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People’s Leasing moves into Islamic financing

May 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s biggest leasing company, People’s Leasing, has begun offering Islamic financial products, catering to Muslims who regard interest-based banking as a sin. Muslims make up around 7.5 percent of this tropical island’s population, but local financial institutions have been slow to tailor-make products to tap this vast and prosperous market. more..

Sri Lanka truce monitors seek more manpower, kit

May 26 (AFP) The Scandinavian truce monitoring mission in Sri Lanka wants to boost its numbers by at least 25 percent and is outfitting observers with flak jackets and helmets, the mission said Thursday. The request for additional personnel comes after the SLMM said the lives of its observers had been endangered in a May 11 sea battle off northern Sri Lanka. more..

Lankan Tamil influx increases in TN

May 26 (NDTV) DMK Chief Karunanidhi may not have won an absolute majority in Tamil Nadu but his return to power has certainly struck the right note with Lankan Tamils. The influx of Lankan refugees has risen sharply raising security concerns. Just days after the DMK government assumed office in Tamil Nadu, the influx of Lankan Tamil refugees has reached a new high. more..

105 Sri Lankan Tamils arrested while attempting to escape to India, navy says

May 26 (AP) Sri Lanka's navy said Thursday it arrested 105 minority ethnic Tamils who were trying to flee to India, as surging violence threatens to re-ignite full-scale civil war in the island nation off India's southern coast. The navy made the arrests at sea Wednesday night off Talaimannar, 250 kilometers (155 miles) northwest of capital, Colombo, more..

Sri Lanka plans to takeover dormant accounts, property in banks

May 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka is looking at the possibility of taking over the dormant accounts and property deposited in commercial and specialised banks which have remained unclaimed over a long period of time, banking sources said. The Central Bank is already collecting data on all bank accounts and properties which have not been claimed in over a decade. more..

Life at a Quarry in Sri Lanka

May 26 (CCF) Each morning after getting her family ready to start the day, Leelawathi walks down to the rock quarry from her small thatch hut, perched nearly on the quarry’s edge. She works long hours, breaking bigger rocks into smaller rocks. For her hard work, she receives well under one dollar a day. more..

Nordic envoy in Sri Lanka

May 26 (Reuters) A Norwegian peace envoy flew into Sri Lanka on Thursday bidding to halt a slide back towards civil war, as officials reported four police killed in a mine ambush by suspected Tamil Tiger rebels in the restive east. The attack underlined the challenges that envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer faces in trying to coax the LTTE back to the negotiating table. more..

LTTE FDL commander dies in accidental explosion

May 26 (TN) Lt. Col. Veeramani, a former Commander of the Charles Antony Regiment of the LTTE, and later a field commanding official, responsible for the Nagarkovil Forward Defence Line (FDL) points, Wednesday night succumbed to his wounds from an accidental explosion, LTTE officials in Kilinochchi said. more..

Summary of the Cabinet decisions

May 26 (GN) SLECIC to purchase Salusala property: The Cabinet which met yesterday (24.05.2006) has granted approval to a Memorandum submitted by Ministry of Enterprise Development Minister Hon. Rohitha Bogollagama to purchase the land and building owned by Salusala, the Vilasitha Nivasa, and later by the Bank of Ceylon. more..

England close in after Sri Lanka collapse

May 26 (CI) After the nightmare performance by their fielders last week at Lord's, England promised a greatly improved effort and they didn't disappoint on the first day of the second Test against Sri Lanka at Edgbaston. They routed Sri Lanka for 141, before motoring to 138 for 3 at the close to put them firmly in the driving seat. more..

Tigers supremo "Snubs" Norwegian Minister Erik Solheim

May 26 (AT) Tiger guerrilla supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran has declined to meet visiting Norwegian International Development Erik Solheim, the second time the Tiger supremo turned down a request for crisis meeting by the peace envoys. The Tiger chieftain has cited security concerns as the reason to turn down the request for a meeting. more..

Spanish Red Cross boosts cinnamon production in Galle

May 26 (AT) A Spanish Red Cross project conducted in collaboration with Sri Lanka Red Cross Society and the Department of Export Agriculture is assisting tsunami affected families to regain lost livelihoods and helping the country to restore its capacity in cinnamon cultivation, the country's fourth largest export earner crop. more..

Japan to host meeting of sponsors of Sri Lanka peace process next week

May 26 (AP) Envoys overseeing Sri Lanka's shattered peace process will exchange views in Tokyo next week on how the global community can help, Japan's Foreign Ministry said Thursday. The talks, to be held Tuesday, will be attended by Japan's peace envoy Akashi Yasushi; Norway's Development Minister Erik Solheim; Richard Boucher, U.S. assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia; more..

Tamil guerrillas release 16 young fighters, says rebel Web site

May 26 (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels, accused of abducting young people and using them fighters, said Thursday that they have released 16 youths ages 15-17 back to their families in April and May. "They joined the movement lying about their age," said a statement on the Web site of the LTTE, the Tigers' formal name. more..

Truce monitors awaits Govt. and LTTE response over sea monitoring demands

May 26 (AT) The Government Peace Secretariat and the LTTE Peace Secretariat are yet to respond to the proposal submitted to them by the SLMM, which emphasized the need for the monitors' protection. The proposals was submitted more than a week ago which laid down several demands if the Mission was to resume its naval monitoring operations, suspended earlier following a LTTE attack against a troop carrying ship. more..

Christian Evangelism: Whither Decency?

May 26 (FSL) The world (or more correctly, the west) appears infatuated with "Muslim fanaticism." We are told over and over again that Islam preaches fanaticism, and that Muslims are allegedly violent and have a blind hatred of non-Muslims. But really, how true are these vacuous claims? They are stories made to justify violent attacks on the Muslim community around the world, more..

Sri Lankan political parties agree on electoral reform

May 26 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's political parties have agreed to effect changes to the country's system of elections, parliamentary officials said here Thursday. The change would see the country's system of election shifting to a mixture of proportional representation and first-past-the- post system from the present proportional representation system. more..

Ceasefire meaningless when Tamils get displaced -Elilan

May 26 (TN) "It is meaningless to say that we live in a peaceful period with the signing of a ceasefire agreement when Tamil people are being displaced and living under tree shades and culverts to safe their lives from aerial bombing and artillery fire from sea and land and LTTE cadres are also being killed," said Mr.Elilan, Trincomalee district political head of the LTTE more..

Senior Tiger commander killed "mysteriously"

May 26 (AT) A senior commander of the Tiger guerrillas has been killed on Wednesday night under mysterious circumstances, as the Tigers buried their deputy Commander Ramanan killed by the renegade rebels loyal to former Eastern commander Karuna. Former Special commander of Tigers Charles Anthony Brigade, Lt. Col. Veeramani was killed on Wednesday night in Kilali, more..

Govt. will not take decisions in fear of patriotism and Mahinda Chintanaya - Rajitha

May 26 (LeN) The country is doomed; if the government fails to take prompt decisions in the wake of the present situation of the national problem, UNP parliamentarian Dr. Rajitha Senaratne warned. Nothing can be done if we are intimidated by the the JVP's patriotism, Hela Urumaya's nationalism and Mahinda Chintana, Dr Senaratne said. more..

Situation Report -SL Army

May 26 (SLA)
* LTTE Terrorists Do Not Want To Spare Even Human Excreta
* LTTE Pistol Attack Repulsed Overpowering Terrorists
* LTTE Continuous Reprisals Against Police Kill Another Policeman more..

SLMC ready for talks with LTTE

May 26 (LeN) SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem yesterday said his party was ready to have unofficial discussions with the LTTE to solve issues that affect the Muslims in the North and East. He said he conveyed this to Norwegian Peace Envoy Jon Hanssen Bauer when they met at Mr. Hakeem's residence yesterday. more..

Supreme Court is not cultural police

May 26 (LeN) The Supreme Court is a place cases are heard and not a cultural police, Justice Nimal Gamini Amaratunga said when the fundamental rights case filed by the co-producer and the director of the film 'Aksharaya' was taken up for hearing today. more..

AG says JVP has no right to nominate CC member

May 26 (LeN) The JVP has no right to take a claim to nominate a member to the Constitutional Council under Article 41 A (1) of the Constitution as provided by the 17th Amendment, according to Attorney General K.C. Kamalasabeyson. more..

Better to be a joker than a Hitler -Dilan

May 26 (LeN) Deputy Minister Dilan Perera told Parliament yesterday that power devolution was essential to stop war and prevent the country from being divided. Joining the debate on the Pearl Cruise attack by the LTTE, Mr. Perera said they had to initiate power devolution, whether based on Indian, Swiss or Sri Lankan models. more..

Live feeds of stock market prices on ITN

May 26 (LNP) The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) in association with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) will launch a special service to provide share prices on TV through Independent Television Network (ITN) during the stock market trading hours for the benefit of stock market investors and others interested in investing in the stock market. more..

Trade unions oppose pay hikes for parliamentarians

May 26 (LNP) Several public sector trade unions are opposing pay hikes for parliamentarians on the grounds that they are useless to the people and constitute a drain on the country`s resources. Parliament on Tuesday decided to `rectify parliamentarians` salary anomalies` to match the salary scales of judicial officers. more..

Arrest of suspected LTTEers unfounded

May 26 (LNP) The Inter University Students` Federation made a citizens` arrest of three suspected LTTEers at their anti-Akashi demonstration in the Fort on Wednesday. The `suspects` were videoing the demonstration. The suspects were handed over to Fort Police. more..

Govt woos TNA to influence LTTE

May 26 (SAMN) Constitutional Affairs Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara on Thursday urged the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to prevail upon the LTTE to give up their killing spree and enter the peace dialogue. Speaking in Parliament during an adjournment debate on the LTTE's abortive attack on the Pearl Cruise II amidst frequent interruptions by TNA members, more..

Catholics hail ban on Da Vinci Code

May 26 (SAMN) Leading members of the Roman Catholic Church in Sri Lanka on Thursday praised President Mahinda Rajapaksa's decision to ban the film Da Vinci Code from public screening in the country hailing the move as statesmanlike act. "We are very happy that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has thought it fit to ban the film Da Vinci Code from public screening," more..

NPC wants restoration of peace

May 26 (SAMN) The National Peace Council called on the Government and the LTTE to utilise the good offices of the Norwegian facilitating team and not resort to more violence. A statement issued by the NPC said “The resolution of the European Parliament, that among other things, advocates a ban on the LTTE contains a strong indictment on the use of violence to attain political objectives. more..

President tells clergy group: No war, only retaliatory action

May 26 (DN) Re-iterating his commitment to a peaceful solution to the ethnic conflict, President Mahinda Rajapaksa was emphatic there was no war situation in the North and East and the Armed Forces were only retaliating to LTTE attacks on the forces. President said he was prepared to go to any location to have direct discussions with the LTTE to resolve the crisis. more..

Politics to prevent War

May 26 (FL) Sri Lanka’s crisis is deepening everyday, every hour. The unchecked escalation of violence involving sections of the government armed forces, the LTTE and anti-LTTE Tamil groups has the potential of plunging the country into a catastrophic war. Prevention of such a destructive war is crucial for the well-being of the people of this country. more..

Tossed by travails of travel

May 26 (Hindu) The experience was too nightmarish for Sasikumari, 25, to put it behind herself. The travails of a travel by fibre boat from Talaimannar in Sri Lanka to Rameswaram, along with her newborn baby, are so painful that tears keep her eyes glistening with sorrow, when she narrates her ordeal. more..

Sri Lanka's other war

May 26 (CNA) With the Ceasefire Agreement signed between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE in 2002 all but a piece of paper now, both sides are currently preparing for a possible war where the fight for international public opinion is as important as what happens on the battlefield. more..

Stop Madhu attacks - Mannar Bishop

May 26 (BBC) The Bishop of Mannar Rayappu Joseph has expressed his concerns over the killings taking place in the Madhu area. Bishop Rayappu Joseph has written to Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksha that claymore mine attacks have been made from the jungle areas killing civilians. more..

The Tigers tamed? Why Sri Lanka's president believes peace is within reach

May 26 (FT) Have the Tamil Tigers finally been cornered? In a diplomatic coup for President Mahinda Rajapakse of Sri Lanka and the Sinhalese nationalist hardliners who elected him last November, the European Union is expected on Monday to add the LTTE to its list of banned terrorist groups. more..

Norway envoys push for peace talks; army kills 2 suspected Tamil rebels

May 26 (AP) The army shot and killed two suspected Tamil rebels and unidentified gunmen killed an ethnic Tamil civil servant Friday as Norwegian envoys met with Sri Lanka's president in a bid to prevent the island nation from sliding back into full-blown conflict. more..

Norway in fresh bid to avert full-scale war in Sri Lanka

May 26 (AFP) Norway's top peace envoy held lengthy talks with Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse in a fresh bid to stop the island from drifting back to war, diplomats said. Oslo's International Development Minister Erik Solheim arrived Friday morning and went directly to meet the president. Talks lasted longer than scheduled, diplomats said. more..

More refugees arrive from Lanka

May 26 (NIP) The Ramanathapuram district administration has been asked to keep on standby, private buildings in the district as additional accommodation in the event of the Mandapam transit refugee camp spilling over due to the sustained influx of Sri Lankan refugees across the Rameswaram coastline, more..

Temporary open relief centres to be set up in North and East

May 26 (RW) The Government has been concerned over the escalation of violence by the LTTE and the consequent increase in displacement in Trincomalee district with some even crossing the shores of Sri Lanka via Mannar. On the directive of HE the President, a meeting of senior government officials was convened by Secretary to the President, which included the Governor of the Northern and Eastern Provinces, more..

Top business chamber calls for tough action on customs officers

May 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s top business chamber called for tough disciplinary action following a two day strike by customs officers, which paralysed imports and exports. “The long-term impact on competitiveness of exports that largely depend on meeting delivery deadlines, will undoubtedly be adverse,” the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said more..

Norway warns of 'difficult' future

May 26 (BBC) The chief Norwegian peace envoy to Sri Lanka, Erik Solheim, is travelling to India after meeting President Mahinda Rajapaksa and other government leaders. Solheim told BBC Sandeshaya that he had a “long discussion” with the president on the present situation of the peace process. “We discussed on different issues”, he said, but refused to elaborate. more..

Women of Sri Lanka Tell Their Story

May 27 (UU) Women from Sri Lanka gave a first-hand account of strife in the north-east region of their country during a visit to Northern Ireland this week organised by INCORE, the University of Ulster’s Magee-based peace and conflict research centre. With the area’s three-year ceasefire looking increasingly fragile, more..

No cement supplies to north

May 27 (BBC) Officials in northern Sri Lanka say the Ministry of Defence has decided to stop supplies of cement and iron bars going through Tamil Tiger held areas in the north. Lorry owners have told journalists that dozens of lorries with cement and iron bars for reconstruction and rehabilitation works in the north - including the LTTE controlled Vanni and the government controlled Jaffna district - were sent back on Friday by army officials at Omanthai checkpoint. more..

JVP rejects AG's opinion

May 27 (BBC) The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has rejected a ruling by the Attorney General (AG) that the party has no right to appoint a member to the Constitution Council (CC). JVP parliamentarian Vijitha Herath said that “there is no mention whatsoever” in the 17 amendment to the 1978 constitution that a member of an alliance has no right as an individual party. more..

Peace broker fears Sri Lanka violence may deepen

May 27 (Reuters) Sri Lanka risks sliding deeper into violence that some fear could reignite civil war unless Tamil rebels stop killing and the government reins in armed groups opposed to them, Norway's peace broker warned on Friday. Erik Solheim appealed to both sides to take a hard look at how they can defuse a "very, very serious" situation. The LTTE say it could escalate into a high-intensity war. more..

Vaiko seeks Prime Minister's intervention in Lankan issue

May 27 (PTI) MDMK General Secretary Vaiko today sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention in stopping the "Sri Lankan military's attack in Tamil areas of that country" and providing food, clothing and first aid to the refugees reaching the Indian coast. more..

Rajapakse is keen on Karunanidhi’s support

May 27 (DNA) As Sri Lanka appears to slip inexorably towards another bloody war, President Mahinda Rajapakse is making sure that this time around the Tamil Nadu politicians do not side with the LTTE. Karunanidhi’s DMK had earlier been extremely sympathetic to the cause of the Tamil Tigers. more..

Tamil refugees refuse to return home, after illegal migration foiled

May 27 (AP) More than 100 ethnic Tamils intercepted by Sri Lanka's navy as they tried to flee to India are living in a church in this northwestern town, fearing a return to their villages in the east because of escalating violence there, officials said Friday. more..