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When the Suicide BOMBER is a Woman

Aug 16 (MC) On the day before she set out to blow up the Sri Lankan prime minister, Menake went shopping for a sequined top to hide the vest full of explosives that would turn her into a human bomb. It was the cyanide necklace that gave her away. The denim vest is a simple garment, tailored to fit the young woman’s body. Narrow shoulder straps hold the midsection in place. It’s not high fashion, but that doesn’t matter, since the first time it’s worn will also be the last. more..

Sri Lanka's disabled soldiers to sew up full uniform demand

Aug 16 (LBO) A Sri Lankan garment factory run entirely by soldiers disabled in the conflict against Tamil Tigers is gearing up to meet the 120,000-strong army's entire uniform requirements. Ranaviru Apparels, which employees 815 disabled soldiers, currently tailors 65 percent of the army's uniforms, the defence ministry said. "We are hoping to go for 100 percent of the army's requirement by end of next year with the installation of high tech machines and further training for our soldiers," more..

Sri Lanka pushes sports events to revive tourism

Aug 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka wants to use sports events like a forthcoming marathon to entice more tourists to the island and rebuild an image tarnished by war and allegations of human rights abuses, officials said. Events are an important factor for today's tourist, who prefers to travel alone rather than in groups, said Renton De Alwis, chairman of the Tourist Board. more..

Trying to solve ethnic conflict through federalism will lead to bigger ethnic trap

Aug 16 (FI) Supporters of federalism have spun up ahead of the ‘final’ battle in the North. Most of them fear that if the armed forces defeat the LTTE militarily, along with it the devolution endeavour will die. There are both supporting and opposing arguments; however, the real issue is the desirability and sustainability of a federal set-up. more..

Mahinda Chinthana advocates unitary centralised theocratic fundamental State For Sri Lanka

Aug 16 (FI) Sinhala Buddhist supremacy remains the basic character and essence of the Sri Lankan state, even though there have been some grudging recognition of Tamil also as an official language. This defining character of the state contains several decisive political implications and explosive consequences. One fateful implication is that Lanka is exclusively the land of the Sinhala Buddhists. more..

Constitutional change resisted to deny legitimate rights of Tamils and Muslims

Aug 16 (FI) The official Sri Lankan view is that the only threat to the territorial unity of Sri Lanka is the LTTE’s fight for a separate Tamil State. What is equally true but not equally recognized is that the fight against the separate state is also a grave danger to the island’s territorial unity. By winning and holding territory the LTTE has not been able to create a separate state. more..

Investigations into misappropriation of Rs. 12.8 million in 10000 lakes programme

Aug 16 (LT) Agricultural ministry says that investigations are on about the misappropriation of Rs. 12.8 after December 2005 in the implementation of 10000 lakes project. It has been disclosed that more than 5 million rupees have been released on fabricated reports that project had been completed even before agreements were signed with the contractors for renovation of lakes. more..

Next govt will have to pay even if we borrow 1000 million rupees – Jeyaraj Fernandupulle

Aug 16 (LT) Minister Jeyaraj Fernandupulle says that the next government cannot evade paying back loans whether we get not 500 but 1000 US Dollars in foreign loans. At a press briefing held in Colombo today, the minister said as they constituted international agreements no one can evade paying back those loans. The minister said that the present government is still paying the loans taken by the united National Party government then from 1977. more..

Sri Lankan dockers drive productivity after Chinese lesson

Aug 16 (LBO) Colombo port has sent dock worker union leaders to study practices in a modern Chinese port and has now won their support for better work norms, a top official said. Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) chairman Saliya Wickramasuriya said relations between port management and workers was now better than last year when a nine-day labour go-slow in July caused losses to the port as well as its customers. more..

Stunning documentaries on Sri Lanka by Al-Jaseera

Aug 16 (ISL) Painstaking efforts of Al-Jaseera TV crew have produced two 21 minute pieces of mid boggling reality facing Sri Lanka. Before it went on air the programme producer Juliana Ruhfus arranged a special pre-over view of the screening of the recordings to the public at the Frontline Club at 13 Norfolk Place, Paddington, London on 13 August 2007. The screening followed by interactive discussions confirmed high standard of the programme. more..

In memory of Mr. K. C. Kamalasabeyson, PC the former Attorney General

Aug 16 (ISL) The Asian Human Rights Commission pays tribute to the former Attorney General, Mr. K. C. Kamalasabeyson, PC whose passing away in India was reported in the newspapers today. Mr. Kamalasabeyson, during his tenure contributed to the introduction of prosecutions on torture cases. On many occasions he also tried to take an independent stance on some issues which were of national importance, such as the issues relating to the 17th Amendment. more..

Dangers to life by the collapse of the rule of law

Aug 16 (ISL) In recent months spokesmen for the Sri Lankan government have become quite aggressive towards the country's critics. The Attorney General severely attacked the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) regarding its two reports; the president and other spokesmen have attacked the report by Human Rights Watch and now Action Contra La Faim is being attacked and accused of being responsible for the deaths of their 17 aid workers last August, more..

New project to convert waste in to energy

Aug 16 (GDI) The Ministry of Power and Energy has initiated the first ever project in Sri Lanka to generate energy through waste. The Project called ‘Waste to Energy’ will be implemented in mid of 2008. The estimated expenditure over the project is US$ 100 million. The Ministry has issued a Letter of Intent to the undertaker of the project, Colombo Renewable Energy (Private) Ltd followed by a cabinet approval and the approval of Ceylon Electricity Board to commence the project. more..

Disproportionate media attention threatens to distort and overshadow constructive relationship - Holmes

Aug 16 (GDI) UN Humanitarian Chief John Holmes, referring to his interview with Reuters, said that it was regrettable that disproportionate media attention has threatens to distort or overshadow his discussions during his visit. In a letter to Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, he said he was not suggesting either to Reuters or in his discussions with Government leaders that the Government was not concerned about humanitarian issues. more..

SAARC confab in Colombo this weekend

Aug 16 (GDI) The journalists and media professionals representing all the 8 SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries are scheduled to gather in Colombo to hold the Sixth South Asian Media Conference, the annual sessions of the South Asian Media Association (SAFMA) on Saturday (18). The Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayake will be the chief guest at the inauguration while the guest of honour will be Media and Information Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. more..

JVP in an allergy of media at the Colombo protest

Aug 16 (LeN) Lanka-e-News has learnt that the JVP did not allow a group of media persons to report the campaign held at Lipton Circus yesterday (14) to protest the government for corruption and the increasing of the cost of living. Reportedly, a group of media persons of the Young Asia Television was not allowed to place a microphone with the logo of that media institute on the stage. more..

JHU TV license sold at Rs. 11 million

Aug 16 (LeN) UNP Media Spokesperson Gayantha Karunathilaka accuses that the TV channel license granted to the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) under the favor incenses given to the pro-government political parties, has been sold to a businessman for Rs. 11 million. He asks from JHU legal adviser Udaya Gammanpila, Media Spokesman Nishantha Warnasinghe and Minister of Environment Champika Ranawaka to give a direct answer to the public on this charge. more..

3 asylum seekers returned from Thailand in CID custody

Aug 16 (LeN) Police Criminal Investigations Division (CID) has detainedt three Sri Lankan asylum seekers incommunicado; say the human rights organizations expressing fear of torture, ill treatment or disappearance. The three individuals, Sujith Gunapala, Sasikaran Thevarajah and Sathyapawan Aseerwathan sought asylum in Thailand in June 2006 but United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) refused their claims. more..

Sri Lankans triumph after initial jitters

Aug 16 (CI) Kaushal Lokuarachchi and Gayan Wijekoon stitched together a gritty 66-run partnership to lift Sri Lanka A to a thrilling win in a low-scoring game against India A at Nairobi. India were restricted to 102 runs before Sri Lanka, at one stage stuttering at 40 for 6, were guided home by the pair. Irfan Pathan had earlier top-scored with 44 to lift India from an equally calamitous 30 for 7. He later combined with Pankaj Singh to slow the chase, but 102 was never enough to defend. more..

Central Bank eyes agro commodity futures markets

Aug 16 (Reuters) Sri Lanka plans to set up a futures market for agricultural commodities aimed at curbing inflation and helping to stabilise domestic food prices, the central bank said on Thursday. Inflation quickened to 17.2 percent in July as measured on a 12-month rolling average, close to 1994 highs, while consumer prices in July rose 17.6 compared with a year earlier from 13 percent in June, in turn forcing the central bank to leave policy interest rates at their highest levels since 2002. more..

Sri Lanka rupee inches to new low, importers buy dollars

Aug 16 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee weakened a shade to a new all-time closing low for a sixth day running on Thursday as importers bought dollars to pay trade bills, while stocks ended slightly weaker, dealers said. The rupee ended at 111.97/112.02 per dollar, just surpassing the previous life low of 111.96/112.02 hit on Wednesday. The local currency has hit a series of new all time lows in recent months. more..

Thonda`s `cock` Stands Challenged

Aug 16 (LNP) The New Plantation Workers Congress (NPWC) has been founded by Deputy Minister of Health Vadivel Suresh to fill the need for an alternate Trade Union and Political Front at National level in the plantations, Political sources from the plantations said yesterday. This major move comes in the backdrop of the CWC quitting the ruling coalition government. more..

Alleged sex clerk in bribery net

Aug 16 (LNP) A person who allegedlysolicited sex to grant a transfer was yesterday nabbed by the Bribery Commission officials. A female attendant attached to the Wellawaya hospital had met the suspect, the subject clerk attached to the Wellawaya divisional health services office, over a transfer to Buttala. The clerk after informing her it would be difficult to agree to her request without finding a replacement, however had allegedly come up with an indecent proposal if the request was to be granted. more..

JVP highlights growing cost in running ministries

Aug 16 (LNP) In the absence of a cohesive policy vis-à-vis the acquisition of vehicles for ministers, deputy ministers and their staff, former members, co-ordinating secretaries and consultants of successive governments have continued to brazenly manipulate procedures. Politicians had rented luxury vehicles on unbelievably high monthly payments, in some instances as high as almost Rs 290,000. more..

Airport unions to appeal to HRC over mobile phone ban

Aug 16 (LNP) Several trade unions in the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) are planning to go to the Human Rights Commission against what they described as a discriminative order by the Airport and Aviation Authority (AAA) banning ordinary workers from using their mobile phones within the Airport premises. BIA authorities implemented the new rule claiming that the customs have found that many smuggling rackets and other frauds have been carried out with the support of the BIA employees. more..

Aussie crowd abuse will encourage Murali to chase Warne's record

Aug 16 (AFP) Muttiah Muralitharan has warned any abuse from Australian crowds will only spur him to break Shane Warne's world record in Sri Lanka's cricket tour here later this year. The heavily-scrutinised Sri Lankan spinner has dared Australian fans to heckle him as he chases the nine wickets he needs to pass Warne's world record tally of 708 in the Australian great's own backyard. more..

Government seeks Gnanakone’s arrest

Aug 16 (SAMN) The Government is working on the arrest of LTTE-linked Singapore based businessman Charles Gnanakone with the help of the Interpol, Highways Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle told reporters at the weekly situation Briefing Wednesday. The Minister said they cannot seek Interpol assistance without hard evidence and they were now working on collecting these to frame who is allegedly concocting a scheme to oust the President and bring a pro-LTTE ruler into power. more..

Poor skills deprive youth foreign jobs

Aug 16 (SAMN) ‘Over 200,000 foreign employment opportunities that come Sri Lanka’s way are wasted since Lankan youth do not have the skills to fulfill the requirements’, said Chairman EDEX, Kamal Abeysinghe. Speaking at the 5th EDEX launch last night he said that youth should be guided to meet these global employment opportunities. “Our youths are talented and skilful and this is proven when they work overseas,” he said. more..

JVP fears federal solution: APRC

Aug 16 (SAMN) In the aftermath of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) suspending its meeting, the JVP charged Wednesday that there was an attempt by the APRC to submit power devolution proposals based on a federal structure, to suit the whims of a US diplomat who was earlier based here. JVP Parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawansa said yesterday his party would never allow a federal model to be adopted as part of the solution to the problem. more..

Objections called from SLFP committee

Aug 16 (SAMN) Colombo District Judge Sisira Ratnayake Wednesday ordered the members of the purported committee of the SLFP assigned to hold the disciplinary inquiry against former Minister Sripathy Sooriyaarachchi, to file objections before Court on August 17. The Court made his order following the plaint filed by Sripathy Sooriyaarachchi challenging the purported Disciplinary Inquiry that was intended to be held by Sri Lanka Freedom Party against him. more..

52 per cent water supply unbilled

Aug 16 (DN) Water Supply Minister Mahinda Amaraweera disclosed yesterday that more than half of the country’s pipe borne water supply has not been paid for,the loss amounting to Rs. 40 million. He said only after he perused the COPE report that he found out that 52 per cent of the water supply was not billed for (stolen). “Since then I was able to save Rs.40 million by billing un-billed water supplied by the Water Supply Board”. more..

New equipment for BIA’s additional safety

Aug 16 (DN) The Government will install additional security equipment at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) to ensure the safety of the airport and its users. A high-tech baggage and cargo screening system will shortly be established at the BIA while surveillance cameras will be set-up covering all divisions of the airport. Deputy Aviation Minister Sarath Kumara Gunaratne said the new security measures follow the Government’s decision to declare the airport premises a High Security Zone. more..

Sri Lanka trade deficit narrows in first half 2007, oil imports down

Aug 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's trade deficit has narrowed 12 percent and oil imports had fallen 8 percent in the first half of 2007, the central bank said. Exports had grown 12.9 percent to 3.56 billion dollars while imports grew only 3.9 percent narrowing the trade deficit from 1.79 billion rupees to 1.58 billion dollars. In the month of June exports grew 6.8 percent and imports fell 11.5 percent halving the trade balance from 307 million to 156 million dollars. more..

Tamil journalist comes under acid attack

Aug 16 (FMM) Thinakkural journalist K.P. Mohan was admitted to the Accident Ward of the Colombo National Hospital after an unidentified gang threw acid at him yesterday afternoon, just weeks after he was allegedly harassed and assaulted by a group of Airmen. Mr. Mohan was reportedly returning from the hospital after treating a wound in his elbow that was operated last week, when he came under attack around 1.30pm yesterday. more..

FMM condemns continuing violence against media

Aug 16 (FMM) FMM expresses it serious concern at the continuing violence directed against journalists and media in the country. This trend if not curtailed will restrict media freedom and dimish peoples right to information. The acid attack on K.P. Mohan, defence reporter of Tamil language daily Thnakkural is the most recent in a series of attacks on journalists that has taken place recently. more..

‘Ahikuntikas’ for Vakarai

Aug 16 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has agreed to grant members of the nomadic ‘Ahikuntika’ community their civic rights and settle them in the newly liberated Vakarai area in the Batticoloa District, Social Services and Social Welfare Deputy Minister Lionel Premasiri said yesterday. ‘Ahikuntikas’ or gypsies, like ‘Veddahs’ and ‘Rodiyas’ are among the few isolated communities in the country, and have no civic rights and lead nomadic lives palm reading and snake charming. more..

Issues affecting Mutur to be solved

Aug 16 (DM) The security forces are erecting a fence around the high security zone declared by them and the displaced families will only be allowed only to cultivate in the area, according to reports received from Arafa Nagar yesterday. Mutur divisional secretary M. C. M. Sherrif told Daily Mirror that a fence was to be built around the area but that the security forces had been flexible and allowed the people to cultivate and maintain their crops: “However they will not be allowed to settle in the area as there are practical problems,” he said. more..

Sri Lanka FM disowns "terrorist" accusation against UN official

Aug 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's foreign minister, Rohitha Bogollagama, Thursday disowned a Cabinet colleague's accusation that a UN official who visited the island recently was a terrorist. Bogollagama tried to downplay the accusation, saying it appeared to be the personal view of his colleague, highways minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, and should not be taken out of context. more..

Sri Lanka's leader takes a step backward on human rights

Aug 16 (AP) In 1990, Mahinda Rajapaksa was arrested at Colombo airport trying to smuggle dossiers on the "disappeared" out of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva. Rajapaksa, then an rising politician from the country's south, worked to organize the mothers of the "disappeared" during an insurrection of 1988-90, when more than 16,000 people went missing. Today, Rajapaksa is Sri Lanka's sixth president, leading a government accused of egregious human rights abuses. more..

Monk's Mercedes-Benz is the talk of the town in violence-hit Sri Lanka

Aug 16 (AP) The tale of the Buddhist monk and his shiny, new Mercedes-Benz has sparked a national drama that has enthralled Sri Lanka and left many questioning the political — and religious — ethics of the cleric's hawkish political party. The roots of the scandal lie in a special perk for Sri Lanka's lawmakers that allows them to import cars without paying the country's massive duties, which often double or triple the cost of a vehicle. more..

Sri Lanka buys Reliance distillates, seeks gas oil

Aug 17 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's Ceylon Petroleum Corp. (Ceypetco) has bought by tender 310,000 barrels of gas oil and gasoline from Reliance for mid-September delivery, a company source said on Thursday. Ceypetco is also seeking an additional 40,000 barrels of mid-sulphur gas oil for late-September delivery via a new tender that will close on Aug. 21, the source said. more..

School uniforms to be produced locally

Aug 17 (BT) Textile Development Minister Jayatissa Ranaweera has said that the government will manufacture school uniform material locally instead of importing them for four million schoolchildren. The Government saved a large amount of foreign exchange last year by manufacturing uniform material of schoolchildren, Armed Forces and Police personnel locally. The required quantity of school uniform material for next year is 10.5 million which is being taken care of by this year’s manufacturing which is going on smoothly. more..

APRC is dead, says UNP

Aug 17 (TN) After the Tuesday meeting of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) on Constitutional Reforms was abruptly halted and adjourned indefinitely due to demands from SLFP and Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) members, and failed to "finalise a draft report by today to keep to a deadline set by the UNP," the opposition UNP spokesperson said the "APRC process is dead in the water," the Morning Leader reported in the Wednesday edition. more..

Sri Lanka HIV rate low, but poverty, war a threat - UN

Aug 17 (Reuters) Sri Lanka has one of the lowest prevalence rates of HIV in Asia, but poverty and displacement of civilians due to renewed civil war are making the island increasingly vulnerable, the United Nations said on Thursday. An estimated 5,000 people had HIV in Sri Lanka by the end of 2005, out of a population of around 20 million. Neighbouring India, by comparison, has the world's third highest HIV caseload after South Africa and Nigeria, with around 2.5 million people living with the virus. more..

'Jayaraj's view is not govt stand'

Aug 17 (BBC) Highways Minister Jayaraj Fernandopulle's view is not the Sri Lankan government's stand on the United Nations representative, says the Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. Minister Bogollagama told a news conference that the Minister Jayaraj Ferndopulle describing the UN Deputy Secretary General for Humanitrian Relief Co-ordination, John Holmes a terrorist was not the government view. more..

Wellawatta claymore story under suspicion

Aug 17 (LeN) The recovery of a travelling bag that contained two claymores, three hand grenades, two detonators, and a cyanide capsule from a car parked in the premises of a lodge in Wellawaththa is suspected to be an attempt to trouble the owner of the lodge. The lodge is the dwelling place of the seven petitioners who filed applications over fundamental rights violations in Supreme Court, against evacuating 376 ethnic Tamils from Colombo lodges after more..

The security of defense columnist Athas withdrawn for revealing the secrets of the Mig-27 deal

Aug 17 (LeN) The security provided by the government to the defense columnist Iqbal Athas has been removed immediately after he revealed a number of unknown facts of the deal to purchase four Mig-27 aircrafts through Sunday Times last week. Athas pointed out in his column that the Ukraine government considers the Mig deal was a ruse since it was done through a third party, an unknown company named Belimissa Holdings registered in UK. more..

Recent NASA probes suggest life in the universe started inside them

Aug 17 (AT) Recent probes by NASA to investigate comets overwhelmingly suggest that life in the universe started inside them says the latest research paper by a team of Cardiff University scientists led by Professor Chandra Wickremesinghe. “Evidence of clay -and clay cannot form without water- and the organic components of life is now firmly established within comets,” said Wickremesinghe in an email interview more..

Summary of the Cabinet Decisions

Aug 17 (GDI) The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by Hon. Bandula Gunawardane, Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Services to implement the above project in association with national level cooperatives, apex cooperative organizations, provincial cooperative organizations, Ministries and the Provincial Cooperative Departments. more..

Sri Lanka Tamils pressured to stop court cases: rights group

Aug 17 (AFP) The government of Sri Lanka is pressuring minority Tamils to withdraw court cases against the authorities for forcibly evicting them from the capital, a rights group said Thursday. The group, the Civil Monitoring Committee, said they suspected pro-government elements had planted a bomb in a low-budget hostel occupied by members of the Tamil community as part of the pressure tactics. more..