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Sri Lankan postal workers protest against privatization, alleged corruption

July 30 (AP) Sri Lankan postal workers staged a one-day strike Monday, paralyzing the island's postal service, as a part of their campaign against privatization and alleged corruption in the postal department. Postal workers around the country have joined this strike demanding action against corruption and waste and also to halt any effort to privatize the service, said postal union spokesman Nawaratne Bandara. more..

India-Sri Lanka peace accord marks 20 years with war

July 30 (AFP) When India and Sri Lanka signed a peace pact two decades ago it was hailed as a landmark that could end Asia's longest running civil war. But since then, the bloodshed has only got worse. The 1987 accord envisaged the disarming of Tamil Tiger separatists by India, which had armed and provided them safe haven, and Sri Lanka granting greater autonomy to its ethnic minority. more..

Intelligent Design Promoted to Buddhist Sri Lanka

July 31 (EN) The Daily News, a newspaper in the predominantly Buddhist nation of Sri Lanka, has an excellent article authored by Dr. V.J.M. de Silva expressing skepticism towards Darwinian evolution. Silva states, “This article is not meant to be a critique of any Buddhist doctrine, for which I have the highest regard,” and he then explains, “Life, it seems, did not wait for blind chance to roll the dice, but erupted at the first available instant, more..

Lankan sailor who attacked Rajiv Gandhi sells Hindi music

July 31 (PTI) He loathed the peace agreement signed by Sri Lanka and India strongly enough to strike former Indian premier Rajiv Gandhi with a rifle, but today the former Lankan sailor makes a living selling Hindi music. Naval rating Wijemuni Vijitha Rohana de Silva slid into history 20 years ago today when he struck a heavy blow on Gandhi injuring his shoulder, as the Indian premier inspected a guard of honour in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo. more..

Proper implementation of constitutional provisions .....

July 31 (GDI) It is my firm belief that the proper implementation of the constitutional provisions and the Acts can play a pivotal role in creating a conducive atmosphere for promoting co-existence and building peace, said the Minister of public Administration and Home Affairs Karu Jayasuriya. Minister Jayasuriya addressing the conference of Senior Administrators on the implementation of the official language policy stated that the essentiality of the state bureaucracy for the proper enforcement of legislation remains vital. more..

Sampur HSZ 'sensitive' for judiciary

July 31 (BBC) Sri Lanka's Supreme Court has dismissed a petition against High Security Zone (HSZ) recently established in the east. Chief Justice Sarath N Silva warned the petitioners not to bring such 'sensitive' issues before the judiciary. The Fundamental Rights (FR) petition was submitted by four residents in Sampur. If the judiciary grants such petitions to proceed, CJ Silva said, the courts will be flooded with '15,000 more petitions'. more..

Universities 'being privatised'

July 31 (BBC) University students in Sri Lanka have accused the government of secretly working on agenda to privatise state universities. Duminda Nagamuva, convenor of Inter University Student Union (IUSU), accused President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government of gradually reducing budget allocation for state universities. The allocation was reduced by 20 per cent in January. more..

Tamil Tiger 'forced recruitment'

July 31 (BBC) Sri Lanka's LTTE are accused of forcing young people to join their ranks, ahead of a possible battle with government forces for the north of the country. People in rebel-held Kilinochchi say that Tamil Tigers have introduced a policy of demanding one person from each family. The Tigers - who want a homeland for the island's Tamil minority - have been pushed back from the east of the island, but they still hold a large swathe of territory in the north. more..

IDPs 'fear' returning home

July 31 (BBC) Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in eastern Sri Lanka say authorities are creating impediments to their return home. IDPs in a camp in Navatkuda, Batticaloa, told BBC Sandeshaya they would like to go back home but worried about their safety. The IDPs who were displaced more than a year ago from Muthur due to escalating violence said the security forces are creating fear psychosis among those who are willing to resettle. more..

President attempts to bribe UNP MPs, Thissa Aththanayaka accuses

July 31 (LeN) UNP Secretary Thissa Aththanayaka said that the President, in fear of the ruling party internal tendencies to change sides at a critical moment, had phoned certain UNP MPs and proposed to give money and posts in the government. Mr. Aththanayaka expressed sympathy for the condition the President had fallen to go after UNP MPs instead of solving the serious problems of the country. more..

No thank to the President from Mathara

July 31 (LeN) A proposal to thank the President was defeated in Mathara Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) today. The proposal was defeated with a majority of 10 votes in the Mathara PS in which the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) holds power. Eight of the nine SLFP MPs in the PS voted against the proposal to thank the President. The proposal was brought to thank the President for appointing Upul Nishantha as the Mathara electoral organizer and more..

Fair Appeal for Domestic Worker on Death Row

July 31 (HRW) The Saudi Court of Appeals should recognize that a foreign worker on death row was a child at the time of her alleged crime, when a baby died in her care, Human Rights Watch said today. The court should also review the fairness of the original investigation into Rizana Nafeek, a Sri Lankan domestic worker, and her trial. Last month, a Shari'a court in Dawadmi, Saudi Arabia, sentenced to death Nafeek, 19, ruling that she had murdered an infant in her care in 2005. more..

Eighth Neelan Tiruchelvam Memorial Lecture

July 31 (FI) Today more than ever, on this eighth anniversary of his assassination, Sri Lankans and those in the wider international community need to remember and be re-inspired by Neelan Tiruchelvam’s life and achievements. While we can no longer benefit directly from his remarkable intelligence and learning, his boundless energy, his political commitment, and his optimism, we do still have his spirit living among us in the ideas and institutions he gave us, more..

The holy bible justifies war and retaliation to protect the mation and law and order

July 31 (FI) It is one thing when elected members of the clergy making political statements; it is unacceptable when unelected (and unelectable) clergy start making remarks with political sensitivity. They misuse their influence and power contradicting the Holy Bible in doing so. It is remarkable how their pulpits silently approve (yes, no condemnation equals approval) LTTE’s genocide and barbarianism. more..

A country unable to curtail ethnic hatred: Sri Lanka

July 31 (TC) In July 1983, Sri Lanka was darkened by the clouds of ethnic hatred. Thousands of minority Tamils were killed and their property looted by the majority Sinhalese following an attack on the armed forces by the newly emerging Tamil Tigers. This resulted in one of the longest civil wars in modern history. After 24 years Sri Lankan academic Kapila Vidyabhushana looks at the socio-economic background for the killings and questions whether the conditions in Sri Lanka has changed to enable a negotiated settlement. more..

Sri Lanka’s Muslims: out in the cold

July 31 (Hindu) As the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government trumpets its “liberation of the east” after the ouster of the LTTE from the Thoppigala jungles, the Muslims of Sri Lanka are faced with new dilemmas with regard to their place in the scheme of devolution as and when it comes into operation. The ouster of the LTTE from the East has provided little comfort to the Muslims who account for eight per cent of the island’s population. If anything, it has added to their woes. more..

Potential case for global intervention in Sri Lanka: ICG chief

July 31 (Hindu) The prospect of a bloody war in Sri Lanka’s north with devastating consequences for the civilians makes the country a potential case for “right to protection” or right to intervention by the international community, Gareth Evans, President of International Crisis Group (ICG) warned here on Sunday evening. more..

Two decade-old India-Lanka pact in a shambles

July 31 (HT) Two decades down the line, the ambitious and much trumpeted India-Sri Lanka Accord signed by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and President JR Jayawardene in Colombo on July 27, 1987, lies in shambles. The Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF), which was inducted two days later on July 29, to implement the military aspects of the accord, left the island unsung and humiliated in March 1990. more..

Islamic Tamil litterateurs bridge India-Lanka divide

July 31 (HT) Down the ages, Muslims of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka have shared a mother tongue - Tamil. In the past, they had strong economic, cultural and religious ties besides the linguistic bond. But due to the development of different politico-cultural situations in the two countries in the 20 th century, the two communities had drifted apart. more..

Returning home in a coffin

July 31 (KT) After working in the UAE for 14 long years, 48-year-old Sri Lankan housemaid Kumre Gadara Padmavathi finally returned to her motherland on Sunday. Her kin, who received her yesterday, were heartbroken and shell shocked, because Padmavathi went back to her country in a coffin. Padmavathi’s shattered 29-year-old daughter, husband and elder sister, could not believe she had come back home dead. more..

Civilians Pay for Civil War in Supply Shortages

July 31 (IPS) Sri Lankan government forces and Tamil Tiger rebel leaders are gearing up for a massive face-off along the line of control in the north of the island. The rhetoric has already been replaced by mounting body counts -- in the last three weeks of July, more than 50 combatants died along the forward defences that separate areas held by the two sides in the north. more..

Tribal leader will intervene on Rizana case only if Saudi govt. approves

July 31 (LBO) The tribal leader of a victim's family will only intervene on behalf of a teenaged housemaid on death row once clearance is given by the Saudi foreign ministry, Sri Lankan officials have been told. Rizana Nafeek who was 17 years old at the time of the incident has been convicted without legal representation of killing an infant which died in her care while being bottle-fed. more..

In Pictures: Colourful ‘Vel’ Festival for Lord Murugan in Colombo

July 31 (TW) “Aadi”- The month of Festivals. The annual Aadi Vel festival of Arulmigu Sri Sivasubramaniya Swamy temple was held on July 30 th 2007. The temple is decorated with fresh banana trees with bunches of bananas, “Thoranam” (young coconut leaves are woven together) and sugar cane leaves. All the statues at the temple are specially and beautifully decorated with fresh flowers, and silk for the festival. more..

Peaceful citizens’ clamour for a decent political culture

July 31 (FI) “I have walked that long road to freedom. I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger for my long walk is not ended” (Nelson Mandela). more..

Gigantic task of winning the hearts and minds of Tamils in East

July 31 (TC) Days back the Government website had carried an interesting news item on much talked about liberation of the eastern Province. Here are some paragraphs of it. “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. more..

Devolution Cannot Be Principal Component of Constitutional Change

July 31 (FI) The word devolution is being employed freely by diverse persons and institutions as the principal component of constitutional change needed to solve the problems associated with poor governance and the ethnic issue. However, it is not difficult to show that the use of the term devolution in these contexts is illogical. As set out below, a rational description of the process required would be “restoration of sovereignty to the People”. more..

Tamils must eschew territorial approach to secure perceived rights

July 31 (FI) In an article titled “Can Human Rights Monitoring Halt Abuses in Sri Lanka?” co-authors, Philip Alston and William Abresch advocate the need for an International Monitoring Mission that would expose and halt abuses, and by doing so protect the population and create the conditions for a sustainable peace. They also state that one of its authors reported to the General Assembly that “the conflict between the Government and the LTTE is ultimately about a struggle for legitimacy, not territory” more..

Govt must try to win hearts and minds of Tamil people in the East

July 31 (TC) It is encouraging to note several articles by professionals as well as journalists appearing on the above subject in the aftermath of the successes in the Eastern Province. If anyone proclaims that the East is devoid of terrorists, it is a wrong assumption. The Karuna fraction which supports the government directly or indirectly is not yet a total political entity that has given up arms. more..

Young Tamil Engineer killed by ‘Other Tamil Group’ when five million ransom failed

July 31 (AT) The body of a young Tamil Communication Engineer was exhumed after two Tamil suspects from ‘Other Tamil Group,’ confessed to the police that they were connected with the abduction of the victim for a ransom of Five million Rupees, Avissawella Police said. The Kotahena police in the Northern part of the capital city Colombo and the Avissawella Police an adjacent district to Colombo where the body was buried after the kidnappers were refused the demanded ransom were jointly investigating in the case. more..

Sri Lanka July inflation up sharply

July 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka's consumer prices shot up to 17.6 percent in the year to July with the consumer price index growing 2.8 percent in the past 30 days, the government's statistics office said Tuesday. In the 12 months to June inflation was only 13.0 percent, but monthly inflation has been edging up on each of the past three months sparking concerns that monetary policy had loosened since April. more..

Govt workers eat up new tax revenues

July 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka's bloated public sector has consumed a bulk of the additional tax collections in the first five months of the year, with the salary bill rising 30 percent, data released by the finance ministry shows. Last year 54 cents out of every tax rupees collected by the government was eaten up by public sector wages and pensions. In the first five months of 2007 this proportion had now increased to 57.7 percent with salaries and pensions racing ahead to account for almost all of the current expenditure increases. more..

New Circular for school admissions approved

July 31 (GDI) The new circular for the school admissions was approved by the Supreme Court yesterday. The Supreme Court also ordered to forward the draft speedily for the reference of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa for further action on the issue. According to the new Grade One Admission Policy, all grade 1 applicants for 2008 will have their names published in the national newspapers and thereafter summoned for interviews from August 15 to September 5. more..

Tourism gears up with airlines reverting to old schedule

July 31 (GDI) Sri Lankan tourism trade is to gear up with most of the airlines returning to their normal schedule and speedy implementation of several other steps to boost tourism. Two key airlines Emirates and Sahara have resumed flights to Sri Lanka. Emirates Airlines resumed flights in and out of Colombo to the earlier schedules on the 15th of July, and Sahara Airlines resumed their 2 a.m. flight on the 22nd July. more..

Government to keep a tight control on essential goods prices

July 31 (GDI) Government has taken a decision to keep a tight control on the prices of the essential items. This decision was taken yesterday during the meeting of the Cost of Living Committee (CoLC), headed by the Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickremanayaka. The Committee discussed on means of affording maximum relief to consumers following its decision to remove taxes on 10 essential consumer items. more..

All must support Govt to eradicate LTTE, achieve peace - Devananda

July 31 (GDI) After Indo-Lanka Peace Accord was signed, the situation changed and the pathway was cleared to hold discussions and get a solution for the ethnic problem through a dialogue. But since the LTTE did not come into the democratic stream the problem still drags on. One thing is very clear. This should be stressed. The problem of the LTTE is very different from the problems of the Tamil community. more..

Major irrigation scheme for East

July 31 (GDI) The farmers in the recently liberated Eastern province will get the benefit of a major irrigation scheme. The Welioya Irrigation Project which will benefit 5,000 farmer families and help to irrigate 3,000 acres of fallow land during both seasons contributing an income of Rs. 76 million to the GNP is to be completed soon. Steps to accelerate this scheme which is in its final phase were taken by Nation Building Minister Jagath Pushpakumara and Presidential Senior Advisor Basil Rajapaksa during an inspection tour of the scheme. more..

SL delegation returns after appealing for Rizana’s life

July 31 (GDI) The Delegation led by the Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Bhaila to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to request pardon for Rizana Nafeek returned to the country after conducting several discussions with the top level Suadi officials who could contribute for the rescue mission of Rizana. Rizana, a poor under-aged girl from Muttur arrived in Saudi Arabia on May 04, 2005 as a housemaid in the house of Naif Jiziyan Khalif Al Otaibi. more..

Forgiving better than punishing

July 31 (KT) THE 19-year-old Sri Lanka girl Rizana Nafeek has been convicted of a gruesome crime – killing a four-year-old child in her care — and sentenced to death by beheading. An appeal has been filed in a Riyadh court – not by the cash-starved Sri Lankan government, which is known for its extravagance, but by the Hong-Kong based Asian Human Rights Commission. In the international outcry against the death sentence, it is Rizana who emerges as the victim. more..

Monks must stay in temples - Anura Bandaranayaka

July 31 (LD) Speaking at a seminar on the ‘Heritage of the Nation is for the children,’ organized by the National Archives Dept. at its’ auditorium, National heritage minister Anura Bandaranayaka said that there were a large number of ancient Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka which needed immediate rehabilitation. Monks must stay in temples and not in Parliament. Our parliamentarian monks come to parliament only to cast their votes. more..

300 Muslim Businessmen have fled to Malaysia

July 31 (LD) Writing in the Daily Mirror of July 30th Mr. Izzeth Hussain, a former senior diplomat of the Sri Lanka Foreign Service has revealed that around 300 Muslim businessmen have fled to Malaysia with their families in fear of abduction for money. Giving details of the wave of abductions from 2007 June to mid July, Mr. Hussain points out that some of the authorities knew quite well what was going on. more..

Petition filed by Sripathi Suriarachchi regarding Hingurana sugar company rejected

July 31 (LD) The petition fundamental rights petition filed by former minister Parliamentarian and coordinator of the SLFP (M) wing Sripathi Suriarachchi asking the courts to issue an interim order against the sale of the Hingurana Sugar Company to the Galoya Cultivation company, was rejected today(30). The petition was taken up before the Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, Raja Fernando and Nimal Balapatabandi. more..

Door open for Karuna cadres too?

July 31 (LNP) As part of measures to establish civil administration in the east, the government has started recruiting Tamil youth to the police force while speculation is rife that Karuna cadres may also be included. With Karuna refusing to disarm in the east, sources said the invitation for ordinary youth to join the police force would give Karuna cadres the opportunity to be part of the state civil administration. more..

Remanded for blocking First Lady`s convoy

July 31 (LNP) The Colombo Magistrate yesterday remanded two persons till August 3 for allegedly blocking the way of the vehicle of First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa last week. The two suspects, a lorry driver and his assistant from Haputale who were arrested for allegedly blocking the convoy carrying Mrs. Rajapaksa at Thunmulla were produced by Cinnamon Gardens police. Sendan Wijekumar and Ramaiya Surendran were arrested by the Presidential Security Division (PSD) and were handed over to the police. more..

Mail delivery back to normal

July 31 (LNP) Posts and Telecommuni-cations Ministry expects the postal workers` one day `sick note` campaign will not continue and mail delivery will be back to normal today. Mail delivery, including business mails, was stalled yesterday due to the `sick note` campaign staged by the postal workers belonging to 15 postal unions. `The workers say the management of the Postal Department is corrupt and they need immediate solutions for their problems. more..

No increase in electricity rates

July 31 (LNP) The Government will not increase electricity rates despite the diesel price hike. Power and Energy Minister W.J.Seneviratna said that the Government was not prepared to raise electricity rates concurrently with escalating diesel prices. `A Ministerial Subcommittee is discussing the matter,` he said and added, `it must be mentioned that the relief given to the public by refraining in resorting to rate hikes on electricity, has resulted in Ceylon Electricity Board being pushed to the deep end.` more..

Shortage of medical supplies hampers treatment to A'lampil wounded

July 31 (TN) The prevailing shortage of essential medical supplies is a serious threat preventing proper treatment to patients admitted to Mullaiththeevu Government Hospital, according to the Medical Superintendent (MS) of the hospital, V.Shanmugarajah. Commenting on the progress of the condition of Thanapalasingham Suman, 22, one of the two brothers wounded during attack by Sri Lanka Navy (SLN), Saturday night, more..

Security in East: Aid agencies concerned

July 31 (SAMN) Aid agencies have raised serious concerns over the security in the east mainly as a result of threats posed by armed groups. They have also reiterated the need for unimpeded access to areas where civilians have been resettled in the Batticaloa district. The concerns were raised at a meeting held at the Defence Ministry last Friday among the government, local and international non Governmental Organisations and UN affiliated agencies, more..

Ranil had full backing of UNP: Tissa

July 31 (SAMN) Refuting claims by some ministers that Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe signed the MoU with the SLFP (M) group in secrecy, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake clarified Monday that both the party’s working committee as well as the political affairs committee had given their approval for the MoU signing. Attanayake addressing a media conference revealed that every detail of the MoU would be disclosed at the next working committee meeting. more..

World respects Bandaranaike name: Anura

July 31 (SAMN) The International Community will not come forward to help Sri Lanka unless the request comes from a respected and distinguished politician, National Heritage Minister Anura Bandaranaike said Monday. Delivering the keynote address at the seminar titled ‘The Heritage of the Nation is for the Children’ organised by the National Archives Department at its auditorium he said fortunately he had the family name ‘Bandaranaike’ which was well respected and known among the international community. more..

Minister promises relief to Rajarata undergrads

July 31 (DN) The protest conducted by the students of Rajarata University was called off after an assurance given to the agitators by Higher Education Minister Prof. Wiswa Warnapala that the Ministry would take immediate action to address students' grievances. The Minister agreed to solve most of the demands of the students at the meeting held at the Higher Education Ministry with ten members of the students' union yesterday afternoon. more..