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Patriots denounce opposition leader`s anti-war heroes statement

July 16 (LNP) Mr. Wickramasinghe has said that the troops had liberated a thick forest which is of no value. Mr. Wickramasinghe had queried the significance in the capture of Thoppigala. At a public meeting in Galle, Mr. Wickramasinghe said Thoppigala was a large forest with 700 square kilometres. He also said it is larger than the Colombo district. Patriots pointed out that the opposition leader is displaying his ignorance by repeating such statements. more..

Govt. moves three-pronged strategy in east

July 16 (LNP) The fall of major LTTE bases in the East would facilitate the ongoing resettlement and reconstruction projects in the East. Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapakse said that the government would fast track what he termed as a three-pronged strategy to restore normalcy in the region. In a brief interview with The Island against the backdrop of the LTTE losing Thoppigala, Rajapakse asserted that security would be critical. more..

Ratepayers` rupees and votes at work!

July 16 (LNP) One`s gorge rises at the absurd goings-on at the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC). The city administration has become as nauseating as those open garbage trucks doing the rounds during daytime with obnoxious juices trickling down. The CMC was never run?like all other political institutions?to the satisfaction of the public. It has always been reeking of many things including corruption and inefficiency but today its stench is stronger than ever. more..

Tiger big guns near Madhu church: Army

July 16 (SAMN) The military Sunday charged that the LTTE was firing from a 122mm artillery gun placed just 600 metres away from the Madhu Church so that the forces could not retaliate. “We could not retaliate because the Tigers have placed several heavy guns near the church premises, while a command centre equipped with a communications tower has been observed at a location not more than 200 metres from the premises,” the official said. more..

End to abductions: JUC lauds President

July 16 (SAMN) All Ceylon Jammiyathul Ulama Council (JUC) President Moulavi M.I.M. Rizvi Mufthi commended President Mahinda Rajapaksa for taking immediate steps to end the abductions and extortions targeting the Muslim business community in Colombo and other areas. Addressing the media recently at the Information Department, Mufthi said when a delegation from the Muslim community met President Rajapaksa, he immediately appointed a committee to look into the problems of the Muslim business community. more..

We have no access, to East: NGOs

July 16 (SAMN) Two months on after a government-sponsored resettlement programme was launched in the Batticaloa district many Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are yet to gain continuous and unperturbed access to communities particularly in the Batticaloa West. NGO’s like Save the Children is one of those agencies which have no access at all and waiting to receive the green light to proceed to the East and establish rehabilitation programmes. more..

No ‘May Day May Day’ for external trade

July 16 (SAMN) Despite the security situation and the political developments, the country’s external trade appears robust with the month of May notching record figures. The Central Bank said that exports in May reached its highest value of US$ 641 million while imports for the first time crossed the US$ 1 billion mark. The growth in exports in the first five months was 14.4% to $ 2.9 billion while imports grew by 7.5% to $ 4.3 billion. more..

Jeyraj’s statements regarding German Ambassador and Ranil not true- UNP

July 16 (LD) The UNP declares that the Government’s statement on the UNP leader asking the German ambassador to cut down aid is blasphemous. The UNP adds saying that the Rajapaksha Brothers Company is spreading inaccurate statements in order to hide their failure as a Government. The UNP has released a press statement responding to the declaration of The Minister Highways & Road Development - Jeyraj Fernandopulle, at a Government Media conference. more..

SLT’s new ADSL lines suspended

July 16 (TG) Sri Lanka’s Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) has asked Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) to suspend issuing new ADSL lines until its services are upgraded, acting on subscriber complaints of poor quality connections. The regulator’s director General Kanchana Ratwatte told The Sunday Times that the request was made to SLT last week to stop issuing new ADSL lines, after testing determined that service quality had ‘deteriorated drastically over the last month or so.’ more..

State-of-the-art radar installed at Rameswaram

July 16 (PTI) In a significant step that could prevent incidents of firing on Indian fishermen who stray into Sri Lankan territorial waters, Navy is installing seven state-of-the-art radars along Tamil Nadu's eastern coast from Rameswarm to Nagapattinam to monitor movements of boats. The first of the radars, that would also help curb smuggling in the Palk Straits, had been commissioned in this island by Commodore Philip Van Haltren, Naval Officer-Incharge, Tamil Nadu. more..

Deliberate transfers to Educational services officials by Nirmala

July 16 (LD) It was revealed that officials appointed by the Educational Services Commission are being deliberately transferred by the Deputy Minister of Education -Nirmala Kothalawala. He has attempted to appoint an individual of the Kaluthara District, (who was at the Ministry of Urban Development )to represent him instead of the official appointed by the Educational Services Commission for the post of Additional Secretary of Administration and Finance in the Ministry of Education. more..

Maha Nayakas praise development drive amidst military campaign

July 16 (DN) While praising the Government’s development drive amidst the battle against terrorism, the Maha Nayakas of the Malwattta and Asgiriya Chapters emphasised the need to sustain the effort when President Mahinda Rajapaksa met the Prelates in Kandy. President Rajapaksa who made an inspection tour in Kandy to look into matters pertaining to development work in the area and the Central Province paid homage at the Dalada Maligawa on Saturday before meeting the Prelates. more..

President says public support is necessary for development

July 16 (ITN) President Mahinda Rajapakse has said that development can be carried out more successfully if the people extended their support. He emphasised that his administration will fulfil all requirements on behalf of the people’s welfare. The President said the people had taken action to develop their village sinking differences. It is time to build the country. On one hand, the East has been completely liberated by the troops, sacrificing their lives. more..

Govt allocates Rs. 1,890 m for free school books

July 16 (DN) The Government has allocated Rs. 1890 million for the printing and distribution of free school textbooks for 2008. Arrangements are being made to send them to the schools in the next two months. Zonal educational authorities have been requested to forward their requirements of free textbooks and all schools will be provided with adequate stocks of textbooks, said W.M.C. Balasooriya, former Deputy Director of Education Bingiriya. more..

Yahoo Photos

July 16 (AFP) Sri Lankan soldiers pose with national (left) and Tamil Tiger (right) flags atop the Thoppigala Rock. The Sri Lankan government said it would seek foreign aid to rebuild a key province recently wrested from the Tamil Tiger rebels after months of fighting. more..

President orders shifting of Bogambara prison

July 16 (DM) The President said that steps would be taken to allocate within a week fifty million rupees (Rs. 50,000,000) required for the construction of prison buildings in Pallekele area and instructed the Justice Minister, Dilan Perera to expedite the work relating to the shifting of Bogambara prison away from the city of Kandy. The President Mahinda Rajapaksa issued these instructions recently at a discussion held regarding the acceleration of development work in the Kandy district held at the President’s House in Kandy. more..

Tax Commission soon: President

July 16 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapakse said that a Tax Commission would be appointed this week and its report would be available within a month. He said that a simple Tax structure would remove all anomalies of the Tax Payer and the Trade. The President was speaking to the Trade Representatives, Cooperative sector, and the Trade Community. This was the third day during when the President met Government Officers, Members of the Provincial Council, and all those in the administration of the Central Province at the President’s House, Kandy. more..

Sri Lanka warns Indian fishermen

July 16 (APP) The Sri Lankan government has warned Indian fishermen from crossing the international maritime border line. Media reports quoting officials said the warning, which would be effective from Monday, had been sent to the Indian High Commission in Colombo. The fishermen, who cross international maritime border and enter Sri Lankan area would be arrested and their boats seized, Sri Lanka warned. more..

Vaiko slams Centre's approach to Lankan ethnic problem

July 16 (PTI) Charging the UPA Government at the Centre with "bitter betrayal" of Sri Lankan Tamils, MDMK chief Vaiko today demanded cancellation of its reported decision to co-ordinate communication networks between the naval forces of the two countries. In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Vaiko said "The approach, attitude and activities of the Indian Government regarding the Tamil ethnic problem of Sri Lanka deeply wounded the sentiments of Tamils and more..

Sri Lankan parents cleared to go to Saudi Arabia to plea for teen on death row

July 16 (AP) The parents of a Sri Lankan maid sentenced to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia after a baby died in her care will travel to the kingdom later this week to plea for clemency to the boy's parents, a Sri Lankan official said Monday. A Saudi court sentenced Rizana Nafeek, 19, to death last month and gave her until Monday to appeal the sentence. Human rights activists have said the boy's death appeared to be an accident. more..

Sri Lanka seeks foreign aid for captured province

July 16 (AFP) The Sri Lankan government said it would seek foreign aid to rebuild a key province recently wrested from the Tamil Tiger rebels after months of fighting. Donors would be asked to fund an ambitious reconstruction bid in the newly seized Eastern province, an area of some 9,635 square kilometres (3,720 square miles), said Public Administration Minister Karu Jayasuriya. "We appeal to donors and I have reason to believe that help will be forthcoming," more..

Rain washes out Sri Lanka A hopes

July 17 (CI) Rain denied Sri Lanka A the chance to make it three wins out of three on their tour. They made 259 for 8 against Kent at Canterbury, but four overs into the home side's reply a torrential downpour caused the match to be abandoned. Nevertheless, it was a good work-out for Sri Lanka's batsmen, with Mahela Udawatte and Gayan Widekoon making half-centuries, while Jehan Mubarak once more proved his class with 40. more..

Sri Lanka targets fuel subsidy to poor, braces for more price hikes

July 17 (LBO) The Sri Lanka has announced fuel subsidies to the poor on state welfare and warned of more price hikes with the onset of a hurricane season that disrupts international offshore petroleum production. Petroleum Resources Development Minister A.H.M. Fowzie said the move was meant to cushion the impact of recent domestic fuel price hikes in response to increases in international petroleum prices. more..

Top civil servant shot dead in Lanka’s East

July 17 (UNI) A top civil servant was shot dead by suspected Tamil Tiger rebels in the eastern port city of Trincomalee this evening. According to police sources, unknown gunmen shot dead Harath Abeyweera, the Chief District Secretary of the Eastern province, in the heart of Trincomalee town and escaped before police and security force personnel rushed to the scene. more..

13 Tigers surrendered: army

July 17 (Hindu) Amid rising tensions in the north, the Army on Monday said at least 13 LTTE cadres holed up in the Thoppigala jungles in the east had surrendered. There is no comment from the Tigers on the claim. Going by the military version, perhaps it is after a long gap that so many active cadres of the LTTE have surrendered. The usual practice for the Tiger cadres is to consume cyanide capsule in the event of capture. more..

Top official's murder condemned

July 17 (BBC) The President Mahinda Rajapaksa has accused Tamil Tigers of killing the top government official in the eastern province. Deascribing the killing of Chief Secretary of the Province, HM Herath Abeyweera, as a cowardly assassination, Rajapaksa says the killing 'further strengthens our resolve not to give in to the forces of terror. Abeyweera has served 15 years as Ampara Dictrict Secretary prior to his appointment as the head of the Eastern Secretariat. more..

LTTE leaders 'allowed to escape'

July 17 (BBC) Sri Lanka's opposition leader has accused the government of allowing the Tamil Tiger regional leaders to escape as the government troops recaptured a rebel stroghold. Ranil Wickramasinghe told journalists in Colombo that the soldiers wanted to stop supplies to the LTTE as they moved forward to capture Thoppigala. However, the soldiers are dissapointed that an order was issued from Colombo to allow the top LTTE leadership to escape from the area, according to Wickramasinghe. more..

Sri Lanka Conflict - Solutions Must be Realistic

July 17 (AT) This note is with reference to Mr Gonsalkorale's article on the possibility of a change in the LTTE strategy following the fall of Thoppigala that appeared in the Asian Tribune on 14 July 2007. The article is a refreshing change from the usual nonsense we hear about Sinhala chauvinists, discrimination and harassment and the like. However, as most writers (journalists?) who have "arrived" recently into this sphere, he too appears to have embraced the views propagated by LTTE propaganda. more..

Elephant House adds Orange Barley and Lemonade to ‘Light’ Range

July 17 (AT) Ceylon Cold Stores Ltd launched two new sugar free additions ‘Orange Barley Light ’ and ‘Lemonade Light’ to the Sri Lankan market. ‘Orange Barley Light’ and ‘Lemonade Light’ now join ‘EGB Light’ as zero calorie sugar free drink products which promise to revolutionize the local market by being a ‘must have’ beverage for consumers who seek products of this nature. The two Light beverages are available in the 1.5 litre packs. more..

Muralitharan, Kumar top up the rankings

July 17 (Sapa) Two of Sri Lanka's best players of all time have made history on the LG ICC Test Player Rankings following their team's 3-0 series win over Bangladesh. Muttiah Muralitharan has become only the fourth Test bowler in history to reach 920 rating points and is the highest rated bowler for 24 years. He is now just two rating points behind Pakistan great Imran Khan and is fast catching up on England's Sydney Barnes and George Lohmann, who are first and second, respectively, in the all-time Test bowlers' list. more..

Hands on the Judiciary too

July 17 (LeN) The judiciary sources said that an investigation has now commenced on top level orders by the Police internal intelligence board to look into the judiciary affairs and the verdicts of the Chief Justice and six Supreme Court judges, depicting signs of deepening of the conflict between the Executive Presidency and the Judiciary. A special Police team led by a Senior Superintendent of Police is conducting investigations under the guidance of a Deputy Inspector General. more..

Why felicitate those who gave money to the LTTE, without saluting those who fought the war?

July 17 (LeN) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe inquires why a person who gave money to LTTE is felicitated instead of the real heroes who fought the battle to capture Thoppigala. He said that he was asking the same question asked by the armed forces personnel since days, from President Mahendra Percival Rajapakse. more..

All must rally to save the country from the Rajapakse Co. -Ranil

July 17 (LD) Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing a training workshop for Media Secretaries at Sri Kotha on 13th July. The UNP is a People’s Party. As before, so we shall continue to protect the Institutions of Democracy in the country. Today, we are saddled with the task of protesting and fighting against the Rajapakse Bros. Co. who have shaken the very foundation of Democracy by their secret pact with the Tigers. more..

President pledges to restore freedom in the East

July 17 (BN) Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa pledged to restore freedom in the east after the killing yesterday of a political leader in the region the army captured from the LTTE last week. Herath Abeyweera, chief secretary of the Eastern Province, was shot dead in the port of Trincomalee, in an attack carried out by the LTTE, Rajapaska said in an e-mailed statement. more..

Contemplating A Multi-National Confederation for Sri Lanka

July 17 (FI) This columnist has been associated for the past several years with that much-maligned minority that can be broadly labelled ‘liberal federalists’ on the question of peace and constitutional reform in Sri Lanka. Allowing for individual nuances of emphasis and premise, Sri Lankan liberal federalists are those who have advocated (a) a negotiated resolution to the ethnic conflict more..

Referendum should not be held before local elections in the East!

July 17 (FI) An argument is being peddled that a referendum on the merger of the Northern and the Eastern Provinces should precede the proposed Local Government elections in the East. As a Tamil now living in Canada, and at an advanced age, who has seen the evolution of the racial conflict in Sri Lanka from the days of G. G. Ponnambalam and S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike to Prabhakaran, please permit me to comment on this. more..

Rajapaksa the liberator?

July 17 (KT) THE victory at Thoppigala last week brought the Eastern Province, one of Sri Lanka’s nine administrative provinces, under the control of the government. The defeat of the LTTE in the east is, no doubt, a victory for the security forces. But the ultimate victory is not nigh. The path to that elusive victory is strewn with many an obstacle. The journey along that path requires courage and sacrifice, both at military and political level. more..

Australian court grants bail to 2 accused of supporting Tamil Tigers

July 17 (AP) An Australian court granted bail Tuesday to two men accused of raising money for Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger separatists on the pretext of collecting donations for victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Police arrested Aruran Vinayagamoorthy, 32, and Sivarajah Yathavan, 36, during a series of raids in the Victoria state capital, Melbourne, in May following a two-year investigation. more..

Assassination strengthens resolve not to give in to terror - President

July 17 (LeN) I unequivocally condemn the cowardly assassination today, of the Mr. Herath Abeyweera, Chief Secretary of the Eastern Province by terrorists of the LTTE. This is yet another act of savagery by the LTTE in its campaign of terror to achieve its goal of a separate state, allegedly for the liberation of the Tamil people who are themselves severely oppressed by its violence and terror. more..

26 Akkaraayan poor students receive free bicycles

July 17 (TN) Twenty six selected students, 16 girls and 10 boys, from Akkaraayan Maha Viththiyaalayam received free bicycles sponsored by the local Akkaraayan Development Organization and the Zoa Foundation, an NGO, to facilitate children from economically deprived families to improve attendence to middle and high schools, sources in Ki'linochchi said. Students were selected from villages of Ka'n'nakipuram and Akkaraayan East which llie more than 5 km from the school. more..

SLMM Inspects damages at Pu'liyangku'lam Hospital

July 17 (TN) A team of officials from Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) visited Pu'liyangku'lam Monday between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and inspected the damages at Pu'liyangku'lam Hospital and the neighboring civilian residences from the rocket fire launched by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Sunday noon and night, sources in Vanni said. The team also talked to the doctors and nurses. more..

Sri Lankan rupee at new life low on importer dollar demand

July 17 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee fell to a new all-time closing low on Tuesday, the latest in a string of new lows in recent weeks as importers sought dollars to pay trade bills and banks covered short dollar positions, dealers said. The rupee ended at 111.78/111.82 per dollar, surpassing the previous life low of 111.75/111.80 hit on Thursday. Some analysts expect the rupee to weaken to as much as 118-120 per dollar by the end of the year. more..

Shares extend losses led by index-heavyweights

July 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stock market fell 1.5 percent for the second day in a row as index-heavy telcos took a beating, dealers said. The benchmark All Share index fell 1.5 percent or 37.58 points while the Milanka index of liquid shares lost over two percent or 64.94 points even on Tuesday, according to provisional data. Stock values fell to 769.28 billion rupees from 781.30 billion rupees on Monday and 793.6 billion at the start of the week. more..

Sri Lanka gem industry lobbies for 'gold loans'

July 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's gem and jewellery industry is lobbying for new financial instruments like 'gold loans' to get cost effective funds for those in the trade, especially small businesses. There are no financial products specifically meant for the gem and jewellery industry available in Sri Lanka and most commercial banks lack the expertise and are unwilling to take the risk of lending to the sector. more..

Sri Lanka court convicts four over securities fraud in landmark case

July 17 (LBO) A Sri Lankan court has convicted four executive directors of a listed company that went bust some years ago for not revealing information that affected the firm's share price. Market analysts say this was the first time the accused in a securities-related offence has been convicted under the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Act. more..

Karuna cuts deal to let Tigers escape from east to Vanni

July 17 (AT) Asian Tribune was informed by reliable sources that Velupillai Prabakaran, leader of the Tamil Tigers, has ordered Jeyam, Special Commander of the LTTE in the Batticaloa Amparai district, to return to Vanni with his cadres, leaving behind a minimum force of 30 to 50 cadres. Cadres left behind are to work with the intelligence group of the outfit in disrupting the peace and stability in the region. The remainder of the 360 hardcore Tigers will now seek to escape the cordon thrown by the Security Forces. more..

Transport authority of the Dept. of Railways arrested

July 17 (LD) Today, the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption arrested the Transport authority of the Dept. of Railways – Mr. Padmasiri Chandratillaka. He was accused of causing the Government a massive loss by the purchase of the 1250 sign lamps that cost the Dept. of Railways a sum of Rs. 97, 73,437. The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption notified the Colombo Chief Magistrate Courts on the 17th, more..

Varsity intake increased to 20,000 for next year

July 17 (GDI) The University Grants Commission (UGC) will be taking steps to increase next year’s University intake up to 20,000 students. Chairman of the UGC Professor Gamini Samaranayake says that the Commission will be calling all the Vice Chancellors and other relevant officers in the University hierarchy to discuss on the complexities which stands on the way of achieving this target. more..

Saudi Arabian Ambassador assures possible help to get pardon for Rizana

July 17 (GDI) The Saudi Arabian Ambassador in Sri Lanka Mohammed Al Ali has assured to extend all possible assistance to the Government of Sri Lanka, in obtaining pardon for the death sentence imposed on Miss Rizana Nafeek, Foreign Ministry states. The Ambassador extended his assurance during a discussion held with the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Hussein A. Bhaila yesterday (16) on the matters relating to the death sentence imposed on Rizana Nafeek. more..

World Cup contenders face-off in Under-19 series

July 17 (CI) With the Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia barely seven months away, three likely contenders face-off in a tri-nation U-19 one-day tournament in Colombo in preparation for the big event. The seven-match tournament from July 19-28 involves India, Bangladesh and hosts Sri Lanka and the U-19 World Cup rules will be applied. more..