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EU shocked by attacks on relief groups

July 26 (LNP) The European Union yesterday said it was `extremely worried by the increase in violence that is affecting Sri Lanka.` `The brutality of the conflict is appalling and major violations of international humanitarian law are perpetrated in a climate of impunity,` European Commission Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) Chief Louis Michel said while providing a Euro 15 million humanitarian package to help conflict-affected people in Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu, India. more..

Hartal in Vavuniya

July 26 (LNP) The Tamil National Alliance yesterday (25) called for a hartal in Vavuniya to protest against a Government`s decision to declare Sampur in the East a High Security Zone (HSZ). In response to the TNA call, all shops and Government offices were closed. Only the government hospital functioned smoothly. Transport was badly affected and all schools in the town and vicinity remained closed. Security was strengthened in Vavuniya. more..

Teenage robber gang arrested

July 26 (LNP) A three-member teenaged gang believed to be responsible for a series of robberies, amounting to millions of rupees, in cash and gold, was arrested on Monday evening by the Anuradhapura Police. At the time of arrest the gang was in possession of gold jewellery worth Rs 850,000 and a foreign-manufactured hand grenade. Two bicycles were also taken into custody. more..

More Lankans join hunger strike

July 26 (LNP) The Foreign Ministry has sought a detailed report from the Sri Lankan Embassy in London on the reported hunger strike by Sri Lankans at detention centres in Britain and has also sought information from the British Foreign Office, Foreign Ministry sources told the Daily Mirror yesterday. Meanwhile the Daily Mirror has learnt that the protest which began at the Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre last week has spread to several other detention centres around Britain including Hampshire, Cambridgeshire and Gatwick. more..

UNP rallies infuse saline to defeated LTTE says Nimal

July 26 (LNP) The UNP, by organizing meaningless rallies against the government, was only infusing a saline drip to a weakened LTTE after its Thoppigala defeat, Healthcare Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told The Island. A conspiracy, which had surfaced, reveals that the UNP was helping the LTTE suicide groups to enter Colombo and other areas to assassinate people on their hit-list. The government had vowed to maintain law and order at the highest level in the country and ensure that violent activities would be severely dealt with, more..

Move to improve train services hits

July 26 (SAMN) An ambitious plan of Transport Minister Dulles Alahapperuma to provide a better train service by the end of this year is likely to hit a snag as the 15 locomotive engines ordered from China would not arrive in time as expected, reliable sources at the Railways Department said Wednesday. “The contract for the 15 locomotive engines between Sri Lanka and China was signed on February 26, 2006. However the loan agreement was signed only in March this year. more..

Southern expressway to super highway

July 26 (SAMN) The Government has decided to expand the Southern Expressway being constructed from Colombo to Matara to a super highway with four lanes. Accordingly, two new lanes will be added to the expressway which was originally designed as a two-lane drive running from Kottawa in the Colombo district to Godagama in the Matara district. “The decision to increase the number of lanes was taken by the Cabinet Sub Committee overseeing the project. more..

Govt again wields axe of defamation

July 26 (SAMN) Chief Government Whip and senior minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle Wednesday reiterated that criminal defamation laws should be re-introduced to face the verbal attacks levelled against the Government by UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and SLFP (M) leaders Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyaarachi. He denied the allegations levelled against President Mahinda Rajapaksa by Mr. Sooriyarachi that President Rajapaksa has bought a residence at Battaramulla, after the 2005 Presidential election, paying Rs. 250 million for it. more..

Chaaya clinches two PATA Gold awards

July 26 (SAMN) Chaaya Hotels and Resorts has proven its excellence by winning two prestigious international PATA Gold Awards in the Environment/Ecotourism and the Marketing Media – CD Rom categories. PATA, which stands for the Pacific Asia Travel Association is an organization dedicated to promoting sustainable tourism in the region. Through the Gold Awards presented by them annually, the PATA aims to recognize exceptional achievement in this sphere, more..

Chains for NGOs in freed areas

July 26 (DM) All local and international NGOs engaged in development projects in the newly captured areas in the Eastern Province have been told by the Government that their work in these areas would be restricted, a top Government official said. He said this decision was taken as certain NGOs had done little work in the recent past despite their heavy presence in those areas. “The decision to restrict access was conveyed to the INGOs during a meeting held recently at Vakarai with security forces officials,” more..

Consumer Courts this year

July 26 (DM) The government will establish ‘Consumer Courts’ for the first time in the country this year to deal with consumers affairs while amending the Consumer Affairs Authority(CAA) Act. Minister Bandula Gunawardane told the Daily Mirror yesterday that Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva also had agreed to this proposal. The Minister said he held talks with the Justice Ministry in this regard, and more..

CID perusing bank accounts of Minister

July 26 (DN) The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) probing the massive fraud at the Agrarian Insurance Board and Agrarian Service yesterday told the Colombo Chief Magistrate and Additional District Judge Kusala Sarojini Weerawardena that they are perusing the bank accounts of Nation Building Minister S. M. Chandrasena, whose name had transpired during the investigations into the fraud at the Agrarian Insurance Services. more..

Colombo University History Lecturer takes up JHU challenge

July 26 (DN) Colombo University History Lecturer Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri has taken up the JHU challenge to prove the Tamil homeland theory and a Tamils’ right to self determination. Dr. Devasiri said he is willing to prove the Tamil homeland theory and the rights of Tamils for self determination if the JHU is willing to come for a debate with him on this issue. Dr. Devasiri said this at a seminar on the JHU’s APC proposals held at the Colombo National Library Auditorium recently, more..

Sri Lankan warplanes bomb Tamil rebel positions in north, says military

July 26 (AP) Sri Lankan fighter jets pounded Tamil Tiger rebel positions in the northern part of the country Thursday afternoon, the military said. Air force planes launched two airstrikes on two separate targets in the rebel-held Mullaitivu district, said an officer at the Defense Ministry's media center. The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said details of casualties and damage were not immediately available. more..

Mixed reaction to Sri Lankan Tamil party's call for protest

July 26 (Xinhua) A call by Sri Lanka''s main Tamil political party to stage a protest against the government in the island''s war battered north and east was met with a mixed reaction on Wednesday, the police said. Only the northern town of Vavuniya observed a complete shutdown with all state offices, schools and business establishments closing down and public transport coming to a standstill. more..

Sri Lanka court allows appeal against eviction of Tamils

July 26 (AFP) Sri Lanka's Supreme Court allowed a challenge to the eviction of nearly 400 minority ethnic Tamils from Colombo carried out during an anti-rebel drive. The court allowed the challenge on the grounds that anti-torture provisions of the constitution may have been violated by the police and troops and fixed a formal hearing for November 28. more..

"When the last UNP government was so close in bringing LTTE leader to the talks table, it was dissolved suddenly" –UNP's

July 27 (AT) "When the last UNP government was (very) close to bring the LTTE leader to the negotiations table, the government was dissolved suddenly" said S.B Dissanayake, UNP chief organiser, addressing the protest rally held in Colombo today. The rally, which is underway at this moment, is called "Janarala." It has been organized by the opposition UNP and the SLFP(M) parties to protest against the policies of the Government. more..

Sri Lanka opposition rally forges ahead despite Police checks and hovering choppers

July 27 (AT) Despite enhanced security checks and helicopters hovering above the city armed with video equipment, the opposition rally in Colombo drew more than secerak thousands protesters and is continuing to draw more. The "Janarala rally" in Colombo is even now drawing crowds to the Central Colombo's Hyde Park, and the Lipton Circus area is now "virtually traffic blocked" said the Police. more..

Sri Lanka rupee inches back from lows, shares firmer

July 27 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee pulled a shade away from life lows on Thursday in thin trade while shares firmed for a sixth consecutive session as small investors bought telecom shares, traders said. The rupee ended at 111.77/111.80 per dollar compared to Wednesday's close of 111.78/111.80. The rupee closed at 111.75/111.85 on Monday, which in turn equalled life lows hit at 111.78/111.82 last week. more..

Tamil American Peace Rally: Speech by Dr. Ellyn Shander M.D

July 27 (TC) First I want to say how honored I am to speak at this rally. I want to express my appreciation to the organizers who had the vision to invite us together for this important cause. And a heartfelt thank you ,to each of you who took the time to travel from your homes and express your solidarity, here in Washington DC, with the Tamils in Sri lanka, who dont have the opportunity to be here today expressing their anguish and despair. more..

New security measures slow deliveries to the Vanni

July 27 (IRIN) Heightened security measures and renewed skirmishes between the LTTE and government forces are causing severe delays in delivering supplies and price increases in goods and fuel in four northern districts of Sri Lanka, collectively known as Vanni, officials said. New government regulations were introduced in mid-June after government security forces discovered explosives hidden in lorries travelling between conflict areas. more..

Thousands march against Mahinda

July 27 (BBC) Thousands of protesters including supporters of the former Ministers Mangala Samarawera and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi staged an anti-government rally in Colombo on Thursday. This is the first ever public rally held to challenge the government since the UNP and the SLFP Mahajana Faction signed a MOU to work together. Ex ministers of Mahinda Rajapaksha’s government Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Suriyaarachchi led the protest march. more..

Sri Lanka bowlers gain but batsmen lose in LG ICC ODI Player Rankings

July 27 (SF) Pace sensation Lasith Malinga moves up four places in the bowling list after taking four wickets in two ODIs and he now stands ninth overall, replacing Bangladesh’s Abdur Razzak, who drops three places to 12th but remains his country’s highest-ranked bowler. Malinga’s team-mates Farveez Maharoof and Dilhara Fernando have also make significant improvements in the table. more..

Not All Tsunami Reconstruction Is Equal

July 27 (IPS) It has been 30 months since the waves struck the coasts of Sri Lanka in the morning hours of Dec. 26, 2004. Since then, in a pattern that has become symbolic of the divided nature of the South Asian island, parts of the country have motored ahead with the reconstruction effort, while others have lagged woefully behind. And it is the worst-hit areas that have suffered the lowest recovery success rates. more..

Fleming, Atapattu next on ICL radar

July 27 (TNN) With every passing day the Essel group promoted Indian Cricket League is slowly gathering momentum. But there is intrigue over the names of players who are likely to join. With just one-high profile signing till date, former West Indies captain Brian Lara, the league is looking out for more. Repeated attempts to contact ICL officials for confirmation of names proved to be futile on Thursday. more..

Shedding the Master: The Challenge for the Muslims

July 27 (FI) “There is among the Ceylon Moors diverse opinion on this question in this house and throughout the country. Those who are living in the Sinhalese areas are definitely for the Bill. Some of them are most enthusiastic. But my own view is that, in the final analysis the choice for us is between two masters one of whom is not so hard a task-master…” - A.H. Macan Markar, MP Kalkudah electorate Speaking on the Sinhala Only Bill in 1956. more..

Civil society must take lead role in preserving human rights

July 27 (FI) Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam have all stressed on the importance of preserving Human Rights and the concept, therefore, has a history spanning over 2,000 years, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe noted, addressing the subject ‘Historical origins and development of the theory and practice of Human Rights’. Religions have spoken profusely about the importance of Human Rights. Buddhism, for example, has taught that all men are equal as they are all subject to the same law of nature. more..

Rights body urges Sri Lanka to ratify international convention

July 27 (LBO) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has urged the Sri Lankan government to ratify part of an international treaty to help save the life of a young girl facing a death sentence in Saudi Arabia. The called came as it emerged that more Sri Lankans were facing executions in Saudi Arabia. The AHRC has issued an urgent public appeal asking people to write to President Mahinda Rajapakse and other officials and urge the government to ratify the Optional Protocol to more..

Police stall in Human Rights Commission inquiry into disappearance of SEP member

July 27 (wsws) The latest Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (HRC) hearing into the disappearance of Socialist Equality Party (SEP) member, Nadarajah Wimaleswaran, and his friend, Sivanathan Mathivathanan, has again revealed the failure of the authorities to conduct any serious investigation into the case. Wimaleswaran and Mathivathanan vanished on March 22 while travelling back from Punguduthivu Island to Kayts Island where they live. more..

LTTE not confined to Sri Lanka alone but linked to International Terrorism - NAT

July 27 (AT) A Norway-based non-governmental organization, Norwegians Against Terrorism (NAT), in a comprehensive report forwarded to the United States vice president Dick Chaney says that Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger terrorism is not confined to that country alone but linked to other terrorist movements that are part of the Global Terrorism Network the United States is pledged to combat. more..

Tamil Tiger Balasingham – removed from Norwegian Labor party ballot

July 27 (AT) Yogurajah Balasingham, a sitting member Oslo Municipality, has been ditched by the Labor Party of Norway. His name is nowhere to be seen on the Labor party’s candidates list for the Norwegian 2007 municipality election. He is currently serving the last year of his term as a member of the Oslo Municipality. He was nominated for another term, but the Labor Party election committee has removed his name from the official ballot for the Labor Party. more..

In this way Ranil might sell out elephant too - Gamini Lokuge

July 27 (LT) "In the way Mr. Wickremasinghe is moving, he might even sell out 'elephant', the party's election symbol too. If that happens we would eagerly take it." Minister Gamini Lokuge says commenting on UNP leaders' political movements addressing a media conference held at Colombo yesterday, organized by UNP(Democratic Group). Trade Union leader and minister of former UNP crossed over to undertake portfolio of new govt criticized the party leader relating to his anti government front formed with dissident govt members. more..

Stocks marooned by peace impasse; looking for softer rates

July 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s stocks are to remain flat with an ongoing internal conflict, and a slowdown in earnings growth but expectations of a peaking of interest rates may improve sentiment somewhat, brokers said. Lower short-term interest rates may drive funds back into stocks and that, coupled with bargain hunting, may help stabilize the market. The recent rise in the stock market was nothing to be excited about because the increase was on thin volumes, more..

Sri Lanka banks drop merger plan

July 27 (LBO) Commercial Bank of Ceylon and the National Development Bank said it had dropped merger talks which were first made public in January. "There have been detailed discussions between the two banks on this matter," the banks said in a statement. "The key issues reviewed included the legal form of the merger, and the implications of the structure in terms of facilitation of organizational, more..

Sri Lanka’s Geoffrey Bawa trust in push for good architecture

July 27 (LBO) A Sri Lankan trust named after renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa has launched a national award with a million-rupee prize to recognize and reward good examples of contemporary island architecture. Sri Lanka has a lot of young talent in architecture which should be recognized and encouraged, the Geoffrey Bawa trust says. The new award has been modeled on the scheme run by the Aga Khan trust for Culture in Geneva. more..

Attempt to fraudulently traffic an infant to Netherlands

July 27 (LD) According to a tip off received by the police which said that a two week old infant has been sold, in the Moragoll area in Aluthgama, to a Netherlands couple and that the infant will be taken to Netherlands to remove human particles, the police have arrested the particular Netharlands couple. Magistrate Sarojani Kusala Weerawardena ordered them to be remanded until the 03rd of next month so that preliminary investigations could be completed. more..

Development of the East: Govt's main thrust

July 27 (GDI) The development of the East has become the main task of the Government after the crushing defeat of the LTTE terrorists in the hands of victorious security forces. The Government, despite various problems and challenges, is determined to speed up the development process. After more than a decade the people of the East will have their right to franchise, right of freedom of expression, right to education, economic development etc. more..

Families of ‘War Heroes’ to gain Govt. benefits

July 27 (GDI) The Ministry of Defence has taken steps to maintain a precise data base of the dependants of the families of security force personnel killed or missing in action. Accordingly a new survey will be carried out to obtain the updated living conditions of those families and dependants. The Ministry through the Ranaviru Seva Authority has already sent a questionnaire to all war widows directing them to submit those applications without delay. more..

Live Sat-Cast of Kandy Perahera for 17 countries

July 27 (GDI) 17 nationalities around the world will get the opportunity of viewing the Kandy Esala Perahera live telecast this year. The Ministry of Tourism has stepped in to the telecasting of the country’s biggest cultural pageant with the view of providing the opportunity for more viewers across the world to witness this momentous event. The Ministry also expects a boost in tourist arrival through the implementation of this kind of promotional activities to the world. more..

Trinco Harbour back in operations from 31st July

July 27 (GDI) The tsunami damaged Trincomalee harbour which was renovated at a cost of Rs.32 million will commence functioning from 31st of this month. This step was taken by the Government following the ‘Negenahira Navodaya’ the Eastern development programme focused on re-building the recently liberated province. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) funded the re-construction works of the harbour. more..

Susanthika wins 100m Asian Gold

July 27 (GDI) Sri Lankan ace sprinter Susanthika Jayasinghe won the 200 metres Gold medal at the Asian Athletic Championship in Jordan. She clocked 11.19 seconds at the event. Jayasinghe, captain of the Sri Lankan team predicted to get another easy gold medal in the 200 metres. Sri Lanka’s Menaka Wickremasinghe who took part in the first round of the women’s 400 metres finished the race in a time of 54.19 seconds and qualified for the finals. more..

LTTE training centre in Vanni bombed

July 27 (GDI) A successful air strike targeting the well identified LTTE training facility at Muthiyankaddukulam was launched by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) yesterday (26) morning. The LTTE is believed to have suffered heavy losses in the air strike. The LTTE training facility was located at North- West of Oddusudan. According to the Defenses sources the facility was twice targeted by the SLAF fighter jets. more..

Are Non-Sinhalease Comfortable as the Sinhalease about National Flag?

July 27 (FI) Reflecting on the underlying theme of the Buddha’s teachings of an ” I ” less state ,one invariably begins to understand the significance of non-identity in order to arrive there. The world of social constructs cannot survive if not for a sense of identity which in a larger context makes no sense at all, for identity itself ceases to be in the elegance and finesse of Buddhist thought in arriving at the Nirvanic state. more..

Neo-Barrelism, The Exhibition of Paintings and Installations by Chandraguptha Thenuwara

July 27 (FI) ‘Neo-Barrelism’, The Exhibition of Paintings and Installations by Chandraguptha Thenuwara was inaugurated on July 26 th 2007 at the Lionel Wendt Gallery. The exhibition will remain open till July 28th 2007. The viewing hours are from 10am to 7pm. The exhibition is organisd by Vibhavi Academy of Fine Arts (VAFA). He paintings and installations depict the new ‘barrel’ era in Sri Lanka. more..

How could Rizana Naffeek be guilty?

July 27 (ISL) On June 16, 2007, a three-member panel of judges of the Dawadami High Court in Saudi Arabia found Rizana Naffeek guilty of murder of the 4-month old son of Mr and Mrs Al Otaibi under Shariah Law and sentenced her to death by beheading. She was granted one-month stay of execution to lodge an appeal against this sentence. The tragic incident occurred at the Al Otaibi family residence around 12 30 in the afternoon of May 22, 2005 while the infant was being bottle-fed by Rizana Naffeek. more..

Malinga breaks into top ten in ICC ODI rankings

July 27 (CI) Lasith Malinga has moved into the top ten bowlers in the ICC ODI rankings following his four wickets in the two ODIs he played in the series against Bangladesh. Malinga has moved up four places to ninth place on the rankings, replacing Abdur Razzak of Bangladesh, who has dropped three places to 12th. Razzak continues to be the top-ranked bowler for Bangladesh. more..

Sri Lanka rupee, shares end shade firmer

July 27 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee firmed slightly on Friday for a second day, inching away from life lows, while shares ended slightly higher as retail investors bought select shares, traders said. The rupee ended at 111.76/111.79 per dollar compared to Thursday's close of 111.77/111.80. The rupee closed at 111.75/111.85 on Monday, which in turn equalled life lows hit at 111.78/111.82 last week. The local currency has hit a series of new all time lows in recent months. more..

Illegal roads across railway lines pose threat to life and limb

July 27 (LNP) Construction of illegal approach roads to business centres and residents across the railway lines in Negombo is posing a threat to life and limb by way of train accidents, say residents of the area. The area most prone to accidents is Archbishop Nicholas Marcus Fernando Mawatha. `There are many illegal approach roads constructed to shops and residents across the railway lines along this road,` say residents. more..

Blair leaves behind Lanka`s tea set

July 27 (LNP) A tea set gifted by President Mahinda Rajapaksa was among the items left behind by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair when he resigned last month, the Associated Press reported yesterday.According to the report British government records released on Wednesday show that an iPod gifted by popular Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger, coins from the Emir of Kuwait and a tea set from the president of Sri Lanka were among the gifts left behind by Mr. Blair. more..

Union threatens to take Dallas to court

July 27 (LNP) All Ceylon Transport Workers Union (ACTWU) is contemplating legal action against Transport Minister Dallas Allahaperuma for violating the Sri Lanka Transport Board Act (SLTB). Addressing a press conference in Colombo yesterday, ACTWU General Secretary Sepala Liyanage said: `We have nothing personal against the Transport Minister but if he continues to go by the Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara`s policies, we would resort to legal action followed by a massive agitation campaign`. more..