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Thondaman here and there

Aug 6 (LNP) CWC leader Arumugam Thondaman said yesterday that the party`s representatives in the Provincial Councils and other local bodies would continue to support the government despite the five Ministers and Deputies quitting the government last week. Mr. Thondaman who was in Kotagala over the weekend said they did not have any intention of upsetting the balance of power in the Provincial Councils and local bodies. more..

Close Govt. tab on Holmes visit

Aug 6 (SAMN) The government is keeping a close tab on the ongoing visit by the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes, with media access also being restricted owing to fears that comments by him might paint a poor picture of the current relief efforts. Informed sources said that on the insistence of the government, media access to Holmes has also been restricted during his visit to Jaffna and Batticaloa until a news briefing tentatively scheduled for Thursday. more..

Abduction stage-managed by UNP: JHU

Aug 6 (SAMN) The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) Sunday alleged that Sri Lanka’s Opposition Leader is the first and so far the only opposition leader in the world to have hijacked a vehicle. Addressing a media briefing at Party Headquarters in Nugegoda, JHU strongman and Environment and Natural Resources Minister Champika Ranawaka said he and party Propaganda Secretary Udaya Gammanpila would file defamation cases against Ranil Wickremsinghe for the abduction allegations made against them. more..

Call to regulate education agencies

Aug 6 (SAMN) Agencies sending students for higher education overseas should be regulated by a powerful body in our country, Chairman, Aspiration Education, Ajith Abeysekera said, pointing out that there were no watchdogs to regulate this segment in Sri Lanka. “This is a serious issue. Many organisations played around with the lives of the country’s offspring,” he said. “The Government should take action to protect students from malpractices of foreign educational agencies. more..

No US special envoy to Sri Lanka: Mann

Aug 6 (SAMN) US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Steven R. Mann has said there is no role for a special US peace envoy to Sri Lanka as the United States’ interest is in keeping the political process on devolution moving forward, rather than prescribing particular solutions to the Sri Lankans, according to a transcript of a speech made by him last week. more..

A/L students assured smooth transport

Aug 6 (DN) The Government yesterday assured an uninterrupted transport service to the public including students sitting for the G.C.E. Advanced Level exam, despite threats of an islandwide private bus strike this week. Deputy Transport Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna told the Daily News they will make arrangements to maintain a satisfactory State transport service and avoid inconvenience to commuters, without giving into unreasonable demands of bus owners. more..

SLMC behind Govt, says Minister

Aug 6 (DN) The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) will not support any moves to weaken or topple the government, Local Government Minister Baseer Cegu Dawood said. The SLMC will strive for permanent peace, democracy and national development, he said. The Minister was speaking as chief guest at the prize giving of Al-Muneera Balika Maha Vidyalaya, Eravur. Principal M.J. Rafi-uddin presided. more..

Thirty super markets to be opened in Eastern Province

Aug 6 (DM) The government will establish 30 super-markets called ‘Co-op City’ in the Eastern Province at a cost of Rs.120 million within 60 days under the Rising of East programme to promote trade in the area. Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunawardane told the Daily Mirror yesterday that there would be 10 Co-op City supper markets in each of the three districts in the East. more..

Govt. compelled to buy weapons to combat terrorism: CJ

Aug 6 (DM) Chief Justice Sarath N Silva observed that the government has been compelled itself to buy weapons to combat terrorism and thereby to kill people unwittingly incurring enormous amount of state funds. He made these observations when he declared open the Civil Appeals Court in Vavuniya on Friday. The government has to give priority to protect the country, but when it does other requirements take a back seat. more..

Relief materials to be ferried to Sri Lanka

Aug 6 (NIP) Leader of Thamizhar Desiya Iyakkam Pazha Nedumaran has said that the party volunteers are planning to ferry relief materials to help ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka. Speaking to journalists here on Sunday, he said the cadres would undertake voyage from Nagapattinam and Rameswaram coasts on September 12 carrying relief supplies, including medicine, to Sri Lanka in boats. more..

Three killed in Sri Lanka as UN envoy begins visit

Aug 6 (AFP) At least one soldier and two Tamil rebels were killed in Sri Lanka on Monday as a top UN rights official began a four-day visit to the embattled island, the defence ministry said. The trooper died in a mine blast in the northern district of Vavuniya, the ministry said, adding that four soldiers were also wounded in another blast in the Jaffna peninsula, further north. more..

We will not postpone development projects, says President

Aug 6 (GDI) The President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that the Government has inaugurated massive development programmes in the East emphasized the imperative need for establishment of peace in the North to commence development activities. President also stressed that the highest estimated cost allocated for a development project in Sri Lanka is reserved for the construction work of the Norachchole Power Plant. more..

Human rights group says Sri Lankan government guilty of abuses in fight against rebels

Aug 6 (AP) The Sri Lankan government has committed a wide array of human rights abuses in its fight against Tamil rebels, illegally detaining some opponents, secretly abducting others and waging battles with little regard for the safety of civilians, a human rights group said Monday. In a sharp rebuke to the government, New York-based Human Rights Watch called for the creation of a U.N. human rights monitoring mission in Sri Lanka and more..

Sri Lanka says no credible evidence for abuse charges

Aug 6 (AFP) Sri Lanka said Monday there was no credible evidence for a rights group's claim that government forces were responsible for intensifying abuses on the island, such as unlawful killings and abductions. "These allegations are not based on credible evidence," Sri Lanka's defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said after the New York-based body Human Rights Watch issued a report detailing the allegations. more..

Top former Sri Lanka diplomat appointed to Dialog Telekom directorate

Aug 7 (LBO) Jayantha Dhanapala, a top former diplomat, has been appointed to the board of Dialog Telekom, the celco said Monday in the stock exchange filing. Dhanapala was a former Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs at the United Nations and had also been a prospective candidate for the post of Secretary General. Dialog Telekom, a unit of Telekom Malaysia, is the country's largest celco with a market share of 60 percent. more..

JHU abducted me; I said no because they forced me to say

Aug 7 (LeN) Hemantha Nishantha, the businessperson who has purchased the Benz car imported through the duty free license of the JHU monk MP Ellawala Medhanada Thero has submitted an affidavit to the Opposition Leader that he was abducted by a group linked to the JHU and was intimated asking for to return the vehicle. He has mentioned in the affidavit that he stated to the Homagama police station that he was not abducted because the abductors forced him to do so and were present in the police station while he made the statement. more..

UN relief chief calls on Government to probe aid workers’ murders

Aug 7 (UN) Terming the killings a year ago today of 17 Sri Lankan aid workers “probably the single worst crime committed against humanitarian workers in recent history,” the top United Nations humanitarian official called on the Government to investigate “with the full weight and force of the justice system” the crime that has seemingly become a cold case. “A full year has passed since this crime. No one has been apprehended or charged, and in many ways we seem little nearer to the truth,” more..

Spinners bowl India Under-19 to big win

Aug 7 (CI) A superb display from the India Under-19 bowlers helped their side to a 182-run victory against Sri Lanka U-19 in the first Test at the Colts Cricket Club ground in Colombo. Chasing 278 to win, the Sri Lankans were bowled out for 95, thanks chiefly to spinners Shiv Prakash and Ravindra Jadeja, who shared seven wickets between them. With the target out of reach, Sri Lanka had to play out time to salvage a draw but lost their last five wickets for eight runs in 74 deliveries. more..

Atapattu released from national contract amid reported links to Indian rebel league

Aug 7 (AP) Sri Lanka's cricket officials on Monday released former captain Marvan Atapattu from his national contract amid speculation the batsman may join a controversial league in India. Atapattu who is currently in England playing for Lashings World XI had written to Sri Lanka Cricket requesting release from his contract with the board. "We are releasing him from the contract from Oct. 1," cricket secretary Kangadaran Mathivanan told more..

Minister 'abducted' entrepreneur

Aug 7 (BBC) A powerful minister in President Rajapaksa's government is accused of ordering an abduction to clear his party's name over a car sale fraud. Munsiri Kankanamge Indika Dilruk Hemantha accused a close ally of President Mahinda Rajapaksa of threatening, abducting and trying to kill him. Hemantha who has bought the luxury vehicle from leader of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) party, Ellawala Medhananda thero, said he was threatened to sell the car back by two senior JHU leaders. more..

Residents in Iranawila and Mundalama sub-villages cry for water, housing and livelihood projects

Aug 7 (AT) Residents of Iranawila -west , Akkaraseeya, Marichchakattuwa and suburbs villages in Chilaw and Mundalama ask for pipe-borne water , housing , basic infrastructure and livelihood projects to build their own economy, but authorities still remain blind and deaf. A number of families said that they have no permanent livelihood and the authorities have locked plans to develop these areas. more..

'Good governance; the key towards the development of a country'

Aug 7 (AT) “Identifying what is good Governance is very important, here in Sri Lanka our Idea of good governance must be constructed by our ideas of religion, culture and regional issues,” stated the prime Minsietr Rathnasiri Wickramanayake. Prime Minister delivering the keynote address at the inauguration of the International Leadership Conference today at Colombo stated the above. more..

Sri Lanka remembers 17 slain aid workers

Aug 7 (AP) Aid workers honored 17 colleagues killed execution-style a year ago Monday in eastern Sri Lanka, demanding that the government bring their killers to justice. The workers, all employed by the international relief agency Action Against Hunger, were found dead after a fierce battle between the government and Tamil rebels in the town of Muttur. The killings infuriated the international community, and more..

Summary of Latest HRW Report: Human Rights under Siege in Sri Lanka

Aug 7 (TC) This is the summary of the latest report released by the New York based Human Rights Watch organization on Sri Lanka: What I am saying is, if there is a terrorist group, why can’t you do anything? It’s not against a community… I’m talking about terrorists. Anything is fair. –Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, June 12, 2007. My wife was bathing at the well near my hut. I heard one big boom and saw smoke. more..

Wobbly Sri Lanka

Aug 7 (EC) The government of Mahinda Rajapakse, Sri Lanka's president, has been hit by the apparent withdrawal of a minor coalition partner, the Ceylon Workers' Congress (CWC). If confirmed, the CWC's move would be a further symptom of the growing parliamentary volatility of recent months, reflecting opportunistic shifts in political allegiances and, in particular, the destabilising entry to the coalition of a large number of opposition lawmakers. more..

More than 4,500 Sri Lankan IDPs return home in Trincomalee district

Aug 7 (UNHCR) Welcoming visitors into her home made from UNHCR plastic sheeting, Singaranvel, a 47-year-old mother of three, wears a broad smile. Today she has a good reason to smile: after 16 months on the run from Sri Lanka's civil war, she and her family are about to go home from the Kilivetti IDP transit centre in the Trincomalee District of eastern Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka port to add more berths for feeder vessels

Aug 7 (LBO) Colombo port's state-owned container terminal plans to add more berths for feeder vessels in an effort to improve productivity and reduce congestion caused by growing cargo flows and tighter security. The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) will introduce four new feeder berths for the smaller container vessels that call at the harbour from ports in the region from where cargo is transshipped through Colombo. more..

In Pictures: Paintings Speaking for Humanity

Aug 7 (TC) Jagath Weerasinghe is an Artist and Archaeologist. He is a Senior Lecturer at the Post-Graduate Institute of Archeology of the University of Kelaniya. Very few artists bring out creations on the prevailing socio-political climate of the country. For Jagath Weerasinghe, the imagery of the infamous photograph of a Tamil youth stripped naked at Borella bus stand and killed in July 1983 focuses his work on these issues. more..

Sri Lanka’s slide into war pleases the arms industry

Aug 7 (KT) PARDON me for dealing with the most hackneyed political criticism of developing countries about the developed world. Much has been said and written about western hypocrisy not only by scribes in developing countries but also by objective western journalists, academics and activists. But writing about it again and again, I believe, will help at least cleanse international politics a little bit, though the efforts may not give birth to a just world order overnight. more..

Security Forces,EPDP and Karuna Group Seemingly Behind Majority of Disappearances Says HRW

Aug 7 (TC) The New York based Human Rights Watch has released a 129 page report on Sri Lanka titled “Return to War: Human Rights Under Siege”. The following chapter reproduced from that report presents an overview of enforced disappearances and abductions and a selection of documented cases. In the coming months Human Rights Watch is expected to publish a detailed report on “disappearances” with detailed analysis and case studies. more..

Dubbed Indian Teledramas Cause Much Damage to Sri Lankan Women

Aug 7 (TC) Some time back I received a very funny e-mail which named the five worst women in Sri Lanka. This e-mail was circulated all over Sri Lanka for a long time. According to the e-mail the worst five women in Sri Lanka were four Indian women who play the main roles in four imported Indian teledrama series continuously telecast over a local television channel and the Sri Lankan woman who watches them all! more..

Can We Have An Independent Parliament Elected on a Non-Political Party Basis?

Aug 7 (FI) Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests; which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates. Parliament is a deliberative assembly of one Nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purposes, not local prejudices ought to guide but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. more..

Core of Sri Lankan Crisis is non-implementation of The Rule of Law

Aug 7 (FI) The prevailing situation of conflict in the country with its heightened emphasis on enforced disappearances and extra judicial executions has, in a sense, pushed the deceptively termed ‘ordinary’ practices of torture by custodial officers to the background. This should not however, be the case; rather, there should be a collective focus on these issues as the same culture of impunity permits these kinds of violations. more..

International Intervention and The limits of National Sovereignty

Aug 7 (FI) When the Burmese junta tells the rest of the world not to interfere in its internal affairs what it means is that it wants to disperse with impunity a democratically elected government which won over 80% of parliamentary seats, locked up Aung San Su Kyi and run the economy to the ground. When the government in Khartoum tells the rest of the world to get its fingers out of Sudan’s internal affairs it means that it is none of anybody else’s business if untold misery and more..

Special Forces Alpha Squad details revealed by media

Aug 7 (ISL) Several days ago, a government television news bulletin showed a group photograph and accompanying video footage of a Sri Lanka army (SLA) Special Forces units who were engaged in the Thoppigala offensive when it was in its initial stages. We were shocked to see the footage because it showed images of the Alpha Squad of 2SF and clearly mentioned the names of its commanders. more..

Sri Lanka's Dialog launches 3G mobile video call service

Aug 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka's top celco Dialog Telekom, a unit of Telecom Malaysia, said Tuesday it had launched a third generation (3G) international video calling service. "The convergence of the internet with mobile communication technologies has created limitless possibilities, and the 3G growth potential in Sri Lanka is immense," Dialog's head of marketing, Nushad Perera said in a statement. more..

Sri Lankan experience scares Indian Oil off foreign retail business: report

Aug 7 (LBO) Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) may put off overseas expansion following its experience in Sri Lanka where it lost money after being forced to under-price fuel and government subsidies got delayed, Indian media reported. State-owned IOC is delaying an entry to Malaysia and Indonesia where oil subsidies are also in place, fearing a repeat of its Sri Lanka experience while US and European markets also had limited potential, more..

Sri Lanka car sales slow with new registrations slumping 30%: distributor

Aug 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka's auto market is slowing with new vehicles registrations slumping 30 percent in the June quarter, a top vehicle distributor has said. Associate Motorways (AMW) a listed firm which has the agency to Nissan of Japan and Suzuki Maruti of India said consolidated after tax profits of the group fell 68 percent to 45.3 million rupees. Group revenue fell 7 percent to 2.5 billion rupees. more..

Sri Lanka cricket beefs up coaching staff

Aug 7 (AFP) Sri Lanka will have a new coaching staff in place from next week to prepare the team for the inaugural Twenty20 world championships in September, an official said on Tuesday. Australian Trevor Bayliss, who was appointed coach after Tom Moody resigned in May, trainer Jade Roberts and assistant coach Paul Fabrice will all arrive here by August 13. more..

If the minister not guilty what happened to the concession funds? Reveal the truth forthwith!

Aug 7 (LT) If the minister Chandrasena says not guilty of Maavila Aru concession fraud government should set up a parliamentary select committee to inquire on 'what happened to the public funds released as farmers' concessions'. MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake says. Mr.Dissanayake, JVP polit bureau member and Kurunegala district parliamentarian said so giving an interview to one of the daily newspapers. more..

UNP attempts to stop foreign aid - Jeyaraj Fernandopulle

Aug 7 (LT) Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, minister and leader of the house accuses that the UNP is in a conspiracy to stop foreign aids channeled from foreign donors. Commenting on the issue further Mr. Fernandopulle today at the parliament said that the UNP is also attempting to stop govt from receiving treasury bonds. more..

Indian Tamil Party to support Mahinda Rajapakse

Aug 7 (AT) The decision of the Ceylon Workers Congress to remain with the Governments augurs well, said Minister Jeyraj Fernandopulle. He expressed optimism that CWC Party members would take up their ministerial portfolios, may be after the arrival CWC Leader Arumugan Thondaman, who is away in India on some business. Minister Fernandopulle said earlier the CWC participated in the Party Leaders’ meeting held yesterday at Sri Lanka President’s office. more..

Former TMVP leader of Kalmunai shot

Aug 7 (AT) An armed group in the East has gone on rampage again. It is reported that they shot and abducted Vinoth 26 years old from Naavithan Veli, of the 11th Colony at Amparai. According to a police report a group of armed men went in the morning and surrounded the house of Vinoth and shot him twice in front of the family members and threw him inside one of their vehicles and took him away. more..

Crash program to rebuild war-ravaged east: housing a top priority

Aug 7 (AT) Sri Lanka Government is involved in a crash program to develop the East, especially in the Batticaloa district under “Negenahira Navodaya" programme. Under this plan priority will be given to help those internally displaced and underprivileged to build permanent houses. Abdul Risath Bathiyutheen - Minister of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services told "Asian Tribune" that Sri Lanka President has shown a keen interest in developing the liberated East. more..

Mangala-Sripathy's exit ill-timed, hints of a secret agreement found in MoU- SB

Aug 7 (AT) The Mangala-Sripathi exit from the government was ill-timed. The MoU between SLFP's Mangala faction and the UNP drops a hint of a parallel secret agreement between them, said S.B. Dissanayake, UNP's national organizer, speaking to Sri Lanka's Sinhala language broadsheet "Lakbima." Dissanayake also said that he has 'no plans to crossover to UNP' and Mangala Samaraweera still needs to bring in more MPs from the government 'to strengthen himself.' more..

Government Abuses Intensify Killings, Abductions and Displacement Soar as Impunity Reigns

Aug 7 (AT) The Sri Lankan government is responsible for unlawful killings, enforced disappearances and other serious human rights violations since the resumption of major hostilities with the LTTE last year, Human Rights Watch said in a report released yesterday. Human Rights Watch documented a dramatic increase in abuses by government forces over the past 18 months, and called on the country’s donors and concerned governments to support a United Nations monitoring mission in Sri Lanka. more..

Foreign Minister briefs leaders during ARF in Manila

Aug 7 (GDI) Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama said that the final draft of the All Party Representatives Committee is focused on bringing the LTTE in to the peace process in order to find a political solution for the national question. Minister stressed this when he met with the USA Deputy Secretary of States and Special envoy appointed by the Government of USA to participate at the Asian Regional Summit- John Negroponte in Manila. more..

UN assures fullest support to develop East

Aug 7 (GDI) The United Nations will extend assistance to developed the recently liberated Eastern province. Visiting UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Sir John Holmes has assured the UN's fullest support for the re-development of the Eastern Province. He made this observation when he called on Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona and officials at the Foreign Ministry yesterday. more..

Minister points out export potential to Australia and New Zealand

Aug 7 (GDI) Minister of Export Development and International Trade Prof. G L Peiris, said that Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand could do much more in improving trade between the three countries. Minister added stated that exports to Australia have grown slightly and that it’s a good sign. Addressing the 12th Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka – Australia – New Zealand Business Council (SLANZBC), more..

Church thanks Govt for opening Madhu Road

Aug 7 (GDI) Many Chiristin organizations and leaders have expressed their gratitude to the government for opening the Madhu Road to facilitate devotees to visit the annual festival of the Madhu Shrine. The Social Arm of the Catholic Bishops' Conference in Sri Lanka, Caritas Sri Lanka - SEDEC has extended its sincere thanks to Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa for the prompt action taken to open the Mannar - Madhu Road to more..