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New rule to standardize Bottled Drinking Water

July 19 (GDI) The Government has imposed a new rule for the bottled water manufactures to obtain an inspection report on water sources used for bottled water processing. This was done to ensure quality of drinking water bottles available in the local market. A new Act with relevant regulations was passed in the Parliament Yesterday (18). The bottled water manufactures are also required to register their plants with the health authorities in their areas. more..

All opinions are given a place in state media – Minister Anura Yapa

July 19 (GDI) The Cabinet spokesman Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said that the letter sent to him by the UNP parliamentarian, Lakshman Kirialla stating that the state media is acting partially and in favour of the Government, is baseless and false. Minister Yapa said that although he does not intend to send him a written reply, he is surprised with this letter, as UNP parliamentarian had forgotten the influence imposed on media during the UNP regime. more..

Draft bill to amend election laws

July 19 (GDI) The Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms met at the Parliamentary Complex under the patronage of its Chairman Minister Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday and decided to formulate and submit a draft bill to amend the election laws within the next fortnight. The draft bill will include the proposed electronic voting system. The Select Committee took this decision because there was consensus among all parties for a change in election laws rather than the Electoral System, more..

Special sub-committees to uplift tourism

July 19 (GDI) The Government has initiated a new development programme to uplift the tourism industry in Sri Lanka. Accordingly 11 sub-committees will be set up comprising intellectuals experienced in tourism both locally and internationally. These committees attached to the Ministry of Tourism and the Ceylon Tourist Board will look in to the possible measures that can be implemented to expand the industry. more..

Sri Lanka strengthened by Jayasuriya return

July 19 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene acknowledged Bangladesh's growing one-day prowess but warned that his team was determined to win the three-match series starting at the P Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo on Friday at any cost. "We always respected Bangladesh whenever we played them in Test or ODIs, especially in ODIs where they can be a handful. They've shown that when we played them in Bangladesh. They beat us once," Jayawardene said. more..

Quake off East Coast not tsunami threat

July 19 (PISL) Tremors were experienced in certain parts of the country yesterday as a result of an earthquake, which occurred off the Eastern coastal belt at a depth of 35 km. Residents of Kadugannawa and Monaragala said that they felt the tremors. In Colombo they were felt in Kollupitiya, Bambalapitiya and Wellawatte. The magnitude of the quake was 5.2 on the Richter Scaleat 9.57 am, the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau said. more..

Sri Lanka seeks to boost gem trade with consulate in Madagascar

July 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka plans to establish a consulate in Madagascar mainly to encourage trade in gems and improve economic ties with the big island nation off the east coast of Africa. More investments and trade could be expected from Madagascar once the mission is opened, Information Minister Anura Yapa told reporters Thursday. The government wants to encourage Sri Lankan gem traders to import more rough stones from Madagascar for cutting and polishing and to re-export from Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka civil society to commemorate the Black July

July 19 (LNP) The Collective for Life, a movement comprised of around 30 civil society organizations including leftists, liberals, trade unions and NGOs have organized a campaign to remember the people who died in 1983 Black July incidents aiming to build up a public dialogue on the ethnic issue and the peace making. As a part of the programme 100,000 handbills are to be distributed in Colombo, Negambo, Matara, Badulla, Ratnapura and Kurunegala areas from 26 to 31 July. more..

He drugged women in buses and stole jewellery

July 19 (LNP) A man found guilty in eleven cases of robbing jewellery from female bus commuters after sleep inducing them was yesterday sentenced to 20 years jail by Colombo Chief Magistrate Sarojini Kusala Weerawardena. Walpita Gamage Nalin of Batapola, Ambalangoda had committed the offences in long distance buses by offering drugged soft drinks to the victims. The eleven victims related their experiences before the magistrate yesterday. more..

Row over `secret deal` with US

July 19 (LNP) The Government`s refusal to table several annexures of the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA) with the United States Of America, drew flak from the main opposition UNP and the JVP in Parliament yesterday. The JVP which raised the matter urged House Leader Nimal Siripala De Silva to table a comprehensive copy of the agreement without concealing facts from the people. more..

Vasu decries euphoria over Thoppigala victory

July 19 (LNP) Prudence and sagacity calls for magnanimity and humility rather than heady celebrations to mark the taking of the Thoppigala Tiger base, said Colombo Municipal Council Opposition leader and Presidential Advisor Vasudeva Nanayakkara yesterday. In a statement Mr. Nanayakkara said, `When King Elara was killed, King Dutugemunu did not hold festivities. He interred the remains of King Elara in a tomb in a fitting manner and issued a royal decree to his subjects to pay respects to the dead king. more..

Court orders compensation to Tamil woman journalist

July 19 (TN) Sri Lanka Supreme Court Monday instructed the Police officers and other officials cited as respondents in a fundamental rights violation case Monday to pay Rs.50,000 to Tamil woman journalist Ms Sivanathan Sivaramya, legal sources in Colombo said. The FR petition was taken up for inquiry before a three-member bench of the Supreme Court chaired by the Chief Justice, Sarath N.Silva. more..

Snake awareness programme for villagers

July 19 (SAMN) A snake awareness programme to educate villagers was conducted by naturalist Dilan Peiris in Dambulla on July 1. The main aim of the programme was to educate villagers on the importance of protecting snakes in the environment. Snake awareness programmes organised by Peiris are held often for the benefit of villagers living close to jungle areas. more..

Lanka swallowed by last seed Oman

July 19 (SAMN) It was a disappointing day for Sri Lanka’s tennis players for they just could not live up to expectations and went down tamely to the lowest ranked team in Oman 2-1 on the opening day of the Davis Cup Group III at the SLTA courts in Colombo Wednesday. Sri Lanka’s number one player Harshana Godamanne played a grand game in the second single to beat Khalid Al Nabhani in straight sets, but more..

Youth Corps activities under probe

July 19 (SAMN) The CID and the Bribery or Corruption Commission have been directed to conduct a full investigation into the activities of the Youth Corps (Yovun Senankaya), Youth Affairs Minister Pavithra Vanniarachchi said. Addressing the press at the Government Information Department Auditorium yesterday, Minister Vanniarachchi said that the Auditor General’s Department has also been requested to conduct a full investigation into the matter. more..

President calls on Iran to join Govt’s efforts to develop East

July 19 (DN) Following the liberation and comprehensive victory in the East over the LTTE, President Mahinda Rajapaksa called on Iran to join his Government’s efforts of developing it. President Rajapaksa made this request to the President of the ‘World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thoughts’ His Emminence Ayathullah Sheikh Muhammed Ali Al, when he met him at Temple Trees last Monday. more..

Help Us Help Rizana, Says Lankan Envoy

July 19 (AN) In light of the recently filed appeal in the case of Rizana Nafeek, the 19-year-old Sri Lankan maid found guilty by a Dawadami High Court of the strangulation death of a four-month-old Saudi boy last month, the Sri Lankan ambassador is appealing to the media to be cautious in its coverage. This is due, he says, to concerns that the coverage could influence decisions made during the course of negotiations between the two sides in the case. more..

Ranil plotting rift between President and Muslim world -Jeyaraj

July 19 (DN) Highways Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle yesterday charged UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe with attempting to drive a wedge between the Muslim countries and President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is well known for his rapport with world Muslim leaders. “Last week, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe met the Ambassadors of Muslim countries which have a very cordial relationship with President Rajapaksa. more..

UNP,JVP want Mavil Aru probe

July 19 (DM) The UNP and JVP yesterday submitted a joint motion to Speaker W.J.M.Lokubandara urging him to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee to probe into the alleged misappropriation of millions of rupees worth of public funds that were allocated for the payment of compensation to Mavil Aru farmers last year. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissananayake, who had earlier alleged the involvement of Nation Building Minister S.M.Chandrasena in the alleged misappropriation handed over the motion to the Speaker. more..

Yahoo Photos

July 19 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's president Mahinda Rajapakse (R) raises the national flag as he leads a state ceremony in Colombo to honour troops, July 19, 2007. more..

Sri Lanka promises elections in recaptured zones this year

July 19 (DPA) President Mahindra Rajapakse vowed Thursday to hold local elections in areas recaptured from Tamil rebels in eastern Sri Lanka before the end of the year as the military celebrated the ousting of rebel forces from the region. 'We will give the people of the east their sovereign right to elect their representatives to the provincial council and local government bodies,' Rajapakse said in an address to the nation. more..

SL condemns tamashas

July 19 (DM) Convener of the Manel Mal Movement S.L. Gunesekera yesterday condemned the government for wasting public money on holding a tamasha to celebrate the military victory in Thoppigala while noting that no one should attempt to gain political advantages from it. “The true and only owners who can claim the fame for the Eastern province victory are none other than the military forces. Some political parties and especially Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe are trying to undermine it while the government attempts to overvalue it. Both are crimes,” he said. more..

Sri Lanka's war goes north

July 19 (AT) With the Sri Lankan government celebrating the capture of the country's east, all-out battles with Tamil rebels in their northern bastion of Jaffna are imminent. Five days after the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse announced that its troops had reached the last Tamil Tigers stronghold in the east, Toppiggala (Barron's Rock), more than 25 combatants from both sides died in clashes along the northern line of control. more..

Terrorist fantasy of Eelam shattered into smithereens with the liberation ...

July 19 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa the liberation of the entire east from the clutches of the terrorists and announced that east would be developed under a the ‘Nagenahira Navodaya’ programme. "It is the debunking of the myth of such an area of control, and the shattering into smithereens of the crowning terrorist fantasy of Eelam that our brave soldiers who captured Thoppigala have announced loud and clear to the entire world," he said. more..

With tanks, jets, Sri Lanka fetes fall of rebel east

July 19 (Reuters) With a parade of tanks, military brass bands and the roar of fighter jets overhead, Sri Lanka's government on Thursday feted the capture of the Tamil Tigers' last bastion in the east. Army helicopters whirred past as President Mahinda Rajapaksa led a state ceremony to honor troops who captured vast swathes of territory in the east from the rebels in recent months as a new chapter in the two-decade war deepens. more..

USD200 million profit margins maintain sophisticated Tamil Tiger war

July 19 (Janes) The LTTE has created one of the most sophisticated insurgencies in the world, largely due to a complex global network of financial resources and weapons that are integral to prolonging its campaign for a separate Tamil state in Sri Lanka. In a unique report on the financial operations of the LTTE, Jane’s Intelligence Review reports that with financial and procurement structures well organised and strategically positioned around the globe, the group has a profit margin that would be the envy of any multinational corporation more..

President praises military defeat of 'demonic forces of terror'

July 19 (AP) President Mahinda Rajapakse on Thursday praised the military's defeat of Tamil rebels in eastern Sri Lanka as a victory over "the demonic forces of terror," even as he promised to work to resolve the historic grievances of his nation's Tamil minority. The capture of the east, which had been controlled by the Tamil Tigers since 1994, was seen as a major political success for Rajapakse, more..

Sri Lanka president says Tigers must choose war or peace

July 19 (AFP) The Tamil Tigers must decide between war and peace, Sri Lanka's president said as the government celebrated its capture of the rebels' final bastion in the east of the island. Mahinda Rajapakse insisted he was leaving the door open for the resumption of negotiations with the separatist LTTE, which collapsed in October last year. "War or peace, we are ready," the president said in an interview with the state-run Daily News. more..

Tamil rebels threats won't deter him, Sri Lanka's leader says, marking victory in east

July 19 (AP) Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse said Thursday he will not be deterred by threats by separatist Tamil Tiger rebels and vowed to continue to weaken them militarily. "I will not be shaken by their (rebel) threats and I will continue my duty toward my country," Rajapakse told a national celebration to mark the military's victory over the rebels in the east. "The Tigers must understand guns, bombs and cyanide capsules will not win the freedom of Tamil people," Rajapakse said. more..

Many Small People, In Many Small Places…

July 20 (FI) This article is a brief, anecdotal account based on first - hand experience of what is happening in Guatemala now. It is written from the perspective of a young Canadian of Sri Lankan origin who was part of an Undergrad group that spent four weeks there recently. Among many things, the writer speaks of hearing “firsthand accounts of the brutalities spawned by the civil war” and living ” with a community of ex-guerrilla members” and more..

IFJ Concerned by Sri Lankan Journalist’s Assault

July 20 (IFJ) The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the assault of MTV/SIRASA Aralaganvila provincial correspondent Wijerathna Podibanda by authorities on Saturday, July 14.According to an IFJ affiliate, the Free Media Movement (FMM), Wijerathna was threatened and assaulted by a group of officials from the Mahaweli authority after attempting to capture events surrounding the sale of the Aralaganvila Children’s Park. more..

UNP-People's Wing sign the MoU on auspicious time (Full version attached)

July 20 (LeN) The Memorandum of Understanding between the UNP and the SLFP People's Wing for a national programme to build and protect the country was signed on auspicious time of 11.52 AM. At a simple function held in the parliamentary complex the MoU was signed by the leader of the UNP Ranil Wikramasinghe and Peopl's Wing Convener Mangala Samaraweera amidst the chanting of pirith by the Buddhist monks. more..

Children still forced to fight for Tamil Tigers

July 20 (IRIN) For four years, R. Ganesh and his wife Lakshmi have held out hope that one day they would see their son safely return to his home in Trincomalee District in eastern Sri Lanka. Lakshmi has hardly stopped crying since the day her only child, Jeggan, then nine years old, was taken away by members of the LTTE and forcibly recruited as a soldier. Jeggan was abducted on 14 December 2002 by four LTTE soldiers, dressed in combat uniforms, who forced their way into the family’s house. more..

President’s Sec. resending the circular that was made invalid by the SC after removing certain facts, is a joke- CJ

July 20 (LD) Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva says if the proposed circular sent to the Supreme Court by the President’s secretary on admitting grade one students to school is implemented, the principles would be able to freely take a swim in the ocean of bribes and corruption. He made this observation commenting on the proposed circular on school admissions that was presented to the Supreme Court on the 10th of July more..

Kirtley hurries Sri Lanka A

July 20 (CI) James Kirtley's four wickets and three more from Ollie Rayner helped Sussex bowl out Sri Lanka A for 225 on the first day at Hove. Choosing to bat, Sri Lanka A had an early setback when they lost Michael Vandort to Kirtley for 4 before a stabilising second-wicket stand of 76 between Mahela Udawatte and Malinda Warnapura levelled the balance. more..

Etihad Airways to pull out of Sri Lanka

July 20 (AFP) Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways said Thursday that it was pulling out of Sri Lanka, citing a sharp drop in tourist traffic to the tropical island due to ongoing fighting between government and rebel forces. "After extensive market analysis, we have decided to discontinue our services between Colombo and Abu Dhabi from September 9," the airline's manager for Sri Lanka, Kumar de Silva, said in a statement. more..

Summary of the Cabinet decisions

July 20 (GDI) The cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by the Public Estate Management and Development Minister Hon. Milroy Fernando on the taking over of the Management of Chilaw Plantations Limited (CPL). The CPL with 11,555 acres, is presently a fully state-owned company. Under the Privatization Programme of the then government, the management of the CPL was handed over to the private management agent, Wayamba Plantations (Pvt) Ltd. (WP(Pvt)Ltd.,) in 1992. more..

Development Of Water Resources In The Eastern Province

July 20 (FI) At a moment the focus of all peace loving people of the country, irrespective of political divisions ,religions and races is on the magnificent victory of Toppigala, the general public admires the precise contribution of the forces and the police in the Eastern Province. According to the government media after this great victory, the government plans to resettle 14,000 people in newly liberated areas by spending more than 1,000 million rupees on various infrastructure development projects. more..

Development of water resources in the Eastern province

July 20 (FI) At a moment the focus of all peace loving people of the country, irrespective of political divisions, religions and races is on the magnificent victory of Toppigala, the general public admires the precise contribution of the forces and the police in the Eastern Province. According to the government media after this great victory, the government plans to resettle 14,000 people in newly liberated areas by spending more than 1,000 million rupees on various infrastructure development projects. more..

Burgher community of Sri Lanka faces decline in numbers

July 20 (FI) The Burgher Community in Sri Lanka faces extinction. In less than another 50 years the Burghers of Sri Lanka would be found only on the Internet and perhaps in a few books and in the archives of newspapers. Surprised? Shocked to learn that Burghers are on the endangered species list? You may well be. The net birthrate of the Burghers is abysmally low on the one hand and both the net emigration rate and death, on the other hand, is working against Burgher numbers. more..

Sri Lanka German micro finance partnership exceed target

July 20 (LBO) A Sri Lanka-German initiative to give microfinance to tsunami victims had more than doubled its original target helping more than 2000 small business people and creating 6000 new job opportunities, officials said. Hatton National Bank had signed up with the Savings Bank Foundation for International Corporation (SBFIC) in Germany in August 2005 to assist tsunami hit families re-start their economic activities. more..

"I strongly believe on a solution based on power sharing within a unified Sri Lanka" -Mangala

July 20 (LD) “Today it is a Political milestone for our country. The first step of the journey towards a new, better era begins today. Today, the UNP and the SLFP (M)-who will stand on behalf of the key vision and policies of the SLFP, will join hands for a new journey aimed at a National plan to develop and preserve Sri Lanka. On this auspicious moment, I am only too happy to address the gathering.” more..

Sri Lanka rebels forcing Tamils to join war effort

July 20 (Reuters) In Tamil Tiger territory, youths like Rajathurai Ponnambalam are living in hiding to avoid being forcibly recruited by the rebels and sent to fight in a Sri Lankan civil war they don't believe in. Many residents Reuters spoke to during a rare visit to the rebels' heartland in the north said the Tigers are demanding every family contribute at least one member to a movement widely banned as a terrorist organisation by the likes of the United States, Britain and the European Union. more..

Harry Potter flies to Sri Lanka amidst tight security

July 20 (LBO) Thousands of Harry Potter fans in Sri Lanka have signed up to pick a copy of J.K. Rowling's seventh, swansong book, amidst tight security, with bookstores sworn to ensure nothing is leaked out before the launch day, a spokesman for the publisher said. Over 10,000 copies of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" goes on sale in Colombo, Kandy and Galle from 0530 Saturday (2301 GMT Friday), more..

War economy weighs heavily on Sri Lankan workers

July 20 (wsws) The Sri Lankan government has imposed price increases on basic essentials in recent weeks, creating further hardships for workers and the poor. While rising world oil prices are a factor, the government is passing the economic burden of its escalating war against the LTTE directly onto the population. Defence spending in this year’s budget has been boosted to 139 billion rupees ($US1.2 billion), a 45 percent increase over last year. more..

Thai Immigration hold 113 Sri Lankans pending investigations

July 20 (AT) It is now confirmed that 113 Sri Lankan are at present languishing in the overcrowded Thailand’s Immigration Detention Centre located in the Thai Immigration Bureau compound in Soi Suan Plu, Sathorn, Bangkok. Wimal De Silva, Charge de Affaires of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Bangkok told Asian Tribune that he has already obtained the names and the charges against each of the Sri Lankans presently held in the detention centre. more..

Sri Lanka, India reach deal on mutual professional recognition

July 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka and India has recognized each other's professional standards, organizations senior official negotiating a wide-ranging trade and services agreement with India said. "We have almost finalized the text of the comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA)," Manel de Silva, Director-General of Commerce of the Commerce Department, told LBO in an interview. more..

Sri Lanka's government, private sector to set up nanotech park

July 20 (LBO) The Sri Lankan government's five-year project to develop a nanotechnology science park will help the country's main industrial sectors to compete with global players that already use the technology. The 5-year 55 million dollar (5.5 billion rupee) project will be funded through a Public-Private Partnership in which both parties will contribute equal sums of money. more..

Sri Lanka's expensive social safety net at crossroads

July 20 (LBO) Tiny homesteads, tea gardens on hillocks nestled above rain fed paddyfields lining the roads, are typical of the rural village of Omantha, where its poor inhabitants depend on agriculture for a living. The village, in the Kalutara district, is just 50 kilometers of Sri Lanka's commercial capital Colombo and 30 kilometres off the tourist beaches along the Kalutara town. more..

Sri Lankan shippers demand regulator to monitor pricing practices

July 20 (LBO) Sri Lankan exporters and importers have called for a regulator to monitor the pricing practices of shipping lines, as freight rates move up and exporters are hit with fees outside the quoted rates. Jayanath Perera, outgoing chairman of the Sri Lanka Shippers' Council, industry body representing firms engaged in international trade, said they were not opposed to shipping lines making profits but were against "arbitrary" rate hikes. more..