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Construction of Norochcholai Coal Power Plant to begin in few weeks

July 17 (GDI) The construction work of the Norochcholai Coal Power plant is scheduled to begin in few weeks, says Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Dr. Sarath Amunugama. Minister Amunugama, returning to Sri Lanka after concluding his visit to China recently said that the Chinese authorities have agreed to initiate the project with the Export and Import Bank (EXIM) bank disbursing a down payment of 15 per cent of the total amount. more..

Central Employees Data Base to assist to fill 8000 jobs

July 17 (GDI) There are over 8000 job opportunities in all BOI zones of the country. The Director Industrial Relations of the Board of Investment (BOI) Y. Jagathweera said that there should be a proper registration system for recruiting. BOI has established a Central Employees Data Base (CEDB) under the Job Bank initiative to collect data of job seekers. more..

Troops completely destroy Tiger mortar position near Madu

July 17 (GDI) Security forces in the Wanni area controlled the continuous LTTE attacks on their Forward Defence Line that lasted for the past weekend, completely destroying the Tiger gun positions, military reports stated. On Saturday (14), security forces completely destroyed the terrorists’ mortar locations from which the LTTE was targeting troops at the Forward Defence Line (FDL) at Periyathampane on the Vavuniya-Mannar road, in the southeastern side of Madu. more..

Resilience of Sri Lankan economy boosts investor confidence

July 17 (GDI) The achievements made by Sri Lanka bear testimony to the resilience of the economy and the confidence placed by trading partners, foreign investors and the local own private sector. Stating this Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said Sri Lanka's example of economic growth in spite of terrorism is indeed a reflection of the will of the international community and the Sri Lankans' refusal to bow down to terrorism. more..

Women urge President to save Rizana`s life

July 17 (LNP) Several women`s civil organizations and leading women personalities in Sri Lanka have written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to intervene and save the life of Naffeek Rizana who is on death row in Saudi Arabia. The groups appealed to the President to intervene immediately and get a pardon for the girl noting that what has happened is a tragic event and is not an intentional murder by strangulation. more..

Eleven escape from LTTE captivity

July 17 (LNP) Eleven people, abducted by the LTTE and held in Thoppigala, surrendered to the Kinniyadi Army Camp yesterday. They said the LTTE was concentrating on escape routes when the Army surrounded Thoppigala and this paved the way for them to escape. The LTTE had killed about 100 prisoners, they said. Describing their daily routine, the prisoners said they were made to toil from early in the morning until dusk without proper food or rest. more..

New nurses get letters today

July 17 (LNP) A ceremony will be held today at the National Youth Council Maharagama to present letters of appointment for 1,076 nurses, who completed their training period. Under a project by the Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition to meet the required demand of nurses by end of this year, a programme to train 15,000 nurses was carried out. With the appointment of this batch, nurses who were stationed in the same hospital for more than five years and who anticipated transfers will be given transfers, more..

Holding children to ransom is a crime

July 17 (LNP) `No man can be a good teacher, Bertrand Russell has said, `unless he has feelings of warm affection towards his pupils and a genuine desire to impart to them what he himself believes to be value.` The ongoing tug-of-war between the Education Ministry and teachers over a salary dispute may remind one of Russellian wisdom expressed in those words. The Ceylon Teachers` Service Union (CTSU) with JVP leanings has threatened to boycott work at the forthcoming GCE (A/L) examination unless teachers` salary anomalies are rectified urgently. more..

UNP to lose elephant symbol?

July 17 (SAMN) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Monday hinted the possibility of forming a broad political alliance not only with the SLFP Mahajana Wing but also with other parties as well and contesting future elections under a common symbol while forgoing the Elephant symbol for the first time. The matter was discussed at the party’s Political Affairs Committee (PAC) meeting held at Wickremesinghe’s Cambridge Terrace official residence. more..

Ranil SLFP's best ally: Jeyaraj

July 17 (SAMN) Highways Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle Monday described Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as the SLFP's best ally in that his public utterances would ensure the party would enjoy an uninterrupted tenure in Government. Fernandopulle said the Opposition Leader's attack on the Security Forces, clergy and journalists could only work to the advantage of the SLFP and it was their fervent wish that Wickremesinghe continues to remain as the Opposition Leader for as long as possible. more..

CMC in spectacular muddle

July 17 (SAMN) Minority parties in the Colombo Municipal Council Monday called for a stable administration in the council while stating that they would remain neutral without supporting any group. JHU Councillor Tuder Perera called for the intervention of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to put the council back on track and accused the SLFP members who brought the no confidence motion against Mayor Mohamed U. Emitiyaz and Deputy Mayor S. Rajendran of working according to a UNP agenda. more..

Australian govt may appeal Tamil Tiger bail ruling

July 17 (AAP) The federal government has taken steps to challenge the granting of bail to three men facing terror-related charges, as a judge warned against political interference in the justice system. Attorney-General Philip Ruddock on Tuesday asked prosecutors to consider appealing the decision of a court in Melbourne to grant bail to two (two) men charged with supplying funds to Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers. more..

Ranil-Weerth meeting

July 17 (SAMN) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe denied assertions by Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle that he had discussed the provision of aid to Sri Lanka with Jurgen Weerth, the German Ambassador in Colombo, when they met recently. Wickremesinghe explained that the present German Ambassador was the Chairman of the Association of European Diplomats and had participated in the co-chairs meeting: “Therefore he has the authority to brief the President and me on the outcome of the sessions,” he said. more..

Environment Ministry grants several concessions to handicraftsmen

July 17 (DN) Environment and Natural Resources Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka has granted several long awaited concessions and relief to handicraftsmen engaged in the production of wood and clay based handicraft products. This follows a request by Rural Industries and Self-Employment Promotion Minister S. B. Nawinna and a subsequent meeting of National Crafts Council (NCC) Chairman Buddhi Keerthisena had with Minister Ranawaka at his Ministry recently. more..

Envoys from Muslim countries visit Puttalam IDP centres

July 17 (DN) Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Heads of Missions of Islamic countries based in Colombo, yesterday visited the welfare centres and temporary shelters in the Puttalam district where thousands of Muslim families forcibly evicted from North are living to see for themselves the living conditions and hardships they undergo. more..

Civilians say LTTE used them as slaves: Military

July 17 (DM) A large number of civilians detained as prisoners in LTTE custody in Thoppigala revealed they were used as slaves and were forced to set up landmines which killed nearly 100 of them. Eleven such detainees, who escaped from the LTTE custody before the capture of Thoppigala, told the military that more than 80 detainees were killed for not obeying orders, a senior military official said. more..

Bus owners go to courts on inadequate fare hike

July 17 (DM) Expressing its disappointment over the recent ‘inadequate’ bus fare increase Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association said yesterday it would go to courts against the Western Province Transport Authority if it failed to rectify existing anomalies in bus fares by next week. Association’s President Gemunu Wijeratne said given the sharp increase in the prices of all spare parts as well as fuel, the upward revision of bus fares effected was ‘unrealistically inadequate’. more..

Kuwait, Sri Lanka sign KD two million KFAED loan agreement

July 17 (KUNA) Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) and Sri Lanka signed on Tuesday in Colombo a loan agreement worth two million Kuwaiti dinars (KD), (around USD 6.8 million), to finance the first phase of the South Eastern University of Sri Lanka development project. Sri Lanka was represented by the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Planning Dr. P.B. Jayasundera while the Fund was represented by its Deputy Director General Hesham Al-Waqayan. more..

Maid's clemency papers are filed

July 17 (BBC) An Asian rights group says that it has met a deadline in Saudi Arabia for legal papers to be filed in the case of a Sri Lankan maid facing execution. The maid, Rizana Nafeek, is accused of killing a baby in her care. She had originally confessed to killing the four-month-old Saudi baby boy in 2005 but later retracted her statement saying it had been made under duress. more..

Lanka president attacks 'cowards'

July 17 (BBC) The president of Sri Lanka has condemned the killing of a top government official in the east, which he blamed on "cowardly" Tamil Tigers. President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the attack would increase the resolve of the government to fight the rebels. Herath Abeyweera was killed on Monday, only a few days after the government declared it had captured all of the east of the island from the rebels. more..

President vows to wrest all land from rebels

July 17 (Reuters) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has vowed to wrest control of all territory held by his Tamil Tiger rebel foes following the assassination overnight of a top government official in the restive east, his office said. But analysts say the fatal shooting of Herath Abeyweera, Secretary of the Eastern Province, in the northeastern district of Trincomalee on Monday shows the Tigers are still a force to be reckoned with in the east -- even though the military says it has captured much of the region after months of fighting. more..

Civil War Shifts to Jaffna

Jul 18 (IPS) As the government celebrates the capture of the country’s east, all out battles with Tamil rebels in their northern bastion of Jaffna have become imminent. Five days after the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse announced that its troops had reached the last Tiger stronghold in the east, Toppiggala (Barron’s rock), over 25 combatants from both sides died in clashes along the northern line of control. more..

SL and Bangladesh to review and expand the existing relations

July 18 (GDI) Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will be reviewing and expanding the existing relations between the two nations. This was discussed today between the visiting Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama and the Chief Advisor of the Bangladesh caretaker government Fakhruddin Ahmed. The discussion focused on bilateral trade, investment and economic relations. more..

Sri Lankan death row teen's appeal before July 22: lawyer

July 18 (AFP) An appeal for a teenage Sri Lankan housemaid sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for murdering a four-month-old baby has been launched, her lawyer said on Tuesday. Rizana Nafeek, 19, was convicted of strangling her employer's baby in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom in February 2005 in a case that has raised international concern. Lawyer Kateb al-Shammari told AFP he is preparing a case to submit to an appeal court which he must lodge by July 22, more..

Sri Lankan Airlines profits slump over conflict

July 18 (LBO) Sri Lankan Airline's consolidated after tax profits dived 50 percent to 862.1 million in the year ended March 2007 the carrier said, as tourists shied off the war ravaged island and fuel costs climbed. "The largest single factor that affected the airline’s bottom-line was the return to hostilities in Sri Lanka’s internal conflict," SriLankan's managing director Timothy Clark said in a statement. more..

'We did not sell vehicles, but gave them to businessmen and obtained money'

July 18 (LeN) The Deputy Secretary of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) and the Chairman of the Central Environmental Authority Udaya Gammaanpila said that the monk MPs of the JHU purchased luxury vehicles in the same way the other MPs did, but did not sell them as the Opposition Leader accused. However, he said that the vehicles were handed over to the businessmen who made sacrifices for the party and obtained money. more..

Stop spying the Supreme Court judges, says Mangala

July 18 (LeN) Sri Lanka Freedom Party People's Wing co-leader Mangala Samaraweera issuing a statement pertaining to the news reports that the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) has taken steps to collect information about Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva and other Supreme Court judges, says that all the people who appreciate democratic values should contemptuously deny the moves to meddle the judiciary. more..

Sampur FR petition dismissed

July 18 (BBC) The Supreme Court in Sri Lanka have accused human rights activists of trying to 'create news for international consumption'. Chief Justice Sarath N Silva dismissed a Fundamental Rights petition against establishing a High Security Zone (HSZ) in Sampur. The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) has quoted Defence Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and others as respondents. more..

Petroleum Corporation land given to John Keels without proper tender procedure - Vasudeva

July 18 (LD) The Supreme Court ordered Attorney General to report to courts on the tender involving the transfer of a Petroleum Corporation land with a storage complex to the John Keels group. Court gave permission to proceed with the petition filed by Vaudeva Nanayakkara who accused that a proper tender procedure has not been followed in the selling of this land and storage complex. more..

Trouble overseas

July 18 (FL) A STRIKINGLY recurrent phenomenon in recent times is the legal action being taken by the law-enforcement agencies of several Western nations against accredited leaders of the LTTE among the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora. In what appears to be an orchestrated action, the LTTE is being penalised globally. From the United States to Australia, several suspected LTTE leaders and operatives have been detained by the authorities and made to undergo due legal process. more..

Zero tolerance

July 18 (FL) AS the undeclared war between the military and the rebel forces rages on in Sri Lanka, the Mahinda Rajapaksa government has dug itself into a mode of denial on issues relating to human rights violations and humanitarian concerns. Shoot the messenger at point-blank range is the approach of the regime to anyone attempting to convey the unpalatable truth. There are no exceptions to the conviction of the government that in this "war against terrorism" either you are with us, or you are with them. more..

Anxious wait in SL for Buddha's sacred hair

July 18 (DS) People of Sri Lanka are now eagerly waiting to receive Lord Buddha's sacred hair relic which is to be taken to Colombo from Bangladesh tomorrow by a high-powered ministerial delegation led by Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. The relic is to be handed over to the Sri Lankan delegation today. According to the officials of Sri Lankan High Commission in Dhaka, elaborate programmes have been taken up to receive the sacred relic. more..

Tamils in rebel-held Sri Lanka sick of civil war

July 18 (Reuters) Thamalin Thirvakumar and her baby son live in a camp for war-displaced in rebel-held north Sri Lanka. Her husband is stuck across an impassable frontier in territory held by the Sri Lankan army. Her husband has missed all but the first few weeks of his son's life after the "border" that separates government from rebel territory in the northern Jaffna peninsula was suddenly shut last year following a renewed escalation of civil war. more..

Motion calling for select comm. on Tiger deal given to Speaker

July 18 (ML) Co-Convener of the SLFP (M) group, parliamentarian Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi yesterday made a second submission to Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara calling for the urgent appointment of a select committee of parliament to probe the allegation of the government paying money to the LTTE to influence the outcome of the presidential election of 2005 yesterday (17). more..

The winds of political change

July 18 (ML) Tomorrow the sublime would clash with the ridiculous. Even as the Rajapakse government forces school children to ‘celebrate Thoppigala’ others will watch with hope as elsewhere quietly, a new alliance of democratic forces is born. Reducing President Mahinda Rajapakse to a foolish Bottom in a Midsummer nightmare, ceremonies reminiscent of Idi Amin’s rule in Uganda are currently being organised to culminate tomorrow in an ultra nationalistic carnival, bordering on outright racism. more..

JHU hails deal with Tigers as a great tactical move

July 18 (ML) The JHU has decided that if any person gave money to the LTTE to win the presidential election with the aim of trapping the LTTE thereafter such person should be hailed and not condemned for such a clever tactic. This JHU position was articulated by senior member Udaya Gammanpila during television debates on both the State and Private media. more..

East has been under govt. control four times says TNA

July 18 (ML) The east has been under goverment control four times during the 30 year war, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Batticaloa parliamentarian, P. Ariyanenthiran said, and charged that the government was aiming for political gain by hyping the Thoppigala victory. He told The Morning Leader that the government was only interested in gaining political advantage by capturing Thoppigala and was not taking any interest in the plight of the people. more..

Victory and more war

July 18 (ML) The identity of the killers of Chief Secretary, Eastern Province, Herath Abeyweera is unknown. Police are said to suspect the LTTE. Sadly however, what is known is that killings of this nature are highly likely to continue and even increase in this recently ‘liberated’ province. To coin a phrase, militarily it may be "cleared" but the politics of the place remain as murky and one might add, as bloody as ever. more..

Britain and Sri Lanka: Contrasting Styles of Governance

July 18 (FI) Any discerning Sri Lankan who observed the dignified way in which transition to a new government took place in Britain very recently would have been deeply ashamed at the stark contrast in the character and style of governance between the two countries. It is as if we lived in two different planets - one where governance is civilised, and the other where it is in some respects at least, barbaric. more..

Government has no moral right to celebrate the eastern victory! - JVP Leader

July 18 (LT) Even the security forces sacrificed lives in the battlefield, having sacrificed nothing for the victory in east, government has no moral right to celebrate the eastern victory, JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe says. He said at the special media briefing held at Colombo today. Mr. Amarasinghe said, "We ask the government, what you sacrificed for the victory in east while members of the security forces sacrificed lives in the conquest of east. more..

The Gala, that is Thoppigala

July 18 (ISL) Thoppigala, formerly known as Barron’s Cap has been captured by the Sri Lankan army. This part of the country was inaccessible to the Sri Lankan government for decades. The people of the region confirm that they generally call it Thoppigala and rarely calls it "Kudumpimalai". Thoppy means cap and "Kal" means hill. "Thoppy" is a Tamil word and "gala" is a Sinhalese word. Nonetheless, the name Thoppigala has been in use for decades by the people of the region irrespective of their race or religion. more..

A permanent stop for the suppressions and atrocities of the Praba’s Group in the eastern province- TMVP

July 18 (ISL) “Our people in the eastern province are freed from the clutches of Praba Group to enjoy the rights of democracy. We as the representatives of the eastern province express our great tribute to the government and armed forces that played a key role in the liberation process of eastern province for the betterment of our people,” Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulighal better known as a Karuna faction said on their latest press release. more..

JVP to be absent from National celebrations for Thoppigala victory

July 18 (LD) At a meeting with the media on the 18th, JVP leader- Somawansha Amarasingha had stated that despite receiving invitations, the JVP had decided not to participate in the National celebrations regarding the Thoppigala victory. “Is not the island-wide celebrations held in parallel with the main function a conspicuous waste of the peoples’ money?” said the JVP leader. more..

'Duty of Patriotic forces is to overcome the International constipation of taking the Govt. to Geneva'

July 18 (LD) After 19 years since the Indo-Lanka pact, the JVP was enabled to separate the merged Provinces of the East and the North. The East Province, legally de-merged in the 2006, was liberated from the separatist LTTE on the 11th of July. Accordingly, the armed camps of the LTTE have ceased to exist in the East. more..

Saving Sri Lanka's tourist industry: Peace or posters?

July 18 (LBO) Recently the JVP trade union in the hotel industry put up posters asking for prompt government action to address the crisis in the hotel industry, by ensuring the restoration of tourist arrivals and extending low-interest loans and related concessions to the hotel industry. This was in stark contrast to the statements made by the Chair of the Sri Lanka Hoteliers Association, Hiran Cooray, on a BizFirst program on TV shortly after the trigger event of the psycho-bombing of Colombo by the LTTE airplanes. more..

Sri Lanka feels 5.2 magnitude quake in Bay of Bengal

July 18 (LBO) An earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale had occurred in the Bay of Bengal 510 kilometres to the East of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, the US Geological Survey said. The breach occurred 35 kilometer below the surface of the earth at 04:27:28 Universal Time, or 09.57 am local time. Sri Lanka's Geological Survey and Mines Bureau said the quake had been felt in several parts of the island. more..

Stocks plunge for third straight day

July 18 (LBO) Colombo stocks plunged a 1.4 percent extending a two day losing streak, wiping out another 10 billion rupees from stock values Wednesday, while treasury auctions saw renewed central bank intervention. The All Share Price Index dropped 1.4 percent or 33.40 points, to close at 2,354.98 points. The Milanka index of liquid shares closed 1.83 percent or 59.99 points lower at 3,218.52 points Colombo Stock Exchange provisional data showed. more..

"LTTE’s dream capital- Trincomalee is a dream now," Minister Fernandopulle

July 18 (GDI) "The LTTE’s dream to set up Eelam using Trincomalee as the main hub has faded away with the liberation of Thoppigala by the Government troops," said Minister of Highways- Jeyaraj Fernandopulle today(18). Minister also revealed that due to the existing differences between the northern and eastern Tamil communities, the LTTE leadership had decided to use Trincomalee as their capital city instead of Jaffna. more..

4 held for attack on journalist

July 18 (GDI) Four people have been arrested in connection with the assaulting of a Journalist of a private television channel yesterday (17). Following the media reports highlighted the incident in two occasions the Government instructed the Police, including the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to look in to the matter. "As the Journalist was not admitted to the hospital for treatment, the court has granted bail for the suspects,’ said Minister of Media Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena. more..

Nursing and para-medic sector opens up for arts qualified students

July 18 (GDI) Students receiving qualification in arts subjects will also be selected to be trained as nurses and as para-medics by the Health Ministry in the near future, says Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. The decision has been taken in order to fulfill the expected heavy demand in the fields of nursing and paramedical sector, particularly in the Northern and the Eastern parts, Minister further explained. more..