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I’ll force JVP to send Rajapaksa regime home - Mangala

Aug 18 (LD) Convenor of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (Mahajana) Wing Mangala Samaraweera says it is now up to the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) to take a decision to send the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime packing home. “The UNP and the SLFP (M) have already decided to bring down the Rajapaksa government. It is now upto the JVP to take a decision,” Samaraweera told the “Janarala” protest rally in Anuradhapura this evening (August 17th). more..

10 suspects in illegal infant adoption case granted bail

Aug 18 (LD) Ten suspects have been granted conditional bail in a case in connection with an adoption of an infant illegally by a Dutch couple. Colombo Chief Magistrate Sarojani Kusala Weeraweera today (August 16th) took up the case, which relates to the sale of a two-week old boy from Moragolla, Kalutara for Rs. 400,000 and an attempt to take him out of the country by faking documents. more..

Police intimidate the human rights petitioners to withdraw case against forcible evacuation

Aug 18 (LeN) Police has intensified forcing the petitioners who filed fundamental rights cases against the forcible evacuation of ethnic Tamils from Colombo lodges to withdraw the case. All seven petitioners are residing in the Ideal Guest Inn of Sinsaba Road, Wellawaththa, from where the police recovered two claymores on Wednesday. more..

A cop who walks away with households after house searches

Aug 18 (LeN) The owner of a house in Sanjayapura, Waidya Road, Dehiwala, an ethnic Tamil, have complained to the Dehiwala police station that a police official had stolen a mobile phone worth of Rs. 50,000 while the house was being checked. Dehiwala police station verified the reception of the complaint and said that the investigations are carried out. more..

Sri Lanka Telecom reverses revenue ahead of court order

Aug 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), the island's only wireline operator, has reported 45 percent lower profits in the June quarter as it sliced 875 million rupees off revenue pending a court decision on a case filed by a consumer organization. SLT reported 560 million rupees of consolidated profits down from 1,000 million in the quarter ended June 2007 on revenues of 9.7 billion rupees, down three percent, after taking off 785 million rupees pending a final court decision. more..

Trinco port to be developed as eco-port

Aug 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka's eastern port of Trincomalee is to be developed as an eco-port with the emphasis on exploiting its value as a marine habitat, an official said. Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) chairman Saliya Wickramasuriya said Trincomalee will not be developed for industrial activity or to handle containers. This is because planned developments in Colombo port and the proposed port in Hambantota will generate enough capacity for years to come. more..

Oslo the criminal capital of Tamil Tigers

Aug 18 (AT) Yesterday at about 15:30 hrs the Norwegian police stormed an apartment in Oslo and arrested a suspect in the LTTE Oslo shooting spree. Another suspect was arrested close to the Oslo Police headquarters. Both will be charged for participating in the shootout and murder. At 13.00 one Tamil was arrested at the “Grønland” area in Oslo. The second Tamil was arrested at 15.30 it the North part of Oslo. more..

Society hails ‘Mathata Thitha’

Aug 18 (GDI) The latest surveys have attests that more than 80% in the society have accepted ‘Mathata Thita,’ integrated programme as an effective strategy to combat the wide spread of alcohol and drugs menace. The programme was taken up as the discouragement of the use of alcohol and drugs in the society. This was reveled at the discussion headed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in progress review of the 'Mathata Thita' programme at Temple Trees recently. more..

Media in South Asia should play more serious, responsible role – PM

Aug 18 (GDI) In our region of South Asia, the media should play a more serious, a more responsible role helping to build and strengthen to provide a better life for all our people although it can also be used to titillate and to amuse which is mostly acceptable in the West, Premier Rathnasiri Wickramanayake stated addressing the distinguished gathering of the inaugural session of the 06th South Asian Free Media Conference, today (18). more..

Government offers Rs. 1 million reward for Red Cross Killings’ suspect

Aug 18 (GDI) According to a press release by the Ministry of Human Rights, the CID of the Sri Lanka Police have informed Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe, that inquiries conducted to date have revealed that a gang led by one Sivakanthan Vivekananthan alias ‘Charan’ of Mamangama, Batticaloa, is evidently responsible for the abduction and killing in June of two Sri Lanka Red Cross members. more..

Duty on imported leather products

Aug 18 (GDI) The Government has taken the decision to impose an ‘Import Duty’ on all leather and leather related products commercially brought in to the country. This initiative was implemented with the vision of protecting the local leather manufactures and further to expand their demand at the local market. This was stated by the Minister of Rural Industries & Self-Employment Promotion S.B. Navinna while participating more..

Saudi family 'beat two maids to death'

Aug 18 (GDN) A Saudi family beat to death two Indonesian women workers in an attack Human Rights Watch said yesterday highlighted the government's failure to deal with employers who seriously abuse domestic staff. The group said seven members of the family carried out the beatings earlier this month, which also resulted in two other women being critically injured. They are now in intensive care in Riyadh. more..

Army involvement in abductions?

Aug 18 (SAMN) The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) said in its latest weekly assessment report it had received complaints of army involvement in abductions in the north, but claimed that despite the complaints being made public on its website they were yet to be verified. According to the SLMM report the ceasefire monitors had received three complaints on abductions during the week August 6 to 12 and in two of the cases, the army was alleged to be the perpetrator. more..

UNP urged to re-join APRC

Aug 18 (SAMN) APRC Chairman Prof. Tissa Vitharana appealed to the UNP leadership to set aside petty political differences and join the fray in seeking a sustainable solution to the burning national issue. Prof. Vitharana told the Cabinet press briefing he was sorry about the UNP General Secretary's announcement on their withdrawal from the APRC meetings, based on unfounded allegations, despite their earlier undertaking in writing, stating that they would submit their proposals before August end. more..

President meets Nobel Prize Laureate Prof. Mohammed Unus

Aug 18 (GDI) Nobel Prize Laureate Prof. Mohammed Unus who is in Sri Lanka to take part in the sixth anniversary summit of the South Asia Free Media Alliance (SAFMA), paid a courtesy call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees yesterday. The credit of initiating the ‘Gameen’ concept in Bangladesh goes to Prof. Unus. The main aim of this concept is provides credits to the poor people without any collateral. more..

Foundation laid for Batticaloa new market building

Aug 18 (TN) The foundation stone for the new market to be constructed in Batticaloa Municipal council area was laid Thursday morning at 10:00 a.m. in the presence of a number of officials including M.Uthayakumar, Commissioner of Batticaloa Municipal Council, Ignazio, Director of Planning, USAID, and Muralitharan Batticaloa-Ampara programme co-coordinator. The new market to be constructed at a cost of 42 Million Rupees funded by USAID will include modern shopping avenues. more..

SL Tamil detainees on hunger strike in Tamil Nadu

Aug 18 (TN) Two Sri Lankan Tamil detainees, on hunger strike from Tuesday in Chenkalpet Special Detention Centre (CSDC), are loosing consciousness, and were admitted to Chenkalpet government hospital Friday, sources in Chenkalpet said. 17 detainees in CSDC for Sri Lankan Tamils are on a hunger strike demanding release since Tuesday. Local officials turned down detainees' request to meet higher government authorities to convey their grievances, and the hunger strike continues. more..

US helps refurbish Trincomalee, Kinniya markets

Aug 18 (TN) Breaking ground for refurbishment of Trincomalee market, Deputy Chief of Mission at U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka, James R. Moore, said "The U.S. Government is proud to be able to contribute to the refurbishment of this market, which is important to the economic and social life of Trincomalee. The coming months and years will be a decisive and exciting period for Trincomalee and the East. We hope there will be new opportunities for people of all communities," more..

NGO quizzed over unethical conversions

Aug 18 (SAMN) The Parliamentary Select Committee on NGOs has questioned a leading international charity organisation regarding unethical religious conversions mainly in rural parts of Sri Lanka. The Committee which met last week summoned two representatives of the World Vision for questioning on allegations made against the organisation. Giving evidence before the Committee, a former employee of the organisation said programmes had been launched in areas such as Lunugamvehera in the Hambantota district targeting rural people. more..

CMC won’t be suspended: Chief Minister

Aug 18 (SAMN) Chief Minister of Western Province Reginold Cooray ruled out the suspension of Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) till the commission inquiry is over. The Chief Minister told journalists Friday he will not take any decision without looking at the commission report. “I would have never appointed a commission if the council was going to be suspended before the commission of inquiry is concluded,” he said. more..

Rs. 36.15 billion for subsidies

Aug 18 (DN) The Government has allocated Rs.36.15 billion from last year's budget to provide subsidies to alleviate the Cost of Living burden on the public, said Media Spokesman and Information and Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa at the Weekly-Press briefing on Thursday. He said the Government's intention is to reduce the economic burden of the ordinary people by providing maximum relief. more..

Rise in Chinese schols for Lankan students

Aug 18 (DN) The number of scholarships granted by the Chinese government to Sri Lanka has increased, Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Ye Dabo said. He was speaking at a reception for Sri Lankan students who have returned from China or will go to China to pursue higher education at the Chinese Embassy on Thursday. Education Minister Prof. Wiswa Warnapala and Nihal Rodrigo, Advisor to President and former Sri Lankan Ambassador to China were also present at the reception hosted by the Ambassador. more..

Student indiscipline in universities

Aug 18 (DN) In the last few weeks, violence among undergraduates have become endemic and the sporadic incidents of violence resulted in the closure of the universities for weeks and months, resulting in the failure to work according to the calendar of the University. No university, because of the nature and pattern of organised violence among the undergraduate community, can work according to established university calendar, and the failure to work according to the calendar cost the nation billions of rupees. more..

First the elephants, now the Tigers: Madushani in tears

Aug 18 (DM) A weeping Colombo University student Anusha Madushani is still waiting for the return of her father allegedly abducted by the LTTE two days ago, while keeping watch over his paddy field adjoining the Wilpattu National park. The man identified as 48-year-old U.P. Karunaratne is a father of four and a resident of Pemaduwa, Villachchiya. “The police launched an extensive search in the adjoining Vilpattu jungle, with the aid of villagers. But were unable to make headway. The police have given up the search now,” more..

Exam chief marks disrupting teachers for stern action

Aug 18 (DM) Commissioner General of Examinations, Anura Edirisinghe, said yesterday that he would take ‘stern legal action’ against anyone attempting to sabotage his duties related to the ongoing Advanced Level exam. Mr. Edirisinghe was responding to the activists of five teacher trade unions who tried to disrupt a seminar organized for teachers selected for paper marking this time, on Thursday at Royal College, Colombo. more..

Kumar Ponnambalam: A Tragic Loss

Aug 19 (MJ) Kumar Ponnambalam was the proud son of a more proud father. Kumar’s brutal killing by an assassin’s bullet was indeed a tragic loss to the Sri Lankan Tamil community and it stifled the independent voice of a leader who expressed his opinions without fear or favour. My association with Kumar dates fifty years ago when we were both schoolmates at Royal College, the prestigious educational institution in Sri Lanka. more..

MIG-27 deal legal says Govt.

Aug 19 (BBC) Government of Ukrain has not ordered a probe into the alleged deal for procurement of four Mig - 27 fighter jets by Sri Lankan military, says Director General of the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) Lakshman Hulugalle. Talking to Sandesaya, Hulugalle dismissed newspaper reports. "The Ukranian government has not acknowledged about such an investigation", he said. more..

The War with the World

Aug 19 (AT) The UN Secretary General called it “unacceptable and unwarranted” and he was not off the mark. The remarks by the Chief Government Whip, Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle on the UN Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs, John Holmes were remarkable for their inanity. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama hastened to limit the damage by declaring that Mr. Fernandopulle was not expressing the opinion of the government when he called Mr. Homes ‘a terrorist’ taking bribes from the Tigers. more..

First Sri Lanka Buddhist Mission to Germany to be honored

Aug 19 (AT) The First Sri Lankan Buddhist Mission to Germany 50 years ago (1957-2007) will be honoured at a grand ceremony at the Savsiripaya Auditorium, Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo 7 on August 22. The Sri Lanka Government's Philatelic Bureau will mark the event with the issue of a commemorative postage stamp and First Day cover. more..

Sacred Nallur Kantha Swamy festival attracts thousands of devotees

Aug 18 (AT) The annual festival of Nallur Kantha Swamy festival in Jaffna, Sri Lanka commenced yesterday with Kodi Etram - the ceremony of flag hoisting to mark the beginning of the festival in the temple. The festival commenced yesterday at 10 AM. The temple festival will be held for the next 25 days. Unlike earlier annual festivals, according to the temple authorities, this year the festival is to be held with subdued version of the pageant and pageantry. more..

Sri Lanka and Africa battle for garment access to the US

Aug 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s apparel exports to the United States could get hit if African countries block proposed tariff cuts on exports from developing countries. Bulk of Sri Lanka’s trade falls under World Trade organization rules – an international body that is working to put in place a rule based global trading system. Tariffs continue to be a significant barrier in world trade. more..

Soldiers kill Tamil rebel in east Sri Lanka, military says

Aug 19 (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers fatally shot an ethnic Tamil rebel Saturday after the insurgent allegedly attacked troops engaged in a search operation, the military said. The rebel attacked the soldiers with a grenade in the eastern district of Trincomalee, an official at the Defense Ministry information center said. Separately in the same district, soldiers arrested two men for carrying hand grenades, more..

No bus strikes until a quality service is provided – Gemunu Wijerathna

Aug 19 (LT) Chairman of the Private Bus Owners Association, Mr.Gemunu Wijerathna says that there will be no more bus strikes until a qualitative transport service is provided. He says the aim is to provide relief to the commuters who have been in convenienced by bus strikes and improper transport service. He said there will be no bus strikes in the future even if there are fuel price increases and Private Bus Owners Association has decided to educate the bus owners about a qualitative and responsible bus service to the people based not only profit making. more..

UNP wants to substitute ministers’ faces with theirs! - Anura Dissanayake

Aug 19 (LT) The aim of the UNP in protesting against the government is not to completely change the present economic policy, stop fraud and corruption and bring in a competent administration but to substitute the faces of the present ministers with theirs and continue the economic policies carried out by the present administration and engage in frauds and corruptions in superior ways says JVP Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake. more..

Everything in Sri Lanka has been privatized! - Sarath Amunugama

Aug 19 (LT) All spheres in Sri Lanka have been already privatized says Minister of Enterprise Development & Investment Promotion Sarath Amunugama. He said this at a ceremony held in Colombo. Making the keynote speech of the ceremony Dr. Amunugama said, “Today Sri Lanka is a good capitalist country. Except for a few estates majority of our estates are owned by the private sector. more..

Chandrika failed miserably to rally support for Samaraweera and Wickremesinghe coalition

Aug 19 (AT) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has got herself involved in active politics by trying to rally support for her political allies, the new coalition of Mangala Samaraweera and Ranil Wickremesinghe, immediately after her arrival in Sri Lanka, two popular Sunday newspapers in Colombo, the Sunday Divaina and Rivira, revealed in prominent news features. more..

Defence Secy. meets soldiers in Jaffna

Aug 19 (GDI) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who addressed a section of Armed Forces members in Jaffna yesterday briefed on security measures to be taken against future possible attacks by LTTE targeting Security Forces and important civil installations in the peninsula. He met Senior Military Officers, Officers, Other Ranks and Police Officers serving in Jaffna at the Security Forces Headquarters Jaffna (SFHQ.J) during his one day visit to Jaffna. more..

Poverty can be eradicated: Yunus

Aug 19 (Hindu) Nobel laureate and noted economist, Mohammad Yunus, is of the firm belief that poverty could be put into museums by unshackling the existing economic and social systems created by humans. Delivering the key note address at the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) here on Saturday on the theme of “peace and poverty”, Dr. Yunus argued that poverty is the cause of theoretical framework on assumptions which underestimate human capacity and concepts which are too narrow. more..

Amnesty appeals on behalf of three men extradited from Thailand

Aug 19 (LNP) Amnesty has placed an "Urgent Action" tag on the case of two Tamils and a Sinhalese extradited to Sri Lanka from Thailand on August 14 who were arrested on arrival and remain in CID custody. The three suspects, Sujith Gunapala, Sasikaran Thevarajah and Satyaphavan Aseervatham had sought asylum in Thailand which was denied. They were arrested on arrival here and were in "grave danger of torture," Amnesty said. more..

Sandagiri boarding UNP bandwagon?

Aug 19 (LNP) Former Navy Chief Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri is scheduled to join UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake and former national cricket captain Hashan Tillekeratne to conduct a workshop to promote patriotic feelings among the young generation organized by Junior Citizens Club of Sri Lanka. The event is scheduled to be held at the auditorium of the National Library on August 26th at 10 am.

Murali Manager: He Will Be Fine

Aug 19 (LNP) Muttiah Muralitharan will use negative comments from Australian crowds to spur him on to break Shane Warne`s record for Test wickets, according to his manager Kushil Gunasekera. The 35-year-old off-spinner is eight wickets short of Warne`s record of 708 scalps, and looks likely to pass the mark when Sri Lanka face Australia in Tests in Brisbane and Hobart in November. more..

Shooting ourselves in the foot

Aug 19 (LNP) As our incisive and perceptive columnist, Tisaranee Gunasekara, points out today, the war with the LTTE is far from over and it cannot be fought to a successful conclusion without the support of the international community. In the circumstances, she asks whether it makes sense to adopt the aggressive and abrasive postures evident in recent weeks against various foreign functionaries who have said some things that are not music to our ears. more..

APRC to wrap up landmark draft

Aug 19 (SAMN) The All Party Representative Committee will meet on Tuesday, to finalise a landmark draft on devolution with the province as the unit of devolution, amidst protests from the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU). Political sources said the Draft , which is to be handed over on Tuesday is a rejection of the positions taken by the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna and the JHU. The Draft offers Buddhism the foremost position, while the rights of other religions are guaranteed. more..

Fundamentality and mentality — Ranil, Mahinda and Chandrika

Aug 19 (LB) It was something that barely hit the media radar. Maybe, like all other radars in this country, the media radar was not working last week. Or maybe, the news went under the media radar, as aircraft quite often do under Air Force Radar in this jolly island. But, when Ranil Wickremesinghe said last week that President Rajapaksa is a “mental case” the media was so horrified that it took care not to risk being hauled up for defamation. more..

The whole truth

Aug 19 (LB) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe returned to Colombo on Sunday after attending the UNP and SLFP (M) public rally in Matara. Later that day, he left for New Delhi via Chennai. Midway, he telephoned Tissa Attanayake. “Tissa, the media has not reported the whole speech I made in Matara,” he told the UNP General Secretary. “So please have the entire speech published in our ‘Kunchanada’ newspaper and ensure that it is distributed.” more..

Edgy silence overshadows military build up

Aug 19 (LB) Last week, the Wanni front was unusually calm, partly because of the unofficial truce agreed between the two warring parties during the Madhu festive season. Yet, this uneasy silence could be mischievous. A senior military official described the situation as one of “ both sides are poised to attack”. The question is, who will attack the first. The government has made known its military ambitions to capture the Tiger strongholds of Mullativu and Kilinochchi and more..

‘Everybody is trapped today including Mahinda’

Aug 19 (LB) Minister Rauf Hakeem, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader, tells LAKBIMAnEWS staffer NAMINI WIJEDASA that he has a love-hate relationship with President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Ln: Will the President go for an election? Rh: It all depends on what’s going to happen towards the end of the year. Ln: Would you support the Government at the budget? Rh: We have no reason not to support them. But we need to see what they will come up with. more..

Tigers fortifying for an imminent onslaught?

Aug 19 (NS) The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was seen fortifying its outfit in Madhu during the temporary ceasefire period, with the expectation of an apparent onslaught by the security forces. When The Nation visited Madhu last week, no LTTE cadres clad in uniform were visible, as they were busily strengthening their bunkers and digging large trenches to stop heavy military machines from entering into the uncleared area. more..

Ministers unhappy over salary hike for Ind. Commission heads

Aug 19 (NS) Controversy surrounds over the implementation of a Cabinet decision taken last December to increase the allowances paid to chairmen and members of Independent Commissions, under the 17th Amendment to the Constitution. The Cabinet decided last December (2006), to increase the allowances of the chairmen of these Commissions from Rs. 25,000 per month to Rs. 65,000 and the members from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 30,000 per month. more..

A terrible story

Aug 19 (NS) The recent news reports about the much maligned Mercedes Benz belonging to Ven. Ellawela Medhananda Thero have fuelled controversy not only about the games that politicians play but also about the concept of justice and fair play in this country. Does the rule of law operate in Sri Lanka anymore? Maybe it does, but then, does that apply to everyone or is it implemented selectively for the benefit of some and to the detriment of others? more..