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Tamil family flees Tamil Tigers to save their children from recruitment as child soldiers

July 10 (AT) A Tamil family who escaped the Tamil Tiger dominated Vidaththal-Thivu area with three children told the Mannar Police that they ran away from their home as the Tamil Tigers were intimidating them to give their children to be recruited as child soldiers. “The Tamil Tigers have intensified their campaign to recruit children,” the parents told Pallimunai Police Post after more..

A subsidy for Samurdhi families using kerosene

July 10 (GDI) As a remedial action to the difficulties faced by the Kerosene users due to the price hike of kerosene, the Government has decided to provide the 1,439,000 Samurdhi families a monthly kerosene subsidy. According to the Acting Commissioner General of Samurdhi the subsidy will be deposited in the savings accounts of these families quarterly. more..

Tamil Nadu briefed on true situation of Tamils in Sri Lanka

July 10 (GDI) Sri Lankan minister has briefed the Tamil Nadu media over the true situation of the Tamil citizens in Sri Lanka. During the visit to South India, Minister of Public Estate Management and Development Milroy Fernando addressed several media briefings and informed them the government has taken all possible steps to ensure safety and security of all the people in the country. more..

Tsunami Aid siphoned off to LTTE terrorist activities

July 10 (GDI) An LTTE supporter who has been identified as Rajeevan residing in Australia was charged with multiple terrorism charges over alleged links with the internationally banned LTTE terror movement. The 41 year old suspect was arrested this morning (10). This was another step of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) which is highly focused on trapping terrorists and their supporters as a part of their anti- terrorism efforts linked with the international anti terrorism campaign. more..

42% growth in tax collection

July 10 (GDI) Marking a record 42 percent increase in tax collection, the Department of Inland Revenue has earned Rs. 136.5 billion during the first six months of this year. Commissioner General of Department of Inland Revenue A.A Wijepala said last year they collected Rs 104 billion in the first six months. The Department collected Rs 44,020 million as income tax during this period and this is a 42 per cent growth compared to the same period last year. more..

Sea battle kills LTTE Intelligence leader and 9 others

July 10 (GDI) The navy intercepted fleeing LTTE cadres killing a senior Sea Tiger Intelligence leader and nine others in a fierce fight which erupted in the seas off Pulmodai, defence sources said. According to defence sources, LTTE communications intercepts revealed that senior sea Tiger Intelligence leader Neelan bearing LTTE ID card no: 0018 and nine other Sea Tigers were killed on Saturday in the sea battle between the Navy and the LTTE in Trincomalee. more..

The poor to receive Rs. 75 monthly kerosen subsidy

July 10 (PISL) The Government has decided to grant a monthly kerosene subsidy of 75 rupees to 1,439,000 Samurdhi families shortly. The subsidy will be deposited in the savings accounts of these families quarterly, acting Commissioner General of Samurdhi Hemachandra Ranatunga said yesterday (9). He said President Mahinda Rajapaksa had ordered that the subsidy be granted to those living below the poverty line. more..

USAID Supports Anti-Corruption Plan

July 10 (TW) Under the aegis of the U.S. Agency for Development (USAID) Anti-Corruption Program (ACP), members of the ACP Consultative Council presented a draft National Action Plan against corruption at a national conference attended by more than 200 community activists from across all of Sri Lanka. The draft Action Plan was developed with input from a series of regional workshops in 17 districts conducted for the ACP by the Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA), more..

Independence Day Speech by Ambassador Robert Blake

July 10 (TW) Our chief guest the Honorable Minister of Construction and Engineering Services, other distinguished Sri Lankan dignitaries, Excellencies and other members of the diplomatic corps, fellow Americans, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us tonight to celebrate America’s birthday. On this day each year, Americans gather with family and friends to commemorate the anniversary of the signing of our Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. more..

LTTE Duplicity in the Presidential Stakes of 2005

July 10 (FI) The presidential elections of 2005 saw two candidates before the Tamil people of Sri Lanka. On the one hand there was Mahendra Percival Rajapakse aligned with the JVP and JHU contesting on a Sinhala hard - line platform. On the other hand , there was Ranil Wickremasinghe supported by the SLMC, CWC, Up Country Peoples Front (UCPF) and Western Peoples Front (WPF) contesting on a moderate platform. more..

Telephone charges to come down

July 10 (LNP) The Supreme Court yesterday directed the Sri Lanka Telecom, the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, and the Consumer Association of Sri Lanka to discuss further on the Telecom tariffs and call charges on the basis of the overall reduction by 8.72% The Bench comprised Chief Justice Sarath N.Silva, Justices Raja Fernando and N.G.Amaratunga. more..

Mihin Lanka increasing route network

July 10 (LNP) Mihin Lanka yesterday denied that it was facing financial difficulties over the purchase of aviation fuel from the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. `It is a common practice to have fluctuating balances in terms of fuel purchases done. During the last two weeks Mihin Lanka has expanded our route network, from seven frequencies a week to 30 frequencies a week. more..

UN, child recruitment and NATO

July 10 (LNP) The Karuna Group has taken umbrage over a UN move to name it as a perpetrator of child recruitment in a new report. It complains of a sinister plan to discredit it at this particular juncture. However, there is little that Karuna can do to avoid being shamed so long as there are, as alleged, underage combatants within his ranks. Karuna disputes allegations against his movement and claims he is not engaged in systematic child recruitment. more..

Sri Lanka U-19 skipper plays a selfish game

July 10 (LNP) An enterprising unbeaten 71 in only 45 balls by Kusal Janith was the highlight of the drawn three-day encounter between the Under-19 teams of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh at the Colts ground yesterday. Kushal`s quick-fire innings consisted of four boundaries and five towering sixes. It took him only 32 balls to reach his half ton and he was also associated in a 55-ball 67-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Nisham Mazahir who also made another useful contribution of 32 following his 31 made in the first innings. more..

Sri Lanka rupee ends flat near life lows, shares weaker

July 10 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee ended flat near life lows on Tuesday in thin trade, dealers said, while shares ended weaker lowest since November 2006, as small investors sold select blue chips like Sri Lanka Telecom and Dialog Telekom. The rupee ended flat at 111.53/111.58, with compared to Mondays close, a sliver firmer from its life closing low of 111.53/111.60 per dollar which hit on Thursday. more..

Ministry to get tough with pharmacies

July 10 (DN) Pharmacists in private pharmacies should get through examinations after following the External Pharmacist Training Course made available through the Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry free, Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry sources said. The sources said this has been made compulsory by Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva under the National Pharmaceutical and Cosmetics Act. more..

Ministry Secretary defends NYP draft

July 10 (SAMN) The Youth Affairs Ministry is being unduly criticised following revelations that the draft National Youth Policy (NYP) statement has been plagiarised from the South African NYP, Ministry Secretary S. Wirithamulla said, but assured that the document would be fully reviewed to ensure that ‘a local flavour’ was infused. more..

LTTE deal: Prelate demands truth

July 10 (SAMN) The country must know the truth about the alleged deal struck with the LTTE by the election campaigners of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the run-up to the 2005 Presidential election, National Sangha Council (NSC) General Secretary Ven. Galabodatte Gnanasara Thera said Monday. Addressing the media at the NSC head office, the Thera said the people wanted to know the whole truth. more..

Lanka faces abortion crisis

July 10 (SAMN) There were more than 3,000 abortion clinics in Sri Lanka, with some several major clinics carrying out 200-300 abortions per day, reveals a survey conducted by a graduate student of the Ruhunu University. The survey reveals 37 per thousand women undergo abortion, giving Sri Lanka the dubious honour of performing the largest number of abortions, surpassing all other countries in the world. more..

Mahaweli river contaminated

July 10 (DN) Poor garbage dumping practices and mismanaged sewage systems in the Gampola town have contributed to the contamination of the Mahaweli river which serves as the only source for pipe borne water to the area. The National Water supply and Drainage Board (NWS & DB) warns if the problem is left unattended, there will be a major environmental disaster, not to mention heavy burden of switching into costly advanced water purifying techniques to ensure safe water for the people in the area. more..

Lankan Universities below par, says Minister

July 10 (DN) Sri Lankan universities once ranked among the best in Asia are today in the doldrums due to student agitation, Higher Education Minister Prof. Vishwa Warnapala said. Prof. Warnapala said even India has opted for private universities especially in the medical sphere aiming to match global trends. "But here we have students agitating even at the mere mention of private institutions of learning," the Minister said. more..

Karu promises Citizens’ Charter by August

July 10 (DM) Recruitment of officers to the country’s highest echelon in state administration had been disrupted due to various administrative and policy constraints, Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister Karu Jayasuriya told the Governors and Chief Ministers (CMs) yesterday. The holding of the examination was further disrupted this year when some applicants went to courts challenging the recruitment procedure. But they would be held annually from this year onwards, he added. more..

Judge raps DIG for unbecoming conduct

July 10 (DM) Kandy High Court Judge Nalin Perera ordered State Counsel Chamindra Wickreme last week to consult the Attorney General to consider steps that should be taken regarding the conduct of the Central Province DIG (West) Berty Harold Gopallawa (a witness in a murder case), which amounted to contempt of court. The DIG is a vital witness in a case where one T. Subawickreme is indicted for the killing of one Sugath Kumar at Ragala on or about November 27, 1998. more..

Sri Lankan Airlines night flying on hold

July 10 (LBO) SriLankan airlines will fly only during daytime till mid-September, to ensure that connections are available to other airlines and insurance fees are negotiated, the airline said Tuesday. "SriLankan Airlines is currently reviewing its operations and expects to revert to its original schedule, which includes night time operations, by 15th September 2007," the airline said in statement. more..

Amnesty International urges LTTE to live up to its pledge to end child recruitment

July 10 (AI) On 18 June 2007 the LTTE released 135 child soldiers and pledged to rid its ranks of all children under 18 by the end of the year. Amnesty International welcomes the release of these soldiers as well as the commitment by the LTTE to stop child recruitment. The LTTE must immediately return all remaining child soldiers to their families and engage in transparent procedures with UNICEF to reunite remaining child soldiers with their families. more..

Whatmore's surprise at Ranatunga 'criticism'

July 10 (CI) Dav Whatmore has expressed his surprise and disappointment at reports that Arjuna Ranatunga, the former Sri Lanka captain, has advised the PCB against hiring him as their next coach. According to PTI, Ranatunga had a chance encounter with Talat Ali, the Pakistan manager, in Scotland recently. When asked for his thoughts on Whatmore as an option, given that the two had worked together extensively and led Sri Lanka to their 1996 World Cup triumph, Ranatunga reportedly offered the advice that Whatmore should be avoided. more..

Tigers slow Sri Lanka advance on key jungle base

July 10 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels in the east of Sri Lanka are showing stiff resistance and have slowed a military advance on a strategic jungle base, defence authorities here said. Government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters that the Tiger rebels were still holed up in a small area known as Thoppigala, adding that they had buried mines and were slowing the military campaign. more..

Bomb kills 5 in rebel-held north Sri Lanka: monitors

July 10 (Reuters) A roadside bomb killed five people, including Tamil Tiger insurgents, in an apparent ambush in rebel-held territory in Sri Lanka's far north on Tuesday, Nordic truce monitors said. The attack in Mankulam, along the island's main north-south artery that spans government and rebel territory, is the latest in a spree of roadside bombs attacks in recent months, the vast majority of them against government troops. more..

Military fires artillery, rockets at rebel cells in eastern Sri Lanka

July 10 (AP) The military fired mortar rounds and rockets deep into the barren Thoppigala region Tuesday as it fought to defeat the last pockets of Tamil Tiger resistance in eastern Sri Lanka. Thousands of Sri Lankan commandos and other soldiers were pursuing as many as 200 Tamil rebels — who were traveling in small cells — through Thoppigala's vast fields and bush, the military said. more..

Curry house cooks up trouble with work visas

July 11 (Age) THE owner of a Collins street takeaway food shop who has been twice investigated for allegations of serious mistreatment of temporary migrants is still employing staff on controversial subclass 457 visas. Staff at the Curry Lobby restaurant on the corner of Collins and Swanston streets told The Age last night that the present chef was in Australia on a 457 visa, even though two previous chefs had made official complaints of conduct tantamount to slavery. more..

Bishop-elect chooses Rome ordination to 'avoid wasting money'

July 11 (UCAN) Bishop-elect Cletus Chandrasiri Perera has gone to Rome for his episcopal ordination, saying he wants to avoid the great fuss and local expense of a ceremony in Sri Lanka at a difficult time. "I would like to have my consecration in Rome, in a simple ceremony with one or two people," the bishop-elect for Ratnapura Diocese told UCA News before flying to Rome for the scheduled July 11 ordination ceremony. more..

Indian fishermen accused of poaching in Vadamaraadchi seas

July 11 (TN) Vadamaraadchi fisheries union officials said Monday that fishing trawlers belonging to Tamil Naadu fishermen have again started poaching in seas off Vadamaraadchi and northern coastal areas. While local fishermen are barred from fishing at night and only allowed to fish during daytime within 1 km from the coast, the Indian trawlers are using night lights to fish, local fishermen complained. more..

Sri Lanka aim for whitewash

July 11 (CI) Sri Lanka will go for a 3-0 whitewash of the Test series against Bangladesh in the third and final Test starting on July 11 at Kandy's Asgiriya International Stadium. "That's the only way to look at it. We've played some really good cricket the last two weeks or so and we are 2-0 up in the series. We don't want to have any hiccups at this stage," said Mahela Jayawardene. more..

Wettimuny seeks clarification

July 11 (ECB) Former Sri Lankan cricketer Sidath Wettimuny revealed he will meet with sports minister Gamini Lokuge before accepting a position in the new-look Interim Committee. Wettimuny, a right-handed batsman who played 23 Tests for Sri Lanka between 1982 and 1987, scoring 1221 runs at an average of just over 29 before going on to become a match referee, is keen to determine the exact nature of his new role before taking up the post. more..

Ambassador Brattskar to visit Kilinochchi tomorrow

July 11 (GDI) Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar is to visit Kilinochchi tomorrow (11), to which the Sri Lankan Government has given its consent. Peace Secretariat chief Professor Rajiva Wijesinghe speaking to the Government official website said that the Peace Secretariat received the request from Ambassador Brattskar yesterday afternoon (09). “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministry approved the request and the Operations Unit of the Peace Secretariat will be arranging the logistics,” more..

The way Mahinda gave Rs. 500 million to Tiger revealed

July 11 (LeN) The information on how President Mahinda Rajapakse handed over Rs. 500 million to the LTTE in the guise of a housing scheme has now revealed. The President has obtained the approval for a cabinet paper on this regard. It is during the Mawilaru ordeal that the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces was continuing to deal with the LTTE. more..

A State of confusion

July 11 (ML) With the ghosts of his pre-election deal with the LTTE now coming to haunt him President Mahinda Rajapakse is faced with having to answer for the lives of thousands of soldiers he put at risk during the Mawilaru crisis while engaging in secret negotiations with the Tigers. Bogus projects were given to the Wanni even as a water crisis depriving some 15,000 farmers of water raged on in Mawilaru, a humanitarian crisis was brewing in Muttur resulting in some 53,000 Muslims being displaced from their homes, more..

Devolution of power the only way forward

July 11 (ML) The initial report of the APRC panel of experts’ majority report made the following significant recommendations: 1. Maximum possible devolution through provincial institutions and local authorities through which all communities can within the respective areas of authority, exercise power and develop their own areas. All communities should also share power at the centre, thereby integrating them into the body politic and strengthening national integration. more..

Govt. postpones July 19 Thoppigala ceremony

July 11 (ML) The government on Monday decided to postpone the planned celebrations scheduled for July 19 to mark the clearing of Thoppigala following a request by the military for more time. The government had earlier planned to hold a ceremony at Independence Square on July 19 to celebrate the clearing of Thoppigala with invitations extended to religious leaders, members of the judiciary, political party leaders and diplomats. more..

Clearing the east and after…

July 11 (ML) Besieged as it appears from all sides, the Rajapakse regime has come to rely on war for its survival, stability and success. Clearly it hopes at present reside in the Thoppigala jungles and in the ability to proclaim a LTTE free Eastern Province which will be showcased for peace and prosperity. Along with this is the avowed aim of weakening if not defeating the LTTE, which more of the multitude of ministers who make up the regime are given to mouthing and the officially pronounced time frame of two to three years, to accomplish this. more..

Douglas and Karuna agreed mutually to avoid clashes in the East

July 11 (AT) Two hostile Tamil groups have agreed to avoid hostility in the future. Leaders of the EPDP and the Karuna Group have agreed to avoid hostilities in the future and work peacefully in the East. Reports revealed that Minister Douglas Devananda, Secretary General of EPDP and Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, also called as Karuna has on 09 July have agreed to work separately avoiding confrontation in future. more..

The breakdown of civil society in Sri Lanka: A leading businessman’s lament

July 11 (AT) In an open letter to business leaders, the former chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and a well respected accountant, a business leader and a social worker in Sri Lanka, and the Sri Lankan of the year in 2001, Mr Chandra Jayaratne, has sought the counsel and guidance from his fellow businessmen how he could reconcile business activity with silence in the face of some terrible atrocities that are going on in the country. more..

Two Sri Lanka Air Force Cadets Gain Admission to United States Air Force Academy

July 11 (AT) Two young cadets of the Sri Lanka Air Force recently received Certificates of Appointment to the prestigious United States Air Force Academy in Colorado. Mr. James Moore, the U.S. Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, presented the documents to Viludani Yatawara – the first Sri Lankan woman cadet officer to get selected to the program – and to Chamara Wijesinghe. more..

Sri Lanka Pakistan Business Council to strengthen trade ties

July 11 (AT) The Sri Lanka Pakistan Business Council held its Annual General Meeting at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce last week with High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka, Shahzad A. Chaudhary as Chief Guest. Addressing the Business Council AGM, Gulam Chatoor, President of the Council stated that the Secretariat had compiled statistics shown in the Annual Report which indicated that more..

Rajapakse government does only patch up work! – Wimal Weerawansa

July 11 (LT) All castles built to strengthen Mahinda Rajapakse government have become castles built in the sands; it has not been possible to defeat separatism; prices of essential commodities have gone up and the rupee has been devalued and what Mahinda Rajapakse government does at present is to make use of the crises in the country to do ‘patch up work’ said Mr. Wimal Weerawansa, Information Secretary of the JVP addressing more..

If salary anomaly is not removed we will boycott evaluating A/L answer scripts – Lanka Teachers Union

July 11 (LT) Lanka Teachers Union says that if the salary anomaly that exists over a decade in Teachers and Principals services does not reeive a just solution before 7th August, they will boycott evaluating answer scripts of the A/L examination which will be held in August 2007. The union has informed this by a letter to the minister of education Susil Premajayanth. more..

Sri Lankan industrialists concerned about slowing economic growth

July 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka's top industrialists have expressed concern over the noticeable slowing down of economic growth and delays in legislating protection for local industries under new world trade rules. "We're concerned about the consistent decline in economic growth quarter by quarter, although the economic growth rate remains high," Anura Ekanayake, chairman of the Industrial Association of Sri Lanka said Tuesday. more..

Sri Lanka clothing academy to launch new degree course

July 11 (LBO) A Sri Lankan clothing technology school is launching a degree course in fashion and merchandising in a tie-up with Australia's Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), and is also planning to offer a Masters program from next year. The course conducted with the School of Fashion and Textiles of the RMIT starting in November, will lead to a degree in fashion and merchandising, and more..

Sri Lanka state oil firm seeks exploration block

July 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state petroleum utility is asking for an off-shore oil exploration block from the government to look for oil with a foreign partner, a top official said. The government is planning to auction of several blocks off the island's west coast at the tip of India's oil yielding Cauvery basin. "We are going into petroleum exploration," Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) Chief Ashantha de Mel said. more..

November elections in East is not possible– Lanka elections monitoring group

July 11 (AT) Despite the military capturing LTTE headquarters and other rebel strongholds in the East, proposed elections in coming November in this region "is not plausible", a leading elections monitoring body in Sri Lanka said today. Mr. Kingsley Rodrigo, Chairman of the independent elections monitoring group PAFFREL speaking to the media said "There are 42 local government bodies including town councils in the region. But it is not possible to hold any elections in November." more..