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Bus owners to seek Bribery Comm. support to nab extortionists

July 24 (PISL) The Private Bus Owners Association will seek the assistance of the Bribery Commission to nab time-keepers extorting money from the private buses. It is estimated that around Rs.80 million is collected per month by time-keepers islandwide through extortion. Even though the PBOA has asked the Western Province Transport Authority (WPTA) to transfer time-keepers from time to time, the authority has taken no action, it said yesterday. more..

Over 5000 HIV cases unreported: NSTDP

July 24 (SAMN) Though Sri Lanka has a relatively low prevalence of HIV/AIDS with officials figures recording only around 882 cases tested positive since the first AIDS patient was reported in 1987, National Sexually Transmitted Diseases Programme (NSTDP) Director Dr. Nihal Edirisinha said there were however over 5000 unreported HIV positive cases in Sri Lanka. He said 165 patients have been officially reported to have succumbed to AIDS during the past 20 years. more..

APRC will speed up quest: Vitharana

July 24 (SAMN) Chairman All Party Representative Committee (APRC), Prof. Tissa Vitarana, says every effort will be made by the APRC to bring all sections concerned to a speedy consensus for a final solution to the ethnic problem. Commenting on our yesterday’s lead story titled, ‘Co – chairs to sit tight till APRC finds solution’ Prof. Vitarana said Monday: “I am keen on arriving at a consensus of all the political parties as early as possible. more..

Mystery and muddle over SLMM spokesman

July 24 (SAMN) SLMM spokesman Thorfinnur Omarsson is scheduled to leave next month as his term ends and his departure has nothing to do with government calls made public last week to remove him from his post, informed sources said. Sources also said the government Peace Secretariat was informed of Omarsson leaving his post next month and was introduced to his successor days before the Secretariat sent a letter to the Norwegian special peace envoy Jon Hansson Bauer calling for the spokesman’s removal. more..

Young Computer Scientist Competition

July 24 (SAMN) The Sri Lanka Association for Software Industry (SLASI) will be organizing the Young Computer Scientists Competition for the 6th consecutive year, on the model of the Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA). This is an annual showcase of the best of student scientific achievement and represents the ultimate goal for more than 250 young students divided into the 12-16 Junior category, and 17-19 Senior category, who participate annually in the contests. more..

Mystery death of SLFP Urban Councillor

July 24 (DN) Mystery surrounds the death of Kadugannawa SLFP Urban Council member Chandana Pradeep(38) whose body was found near the Railway track at Pilimatalawa yesterday morning. Kandy SSP Jagath Abeysiri Gunawardana said they were unable to determine if this was an accident or murder but did not rule out the latter possibility going by the numerous bruises and injuries on the body. more..

Govt. to provide 55,000 jobs for youth annually

July 24 (DN) The Government hoped to provide jobs to 55,000 youth annually through the 37 National Youth Corps units throughout the country said Major Janaka Gunasinghe, officer-in-charge Youth Corps. He was speaking at a ceremony to welcome new recruits to the Youth Rangers Training Camp at National Youth Corps camp at Sir Francis Molamure Mawatha, Kegalle recently. more..

Sri Lanka: Bloody mindsets

July 24 (ISN) While the Sri Lankan government holds that it has reclaimed, even "liberated," the country's east from rebels of the LTTE, the Tigers, who have kept their stronghold in the north, insist they have not lost the war. The reality is that the conflict has simply shifted from the east to the northern Jaffna peninsula, and the coming months will see more bloodshed as both sides step up their war rhetoric, making it clear that peace talks are not on the agenda. more..

Sri Lankans worried about threatened execution of worker in Saudi Arabia

July 24 (AP) Iresha Nimanthi watches in despair as her government desperately tries to save a teenage Sri Lankan maid from execution in Saudi Arabia. Five months ago, officials here were not even informed before her brother and three other Sri Lankan men working in the Arab kingdom were beheaded and strung up in a public square for armed robbery. Their cases may be different, but they had to endure similar, unfortunate suffering, she said. more..

A vital lifeline for families torn apart

July 24 (IRIN) Shanthi Rajah (not her real name) left her home in the rebel-held town of Kilinochchi recently to get medical treatment for her six-month-old baby, risking their lives while crossing battle zones to reach a hospital. After several weeks of no communication, her anxious husband asked the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to trace his wife and child, who had headed for Vavuniya, a town in the government's control. more..

Sri Lanka seeks to attract Chinese investments

July 24 (LBO) A Chinese trade and investment delegation is visiting Sri Lanka and is especially keen on doing business in the construction sector, Board of Investment officials said Tuesday. The team, from the China Council for the Promotion of Investment (CCPIT) in Shanghai, held talks with Investment Promotion Minister Sarath Amunugama and BOI officials. "The Chinese investors have come to look at the possibility of investing in Sri Lanka, mainly in the construction sector," more..

Sri Lanka rupee inches off lows, telecoms lead shares higher

July 24 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee retreated a shade from life closing lows on Tuesday as exporters sold dollars, while shares firmed for a fourth consecutive day as small investors bought telecom shares, traders said. The rupee ended at 111.78/111.80 per dollar, slightly firmer from Monday's close of 111.75/111.85 -- which had equalled the new life low hit last week. The local currency has hit a series of new all time lows in recent months. more..

SC dismisses Vasu's petition against ACSA

July 24 (DM) The Supreme Court yesterday (23) dismissed the fundamental rights violation petition filed by the Democratic Left Front Secretary Vasudeva Nanayakara, who is an advisor to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, challenging the "Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement" (ACSA) signed between Sri Lanka and the USA. The Bench comprised Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, Justices Shiranee Tilakawardane and N.G. Amaratunga. more..

UNP denies rift over alliance with SLFP (M)

July 24 (DM) UNP yesterday categorically denied there was an internal crisis triggered by the MoU signed last week with the SLFP (M) group, as claimed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the SLFP convention on Sunday. UNP Kurunegala District Parliamentarian Johnston Fernando told a news conference yesterday it was the SLFP that was facing a crisis after the defection of MPs Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriarachchi. more..

Sri Lanka's Victory Claims Are Political, Rebels Say

July 24 (BN) Sri Lanka's government is claiming victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the east as a political move to boost President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the rebel group said, adding that its forces are still in the region. "It is a politically motivated creation that the LTTE is not around any more," Irasiah Ilanthirayan, the LTTE's military spokesman, said today in a telephone interview from northern Sri Lanka. more..

Rebel attacks kill 10 soldiers, 4 village guards in northern Sri Lanka, says military

July 24 (AP) Separatist Tamil militants launched a pair of attacks against government troops in northern Sri Lanka on Tuesday, killing 10 soldiers in a roadside bombing and four village guards in a raid on their bunker, the military said. The violence came just days after the government held a lavish ceremony celebrating its recapture of eastern Sri Lanka after 13 years of rebel control there. more..

Sri Lanka violence kills 14 amid red alert

July 24 (AFP) At least 14 Sri Lankan government troops were killed in Tamil Tiger attacks in the north of the island Tuesday as the capital was put on red alert over fears of more rebel bombings, officials said. At least 10 soldiers were killed when their military convoy was hit by a huge roadside bomb in the northern district of Vavuniya, close to the frontline with the rebels' de facto mini-state. more..

Sri Lanka has come a long way since tsunami- Minister Samarasinghe

July 25 (GDI) "Sri Lanka has come a long way since the 2004 December tsunami tragedy and the Government has now established a firm early warning system through which the initial measures to manage any future disasters such as tsunami could be taken," stated the Minister of human Rights and Disaster Management Mahinda Samarasinghe. He added that the Government will be taking initiatives to implement a national policy for the Disaster Management in Sri Lanka and more..

Only Rs. 2500 penalty for Dr. Mervyn's Rs. 70,000 fraud

July 25 (LeN) Colombo High Court Judge W.G.M.G.B. Waraweva today (24) ordered to pay Rs. 2500 government costs to Minister of Labor Dr. Mervin Silva who pleaded guilty for a fraud. Dr. Silva was accused for giving an invalid checque dated July 08, 1994 worth of Rs. 70,000 to one Mohammed Nazeem Mohammed Falul in a deal pertaining to a lease agreement. The Attorney General filed this case against Dr. Silva following the investigations of the CID regarding the cheque that did not realize. more..

Susai in critical condition; Son and the guard dead

July 25 (LeN) Sea Tiger leader Susai's son and the bodyguard were killed in an explosion in Mullaithivu and Susai himself was critically injured, sources from Vanni said. When 'LeN' enquired about the report from Rasaiyah Ilanthiriyan, he denied commenting as the incident was non-military. However, he said that it was an unfortunate mishap. Susai was busy on 18th due to a naval exercise of the LTTE and his son and the bodyguard were killed in an explosion that took place in another boat that was close to the Sea Tiger leader's boat, more..

Rs.6500 million for east development

July 25 (BBC) The government of Sri Lanka says Rs. 6500 million has been allocated to redevelop the eastern province. Defence Affairs spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, said the government is planning to initial work to be completed within 180 days. He accepted redeveloping and establishing a civil administration in the eastern province is a formidable challenge to the government. more..

Minister fined for 'cheating'

July 25 (BBC) Sri Lanka's judiciary on Tuesday imposed a fine on a minister who was convicted of financial mismanagement. Labour Minister Dr. Mervyn Silva has accepted his cheque paid in 1994 to Mohamed Nasim for Rs. 70,000 later bounced. Dr. Silva has paid the money as deposit for a house rented in Park Road, Colombo. Allowing the plea by the minister, the Colombo High Court imposed a Rs. 2500 fine as government charges. more..

Indian involvement in Sri Lankan ethnic crisis: A RAW perspective

July 25 (FI) The core problem in Srilanka is one of identity. The Tamils want to preserve their identity. The Sinhalas want to overrun it. No solution has emerged ever since Srilanka became a republic almost sixty years ago. Today, the Srilankan Tamil quest for identity has crystallized around the demand for Ealam. Ironically, this milestone has been reached only because the Sinhalas, in various negotiations conducted through the period, refused to be generous to let the Tamils live as equal citizens and not a suppressed minority. more..

Gifts galore with Elephant House ‘Dig & Win’ ice cream promo

July 25 (AT) For the first time in the local industry, ice cream fans across Sri Lanka now have the opportunity of winning over hundred thousand exciting prizes by simply eating their favorite Elephant House ice cream. Mr. Shashika Nilanka from Madiwela became the first ever winner of the current ‘Dig and Win’ promotion launched by Elephant House and takes off to Bangkok next month, on an all expenses paid holiday. more..

Disarm Karun group – Douglas Devananda

July 25 (AT) In an interview with the Asian Tribune Minister Douglas Devananda said that that no group in the East should be allowed to carry arms or hold on to lethal weapons. He said that only the Sri Lanka Government forces should have weapons to protect the sovereignty, and independence of the country and there should never be a parallel organization allowed to hold on to their arms which is a threat to the safety and security of the people of the East. more..

President receives ‘Pada Yaththira’ Hindu Tamil devotees at Kataragama

July 25 (AT) Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse met and welcomed dozens of Hindu Tamil devotees from North and East of Sri Lanka, who made pilgrimage by Pada Yaththira to Kataragama Murugan temple, located in the down south of the island. Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse visited Kataragama to attend Kataragama Asala Perahara and religious ceremony at Kiri Vihara on 24th morning. more..

Sri Lanka: The Unit of Devolution

July 25 (AT) It is heartening to see a healthy public discourse on the unit of devolution and the character of the Sri Lankan state, particularly through electronic media and the traditional print. This demonstrates that the Sri Lankan civil society is becoming more and more active in the quest for peace and democracy. A careful study of the opinions expressed in the media point to a sort of consensus that the security forces have made significant progress in the East; yet a sustainable solution to the conflict must involve a negotiated settlement. more..

Mahinda panics as political alliances shift

July 25 (ML) Last Thursday President Mahinda Rajapakse was a man upset. His actions immediately following the signing of the Mangala-Ranil Agreement last week was to resemble the urgency and anxiety that would normally afflict a cat on a hot tin roof. Already the woman who had veered the SLFP back to a moderate course in 1994 was to write to her one time political confidant congratulating him on his decision to form an alliance with the UNP. more..

Lanka not fully geared yet to meet earthquake threat

July 25 (ML) Sri Lanka is now in the earthquake range and the country is still not fully geared to meet an emergency in case of an earthquake, it has being revealed. The Disaster Management Ministry yesterday revealed to the media that Sri Lanka is ill prepared to meet the challenges in case of such a natural disaster as the country is still setting up warning towers and improving the monitoring mechanisms currently available. more..

Hopes riding on first outing of the Congress

July 25 (ML) The first major public and popular demonstration of support for the newly formed United National Congress between the UNP and the SLFP Mahajana Wing will take place tomorrow (26). A lot is riding on the mass meeting and on it proving the new alliance to be the magnet that attracts all those disappointed, disgruntled and disgusted with the current regime. The latter on the other hand, as evinced by the President’s remarks at the SLFP convention, are warning darkly of “local and international conspiracies” that are linked to the “separatist LTTE.” more..

Most missions unaware of govt.'s requests

July 25 (ML) Commitments have been made from Japan, India, China and the EU, including France to develop the Eastern Province, Foreign Ministry Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona told The Morning Leader. He was however not aware of the figures. Ask the Treasury Secretary for the figures, Kohona told The Morning Leader. Neither Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera nor the Director General External Resources Ms. Sujatha Cooray were available for comment. more..

Soccer, shells: Life in Sri Lanka rebel north surreal

July 25 (Reuters) Soccer spectators roar with excitement as a goal is scored, children play in a nearby park as adults drink tea and an old man cycles slowly along the road. Artillery shells thunder in the distance. With the front line of renewed civil war just 20 miles up the road, residents here in the Tamil Tigers' stronghold in Sri Lanka's far north live a surreal daily diet of fear, desperation and hope. more..

Colonial rape of Uva-Vellassa: Is History Repeating Itself?

July 25 (FI) This article is a response to the proposed allocation of 23,000 hectares of land (approximately 57,500 acres), for sugar cane cultivation in the area of Uva-Vellassa to the Booker Tate Co. Ltd, UK conjointly with their local agents listed as IMS Holdings located in Colombo. Uva-Vellassa is a vast area and by today’s reckoning consists of the districts of Badulla, Monaragala and Ampara. more..

Popular Sri Lankan brand boosts inflight cuisine on national carrier

July 25 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines has started to serve a popular ice cream brand of the island on its flights to India as part of a strategy to boost the variety foods on its flights, the national carrier said. The short-haul flights to India are a key spoke in the carrier's international network which uses Colombo as its hub. SriLankan flies 95 frequencies a week to 10 cities in India. more..

Sri Lanka minister not hopeful of quick pardon for condemned teen

July 25 (AFP) A Sri Lankan minister said on Tuesday he was seeking Riyadh's help in obtaining clemency for a teenage maid condemned to death but he did not expect an immediate outcome to efforts to save her life. "We got a very good and patient hearing" from Saudi foreign ministry officials during the meeting in Riyadh, Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Bhaila told AFP by telephone. more..

Cambodia denies providing weapons for rebels in Sri Lanka

July 25 (Xinhua) Cambodian Minister of Defense Tea Banh has denied report that Cambodia was a source of weapons for Sri Lanka's LTTE, local press reported on Wednesday. The report is entirely groundless, and there is no authentic evidence to prove it, the Cambodia Sin Chew Daily quoted Tea Banh as saying. The weapons which belong to the Cambodian government are all in the country, he said, adding that nobody will export them to foreign countries. more..

Sri Lanka fights threatened beheading of teen maid in Saudi Arabia over death of infant

July 25 (AP) Rizana Nafeek, who left Sri Lanka as a teenager to work as a maid in Saudi Arabia, could be decapitated before she turns 20. Saving her from beheading has become one of the most urgent issues in a country where nearly everyone has worked abroad or had a relative employed overseas. Nafeek went to Saudi Arabia two years ago to work as a maid but was given the additional duty of looking after a baby boy, which she was not trained to do. more..

Sri Lankan police charge farmers over anti-government protest

July 25 (wsws) A local magistrate in Sri Lanka granted bail last Tuesday for 21 farmers who have been imprisoned on remand for more than a month after confronting a minister over broken promises on the Deduru Oya irrigation scheme. Police told the court the farmers would be charged on five counts of unlawful assembly, damaging government property and vehicles, and attacking police officers. more..

One who stands for imperialism and separatism cannot be a patriot – Somawansa Amarasinghe

July 25 (LT) JVP leader Somawansa Amara singhe said that one who stands for imperialism and separatism cannot be a patriot. He said this at the conventional get together held at the Mahaweli Auditorium to educate the Buddhist prelates on the broad national front to be formed by the JVP. He added "The president has told recently that patriots cannot have different agendas. more..

The Sri Lankan National Crisis and the Search for Solutions

July 25 (ISL) While class contradiction remains the fundamental contradiction in all class society, uneven development of capitalism has ensured that class exploitation and oppression would vary in form so that the struggle against class oppression, to succeed, needs to adopt different strategies. Under colonial and semi-colonial domination the struggle was against the main oppressor and emerged as an anti-colonial struggle that united anti-imperialist forces while being conscious of contradictions with the local capitalist and feudal classes. more..

Karuna discussed with party members on upcoming election in East

July 25 (ISL) The working Committee of Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal better knowa as a Karuna faction convened and discussed matters relating to Local Government Elections in the Eastern Province on Sunday. The Monthly meeting of TMVP was convened under the auspices of the Leader of TMVP, Karuna Amman ) at 3.00 PM on Sunday (22-07-2007). Several factors with the objective of decentralizing its political activities were lengthily discussed and the matters relating to its participation in the elections were also discussed as well. more..

Is destroying the Tiger cemetary in Tharavai an act of desecrating Tamil cemetary?

July 25 (ISL) It is in the news from some sources that the Sri Lankan Army is planning to destroy the LTTE cemetery in Tharavai after the capture of Thoppigala (Kudumpimalai). If this is true, how the parents of those dead would feel the victory of the East by the Government forces? Among the buried in Tharavai there were those who were forcibly conscripted and willingly joined the LTTE in their pursuit of establishing their dream land of “Tamil Eelam”. more..

Sri Lankan agri-business offers support for farmers

July 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka's National Agribusiness Council (NAC) has started a scheme to help farmers get better access to markets and other skills and resources. Representatives of farmer councils set up under the NAC's aegis signed an agreement to form a federation at the Ag-Biz trade fair over the weekend. The aim is to help farmers organize more effectively and gain better access to credit and markets and eventually a better price for their produce, more..

Third Alternative To GOSL And LTTE Strategies in East

July 25 (FI) The elimination of LTTE bases from the Eastern Province could be a prelude to its defeat. Alternatively, it could just be a temporary setback, from which the LTTE will recover: it has, after all, lost the East to the government in the past, and re-established itself there subsequently. The final outcome depends on what steps the government takes in the next few months. The strategy proposed by the LTTE and the brutal strategy currently being imposed by Sinhala nationalists with Karuna’s complicity would both end in disaster for the whole of Sri Lanka, not just the North and East. more..

Govt. rejects Rs. 260 m White House transaction

July 25 (LD) Road Development and Highways Minister-Jeyaraj Fernandopulle rejected today (25) that the alleged transaction of purchasing a house by the name of ‘White House’ in Baththaramulla for a sum of Rs. 260m during the election period for the use of the Mahinda Rajapaksha family. He said at a media briefing held on July 25 at the Transport Department Auditorium. This house is presently occupied by a foreigner and the monthly rent is believed to be Rs. 2,25,000 the Minister said. more..

“Government is not scared of protest rallies,”- Govt. Chief Whip

July 25 (GDI) The protest campaign organised by the opposition- United National Party (UNP) against the Government will cause no anxiety to the President or to the Government. This was stated by the Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle at the weekly media briefing held to inform the present political situation of the country in Colombo today (25). The President who obtained a great victory over the LTTE can not be made anxious with such demonstrations. more..

'The MoU between the UNP and the Mahajana wing: a violation of UNP’s internal democracy'

July 25 (GDI) “The Memorandum of Understanding reached between the UNP and the Mahajana wing of the SLFP is not an agreement which has been reached under the party constitution,” stated the Minister of Media Lakshman Yapa Abeywadana. Addressing the media today at a media briefing in Colombo, Minister Abeywardana stated that the UNP dissidents’ team has already entered in to judicial procedure to fight against this MoU. more..

Potential of strong winds and waves in the coastal areas next week

July 25 (GDI) The latest data records based on the wind forecast (NOAA.USA) for the region indicate relatively strong winds and waves for the next seven days especially for the coastal areas of the country. According to a press statement issued by National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) on information derived from various reliable data sources up to yesterday (24th July) states that maximum tidal water levels during the next seven days (up to 30th July) on Sri Lanka coastline more..

Revenue of imported tele drama levy utilized to construct ‘Tele village’

July 25 (GDI) The Ministry of Mass Media and Information will be utilizing the revenue generated through the levy imposed on imported tele dramas, for setting up a highly equipped ‘Tele village’ to facilitate local film industry. Although many has been alleging the Ministry for the mismanagement of the revenue collected through this levy, the Ministry has been planning of the construction of a ‘tele- village’ which will cater to the filming need of a tele dramas and films. more..

APRC final draft ready next month

July 25 (GDI) The final draft of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa for preparing proposals to find a political solution for the national question, will be ready by the end of next month. The draft is expected to be prepared in concurrence with all political parties represented in the Committee. APRC chairman Prof. Tissa Vitharana said that the Committee was planing to come up with the final draft by the middle of August. more..