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Airport, seaport catalysts for development of South - Minister Jayasuriya

July 31 (DN) Nature has endowed Hambantota district with natural resources that remain untapped. The Government under the Mahinda Chinthana concept has adopted measures to tap these resources for the benefit of the people, said Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs Karu Jayasuriya. He was addressing a meeting that followed the opening of the Ruhunu Navodaya 2007 Entrepreneur Development Services Education and Fair at Hambantota Urban Council grounds. more..

‘Sick’ mail workers to meet Minister

July 31 (DM) Having staged a sick note campaign yesterday, postal workers now threaten to take trade union action if the government fails to address their concerns. Postal workers went on sick leave yesterday forcing activities of the Central Mail Exchange in Colombo to come to a standstill while some post offices were closed. Postal workers are to meet Post and Telecommunications Minister Rauff Hakeem on Thursday in an attempt to resolve the issue. more..

Yahoo Photos

July 31 (AP) Mahouts and others try to get an elephant out of a shop after the animal ran berserk and broke into a building in Colombo. The Elephant named Chooti Mahattaya, or Little Master, was taking part in a religious pageant and reacted after he became disturbed. more..

Fuel hike: To provide luxuries for jumbo cabinet says JVP

July 31 (DM) The fuel hike, which was imposed on Saturday night, had come under heavy criticism from the JVP, which described it as an offence committed as a result of a mental disease, which gets worse during the full moon. The party said the hike came despite an assurance given by the Cost of living Committee that no commodity would be increased in price within the month of July. more..

Sri Lanka names new cricket selection panel

July 31 (AFP) Former Sri Lanka fast bowler Asantha de Mel was re-appointed chief of the national cricket selection committee which was reshuffled by the sports minister on Tuesday. De Mel and Don Anurasiri were retained from the previous selection panel and will be joined by Mahes Goonathilake and Ranjith Madurasinghe in the new committee. Amal Silva and Shabir Asgerally were dropped from the panel. more..

Fewer child soldiers, many still brutally vulnerable

July 31 (Reuters) The end of brutal wars in West Africa and global efforts to halt recruitment have cut the number of child soldiers, but experts say vulnerable boys and girls are still forced into battle from Latin American to Asia. Armed with Kalashnikovs and machetes, drunken, drugged and traumatised children were at the heart of wars in the 1990s in Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo marked by atrocities committed by young killing machines. more..

Sri Lanka family prays for Saudi death row teen maid

July 31 (Reuters) Humble woodcutter Mohammed Sultan Nafeek's teenage daughter moved to Saudi Arabia to work as a housemaid to support her family after they were displaced by the 2004 tsunami. Now she is on death row, and all he can do is pray. Rizana, who was 17 when she started work in Saudi Arabia, was convicted of killing 4-month-old baby boy in her care just two weeks into her job. more..

Sri Lanka rupee ends tad weaker near lows, shares flat

July 31 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee ended a shade weaker on Tuesday near life lows, while shares closed flat in thin trade as foreign investors bought select shares and sold some blue chips, traders said. The rupee ended at 111.75/111.83 per dollar compared to Monday's close of 111.76/111.80. The rupee closed at 111.75/111.85 on July 23, which in turn equalled life lows hit at 111.78/111.82 previous week. more..

Army uncovers huge cache of Arms, including anti air missiles -Thoppigala

July 31 (MoD) Argus eyed Army soldiers continuing their quest for the terror weapons in the Thoppigala jungle terrain yesterday (July 30) uncovered four large stocks of weapons from Tihiliveddi, Aliya Ode, Meeyankalluwa and Motagala areas. The weapons included heavy mortar launchers, heavy machine guns, an anti air missile, claymore mine and large stocks of explosives and ammunitions. more..

Sri Lanka – ICRC Bulletin No. 15 / 2007

July 31 (ICRC) The past month was marked by two developments: the gradual loss of control by the LTTE of the Thoppigala area in the district of Batticaloa, and intensified fighting in the Madhu and Valitikulam areas west of Vavuniya. On 17 July, the checkpoint at Omanthai was shelled during the night and partially destroyed. When the Omanthai crossing point reopened the next morning, the ICRC was able once again to facilitate the movement of civilians and goods. more..

Sri Lanka's female Tamil Tigers

July 31 (AJ) The Tamil Tigers' female fighting force has developed a reputation for their focus and determination. Their all-female combat units are currently fighting on the frontline as the Sri Lankan military prepares for what it says could be its final offensive in the north of the country. Most of the girls are prepared to fight to the death to defend what they say is their rightful homeland in the north and east of Sri Lanka. more..

Ecumenical Mission Team to Visit Local Church Communities in Sri Lanka

July 31 (CT) War-torn Sri Lanka is to receive the first of a series of ecumenical ‘living letters’ teams which will visit Christian communities facing situations of violence in different regions of the world. The initiative is taking place in the run up to the 2011 International Ecumenical Peace Convocation, which is being organised by the World Council of Churches (WCC). The ecumenical team will be in Sri Lanka from 4 to 12 August. more..

Villagers flee fearing Tamil attacks

July 31 (AP) Hundreds of ethnic Sinhalese civilians fled three villages in northern Sri Lanka on Tuesday, claiming the government had failed to protect them from attacks by Tamil Tiger rebels, locals said. About 350 men, women and children fled the small villages in Vavuniya district and sought shelter at a school, village head G. Premasiri said. "There were many attacks on our villages and we repeatedly asked the government to strengthen the security. more..