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Govt. denies it facilitated escape of Thoppigala LTTE cadres

July 20 (PISL) The government in no way facilitated the alleged escape of nearly 1,000 LTTE cadres from Thoppigala, Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said yesterday. Responding to a question in this regard, at the Cabinet press briefing in Colombo, Yapa said "We totally reject the allegation. The government has done no such thing." "This story is being spread by the UNP because they are jealous of our achievement. We have proved the capture of the area." more..

Top priority for vocational training development

July 20 (GDI) Present Government has accorded high priority to establish a quality Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) System that could effectively meet the changing needs of our economy and society that are continuously affected by globalization and technological advancements. Minister of Vocational and Technical Training Piyasena Gamage said that the Government has identified human resource development as the key factor in expanding socio-economic development in the country. more..

Forces consolidate positions in Thoppigala

July 20 (GDI) The entire nation yesterday saluted the Security Forces who emerged victorious in the East with the capture of Thoppigala from the clutches of the Tiger outfit smashing the decades long myth that the LTTE is an invincible guerilla outfit. Though some segments of society were reluctant to accept the fact that the Security Forces have captured the entire East, the Tiger Political Wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan has accepted the fact they have been defeated in the East. more..

President pays homage to sacred Buddha relics

July 20 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa paid homage to the sacred hair relics of the Buddha, gifted by Bangladesh to Sri Lanka, at the Gangaramaya, Hunupitiya, yesterday. The sacred relics were brought from the Bandaranaike International Airport in a motorcade to the Gangaramaya, where President Rajapaksa received and enshrined them in a special chamber for devotees to pay homage. The exposition will continue till Sunday. more..

New Parliamentary Select Committee looking in to grievances of migrant workers

July 20 (GDI) A new Parliamentary Select committee is appointed to look in to the grievances the Sri Lankan expatriate workers face, Parliamentary sources say. The Committee will look in to matters including recruiting agencies, training, service conditions, problems, accidents, distresses etc. They will recommend proposals which will be taken to prevent the difficulties faced by the expatriate workers. more..

Troops find second lot of MBRL parts hidden in Thoppigala jungle

July 20 (GDI) During the search operations conducted today (20) troops uncovered another set of launching barrels of the Tiger’s Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL), defence sources state. Accordingly, the soldiers discovered these dumped in the thick jungle, at a location in between Omanugala and Meeyankallu. On July 18, Army personnel found a complete system of the MBRL weapon including four launching barrels and the mounting arrangement and more..

Sri Lanka adopts Waterford lifesaving programme

July 20 (WN) WATERFORD based charity The Irish Lifesaving Foundation has granted The Lifesaving Association of Sri Lanka permission to use the charity’s Float - Don’t Swim programme as part of their country’s tsunami aware-ness training scheme. In making the request Mr. Piyadasa Silva, Hon. Secretary of the association, stated that a 6 year old girl and her 4 year old sister had survived the recent tsunami by floating for one kilo-metre from the sea to land more..

Sri Lanka to host Ragby Asiad in Norember

July 20 (LD) The Rugby Asiad World be held in Sri Lanka from November 3 to 10th 2007. Sri Lanka missed hosting the rugby Asiad last year over security concerens. The President of the SLRFU DIG Nimal Lewke speaking at a press briefing at the SLRFU Headquarters yesterday said that the IRB had wanted Rushman security consultants London to assess the security situation in Sri Lanka and submit a report but more..

IFJ Welcomes Compensation for Journalist

July 20 (IFJ) The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka’s decision to award compensation to Sivanathan Sivaramya, a Tamil journalist arrested in May last year on suspicion of being involved in a terrorist activity aiming to kill a government minister. According the FM), the Supreme Court on July 16 ordered two police officers to pay fifty thousand Rupees to Sivaramya, a relief announcer for the SLBC after ruling that her five-day detention was illegal. more..

Jaffna mute to `Dawn of the East`

July 20 (LNP) While `Dawn of the East` day celebrations held in Colombo failed to evoke public excitement in the capital, Sri Lankan government`s efforts to celebrate the event in the Jaffna peninsula met similar fate, as Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and Government institutions displayed low enthusiasm in carrying out the government`s instructions to celebrate, sources in Jaffna said. more..

Hakeem condemns `Rising of East`

July 20 (LNP) Post and Telecommunication Minister Rauff Hakeem informed Parliament yesterday that he participated at the government`s `Rising of the East` ceremony with much reluctance, as it was a political exercise built on military gains that made the Tamils feel a `conquered people`. Addressing the House just hours after taking part in the ceremony presided over by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and attended by government members, Minister Hakeem, who is also the leader of the SLMC said leaders should not seek political mileage and score `brownie points` off military victories. more..

Top Army officers on shaky ground

July 20 (LNP) Seven Majors General of the Army are said to be continuing to hold top positions and enjoying perks despite completing maximum term in their ranks nearly three months ago. Informed sources said the top Majors General were due to retire on April 31 this year but were yet to receive extension or termination letters. It is also learnt that Army Commander Sarath Fonseka had submitted the letters to the Defence Ministry a few months ago recommending their extensions but the Ministry had not responded. more..

Thoppigala victory and the Himalayan task

July 20 (LNP) Yesterday`s ceremony at the Independence Square marked the culmination of a military process which had begun with the Mavilaru battle last year, where President Rajapaksa, who had been feigning retreat delivered a Parthian shot to Prabhakaran. The celebrations had the trappings of a political event aimed at boosting the image of the government rather than the morale of the armed forces. more..

UNP, SLFP (M) to contest polls as NC

July 20 (SAMN) The much anticipated MoU between the UNP and the SLFP (Mahajana Wing) was sealed at the Parliamentary Complex Thursday with both parties vowing to usher in a new era with the support of other political forces. The new political alignment agreed to team up with other democratic political parties and people’s organisations agreeing with its policies and pledged to contest future elections as a broad coalition called the National Congress (NC). more..

CMC officials rapped over ‘dirty walls’

July 20 (SAMN) Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister Janaka Bandara Tennekoon and Media Ombudsman A. H. M. Azwer have questioned CMC officials over their failure to clean the parapet walls adjoining Torrington Square before the start of the ‘Eastern Rising’ celebrations, held at Independence Square Thursday. They had told the CMC officials that obscene graffiti on the parapet walls had scandalized those attending the celebrations. more..

IC staff ask for SEMA abolition

July 20 (SAMN) Employees of the Insurance Corporation (IC) have requested the SEMA Act be abolished in a bid to put an end to the privatisation process as indicated by the Mahinda Chinthana. This was stated in a letter addressed to the President by the Insurance Corporation employees who noted that SEMA too must be abolished in order to ensure that the government’s plans to end privatization would be carried out. more..

Rubber price boom to continue

July 20 (SAMN) The encouragingly high world market rubber price prevailing today, can be expected with all certainty to continue for a few decades more, said Rubber Development Department Director General Nihal Rubasinghe. "This is the feasible assumption that can be drawn from the viable marketing status of rubber in the world market," he said, addressing a meeting of over fifty plant nursery owners in the Kegalle district on the 12th instant. more..

Comprehensive mine action programme to be inked today

July 20 (DN) The Government is planing to implement a comprehensive mine action programme with a target of making the country mine threat free by the end of 2008, the Nation Building and Estate Infrastructure Ministry said yesterday. The programme also proposes to clear most of the high and medium priority areas by the end of 2008. The programme is fully-owned, controlled and managed by the Government, through Nation Building and Estate Infrastructure Development Ministry, more..

ABC Group ties up with Sudanese Central Bank for technical assistance

July 20 (DN) The Central Bank of Sudan (CBS) will give technical assistance and auditory services to ABC investment's overall Islamic Finance services. Assistant Governor of Central bank of Sudan, Osman Hamad Mohd Kair said at the meeting with the Deputy Chairman, ABC Investment Shiran Dissanayake on working together in development projects with various capacities that CBS is working on developing various innovative Islamic financial instruments, more..

Govt. urged to give fishermen fuel subsidy

July 20 (DM) The UNP and JVP urged the government in Parliament yesterday to give adequate subsidies to fishermen affected by the fuel price hike and the high cost of fishing equipment.Parliament debated the issue on an adjournment motion proposed by Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera, who asked for a monthly subsidy of Rs.20, 000 for small boat owners and Rs.50, 000 for multi-day vessels. more..

Agency which sent under-aged Rizana to Saudi to lose license?

July 20 (DM) The government yesterday said that it will take action to cancel the license of the foreign employment agency that sent an under-age girl –Rizana Nasik- who is now on death row in Saudi Arabia, while her parents are set to leave for Saudi Arabia today. “Investigations into the matter have begun and if the employment agency in question is found to have sent this under-aged girl for employment abroad, it will definitely lose it’s license ,” more..

Rising levels of malnutrition in Jaffna

July 20 (IANS) Nutrition surveys by the Sri Lankan government and international agencies show rising levels of acute malnutrition in the northern district of Jaffna. Livelihoods and markets have been disrupted by conflict and displacement, the closure of a major highway, and security-related restrictions on farming and fishing. Food assistance for the internally displaced and other vulnerable groups has been in short supply for months, more..

Over 600,000 Lankans hooked on drugs

July 20 (ANN) The number of drug addicts is estimated to have been around 600,000 at the end of 2004, according to a survey. The majority are on cannabis while 50,000 were hooked on heroin. Forty three per cent of the inmates in Sri Lanka’s prisons have committed drug related offences. Most of the drug addicts have had their first experience between the age of 15 and 24 years and this highlights the need to educate this group, more..

Fernando powers Sri Lanka to big win

July 20 (CI) Dilhara Fernando sashayed his way through a brittle top order, and with Farvez Maharoof playing sidekick ensured Sri Lanka were well and truly on top in the first ODI against Bangladesh. The visitors' top order flattered to deceive; at 45 for 0 at the end of 11 overs, they were looking good but then came a familiar collapse. Five quick wickets saw them stutter to 63 for 5 by the end of 19 overs. more..

Fighting between Sri Lankan army, Tamil rebels kills at least 15

July 20 (AP) Separatist Tamil rebels attacked a military post in northern Sri Lanka with mortars and gunfire early Friday, sparking an hourlong battle that killed at least 12 combatants. In a later attack, soldiers killed three rebels in eastern Sri Lanka. The attacks came a day after the government held a formal military ceremony celebrating its recapture of the east from the rebels. more..

Saravanamuttu Stadium undergoes major revamp

July 21 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has launched a major development drive to upgrade media facilities at all international venues in time for England's tour in October and the 2011 World Cup. The P. Saravanamuttu Stadium, which hosted Sri Lanka's inaugural Test match against England in February 1982, has been the first stadium to be upgraded just days after the local and foreign media lambasted its facilities during the second Test against Bangladesh. more..

Jayawardene all praise for Fernando

July 21 (CI) Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene heaped praise on his bowlers, especially Dilhara Fernando, after his team had completed a comprehensive 70-runs victory over Bangladesh in the first ODI at the P Saravanamuttu Stadium on Friday. Sri Lanka defended their moderate total of 234 for 6 exceptionally well by bowling Bangladesh out for 164 in the 41st over. more..

'Heavy casualties' in Mannar fighting

July 21 (BBC) The Tamil Tigers have launched a pre-dawn raid on an army detachment in northern Sri Lanka. The fighting happened near Mannar, the front lines that mark the boundary of the rebel held territory in the north of Sri Lanka. A group of Tamil Tigers attacked a detachment of the Sri Lankan army with mortar and rifle fire.Both sides claim to have inflicted heavy casualties on the other. more..

Japan gives further support for humanitarian de-mining activities in N&E

July 21 (RW) The Government of Japan has extended further support for the humanitarian de-mining activities in Sri Lanka and has provided a grant amount to US$ 3.2 Million. to five International Non Governmental Organizations (INGOO) in order to accelerate de-mining activities in the North & East. In addition to this grant, Japan has contributed more than US$ 12 million for mine clearance activities in the past to Sri Lanka. more..

'Early morning minor quakes wake up Sri Lanka's deep-south, several more coming'

July 21 (AT) There can be "several more minor earthquakes in the Hambanthota area of Sri Lanka in the coming days" said the Lankan Geological Survey and Mines Bureau this morning, following two early-morning tremors in the region. The two minor quakes were felt in Beralihela and Lunugamvehera in the Hambanthota region and they took place at 5:54 and 6:54 am. They damaged seven houses causing ripples in their walls. more..

Goswami stars in India U-19 win

July 21 (CI) The India Under-19 team beat their Sri Lankan counterparts by a comfortable margin of 159 runs at Colombo's Police Park in their opening game of the triangular series. India U-19, opting to bat after winning the toss, made 277 for 5 in 50 overs before dismissing the hosts for 118 runs in 38 overs. Shreevats Goswami, the Indian wicketkeeper and opening batsman, top scored with 77 off 109 balls. more..

Oh Lord! Forgive them for what they do not know

July 21 (LD) Time is ripe for the Buddhist communities throughout the world to pray deafeningly in ‘Christian fashion’ and say ‘Oh Lord forgive them for what they not know’ at a time when Western adverting firms are becoming bizarrely cheeky and pay no respect or any regard to Lord Buddha, one of the great philosophers and a religious leader venerated by millions of Buddhist devotees over two thousand five hundred and fifty years! more..

Breakaway rebel will not disarm

July 21 (BBC) The leader of a breakaway Tamil Tiger rebel faction in eastern Sri Lanka says he has no plans to disarm his fighters. Colonel Karuna was speaking to the BBC a day after the government celebrated what it says is the complete capture of the island's east from the Tigers. His decision to split from the rebels is widely seen as having contributed to their defeats in the east. more..

Women injured in mortar attack

July 21 (BBC) Two women have sustained injuries in two mortar attacks on Friday evening in a village in Anuradhapura district. Weli Oya police accused Tamil Tigers of launching the attack on Athavetunuwewa village from the Forward Defence Line (FDL). Karunawathie, 58, and Niranjala, 25 were transferred to Anuradhapura General hospital after being initially treated at Padaviya hospital. more..

Three papers in three languages from the UNP

July 21 (LD) The united national party has taken measures to publish three new papers from the three main languages in the island. The Sinhalese paper will be named “Kunchanada” and the English one will be called “The journal” while the Tamil paper will be named as “Namdesham”. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake has registered the three papers this morning before the Colombo district Magistrate Aruna Sri Rajasinghe. more..

Ill-famous white van abducts a Sinhalese

July 21 (LeN) A Sinhalese national named Ranga Indika Perera, a married man, was abducted today (20) around 4.50 PM at Kotahena, George R. de Silva Road, after a short lapse of abducting Tamil and Muslim businessmen in Colombo city. The victim's wife, Ms. Christina Perera, complained to the Kotahena Police station this evening (20) that Ranga Indika Perera was abducted after threatening to his brother who protested the action of the group that came in the white van. more..

Don't take cover behind the security forces while doing wrong in the guise of waging war, says Ranil to the President

July 21 (LeN) "I ask from the President Mahinda Rajapakse not to take cover behind the security forces while doing wrong in the guise of waging war and don't betray the lion's flag," said Opposition and United National Party Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe at the parliament addressing the gathering after signing the Memorandum of Understanding with the SLFP's Wing today. more..

New ambassador Amunugama calls on Wen Jiabao, the Premier of the People’s Republic of China

July 21 (AT) The new Ambassador of Sri Lanka to China, Karunatilaka Amunugama, paid a courtesy call on Wen Jiabao, the Premier of the People’s Republic of China. During the discussions, the Ambassador extended to the Government and the People of China warm and friendly greetings from the President, the Prime Minister and the People of Sri Lanka. more..

Chandrika lashes out at Rajapaksa regime

July 21 (Hindu) The former President of Sri Lanka, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, on Friday hit out at the policies of the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government as inimical to the interests of the country and said the newly-formed National Congress led by Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mangala Samaraweera was the need of the hour. more..

Mangala-Ranil MoU creates dissent in UNP!

July 21 (LT) The MoU signed by SLFP (M) convener Mangala Samaraweera and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe has created several crises in the UNP reveal political sources. The sources say UNP President Rukman Senanayake and Secretary General Tissa Attanayake are among the senior leaders of the party who expressed their disappointment over the agreement. Most of the senior leaders of the UNP argue that the name and the symbol of the party need not have been changed just because two members from the government have crossed over. more..

Tigers that were militarily defeated in the East should be politically defeated – Wimal Weerawansa

July 21 (LT) JVP parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawansa says is that the Tiger organization that was militarily defeated in the East by the heroic security forces should also be politically defeated. He said this in parliament yesterday at the adjournment debate on Thoppigala victory. He said further that security forces have fulfilled the obligations expected of them and it is up to the government to do their part. more..

Fiftieth Anniversary of the Aborted Banda-Chelva Pact

July 21 (FI) The coming week will mark the fiftieth anniversary of a landmark event in the modern, political history of the country. It was on July 26th 1957 that the then Prime Minister Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike and Samuel James Velupillai Chelvanayagam, the leader of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi - known as Federal party in English - signed an agreement that came to be known as the Banda - Chelva or B- C pact. more..

Focus on obstacles to peace

July 21 (TW) Since the onset of the fourth (undeclared) war early 2006 between Sri Lankan government forces and the LTTE in breach of the February 2002 Cease-Fire Agreement (CFA), the appeals and warnings by concerned third parties to end hostilities and seek a political settlement to the conflict acceptable to all communities have fallen on deaf ears. The factors hindering negotiated political settlement are basically the same that created and exacerbated the ethnic problem. more..

Dawn of new Manifestation

July 21 (TW) “All will crumble, broken, shattered, people will die like flies and corpses will lie on all streets, everywhere. All will be burnt. Destruction every where. Small bottle (kuppi) lamps will flicker miles apart, one from the other. All will run from here, deserting this nice place of Nalluran”. Shouted, a man of seventy, from a low, small coconut palm leaf (kadjan) roofed hut, from the remote corner of Jaffna town in the years of late 1950’s. more..

Love and mild eroticism amidst ethnic tension

July 21 (TW) Vannathikulam-Butterfly Lake is an English translation of a short fiction originally written in Thamil. The writer is Lanka born Australian Noel Nadesan. He practises in that country as a veterinarian. He has an added appellation - Doctor. His translator is also a Lanka born Australian. He is Kandiah Kumarasamy. The latter’s nom de plume is Nallaikumaran. Vannathikulam in Thamil means a pond or tank with butterflies. Vannathi has two meanings: butterflies and washerwoman (what we call a female dhobi). more..

Sri Lanka's sacked ministers yet to complain says terror-finance sleuths

July 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka's terror finance sleuths said two former ministers who had made claims about money being paid to Tamil Tigers are yet to complain to the unit that is charged with probing terrorist finance. "We are not aware what these transactions are that have been transpired," said Joan de Zilva, consultant to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), a specialist office setup to counter terrorist finance and money laundering. more..

Symonds urges Aussie fans to applaud Sri Lanka star Murali

July 21 (AFP) Andrew Symonds on Saturday urged Australian cricket fans not to taunt Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan if he passes Shane Warne's Test wicket world record while touring Down Under this year. Australian crowds have regularly abused "Murali" since he was twice called for throwing, with even Prime Minister John Howard labelling him a chucker. more..

Sri Lanka offers state land to agribusiness in profit sharing deal

July 21 (LBO) The Sri Lanka is ready to give free land to agribusiness companies for cultivation on a profit sharing basis, a government minister said Friday. Minister of Agriculture Hemakumara Nanayakkara said the government was keen to meet the long-standing request by agribusiness for land from the government. "The private sector is in the process of getting a great deal of land from the Nuwara Eliya district (in the central hills)," more..

Sri Lanka insurer starts micro-insurance with NGO

July 21 (LBO) HNB Assurance, a unit of Hatton National Bank, has tied up with the micro finance arm of Sarvodaya, a non-governmental organization, to launch micro insurance products for rural families. The micro insurance scheme 'Sathkara' has already been launched in Galle, Matara, Vavuniya and Batticaloa Sarvodaya societies as pilot projects to educate and introduce rural folk to insurance. more..

‘Asian Tribune must end its smear campaign’ says TMVP

July 21 (ISL) Serious concerns have been raised about the reporting standard in some of the exclusive news published in the ‘Asian Tribune’ operating from Sweden. Instead of filing objective reports, the Asian Tribune remains accused of filing falsehood blatantly. Asian Tribune came under severe criticism for not following restraint in reporting news and views on many occasions previously. more..