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Experts say graft may prey on Sri Lanka tsunami aid

May 11 (Reuters) Deep-rooted corruption and a lack of political will to fight it threaten to hurt Sri Lanka's efforts to rebuild coastal areas ravaged by the Indian Ocean tsunami, experts and watchdog groups said on Wednesday. more..

Private donors pledge over half of US$ 2 bn in tsunami aid

May 12 (LBO) The World Bank says over half of US$ 2 bn in tsunami aid pledges are from private donors, but warns better co-ordination is needed among aid agencies and 200 Non-Governmental groups. “It is estimated that over US$ 2 billion has been committed, excluding debt relief, of which about one half consist of private donations,” more..

Community Centre opened in Trincomalee

May 12 (TN) The Trincomalee district branch of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) supported by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) organized several humanitarian activities in its twenty-two units in the district to mark the World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day. more..

Mobile library service launched to assist tsunami affected students

May 12 (TN) Foundation for Co-Existence (FCE), with financial support from the People in Need (PIN), a non-governmental organization headquartered in Czech Republic, started a mobile library service in Trincomalee district to assist tsunami-affected students and others who have no access to libraries and reading rooms, sources said. more..

Muttur Tamils protest against SLA embargo

May 12 (TN) About five thousand Tamil civilians Wednesday held a protest march from Poonagar in the LTTE controlled Eachchilampathu division in the Muttur area to the Mahindapura Sri Lanka Army (SLA) camp demanding the removal of ban on the transportation of cement, building materials, petrol and diesel more..

Joint Mechanism concerns linger as Donor Group readies for Kandy meet

May 12 (TN) Sri Lanka Development Forum (SLDF), the aid review where multilateral lenders and officials Sri Lanka Govnerment meet to firm up on aid pledges, "will focus on the post-tsunami recovery and reconstruction process and the overall method and development strategies of Sri Lanka," said Dr.Sarath Amunugama, more..

Dense 'Taraki' theories from the cool climbs of the west

May 12 (AT) Of the several out pouring articles in various journals after Sivaram’s abduction and murder, I was intrigued and disturbed by an article in the LTTE website Tamilnet which says Sri Lanka’s President must be answerable for the murder. more..

‘World Bank diverting tsunami attention’

May 12 (BBC) The World Bank is trying to exploit the Sri Lanka Development Forum to press ahead with restructuring of government enterprises, trade unions warned. The Trade Union Centre for Rebuilding the Country said the World Bank’s country director Peter Harrold’s recent remarks on tsunami reconstruction is an attempt to divert the attention of the SLDF. more..

Withdraw CEB Cabinet Paper or face strong action: JVP

May 12 (LM) The JVP has warned of severe political action unless President Chandrika Kumaratunge withdraws the cabinet paper aimed at restructuring the Ceylon Electricity Board. The President has informed the JVP Ministers that a vast amount of foreign aid depended on restructuring the CEB. more..

India responds to Lanka SOS, with ATCs

May 12 (IE) Very soon, Indian hands could be directing Sri Lanka’s air traffic—at least for a few days. With Sri Lanka’s air traffic controllers threatening to stay away from duty demanding better working conditions, New Delhi has responded positively to an official request from Colombo to send its personnel to manage the looming crisis. more..

Thousands still wait for aid millions to lift their despair

May 12 (Times) PUSHPA sat peeling carrots outside the tent in which she has lived with her three young children since her home and her husband were swept away by the Boxing Day tsunami. “We know your people helped us with money,” she told The Times. “So what has our Government done with it? The monsoon will be here soon and still we have no home.” more..

Jaffna protesters urge SLMM action on Santhiveli

May 12 (TN) A demonstration was held in Jaffna town Thursday condemning the firing protesting civilians at Santhiveli by Sri Lankan security forces on Monday. An elderly person was killed and several others, including schoolchildren were wounded. more..

LTTE “policeman” seeks protection from Security Forces

May 12 (SLA) A so-called “policeman” of the LTTE has run away and sought protection from Security Forces on duty at OMANTHAI Entry/Exit point on 10 May 2005 around 17.00 p.m. In his confession, he had claimed that he joined the LTTE “Police” on 16 September 2002 against a monthly salary of Rs. 8500/= but he was not paid as promised during the past year. more..

LTTE member remanded for molesting teenage girl

May 12 (SLA) A 56-year old LTTE member, who allegedly molested a thirteen-year schoolgirl on 10 May 2005 around 6.00 p.m. inside a shop run by the LTTE cadre himself in MANNAR, was remanded by the MANNAR Magistrate till 25th May 2005 when the girl went there to buy some bananas. more..

SLMM & Police pre-empt planned collision course

May 12 (SLA) A group of LTTE-instigated mobs on 11 May 2005 around 11.30 a.m. came in procession from POONAGAR (un-cleared area) to SERUNUWARA through MAHINDAPURA Entry/Exit point and handed over a memorandum to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM). more..

LTTE firing towards Army post observed

May 12 (SLA) LTTE men on 11 May 2005 around 7.45 p.m. fired about a hundred rounds of small arms from un-cleared areas in MUTTUR towards the western side of the Amy post, approximately 900 meters away from MUTTUR Maha Vidyalaya. A few rounds have gone over the troops and a few more at tree top level. more..

Sri Lanka’s beaches picture devastation

May 12 (Dawn) Five months after the tsunami hit the country, Sri Lanka is ready not to be caught unawares anymore, with tsunami warning measures safely imposed. Yet for hoteliers, the damage has been irreparable. The best example is in Arugam Bay, east of Sri Lanka. more..

Lankan rates seen steady despite inflation

May 12 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank is expected to keep benchmark interest rates steady for the sixth month in a row in May, in line with state policy to keep lending rates low despite rising inflation, now running at three-year highs. more..

Taxes hurt Sri Lanka gem & jewellery Sector

May 12 (DJ) While moves are under way to promote Sri Lanka's gem and jewelry exports, new taxes may hamper growth this year, said an industry official. "We had seen a sharp growth in the first three months but now there will be a gradual decline," Rainier Nanayakkara, head of the Sri Lanka Gem & Jewellery Association told more..

Cabinet has approved a proposal to increase hostel facilities for university students

May 12 (SLBC) The Ministry of Education plans to upgrade hostel facilities in universities. The Ministry has arrived at the decision as the number of students admitted to the universities has been increased this year. Cabinet has approved a proposal forwarded by the President in this regard. more..

Canadian Police arrest two Tamils connected with LTTE front group WTO

May 12 (AT) Two Sri Lankan Tamil residents in Canadian cities of Montreal and Toronto, and a Lebanese immigrant were arrested on May 10 by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) for their alleged involvement in Canadian banknote, credit card and passport counterfeiting network, according to a document made available to the Asian Tribune. more..

Powerful Muslim religious lobby to meet CBK

May 12 (LM) Moulavio S.H.Adambawa, Head of the Jammiathul - Ulama, the premier Muslim Clerical organization in the country, says that government has effectively shouldered out the Muslim community's legitimate rights in the process of setting up a Joint Mechanism to handle Tsunami relief operations more..

Joint mechanism, - Muslim demands legitimate - Peter Harrold

May 12 (LM) World Bank (WB) Sri Lanka representative Peter Harrold conceded that the Muslim community's demand for participation in the proposed post-tsunami joint mechanism was justifiable . He agreed to raise this matter with the appropriate authorities. more..

Major confrontation likely soon as JVP stand hardens on CEB crisis

May 12 (LM) The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) will boycott cabinet meetings pending withdrawal of the Cabinet Paper and decision pertaining to the restructuring of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB). Yesterday's Cabinet meeting was boycotted for the same reason, a spokesman for the JVP said today. more..

SLMC leader appalled by govt. indifferent to Amparai district education

May 12 (LM) Appeals by the SLMC to government in Parliament, for a meaningful and effective relocation of 17 badly affected schools in the Ampara district have fallen on deaf ears as over 20,000 students of these schools continue to suffer without well sheltered buildings to continue their education. more..

South African water sector experts to assist tsunami-affected districts

May 12 (ANN) In response to a request received from the Government of Sri Lanka through its High Commission in Pretoria, the Government of South Africa pledged assistance towards the provision’ of Alum for water treatment and support to the Government’s drive in the reconstruction more..

China may endorse Sri Lankan for UN

May 12 (TN) China has expressed its possible willingness to support Jayantha Dhanapata for the top UN post, the paper quoted Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgaman as saying. His comments fly in the face of claims made by Thai media that China had pledged its support to Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai, who is currently lobbying heavily for the post. more..

Rise of the Red Brigade in Sri Lanka

May 12 (GT) The tens of thousands of people wearing red shirts on May 1 sent shivers through many of us who have lived through the two bloody insurgencies in the south of Sri Lanka. In the aftermath, the political reverberations are continuing. May 1 was a show of strength by the Janata Vimukti Perumuna (JVP), more..

Resorts unhappy with post-Tsunami building guidlines

May 12 (AKI) Five months after the tsunami hit the country, Sri Lanka is determined not to be caught unawares anymore. The government has imposed strict tsunami warning measures, decreeing that no hotel should be built within 200 metres of the coast. more..

Sri Lanka: A few words go a long way

May 12 (RW) The din of over a hundred kids packed into a makeshift school building was building to a roar. According to Thulasimani, a second-grade teacher at Komari School, it is usually noisy but this was something different. "There is an excitement in the air," she said. more..

UNP sees a blow to peace process

May 12 (SAMN) Ranil says President's statement on joint mechanism makes search for solution difficult. Oposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday expressed surprise at the President's statement that the establishment of a post-tsunami operational management structure or a joint mechanism was not part of the peace process. more..

Big Korean water project for South

May 12 (SAMN) In the run up to the crucial International Donor Conference hosted by Sri Lanka next week, the country's post tsunami development drive received another fillip in the form of a giant water supply project for the South costing US $ 14.8 million courtesy the Korean Government. more..

Tigers up the gum tree

May 12 (LNP) The ongoing wave of LTTE inspired protests in Batticaloa had forced the military to put on hold a scheduled LTTE overland movement from Black Bridge, Batticaloa to the Omanthai entry/exit point. An authoritative military official said that a group of about 50 LTTE cadres was to be escorted across the government-controlled area. more..

Ranil expresses surprise over CBK`s statement

May 12 (LNP) Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, in a letter to President on `Developing a common programme for the implementation of humanitarian efforts for tsunami affected areas`, said he was surprised the President`s statement that the establishment of the post-tsunami operational management structure was not part of the peace process. more..

Dumudesh refrains from naming Sivaram`s killers

May 12 (LNP) Trade Union Centre for Building the Country, Health Convener Ravi Kumudesh, who was with the slain journalist Dharmaratnam Sivaram minutes before his abduction in Bambalapitiya, accused politicians of using the killing to gain political mileage while the killers were roaming free. more..

President orders inquiry : Was Professor involved in PSC order against interdiction?

May 12 (DN) President has instructed the relevant divisions to inquire and report immediately whether the PSC order against the interdiction of the Principals of Ananda College, Colombo and Kingswood College, Kandy was a sequel to any influence by Professor Mendis Rohanadheera, the Chairman of the Education Sub-committee of the Public Service Commission. more..

Natwar Singh to visit Sri Lanka in June

May 12 (IANS) India's External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh will pay a three-day visit to Sri Lanka in June, his second since taking office last year. Officials said during the visit (June 9-11) Singh would co-chair a meeting of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission with his Sri Lankan counterpart Lakshman Kadirgamar. more..

Sri Lanka air traffic controllers call off planned strike

May 12 (DJ) Air traffic controllers in Sri Lanka have called off a planned strike Thursday as a salary issue has been resolved, the president of the Air Traffic Controllers Association of Sri Lanka said. Meetings with government officials initially failed to settle a disagreement over salaries, but that was resolved late Wednesday, more..

Saudi relief still idling in Colombo Port

May 12 (IL) While the International Community continues to send essential items and other necessities for the tsunami victims, our own Colombo Port authorities and Finance Ministry allegedly treat essential relief consignments sent by foreign Governments, organizations, etc, with callous indifference, more..

UN envoy: Criminalizing 'unethical conversions' in Sri Lanka could harm religious harmony

May 12 (AP) Sri Lanka's efforts to legally ban induced or forced religious conversions may result in the persecution of minorities, a visiting United Nations official warned on Thursday. Sri Lanka has a Buddhist majority, and monks here complain that Christian missionaries offer money and jobs to entice poor Buddhists to change their religion. more..

Sri Lanka says no return to war as donors fear for peace process

May 12 (AFP) Sri Lanka vowed the country would not return to war despite a deadlock in peace talks and failure to strike a deal with Tamil rebels on tsunami relief ahead of a key review of foreign aid. Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama Thursday said all parties in the ruling coalition as well as the main opposition were convinced that "war is not a solution." more..

Deal between Sri Lanka, Tamil rebels not precondition for more tsunami aid: World Bank

May 12 (AP) Foreign donors may commit more aid to tsunami-stricken Sri Lanka even though the government and rebels failed to reach an agreement on how to distribute it, a World Bank official said Thursday. An international donor's conference is scheduled for Monday in Sri Lanka with more than 100 delegates more..

LTTE dictatorship will not be acceptable: India

May 12 (IANS) India has expressed continued support to the Norway-facilitated peace process in Sri Lanka but made it clear that it is bitterly opposed to any "dictatorship" of the Tamil Tiger rebels. Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran conveyed the message to Norway's peace envoy Erik Solheim during a 90-minute meeting at the South Block on Wednesday. more..

Fire fight with Tamil Tiger rebels injures four policeman in eastern Sri Lanka

May 12 (AP) Four police were injured Thursday when Tamil Tiger rebels ambushed a convoy carrying a rival Tamil group in Sri Lanka's volatile east, the military said. The rebels opened fire and hurled grenades at two vehicles carrying members of the EPDP a government coalition partner, said Brig. Daya Ratnayake. more..

Donors to seek tsunami rebuilding vow from Sri Lanka

May 12 (Reuters) A major donor conference next week in Sri Lanka aims to reach an agreement to ensure that nearly $2 billion of pledged aid is not wasted and is used quickly to rebuild areas hit by December's tsunami. more..

$2 billion needed for next three years

May 12 (BBC) Fiance Minister Sarath Amunugama says government is hopeful of receiving foeign aid upto 150 million dollars at the end of this year as tsunami relief. Minister Amunugama told a news conference that at least two billion dollars are needed for the next three years to provide relief to tsunami affected people. more..

Bureaucracy delays aid at Colombo port – paper

May 13 (TN) Five months after the Indian ocean tsunami disaster, many hundreds of containers of aid are stranded at ports in Sri Lanka because of bureaucratic bungling and missing paperwork, the Financial Times reported Thursday. more..

CARE funds JVP projects

May 13 (TN) The JVP, inspite of its hostility towards foreign NGOs, has accepted financial donations from them. According to the JVP, CARE International is one of the institutional and private donors from whom the ultra-nationalist party has received well over Rs100 million for its own post-tsunami reconstruction activities. more..

Pro-peace groups receive death threats

May 13 (TN) Leaders of civil society organisations calling for a peaceful solution to Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict have received death threats from an extreme Sinhala nationalist group calling itself ‘Theraputtabhaya force.’ more..

Brattskar visits Norwegian projects in Jaffna, Mullaitivu

May 13 (TN) Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar is visiting Tsunami affected areas in Jaffna and Mullaitivu districts Thursday to see some of the Norwegian supported boat and engine repair stations in Point Pedro, Munai and Aaliawalay, an embassy press release said. During his visit, Mr. Brattskar will also have discussions with LTTE in Killinochchi, it said. more..