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Norway says ready to help revive Sri Lanka talks

July 2 (Reuters) Peace broker Norway said on Sunday it was ready to help revive talks to end two decades of war in Sri Lanka if the warring parties sought its help. Norway brokered a 2002 ceasefire between the Sri Lankan government and rebel Tamil Tigers -- a truce that now lies in tatters. Sri Lankan and Indian media reported on Sunday that the Colombo government had asked Norway to help resume direct talks with the rebels. more..

Bogollagama to visit New Delhi

July 2 (PTI) In the backdrop of Sri Lanka's desire for defence supplies from India, Foreign Minister Rohita Bogollagama will undertake a two-day visit here from tomorrow during which the two sides will review the situation in the island nation. Bogollagama will hold talks with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and some other Indian leaders during his stay here, sources told PTI here today. more..

Senior Sri Lankan official killed in road mishap

July 2 (Xinhua) A senior government official was killed on Sunday in eastern Sri Lanka in a road mishap, police said. Upali Dahanayake, secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Employment, and three of his family members were killed when the jeep they were traveling in veered off the road and hit a tree Sunday afternoon at Padiyathalawa, some 320 km east of the capital Colombo, police said. more..

Sri Lanka airport to resume night flights

July 2 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's only international airport is to resume night flights for the first time since air raids by Tamil Tiger rebels forced their suspension seven weeks ago, an airport official said on Sunday. "We have permitted all the airlines to operate 24 hours a day from today," the duty manager at Bandaranaike International Airport said by telephone, saying he was not authorised to give his name. more..

The attitude of provincial governance impedes provincial development

July 2 (AT) Dr Saratha Amunugama, Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion in a hard hitting speech was highly critical about the performance of the Provincial Administration (concept of Provincial Councils) saying that though they expected to be lead by technocrats, in actual fact, those who have lost parliamentary elections were given the opportunity at Provincial Councils. more..

Dullness in the Stock market continues

July 2 (AT) The dullness at the previous week continued this week too, according the the Weekly Review of the HNB Stockbrokers resulting from a low retail participation in the market. All Share Price Index (ASPI) and Milanka Price Index (MPI) dropped by 16 points and 41 points this week to close at 2572 points and 3584 points respectively. more..

Sri Lanka financial regulators looks at principle-based approach

July 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s rule book and compliance based financial regulatory system needs to be changed to a one of principle based risk focused system, a top central banker has said. “A rule-based intrusive supervision system doesn’t work always,” Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Ranee Jayamaha told a forum in Colombo. “Balance between rules and forbearance has been there in all economies and we need to have it at this stage.” more..

Tamil Hindu funds Buddhist TV channel

July 2 (HT) Gautama Buddha may have been born in Nepal, and achieved enlightenment in India, but the only South Asian country where Buddhism flourishes today is Sri Lanka. On the 2315th anniversary of Buddhism's arrival on the island, Sri Lanka's first 24 hour television channel on Buddhism (and possibly the first in the world), The Buddhist, was inaugurated here on Friday by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Sri Lankan defence secretary defends the military’s crimes

July 2 (wsws) A BBC interview last month with Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse provided a chilling insight into the gangster mentality of the country’s government. Together with his brother Mahinda Rajapakse, Sri Lanka’s president, Gotabaya Rajapakse, the country’s top defence bureaucrat, wields wide powers as the military intensifies its aggressive war against the LTTE. more..

Carlo Fonseka on the March of Folly in History

July 2 (FI) I write this as a memo from one reader of the Sunday Island to fellow readers. The impulse to write it was triggered off by Tisaranee Gunasekara’s piece titled A Moral Debacle published in the Sunday Island of 10 June 2007. In editorially directing readers’ attention to it, the Editor called TG “our much-admired columnist”. His sentiment, I am sure, will have the warm concurrence of most readers of the Sunday Island. more..

JVP parliamentarians to discuss refugees' problems with the prime minister

July 2 (LT) JVP members of parliamentarian Ramalingam Chandrasekar,the Deputy Chairman of Parliament Committees and Bimal Rathnayake, are scheduled tomorrow(03rd) to meet the prime minister to discuss problems of about 85000 Sri Lankan refugees in India. The two MPs recently toured to witness grievances of Sri Lankans in the refugees camps in Tamilnadu, when they were invited to participate in an International Conference held in Chennai. more..

Dr. G.L.Peiris warns the west aid cut to democratically elected nations could strengthen hand of terrorism

July 2 (AT) Sri Lanka’s Minister of International Trade and Export Development Dr. G. L. Peiris who flew to Washington DC and Ottawa to brief US and Canadian leaders about Sri Lanka’s policies of dealing with the separatists of the LTTE severely warned Western countries that cutting aid to democratically elected governments could be extremely counter productive in eradicating terrorism from the world. more..

Probe Chandraswami's role in Rajiv case -- Jain report

July 2 (ISL) The Justice Milap Chand Jain Commission's nine-volume final report recommends further investigation into at least three crucial aspects of the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. They are: the alleged role played by tantrik Chandraswami; the links of foreign intelligence agencies including the United State's CIA and Israel's Mossad in the conspiracy; and the role of 21 ``suspects'' who have so far not been charge-sheeted. more..

Tower Hall launches its website

July 2 (GDI) The Tower Hall Foundation’s official website was launched by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Temple Trees. The website consists of information about the origin, past performances of Tower Hall and how it works on daily basis. Website will also provide information on history of Sri Lankan drama. Old musical hits, Nurthi and gramophone songs are available for the enthusiastic listeners. more..

Indian assistance to train Sri Lanka youths

July 2 (GDI) The Government of India has granted educational materials worth Rs 13 million to expand the services of the educational training programmes provided through the Government’s Nenasala (Knowledge Centers) to the youth living in rural areas of the country. These "Knowledge Centers" were established under the directions of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the project was a President’s concept of which he had been working on since the time he was Prime Minister. more..

Speech made by Karu Jayasuriya

July 2 (GDI) Speech made by Karu Jayasuriya Minister of Public Administration & Home Affairs at the inauguration of the ‘Inco’ exhibition held at BMICH on 1st july 2007. Speech made by Karu Jayasuriya Minister of Public Administration & Home Affairs at the inauguration of the ‘Inco’ exhibition held at BMICH on 1st july 2007. It is with great pleasure that I accepted the invitation of the Institute of Incorporated Engineers in Sri lanka (IICESL) to inaugurate this exhibition. more..

Sri Lanka and Nepal to expand bilateral relations

July 2 (GDI) Looking forward to new areas of cooperation to expand the bilateral relations between the two nations, Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama during a discussion with his Nepal counterpart, Ms. Sahana Pradan agreed to expand the existing Trade Agreement to include trades in services and other social segments for promotion between the two countries. more..

SLMM report confirms LTTE abductions in East

July 2 (GDI) The SLMM in their June 18-24 weekly report has confirmed that the LTTE are responsible for the abductions in East. The report stated that the SLMM in Ampara received a compliant on the abduction of a child, while police received complaints of four civilians being abducted. The report clearly states that, “Three (abductees) were released and the fourth was reportedly rescued by the Army after a ransom demand. A suspected LTTE cadre was killed during the operation”. more..

15 year jail period for LTTE suspects in Maldives

July 2 (GDI) The Maldivian court yesterday (01) sentenced fifteen years jail period for the four LTTE suspects who were arrested by the Maldivian coast guards, while smuggling arms to Sri Lanka from Maldivian territorial waters in mid May, news from Maldives state. These suspects were tried in court for crossing into Maldivian waters, disobeying orders by the coast guard, carrying arms aboard and attempting to shoot at fishermen. more..

LTTE looses all it’s strategic bases in East

July 2 (GDI) "With the liberation of Thoppigala the entire Eastern region would be cleared of the presence of LTTE terrorists," said Governor of the Eastern Province, Rear Admiral Mohan Wijewickrema. He said that by now the LTTE has been driven out from all its strategic bases and camps in the Eastern Province. It is also reported that with the limited availability of logistic support to the terror group the fall of Thoppigala is imminent. more..

FM in Nepal to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations

July 2 (GDI) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama arrived in Nepal on a 4- day official visit at the invitation of the Nepal Foreign Minister Ms. Sahana Pradan. Minister Bogollagama is in Nepal to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Nepal and Sri Lanka. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations on 1 July, 1957 the two countries have made great strides in developing, expanding and consolidating the ties of friendship and cooperation. more..

UK Police trail Tiger extortionists

July 2 (GDI) British Law Enforcement Authorities have requested their Sri Lankan counterparts for the full details of five Sri Lankan youth charged with kidnapping a Tamil youth employed at a filling station in Kent. All five youth, allegedly involved in fund raising activities for the LTTE, are in remand custody. British Police say there are at least five other suspects at large, more..

First ever Buddhist channel- ‘The Buddhist’ launched

July 2 (GDI) ‘The Buddhist’ a new satellite TV channel focused on delivering the spiritual values of Buddhism to the global community was launched last friday (29). President Mahinda Rajapaksa participated as the chief guest on this occasion. The Channel will officially commence transmitting its programs from today- Poson Poya Day. This satellite TV channel will exclusively beam up Buddhism related programmes with more..

President makes historic visit to Padiyathalawa

July 2 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has become the first Head of State to have visited Padiyathalawa, an area coming within the Amapara district in the Eastern Province. People who warmly welcomed the President yesterday when he toured the area, had told him that he was the first Head of State to have visited the area after King Saddhatissa. President Rajapaksa toured Padiyathalawa in the Ampara district after the area was freed from the scourge of LTTE terrorism. more..

SLA mistook Muslim villagers for LTTE cadres, say escapees

July 2 (TN) Four Muslim villagers were shot dead by Special Forces of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in Maavilaaru at Serunuwara on Friday around 2:00 p.m., were mistaken for cadres of Liberation Tigers, two villagers who escaped the slaying told media Saturday. Sources in the east said SLA has been counducting search operations in Maavilaaru area to prevent LTTE cadre movement in Kudumpimalai (Thoppikkal) jungles. more..

UK mission in Sri Lanka ups involvement in peace process

July 2 (LBO) The UK mission in Colombo will become more involved in Sri Lanka's peace process after being asked represent the European Union's Presidency in the country, the British High Commission said Monday. The rotating EU presidency has shifted to Portugal took over the EU presidency, but the country does not have an embassy in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka stocks seek direction on peace moves

July 2 (LBO) The Colombo stock market opened higher on news of fresh peace moves Monday but ran out of steam in thin mid-morning trade, dealers said. The All Share Price Index climbed but fell back 8.82 points below the previous call in two hours of trading while the liquid Milanka dropped back 20.30 points. "If the peace process is revived, that can have a significant positive impact on the market," more..

Vaas returning to county cricket after second Test

July 2 (CI) Chaminda Vaas is returning to England at the end of the second cricket Test against Bangladesh to reunite with his family and also resume his county contract with Middlesex. Vaas, 33, said that he was being released by Sri Lanka Cricket to resume his contract with the county with whom he has signed to play for 2007. Vaas returned to Sri Lanka for the Test series leaving his family in England. more..

Lanka embassy official says no Kuwaiti ladies humiliated

July 2 (AT) A diplomat at the Sri Lankan embassy on Sunday refuted a report published in a certain Arabic newspaper, which alleged that she assaulted a Kuwaiti female sponsor when the latter visited the embassy to look for her runaway maid. The maid had sought refuge in the embassy over non-payment and maltreatment by her sponsor and the embassy is looking into the matter. more..

F-35 fly with Lankan brain power

July 2 (LNP) The Pearl of the Indian Ocean is now well known among buyers of software as a well developed R&D centre for software development. There are many landmarks in the software industry where Sri Lankan brain power is spotlighted. IFS Applications developed in Sri Lanka has been selected by Lockheed Martin for local Supply Chain Management on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program Autonomic Logistic Information System (ALIS). more..

Doctors threaten to down steths countrywide

July 2 (LNP) The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) has threatened to launch an islandwide strike from July 11, unless the government repeals Medical Services Regulatory Commission Act. The GMOA demands that the Ministry come up with a feasible method to nab errant doctors and quacks in the country. A GMOA spokesman, contacted for comments yesterday, said unless the government withdrew the new law, its members would be compelled to stop both their regular work and private practice. more..

No alliance with UNP reiterates Somawansa

July 2 (LNP) The JVP Leader Somawansa Amerasinghe yesterday said his party would be meeting with Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Suriarachchi of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (Mahajana Wing) at Battaramulla party head office, on Wednesday(5) `to know their minds.` `We are meeting them with an open mind. We have already mentioned about our own reservations on their deal with the UNP. We don`t think that the country could gain anything positive by going along with the UNP.` more..

Hotels in Sri Lanka cut rates as tourism drops

July 2 (LNP) Hoteliers in Sri Lanka are cutting prices in an attempt to win back tourists deterred from visiting the Indian Ocean island by continuing civil conflict. According to figures published this week, the number of British visitors to Sri Lanka fell from 38,420 during the first five months of last year to 34,021 in the same period this year. The island has struggled to attract tourists in the aftermath of the tsunami of December 2004 as a result of escalating tensions between the Tamil Tigers and the government. more..

Ranil says will not allow CDL

July 2 (SAMN) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, while pledging that he would not allow the government to introduce the Criminal Defamation Law (CDL), called for a combined effort of all civil organisations and religious leaders to arrest anarchy and the deteriorating human rights situation in the country. Wickremesinghe made this call at the inaugural convention of ‘Lawyers Against Corruption and Anarchy’ at the New Town Hall Sunday. more..

Moonshine with a feminine touch

July 2 (SAMN) Excise sleuths busted a major illicit liquor racket during the Poson season in Anuradhapura by taking into custody 34 suspects along with 3,960 litres of illicit liquor and contraband worth millions of rupees. The Government imposed a liquor ban in the Anuradhapura District from June 27 to July 3 to coincide with the Poson season as thousands of devotees flocked to the Holy City to take part in religious activities. more..

Govt. to present supplementary estimate

July 2 (SAMN) The government will present another supplementary estimate to Parliament Tuesday seeking over Rs. 48 million for the newly created Ministry of Special Projects UNP dissident Mahinda Wijesekara said. Of this amount, Rs.37 million is for recurrent expenditure which is to pay salaries and other maintenance costs. Rs. 10 million is for capital expenditure. However, the government has not placed any institution under this Ministry, more..

Lanka wants apparel concessions from US

July 2 (SAMN) Sri Lanka has made a strong case for preferential access for its apparel products to enter the US market. This was mentioned at a series of meetings in Washington by Export Development and International Trade Minister Professor G.L. Peiris. In an address to a combined gathering of the United States Chamber of Commerce and the American Apparel and Footwear Association, the Minister drew attention to the singular achievements of the apparel industry in Sri Lanka during the last few years. more..

Referral system to minimise congestion in hospitals

July 2 (DN) A referral system will be introduced shortly for Sri Lanka in order to minimise the congestion of the hospitals and minimise wastage of specialist doctors’ time and labour. This will enable specialist doctors to spend more time for one patient. At the moment both relevant and irrelevant patients consult specialist doctors and blame the doctors saying that they spent very little time for one patient which is unavoidable, more..

Private bus fares up

July 2 (DN) Private bus fares will be increased from Wednesday, July 4 and the using of the ticket machine by the bus conductors in this sector will come into force in six months, said Road Passenger Transport Deputy Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna. Addressing a media conference at the Transport Ministry, yesterday, the Deputy Minister said the decision to increase bus fares in private buses was taken following a discussion held with representatives of the Private Bus Owners’ Association more..

Mini tornado lashes Anamaduwa

July 2 (DM) A mini tornado blowing through Kottukachchiya and Galkulama in Anamaduwa caused extensive damage in the area. The mini tornado on Saturday morning damaged six houses, five vehicles and injured two persons. The gale force winds caused damage in an area of some 20 acres where trees had been uprooted and branches torn. Several vehicle shelters had collapsed while roofs of houses were blown away. more..

Reduce Ministers salaries by 50%, demands NTUC

July 2 (DM) The National Trade Union Centre (NTUC) yesterday called on the government to cut the salaries of Ministers by at least 50% and not by a mere 10% as reported to have been discussed at the Cabinet meeting. A statement by the Trade Union Centre said that the salaries of Ministers had been increased by 120% in 2006, by raising the net salary of a Minister from the earlier Rs. 29,000/- to the present level of Rs. 64,000/-. more..

FACTBOX - Who is recruiting child soldiers in Sri Lanka?

July 2 (Reuters) Tamil Tiger rebels and a breakaway faction seen allied to the government are both still recruiting children as soldiers, despite promises not to, United Nations childrens' agency UNICEF said on Monday. Here are some key facts about the island's underage fighters: HOW MANY ARE THERE?: -- More than 5,600 underage fighters have been recruited or re-recruited since a 2002 ceasefire that broke down last year, the vast majority of them by the Tamil Tigers. more..

Lens into Sri Lanka Crisis from Refugee Camps in India

July 2 (CRS) It was the auspicious wedding season in India when Anita (name changed) got married this year, but her honeymoon was little like those of other newlyweds. For Anita and her husband, their first days as a couple were spent inside a warehouse with no windows, no toilet, and little privacy from 25 other families sharing the same roof. Anita is a Sri Lankan refugee living in India. more..

Near life lows, Sri Lanka rupee slips, shares weaker

July 2 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee ended a shade weaker on Monday to close near new life lows as importers bought dollars in low trade volumes, while shares ended slightly weaker, dealers said. The rupee ended at 111.37/111.42 per dollar, slightly weaker from Friday's close of 111.35/111.40. The rupee hit all-time closing low of 111.46/111.52 on June 27. Some analysts expect the rupee to weaken to around 118-120 per dollar by the end of the year. more..

Muralitharan eyes world record in Warne's backyard

July 2 (AFP) Muttiah Muralitharan said Monday he will tour Australia later this year amid the possibility of being crowned Test cricket's most successful bowler on Shane Warne's home soil. The Sri Lankan's 683 wickets leave him just 25 short of equalling the retired Australian leg-spinner's world record tally of 708. With two more Tests of the ongoing home series against Bangladesh still left, the 35-year-old could head to Australia in November within striking distance of surpassing Warne. more..

Sri Lanka rebels, renegades still recruit kids-UN

July 2 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels and a breakaway faction seen allied to the government are both still recruiting children as soldiers, despite pledges not to, UNICEF said on Monday. The LTTE, who have vowed their ranks will be free of under-age soldiers by the end of this year, have recruited around 130 children since January, while a breakaway faction called the Karuna group has recruited around 70, the United Nations childrens' agency said. more..

N. America’s largest apparel show supported by BOI

July 3 (BT) The Sri Lankan Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion informed the garment industry that the BOI will support the leading apparel and sourcing trade show in North America. The show is called as “MAGIC” organized by MAGIC International Advanstar Communications Inc. It is a very important event for the apparel trade because over 30 countries are represented, thus offering entrepreneurs the opportunity to meet new trading partners. more..

Garment manufacturer gets interim relief

July 3 (BT) Stanford Garments Industries Limited was granted an interim relief by the Supreme Court preventing certain un-authorized persons from selling garments with the mark “Reborn” until July 16. The order would prevent Mohammed Salahadeen Mohammed Raafi, Mohammed Haneefa Mohammed Rilvan and Mohammed Haseen Haja Najimudeen from using/selling garments bearing the mark “Reborn.” more..

Sri Lankan firms move to disabled people in new light

July 3 (LBO) Manique Gunaratne, a visually impaired Sri Lankan professional, has a simple poem that she recites to highlight the hopes of people like her. "It takes the summer, sun and the rain, to make a garden grow. It takes the moon and twinkling stars, to make the heavens grow, It takes a wish plus lot of work, to make a dream come true, To make lives with people with disabilities, please give them employment opportunities" more..

Sri Lanka electricity plant problems hits AES Corp profits

July 3 (LBO) Problems at Sri Lanka's Kelanitissa thermal power station partly offset strong first quarter 2007 profit growth of AES Corporation of the US, the company has reported. AES Corporation revenues increased 11% to 3.1 billion dollars compared to 2.8 billion dollars for the first quarter of 2006, while net cash from operating activities increased 14% to 581 million dollars compared to 509 million dollars last year. more..