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While others praise Thoppigala victory Ranil Wickremesinghe says it is nothing to crow about

July 12 (AT) In the midst of roaring laughter of his supporters the Leader of the Opposition and the UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe belittled the government’s claim of a great military victory at Thoppigala and said it was nothing big to crow about. “What’s all this fuss about Thoppigala. It’s nothing to crow about,” he told a public gathering in Galle. more..

Sri Lankan national held

July 12 (Hindu) In a late night operation on Tuesday, the ‘Q’ Branch police arrested Ungu alias Jeyaratnam, a Sri Lankan national, from Seeniappa Dharga near here. A clandestine ferry service operator and smuggler who has been absconding for several years, he has been charged under the Passport Act. Ungu alias Jeyaratnam (39), son of Vediramu of Pesalai in Mannar district, was seen near the shore in a suspicious manner when a team of Q Branch personnel were patrolling there. more..

Battlefield gains won`t affect evolving political solution

July 12 (LNP) The focus of the military is likely to shift from the East to the Wanni after the capture of Thoppigala while the government concentrates on reconstruction and resettlement in the newly captured areas. Troops spearheaded by army commandos secured the jungle terrain of Thoppigala and declared their mission accomplished yesterday morning. more..

Alleged deal with Tigers: UNP produces affidavit

July 12 (LNP) The main Opposition UNP yesterday came up with documentary evidence regarding the alleged deal the Government had struck with the LTTE in the run up to the Presidential Election in 2005, and reiterated its call for a Parliamentary Select Committee to probe the matter. UNP frontliner Lakshman Kiriella told journalists yesterday the UNP had obtained an affidavit from a person who witnessed Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa handing over money running into millions of rupees, to the LTTE leaders before the election. more..

Cost of construction skyrocketing

July 12 (LNP) There is a dire need to educate the public on cost effective and quality construction methods as cost of construction material has increased by 30 per cent in a short period. `Costs of all the construction material have gone up immensely and it is a huge problem faced by the construction industry. In order to complete projects with the required quality, public should have a thorough knowledge of cost effective construction methods,` more..

Politics of Thoppigala

July 12 (LNP) Myths are more powerful than bombs and bullets in warfare, be it guerrilla or conventional. While the Kumaratunga government was readying for a foray into the LTTE-held Jaffna in 1995, a myth was disseminated that the army would lose as many as 15,000 men, if it tried to advance. But, the army wrested control of that town with relative ease and the LTTE beat a hasty retreat to Kilinochchi. more..

Jobless graduates sick of promises

July 12 (SAMN) Unemployed graduates are to stage a massive protest campaign to urge the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration to honour the pledges given to them in the run up to the 2005 Presidential Election, CUGU Secretary Sujith Kuruwita told the Daily Mirror Tuesday. At the presidential election the members of the CUGU numbering over 20,000 campaigned to ensure the victory of PA candidate Rajapaksa after he promised to provide them with employment within the first two months of being elected to office, more..

Applications for Grade 1 admissions soon

July 12 (SAMN) Education Minister Susil Premajayantha expressed optimism Wednesday that the Ministry would be able to call for applications for Grade 1 admissions by the middle of next month under the new selection criteria for 2008. Mr. Premajayantha told the Daily Mirror that the Ministry had also sent in their proposals to the Presidential Secretariat for consideration in preparing the new methodology of admitting children to Grade 1 classes. more..

BOI approves three new projects

July 12 (SAMN) The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI) signed agreements for three new projects worth over Rs. 525 million where over 250 new jobs would be generated. The agreement signed with W S Auto Tech (Private) Limited was to set up an automobile training institute. The cost of the project is estimated at US$ 3.6 million and will be funded as a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from South Korea. more..

"Home has lost all meaning." Story from Sri Lanka

July 12 (WVI) "I had only heard the noise all this while, but two weeks ago I actually saw one," says Christa about the shelling in her home town of Batticaloa. "We all saw it. All the children in my class. We were in our school at that time and our classroom is in the second floor, so we could see everything. We saw it coming and we saw it falling into the playground in front of our school. No one was hurt, but it was so terrible." more..

Fraud case: CID perusing Minister’s bank accounts

July 12 (DN) The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) probing the massive fraud at the Agrarian Insurance Board and Agrarian Service Department yesterday told Colombo Chief Magistrate and Additional District Judge Kusala Sarojini Weerawardena that they are perusing the bank accounts of Minister S. M. Chandrasena, whose name transpired during investigations into the fraud. more..

Special medical IDs for scribes, artistes

July 12 (DN) A special ID card for artistes, literati and journalists which enables access to hassle free medical care through the Government owned health sector would soon be a reality with the Cultural Affairs Ministry taking the initiative in collaboration with the Health Ministry. The first step towards realising this goal would take place with a free medical camp for artistes organised by the Ministry of Culture, more..

New Education Bill on the cards

July 12 (DM) The Education Ministry yesterday took its first step towards introducing a National Education Bill to suit the interests of the nation while keeping abreast of modern global trends. This is intended to supersede the Education Ordinance of 1931. The committee that was assigned the task of formulating it met yesterday to have a preliminary discussion on the matter. more..

Appeal Court stays enactment of regulations

July 12 (DM) The Court of Appeal on Tuesday issued an Interim Order, staying the four regulations formulated by Cultural Affairs Minister, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, relating to the licensing of cinemas and the distribution and importation of films and the fees to be levied in connection with the screening of films, till July 24. more..

Rain and bad light combine again

July 12 (CI) Twenty-two runs and 6.2 overs into Sri Lanka's reply to Bangladesh's total of 131, rain again turned up to put a further dampener on an overcast day two's proceedings at Kandy. Play was already help up for a long time just after Bangladesh were dismissed, owing to heavy rain and a wet outfield, and both players were again forced to cool their heels as the showers and bad light played spoilsport. more..

No respite for Lanka’s ‘abduction’ victims

July 12 (Dawn) Chandradevi, a resident of Puttalam, around 100km north of Colombo, anxiously sits in a small office located in a busy, narrow street in Pettah, the bazaar area of the capital. The office, dedicated to taking complaints of abduction allegations is that of a Tamil parliamentarian, convener of the Civil Monitoring Commission formed last year to monitor the rise of abductions and murders. more..

Two key development projects to be funded by Government of China

July 12 (GDI) Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama left to China to meet the officials of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the Exim Bank to review the implementation arrangements of two mega projects. The discussions would be on the Hambantota Port Development Project and the Puttalam Coal Power Project with a view to complete work as scheduled, the Ministry issuing a press release states. more..

Sri Lanka seeks 400 million dollars

July 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka has asked for proposals from international banks to raise 400 million dollars in medium term bonds, banking officials said. Banks that participated in a conference yesterday in Colombo have been given until July 16 to submit proposals with the deal expected to reach closure by October. The government is seeking 400 million dollars in 4 to 5 year money, bankers said. more..

Dallas bars first class air travel

July 12 (PISL) Transport Minister Dallas Alahapperuma has directed all officials of his Ministry to travel only economy class when going overseas on official business. Alahapperuma told The Island that it was the practice in the past that officials travelled first class when going overseas and this had cost the Government enormous sums of money. He also said that with immediate effect he had stopped the practice of hosting seminars, workshops and press conferences at five star hotels. more..

Editorial: Cut off the Tigers

July 12 (WT) A group of congressmen is urging the Bush administration to increase its involvement in Sri Lanka. A recent letter from Reps. David Price and Rush Holt and 48 other congressional Democrats and Republicans to President Bush calls on the administration to step up diplomatic engagement in order to help the small island nation reach a long-term peace with the terrorist rebel group the LTTE. more..

Tamil Tigers vow guerrilla warfare after losing stronghold

July 12 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels have admitted losing a key stronghold in eastern Sri Lanka to government forces and said they would revert to guerrilla tactics in the troubled region. Government forces were clearing landmines in the Thoppigala area which they captured from rebels on Wednesday, after months of heavy fighting, military officials here said. But Tiger guerrillas fired mortar bombs and killed a soldier in the northwest of the island on Thursday morning, more..

Government to hold celebrations after routing Tamil rebels from east

July 12 (AP) Sri Lanka's government is planning victory celebrations after troops seized the last Tamil Tiger rebel base in the volatile east, a triumph that gave the government control of the region for the first time in 13 years, an official said Thursday. "There will be a big event in Colombo in keeping with the success of the armed forces in Thoppigala," presidential spokesman Lucien Rajakarunanayake said of the celebrations, scheduled for July 19. more..

Sri Lanka rebels vow to cripple economy with attacks

July 12 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels aim to cripple the island's economy with major attacks on military and economic targets, a top rebel leader told Reuters on Thursday. Tiger political wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan said peace was "not possible" with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, pouring cold water on international community hopes of halting a deadly new chapter in a two-decade civil war. more..

Chopra can't deny Sri Lanka A

July 13 (CI) Sri Lanka A completed a comprehensive 10-wicket victory against MCC at Arundel, although Aakash Chopra's century at least made them bat again for the win. When MCC fell to 158 for 7 an innings defeat was on the cards, but Chopra added 77 with Christopher Prowting, whose 48 nudged MCC into the lead. Chopra, who played 10 Tests for India between 2003 and 2004, hit 13 boundaries in his century before being bowled by Dilruwan Perera, one of three wickets for his offspin. more..

Murali doubts passing Warne's record in Australia

July 13 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan described his performance of taking a century of wickets at Asgiriya International Stadium as 'a tremendous achievement in a long career'. "I have already taken a hundred wickets in two other venues at Galle and SSC this is the third. It is not easy to take 100 wickets in each venue. Not many people have done it," said Muralitharan who finished off the Bangladesh first innings for 131 by taking his 59th five-for in an innings with figures of 6 for 28. more..

Murali rates Whatmore as 'a great coach'

July 13 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan came in support of former coach Dav Whatmore when he rated him 'as a great coach' and said that any country could hire him and test his capabilities. Murali's views on the former coach was totally opposite to that of his former captain Arjuna Ranatunga who advised Pakistan to avoid hiring Whatmore as coach. "I think Whatmore is a very good coach. He has done good service for Sri Lanka cricket for 6-7 years. more..

Tigers likely to go to Sri Lanka

July 13 (MVN) Talks between the Foreign Ministry and the Sri Lankan government over the transfer of the four Tamil Tiger (LTTE) members convicted of smuggling guns through Maldivian waters are at an advanced stage. The Sri Lankan High Commissioner Mr Farooq confirmed on Thursday he had been in talks at the Foreign Ministry, while Foreign Minister Dr Shaheed has indicated the government is unlikely to stand in the way of a transfer. more..

'War victory party' in Sri Lanka

July 13 (BBC) The Sri Lankan government is planning to hold victory celebrations after troops seized the last Tamil Tiger rebel base in the restive east. Officials say their capture of the rugged area of Thoppigala gives the government control of the region for the first time in 13 years. They say the fall of Thoppigala is a triumph for the military. The Tigers have responded with threats to cripple the economy with attacks on military and economic targets. more..

Tamil rebels say they will hit targets in response to government capture of east

July 13 (AP) The Tamil Tigers vowed Thursday to hit military and economic targets across the country in retaliation for the army's capture of eastern Sri Lanka, even as government leaders planned a victory party to celebrate recapturing the region. The government announced Wednesday that it had routed the last organized rebel resistance in the east, taking control of the province for the first time in 13 years. more..

Disabled veterans battle high cost of prosthetics, unemployment

July 13 (IRIN) One shirt sleeve flapping limply, war veteran and rights activist Asoka Dayaratna signs a document with his left hand, finishing with a flourish."I don't usually use my artificial arm, unless it is for a special occasion," says the former army commando who lost his right arm fighting Tamil Tiger rebels in Wilpattu, northwestern Sri Lanka, in 1985. Although his Israeli-made prosthesis makes fine movement possible, he taught himself to write with his remaining hand. more..

USAID Boosts Sri Lanka’s Rubber Sector

July 13 (AT) The rubber industry began in Sri Lanka in the 1800s, but only recently became a thriving manufacturing sector. To support Sri Lanka’s re-emergence into the global rubber market, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) helped launch a three-year, graduateship course in rubber technology at the Plastics & Rubber Institute of Sri Lanka (PRISL) headquarters in Rajagiriya. more..

'Kfir jet hit' LTTE

July 13 (BBC) Tamil Tigers claim that they hit a Sri Lankan Air Force fighter jet bomber. LTTE spokesman Rasaiah Ilanthirayan told the BBC Sinhala service that yhe Kfir was hit by automatic anti aircraft canons fired by the Tamil Tigers at Vavuniya North on Thursday afternoon. "Upon being hit, the aircraft flew away at a very low altitude with some of its parts falling apart", Ilanthirayan said more..

Indian Govt seeks transfer of canal project pleas to apex court

July 13 (IANS) The central government Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking transfer of various petitions pending in the Madras High Court against the execution of the ambitious Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP) off India's southern coast. Taking note of the government's transfer petition, a bench of Justices B.N. Agarwal and P.P. Naolekar ordered its listing for hearing Tuesday along with two other petitions against the project pending with the bench. more..

Five Lankan ministers due July 16

July 13 (DS) Five Sri Lankan ministers, including Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama will arrive in Dhaka July 16 on a three-day trip on invitation of the foreign adviser to discuss transport connectivity, telecommunication, and trade. "My invitation was extended to him in line with our policy to strengthen our relationship with other countries of our region. Sri Lanka is a good friend and an important player in the regional and international spheres," more..

Gotabhaya the Great, Cyril Herath the Great and Chandrananda the Great

July 13 (LeN) The Convener of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party People's Wing Mangala Samaraweera denied the utilizing of the morale of the soldiers to cover the nude of the rulers and said that they continued war to plaster their problems. Mr. Samaraweera paid tribute to the three armed forces before expressing these views at a press conference held in the People's Wing office this evening. more..

East in control, Colombo to tackle LTTE in north

July 13 (Hindu) The Sri Lanka Government on Thursday asserted that the capture of Thoppigala which marked the “complete liberation of the Eastern province is a historic achievement” amid signs that the military would now slowly but steadily focus on the challenge posed by the LTTE in the north. Minister and Cabinet Spokesperson Anura Priyadarshana Yapa told a news conference here, “We have liberated the East so that the people could be free from the clutches of the LTTE. more..

Order on bail plea by Lankan reserved

July 13 (CO) A city court today reserved its order on the bail plea of a Sri Lankan national wanted in the US to stand trial in a decade-old case of cheating. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kamini Lau posted to July 16 the pronouncement of the order on the bail application by Ram Kumar Mehbubani, a dual citizen of Sri Lanka and the US. The court also directed his counsel to place on record the "exit permission", which may enable Mehbubani to leave the country, by the next date of hearing. more..

Young Sri Lankan maid faces execution in Saudi Arabia

July 13 (wsws) Rizana Nafeek, a 19-year-old Sri Lankan female worker, was sentenced to death by a three-member panel of judges in Dawadami High Court in Saudi Arabia on June 16. Nafeek’s case is another instance of the barbaric conditions facing hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers in the Middle East, and the Sri Lankan government’s callous disregard toward them. more..

SLAF Kfir crashlands after anti aircraft fire - LTTE

July 13 (TN) A Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Kfir bomber was damaged in Liberation Tigers anti-aircraft cannon fire over Vavuniyaa Forward Defence Line (FDL) around 3:30 p.m. Thursday. LTTE's Military Spokesman Irasiah Ilanthirayan said that the bomber was damaged in the cannon fire by the Tigers and parts of the damaged aircraft fell inside the Tiger territory. more..

Sri Lankan Lions club leader offers to play role in peace process

July 13 (LBO) A Sri Lankan businessman who has just been elected president of the International Lions Organization says he hopes to help take forward the Sri Lankan peace process as an internal facilitator. Sri Lankan 'Lion' Mahendra Amarasuriya was recently elected as the president of the International Lions organization in Chicago. more..

Sri Lanka military victories seen having little effect on stock market fortunes

July 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka's share market closed lower at week's end with stockbrokers saying recent military victories against the Tamil Tigers in the island's east are unlikely to have any affect in the short term. On Friday, the All Share Price Index closed 10.62 points lower at 2,463.95 and the Milanka index slipped 25.93 points to close at 3,400.92. The turnover was nominal at 84.4 million rupees. more..

Sri Lanka exports surge in May, trade deficit narrows

July 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka's exports in May has surged 25.8 percent driven by a 45.5 percent jump in apparel shipments largely to the United States and the European Union, the Central Bank said Friday. Exports grew to 641 million US dollars in May 2007 against 509 million dollars in May 2006. "Persistently strong demand for apparel has provided a basis for the strong trade performance in recent months," the Central Bank said. more..

Sri Lanka unemployment rate falls

July 13 (LBO) Unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2007 fell to 6.2 percent, its lowest ever rate, from 6.8 percent in the same 2006 quarter, continuing the steady declining trend seen in recent years, the Central Bank said. The total number unemployed was estimated as 462,000 for the first quarter of 2007, with unemployment among young age groups and women relatively higher, the bank said in a statement quoting the Department of Census and Statistics. more..

Sri Lanka builders join opposition to unsolicited deals

July 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka's construction industry is urging the government to accept draft guidelines on treating unsolicited bids in an effort to ensure transparency and fair competition in infrastructure contracts. The move comes at a time when the phenomenon of unsolicited bids in a range of infrastructure projects is becoming common, causing concern in the affected industries, public service and the international donor community. more..

An attempt to obtain a mandamus against the false cabinet paper

July 13 (LeN) Lanka-e-News learns that a group of lawyers are getting ready to submit a petition in the Supreme Court requesting a mandamus to the cabinet secretary to commence an investigate the misleading of cabinet by putting forward a cabinet paper included false facts stating 1200 housing units would be constructed in the LTTE-controlled areas in Kilinochchi, Mullaithivu and Vavuniya. more..

‘Graduateship’ course to enhance Rubber industry

July 13 (GDI) The Plastic and Rubber Institute (PRI) has initiated a "graduateship" course for those who are in the rubber industry to enhance their skills. The PRI plans to get foreign university affiliation to be able to award degrees later. The Sri Lankan rubber industry realized the need for more trained personnel operating at higher technological and managerial levels as competition has increased due to innovations and challenges from emerging rubber industries in countries such as China and Vietnam. more..


July 13 (GDI) Highways Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle says that elections to the local government bodies in the Eastern Province will be held soon. Explaining the current situation at a press conference held at the Government Information Department today, the Minister said that the opinion of the President Mahinda Raajapaksa is to hand over power to the people. more..


July 13 (GDI) Rural Industries and Self-Employment Promotion Minister R.M.S.B. Navinna says the Mahinda Chinthana has clearly stipulated that everyone should be able to survive with benefits of pension after sixty years. It is the view of the President that self-employed and rural population who are involved in the small-scale industries should be able to participate in the development and reap the benefits of their labour. more..

Sri Lanka-Myanmar Joint Commission to take steps to strengthen links

July 13 (GDI) Myanmar while condemning terrorism in all its forms affirmed its unqualified support to Sri Lanka in its efforts to counter LTTE terrorism. This was transpired at the First Meeting of Joint Commission between Sri Lanka and Myanmar in Myanmar. The Joint Commission between Sri Lanka and Myanmar's first meeting was held in Nay Pyi Taw Myanmar from July 10-11. more..

SriLankan Airlines named best in South Asia

July 13 (GDI) South Asia’s top foreign carrier position has been awarded to the SriLankan Airlines. It has been named Foreign Carrier of the Year for South Asia for the second successive year at the recent KLIA Awards 2006 in Kuala Lumpur. Peter Hill, CEO of SriLankan, said: “We at SriLankan are very pleased to add the KLIA Award to our list of accolades. It is always an honour to receive recognition as being among the finest in the global air transport industry.” more..