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U.N. chief backs relief official against Sri Lanka

Aug 17 (Reuters) U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday said comments by a Sri Lankan official calling his humanitarian coordinator a "terrorist" were "unacceptable and unwarranted," a U.N. spokeswoman said. John Holmes, the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said last week in Colombo that Sri Lanka was among the most dangerous places in the world for humanitarian workers. more..

APRC report to be submitted to President next week

Aug 17 (GDI) The All Party Representative Committee (APRC) will meet again next week to finalise its report. Announcing this, APRC Chairman, Prof Tissa Vitharana, Minister of Science & Technology said that the report is expected to be finalized next week and it will be submitted to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Prof Vitharana said that as there were some differences on some of the issues, the deliberations could not be concluded by August 15, as scheduled. more..

Global consultants give Sri Lanka lessons in carbon finance

Aug 17 (LBO) Rice farmers in India’s West Bengal made history when they successfully traded carbon credits for cash - with lessons for Sri Lanka taking its first tentative steps in carbon finance. About 33 Indian rice mill owners banded together and agreed to switch from polluting diesel oil they used in their mills to rice husk. more..

Sri Lanka banking sector grew 9.5% in first half 2007: CB

Aug 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's banking sector assets had expanded 9.5 percent, with loans rising 11.2 percent against deposit growth of 7.6 percent, the Central Bank which regulates the sector said. "Banking sector has shown a significant expansion during the first half of 2007 reflecting continued expansion in economic activity," the Central Bank said in a statement. more..

The French court extended the detention of 14 LTTE suspects

Aug 17 (AT) The French court has decided to extend the period of detention of all 14 key LTTE suspects who were arrested on 1st April 2007 for a further period of 4 months till the first week of December 2007, when they were produced to the courts in the first week of August. According to the sources, Asian Tribune learnt that appeals for bail was ruled out, as the charges pressed against the arrested LTTE suspects were serious in nature. more..

Colombo for global efforts against terror

Aug 17 (Hindu) Sri Lanka is to host an “International Conference on Countering Terrorism” (ICCT) from October 18 to 20 here to compare experiences and discuss strategies required to counter such threats through enhanced international cooperation. Foreign Minister and Chairperson of the Board of Management of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS), Rohitha Bogallagamma, told a news conference more..

Sri Lankan gov't urges opposition to rejoin all party panel

Aug 17 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government on Thursday urged the main opposition party to rejoin the all political party panel convened to formulate a solution to the island's debilitating separatist armed conflict. Prof Tissa Vitharana, minister of Science and Technology and chairman of the All Party Representative's Committee (APRC), said that the United National Party (UNP) as the alternate party must come back to the process. more..

Sri Lankan navy commander stonewalls inquiry into disappearance of SEP member

Aug 17 (wsws) In a disturbing new development in the disappearance of Socialist Equality Party (SEP) member Nadarajah Wimaleswaran and his friend, Sivanathan Mathivathanan, in northern Sri Lanka, a navy commander has flatly refused to provide details of personnel on duty at the time at a key road block. Wimaleswaran and Mathivathanan were last seen riding on a motor bike toward the road block on Kayts Island on March 22 via a long causeway from the neighbouring island of Punguduthivu. more..

Asia Pacific Conference on HIV/AIDs set to begin in Sri Lanka

Aug 17 (HA) The 8th ICAAP (International Congress on AIDS in Asia and Pacific) will be held in Sri Lanka from August 19t to 23 rd 2007. There will be 2,000 delegates from 40 countries participating in the international conference. “Waves of Change; Waves of Hope” is this year’s theme. There are many events organized to coincide with the main conference. A media briefing about the upcoming 8th ICAAP was held in Colombo on Thursday August 16th, announcing details of the 5 day conference. more..

Sri Lanka's Tsunami Millionaires

Aug 17 (ISL)
 Stories, fables and perfidious tales 
Emanating from my island home,
Evenly spread on sordid sleaze
The deceptive charade still persists.

Bedi blames ICC for Murali row

Aug 17 (CI) The former India captain, Bishan Bedi, has laid the blame for his current row with Muttiah Muralitharan at the door of the International Cricket Council. Last week Bedi, a long-term critic of Muralitharan, compared his bowling action to that of a "shotputter". The comment has led Murali to claim Rs. 750 million (US $7 million) in damages for defamation. more..

Parliament vs Parliament

Aug 17 (ANN) A decision by the party leaders to appoint 26 Parliamentary Select Committees (PSCs) to probe the alleged corruption in state institutions highlighted in a Cope (Committee on Public Enterprises) report has irked Cope Chairman Wijedasa Rajapakshe. He has registered his vehement protest against that move in a strongly worded letter to the Speaker. He is of the view that there is no constitutional provision for the appointment of temporary PSCs to inquire into the findings of a permanent PSC. more..

Continuing measures to boost the fisheries Industry

Aug 17 (GDI) Under the directions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa the Government takes several major steps to strengthen the fisheries industry. This includes providing assistance in a wider range to fishermen who contribute extensively to the country's economy. Speaking at a function held to hand over fishing equipments to a group of fishermen at temple Trees recently President Rajapaksa explained Government's commitment to uplift the fishery industry. more..

All segments of Sri Lankan society join hands on HIV/AIDS Prevention

Aug 17 (GDI) The International Labour Organization (ILO) praises Sri Lanka’s contribution in prevention of HIV/ AIDS with the involvement of all segments of the society joining hands for the prevention of HIV/AIDS in workplaces. ILO expresses these views in a recently released press statement. “In June 2004, the Government of Sri Lanka endorsed the ILO Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS in the World of Work. more..

Project to build Railway carriage locally

Aug 17 (GDI) Instead of depending on foreign expertise in building railway carriages which also cost a huge amount of money in getting their services, the Government is planning to establish a Railway Carriages Rehabilitation and Carriage Building Workshop. This would greatly contribute in meeting the local demand of railway carriages and utilize the latent talents of the local railway expertise who are proved to be equally capable as their counterparts abroad. more..

Asia Pacific Court of Women on Inheritance and Property Rights

Aug 17 (GDI) As a part of the 8th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) First Asia Pacific Court of Women on HIV and inheritance and property rights will be held in Colombo. According to the Organizers the UNDP Regional HIV and Development Programme and Asian Women’s Human Rights Council (AWHRC) in partnership with several other organizations hosting more..

Most wanted LTTE cardre linked to ‘Dalada Maligawa’ attack held

Aug 17 (GDI) The Sri Lanka Police elite force, The Special Task Force arrested the mastermind of the LTTE attack on the temple of the sacred tooth relic, Dalada Maligawa in Kandy killing 12 devotees and destroying a part of the sacred temple in 1998. This most wanted terror suspect was arrested on receipt of intelligence information, defence sources inform. more..

Sri Lanka hosts anti-terrorism meet to highlight plight of victim states

Aug 17 (LBO) A top French anti-terrorism judge and leading conflict specialists are among speakers at a counter-terrorism conference to be held in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo. Sri Lanka will seek to focus attention on the plight of countries affected by terrorism, especially its own near 30-year experience during the International Conference on Countering Terrorism from 18-20 October 2007, more..

Ranil thinks party first: We think country first - RAD Sirisena

Aug 17 (LNP) The difference between the UNP led by Ranil Wickremesinghe and our group was that Ranil`s UNP works with a selfish motive, thinks about the party first and to come to power in a hurry. But we think first about the country. Normally we do not consider the colour, party or other differences but unite in front of the National flag but Ranil Wickremesinghe does not consider even that, UNP rebel group spokesman R. A. D. Sirisena told The Island yesterday (15). more..

No immediate crackdown on lodges, assures Govt

Aug 17 (LNP) The Defence Ministry yesterday gave an assurance that there would be no fresh crackdowns on lodges in Colombo after the recovery of powerful explosives in one of them on Wednesday. However, the Daily Mirror learns that individual petitioners residing in `Ideal Lodge` where the explosives were found have been pressurized to withdraw their Fundamental Rights cases against their unlawful eviction on July 7. more..

LTTE ban in Australia in the offing

Aug 17 (LNP) Sri Lanka is pushing a blanket ban on the LTTE in Australia and efforts towards this goal are progressing, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told a news conference yesterday. Announcing a top international counter terrorism conference which will be hosted in Colombo from October 18 to 20 at the BMICH, the Minister said the Government was working on the Australian ban but it was unreasonable to expect the proscription to come into force overnight. more..

UNP says criticism aimed at JHU monks, not Maha Sangha

Aug 17 (LNP) The main opposition UNP yesterday pointed out that it had only criticized the JHU monks and not the Maha Sangha in the country as a whole. Party media spokesman Gayantha Karunatilake told a news conference the UNP and its leadership had great respect for the Maha Sangha who preserved the Sambuddha Sasana for more than 2500 years. However, Mr. Karunatilake said the UNP levelled political criticism at the JHU monks who promised to create a new political culture for the good of the country, but more..

Sri Lanka rupee at 7th straight low, banks buy dollars

Aug 17 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee weakened slightly to a new all-time closing low for a seventh day running on Friday as banks bought dollars to cover short positions and importers bought to settle trade bills, dealers said. The rupee ended at 112.00/112.08 per dollar, surpassing the previous life low of 111.97/112.02 hit on Thursday. The local currency has hit a series of new all time lows in recent months. more..

UNP to take up children’s drug issue

Aug 17 (SAMN) UNP which took the grade one admission procedure issue in Parliament is to take up drug abuse by school children in Dehiwala and Mount Lavinia areas at the next sessions of the Western Provincial Council. UNP Western Provincial Council Member Srinath Kumarasinghe is to raise an oral question on the issue at the next sessions of the Provincial Council which is to be held on August 21. more..

Work on new museum almost complete

Aug 17 (SAMN) Construction work at the Sigiriya museum will be completed by early next year, Cultural Affairs Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said. This museum is being constructed away from the moat at the Western end of the Sigiriya rock. Two hundred and twenty million and five hundred thousand (220,500,000) rupees has been provided by Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the construction of this museum. more..

Azwar slams UNP on foreign aid statement

Aug 17 (SAMN) Presidential Advisor and Media Ombudsman A.H.M Azwar slammed the main opposition UNP stating that it is political treachery to deprive people from receiving any foreign aid. He made this point at a reception accorded to outgoing Malaysian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Nazirah Hussain by the governor of Western Province Alavi Mowlana. more..

Govt. has no mandate to develop East

Aug 17 (SAMN) A senior Tamil political party MP Thursday lashed out at the government’s development plans in the East questioning its political mandate in the recently acquired territory. TNA Parliamentary Group Leader R. Sampanthan said that the government does not have the mandate to develop the East and criticised the government heavily for not consulting those political parties who has the mandate to work for the people in the area. more..

Compensation for hit and run victims

Aug 17 (DN) The Transport Ministry is to launch a compensation scheme to provide relief to victims of 'hit and run' road accidents. Under the programme, compensation up to Rs 50,000 will be granted on behalf of any fatality or those who receive bodily injury due to a motor accident where it is not possible to identify either the culprit or the vehicle, a Ministry spokesman told the Daily News. more..

Pilot project to conserve elephants

Aug 17 (DN) The Environment and Natural Resources Ministry has stepped up action to implement a pilot project to arrest the human-elephant conflict in Yala and Lunugamwehera through its recently established Elephant Conservation Trust Fund. Environment and Natural Resources Minister Champika Ranawaka said yesterday that bureaucratic red tape had been overcome to carry out the project. more..

Twist in alleged House IT fraud

Aug 17 (DM) The UNDP-funded parliament modernisation project, which is currently the subject of an audit investigation, saw a fresh twist this week with a high-ranking parliamentary official reportedly exerting immense pressure on Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara to fire a key stakeholder to the project. Parliament’s Deputy Secretary-General Dhammika Dassanayake is said to be urging Speaker Lokubandara to sack the UNDP’s Project Coordinator who has been managing the controversial programme. more..

Major questions over A/L answer scripts

Aug 17 (DM) Five teacher trade unions which decided to refrain from the marking of GCE Advanced Level answer scripts, staged a demonstration in Colombo yesterday together with teachers who came for a seminar at Royal College, Colombo. The seminar was part of a series organized by the Examinations Department for teachers selected to mark answer scripts of A/L subjects. At this seminar, university professors who set the question papers briefed the teachers on the methodology to be followed in awarding marks. more..

New plan in Colombo

Aug 17 (KT) IT’S premature yet to say whether something tangible will come out of the power devolution plan currently being finalised by Sri Lanka’s political parties. There are positive sides to the move, even as it is not time yet to say there is light at the end of the tunnel. Clearly, the plan is aimed at directly addressing the grievances of the Tamil minority, spread largely in the north and the east, who are up in arms for a quarter of a century, raising the spectre of a civil war, more..

Renown French anti-terror judge to attend Sri Lankan terror confab

Aug 17 (AP) A renowned anti-terror judge from France will be guest of honor at a terrorism conference in Sri Lanka later this year, the foreign minister said Thursday. The conference will be held Oct. 18-20 in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, and will be attended by speakers from France, India, Singapore and the United States, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said. more..

Sri Lankan troops kill 2 Tamil rebels in sea, ground clashes, military says

Aug 17 (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers killed two Tamil Tiger rebels in separate sea and ground clashes Friday in the volatile north, the military said. Naval troops patrolling off northern Jaffna peninsula came under attack by a rebel boat early Friday, prompting a brief sea battle, but troops repulsed the attack, said an officer at the Defense Ministry's media center. more..

Soldiers' families 'not paid enough'

Aug 18 (BBC) Disabled soldiers in Sri Lanka have accused the authorities of ignoring their plight and that of the families of killed service personnel. Asoka Dayaratne, of Organisation for Disabled Soldiers, said the compensation paid for war victims is not adequate. "For over 23 years, families of a killed soldier is still paid mere Rs.150,000," he told BBC Sandeshaya. more..

Christians: no justice, no peace in Sri Lanka

Aug 18 (ENI) Churches will fail in their mission if violence goes unabated in strife-torn Sri Lanka, a Roman Catholic bishop in the country has warned. "We have to free the world of violence. If we do not succeed in doing this, we have failed," Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Mannar, in the north-west of Sri Lanka, told a visiting delegation from the World Council of Churches. "I am very happy that the WCC has declared a campaign against violence," more..

Sri Lanka names suspects in killings of Red Cross workers

Aug 18 (AP) Suspects in the deaths of two Red Cross workers have been identified, Sri Lanka's government said Friday, announcing a reward for information on the alleged ringleader's whereabouts. A man named Sivakanthan Vivekananthan and his gang are "evidently responsible" for the abduction and killing of the two local Red Cross workers, the Human Rights Ministry said in a statement. more..

Bedi compared to a dog

Aug 18 (TN) Former Lankan Captain Arjuna Ranatunga took on former Indian cricket great Bishen Singh Bedi over his allegedly derogatory comments on Muttiah Muralitharan last week and compared him to a dog.What started as a usual 'Bedi outburst' against Sri Lankan spinner Muthiah Muralitharan, has now turned into a major controversy with former Lankan skipper Arjuna Rantunga unleashing an ugly war of words. more..

War-damaged Jaffna church becomes peace center

Aug 18 (ENI) The buildings of Christ Church along Jaffna's main road stand pock-marked by shell holes, as a grim reminder of the many pitched battles fought between Tamil rebels and Sri Lankan forces in this Tamil heartland on the northern fringe of Sri Lanka. Built in 1871, the Anglican church is, however, now getting a facelift. New roof tiles have been put in place, and major holes in the walls are being patched up. more..

Taking the long route home

Aug 18 (IRIN) Joseph Ponnaraja, aged 22 and a father of three, does not have the faintest idea where he and his family, who have been displaced for just over a year, will finally end up living. They fled their home in the eastern Sri Lankan coastal town of Muttur in Trincomalee District on 6 August 2006, when fighting broke out between government forces and the LTTE. more..

Nedumaran to crossover to Jaffna unlawfully on September 12

Aug 18 (AT) The Tamil Tiger face in Tamil Nadu, P. Nedumaran has once again reiterated his determination to enter Sri Lanka unlawfully by crossing the Palk Strait, the narrow strip of sea by boats with his so called live-saving cargoes of food and medicine to be distributed to the Tamils in Sri Lanka. He has anounced that that he would take with him a large number of volunteers from Tamil Nadu by boats in violation of the island nation’s immigration laws. more..

CCC shows the way for school leavers to find jobs

Aug 18 (AT) A major constraint in the procurement of employment for the school leavers has been the lack of career guidance. Thus many of these GCE OL and AL qualified school leavers do not know that there are employment available in various fields. To assist the job thirsty youth Ceylon chamber of Commerce in association with John Keells Social Responsibility Foundation is pursuing a programme of providing career guidance to Sri Lankan School children more..

The APRC Conclave and the Cold War Between Hawks and Doves

Aug 18 (FI) The All Party Representative Committee proceedings are in the eye of a political storm. The recent decision to adjourn sittings indefinitely has lent itself to different interpretations. Chief among them is a notion that the APRC has failed to evolve anything tangible after protracted meetings exceeding forty in number. But this impression is wrong because the APRC has quietly made progress on a number of matters. more..

State structure and North-East merger issues remain problems for APRC

Aug 18 (FI) “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated” is one among many sayings , Mark Twain is famous for. The American writer whose characters - Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer and the Connecticut Yankee at King Arthurs court - fascinated us during childhood made this pithy observation when some newpapers reported erroneously that he had passed away. more..

From Sri Lanka to Slough

Aug 18 (GU) We are just back from holiday in Sri Lanka, where we had a wonderful time. Tourism is sharply down this year, so it's a very good time to go; nothing is as impossible to sell as a room that's been empty all night, so you can get amazing bargains at some of the most beautiful hotels in Asia. The reason tourism is down is because of the continuing fight between the government and the Tamil Tigers of the north, who have acquired an air force, or at least a plane, and this year bombed the airport. more..

An amnesty offer and new problems

Aug 18 (Hindu) The latest offer of amnesty to the “stranded cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam” in the east extended by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake has brought to the fore the problems facing the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government. In the third week of July, the government had made a proclamation on the “liberation of the east” from the clutches of the Tamil Tigers. more..

Democracy, people and government in Sri Lanka

Aug 18 (TW) Democracy as a system of government in a fully integrated society in which all the members have common interests, aspirations and concerns fits in with the classic meaning given as the government of the people, for the people , by the people. In this ideal case, it is also considered as ‘the right to a form of government in which power is invested in the people as a whole, exercised on their behalf by periodically elected representatives’. more..

The institutions of democratic devolution I: the Unit

Aug 18 (FI) The unit of devolution remains one of the greatest logjams in finding a political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. The various proposals submitted to the All-Party Representative Committee demonstrate that there has been no consensus as to even the direction which discussion on the topic should proceed. Judging from the content of these proposals, there are widely different notions of a just settlement even within communities to the degree that the debate cannot simply be characterized as “Sinhala vs. Tamil.” more..

In Pictures: Colombo Department Store Unveils Latest Collections

Aug 18 (HA) ODEL, Sri Lanka’s only department store has unveiled its latest collection for the season. A catwalk came alive on August 12 th 2007, unveiling wide range of formal and causal wear. ODEL’s latest collection of clothes was worn by eight models with appropriate accessories. In 2007, ODEL successfully launched its Sari Bar. It attracts clients to a wide range of classic collection, as saree being a traditional attire in Sri Lanka. more..

Just like Choranaga, Mahinda Rajapaksa swindles to sustain himself - Ranil

Aug 18 (LD) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told the ‘Janarala’ protest rally in Anuradhapura today (August 17th) that history was repeating itself as President Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa was misusing state banks to sustain himself and his brothers. Wickremesinghe compared the present situation to that of King Choranaga destroying 11 temples during his reign in the ancient Kingdom of Sri Lanka, to amass wealth for himself. more..