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Sri Lanka to begin work on Colombo-Katunayake highway in May

May 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka is to begin work on the Colombo-Katunayake toll road this month tying up a construction deal with China Metallurgical Construction Group. Cabinet approval for the project came through on Wednesday, Jeyraj Fernandopulle, Minister of Highways told a Cabinet press briefing on Thursday. more..

Trinco getting back to 'normalcy'

May 11 (BBC) Over two thousand refugees still live in seven refugee camps in Trincomalee after the recent violence, officials said. Trincomalee District Secretary LK Leelananda said the city is gradually getting back to normalcy as many have already left refugee camps. “Initially there were 11 camps and it is now reduced to seven” he told BBC Sandeshaya. more..

Unidentified gunmen fatally shoot Tamil civilian in eastern Sri Lanka

May 11 (AP) Unidentified gunmen fatally shot an ethnic minority Tamil civilian in eastern Sri Lanka on Thursday, police said, in the latest violence to threaten a return to civil war. The gunmen shot Kandasamy Jayasurendran, 21, as he worked at a barber shop in Mutur, close to the port town of Trincomalee, more..

Sri Lanka vows to crack down on killings to save peace bid

May 11 (AFP) Sri Lanka has vowed tough action to stem a wave of killings following the latest Japanese bid to save faltering peace efforts, diplomats and government officials said. The Sri Lankan government assured Japan's special peace envoy Yasushi Akashi that it will halt excesses and end the "culture of impunity," more..

Getty Images

May 11 (AFP) A Sri Lankan army soldier hangs a part of a lantern in his camp carpentry workshop in Colombo. Sri Lankan Buddhists celebrate their most important Buddhist festival of Vesak on the full moon day of May, this year falls on 12 May, more..

Suspected rebels sink Sri Lanka patrol boat-monitors

May 11 (Reuters) Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels sank a government navy attack boat and attacked a troop transport vessel off Sri Lanka's northern tip, Nordic truce monitors said on Thursday, but there was no word on fatalities. "Our monitors saw several Tiger boats attacking the transporter ship and firing," said Helen Olafsdottir, more..

Monitors see Sri Lanka army hand in civilian killings

May 11 (Reuters) International truce monitors said on Thursday they believe Sri Lankan troops are involved in killing ethnic Tamil civilians in the island's north, contrary to government denials. The unarmed Nordic SLMM said probable Tamil Tiger rebel attacks on the military have been followed by disappearances and open killings of ethnic Tamil civilians. more..

Sri Lanka retaliates for sinkings with air strikes

May 11 (AFP) Sri Lanka's military called in aircraft to atttack suspected Tamil Tiger positions after the rebels sank two navy gunboats, military sources said. Jets were brought in after rebels sank the two gunboats in separate incidents on Thursday. The Tigers were also firing at a ferry transporting some 700 troops from the northeastern port of Trincomalee to the northern peninsula of Jaffna, more..

Sri Lanka bishop boycotts UK as 'mark of protest'

May 12 (AJ) Bishop Duleep de Chickera of the diocese of Colombo, Anglican Church of Ceylon, has refrained from visiting the United Kingdom as a “mark of protest” following the British High Commission in Colombo’s policy of fingerprinting all Sri Lankans applying for British visas. more..

More than 14% of our urban population consists of slum dwellers

May 12 (AT) Urban populations in South Asia are expanding rapidly, placing enormous pressure on urban services. This has also resulted in a rapid increase of the urban slum dwellers. A research study conducted by Practical Action/ITDG has revealed that out of the urban population, 14% consist of the urban poor (slum dwellers). more..

Frayed truce

May 12 (FL) ON April 25, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) pushed the Sri Lankan peace process over the edge. It deployed its deadliest weapon - the suicide bomber - and took its separatist war deep inside the Sri Lankan establishment: the premises of the Army Headquarters. more..

Tamil Tiger rebels sink navy boat in northern Sri Lanka

May 12 (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels sank a navy boat in an attack Thursday on a convoy in northern Sri Lanka, in an incident that may have taken the South Asian nation a step closer to civil war, European cease-fire monitors said. The convoy was protecting a vessel carrying army personnel from Point Pedro in the northern peninsula of Jaffna more..

Kilinochchi bombed as fighting escalates in North-Eastern Waters

May 12 (TW) Preliminary reports indicate serious escalation of fighting in North - Eastern Sri Lanka on May 11th 2006. While the de - jure ceasefire remains valid still on paper events on ground show that a de - facto undeclared war is on. At least ten vessels of the sea tiger unit were engaged in marine exercises off Sampur in the Muthur division of Trincomalee around 1.30 pm when some navy ships and gun boats appeared. more..

PAFFREL deploys 2000 polls monitors

May 12 (LM) The People's Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) will deploy 2000 monitors to oversea the May 20 polls in 22 local government bodies in the North, East and the South, its Executive Director Kingsley Rodrigo said. These elections which were fixed for early this year were deferred after rejection of nominations by the Elections Commissioner due to discrepancies and the subsequent Court decisions. more..

17 Sri Lankan sailors missing after rebel sea attack; air force, navy responds with strikes

May 12 (AP) At least 17 Sri Lankan sailors were missing after Tamil Tiger rebels sank their naval patrol boat Thursday off the northern coast. In retaliation, the navy downed five rebel vessels and the air force launched airstrikes on guerrilla-held territory. more..

Air strikes on Sri Lanka rebels after sea battle leaves 45 dead

May 12 (AFP) Sri Lanka's military hit back with air strikes after a fierce sea battle with Tamil Tiger rebels left at least 45 dead, according to the navy, and punched another hole in a flimsy three-year truce. A Tamil Tiger suicide boat rammed and sank a Dvora fast attack craft as it escorted a ship transporting 710 soldiers to the northern peninsula of Jaffna, more..

SLMM deplores ceasefire violations by the LTTE

May 12 (GN) The LTTE has blatantly violated the Cease Fire Agreement by attacking naval vessels with two SLMM monitors on board. The Sri Lankan naval convoy guarding a ship carrying soldiers from Point Pedro to Trincomalee was attacked by the Sea Tigers. The SLMM has demanded the LTTE to cease immediately all activities and operations at sea as they are serious violation of the CFA. more..

Diocese of Colombo Relief and Rehabilitation Desk

May 12 (ACC) Dear Friends, Greetings from Sri Lanka! Having celebrated God’s transforming grace at Easter just weeks ago, we are currently experiencing a sudden upsurge in violence in many parts of the country. We pray that God’s love of peace will be made known to the powerful in Sri Lanka. more..

England make hay on sunny day

May 12 (CI) Two contrasting left-handers made their mark on the opening day at Lord's, as Marcus Trescothick signalled his return to international cricket with a robust century and Alastair Cook eased into his life at No.3 with 89, powering England into a commanding position. more..

Pakistan sends lord Buddha's statue

May 12 (GN) Pakistan High Commission here announced that arrangements had been made to send a statue of Lord Buddha to Colombo as a goodwill gesture. This statue will be placed in one of the main temples in Colombo during Vesak celebrations for the public homage. This statue which is placed in Lahore Museum was taken out only once for Japan. more..

Luck deserted Sri Lanka - Moody

May 12 (BBC) Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody said the luck was not with his team as England piled on the runs on the first day at Lord's. England closed on 318-3 with Marcus Trescothick making 106 and Alastair Cook hitting 89 on his home debut. But Sri Lanka were hard done by with all their lbw appeals turned down by umpires Rudi Koertzen and Aleem Dar. more..

Yahoo Photos

May 12 (Reuters) Buddhist monks take part in a ceremony ordaining 130 boys in Colombo, Sri Lanka May 11, 2006. Around the world Buddhist monks and people celebrate Vesak Day on May 12. more..

Civil war looms after Sri Lanka sea battle

May 12 (AP) At least 50 rebels were killed and 17 Sri Lankan sailors missing after a sea battle Thursday instigated by the Tamil Tigers left the country on the brink of civil war. Tamil Tigers sank a navy patrol boat off the northern coast as it escorted a troop transport carrying 710 soldiers. In retaliation, the navy downed five rebel vessels and the air force launched airstrikes on guerrilla-held territory. more..

LTTE refutes SLMM's controversial statement

May 12 (TN) S. P. Thamilchelvan, in a letter to Major General Henricsson, the Head of SLMM Thursday said that the SLMM's statement issued earlier Thursday, stating that the Tigers have no rights at sea, was in contradiction to SLMM's earlier stand, as expressed in a Press Release on 25 April 2003. Sea Tigers existed prior to CFA and it contributed to the balance of power that resulted in the CFA. more..

Tamil Tiger rebels sink 2 navy crafts in Lanka

May 12 (HT) In a series of very grave incidents on Thursday, the LTTE attacked a Sri Lankan ship carrying 500 troops and sank two Dvora Fast Attack Craft (FACs) of the Navy off the island's North Eastern coast. On its part, the Sri Lankan Air Force bombed an area not far from the LTTE's headquarters in Kilinochchi, and sank five rebel suicide boats. more..

Douglas Devananda Appeals to the International Community

May 12 (AT) We are on the brink of a major catastrophe which will affect the Tamil-speaking people on a scale never experienced before. The majority of the Tamil-speaking people are clear in their vision that their political rights could be won over only through the democratic process of negotiations, and not by any means of violence, as we in the EPDP have always advocated and pursued consistently. more..

SLFP too contests 7 local councils through another party – Tissa Attanayake

May 12 (LT) The SLFP, which opposes his party’s decision to support an independent party that contests elections for Colombo Municipality, contests elections of 7 local councils through other parties and using different symbols said Mr. Tissa Attanayake, Deputy Secretary General of the UNP. more..

Airport security officer trying to smuggle out foreign currency apprehended

May 12 (LT) An officer of the airport security services was arrested with foreign currency worth Rs.5.35 billion concealed in his person. The security of Katunayake International Airport is handled by a private company. The arrested officer is an employee of the said company and those who had apprehended him too belong to the same company. more..

Q&A: Sri Lanka crisis

May 12 (BBC) The Sri Lankan navy says a sea battle between Tamil Tigers and government forces has left at least 45 people on both sides dead. Yet on paper, a ceasefire signed in 2002 remains in place. How serious is the latest violence? The situation has been particularly acute after the military blamed the Tamil Tigers for a suicide attack in April in the army headquarters in Colombo. more..

Peace monitors' statement

May 12 (BBC) Here is the full text of the statement by the SLMM on 11 May 2006, calling on the LTTE to cease all activities at sea, which it says are seriously violating the ceasefire agreement. The LTTE have committed gross violations of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) in recent days by moving at sea with the aim of provoking the Sri Lankan navy, and now finally embarking on an offensive operation against the navy sinking one vessel and putting SLMM monitors in grave danger. more..

Crisis talks after Sri Lanka raid

May 12 (BBC) International truce monitors in Sri Lanka are to hold emergency talks with Tamil Tiger rebels after a sea battle the government says left dozens dead. The European peace monitors blamed the rebels for a "gross violation" of the 2002 ceasefire in Thursday's violence. The government says 17 troops died in a Tiger suicide sea attack near Jaffna and more than 40 rebels were killed in retaliatory strikes. more..

Sri Lankan Air Force bombards Tiger territory

May 12 (TW) After nearly five years the Sri Lankan air force has bombed areas coming under Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the Northern mainland of Wanni. The aerial bombardment on May 11th came in the wake of tiger attacks on Lankan navy ships and gun boats off the Northern coast. more..

SLMM Chief on urgent trip to meet LTTE in Kilinochchi

May 12 (TW) Sri Lanka monitoring mission (SLMM) chief Lt. Gen . Ulf Henricsson will travel to Kilinochchi on May 12th to meet the hierarchy of the LTTE. The urgent mission is being undertaken by the retired Swedish army general to discuss in detail some outstanding issues with the tiger leadership. more..

London/Paris/Toronto Tamil Tiger supporters are unashamedly propagating global terrorism

May 12 (ISL) The mission statement of the newly formed “Campaign for Truth and Justice” in the United Kingdom is typical of the fraud the LTTE continues to foist on the Sri Lankan community and the rest of world. Ideally, the official address of this “Pumpkin in the plate of rice” organization is the residence of Emden. more..

LTTE rebels following ‘Sudan model’

May 12 (GT) JVP MP Wimal Weerawansa has told Parliament that the LTTE had a two-fold strategy. One was for war, and the other for peace and the Tigers were following the Sudan model in order to achieve their goal of a separate state. Weerawansa said that the LTTE harboured the intention of having a UN peace-keeping force brought to Sri Lanka and the Japanese special peace envoy Yasushi Akashi had also supported the idea. more..

UNP pledges support to government

May 12 (GT) UNP MP Hemakumara Nanayakkara has pledged to extend his party's fullest support to the government to defeat terrorism and bring peace. Speaking in parliament, Nanayakkara condemned the LTTE's use of a "pregnant suicide bomber" to target the army commander, questioning as to why women's NGOs and other human rights groups were silent on this heinous act. more..

Eastern Tigers Alarmed

May 12 (MoD) The Eastern Tigers were alarmed after the general public at TRINCOMALEE district boycotted the "Stand Still" called by Pongu Tamil Forum (PTF) yesterday, 11th May 2006. Pongu Tamil Forum, a pro - LTTE organization begun a stand still in the TRINCOMALEE district, till Saturday (13th May 2006). more..

Ultimate sacrifice to save the colleagues and to defend the motherland

May 12 (GN) Sri Lankan security forces personnel have, once again, proved their alertness and capacity to repulse terrorist attacks by valiantly safeguarding the Troops Carrying vessel Pearl Cruiser II on Thursday. On the face of massive onslaught launched by the LTTE, the soldiers and sailors fought back gallantly to chase away the attackers, thus saving the lives of 710 soldiers on board the vessel. more..

President exhorts countrymen to practise five precepts

May 12 (GN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a Vesak Day message yesterday exhorted all countrymen to practise the five precepts and make a determination on this sublime day to deviate from sinful deeds. The President's message: "It is with a profound sense of devotion that I send this message, on the occasion of the 2550th Buddha Jayanthi. more..

Development must target next generation not election

May 12 (GN) Political parties should shed the habit of scuttling development projects that are in the national interest purely for achieving petty political and other narrow objectives with the aim of victory at elections, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday. more..

Kilinochchi and Iranamadu LTTE airstrip attacked

May 12 (LeN) As fierce clashes between the Navy and the LTTE were raging in the seas off Vettilaikarni this evening, the Air force conducted air raids on selected LTTE targets at Sampur, Nawaladi, Mulaitivu, Elephant Pass North, Kilinochchi and Iranamadu areas. Three attacks were carried out at Pudukudurippu, Mulaitivu and Kilinochchi too had come under aerial bombardment, more..

Attempt to kill voters through polling cards

May 12 (LeN) State terrorism has been unleashed in the form of attacks, intimidation and death threats against Independent Groups supporting the UNP for the postponed local government election scheduled for 20th of this month and in some of the official polling cards sent to voters in Galle has been endorsed as dead and this was a conspiracy against the UNP, more..

Why does Sri Lanka’s propaganda machine against Tamil Tigers malfunction?

May 12 (AT) Sri Lanka’s ambassador in the United States Bernard Goonetilleke, according to “The Washington Times” report on May 11, expressed his displeasure over the manner in which the global media treated his government’s targeted attacks on Sri Lanka’s separatist Tamil Tiger positions in the aftermath of the rebel group’s attempt to assassinate the army commander giving rebel version of the military response. more..

LTTE launches its "final war" despite angry protests by Truce Monitors

May 12 (AT) After sending Yashuhi Akashi, the special envoy of the Japanese government, empty handed from Killinochchi, and after Velupillai Prabhakaran's refusal to meet him, the Tamil Tigers yesterday opened fire on Sri Lankan naval vessels carrying troops and Truce Monitors. A flotilla of Tamil Tiger suicide boats attacked Sri Lankan Dvoras and "Pearl Cruiser", a ship ferrying 600 troops off the coast of Jaffna. more..

Remanded over child marriage

May 12 (LNP) The Colombo Fort Magistrate ordered three suspects, including an insurance agent and a Marriage Registrar to be remanded, when they were produced in Court in connection with a child marriage. The Kollupitiya Police told the Court that the first suspect, an insurance agent, had married a 14-year-old student of a leading government school in the city. more..

Engineers Institution lauds President`s stand on Norochcholai coal power plant

May 12 (LNP) The Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka (IESL) congratulated President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Cabinet for the consistent stand they have adopted towards the country`s power policy and for their initiative and courage in deciding to commence the much talked about and much delayed coal power plant at Norochcholai without any further delay. more..

Colombo to Katunayake within minutes via super highway

May 12 (LNP) The government said the Colombo-Katunayake expressway would result in vehicles the Bandaranaike International Airport-bound vehicles reaching their destination within 15 minutes, as compared to the present one hour. The construction of the 25.6 kilometre expressway would be completed within 39 months and would be Sri Lanka`s first `pay highway`. more..

Kadirgamar receives glowing tribute

May 12 (SAMN) Parliamentarians paid a glowing tribute to slain former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar during the condolence vote in parliament. Government MP Wijedasa Rajapakse, opening the vote said the late Foreign Minister was able to change the negative attitude which the international community had on Sri Lanka at the time he took over the Ministry. more..

Yahoo Photos

May 12 (AP) Sri Lankan Buddhists water lotus flowers at a fountain during religious observances at a temple in Kelaniya, Friday, as they commemorate the birth, enlightenment and the demise of Lord Buddha on Vesak full moon day. more..

Mixed reactions here to DMK victory

May 12 (SAMN) The landslide victory for M. Karunanidhi at the Tamil Nadu election drew mixed reactions from political parties here, with some seeing it as a positive development in solving the national question. The TNA said Mr. Karunanidhi had to agree with New Delhi’s foreign policy, and therefore it would not have any special impact on the Tamil national question. more..