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Iran-Sri Lanka stress closer ties

May 23 (IRNA) The new Sri Lankan ambassador to Iran said here Monday that Iran's nuclear impasse is politically motivated and is bogus, the foreign ministry media department reported. Mohammad Zahir, presenting a copy of his credentials to Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, said the negotiation is the best means for settlement of the crisis. more..

Why wont the world save Tamils?

May 23 (ISL) The Tamils in Sri Lanka are probably the most unlucky community in the whole world. This is the view held by most Sri Lankan Tamils living outside the country. It is mainly because that we are being threatened by our own people and are nearing extinction from the face of the earth due to atrocities committed by our own. more..

President orders the arrest of those who sent Sri Lankans to Iraq for military purposes

May 23 (LeN) The President has ordered the CID to arrest job agents responsible for dispatching Sri Lankans to Iraq to assist US forces stationed there, 'Lanka e News'learns. It is reported that some of these job agents have left the country on the sly no sooner they got wind of the impending CID probe. more..

Haves feast, JVP too remain silent

May 23 (LeN) A resolution to increase the salary of the Prime Minister to Rs.47,100 is to be passed in parliament tomorrow. If the resolution was passed, President Mahinda Rajapaksa will receive arrears amounting to one million rupees for the period he served as Premier while the incumbent PM too will get some arrears. more..

Lankan quest to save heritage stones

May 23 (HT) TWO SRI Lankans come to the National Research Laboratory for Conservation of Cultural Property (NRLC) on Monday and begin learning. But, what? The science of conserving monuments from micro-enemies. But, why to the city? Because the city has the only institute of its kind in Asia on conservation of cultural property. more..

Tamil civilians fleeing Sri Lanka owing to deteriorating security situation

May 23 (AT) Over the last few days, several hundred Tamil civilians belonging to more than 50 families living in Trincomalee have fled to India in fishing boats seeking refuge, owing to the deteriorating security situation in the country, well informed sources told the “Asian Tribune.” more..

Situation Report -SL Army

May 23 (SLA)
* Colombo-Bound Train Comes Under Terrorist Fire
* Pre-Dawn LTTE Attack Takes One More Life
* Civilian’s Information Recovers More Explosives
* Troops Repulse LTTE Attack

Full-scale war averted at Muhamalai

May 23 (ISL) The four-year-long ceasefire paved the way for the creation of two main gateways to the LTTE dominated Wanni. One is at Omanthai for those passing Vavuniya, the last town under Government control. The other is at Muhamalai, for those arriving from the Jaffna peninsula. Both are located strategically along the A-9 Jaffna-Kandy highway, separated from security forces checkpoints by stretches of "no man's land." more..

"I cannot describe in words how thankful I am to Sri Lankan Navy" -- SLMM Deputy Head

May 23 (ISL) SLMM Deputy Head of Naval Monitoring Team in Jaffna Lars Bleymann, who was on board in the Dvora P-421, in a letter dated May 12 to Rear Admiral Upali Ranaweera, Commander, Northern Naval Area said that it was the Sri Lankan Navy that saved his life. more..

Chalai attacks bear ceasefire charade

May 23 (ISL) For the past many weeks the Northern Naval Area Headquarters in Kankesanthurai (Jaffna) was baffled by suspicious boat movements in the seas off the shores of Mullaitivu. A stretch of some 15 kilometres from this strategic North-Eastern coastal town, up to the village of Chalai further north, has remained the main staging area for the sea going arm of the LTTE, the Sea Tigers. more..

Let the LTTE go to hell – Anandasangaree

May 23 (ISL) TULF leader V. Anandasangaree in an interview with Sunday Observer staffer Jayantha Sri Nissanka claimed that LTTE leader Prabhakaran was never interested in peace and Thamilselvan could never be a leader by exhibiting his 32 teeth. Anandasangaree noted that Sampanthan was a capable man but lamented that he (Sampanthan) was conducting 'mock funerals' in Parliament on behalf of the LTTE. more..

Sangaree takes the Tigers by their claws and even suggests where they should go

May 23 (ISL) There are some hopeful signs for the Tamils on the horizon, and the country too. It is now for the Government of President Mahinda Rajapakse and the leaders of political parties of the south to join forces and promote a solution for the long drawn out ethnic crisis. more..

Housing boon for Samurdhi families

May 23 (GN) Samurdhi recipients are in for a boon with 5,000 new homes to be constructed for beneficiary families before the end of this year. The project is the second stage of the housing programme targeting the poorest of the poor among the Samurdhi recipients faced with acute shelter problems. more..

Human Rights Advisory Committee appointed

May 23 (GN) Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe has appointed an Advisory Committee to prevent human rights violations due to the conflict. The committee held its first meeting at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights yesterday. This committee consists of 10 Government officers covering the Security Forces and 10 active civil officers representing various organisations. more..

Unanswered questions remain about the killing of Kadirgamar

May 23 (wsws) With the eruption of open fighting between the Sri Lankan military and the LTTE, it is timely to reexamine a key turning point in the slide towards renewed civil war—the assassination of former Sri Lankan foreign minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar, by unidentified gunmen on the night of August 12 last year. more..

A cess to be imposed on non-essential imports

May 23 (LT) Minister Rohitha Bogollagama speaking in Parliamen today said that the Government has decided to levy a cess on non-essential goods. These goods include frozen foods, canned food, chocolates, perfume, shoes, ceramic goods, luxury home decorating goods and milk food. more..

Creativity or obscenity? Sri Lanka debates artistic licence

May 23 (KT) THIS Sunday’s late night movie on the state-run Eye television channel was Charles Dickens’ classic, The Great Expectations. The first part of the film deals with the troubled childhood of the hero in flashback. This part of the movie also shows a child actor exposed to female nudity. Yet, I don’t remember that these scenes creating any outcry from child rights activists. more..

Secret agreement to restrain media in South opposing terrorism

May 23 (LT) Thamilselvan, leader of the political wing of the wanni tiger organization has asked the Free Media Movement and several other media institutions to restrain the publicity that is being carried out within media in the South. Thamilselvan had made this request on the 16th. more..

de Silva backs Jayasuriya and Malinga for second Test

May 23 (CI) Aravinda de Silva, former Sri Lankan captain and among the best batsman produced by the island, has called for the inclusion of Lasith Malinga and Sanath Jayasuriya to play in the second Test against England, beginning on Thursday at Edgbaston. more..

The Jayasuriya saga

May 23 (CI) It's an ongoing saga that has racked Sri Lankan cricket. Not long ago, Sanath Jayasuriya retired from Test cricket so that he could focus on one-day cricket until the World Cup. Then, as the line-up of selectors changed, it was revealed that Jayasuriya's hand had been forced, and that he now wanted to come back into the Test side. more..

Australian MP blasts LTTE and its chief political agent in Federal Parliament

May 23 (AT) Don Randall, the Liberal Party MP for Canning, and Chairman of the Australia-Sri Lanka Friendship Group in parliament, blasted the LTTE's spokesperson in the Australian Federal parliament, John Murphy (Labour – MP for Lowe) for making allegations against the democratically elected Sri Lankan government and aligning himself with a terrorist organization. more..

Straining ceasefire

May 23 (FL) SRI LANKA'S separatist conflict is headed for a critical change in the coming months. A full-fledged but undeclared politico-military offensive is under way between the state and the separatists, whilst both sides - and the international community - maintain that a faltering, four-year-old ceasefire is "holding". more..

Solheim, Bauer here to revive talks

May 23 (PIS) Norwegian special peace envoy Jon Hanssen Bauer and his predecessor International Development Minister Erik Solheim are due here on Wednesday, in another bid to revive the stalled peace process, Government and diplomatic sources said. These sources described the visit of the special envoys as a routine one, though concern has been raised over the tensions between the two sides at present. more..

Ten terrorist suspects held in Akuressa - One Suspect 70 years old

May 23 (LNP) Akuressa police arrested nine youths believed to be LTTE cadres and an elderly person from Hulandawa plantation in Akuressa at dawn yesterday (22). A special operation was launched from Sunday (21), with assistance from the Army, to search the area for some terrorist suspects who had infiltrated into the area. more..

Sunday Times Interview With Balasingham

May 23 (LNP) Sunday Times: Mr Balasingham, the LTTE is fighting ' they are fighting shy of peace 'Are they not'?
Balasingham: The LTTE is seriously committed to peace and negotiated settlement. During the last four years, since Ranil Wickremesinghe assumed power, we have made every attempt to seek a negotiated arrangement to resolve the immediate and long standing problems of our people. more..

Battle for Colombo: UNP challenges President

May 23 (LNP) Amid the battle for the control of the Colombo City, a euphoric UNP yesterday challenged the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration to go for a fresh poll if it was determined to prevent a UNP administration in the Colombo Municipal Council. more..

Anura hits out at Polls Chief

May 23 (LNP) In a scathing attack on the Elections Commissioner, the UPFA Gampaha district leader and Minister Anura Bandaranaike said the Commissioner`s statement that candidates outside the list cannot be appointed to replace those who resigned was highly controversial and could not be final. 'Obviously, it will be contested. Until the final determination it remains only a statement,' more..

People endorsed Govt. policies: UPFA

May 23 (SAMN) The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) in a statement released after the May 20 polls for twenty Local Bodies bodies, said the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) captured power in five local bodies, including the Galle Municipal Council and seventy of its candidates were returned to office. more..

JVPers willing to sit with Govt

May 23 (SAMN) Eighteen JVP MPs will occupy government benches in Parliament from today according to the new seating arrangements. Earlier, a Party Leaders’ meeting was summoned by Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara following protests by UNP MPs against sitting in the government side. more..

Vegetable cultivators face hardships

May 23 (SAMN) The vegetable cultivators in Monaragala District are facing hardships for want of a market for their produce. They cultivated pumpkin in an area of approximately 2500 acres this year and reaped a bumper harvest. The vegetable farmers of Iththekatuwa, Kaludiyaella, Boraella, Upeliya, Mudawapitiya, Aranatkulinda, Radana, Methiriyamulla, Kotiyagala, Athemale, and Suduwathara, more..

Dengue threat looms in Sri Lanka

May 23 (Xinhua) The threat of dengue epidemic is looming in Sri Lanka with nearly 3,500 dengue patients by May 17 this year, the largest number during this period in its history, the official Daily News reported Tuesday. "The increase in the number of patients has doubled compared to the number reported during the corresponding period last year," more..

TNA urges international community not to be one-sided

May 23 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's main political party for the Tamil minority Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has appealed to the international community to have a "more even handed approach" towards the ethnic conflict in this Indian Ocean island. The LTTE proxy party, the TNA, in a statement issued late Monday referred to a reported move by the European Union to list the Tigers as a terrorist organization. more..

Narrow strip of land is Sri Lanka's flashpoint

May 23 (AFP) A narrow strip of land in Sri Lanka's northern peninsula of Jaffna is a flashpoint that could ignite a new war in the country, according to senior military commanders. "Tension is very high, very high," the officer told AFP on Monday. "Anytime, this can accelerate." more..

Sri Lanka suspects some troops talk to renegades

May 23 (Reuters) Some low-ranking Sri Lankan troops may be in contact with armed groups opposed to Tamil Tiger rebels, but there is no evidence of large-scale collusion, the head of the government's peace secretariat said on Tuesday. The LTTE have said they will not resume peace talks until the government makes good on a pledge to rein in such groups more..

Norwegian peace envoys to visit Sri Lanka; Tamil rebels warn of major war

May 23 (AP) Two top international peace envoys would visit Sri Lanka this week for urgent meetings aimed at salvaging the country's tattered cease-fire and halting its slide toward all-out civil war, officials said Tuesday. A senior Tamil Tiger rebel leader said the envoys' chances were "bleak." more..

Getty Images

May 23 (AFP) Children read a book while sitting in a "self-defence" bunker in the Tamil rebel-controlled village of Uthayanagar East, near Kilinochchi. Peacebroker Norway is "extremely concerned" about the high level of violence, more..

EU asks Lanka to take action against aid office attackers

May 23 (AP) The European Union asked the Sri Lankan government on Tuesday to prosecute those who lobbed hand grenades at the offices of three international aid groups, saying such "barbaric acts" must not go unpunished. A Serbian aid worker and two passers-by were wounded in the simultaneous attacks Sunday in the northern town of Muttur in Trincomalee District. more..

Peacebroker Norway concerned about Sri Lanka violence

May 23 (AFP) Peacebroker Norway is "extremely concerned" about the high level of violence in Sri Lanka, Oslo's ambassador said after meeting a top Tamil guerrilla leader. "We are extremely concerned and I think it's very important that international and diplomatic attention continues to be on the high levels of violence," ambassador Hans Brattskar said on Tuesday. more..

Norway discusses monitors' safety with Sri Lanka rebels

May 23 (Xinhua) Norwegian peace facilitators in Sri Lanka took up the matter of safety of the international truce monitors with the Tamil Tigers on Tuesday, rebel and diplomatic sources here said. Hans Brattskar, the Norwegian ambassador in Colombo traveled to the LTTE political headquarters in the northern town of Kilinochchi on Tuesday after his visit to the northern Jaffna city on Monday. more..

Financial markets mix; bargain hunting

May 24 (LBO) Stocks in Sri Lanka slipped Tuesday on light bargain hunting, in the absence of positive news to cheer investors, brokers said. The benchmark All Share Price Index slipped 1.26 points or 0.06 percent to 2,218.47, while the liquid 25-stock Milanka Price Index sagged 6.78 points or 0.24 percent to 2,832.19, more..

SriLankan Airlines flies to Goa, expands further into India

May 24 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines will expand services into India, flying to Goa from October this year, with plans to also up frequencies to existing destinations. “SriLankan continues to explore further opportunities by increasing our services to India, and we are currently considering launching services to more cities, as well as increasing the frequency of flights to existing destinations," more..

Kayts residents blame LTTE for their insecurity

May 24 (GN) Bewildered residents at Kayts islet in the Northern peninsula told media that they feel extremely insecure since recent killings of 13 civilians. They blamed the LTTE for spreading a fear psychosis among the island residents who lived under the protection of the security forces until the recent developments. more..

Malinga plays down his chances

May 24 (TL) England may be expecting a barrage from Sri Lanka paceman Lasith Malinga this week - but the man himself does not expect to line up for his country at Edgbaston. Malinga the Slinger, as he is known due to his unusual action, would add some speed to a one-paced bowling attack which claimed only six wickets in four sessions during the first Test. more..

Refugees continue to flee

May 24 (BBC) Two hundred and thirty four refugees have arrived in Rameshwaran from Sri Lanka on Tuesday. With this the total number of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees who arrived in India since last January has increased to one thousand five hundred and forty one. more..

No intention to by- pass Norway - LTTE

May 24 (BBC) Tamil Tiger rebels have said they have no intention of by-passing Norway in the ongoing peace process. They say that they have urged the Sri Lankan government to ensure full implementation of the ceasefire agreement. "While appreciating your concern for peace and harmony, we cannot by-pass Norway in establishing contacts with the (sri Lankan) government to initiate a dialogue with President Mahinda Rajapakse," more..

Exporters seek government mediation to solve their burning issues

May 24 (AT) Local exporters seek government mediation to solve their burning issues and a number of subsidies to administer their manufacturing process. The exporters said that they need cheap electricity and low-cost energy to compete with the global competitors, but said the prevailing energy prices are too high. more..

Sri Lankan Catholics enjoy Buddha Day celebrations

May 24 (UCA) Catholics across the Sri Lanka joined Buddhists to celebrate Vesak -- or Buddha Day -- this year by decorating churches, organizing traditional almsgiving and holding interreligious talks and other programs. In Sri Lanka, Vesak was celebrated May 12 this year to mark the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. more..

Escalating conflict disrupts daily life in Trincomalee

May 24 (CCF) As the conflict in Sri Lanka escalates and concerns of a return to civil war intensify, families in Trincomalee District often find themselves in the middle of things. The escalation in violence has claimed more than 200 lives in the last month alone. And the recent attacks are re-igniting old fears among families who have endured more than two decades of an intermittent civil war. more..

U.N. rights chief concerned over Sri Lankan violence

May 24 (AP) The U.N. human rights chief expressed concern Tuesday over rising violence in Sri Lanka and said both the government and rebels need to respect basic human rights. "These violations are not only cease-fire violations, but also serious breaches of international human rights and humanitarian law," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said in a statement. more..

Sri Lankan Rebels Reject Pleas for Talks

May 24 (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels Tuesday rejected pleas from Buddhist and Catholic priests to hold direct talks with Sri Lanka's president to stop the island nation from sliding back into full-scale civil war. The refusal came as the government announced the arrival of two top international peace envoys this week for urgent meetings aimed at salvaging the country's tattered cease-fire. more..