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Batti Army Chief wants Karuna group disarmed: SLMM

Aug 4 (LNP) The debate whether to disarm or not to disarm Karuna continues with a senior army officer telling the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission he felt the Karuna group, also known as the Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Pullikal should be disarmed if normalcy was to be restored to the east. Major General Daya Ratnayake, Batticaloa District General Officer Commanding (GOC) 23 Division, expressed this view at a meeting with the SLMM recently. more..

`Hang me now,` says former Basnayake Nilame

Aug 4 (LNP) The former Basnayake Nilame of the Ratnapura Saman Dewale created an emotional scene in Courts yesterday crying out that he be hanged immediately claiming that his self respect and image had been devastated after death penalty was imposed on him over the killing of his mistress more than eight years ago. `Hang me here now. This murder has destroyed my self-respect and today it destroyed my soul too,` more..

Police say sorry to Kataragama pilgrims

Aug 4 (LNP) The police department yesterday apologized to devotees who were assaulted by a police officer while they were engaged in a ritual in the Menikganga on Thursday. It said the assault was a shocking and highly undisciplined act. The Police Department said Police Chief Victor Perera had given written instructions to Southern Range DIG Jayantha Gamage to identify and interdict the police officer concerned immediately and follow up with prompt disciplinary action against him. more..

A`sangaree advises Jaffna students to avoid demos

Aug 4 (LNP) TULF leader V. Anandasangaree, in a statement from London yesterday condemning the killing of Jaffna University student Sahadevan Nilakson, but advised students in Jaffna to avoid participating in demonstrations and agitations until normalcy returns to the peninsula. The statement further said: `This is not the first time a University student is killed in this manner in the North and may not be the last one, too. more..

Rackets in the dark: UNP

Aug 4 (SAMN) The main Opposition UNP Friday charged that under the ‘Rising of the East’ programme the government had planned a major timber racket in the recently liberated Thoppigala area while plundering other natural resources such as sand and fisheries. Party front liner Lakshman Kiriella said the ‘Rising of the East’ was the biggest propaganda blitz of the ‘Rajapaksa quartet’ and it failed to fulfill pledges made to the people in the south in the run up to the Presidential Election. more..

Govt. to open up 100 CWE shops

Aug 4 (SAMN) In a bid to provide essential commodities to the people at controlled prices action will be taken to open within two months one hundred CWE shops throughout the country and one hundred ‘Coop Super’ shops through co-operative unions. In addition five CWE wholesale centers will be established immediately at Weerawila, Ampara, Embilipitiya, Veyangoda and Nuwara Eliya. more..

Boat with 12 Lankans capsizes in Greece

Aug 4 (SAMN) A woman drowned after a speedboat carrying her and another 12 illegal immigrants from Sri Lanka capsized near the Aegean island of Samos, in Greece on Thursday. According to Greece state television NET the Samos coast guard immediately conducted a search-and rescue operation with the help of helicopters and vessels and the 10 other men and two children travelling on the speedboat were discovered two hours later. more..

School text books on time

Aug 4 (SAMN) Moves are under way to distribute school textbooks before the commencement of the next year's first term by the Ministry of Education. According to the Education Ministry sources, Minister of Education Susil Premajayantha has advised the Education Publication Commission to distribute text books to every student by next January. This is the first time the students will be able to receive their text books at the very beginning of new term. more..

Any group free to leave or join Govt - President

Aug 4 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared yesterday that any party or individual was free to leave or join the Government. In a special interview with our sister newspaper Dinamina, President Rajapaksa stressed that he was not willing to work according to the agendas of various groups. The President recalled that in November 2005 the people gave him a mandate to achieve peace and development and create a peaceful nation. This aim will be fulfilled. more..

Unlawful assault: Police ordered to pay compensation

Aug 4 (DN) The Supreme Court ordered Police to pay Rs. 100,000 as compensation to a trader who was assaulted by a Reserve Police Constable in Habarana. The State was further ordered to pay Rs. 50,000 as costs to the petitioner M.A.M. Sarjun of Kalmunai. The court further directed the Court Registrar to send the copies of the order to the Defence Secretary and IGP for necessary action. more..

Govt. is dying, we won’t protect it, says JVP

Aug 4 (DM) The JVP yesterday said it had no intention to protect the government which was dying ‘a natural death’ today due its own follies. Commenting on the political turnaround after the CWC pulled out of the government, JVP frontliner Vijitha Herath said the government had to face this crucial situation because of its ‘imprudent’ political tie ups with the SLMC, the UNP dissidents and the CWC. more..

Parliament project: Who played out money?

Aug 4 (DM) The Secretary-General of Parliament yesterday requested the Auditor-General to expose those responsible for making irregular payments using funds allotted under the parliament modernisation project. In a report on the ‘Financial Statements of the Project for Modernising Parliament for Democracy and Development’, Auditor General P. A. Pemathilake observed that around Rs. 3 million of project funds had not been properly identified. more..

Sri Lanka denies tampering with massacre probe evidence, citing Australian pathologist

Aug 4 (AP) Sri Lanka did not tamper with evidence in a probe into the execution-style killing of 17 aid workers in the northeast, the Foreign Ministry said, citing an Australian pathologist. The Sri Lankan aid workers — employees of international group Action Against Hunger — were killed in August 2006 in Muttur, amid heavy fighting between government troops and separatist Tamil rebels. more..

Sri Lankan troops kill senior Tamil rebel leader in volatile north, says military

Aug 4 (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers shot dead a senior Tamil Tiger leader when troops pre-empted a rebel attack on a northern defense line, the military said Saturday.Insurgents were preparing to attack the defense line at Nagarkovil in Jaffna peninsula on Friday but were confronted by troops, triggering a fierce gunbattle, an official at the Defense Ministry information center said on condition of anonymity in line with policy. more..

Rajapakse vows to develop and liberate the country from Prabhakaran's insanity, separatism and terrorism

Aug 5 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapakse vowed to develop and liberate the country from Prabhakaran's insanity, separatism and terrorism. He said that there is no turning back from fulfilling the pledges given to the people of this country until such tasks and responsibilities are satisfactorily accomplished. President Rajapakse declared, “We will fully implement the 'Mahinda Chintanaya' we promised to the people." more..

Sri Lanka: Crisis with CWC is just a storm in a tea cup

Aug 5 (AT) Ceylon Workers Congress will rejoin the Government led by President Mahinda Rajapakse soon, may be within a week. Puthirasigamoney MP and Vice President of the Ceylon Workers Congress was oozing with optimism when he said this and affirmed what Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said was correct. more..

The Hearts and Minds Campaign and Why the LTTE will Collapse

Aug 5 (AT) A revolutionary war must achieve two things if it is to succeed - the acceptance and support of the people it represents and a military victory over the opposing armed forces, the first being by far the more important. Mao Tse Tung, the original proponent of guerrilla warfare (against the US-supported Kuo Mintang Chinese government) drew the famous simile of the revolutionary fighters as the fish and the people the water the fish needs to survive. more..

Uncertain Times

Aug 5 (AT) The Rajapakse regime is not quite teetering on the brink; not quite. Government sources predict that the CWC crisis can be resolved by Monday; the CWC maintains that a quick resolution is not on the cards. It is an open secret that the CWC left the government because Presidential sibling and Senior Advisor, Basil Rajapakse launched a verbal barrage against one of its parliamentarians in the most intemperate language. more..

Sri Lanka Under-19 will bounce back, says coach

Aug 5 (CI) Roger Wijesuriya, the Sri Lanka Under-19 coach, felt that all was not lost after his team failed to qualify for the final of the recently-concluded Tri-Nation Under-19s Tournament at home. Sri Lanka didn't win a single match in the tournament, which was won by India. "Give us some time and we will bounce back," Wijesuriya said. The tournament was seen as a preparation for next year's U-19 World Cup in Malaysia. more..

'Mercedez' claims and counter claims

Aug 5 (BBC) The 'controversial Mercedes Benz' is still owned by the JHU leader, the Ven.Ellwala Medhananda Thera, says a spokesman for the JHU, Udaya Gammanpila. The Motor Traffic Commissioner has confirmed that there is no transfer of the vehicle to another person, he told Sandesaya. JHU is not aware of any person by the name of Nishantha Hematha and there is no reason for JHU to abduct anyone,Gammanpila said. more..

"Nobody kidnapped me" complains Benz owner to police

Aug 5 (LeN) Mulsiri Kanakanamge Indika Dilruk Hemantha, the businessman who purchased a Benz vehicle owned by Ven. Ellawala Medhananda, told Homagama police that he had not been kidnapped by anyone last night. Homagama police said that Mr Hemantha who currently lives at No 96/3 Digana Rd, Palanwatta, Pannipitiya, had been traveling last night to Avisawella with a friend Krishantha for a business matter. more..

50% cut off on Chandrika's arrival

Aug 5 (LeN) Government fuel allowances to former President Chandrika Kumarathunga has been cut off by 50% by the Finance Ministry, the minister of finance is the current President Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksha. Former President Chandrika Kumarathunga is due to return to Sri Lanka next week. She has already made inquiries regarding the protection she will be given after her arrival. more..

Don't try to rule the country illegally - Mano Ganesan

Aug 5 (LeN) Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle has made certain improper comments in response to information exposed by me on 26th July at the 'Jana-Rala' rally. This media meet is being arranged in view of these developments. They requested me to help them to develop a secret contact between them and LTTE at the eve of the last presidential elections. This was the information spoke out by me. more..

Sri Lankans build after Dravid finds form

Aug 5 (CI) A polished half-century from Rahul Dravid boosted India's preparations ahead of the final Test at The Oval, one where they need to only draw to seal the series. Dravid's assured 67 led a solid batting effort, allowing the Indians to declare after compiling 238 for 5. The Sri Lankans responded assertively in conditions ideal for batting, stretching their lead to 140 by the end of the day. more..

The Fogotten Accord and the Unwanted War

Aug 5 (FI) The year 2007 has three milestones in Sri Lanka’s political history 50th year of the Banda-Chelva pact, 30th year of founding of the LTTE, and 20th year of Indo-Sri Lanka Accord. They mark the sequential development of an unattended national issue. Undoubtedly, the most significant of them was the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord, signed between Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and President JR Jayawardane on July 29, 1987. more..

Madu Road to open for August festival

Aug 5 (TN) Mannaar Government Agent said that the road to Madu Mary's Church blocked by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) will be opened for public from August 10 to 17 to facilitate devotees to attend the Church festival, sources in Mannaar said. The festival begins with flag hoisting on August 6 and ends on the 15 th. For security reasons, the devotees are asked to take the necessary documents for their vehicles, he said. more..

HRC officials meet detainees at Jaffna prison

Aug 5 (TN) A four-member team of high level officials from Jaffna office of Human Rights Commission (HRC) visited Jaffna prison Saturday to look into the general welfare of the 42 civilians placed under protective custody in the prison after surrendering to HRC seeking protection from the armed forces. The team were on a fact finding mission to obtain first hand information of prison conditions and to learn first hand the grievances of those in protective custody. more..

The annual 10-day festive season of Madhu church begins today

Aug 5 (AT) The annual 10-day festive season of Our Lady of Madhu, commence today. Pilgrims are allowed to go through Uylankulam – Madhu Road. Mannar district Government agent A Nicholaspillai announced this at a conference held on Friday at Mannar district secretariat. In the meantime following the decision by the Ministry of Defence and the LTTE, pilgrims arriving from the South to the shrine are also could now make their journey via the 12 km route from Parayanalankulam junction on the Vavuniya – Mannar Road. more..

The Punch and Judy show

Aug 5 (ANN) Whether the Mahinda Rajapakse government falls or not is a matter largely of salacious interest for most of this country's 20 million people grappling with the problems of everyday living in the context of spiraling prices. Now that various parliamentarians, behaving like the frogs they are, are jumping from side to side, the numbers game has attracted the inevitable media interest. more..

Galle gears up for England

Aug 5 (CI) Work on one of the world's most picturesque cricket grounds, the Galle International Stadium, is going ahead as scheduled to host the third Test between Sri Lanka and England starting on December 18. There was fear that Galle may not host a Test match at all because of the delays the stadium underwent during its rebuilding process following the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami which entirely destroyed it. more..

Rs. 20 lakhs to develop Mahaweli grounds

Aug 5 (GDI) A sum of Rs. 20 lakhs has been allocated to develop the Mahaweli Grounds in Embilipitiya, Minister of Youth Affairs Pavithra Wanniarachchi told a meeting at the Provincial Secretarial office. The Minister said the 19th National Youth Athletic meet will be held on September 8 and 9. Over two-thousand-five-hundred athletes who qualified at Provincial and District Zonal level will compete in the meet. more..

We want a parliamentary select committee on the abduction of Hemantha Nishantha - Ranil

Aug 5 (LT) Opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe said at a press briefing held in Colombo yesterday that he would request the speaker to appoint a parliamentary select committee on the abduction of the entrepreneur, Hemantha Nishantha. Mr. Wickramasinghe said that he would not withdraw the allegation that JHU had a hand in the abduction of Hemantha Nishantha and also said that he has been harassed while being taken after abduction. more..

Ranil fulfills prabhakaran's aspirations - Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thero

Aug 5 (LT) The secretary of the JHU, Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thero says that Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe alleges that the motor car entitled to Ve. Ellawala Medhananda Thero on duty free vehicle permit given to parliamentarians has been sold in line with the wants of the Tigers organizations. He Thero addressing a meeting in Hambantota, said that the JHU is targeted with the intention of weakening the government. more..

Sri Lanka offers market for medical saline start up

Aug 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state health service is offering a five-year contract to buy the output of an investor who builds a saline plant in the island, a senior government minister said. Saline is a sterile solution of table salt (sodium chloride) in water, frequently used for intravenous infusion, rinsing contact lenses and to clear nasal passageways. more..

Cost of Living: Live with it, says Treasury Chief

Aug 5 (LNP) With escalating fuel prices and a rising cost of living, the inevitable thing for Sri Lankans to do is to face reality, according to Treasury Secretary, Dr. P.B. Jayasundera. In an interview with The Sunday Times, Dr. Jayasundera, who is the chief financial officer of the state, said global oil prices had doubled over the past three years and Sri Lanka`s near total dependence on fuel imports had compounded the crisis. more..

Hot potato Benz is registered in monk`s name says RMV

Aug 5 (LNP) The Registrar of Motor vehicles yesterday insisted that the controversial Mercedes Benz vehicle imported on a permit granted to the JHU MP was registered in his department`s records under the name of Ven. Ellawela Medhananda Thera. "I categorically say that the Mercedes Benz car with registration number KH 1715, was registered under the name of Ven Ellawala Medhananda Thera who still owns the vehicle according to the official records of the Department of Registrar of Motor Vehicles and Commissioner of Motor Traffic," Commissioner B.Wijeratne said. more..

Buddhist leaders say God TV on Dialog no threat

Aug 5 (LNP) A month after 24-hour `The Buddhist` channel was launched by Dialog TV, the company has now launched a new channel without much fanfare ? `GOD`, the evangelical channel of the American New Church.`It is now available to Sri Lankan viewers on request,` Dialog General Manager Nushad Perera said. `We have not made it available for every one as we are a Buddhist country. Subscribers who want it can call our customer hotline and request activation. There will be no charge on this,` Mr. Perera said. more..

Cheap flights trigger rush for Indian visas

Aug 5 (LNP) The demand for Indian visas has witnessed an unprecedented surge with Mihin Air`s budget flights contributing significantly towards heavy passenger volumes to Sri Lanka`s giant neighbour. More and more Sri Lankans take wing during the July-August peak season to participate in many important religious festivals in diverse parts of India, says Vinaya Kumar, Counselor (Consular) at the Indian High Commission in Colombo. more..

It’s almost a minority Govt. now

Aug 5 (SAMN) The Sri Lanka Freedom Party led United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) coalition is facing the risk of being downgraded to minority government status, as alliance members, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and Up Country People’s Front (UCPF) sent mixed signals over joining opposition ranks following the resignation of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) from the government on Thursday, informed political sources said. more..

Chikungunya back again

Aug 5 (SAMN) With eighteen cases of chikungunya reported last week from Matale district and the number of dengue patients on the rise, health officials warn the public to be watchful of their immediate surroundings and use preventive methods which discourage mosquito breeding. Health Ministry Epidemiology Unit Deputy Director Dr. Paba Palihawadana confirmed that the cases reported from Matale were chikungunya infected. more..

CWC wants public apology from President

Aug 5 (SAMN) The Politburo of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) which met here on Friday decided to demand a public apology from President Mahinda Rajapaksa if its leaders are to withdraw their resignations and for the party to support the Government again. This is allegedly on the grounds that the President’s brother Senior Advisor Basil Rajapaksa had made derogatory remarks about them. However in Colombo Rajapaksa denied he ever made any such remarks. more..

Resume talks: Expat Tamils pressure LTTE

Aug 5 (SAMN) The Democratic Forum comprising a cross section of expatriate Tamils including former members of the LTTE from Europe and Canada has appealed to the LTTE hierarchy in the Wanni to resume the peace process and expedite ways and means of finding an early settlement to the ethnic crisis. The Forum at its recent two-day meeting at Stuttgart, Germany has also urged the expatriate Tamils to mobilise all their resources to find a durable solution to the ethnic crisis in the country instead of funding the LTTE to continue with its arms struggle, more..

Bus owners stick to guns

Aug 5 (LB) Private bus owners are sticking to the threat to carry out an islandwide strike on Wednesday unless their demands are met. The announcement by the Private Bus Owners Association comes in defiance of a request by the Commissioner General of Examinations Anura Edirisinghe to put off their protest until the G.C.E A/L Examinations were over. The Advanced Level examinations is scheduled to commence tomorrow (August 6). more..

RURAL VERDICT: It’s not the war, it’s corruption

Aug 5 (LB) The rising cost of living has irked the people in the rural areas and they are up in arms against the indiscriminate price hikes on all commodities, they urge the government not to give the war as an excuse for the spiralling cost of essential commodities. Speaking to a cross section of the people living in the urban areas, they were of the view that the cost of living was always a problem for the poor man. more..

Perpetuating the under-educated elite class?

Aug 5 (LB) The Supreme Court on Monday approved the draft circular on the national policy for school admission and management of schools, after incorporating its own amendments. The Court has ordered public schools to call for applications for grade one admissions for next year from August 15. Among the highlights of this new admissions policy are: *Minister’s son or daughter gets 10 points *15 marks for degree holders’ sons or daughters, 8 for O/L qualified parents’ sons or daughters *50 marks for “Intelligence and aptitude” of child (to be tested.) more..

Thonda scatters govt’s confidence Will it now be Rajapaksa Parivasa?

Aug 5 (LB) Astrologers had a field day, talking of planetary changes midstream. Saturn’s passing from one house to another was said to signal a good deal of upheaval. But it was the numerologists - of sorts — who were having a field day last week. “112’’ they said. The joint opposition now has 112 seats in parliament, and the government has the same amount. Of course who would forget to add that there is a UNP Speaker. more..

Karuna goes wild

Aug 5 (NS) Law enforcement authorities in Batticaloa and other parts of the Eastern Province are allegedly turning a ‘blind eye’ to the continuous complaints been made against the Karuna faction, also known as the Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP). Sources speaking to The Nation on condition of anonymity disclosed that Karuna cadres are running riot in many parts of the East. Karuna cadres are said to be taking ‘virtual’ control of everything. more..

Hakeem tells Government: ‘Take us on board’

Aug 5 (NS) Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader and Minister Rauff Hakeem yesterday deplored the government’s decision to have the development projects in the east supervised by the security forces and police. “It is undesirable,” Rauff Hakeem told The Nation. “Maybe it is transitional, but it is better if it could be avoided.” He also said that there is a conflict prone land issue in the east, admitting that the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) should be resettled; more..

Lifetime ban for A/L students carrying electronics

Aug 5 (NS) Commissioner Examinations Anura Edirisinghe yesterday warned of a ‘lifetime ban’ on students sitting for the 2007 Advanced Level Examination if they are found carrying devices such as mobile phones and watches with calculators at the examination centre. The examination commences tomorrow. “Steps have been taken to prevent even the examination crew – the supervisors and the invigilators-from using mobile phones when they are at the examination centre,” more..

Politics is the name of the game

Aug 5 (NS) Hypothetically, Samaraweera would have to deliver more SLFPers to the opposition to force a general election upon the President. And in the event that does happen, would all these SLFPers be accommodated in the UNP-led lists in the elections that ensue? Would that lead to even more dissent in the UNP, just as much as the Karu Jayasuriya led UNP faction has led to dissent in the SLFP? And would we have a farcical situation where the Jayasuriya-led UNPers are contesting on SLFP-led lists while the Samaraweera-led SLFPers are contesting on UNP-led lists? more..