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Tigers turn down direct talks with President

May 24 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels rejected a call by Buddhist and Christian clergy for a direct meet between the president and the guerrilla leader in a bid to end decades of ethnic bloodshed. The rebel LTTE said they told a delegation of priests that any meeting with President Mahinda Rajapakse and Tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran would only be through peace broker Norway. more..

Setback for MR after Colombo debacle

May 24 (ML) The result of Saturday’s mini poll was a wake up call for President Mahinda Rajapakse and his six month old government. It was also an indication that despite the technical, legal and bureaucratic obstacles that beset these elections, the people’s court had given its judgment loud and clear. more..

UNP reveals JVP’s secret message to LTTE

May 24 (ML) The UNP has accused the JVP of sending a secret message to the LTTE through Norway, accepting a federal solution to the ethnic conflict. The UNP charge comes in a letter addressed by UNP Assistant General Secretary Tissa Attanayake to JVP Propaganda Secretary Wimal Weerawansa. more..

Failing or functioning state?

May 24 (ML) Ever since the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) was signed and it became increasingly evident that the situation that it brought about was one in which human rights violations not only continued but increased, a number of civil society organisations have lobbied for and advocated the integration of human rights concerns into the peace process including agreement on a separate human rights agreement between the main protagonists. more..

Cabinet reshuffle on Saturday

May 24 (ML) President Mahinda Rajapakse plans to reshuffle his cabinet of ministers on Saturday (27) and dissolve parliament end July. The President made his thinking known to confidants on Sunday after the results of the May 20 mini poll were announced. It is learnt, Saturday's reshuffle will see Plan Implementation Minister and Defence Affairs Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella elevated to cabinet rank more..

President donates salary arrears

May 24 (LeN) Salary arrears entitled for President Mahinda Rajapaksa pursuant to a cabinet decision to increase his salary with effect from 01.12.2004 has been donated for the construction of the Diyagama International Stadium, the Presidential Secretariat announces. more..

Courts can question President- President's Counsel

May 24 (LeN) The courts are vested with powers to question the President if he had made appointments in violation of the constitution, even though he enjoys presidential immunity, president's counsel Srinath Perera argued at the Court of Appeal today (23). more..

Party from Athauda to cover up corruption and fraud

May 24 (LeN) The Ministry of Labour Relations and the Foreign Employment Bureau, engaged in a bid to prevent the media from disclosing rampant corruption and frauds in the Foreign Employment Bureau have thrown a lavish party to a group of selected journalists at Ceynor Institute lat night. more..

TULF leader seeks Karunanidhi's help

May 24 (Hindu) TULF president V. Anandasangaree has sought the intervention of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi to solve the Sri Lankan ethnic crisis and invited him to visit the island-nation at the earliest. "As a matter of right, I seek your participation in solving our problem," the TULF leader said in a letter (dated May 21) to Mr. Karunanidhi. more..

India extends its ban on LTTE for another two years

May 24 (AT) On May 14, 2006 India renewed its ban on the LTTE for another two years declaring, among other things, that the “LTTE's objective for a homeland for all Tamils disrupts the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India”. Though it has been a regular feature to renew the ban every two years since the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by the LTTE this latest Indian move, confirms that India’s attitude towards the LTTE has not changed. more..

Norway has an obligation to ban LTTE - victim of Tigers in Norway

May 24 (AT) Sivarajah Rajasingham, leader of Norway’s Liberal Democratic Tamils, told the Asian Tribune that Norway too should ban the LTTE now that the European Union has taken decisive action despite threats by the LTTE to escalate violence. “Norway has a duty to ban those agents of terrorism operating on its soil,” he said. more..

Sri Lanka's electricity reforms impasse continues

May 24 (AT) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Reforms Bill which was to be presented in Parliament yesterday, was withheld owing to a JVP backed trade union voicing their 'protest' against the bill. Minister of Power and Energy John Seneviratne has also decided to forward this bill to the Parliamentary Advisory Committee for a review. more..

Muslim refugees in Puttalam to receive clean water and sanitation

May 24 (AT) Muslim families who were chased out of their homes in 1990s from the Northern province by the LTTE and presently languishing in the refugee camps in Puttalam are to receive clean water and other facilities. At last Thousands of children of conflict-affected families and their host communities will receive soon clean water and sanitation. more..

A full-scale probe into the grenade attacks on NGO offices - Police Chief

May 24 (AT) Police Chief announced that a full-scale probe was underway into the grenade attacks on three offices of the International Non-Government Organizations in the country’s restive East. “An aggressive, impartial and transparent investigation is being conducted,” IGP Chandra Fernando told the “Asian Tribune” more..

Displacement continues, nearly One and a Half years since Tsunami

May 24 (TW) W.Vivian Charlet Fernando is from Moratuwa. She had a house on the coastal belt, which was washed away with the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004. She lost all her belongings. She is now living with her grand sons in a school in Wellawatte. Vivian Charlet Fernando continues to be diplaced and homeless, nearly one and a half years since the Tsunami. more..

Power surge to electrify country

May 24 (GN) The Government has launched a series of power projects to expand the country's electricity supply to reach 90 per cent of the population in its ambitious programme of "Electricity for All" by 2010. Only 75 per cent of the country's population receive electricity at present. A total of 426 rural electrification projects are being commissioned in more..

Govt. considers canceling transmission license given to tigers

May 24 (LT) Transmission license given to Wanni tiger organization would be canceled soon. The Government is considering canceling the permit given to tigers state Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka. This was said by the counselor representing the Government when a petition filed in appeal Courts requesting that the license given to Wanni tiger organization for broadcasting be cancelled came up yesterday (23rd). more..

Stop Karuna dealings 'Orders President'

May 24 (BBC) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered government security forces to stop all dealings with the Karuna faction. Palitha Kohona chief of the government peace secretariat (SCOPP) said that the president has ordered a halt to any dealings; by way of finance, or arms with the renegade faction of Tamil Tigers. more..

Situation Report -SL Army

May 24 (SLA)
* LTTE Claymore Mine Kills Two More Soldiers & Policeman Increasing Death Toll To 125
* Hand Grenade-Carrying Terrorist Disguised As Civilian Shot To Death
* Continuing LTTE Mortar Attacks Repulsed
* Teenagers Returning After School Abducted & Released more..

Sri Lanka's People's Bank profits rise 22%

May 24 (LBO) People's Bank, Sri Lanka's second-largest state bank in terms of assets, said group net profits for the three-months to March 31 rose 22.1 percent to 926.23 million rupees. The technically insolvent bank said Wednesday that its net profits were up 14.3 percent to 774.19 million rupees during the period under review, more..

Ghastly murders of Allaipiddy have LTTE hallmarks

May 24 (ISL) Allaipiddy is a largely fishing hamlet on the island of Kayts with a concentration of Roman Catholic families. Apart from fishing, here and there are a few stretches of agricultural lands, too minimal for any consequence. This village has received mention in some historical documents and has the famed beach of Mankumban. more..

LTTE, GOSL in a Complete Crisis Says AHRC

May 24 (ISL) "The Political Parties (the Government or the Opposition) do not have the necessary vision to comprehend the depth of the crisis that the State of Sri Lanka is facing and to overcome or control it. Sri Lanka has been declared a failed state. That observation has led to much controversy. more..

Was Erik Solheim's baggage checked on arrival?

May 24 (ISL) Erik Solheim, the Tiger-friendly Norwegian who has operated in this country under the guise of peace-facilitator has arrived in Colombo. The so-called Norwegian effort at seeking peace on the highly explosive ethnic crisis has been a monumental failure in respect of the ideal that was widely propagated. more..

Marketing Sri Lanka to American Traveler

May 24 (AT) The Americans have special interests when traveling to the Asian Continent: diving, surfing, bird- watching, trekking, hot air ballooning, white water rafting and eco-tourism. The SriLankan Airlines Senior Vice President for North America and Canada, Ken Campbell believes that “the American public wasn’t traveling to Sri Lanka not because of the unrest, but because they do not know about what the country has to offer.” more..

Speedy action taken to demolish unauthorised buildings in the coastal area

May 24 (GN) Dr. R.A.D.B. Samaranayake , Director of Coast Conservation Department said that legal authority has been taken to demolish all the unauthorized buildings , built in the coastal area. Now, already 200 unauthorized buildings have been identified and informed the owners of the buildings to demolish immediately. more..

People are fleeing because LTTE threats ? N' Commander

May 24 (GN) Rear Admiral Upali Ranaweera, Commander, Northern Region says that the residence of Kytes are leaving the island not because they are afraid of the security forces, but in fact they do so due to threats posed by the LTTE. According to the facts revealed by security personal and the civilians of the area it was revealed that the reason for leaving the island is nothing but the orders of the LTTE. more..

Civilians left Kayts due to LTTE threats

May 24 (PIS) Rear Admiral Upali Ranaweera, Commander of the Navy's Northern Region states that the residents in the Kayts islands leave their homes not through fear of security personnel but in fear of the LTTE threats. A team of journalists who visited the Kayts area recently to study the current situation there had met the senior Security Forces officials as well as the civilians in the area more..

Brain-drain in the medical field caused a number of problems in the health service

May 24 (SLBC) The Annual Commonwealth Health Ministers' Forum was held in Geneva in Switzerland recently. Health Ministers representing the all commonwealth countries participated in this forum. This year's main theme of discussion was the human resources development in the health sector with special emphasis is on the brain-drain. more..

All parliamentarians agree on salary hike

May 24 (LNP) Government and opposition members in parliament yesterday agreed in principle to rectify the salary anomalies of MPs and ministers according to a structured 'protocol system'. It was agreed that the salaries of the Prime Minister, the Speaker, the opposition leader, ministers, deputy ministers and MPs be structured to a protocol system, more..

Jeyaratnam`s wife held incommunicado

May 24 (LNP) Mrs. Sarala Jeyaratnam, wife of missing Inspector Thurairatnam Jeyaratnam of Police Intelligence, complains of harassment at the hands of the very police which her husband served faithfully. A mother of two children aged five and seven Mrs. Jeyaratnam (39) complains of death threats and being denied her missing husband`s salary with effect from January 2006. more..

JVP blames Govt. for farmers` plight

May 24 (LNP) Former Agriculture Minister and JVP parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake yesterday said a large number of farmers in Polonnaruwa had given up paddy cultivation this season due to the failure to sell their Maha harvest. Mr. Dissanayake said some farmers had now come to Colombo seeking jobs in the private security and construction sector since the government had not purchased their harvest. more..

Letter of fire from CBK to president

May 24 (SAMN) The battle between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and SLFP leader Chandrika Kumaratunga took a new turn yesterday when she fired a letter to the President from London asking what mistake she had committed to grab the party leadership from her. more..

NCPA to amend Child Protection Law

May 24 (SAMN) The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) is to bring in amendments to the Child Protection Act aimed at strengthening rights of Sri Lankan children, its chairman Pathma Wettewa said. She emphasised the need to introduce new legislation to the Act citing the declining standards in the country with regards to child protection. more..

State media work force to be pruned

May 24 (SAMN) The over-staffed state media is in for a major pruning down of its workforce and a new plan is being worked out, the Media Ministry said. Secretary W.B. Ganegala told the Daily Mirror yesterday that a committee comprising media experts is looking into the possibility of reducing unnecessary labour. “There is already a job freeze in the state sector other than filling urgent vacancies,” he said. more..

Negotiations key to peace: adviser

May 24 (GT) NEGOTIATIONS alone can deliver better results and bring about peace in the world, said Jayantha Dhanapala, former Sri Lankan ambassador to the United States and the South Asian island nation’s candidate for the post of the next UN Secretary General. A senior adviser to his country’s president, Dhanapala is in Doha to attend the fifth ministerial meeting of the Asian Co-operation Dialogue. more..

Sri Lanka rebels say peace envoy visit to yield little

May 24 (Reuters) Norway's peace envoy flew to Sri Lanka on Wednesday for a fresh round of separate meetings with government officials and the Tamil Tigers, but the rebels played down hopes of breaking a deadlock over stalled peace talks. The government hopes special envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer and Norwegian peace mediator Erik Solheim, due to join him on Friday, more..

Sri Lankan judge wins UNESCO peace prize

May 24 (AFP) Sri Lankan judge Christopher Gregory Weeramantry was awarded on Wednesday the UNESCO annual prize for peace education, the UN's culture and science organisation said. Weeramantry was chosen for the 40,000 dollar prize "in recognition of his ongoing commitment and concrete undertakings in support of the concept and culture of peace through his long and fruitful career," more..

Yahoo Photos

May 24 (AP) Government soldiers investigate at the site of an explosion in the northern town of Vavuniya, Wednesday, May 24. The mine blast killed three government troops Wednesday, more..

Police: Mine blast in Sri Lanka kills 2 soldiers, 1 policeman

May 24 (AP) A mine blast in northern Sri Lanka killed three government troops Wednesday, after the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels ruled out direct talks with the president to try preventing a return to full-scale civil war. The anti-personnel mine exploded in the government-held town of Vavuniya on the frontier with rebel-held territory. more..

Three die as international concern mounts over Sri Lanka violence

May 24 (AFP) Three security personnel died in a mine blast, the Sri Lankan military said, as peace broker Norway moved to salvage a collapsing ceasefire that has sparked mounting international concern. Two soldiers and a policeman died in the Claymore mine attack blamed on the rebel LTTE in the island's north, military officials said, while in the east the two sides exchanged mortar fire. more..

Sri Lankan authorities step up campaign against pyramid scams to protect youth

May 24 (LBO) Authorities in Sri Lanka are stepping up a campaign against pyramid schemes, after learning that promoters were targeting school leavers and unemployed youth in rural districts. The Central Bank has already started to publish a series of advertisements in the vernacular Sinhalese language newspapers. more..

In saris and sandals, villagers prepare for 'bombardment'

May 24 (AFP) When the whistle blows at 6:00 am sharp, village women in saris and men in sandals line up in military formation. Another morning's "self-defence training" is about to begin in rebel-controlled Sri Lanka. With tension increasing on the island, the Tamil Tiger guerrillas say they have reintroduced the program to help villagers protect themselves in the event of wider hostilities. more..

Norwegian peace envoy plays down expectations before trip to Sri Lanka

May 24 (AP) Norway's Development Minister Erik Solheim on Wednesday sought to downplay expectations for his upcoming peace mission to Sri Lanka, saying the situation in the country was difficult. Solheim and special envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer planned to travel to the Indian Ocean island this week for urgent meetings aimed at salvaging the country's tattered cease-fire. more..

Malinga stirs up England interest

May 25 (Reuters) The inclusion of pace bowler Lasith Malinga in Sri Lanka's 12-man squad for the second test at Edgbaston, has caused a stir in the England camp. England captain Andrew Flintoff and his team mates are normally concerned about mercurial off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan but the prospect of a recall for Malinga, with his unusual slingy action, has created some interest. more..

Exporters discuss issues in Colombo meet

May 25 (F2F) Major exporters in the country approached the government and explained the problems that plagued the domestic manufacturers and requested proper intervention by the authorities. Exporters believe that they should be provided with cheaper electricity and energy resources that will help them survive in the international market. more..

Mothers From Sri Lanka Working Overseas

May 25 (CCF) In Sri Lanka, mothers and fathers are missing. One of the biggest industries for Sri Lankan workers is not in Colombo, it’s in Lebanon, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and other countries. Sri Lankan families are finding that one way they can combat poverty is to send family members overseas to work, and this trend is growing. more..

Jayasuriya left out of squad

May 25 (CI) Sanath Jayasuriya has been left out of Sri Lanka's 12-man squad for the second Test at Edgbaston but Lasith Malinga, the pace bowler, is included with a final decision on the team to be made on Thursday morning. Jehan Mubarak, the out-of-form opening batsman, has been omitted after two low scores in the drawn first Test at Lord's and his place is taken by Michael Vandort instead of Jayasuriya. more..

Sri Lanka launches an electronic trading platform for government bonds

May 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka Wednesday launched an electronic trading platform for government bonds, which will set the tone for a more vibrant debt market to be developed in the future, traders said. Built by Bloomberg – a financial market specialist – the 'Lanka Primary Dealer Bloomberg BondTrader' or LPBT enables multi-dealer pricing display, order routing and deal confirmation. more..

Sri Lanka ships more earns more from shipping tea in April

May 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka shipped 98.65 million kilos of tea in April to overseas buyers higher than 87.96 million kilos reported during the same period 2005, a commodity brokering house said Wednesday. Earnings from sale of tea in April topped 27.37 million rupees, over 23.97 million rupees recorded in 2005, Asia Siyaka Commodity Brokers said. more..

55 new houses in Kudawella

May 25 (RW) A reason to celebrate: End of April 2006, after a construction period of eight months, the village of "Navadivipurawara" was handed over in a festive ceremony to its inhabitants. The 55 brick houses in Kudawella district (Southern Sri Lanka) had been built by Navajeevana, CBM’s partner organisation, and were inaugurated by Minister Rajapakse, brother of Sri Lanka’s president, and other dignitaries. more..