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Mobile Mania

June 22 (LBO) With taxes slashed and handsets smuggled in, Sri Lanka is becoming a mobile phone paradise where even the island's prisons are awash with cell phones. With the price of handsets falling by about 35 percent this year, owning a mobile has never been so affordable in Sri Lanka, where vegetable vendors, taxi drivers and pavement hawkers all carry a cell phone. more..

Defence Secretary demands concrete evidences from LTTE

June 22 (AT) Cyril Herath, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence has challenged the allegations made by the LTTE to come up with any substantial and factual evidence to prove that Sri Lankan Army is harboring the renegade leader Colonel Karuna Amman alias V.Muralitharan. more..

PM assures a clear majority, while Rauff Hakeem negotiating to join

June 22 (AT) Amidst new assurances by the SLMC to support the UPFA government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga by joining it Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa claimed that the government would show a clear majority in the parliament on July 20. more..

"Never crossed my mind that I could take up the matter with LTTE Leader" - Cegu Issadeen

June 22 (AT) "It never crossed my mind that there was a possibility of bringing to the notice of Velupillai Prabakaran, Leader of the LTTE against the TNA Member of Parliament N.Raviraj, who organized the protest against my official visit to Jaffna on last 25 May," said M.S.Cegu Issadeen, more..

New Maha Nayaka of Malwatte appointed unanimously

June 22 (AT) The Karaka Sangha Sabha, the supreme executive council of Buddhist monks, of Sri Lanka’s foremost Buddhist Sect, the Malwatte Chapter of the Siyam Maha Nikaya unanimously appointed the Most Venerable Thibbotuwawe Siddhartha Sri Sumangala (60 yrs.) as the 26th Maha Nayaka of the Malwatte chapter. more..

Opposition Media Unit Chief sacked

June 22 (DN) The Opposition Media Unit Chief Saman Athaudahetti has been sacked from his post as he has not been of any use to boost the image of Opposition and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, according to informed sources. more..

Bowsers out Trains in

June 22 (IL) Privately hired bowsers who have for years been transporting fuel of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CEYPETCO), will be dealt a heavy blow, following the decision by the Ministry of Power and Energy to transport oil through trains beginning from July 1, this year. more..

Sri Lanka's History: In Danger of Disappearing

June 22 (OW) Environmentalists warn that unchecked vandalism and neglect is destroying thousands of ancient rock caves in Sri Lanka dating back to 30,500 BC, with scores of Buddha statues rendered headless, and paintings defaced. more..

Warne hopes to fully exploit Murali's absence

June 22 (AFP) Shane Warne has pronounced his fitness to play the Sri Lankans in Australia's home series and spoke of his plan to make full use of Muttiah Muralitharan's absence. The Australian leg-spinning great was given the all-clear of a broken left hand and declared himself a starter in the two-Test series starting in Darwin on July 1. more..

Long limbo for Sri Lanka peace, but war seen remote

June 22 (Reuters) After fifteen months without talks, a snap poll, a change in government and factional fighting, the dominant impression of Sri Lanka's peace process is that it is going nowhere, slowly. more..

Murali to travel to Australia

June 22 (TP) Muttiah Muralitharan, Sri Lanka’s match-winning Test bowler now embroiled in a controversy over his ‘doosra’ delivery, may be in Australia after all during the Test matches next month — but only as a spectator. more..

Shipment of duck feathers sent back

June 22 (TP) Animal health authorities and customs in Sri Lanka have refused to permit a cargo of duck feathers into the country from China as the importer failed to fulfill bio-safety and import regulations, animal health sources said. more..

Deal with Iran on cheap crude soon

June 22 (TP) Power and Energy Minister Susil Premajayantha said on Sunday that the government is trying to arrange a concessionary facility with the Iranian government to buy crude oil at a lower price. Newspapers quoted the minister as saying he was scheduled to visit Iran shortly to seal an agreement in this connection. more..

Govt plans to repair airstrip

June 22 (TP) The Sri Lankan Air Force has decided not to go ahead with the proposed plan to repair Palaly airstrip with Indian assistance, Air Force Commander Air Vice-Marshal Donald Perera said. He told the Daily Mirror the local Road Development Authority (RDA) had advised that the repair work could be carried out at a lesser cost. more..

Hakeem challenges President

June 22 (NW) SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem warned yesterday that if war broke out in Sri Lanka again the blame would be mainly on President Chandrika Kumaratunga. Addressing a news conference at the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo Mr. Hakeem hammered out at President Kumaratunga saying she was only interested in clinging to power and was not really interested in resuming peace talks with the LTTE. more..

Army helps re-open Eluththumaduval Tamil mixed school

June 22 (SLA) Security Forces Jaffna [SF (J)], with guidance of SF (J) Commander Major General Susil Chandrapala, have extended their hand of friendship towards the civil society to promote the standard of Education in the area. more..

Sri Lankan FM in Moscow

June 22 (PRIU) Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar is currently on an official visit to Moscow on an invitation extended by his Russian counterpart, Sergy Lavrov. The two Ministers will discuss a wide range of matters including relations between the two countries in the political, economic and cultural fields and on international issues. more..

Lanka moves to stem get-rich-quick scams

June 22 (AFP) Sri Lanka's Central Bank warned Sunday against get-rich-quick "pyramid schemes" after the island's residents racked up millions of dollars in credit card charges. more..

Row over Karuna will hold up Lanka peace talks

June 22 (HT) The escalating conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE over the renegade rebel commander Colonel Karuna is casting a long and dark shadow over the peace process in the island. more..

Government says renegade rebel won't harm cease-fire

June 22 (Bloomberg) Sri Lanka's government said the leader of a breakaway Tamil rebel group won't threaten the cease- fire agreement that halted the island's two-decade civil war. more..

Jaffna varsity students issue deadline to settle employee's strike

June 23 (TN) The Jaffna University Students Union (JUSU) issued a deadline to the Vice Chancellor (VC) Professor C. Mohanadas to settle the strike of the varsity employees before June 28 at a discussion held Monday evening between the VC and representatives of the JUSU, sources in Jaffna said. more..

Rupee plunges to record low against dollar

June 23 (CT) Sri Lanka's currency skidded to a record low against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday because of rising tensions between Tamil Tiger rebels and the military. Sri Lanka's currency has slipped about 3.2 percent against the dollar so far this year because of fears that the country's 19-year civil war could resume more..

Government decides to shelve Upper Kotmale Power Project

June 23 (IL) With Cabinet approval on the Upper Kotmale Hydro Power (UKHP) Project still pending, sources claim that the Government has taken an ‘unofficial’ decision to postpone the project, or at least until they succeed in obtaining the support of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), which has eight seats in Parliament. more..

Christian Church seeks international help

June 23 (NW) The National Christian Fellowship (NCF) condemning the alleged attack on one of their ministries on Sunday has appealed to the international community and the President to initiate appropriate action against such acts. more..

A major cabinet re-shuffle likely in future

June 23 (NW) A Cabinet reshuffle involving the Ministries of Plantation, Estate Infrastructure and Media is likely next month to accommodate the CWC and give stability to the government, UPFA sources said yesterday. more..

Karuna to enter main stream politics

June 23 (NW) The LTTE's renegade Eastern province leader Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna is reported to have decided to give up his military career and enter the democratic mainstream shortly. more..

Sri Lanka to Pay Compensation for Victims of Alkhobar Attacks

June 23 (AN) Colombo will compensate the Sri Lankan victims of the Alkhobar terror attacks on May 29. “The Sri Lankan government will give suitable compensation for the seven Sri Lankans held hostage by the terrorists in the Oasis compound in the Eastern Province,” more..

Only break Warne cares about is Murali's record

June 23 (CT) Fit to play Sri Lanka next month, Shane Warne admits it's now or never if he wants to become Test cricket's leading wicket-taker. Warne yesterday declared himself a certain starter for the two-match series starting July 1 in Darwin after getting the medical all-clear on his broken left hand. more..

The first fatal Provincial Council election violence

June 23 (AT) The first fatal election violence incident of the on going Provincial Council election occurred in the Ratnapura District when suspected opposition UNP supporters lobbed a hand bomb into a meeting of the ruling party candidate, which resulted killing one and seriously injuring another. more..

Pricey Jam

June 23 (LBO) Traffic jams in and around Colombo are not just driving people insane with frustration; it’s costing the country a thumping Rs 20 bn a year. “The congestion cost in Sri Lanka is around Rs 20 bn a year and this is just a conservative estimate,” more..

Health workers plan hunger strike

June 23 (TN) More than eighty thousand health sector workers struck work Monday in nearly 1270 government medical institutions in Sri Lanka demanding increases in pay for temporary and casual workers, removal of salary anomalies of the Registered Medical Officers (RMO) and integration of provincial health staff into central government service. more..

Villagers lend support to Ipsotsl sessions

June 23 (SLA) Tranquil settings and environs at Kukuleganga, where the first-ever Institute of Peace Support Operations Training Sri Lanka (IPSOTSL) is now a realty, appeared unusually disturbed on Tuesday (22) as the ongoing UN sponsored Multinational Platoon Exercise-3 “Sama Gamana” (MPE-3) entered its final lap with dramatic Run Phase Situational Training Exercises (STX) that were launched. more..

Stocks edge higher in shortened session

June 23 (Reuters) Stocks closed marginally higher on Wednesday in a shortened session after technical problems at the Colombo Stock Exchange delayed trade for several hours. The key Colombo all-share index ended up 0.04 percent, or 0.52 points, at 1,326.46, more..

Sergei Lavrov says no serious problems in coop between RF, Sri Lanka

June 23 (IT) Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there are no serious problems between Russia and Sri Lanka. Opening the talks with his Sri Lankan counterpart Lakshman Kadirgamar on Wednesday, Lavrov said, “The talks will be devoted to bringing our cooperation to higher level.” more..

World Bank extends support for rebuilding conflict-affected communities

June 23 (WB) The Government of Sri Lanka’s efforts to rehabilitate and bring normalcy to conflict affected communities of North East Sri Lanka will be strengthened by a US$64.7 million credit approved by the World Bank today. more..

Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka to negotiate in Moscow

June 23 (NF) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will hold talks in Moscow with Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Lakshman Kadirgamar. During the talks the sides will discuss a whole gamut of issues of bilateral relations, including cooperation in the political, trade-economic, military-technical, educational, cultural and other spheres. more..

Opposition to urge reconvening parliament before PC elections

June 23 (TN) Leaders of opposition parties are scheduled to meet Wednesday in the parliamentary complex to decide on the next course of action taken in regard to safeguard the parliamentary democracy. The Leader of the Opposition Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe is to preside over the meet, more..

Sri Lanka trade deficit widens, imports up

June 23 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's trade deficit widened nearly 28 percent in the first four months of the year compared with a year-earlier, led by higher imports of items such as food and machinery, the central bank said on Wednesday. more..

Well being of Tamils and Tamil-speaking people is our cherished Goal

June 23 (AT) In an exclusive voice interview, first of its kind after Colonel Karuna Amman withdrew from Batticaloa- Amparai region on 09 April, Maran the spokesperson of ETTE of Karuna group, aired over the TBC - an independent Tamil radio station operating from London, denied allegation that they jointly operate with Sri Lanka army in the Eastern region of Sri Lanka, against the LTTE. more..

Creating magic with paddy grains

June 23 (NT) Confidence, devotion and perseverance are the synonyms of Durai Rathinam who hails from Atchuveli village of Jaffna in Sri Lanka. He is an artist and master of several trades he is a carpenter, goldsmith, blacksmith and sculptor. There's more to him he works with paddy grains and creates beautiful masterpieces. more..

SriLankan Airlines honoured

June 23 (TOO) SriLankan Airlines has been rated the sixth best long-haul airline at the Observer Travel awards in Melbourne. The poll was conducted by UK newspapers — The Observer, Guardian and website Guardian Unlimited — among 22,000 people, the Observer reported. more..

Govt dismisses opposition unity

June 23 (TP) The ruling UPFA has challenged the opposition to take over the government if it says it has a majority in parliament. This came after opposition presented a joint letter with signatures of 114 members of parliament to Speaker W J M Lokubandara expressing their dismay at attempts by government MPs “to stifle the freedom of expression and debate in the House.” more..

Ex-security chief to be arrested

June 23 (TP) A regional judge on Monday ordered the arrest of the former chief of Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s security on charges of assaulting supporters of a former minister during elections in 2001. more..

Govt denies truck with Karuna

June 23 (TP) The Sri Lankan government on Monday denied Tamil rebel charges that it was providing shelter to breakaway rebel leader Karuna. Defence ministry secretary Cyril Herath told the Daily Mirror the LTTE charge was baseless. more..

An angry PM throws down gauntlet

June 23 (DN) Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse addressing a mammoth crowd in Anuradhapura to mark the inaugural rally of the UPFA for the Provincial Council Elections throwing down the gauntlet at the UNP, announced that the Freedom Alliance would prove its majority in Parliament when it meets on July 20. more..

UNP's involvement with Karuna jeopardises peace process

June 23 (HT) The opposition United National Party's reported involvement with the renegade LTTE commander, Col Karuna, has further complicated the peace process in Sri Lanka, which is already mired in a controversy over the agenda for the peace talks between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE. more..

US will not remove Tamil Tigers from terror list

June 23 (AFP) The United States said it would not remove the terrorist tag from the Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers rebel group, even though it had observed a ceasefire for more than two years and conducted informal peace talks with the government. more..

Tigers pull out of military meetings

June 23 (PTI) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels have pulled out of their regular monthly meetings with the military to protest an alleged Government backing to a rebel leader and asked the Mahinda Rajapakse administration to decide between "war and peace". more..

NEIAP to receive $64m World Bank funding

June 23 (TN) North-East Irrigated Agriculture Project (NEIAP) is to get an additional $64.7m credit from the Worldbank for rehabilitation work and to bring normalcy to conflict affected communities of North East Sri Lanka, a report released by World bank said. more..

Ali Zahir Maulana resigns MP post over Karuna affair

June 23 (TN) Mr.Ali Zahir Maulana, National List Parliamentarian of the UNP Wednesday evening handed over his resignation letter to Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe, following the revelation of his connection in the escape of the LTTE renegade commander Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna and his associates from the East to Colombo, more..