being treated by surgeons, but he does not appear to require any surgery and that he had not suffered any permanent damage.

8:35 AM

KP sings about DPL, VIP links

Despite him being an internationally wanted fugitive, LTTE’s self-proclaimed leader since the killing of Velupillai Prabhakaran, Selvarasa Pathmanathan has revealed shocking details about his continuing links with top officials of international organisations and ambassadors of leading Western nations serving in Colombo.

Since he was whisked to Colombo from Malaysia via Bangkok on Thursday night after a daring seize at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday afternoon, Selvarasa a.k.a. Kumaran Pathmanathan has been under interrogation at an undisclosed location in Colombo.

According to sources, he has also revealed details of Tiger leaders still hiding among civilians in IDP camps and about leaders who had managed to escape from those camps to India and Western countries.
As to details about the massive war chest of the organisation, placed by experts at billions of dollars, KP had claimed that he was not aware of those details as Prabhakaran had entrusted those functions to other people. But he has divulged information about his LTTE links in Western countries.

However, he has confessed that the bulk of the LTTE finances had come from Switzerland, followed by UK, South Africa, Australia and Canada.

Under intense questioning, he has also confessed to heading the organisation’s shipping, banking and arms dealing through a carefully selected special team.

Contrary to reports about India seeking KP’s extradition over his involvement in the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, highly placed government sources said, there had been no such requests so far and even if there are in the future, before acceding to any such requests, the LTTE’s new self-proclaimed leader would first have to face the judicial system here for the crimes he has committed against Sri Lanka.

Sleuths who are grilling him have yet to obtain information about Tiger weapon procurement details, its international links, payment procedures, and even its shipping network.

They are also said to be particularly interested in finding out details about all his movements in the last two months since the crushing of the organisation militarily in the Wanni, especially how he had made wide ranging links with the rival group that challenged his leadership role and then finally brought about a settlement with them last month, after protracted negotiations.

KP’s leadership was recognised indirectly in an official press release by the re-structured LTTE, which stated as follows:

“We, the Executive Committee of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, wish to officially let our beloved Tamil people and the international community know that Selvarasa Pathmanathan, who had been appointed as Head of International Relations by our National Leader, will lead us into the next steps of our freedom struggle according to the vision of our esteemed leader.”

Under the new unified dispensation, KP was to be “Thalaimai Seyalar” (Chief Secretary/Secretary General) and head of the organisation.

8:33 AM

IDPs camps running out of funds

Menik Farm camps which house over 250, 000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) will soon be confronted with a massive crisis, as humanitarian agencies are allegedly running out of funds allocated for food supply, a local NGO source in Vavuniya said. Zone 3, where those who crossed over to the government controlled areas in the early stages of the conflict are kept, will be the first centre to be affected due to the scarcity of food, according to the source.

“NGOs are mandated to provide IDPs with food only for a particular period of time. Some donors have already stopped passing funds. So, although IDPs in Zone 3 are provided with dry rations, they no longer provide complimentary items,” the source said. Other zones will also soon be confronted with the same issue unless redemptive measures are taken, he said.
He confided that donors were generally reluctant to provide funding for food supplies. “They are more interested in engaging in the resettlement process”.

8:30 AM

Tamil parties in IDP racket

The IGP has alerted police chiefs in Vavuniya about a racket involving smuggling out IDPs from camps by operatives of several Tamil political parties.

In a confidential report sent to the DIG, Vavuniya, the IGP has implicated activists of Tamil political parties who laid down arms to join mainstream politics with smuggling civilians for exorbitant fees.

The claim has been confirmed by Vavuniya District TNA MP, S Kishor, who told this newspaper that he is aware that around 50,000 IDPs have escaped from welfare camps by paying money to these groups. He also said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been informed of the situation.

Sources revealed that amounts ranging from Rs.100, 000 to 10, 00000 have been paid to these groups by the Tamil IDPs for smuggling them out from welfare camps. In addition, Tamil political parties enlist these IDPs as new members and bring them out of the welfare camps.

DIG in charge of the Northern Province Nimal Lewke said “We are not still sure about the exact number of IDPs who escaped from the camps. Arrangements are being made to carry out a census on IDPs to check the figures”.

The DIG said that the lists of those who have passed away in camps and those who were released must be compared with documents at the Divisional Secretariat and then the number of those who have escaped can be identified”.