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How Sri Lanka’s American Embassy saved ‘Ravaya’ Editor Victor Ivan’s life during Premadasa presidency

July 21 (AT) It became a great amusement to this writer, while reviewing a book written by Sri Lanka’s weekly political tabloid ‘Ravaya’ editor Victor Ivan that, with all his critical analyses of the United National Party regimes of Jayawardene and Premadasa in the eighties, he never felt that his life was threatened as much as under the regime of President Chandrika Kumaratunga. more..

"The myth of 'Lion ancestry' & adults-only tales of the Lala land."

July 21 (AT) Over the years, Sinhala Buddhist nationalistic politicians and closely linked Buddhist clergy have been successful in implanting the belief that the Sinhala Buddhists are the ‘chosen people’ and the real custodians of Sri Lanka and of Theravada Buddhism. This, many Sinhala Buddhists believe, is their ‘birth right’ by virtue of the origin of their ethnicity as depicted by the Mahavamsa. more..

LTTE attempting to infiltrate in government held areas in the north

July 21 (AT) Nine LTTE cadres were killed with three Sri Lanka Army soldiers yesterday, when the Tamil insurgents attempted to infiltrate the the forward Defense Line in the island nation’s North Western area of Mannar, Defense Ministry sources said. The attack on the military detachment at Neelachchena started in the early hours of Friday initially killing the army soldiers. more..

The only exclusive Hockey ground in the island abandoned

July 21 (LD) It is being reported that hockey players and hockey authorities are facing severe hardships since the Matale Municipal council has taken measures to lock up the one and only Exclusive hockey ground in the island, the Edward grounds in Matale, and abandon it. According to a municipal council act in 1962 the ground could be used only for Hockey and when it is not utilized for Hockey the venue could be used only to play Netball. more..

The National Council formed according to the Ranil-Mangala Accord. Symbol-two flags

July 21 (LeN) The new National Council to be set up according to the recently signed agreement between UNP and SLFP - People's Wing (SLFP-PW) will appoint Ranil Wickramasinghe as the Leader and Mangala Samaraweera as the Deputy Leader. The office bearers of the new party would be announced by next week after discussions with the other political parties that had agreed to join the National Council. more..

SLFP to abolish Chandrika's adviser post at tomorrow's convention

July 21 (LeN) SLFP is to relieve former President Chandrika Kumarathunga from the post of party adviser. The main reason for the dismissal is the letter Mrs. Kumarathunga sent to Mr. Mangala Samarawera congratulating for the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the UNP. The SLFP seniors pointed out that Mrs. Kumarathunga has indirectly criticized the party in her letter she sent while bearing the post of party adviser. more..

LTTE persist forced conscriptions in Wanni; SCOPP chief reports to the Co-chairs

July 21 (GDI) "LTTE is in the process of recruiting one member of each family," states Peace Secretariat chief Professor Rajiva Wijesinghe in a letter to the Co-chairs, quoting Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar’s report on his recent visit to Kilinochchi. "This is probably to join its armed forces, though there may be other purposes, some perhaps even more sinister," Prof. Wijesinghe point out. more..

Sri Lankan delegation in Saudi for ‘Save Rizana’ mission

July 21 (GDI) The Sri Lankan delegation headed by Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Hussein Bhaila left for Saudi Arabia on a mission to save Rizana’s life yesterday. The team comprised Jammiyathul Ulama representative Moulavi M.B.M.Zarook, Director General of Middle East and North Africa Affairs Desk at the Foreign Ministry Ibrahim Sahib Ansar and Rizana’s parents M.S. Sultan Nazik and S.A. Razeena. more..

‘Subject baskets’ ; a new educational curriculum to be proposed

July 21 (GDI) The ‘Subject baskets’ is a new educational curriculum which is to be proposed by the Ministry of Education for the students from grade 6 to 11. According to the curriculum students will be able to select three subjects from separate ‘subject baskets’ in addition to learning six core subjects including English, Mathematics and Science. more..

17th Convention of SLFP tomorrow

July 21 (GDI) The 17th Convention of the SLFP is to be held tomorrow (22). President Mahinda Rajapsaksa in his message to mark the occasion stated that, "today we have given highest priority to internal democracy in the SLFP and all high offices of the party are open to all who work with dedication and sincerity." "New blood has seen infused into the party through the selection of new leaders for Local Government institutions. With the pride of Eastern victory in your heart set forth on the journey towards a new Sri Lanka," more..

Ministry to set guidelines to monitor international schools

July 21 (LNP) Parliament yesterday debated the quality of international schools operating in the country. Education Minister Susil Premajayantha stressed the need to set guidelines to overlook them. The Minister noted that International schools had been registered under the Companies Act, and therefore the Ministry had no right to monitor and supervise their activities. He said the number of such schools and their student population had trebled during the last seven years. more..

Heavy losses may force LTTE into more child recruitment

July 21 (LNP) Following a series of losses suffered by the LTTE, beginning August last year at Sampur that culminated at Thoppigala a fortnight ago, defence analysts predict the LTTE would exert pressure on parents in the Vanni to part with their children as there is a dearth of man power in the Tiger rank and file. According to UNICEF data, as at May 31, 2007, there were 1,591 child soldiers with the LTTE and out of that 506 were under 18 years of age. more..

Mahinda causes panic in Beliatta

July 21 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday surprised the people of Beliatta when his helicopter landed at Kadaheella Maha Vidyalaya. The President was on his way to Walasgala to attend the funeral of the Ven. Kapugama Ariyajothi thera. There was panic among the people of Beliatta when the chopper touched down in the school compound as it was the first time in history that such a helicopter had landed on the school grounds. more..

Celebrate the end of war and not the wars?

July 21 (LNP) With Kafirs and Migs flying overhead amidst a 21-gun salute Mahinda told the LTTE that Guns, bombs and cyanide would not help them to liberate the Tamil people. Very true for both sides! What was the significance of Thoppigala for Mahinda to close the city roads and spend state funds to have such an elaborate ceremony when so many innocent people have died in the crossfire? more..

Save children from war agenda: Bishop

July 21 (SAMN) Amidst war euphoria and celebrations, Colombo’s Anglican Bishop Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera Friday strongly warned against the investment of the war agenda in the lives of children. “The indoctrination of trapped school communities, through often helpless school authorities, exposed to risk, with programmes highlighting images of war and the enemy, is a serious violation of the vulnerability and dignity of our children and must be condemned,” more..

World Habitat Day in Kandy

July 21 (SAMN) An integrated development programme will be implemented in Kandy to mark World Habitat Day 2007 scheduled which falls on October 1. This decision was taken, recently at the meeting held at the office of the Ministry of Housing and Common Amenities with the participation of Minister of Housing and Common Amenities Ferial Ashraff and North Central Province Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake. more..

Holographic Label to seal off fakes

July 21 (SAMN) Holographic Label SDN BHD (HLS) Malaysia will be bringing their products here to ensure that fakes have no place in the Sri Lankan market. With the backing of much of the business community keen on having the label attached to them this will secure their products are not faked or duplicated by forgers. Country Head for Sri Lanka Jayampathy Arambepola is also involved in a partnership in Diamond International Ltd. that is the main distributor representing HLS. more..

Credit for creating split in LTTE

July 21 (SAMN) UNP MP Lakshman Seneviratne said in Parliament Friday that Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe should be held in high esteem for creating a split in the LTTE through peace initiatives. Seneviratne noted this matter while speaking during the debate to pay tribute to the security forces for the liberation of Thoppigala from the Tigers. He said that Karuna broke away from the organization under these circumstances, and therefore everyone should give credit to Wickremesinghe. more..

Red Cross declines to accept tiger corpses!

July 21 (LT) It is reported that Red Cross has said that they would not accept, to be handed over to tiger organization, corpses of tiger terrorists, who die in clashes with security Forces in the East, It is said the reason for such a decision by the Red Cross is that the tiger organization has refused to accept the corpses on many occasions. Three tiger terrorists were killed in a clash that occurred at Narakamulla area in the Eastern Province today morning and the tiger organization has not come forward to accept the bodies. more..

India names its first female president

July 21 (AP) Indian lawmakers have selected the nation's first female president in a vote seen as a symbolic victory for women contending with widespread discrimination, election officials said Saturday. Pratibha Patil, the 72-year-old candidate of the governing Congress party and its political allies, took nearly two-thirds of the vote for the largely ceremonial post. She defeated incumbent Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, the candidate of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, more..

Loan Scheme to benefit lower grades’ public servants

July 21 (DN) Minister of State Revenue and Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya yesterday totally rejected the statements of some organisations that the Public Servants’ Property Loan Scheme (PSPL) has been suspended by the Government. Minister Siyambalapitiya said that the Government had to amend the PSPLS due to the difficulties facing high payments on subsidised interest and budget management. more..

Priority for Eastern development - President’s Secretary

July 21 (DN) The valiant Security Forces, with their victories in the East and elsewhere, are making every effort to create an environment where all communities can live in harmony sans fear and suspicion, Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga said yesterday. Addressing a function held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday to express the gratitude of the Nation to the Security Forces, Weeratunga said their immense dedication will help build a peaceful, prosperous country. more..

JVP calls for disarming of paramilitary forces in East

July 21 (DM) The JVP yesterday urged the government to gradually disarm all paramilitary forces operating in the East enabling the people in the area to live without fear. JVP parliamentary group Leader Wimal Weerawansa who moved an adjournment motion in Parliament to pay tribute to the security forces engaged in securing the East, said these paramilitary forces should be disarmed so that the people in the area would be able to enjoy their democratic rights. more..

Carlo heads battle against alcohol,tobacco

July 21 (DM) Health and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said that if the National Tobacco and Alcohol Control Authority was to perform as an effective monitoring body, amendments have to be introduced to the Tobacco and Alcohol Control Act as early as possible. The office of the National Tobacco and Alcohol Control Authority (NTACA) established under the Tobacco and Alcohol Control Act was opened at the Ministry premises on Thursday. more..

Police commandos kill 5 Tamil rebels in the east, military says

July 21 (AP) Five ethnic Tamil militants were killed in a clash with police commandos in eastern Sri Lanka on Saturday, the military said, a day after some 20 people died in separate clashes across the north and east. The clash erupted when the rebels attacked the commandos in Kanchikudichcharu village in Ampara district, 220 kilometers (130 miles) east of the capital, Colombo, more..

Eleven killed in fighting across Sri Lanka's embattled regions

July 21 (AFP) Eleven people were killed and three wounded in battles between security forces and Tamil Tiger rebels across Sri Lanka's north and eastern regions, the defence ministry said. Suspected rebels clashed with police commandos in the eastern town of Ampara Saturday, with troops killing six rebels, the ministry said, adding there were no casualties among security forces. more..

Stock based financing for Gems & Jewelry industry

July 22 (F2F) The Sri Lankan Gem and Jewelry industry is in negotiations with the country's treasury department, to initiate a financing scheme based on their working capital, which is Gems and Gold. In an exclusive interview with Fibre2fashion, Chanaka Ellawela Chairman of Sri Lankan Gem and Jewelry Association said, "The nature of this industry is such that its working capital intensive and value is in our stock". more..

Topsy-turvy human rights in Sri Lanka

July 22 (AT) This Sunday morning the readers are presented with the list for digestion before breakfast. Imagine for a moment the Government of Sri Lankan (GOSL), which is accused of being Sinhala-dominated, going all out to decimate the cream of the Tamil leadership and succeeding. Imagine for a moment, GOSL sending out letters to all Tamil families with names of Tamil youth who must join in the on-going war whether they like it or not. more..

Pressure mounting on government to disarm Karuna group

July 22 (AT) All attempts by the remaining LTTE cadres in the Thoppigala area to leave for Vanni have been thwarted by the Sri Lanka Security forces. According to intelligence reports the LTTE Commander, Jeyam, including Mano Master, Nagesh, Keerthi inteligence Chief of the East, and others are still holed up in the Thoppigala area. more..

An Open Letter to All Tamils – A Sinhalese perspective

July 22 (AT) Jayantha de Silva of Australia in Open Letter to Tamils, an s appeal, points out that it must be understood that the call for a Tamil Homeland in Sri Lanka will never come about, not only because the Sinhalese people, however meek and mild they are, will never accept it (and any government that tries to force such a thing will be chased out of Parliament), but because it is morally wrong, there is no reason for it and it is totally unjustified. more..

Sri Lanka A survive Rayner scare

July 22 (AT) Offspinner Ollie Rayner took 5 for 68, his first five-wicket haul, to give Sussex hope of enforcing a win over Sri Lanka A, but the tourists eked out 191 for 8 as the match ended in a draw. Michael Yardy ploughed on from where he left off on the second day, bringing up a dogged hundred to guide Sussex to 372 for 9. And it was a lone effort, too, as his team-mates struggled against the legspin of Kaushal Lokuarachchi who picked up impressive figures of 5 for 48. more..

Those who accuse govt. signed agreements to divide the country - President

July 22 (LT) 'Those who accuse the govt are the ones who signed agreements to divide this country' HE the president said addressing the first of the public rallies govt organize to reply opposition allegations. "Some said that govt would be toppled by April thinking Tigers may kill me. Having unable to do that they now promise to topple govt by December. more..

No hope yet for Sri Lankans held in Thailand

July 22 (AT) Thai immigration authorities continues to remain tight lipped about the plight of the Sri Lankan languishing in the Immigration Detention Centre and in other prisons in Thailand. According to informed sources Thai Government has refused access to diplomats from asylum giving countries to meet the Sri Lankan detainees to interview them and to assess whether they are eligible for resettlement in their countries under humanitarian laws. more..

Australia's Terror Prosecutions

July 22 (TN) While Australian media highlighted that recent prosecutions by Australia's law enforcement gave the "appearance of a political imperative to obtain convictions and an excessive zeal for using harsh anti-terror laws," federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, suprised by the Melbourne court's decision to bail two Tamil men charged with supplying funds to Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers, appeared to shift the blame towards the Courts saying, more..

AHRC condemns HRCSL's setting of a three month deadline for filing of complaints

July 22 (ISL) The Board of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka made a decision to issue a circular prescribing a period of three months from the date of an incident for the receiving of petitions. Internal Circular No. 7, dated 20.6.2007, addressed to all directors, regional coordinators, legal officers and investigation officers, signed by D.J.B. De Silva, Secretary, HRCSL, reads as follows: more..

On the Rizana Naffeek case

July 22 (ISL) Victor Karunairajan one of the journalists actively involved in the campaign to save the life of Rizana Naffeek comments on a feature that appeared on this case in Colombo’s Daily News and also the editorial in its edition this morning, Saturday July 21, 2007. He observes the Government of Sri Lanka as a late player and it was the Asian Human Rights Watch that took up the gauntlet and made the initial deposit for the appeal against a brutal death sentence. more..

Sri Lanka an untapped market for micro-insurance: regional experts

July 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka should focus on giving insurance to the poor, regional experts in micro insurance say, with rural populations a largely untapped market. At present, insurance penetration in most South Asian countries is less than 10 percent, leaving over 90 percent of the market untapped. Two micro insurance specialists from Asia say that there is money in the rural sector and it is time to focus on this missing market. more..

APRC rejects SLFP proposals

July 22 (LD) A majority of the parties represented at the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) have rejected the SLFP proposals on the unit of devolution and the nature of the state and decided to drop the word 'unitary' and keep the province as the unit of devolution in the proposed new constitution. This position of the APRC is reflected in a document titled 'Core Issues' which Chairman Tissa Vitharana has circulated among the members. more..

Liberation Thoppigala: freedom for child soldiers

July 22 (GDI) Tear drops glitter in her pale eyes when she was asked to reveal her past spent in LTTE camps. With short hair and clad in typical Tamil shalwar kameez with faded floral designs she is yet another innocent Tamil girl to one who sees her. The black pottu makes the dark skinned teenager beautiful. Elendri is now a 14-year- old is not an ordinary Tamil girl but a lass who can handle operate the deadly T-56 well and destroy the targets given by 'Shamala Akka', who, she says is the head who trained her and her friends. more..

Winning hearts of Tamils in the East - the need of the hour - Armed Forces

July 22 (GDI) High ranking military officials in the East said that Sri Lanka's Armed Forces proved their dedication and capabilities in liberating the innocent Tamils from the jaws of terrorists with the capture of the East including its nerve centre - Thoppigala. They said it is now the responsibility of the Government to give the Tamils a solution to end the national conflict. more..

President on SLFP Convention

July 22 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his message to mark the 17th Convention of the SLFP, stated that, "today we have given highest priority to internal democracy in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and all high offices of the party are open to all who work with dedication and sincerity." "New blood has seen infused into the party through the selection of new leaders for Local Government institutions. With the pride of Eastern victory in your heart, so set forth on the journey towards a new Sri Lanka," more..

LTTE area leader and 5 cadres killed

July 22 (GDI) STF troops engaged in clearing operations in Ampara killed six LTTE cadres, including an area leader identified as Ravindran yesterday The STF has launched a clearing operation in the Kanchikudichchiaru-Neriya Kanatte area in the Ampara district. STF area leader Senior Superintendent Ajith Wickremasekera said the elite forces had killed the Tiger cadres while conducting the final stage of "Operation Niyathai Jaya". more..

Request to take reptiles a gene plunder?

July 22 (LT) The request made by a NGO to take six categories of reptiles which includes certain reptiles endemic to Sri Lanka to the USA could be another gene pillage say environmentalists. An American NGO has requested from Forest Department to take alive six varieties of reptiles from Sri Lanka to the USA. The varieties include the snake, three varieties of vipers. more..

Minister SM Chandrasena faces another investigation

July 22 (LT) Ministry of Agriculture has reportedly commenced another internal examination on another allegation of fraud by Minister SM Chandrasena. Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture TM Abeywickrama says that during Mr. chandrasena's period as Minister of Agriculture, a fraud of Rs 10 mn has revealed. About Rs. 50mn was allocated for reforming 20 tanks in Anuradhapura district. more..

Will cheap money come back?

July 22 (ANN) "There are lies, damn lies and statistics" goes the hoary old saying. Even if the statistics are valid they must be interpreted correctly. The central bank reported the external trade figures were up 14.4 per cent in the first five months of 2007 from a year earlier. But what is significant is its contribution to the growth rate and the Foreign Exchange Reserves. It is net exports after deducting imports that matter--the balance-of-trade which continues to be a big negative figure. more..

Nagenahira Navodaya or Leidensweg

July 22 (AT) The government has announced an ambitious plan to develop the East in six months. The Rajapakse regime is strong on fashioning attractive development programmes and holding impressive commencement ceremonies but somewhat weak when it comes to actual implementation – as the experiences of the last one and half years amply demonstrate. That is the obvious danger in the "Nagenahira Navodaya" – that the grandiose plan will remain just that, a plan. more..

Unusual rocket launcher found buried in Thoppigala jungle

July 22 (LNP) The Sri Lanka Army said that a multi barrel rocket launcher found in the Thoppigala jungles had 12 barrels and it was the first of its kind ever recovered from the LTTE. Although some speculated that it could have been built in Iran, an authoritative SLA official said that there was no confirmation of that. The SLA had found the dismantled weapon buried in separate locations after an alert soldier made the chance detection. more..

Mihin Air flying in turbulent conditions

July 22 (LNP) The Government funded budget airline Mihin Air is reportedly planning to charter an additional aircraft despite its existing two aircraft carrying only about 50% of their capacity,. Mihin Air CEO Sajin Vass Gunawardena has been out of the country with a team for more than a week and attempts to get information from Finance Manager Ms. G. Wanigasekera proved futile. She refused to comment and directed us to contact the CEO. more..

Funding cloud over eastern sunrise

July 22 (LNP) The government is likely to put on hold a donor forum on funding development projects in the east following a general reluctance particularly by European countries to provide new project aid, diplomatic sources said. Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera with whom some multilateral donors have had initial contact on the convening of a development forum, could not be reached for confirmation as his secretary said he preferred not to speak to the media because he was often misquoted. more..

Thursday`s tamasha

July 22 (LNP) All the world loves a parade and Thursday`s nationally televised tamasha ? that`s what it was ? certainly held the attention of audiences countrywide. Had President Mahinda Rajapaksa chosen the other option of merely addressing the nation over the electronic media, he would not have commanded the same interest. Whether people hung on to every word he said in a speech that was commendably shorter than others normally delivered on such occasions is a moot point. more..