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'Thondaman's resignation will not weaken Govt'

Aug 5 (SO) The decision taken by the Ceylon Workers' Congress Party led by Arumugam Thondaman to resign from the cabinet would in no way weaken the Government. The party should ensure that it is not making the upcountry people 'a scapegoat' for their political gains, according to the statement by the Minister and the Upcountry People's Front leader Periaswamy Chandrasekeran yesterday on the CWC's decision to resign from the cabinet. more..

Oil exploration bids to be finalised by October

Aug 5 (SO) The Ministry of Petroleum Resources will finalise bids by October this year to conduct oil explorations in the Mannar Coastal basin, Managing Director Chevron Lubricants Lanka PLC, Kishu Gomes told the Sunday Observer. He said prior to commencing work on oil exploration two roadshows will be conducted in London and the US which will create more awareness and bring in prospective investors for the project. more..

Thonda's threat: Mountain or a mouse?

Aug 5 (ST) Many times in the past, the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), the largest plantation sector trade union in Sri Lanka, has threatened to quit the Government where it has remained allies. These threats have all been akin to - a storm in a tea cup. Neither did the tea spill over nor the cup ever crack. The clutter of the cup and saucer, or the crowing of the Cockerel, their official party symbol, literally symbolised the mild political turbulence their leaders create. more..

Emergency laws to curb LTTE weapons purchases

Aug 5 (ST) Even if it sounded somewhat innocuous, the new Emergency Regulations promulgated last Monday appeared significant. Regulations gazetted by President Mahinda Rajapaksa under the ongoing State of Emergency seek to prohibit the procurement of a variety of weapons by Sri Lankans. Laws relating to this, particularly the Dangerous Weapons Ordnance, have remained in the statute book for many decades. more..

Tamil rebels sent arms to Abus–Sri Lanka exec

Aug 5 (PDI) Sri Lankan foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama has asked help from the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the largest and only security mechanism in the Asia-Pacific region, to stop Sri Lankan rebels from smuggling arms to other terrorist groups, including the Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines. At the end of the 14th ARF at the Philippine International Convention Center Thursday, Bogollagama said the LTTE, a rebel group in Sri Lanka, had shipped weapons to the Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, more..

Nedumaran says he will go to Lanka to help suffering Tamils

Aug 5 (PTI) Accusing UPA Government at the Centre and DMK government in Tamil Nadu of not helping the suffering Tamils in Sri Lanka, Tamil National Movement leader P Nedumaran today said he would lead a team of volunteers to the strife-torn island nation, carrying medicines and food. Addressing Sri Lankan Tamil Supporters Conference here, Nedumaran claimed that though he had collected food items and medicines worth Rs one crore and had handed them over to the Indian Red Cross, the Centre has not permitted it to take the items to the island nation. more..

Where is Rohan Perera?

Aug 5 (ST) Where is Rohan Perera, the chief of the failed Pramuka Bank? According to some reports, he is somewhere in Europe hiding away from Sri Lankan investigators probing the country’s biggest banking scams in recent history. Even as the Central Bank moved to take over the bank in 2002, Perera, sensing authorities were planning to arrest him, vanished abroad without a trace until he surfaced through a newspaper interview published in Europe. Police are still hunting the former CEO and Interpol is on his trail. more..

MEP reiterates call for undivided Sri Lanka

Aug 5 (ST) The Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) at its 19th party conference unanimously passed a resolution to call upon the people to defeat separatism and terrorism whilst protecting the unitary state, the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. It also invited the JVP to enter into a friendly dialogue and programme with the UPFA. The MEP which held its party conference last week adopted and passed several resolutions which varied from the sky rocketing CoL to economic policy, media policy and foreign policy. more..

3 Tamil Tiger rebels killed in Sri Lanka's volatile north, military says

Aug 5 (AP) Government troops clashed with separatist Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka's volatile north, killing three rebels, the military said Sunday. The clash took place late Saturday in the northern district of Vavuniya, which borders rebel-controlled territory, an official at the Defense Ministry information center said on condition of anonymity in line with policy. He said army troops confirmed that three insurgents were killed in the fighting while the army suffered no casualties. more..

Tigers say 32 civilians killed in Tamil regions

Aug 5 (AFP) At least 32 Tamil civilians have been killed and another 24 "disappeared" last month in Tamil-dominated areas of Sri Lanka's embattled northeast, the guerrillas said. The rebel LTTE blamed government forces for the killings as well as the disappearances from the Jaffna peninsula and the north-eastern areas where Tamils are concentrated. "The worst affected district is Jaffna," the LTTE said, more..

Top UN official to visit Sri Lanka as conflict deepens

Aug 5 (AFP) A top UN official is scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka this week to discuss the island's deepening Tamil separatist conflict and the plight of civilians caught in the crossfire, officials said. John Holmes, the under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, will hold talks with Sri Lankan leaders and also travel to the embattled northern and eastern regions, officials said. more..

Lanka refugees leave Tamilnadu

Aug 6 (BBC) A group of refugees have returned back to Sri Lanka from the southern Indian state of Tamilnadu. 19 refugees who have left Mandapam refugee camp were produced before Mannar magistrate by the Sri Lankan police. The group was earlier arrested by Sri Lanka navy in Talai Mannar. Though the Indian authorities treated them well, it was difficult to find a reasonable job basic facilities were also inappropriate, the refugees said. more..

No foreign funds if Govt tries to implement “Sinhala First” agenda for East

Aug 6 (TC) The economy has ever been the weakest link of SLFP led governments. The current administration is no exception to this general rule. The regime’s handling of economic issues is characterised by incomprehension akin to senselessness, sanguinity akin to frivolousness and unconcern akin to ruthlessness. more..

Mahavamsa proves that Tamils have lived as long as Sinhalese in the island

Aug 6 (FI) Dr. Lankamithra Fernando wrote an article expressing concern that the Sinhalese historical tradition has been used to promote ethnic chauvinism against the non-Sinhala minorities of Sri Lanka. Specifically his purpose was to demonstrate the invalidity of the Pali text as a historical document, perhaps hoping that by invalidating the historical tradition of the Sinhalese, he would be promoting ethnic harmony in Sri Lanka. more..

Transition of Saturn observed at Colombo Hindu Temple

Aug 6 (TW) The leader of the nine planets is Sun. He has two wives-Sayadevi and Ushadevi respectively. Saneeswaran is also known as Sayaputhran. It is said that “Saniyai pol kodupaarum illai; Saniyai pol kedupaarum illai” (there is nobody who will give at the same time obstruct like Saneeswaran). The Saturn (Saneeswaran) moves his house every thirty months. He moved to Simma Rasi on August 5th 2007 at 12.34 pm according to Vaakkiya Panchaangam (almanac). more..

Jaffer and Gambhir help Indians to a draw

Aug 6 (CI) Warding off a scare before the final Test at The Oval, the Indian batsmen held on for a hard-fought draw on the final day of their tour game at Grace Road. The Sri Lankans will rue declaring a bit too late, leaving the Indians an improbable 294 to chase in 57 overs. In the end, they didn't have enough time to polish off the tail. At 152 for 6 with 15 overs to go India were staring at a morale-shattering defeat but Gautam Gambhir's calm half-century, his second of the match, defied the Sri Lankans. more..

Atapattu asks for release from Sri Lanka contract

Aug 6 (AFP) Sri Lanka's former captain Marvan Atapattu has asked to be released from his contract with the national team, cricket officials said Sunday. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chief executive officer Duleep Mendis said that Atapattu had sent a letter requesting to be discharged from the team. Mendis said the SLC, the governing body of the sport here, would take a decision at its committee meeting Monday. more..

India supplies more radars to Sri Lanka

Aug 6 (Hindu) After a gap of a year, India has sent more radars to Sri Lanka to help it ward off the threat of airborne attacks by the LTTE, Defence Ministry sources said. India had resumed non-lethal military aid to Sri Lanka with the supply of two indigenous radars in 2005. This year in January it sent another military radar to Sri Lanka which was followed by the despatch of a similar radar in June. The radars were sent on behalf of the Indian Air Force, the sources said. more..

A prayer for the white van victims

Aug 6 (LD) The meeting was special. An emotional gathering of grieving families of the abducted or the disappeared since September 2005 - people awaiting some information about the fate of their loved ones, still wanting to believe that their family members are in the land of the living. Their tragedy-struck faces told the story. The visages recorded diverse emotions, despair, anger, cynicism, and hopelessness. Some faces were still etched with hope but full of lurking fear. more..

One Way, Mr Ambassador

Aug 6 (AT) The US Embassy vehicle, a white Toyota Landcruiser was observed traveling the wrong way in a one way street on Thursday afternoon. Alfred House Gardens in Colombo 3 is a one Way Street, but the vehicle, with a senior US diplomat seated in the back seat was traveling in the opposite direction and trying to enter Galle Road breaching traffic laws in Sri Lanka. While trying to do so, the Embassy vehicle bearing registration number WP - DP 0130 was seen in a confrontation with another vehicle traveling in the right direction. more..

Response to Dr. Mithra Fernando’s “The Myth of ‘Lion Ancestry”

Aug 6 (AT) Dr. Mithra Fernando wrote an article entitled “The Myth of ‘Lion Ancestry’ & adults only tales of the Lala land” expressing concern that the Sinhalese historical tradition has been used to promote ethnic chauvinism against the non-Sinhala minorities of Sri Lanka. Specifically his purpose was to demonstrate the invalidity of the Pali text as a historical document, perhaps hoping that by invalidating the historical tradition of the Sinhalese, he would be promoting ethnic harmony in Sri Lanka. more..

Fourth Annual "Ten Best Corporate Citizens Award 2007"

Aug 6 (AT) The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in their continuing effort to promote Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) within the business community announced ‘Ten Best Corporate Citizens Awards 2007’ and it would be one of the Main events in the CCC annual events agenda. Awards for the winners would take place on 29 November 2007. This was announced by Prema Cooray, CEO, CCC at a Press Conference held at CCC. more..

East Sri Lanka, the Tamils and History

Aug 6 (TC) The Eastern Province has a land area of 9,361 square kilometers (3,613 square miles). The Tamils have had a presence in the region that goes back two millenia. Successive post-independence governments in Sri Lanka, backed by hardline Sinhalese nationalists, have attempted to deny the Tamil Hindu character of the region. They have attempted to do so through dubious efforts to distort history. more..

Govt must know that East cannot be forced to rise

Aug 6 (FI) Eight thirty pm is a very late hour to be out in the streets of Trincomalee town. Once, a bustling center with a resilient economy, today its shops close early and life comes to a standstill fast. It is not difficult to sense the insecurity and the hopelessness of an area left desolate by the vicious claws of war. One can’t escape the heavy military presence surrounding the area. There is a plethora of issues that have engulfed this already volatile province. more..

The war will be over only if we want it to be over

Aug 6 (FI) “The War Is Over - If YOU Want It” wrote John and Yoko. And John Lenon was a marvelous dreamer. He imagined the world to be one in the mid 60’s, where people would share all the world and live in peace. That was now made into a political promise echoed loud from the Hyde Park platform of the newly launched National Congress, headed by Ranil and Mangala. But, will it remain a dream, though Mangala dared to dream? more..

Sri Lanka smallholder factory in strong recovery

Aug 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Tea Smallholder Factories, has seen strong profit growth in the June quarter, with revenue growing by 57 percent, the company's latest results released to the Colombo stock exchange said. Net profit for the first quarter ended June 30, 2007 shot up 348 percent to 38.7 million rupees from 8.6 million rupees in the same quarter of 2006. more..

I have fulfilled my promise - Minister Devananda

Aug 6 (ISL) A favourable response in respect of a long felt need of the Volunteer Teachers has been received. The cabinet has approved the confirmation of 385 Volunteer Teachers in the Jaffna district. I was able to accomplish this, mainly because of the frequent communication with the volunteer teachers either through letters, telephone calls or through their union, said Douglas Devananda, the Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare and Chairman of the Development Committees of Jaffna and Kilinochchi, more..

Sri Lanka promotes community involvement in war-battered tourist industry

Aug 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's leisure sector should focus more on promoting people development and community involvement to make the tourism industry sustainable, officials say. Top coastal resorts, mostly empty because of the ethnic war, have begun training local trishaw taxi drivers on etiquette and providing parking so they can get business by taking visitors around. Smaller hotels pay commissions to taxi drivers for bringing guests. more..

A Sri Lanka fiscal bomb explodes with little fanfare: fuss-budget

Aug 6 (LBO) The fiscal bomb went off soundlessly, somewhere around Janadhipathi Mawatha and Lotus road in Colombo, leaving little outward signs of destruction. There was debris of course; two 'cancelled' Treasury bill auctions of more than 10 billion rupees each; a Central Bank held treasury bill stock that shot up from 30 to over 50 billion rupees in a matter of days. more..

Indians rescued Prabhakaran when he was cornered by the Sri Lankan forces in the 80s

Aug 6 (AT) Tucked away in one line in The Hindu today (August 06, 2007) is one of the untold secrets of Indian intervention in Sri Lankan affairs: Velupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the Tamil Tiger terrorists, was helicoptered out of Sri Lanka by the Indians when he was cornered by the Sri Lankan Army at Vadamarachchi in the 80s. The Indian helicopters took off from the Hindon military base in Delhi and flew via Thanjavur to rescue Prabhakaran. more..

CWC to sit on backbenches and not to topple government, while UNP group too is suddenly meeting today

Aug 6 (AT) The CWC has just announced that "they will sit on backbenchers and continue to support administration and will not topple the government." Meanwhile, reports revealed that the UNP too has suddenly arranged the meeting of their group at the Parliamentary complex this evening. "The meeting is for reviewing the party activities of last week and discusses the present political situation," the UNP said, but did not elaborate. more..

'When born Christians like me, Ravi and Ranil insult Buddhist monks, “it goes against my grain”'

Aug 6 (AT) Accusations and counter accusations hurled at each other about a Mercedes Benz owned by Venerable Ellawela Medhananda has become the main attraction of UNP politics after Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe ridiculed the Leader of the Jathika Hela Urumaya that Medhananda Thero wanted the vehicle to travel along the Noble Eight Fold Path. The Roman Catholic Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle says that non-Buddhist UNP politicians have made use of the issue to insult Buddhist monks. more..

CWC meeting the President this evening for the first time since crisis

Aug 6 (AT) The Ceylon Workers' Congress (CWC) will come face to face with President Mahinda Rajapakse and the government this evening for the first time since their leaving the ranks last week, reports said. The meet, in an official capacity, will take place at the party leaders' meeting at President's office scheduled this evening. Four CWC MPs will be attending, a CWC official said. more..

Tigers distract Sri Lankan Navy with mock operations to save fleeing cadres from the east

Aug 6 (AT) The Batticaloa – Amparai districts Special Commander of the Tamil Tigers, Jeyam, and his retreating cadres numbering around 275 in all are about to cross to Vanni in one or two days time. According local sources, these Tiger cadres have managed to cross the two main supply route on their way from Toppigala and reached Kumpurupittiya, a coastal village in the north of Trincomalee district. more..

P. Nedumaran to invade Sri Lanka on September 12, another propaganda stunt

Aug 6 (AT) Tamil Nadu rabble rouser and supporter of the LTTE and leader of the Tamil National Movement P. Nedumaran has stated that he would invade Sri Lanka’s war-torn areas carrying medicine and food in support of the Tamil Tigers. Nedumaran threatened the invasion after the Indian Red Cross has refused to carry the material his political organization has collected for the “Tamil people of Sri Lanka”. more..

Civil Administration given priority together with development projects in East

Aug 6 (GDI) Stabilizing the Civil Administration in the recently liberated Eastern Province has been prioritized as the major issue in developing the region. Subsequently the Government has initiated the restoring process of Civil Administration in the region which will be completed with the establishing of all Divisional Secretariats in the Province. Public Administration and Home Affairs Ministry has under taken the task. more..

A/L exam commences today, Bus strike hold over

Aug 6 (GDI) The General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (G.C.E.A/L) examination will commence in 1, 771 centers island wide today (06). According to Examinations Department statistics, a total of 234,958 candidates are eligible to sit for the exam this year aggregating to a number of 189,164 as school candidates and the rest as private candidates. more..

Mega High -Tech livestock farm to East

Aug 6 (GDI) A new mega livestock farm extended in a land area of 8,000 acres will be established in Karadiyan Aru in the Eastern Province. This measure was taken in accordance with the Government’s vision plan to uplift the local dairy industry which has been dominated by the multinational companies over the past several years. Accordingly a state owned land cleared by the Security forces after the liberation of East will be utilized for the construction of the livestock farm. more..

German support vital to achieve peace, prosperity - Minister Peiris

Aug 6 (GDI) Sri Lanka typifies the challenges faced by a developing nation responding within the parameters of a democratic political system to terrorist-induced violence and requires the understanding of legislators guiding Europe’s principal economy to achieve peace and prosperity for her people, Minister of Export Development and International Trade, Professor G.L. Peiris told leaders of the Parliament of Germany in Berlin this week. more..

'Priority to restore Civil Administration in East within 180 days'

Aug 6 (GDI) Priority will be given to restore Civil Administration in the Eastern Province within 180 days, Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister Karu Jayasuriya said. "The establishment of all Divisional Secretariats in the Province without any shortcomings will be my first move," Minister Jayasuriya stressed. There will no racial,religious or political party differences in carrying out development work under the" Negenahira Navodaya"programme. more..

60,000 metric tons of paddy for market

Aug 6 (GDI) The Government has decided to release 60,000 metric tons of paddy to the market from the stores with immediate effect in order to bring the prices down. The General Manager, Agri-Products Marketing S. A. S. Padmasiri said that a kilo of Samba could be purchased at Rs. 19.70 and a kilo of Nadu at Rs. 18.70 from any of the Government stores in Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, Ampara, Hambantota, Trincomalee, Matale, Badulla, Moneragala, Kurunegala and Puttalam districts. more..

Great year for Bourse

Aug 6 (GDI) Both price indices, the All Share Price Index (ASPI) and the Milanka Price Index (MPI) reached their highest ever levels during the year. The ASPI reached its peak on December 1 by recording 2,789.8 points and the MPI reached its all time high on the same day, recording 3,795.2 points. The ASPI recorded a gain of 800.2 points or 41.6% during the year, while the MPI appreciated by 1,260.7 points or 51.4%. more..

Sri Lanka blocked from joining ASEAN by Singapore in 1967

Aug 6 (AN) Sri Lanka missed its chance to join the nascent Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) at a meeting held in Bangkok four decades ago, primarily because of objections raised by Singapore, a Thai daily claimed on Monday. Sri Lanka sent two ministers to apply for membership in ASEAN on August 6, 1967, when foreign ministers from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore met at Thailand's Bang Saen beach resort to hash out the Bangkok Declaration, more..

Yet another attempt to revive Constitutional Council

Aug 6 (LD) Yet another attempt is to be made this week to revive the Constitutional Council (CC), political sources say. The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) appointed to recommend changes to the 17th Amendment is expected to table its suggestions in this regard, to Parliament. The major stumbling bloc to the revival of the CC is disagreement between the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) over minority party representation at the CC. more..

CID probe so far fails to implicate minister in fraud case

Aug 6 (LD) An investigation by the CID into the Mavilaru farmer compensation fraud so far has found no evidence to implicate Minister S.M. Chandrasena in the scam, the CID told the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court today. According to the submissions made by the CID, police has completed investigations into 132 related cash vouchers handed over by the President’s Investigation Unit (PID), while 2,918 more cash vouchers are still under investigation. more..

Akuressa PS Chairman remains in critical condition

Aug 6 (LD) The Chairman of the Akuressa Pradeshiya Sabha Munidasa Gamage still remains in critical condition at the Intensive Care Unit of the Colombo National Hospital (CNH), two days after he was injured in a shooting incident. Two armed assailants on a motorcycle had fired at his Double-Cab vehicle, also carrying his wife and children, at Henpita, while they were returning after opening an Esala Pandal in Pitabeddara at around 10.45 pm on August 04th. more..

CID takes over 2 attacks on undergrads

Aug 6 (LD) The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has taken over investigations into the two separate, uncalled-for attacks on protesting undergraduates close to the Colombo National Hospital (CNH) in recent days. The CID has been asked to probe whether the police personnel had overused their powers on the two occasions and also whether they had used teargas and pressurized water with the knowledge and consent of higher officials, more..

CWC insists it divorced Govt. permanently

Aug 6 (LNP) CWC heavyweight R. Yogarajan yesterday indicated that the split with the ruling coalition was permanent. `We have no intention to return,` the former MP told The Island, rejecting reports that the party politburo had demanded a public apology from President Mahinda Rajapaksa to facilitate a re-marriage. `In fact, we have no right to demand an apology,` he said. CWC leader Arumugam Thondaman and Deputy Ministers Muttu Sivalingam, Jegadeswaran, Sachithanandan and M.S. Sellasamy quit last Thursday. more..

North, East Citizens` Committees to assist Police on complaints

Aug 6 (LNP)The Police have agreed to obtain assistance of recognised Citizens` Committees to record complaints by the public in several districts of the Northern and Eastern Provinces, beginning with the Mannar district, the Presidential Secretariat said. This additional means of citizens` access to the Police for complaints is to be introduced in view of the shortage of police personnel competent in Tamil and the need for police to be more citizen friendly, particularly in these districts, it said. more..

For God`s sake!

Aug 6 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is being given a dose of his own medicine. He pioneered mass protest campaigns like Pada Yathra and Human Chain in the early 1990s to make life miserable for the then President Ranasinghe Premadasa. Today, he has his political rivals resorting to similar tactics. The current Opposition campaign to dislodge his government is gaining momentum. As if the mobilisation of the humble humans were not enough, the Opposition politicians are seeking the help of even divine beings to oust the government. more..