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New hospital in Trincomalee

July 13 (GDI) A modern hospital complex was commissioned in Trincomalee. The complex constructed at a cost of Rs. 200 million was commissioned at the Government Hospital in Nilaweli, Trincomalee. The construction of the hospital complex which included an administration unit as well, was in line with President Mahinda Rajapaksa's Jathika Saviya and Gama Neguma programmes. more..

2 LTTE cadres surrender; Civilian killed in LTTE claymore attack

July 13 (GDI) Two more cadres of the LTTE have surrendered to the Army yesterday. As the security forces have established full control of the East, some more LTTE cadres are expected to leave the organization. The Media Centre for National Security said that two LTTE cadres surrendered to the Army Exit/Entry point at Uylankulam. They had complained that they deserted from the LTTE as they had been severely punished and harassed. more..

'Govt’s path of success should not be obstructed'

July 13 (GDI) “The opposition parties have initiated a new strategy to discredit the Government by accusing the Ministers of the Government,” said Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle. Minister said that these accusations are baseless. Mr Fernadopulle, referring to a recent discussion between the opposition leader Mr Ranil Wickremasinghe and a foreign ambassador said that the effort of the opposition leader to misguide the international community to prevent the European donor from assisting Sri Lanka is a betrayal. more..

Is the Mayor of London going to bed with Tamil Tiger terrorists?

July 13 (AT) Protests have poured into the office of Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, urging him to ban tomorrow’s Trafalgar Square rally organized by the LTTE. A global protest campaign has deplored any attempts to open the Trafalgar Square to a banned terrorist organization. Livingstone has given permission with restrictions to conduct a meeting organized by Harrow Councilor Daya Idaikkadar. more..

Sri Lankan Opinion Leaders Study Devolution of Power in India

July 13 (AT) A group of public servants, academics and civil society activists from Sri Lanka have returned from New Delhi where they spent three weeks gaining insights in to the Indian experience in power sharing. The purpose of this experience was for participants to examine multiple models and options for the transformation of the ongoing ethno political conflict in Sri Lanka. more..

Seeking a Political and Peaceful Settlement of Conflict

July 13 (PISL) Since April 2006 His Excellency the President and the Government of Sri Lanka have taken a number of initiatives to facilitate the realization of a negotiated settlement to resolve the national problem. Significant among them is the endeavor to develop constitutional proposals with broad support. The main aim has been to find an indigenous solution to end decades of internal strife, and enable all people to live in dignity and peace in Sri Lanka. more..

JVP warns Govt. against reviving peace talks

July 13 (LNP) JVP propaganda secretary and Parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawansa, while lauding the capture of Thoppigala as a glorious of the armed forces and one that belonged to the people, questioned why the Government had permitted the Norwegian Ambassador to visit Kilinochchi at that time. He said it was the duty of the Government to tell the people why it allowed the Ambassador to visit the North. more..

Govt. does not want peace: LTTE

July 13 (LNP) The LTTE yesterday claimed the government was sending a clear message to the Norwegians that it was not interested in peace talks, by attacking a civilian settlement in LTTE controlled Alampil hours after the Norwegian ambassador had talks with the LTTE in Kilinochchi. LTTE military spokesman Rasiah Illentheriyan told the Daily Mirror the LTTE was warning the military against attempting to infiltrate LTTE controlled areas in the North. more..

Most doctors posted to the East

July 13 (LNP) For the first time in medical history, 49 doctors, the highest number so far were appointed to the Eastern Province at a ceremony to hand over appointment letters held in Colombo yesterday. `This is the first time that so many doctors were posted to the Eastern Province and with the government taking control of the province the appointees need not fear to serve in these areas`, the Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition Nimal Siripala de Silva said. more..

Lanka`s Tuna on Japanese plates

July 13 (LNP) Fresh tuna fetches around 8,000 rupees per kilogram in Japan and the Ceylon Fisheries Corporation has earned 14.4 billion rupees by exporting 18,646 tons of tuna to that country in 2006, Secretary to the Ministry Of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, G. Piyasena said. He said the Ministry has put forward a ten-year plan and set a target to air freight 28,000 Metric tons of tuna annually by 2008. more..

Mayor and deputy lose no-faith motion

July 13 (SAMN) A no-confidence motion against Colombo Mayor Uvais Mohamed Imtiyaz and Deputy Mayor S. Rajendran was passed at a stormy Colombo Municipal Council session Thursday evening, with all 21 members present at the time voting for the motion. The session took place amidst a commotion, with Mayor Imtiyaz walking out complaining of ill-health and the deputy mayor also leaving the chamber later. more..

UNP- SLFP (M) pact next week

July 13 (SAMN) The main Opposition UNP will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the SLFP Mahajana Wing headed by former Minister Mangala Samaraweera on July 19, political sources said Thursday. They said the two parties were now drafting the MoU to be signed at a ceremony at the Parliament complex. UNP sources said they would jointly campaign to press for action against those responsible for the alleged secret pact with the LTTE and draining off public funds running into millions of rupees into the hands of LTTE leaders. more..

Govt. to build two more power plants

July 13 (SAMN) The government is to build two coal power plants in the Southern part of the country in addition to Norochcholai in the North West and Trincomalee in the East in order to overcome future power crisis in the country. Power and Energy Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne told the media Thursday that currently they were looking for sites to build the proposed power plants. more..

“Mathata Thitha, only a pipe dream”

July 13 (SAMN) The SLFP Mahajana Wing said Thursday the ‘Mathata Thitha’ programme contained in the Mahinda Chintanaya policy statement, had become a damp squib today, because the highest liquor consumption in the country’s history, of 67 million litres, has been reported last year. Former Minister Sripathi Sooriyarachchi told journalists that the largest quantity of liquor belonged to various foreign brands, namely Whisky, Brandy, Rum, Vodka, Gin and Beer, which had been imported in 2006. more..

Troops clearing Thoppigala for resettlement

July 13 (DN) The Security Forces which regained full control of the Thoppigala are presently engaged in clearing operations to pave the way for civilian resettlement, the Military Spokesman said. A major and historic victory had been gained by the Security Forces on Wednesday by liberating Thoppigala, the last bastion of the Tigers in the Eastern theatre of conflict. "The East is completely under control of the Security Forces", Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said. more..

Govt. to rebuild Tsunami hit churches

July 13 (DN) Cabinet approval has been granted to a Cabinet memorandum presented by President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Religious Affairs and Moral Uplift Minister to rehabilitate Tsunami affected Christian churches and to rehabilitate and preserve churches which are older than 100 years at a cost of Rs. 6 million, Information and Media Minister and the Cabinet Spokesman Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said. more..

Hair relic of Buddha from Chittagong to arrive on July 19

July 13 (DM) A hair relic of the Buddha will be brought to Sri Lanka from the Chittagong Buddhist Temple, Bangladesh on July 19, the Daily Mirror learns. The sacred relic is to be kept at Senanayake Aramaya of Madampe, where previously brought hair relics of the Buddha from Chittagong have also been enshrined. The relic has been offered to Senanayake Aramaya on a request made by its chief patron Keerthi Senanayake and philanthropist Sammodha Caldera. more..

Former Uva Chief Minister, present minister charged

July 13 (DM) Former Uva Province chief minister, Samaraweera Weerawanni, and the present Provincial Highways Minister S.M Buddhadasa, were charged by the Bribery Commission in the Colombo Magistrate’s Court yesterday for intentionally causing a loss of Rs 650,000 to the state. The Commission filed charges against the two suspects before the Colombo Chief Magistrate. Sarojini Kusala Weerawardena. more..

Initial legal fees paid for filing Sri Lankan maid appeal

July 13 (AN) As the July 16 deadline to file an appeal in the case of Rizana Nafeek, the 19- year-old Sri Lankan maid accused of strangling a four-month-old Saudi boy, draws near, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has come forward and deposited an initial sum of SR50,000 to begin the appeals process. The AHRC is a nongovernmental human rights organization that has been working on behalf of the young woman. more..

Sri Lanka Aid used to support Military, Rebels say

July 13 (BN) International aid sent to Sri Lanka is being used to boost the military, the LTTE said, after the army captured the eastern region following 14 years of fighting the rebel group. Funds are spent on projects such as constructing roads in militarily strategic areas, S.P. Thamilchelvan, head of the LTTE's political wing, told Norway's Ambassador Hans Brattskar at the group's headquarters in northern Sri Lanka yesterday, more..

Sri Lanka June tourist arrivals fall 30 pct yr/yr

July 13 (Reuters) Tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka fell 30 percent in June from a year earlier, the island's tourist board said on Friday, citing renewed civil war between the state and Tamil Tiger rebels. The unrest as cut arrivals by 24.4 percent in the first half of 2007, and many hotels struggling with low occupancy are discounting rooms in a bid to lure clients. "The arrivals came down because of the security situation of the country," more..

Twin tons put Sri Lanka in command

July 13 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara helped themselves to hundreds, their second of the series, as Sri Lanka took a very comfortable tea on day three at Kandy . The rain stayed away long enough to get in a full session's play and the two Sri Lankans enjoyed the batting practice and extended the lead to 185. Bangladesh, who had bowled very well in the opening hour of the day, were forced back into their shell and appeared bereft of ideas in the face of effortless batting. more..

To save Sri Lankan turtles, scientists turn to former turtle egg poachers

July 13 (AP) On a moonlit night, a group of young men huddled around a green turtle as it dug deep into a beach to lay its eggs. They could hear the turtle breathing and grunting as it went into a trancelike state, dropping eggs the size of pingpong balls into a glistening pile. The men, once the village toughs, stood aside as the turtle finished, shoveling sand over the nest with its back flippers. more..

Rebel bomb kills 1 civilian, but misses army in northern Sri Lanka

July 13 (AP) A roadside bombing blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels killed a civilian but missed an army truck carrying soldiers — its apparent target — in northern Sri Lanka, the military said Friday. The blast came as the rebels vowed to hit nationwide military and economic targets in revenge for the army's routing of guerrillas from the country's east. more..

Govt 'must prove Tamils are terrorists'

July 13 (AAP) The Australian government must prove Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers are a terrorist group, according to lawyers for two Melbourne men accused of supporting the separatists. Aruran Vinayagamoorthy, 33, of Mt Waverley, and Sivarajah Yathavan, 36, of Vermont South, are charged with terrorism offences for supporting LTTE, or Tamil Tigers. The men faced Victoria's Supreme Court in their third bid for bail. more..

Terror suspect 'would do anything asked'

July 13 (AAP) A MELBOURNE man accused of supporting Sri-Lanka's Tamil Tigers rebel group boasted he carried arms and would do anything the movement asked of him, a court has been told. Aruran Vinayagamoorthy, 33, of Mt Waverley, and Sivarajah Yathavan, 36, of Vermont South, are charged with terrorism offences for supporting separatist group LTTE, or Tamil Tigers. more..

Rifles, rockets: Sri Lanka rebels train for the kill

July 13 (Reuters) First there is a blazing back-flash, then a thunderous explosion -- squeezing the trigger of his rocket-propelled grenade launcher, Tamil Tiger fighter S. Kadalarasan imagines future kills. Lying in a 'foxhole' during a practice assault where Tiger fighters learn jungle warfare, he thinks of a Tamil homeland the rebels have fought for two decades to carve out in the north and east. more..

Sri Lankan rebels hold military drills to show their strength despite recent defeat

July 13 (AP) Separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas in green striped camouflage assaulted a mock government fort with gunfire, rockets and pipe bombs in an early morning drill Friday at a secret location in rebel-held territory in northern Sri Lanka. Rebels escorted reporters along back roads to a training base at a secret location to demonstrate that they are still a powerful military force, despite the government's announcement a day earlier that it had wrested control of eastern Sri Lanka for the first time in 13 years. more..

Sri Lanka to mark fall of Tiger base

July 13 (AFP) Sri Lanka announced Friday it would mark the fall of the last Tamil rebel bastion in the east of the island with the launch of an ambitious reconstruction plan. The plan, called the "Eastern Revival," will be inaugurated here next Thursday, a spokesman for President Mahinda Rajapakse's office said. Details of the reconstruction plan were not immediately known. more..

Sri Lanka to receive more Canadian wheat - traders

July 14 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will receive 5-6 cargoes of Canadian wheat by December under a long-term deal, regional grain traders said on Friday. "The price at which the deal was done was competitive," said one trader attending a regional wheat buyers' conference. "This year, Sri Lanka will import almost 100 percent of its wheat requirements from Canada." more..

NGOs face difficulties accessing resettlement areas in east

July 14 (IRIN) Two months after a massive government-sponsored resettlement programme started in eastern Sri Lanka's Batticaloa District, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in the area have yet to gain continuous access to some resettlement communities, particularly in Batticaloa West. On 14 May, the government began resettling 85,000 internally displaced persons in their former homes in Batticaloa West. more..

Worcestershire move Sri Lanka A match

July 14 (CI) Worcestershire have been forced to move another match away from New Road after further rain exacerbated the recent problems caused by the flooding. The game against Sri Lanka A will now be played at the Royal Grammar School ground in Worcester. "The Royal Grammar School has kindly donated the use of their high quality playing facilities so that the game can go ahead and provide both Sri Lanka A and Worcestershire with some much needed cricket," more..

Murali and the Bangladesh factor

July 14 (CI) The three-Test series between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh has so far gone along entirely predictable lines - the hosts have been utterly rampant, Bangladesh have capitulated meekly (with the exception of one partnership in the second Test), and Muttiah Muralitharan has collected another bagful of wickets to add to his already burgeoning tally. more..

Who allowed to 800 cadres including LTTE leaders to escape from Thoppigala?

July 14 (LeN) The United National Party says that it has information from Army internal sources that 800 cadres including LTTE leaders to escape by orders from the top and questions if it is a part of the deal between the government and the LTTE. The head of the UNP media unit Lakshman Kiriella made this allegation at a special press briefing held in its office today. more..

Govt. attempts to expel the German ambassador

July 14 (LeN) Sri Lanka government is moving to expel the German Ambassador naming him a person that cannot be accepted by the country. Government Chief Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle gave a clue about the move at the press briefing held at the Information Department today. Mr. Fernandopulle said that that the government had information of a discussion the Leader of Opposition Ranil Wickramasinghe had with the German Ambassador at the Colombo Hilton Hotel in a recent night. more..

Sri Lanka low grown teas fetch record prices

July 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's low grown tea prices have surged owing to strong demand from key buying countries and a shortfall in the crop, brokers said. Prices of low grown teas, grown mainly in the low country districts and by smallholders, have been climbing steadily for the past one year. But the low grown auction average price has risen sharply in the last few months and is now close to 300 rupees a kilo. more..

Sri Lanka gets Indian funds to set up telecentres

July 14 (LBO) India has pledged 13 million rupees to set up 20 computer education outlets called 'Nenasalas' in villages in Sri Lanka. Nenasalas, a localized model of telecentres being set up by the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), act as resource centres to spread knowledge and information through the internet. more..

UNHCR official calls on Sri Lanka to double its efforts to assist IDPs

July 14 (UNHCR) Assistant High Commissioner for Operations Judy Cheng-Hopkins has called on the Sri Lankan government to double its efforts to allocate land to displaced people and allow them to move out of the welfare centres they have been living in for more than two decades. The government's return programme in eastern Sri Lanka was top of the agenda in talks Cheng-Hopkins held earlier this week with top government officials, more..

Sangakkara plays down record talk

July 14 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara humbly played down comparisons with batting greats after inking his name in the record books with a second consecutive double hundred against Bangladesh at the Asgiriya International Cricket Stadium in Kandy. Sangakkara became the sixth man in history to score back-to-back double centuries, joining Don Bradman and Walter Hammond among others, when he made an unbeaten 222 on the third day of the second Test. more..

A Tiger cemetery found at Thoppigala

July 14 (RW) During the search operation conducted by the Security Forces after they captured Thoppigala a burial ground of tiger terrorists has been found on July 11. In the burial ground which covered a vast area, tombs of hundreds of dead LTTE cadres can be seen. On the tombs were written the names of terrorists and the year in which they died in Tamil language. Also a monument in memory of the dead cadres has also been built. more..

Lanka may be last recipient of Buddha's hair

July 14 (DS) The hair-relic of Gautam Buddha, to be presented to the Sri Lankan government later this month, might be the last Buddhist relics to be given away, as Bangladesh's own stock of such relics is now very little. "We would not be able to give any relics to anyone in future as the quantity is very little and might be exhausted," said Ajit Barua, President of the Bangladesh Buddhist Association. more..

Settlers 'fleeing' after woman killed

July 14 (BBC) Human rights activists in Sri Lanka have accused security forces of stabbing a young Tamil woman to death in the volatile eastern region. Balasuntharum Thavamani, 27, was stabbed to death by the security forces, according to a Tamil parliamentarian. Batticaloa district parliamentarian P Ariyanetran told BBC Sandeshaya that security service personnel have stormed her home in Paduwankarai on 07 July. more..

Will the LTTE change their long term strategy?

July 14 (AT) The euphoria from the victory in Thoppigala and the virtual liberation of the East from LTTE military clutches is both understandable and well deserved for the people of Sri Lanka who have been suffering the forcible capture of Sri Lankan territory by an armed mob for years. This victory is bound to lift the spirits of all Sri Lankans who have seen their Armed Forces and their political leaders capitulating to the LTTE and their military strength and more..

USAID Supports Sri Lanka’s Small Business Community

July 14 (AT) The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has entered into an agreement with the Lanka Orix Leasing Company (LOLC) to provide a $3 million loan portfolio guarantee for micro, small, and medium-sized business activities in the agriculture, fisheries, tourism, and renewable energy sectors in the Eastern, North Central, and tsunami-affected areas of the Southern Province. more..

Rupee ends flat, shares fall on war threats

July 14 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee ended flat in thin trade on Friday, languishing at an all-time closing low hit the day before, while shares weakened after a new threat of attacks on economic targets by Tamil Tiger rebels. The rupee ended at 111.75/111.80 per dollar, unchanged from Thursday's close, which itself was only the latest in a series of life lows in recent weeks. Some analysts expect the rupee to weaken to around 118-120 per dollar by the end of the year. more..

Sri Lanka to choose lead managers to US$400mn bond by end July

July 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka would appoint lead managers to a 400 million dollar sovereign bond issue by the end of this month, the government's debt office said. International investment banks have been asked to submit proposals by July 16, and the joint lead managers to the issue would be appointed by the end of July, the Central Bank which runs the public debt office for the finance ministry said Friday. more..

Lankans to Appeal to Victim’s Father

July 14 (AN) A top-level Sri Lankan delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Bhaila will arrive here tomorrow to seek clemency from the parents of an infant that died under the care of Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Nafeek. The parents say Nafeek strangled the child to death in a home north of the capital after two weeks on the job in May 2005. Nafeek says the child choked accidentally. more..

The most prolific pair in Tests

July 14 (CI) A series that has brought little joy for Bangladesh got even worse on the third day at Kandy, as Sri Lanka mercilessly hammered them into the ground, amassing a monumental 500 for 4 by close of play. The protagonists were, yet again, two batsmen who have made it a habit of getting together and making life miserable for opposition bowlers. Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene celebrated their 50th stand together with a mammoth third-wicket partnership of 311, more..

American National College Awards Night, Sri Lanka

July 14 (TW) Mr. Jagath Alwis, Deputy Chairman, Ceylinco Education Group, Dr. David Long, Chancellor of Northwood University, Dr. Henry Wiebe Dean, School of Extended Learning, University of Missouri at Rolla, Faculty, Students, Parents, and Distinguished Guests: Good evening. It is a pleasure to be here with you to participate in the American National College Awards Night. more..

UNP opposes elections in the East

July 14 (LT) The UNP opposes the attempt of the government to hold elections for local councils in the Eastern Province says UNP Secretary General Tissa Attanayake. He said the UNP has decided to oppose the local government election act to be presented to the Parliament on Tuesday. Mr. Attanayake accused the government of attempting to commit an election fraud by holding elections to the Northern Province in a hurry. more..