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Four MPs' will cross over from UNP to Govt. - Minister Chandrasena

July 4 (LeN) Minister of Nation Building S. M Chandrasena revealed that four MP s' will be joining the government next week. He revealed this during a press gathering at the at the Ministry auditorium in Kolpitty. He further stated that these four MP s' have decided to join the government because the government has captured certain parts of the East from the LTTE and that they have vowed to carry on the government until April 2010. more..

Sri Lankan foreign minister arrives in India

July 4 (IANS) Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohita Bogollagama arrived here Tuesday on a two-day visit during which discussions will be held on ways to revive the faltering peace process in the island nation. Although it's a private visit, Bogollagama is likely to meet National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan and some senior diplomats in the external affairs ministry Wednesday, sources said. more..

LTTE dismisses moves for talks

July 4 (ML) There are no immediate plans to resume a dialogue with the government, the Tigers said yesterday. LTTE military spokesperson Irasiah Illanthirayan told The Morning Leader that it was premature to comment on the peace talks as there was no environment for talks. The international community is pressurising the government to come to the negotiating table, he added. more..

Stuck between a war and a hard peace

July 4 (ML) For President Percival Rajapakse there will be many issues to contend with as he enters the second half of what is set to become his annus horribilis. His ill conceived semi isolationist policies has estranged his government from previous world allies and relegated the country to a pariah status with the international community focusing on other points of conflict more strategic to their interests. more..

Growing concerns of the Ampara Muslims

July 4 (ML) The new flag for the Eastern Province, introduced by the government, displays three animals: a lion symbolising the Ampara District, an eagle for Trincomalee and a fish for Batticaloa. Batticaloa has long called itself the ‘land of the singing fish,’ but why an eagle was chosen for Trincomalee is unclear. The use of the Sinhala lion to represent the Muslim dominated Ampara District is terrifying: erasing the Muslim presence in the east, more..

JVP to call a general strike

July 4 (ML) JVP had decided to launch an all island general strike very soon. The strike action is being coordinated by the JVP affiliated National Trade Union Center (NTUC) and the date will be announced today (4). The NTUC decided to launch the one-day general strike after consulting trade union organizations irrespective of their political affiliations. more..

Dark days in paradise

July 4 (ML) Kamalajasi Ketheeswaran sits in a small, white, air-conditioned office in the port area of Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, cradling her 18-month-old daughter. Her other daughter, 7, sits beside her with four in-laws. Despite the family support she receives the seemingly stoic woman suddenly dissolves into tears. "We fell in love, got married, and now only I am here. Every day I long for his return and keep hoping that he will come back," she says. more..

Government donated land for “All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama”

July 4 (AT) Sri Lanka Government donated valuable land from Colombo 12, for “All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama” the Council of Muslim Theologians and the apex Islamic religious body in Sri Lanka. President Mahinda Rajapaksa handed over the document pertaining to the land to M.I.M.Rizvi, Chairman of the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama at Temple Trees. more..

TNA parliamentarians to visit Stockholm tomorrow

July 4 (AT) The Parliamentarian delegation of the Tamil National Alliance will l be meeting Mr. Klas Molin, Deputy Director General, Head of division of South Asia of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden on July 5th. R.Sampanthan MP is heading the TNA delegation to Europe, comprising parliamentarians Gajendrakumar Ponnampalam, Selvam Adaikkalanathan, Suresh Premachandran and Mavai Senathriajah, is currently in Oslo. They are leaving Norway today. more..

Mano Ganeshan says abductions are both political and economic

July 4 (AT) In an interview with the Asian Tribune Mano Ganeshan said, there are two types of abduction that are carried on in Sri Lanka, Political and Economical. Most of the abduction more than 90% is political. 10% of them are economical and what they do is they abduct wealthy Tamil and Muslim business men and are released after extortion money. A very large amount is being paid to them. more..

The East: show art of the Statecraft

July 4 (AT) The Eastern Province of Sri Lanka has been the center of attraction of many segments of Sri Lanka society during the past year or so. The main reason for this increased attention on this part of the country is the changing of hands of control in the region. The government is on the verge of establishing its writ in the province after around a decade or more. more..

TULF seeks Tamil Nadu help

July 4 (Hindu) Leader of the TULF V. Anandasangaree has sought cooperation of the leaders and the people of Tamil Nadu, irrespective of their political affiliations, to help “liberate” the Tamil people of the North and East from the subjugation of the LTTE and to find a reasonable solution to the ethnic problem. “Tamil Nadu can play a pivotal role in finding peace for the Tamils across the Palk Straits, by putting pressure on the LTTE to accept the Indian Model, more..

School cricket is our strength: Warnapura

July 4 (Hindu) Sri Lanka has a unique system for tapping talent. The schools play a big role in the process, and there are incentives for them from the board. “The value of producing international cricketers is more than that of winning inter-school trophies,” says Bandula Warnapura, Director, Cricket Operations, Sri Lanka Cricket. Sri Lanka’s first Test captain was in the city recently along with the country’s academy team. more..

Eerie silence of eighteen Muslim “Ministers” in government

July 4 (FI) The government, last Friday, jubilantly announced its decision to hold island-wide celebrations to mark the ‘liberation’ of the East from the clutches of the LTTE. Making the announcement, Minister Maithripala Sirisena said that terrorism was being flushed out and normalcy will soon be restored in the Eastern Province. However, normalcy appears to be light years away; for the East is sitting on a powder keg with a very delicate fuse. more..

Congressmen want US to do more to end Sri Lanka conflict

July 4 (AFP) About 50 US lawmakers have written to President George W. Bush asking him to step up American efforts to help resolve the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. "The United States has the opportunity to serve as a leader" in renewed international efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict, the lawmakers said in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by AFP. more..

Human Rights Commission hearing into disappearance of SEP member

July 4 (wsws) After repeated requests by the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka) and an international campaign for an urgent inquiry, the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (HRC) held its first hearing on June 14 into the disappearance of SEP member Nadarajah Wimaleswaran and his friend Sivanathan Mathivathanan. Three months have elapsed since the pair disappeared on March 22 while travelling back to Kayts Island where they both reside. more..

Sri Lanka's traitors and patriots and interest rate direction: fuss-budget

July 4 (LBO) A big question in everyone's mind these days is where interest rates are going, and whether rates will ease towards the end of the year with falling inflation as foreign bond buyers were originally led to believe. The country needs a rate at which the budget deficit can be bridged without printing money, if inflation is to be kept at bay and a balance of payments crisis avoided. more..

Bring the Sri Lankan Refugees in Tamilnadu - JVP

July 4 (LT) JVP members of parliament, Ramalingam Chandrasekar and Bimal Ratnayake yesterday requested the premier Ratnasiri Wikremanayake to launch a programme to bring back the Sri lankan refugees from camps in Tamilnadu. Mr. Wickremanayake responded that within 3days he will reply regarding the MP's request. This request was made when the prime minister discussed the problems of Sri Lankan refugees with the two JVP parliamentarians who toured in the Tamilnadu refugee camps to witness their difficulties. more..

We are waiting for the president to step on to the witness box - Lakshman Kiriella

July 4 (LT) According to the law of the country, a complainant who makes a complaint should step on the witness box of the court. UNP parliamentarian Lakshmant Kiriella said at a press briefing held in Colombo today that they are waiting until the president steps on the witness box. The MP said so commenting on the letter demand sent to "Lankadeepa" newspaper on behalf of the president in respect of a news story carried in the said newspaper which is said to have tarnished the good the name of the president. more..

Kilinochchi faces critical shortage of essentials – GA

July 4 (TN) “Transport facilities along the main land route to Vanni limited to only three days a week has created a serious crisis in Ki’linochchi and a more critical shortage of essential items is about to develop in the near future,” said N.Vethanayagam, Government Agent (GA) of Ki’linochchi, said Friday during a briefing to the media on the changes in the district after the collapse of the peace process. more..

'Govt has given constant considerations to preserve human rights'

July 4 (GDI) “Government is giving constant consideration to preserve the human rights situation in Sri Lanka,” Minister of Human Rights and Disaster Management, Mahinda Samarasinghe said. Minister Samarasinghe addressing a media briefing said that the Government is totally committed to safeguard human rights in Sri Lanka. more..

Troops closing in to the last Tiger stronghold of East

July 4 (GDI) Speaking to press persons today (04) at the Media Centre for National Security Military Spokesperson Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said troops are successfully marching forward consolidating their control in the cleared areas in Thoppigala – the single LTTE stronghold in the Eastern part of the island. This Morning Sri Lanka Air Force targeted four LTTE military points in the west of Thoppigala. more..

Media should not be politicized -President

July 4 (GDI) Emphasizing the need to avoid the prevailing political culture at most Government owned media institutions, President Rajapaksa stressed the need for a more vital and efficient role by the Government owned media. President Rajapaksa also reiterated the necessity of adapting in to a strong international media network to update the international community effectively with the real political situation of the country which has reached to a more sensible position than in the past. more..

Plan to re-invent CSE into profit - making entity

July 4 (GDI) The Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) is looking at possibilities to ‘demutualise’ the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and later on of listing the Exchange to make it a profit oriented entity, sources said. Under the demutualisation the CSE will be converting into a profit making company listed by shares with shareholders, from a non-profit mutual entity, SEC Director, External Relations and Market Development Malik Cader said. more..

Govt continues focus on Jaffna development

July 4 (GDI) The Government continues to focus its attention on delivering essential goods as well as development to the Jaffna Peninsula in the face of tremendous obstacles posed by the conflict, according to a Peace Secretariat team that recently visited the area. The team visited a total of 13 outlets in Kudathanai, Atchuweli and Jaffna and conducted distribution and price audits to ascertain the nature of the flow of goods and the stability of consumer prices in Jaffna. more..

Save the Children to serve LTTE?

July 4 (GDI) The largest single detection of life jackets brought to Sri Lanka by an International Non-Government Organization has been found at LTTE hands. The Navy sources said that this incident has once again posed a question mark of this INGO’s role in Sri Lanka as this is the second recovery of life jackets belonging to a charity organization from the LTTE. more..

43 young LTTE carders surrender

July 4 (GDI) 43 young Tiger carders who deserted the LTTE voluntarily, surrendered to the Army in Baticaloa. This young group was later handed over to their parents as in response to their request made to the security forces. The Government has directed them to rehabilitation programmes through their parental custody. This group of 43 was deployed in Thoppigala Jungle for confrontation with the security forces. more..

Govt. firm on implementing Private Medical Institutional Act

July 4 (GDI) Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva announced that the unanimously approved Private Medical Institutional Act will be implemented and pointed out that proposals from any party are welcome. He emphasized that at the final step the decision of implementing the act is up to the citizens of this country to decide. Private Medical Institutional Act was approved in Parliament by both the Government and the Opposition Members of Parliament. more..

Life jackets donated by INGO found in LTTE attack craft

July 4 (PISL) The SLN has initiated an investigation into the recent recovery of life jackets donated by international charity Save the Children (in Sri Lanka) from the LTTE. The government is likely to draw the charity’s attention to a clandestine link amidst growing evidence that the group has acquired a sizeable stock of life jackets. The recent capture of an LTTE attack craft about six nautical miles east of the LTTE stronghold at Thalaiady highlighted the possible link. more..

Banning LTTE will increase its Diaspora funding

July 4 (LNP) Constitutional Affairs Minister and Communist Party General Secretary D.E.W. Gunasekera said yesterday that the LTTE cannot be defeated politically although it is defeated militarily. Minister Gunasekera made this point at a ceremony held to mark the 64th anniversary of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka in Colombo yesterday. Mr. Gunasekera explained that there was an ethnic problem in the country and that there should be a solution to it. more..

Govt. using CID to intimidate us: JVP

July 4 (SAMN) The JVP Tuesday charged the government was using the CID to intimidate its members in a bid to silence the party from objecting to the government’s high cost in maintaining its jumbo-sized Cabinet of more than 100 ministers. JVP parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawansa told Parliament that party member and Deputy Chairman of Committees Ramalingam Chandrasekeram had been subjected to such harassment when the CID had investigated the use of his official vehicles. more..

Govt. under fire over cost of living

July 4 (SAMN) The issue of rising fuel prices impacting on the public was raised in parliament Tuesday with both, Chief Opposition Whip, Joseph Michael Perera and JVP Parliamentary Group Leader, Wimal Weerawansa drawing the government’s attention to the cost of living. Making a special statement in parliament, the Chief Opposition Whip said that Wednesday’s hike was the sixth fuel price revision since the election of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Supplementary estimates passed by House

July 4 (SAMN) Parliament Tuesday approved supplementary estimates amounting to Rs 48 million for the Ministry of Special Projects, headed by UNP crossover Mahinda Wijesekera, established in January this year. A sum of Rs 48.3 million was approved for the Ministry as supplementary expenditure, after being put to the vote by the House after the JVP called for a division on the matter. more..

Karuna denies child recruitment

July 4 (SAMN) The Karuna group Tuesday accused UNICEF of violating the agreement reached between the two parties on issues relating to child recruitment. Head of the TMVP Peace Secretariat K. Mahesh said the organisation had frequently released child soldiers within the TMVP. "We have been in touch with UNICEF and other humanitarian organisations on this issue and we have been releasing underaged cadres to their parents or guardians in the presence of these humanitarian organisations," Mahesh said. more..

Global warming will affect tea plantations

July 4 (DN) There is a potential risk in tea plantations getting severely affected with the anticipated climate change following global warming, Environmental Consultant, Dr. Janaka Rathnasiri told a seminar on Global Warming at the BMICH yesterday. Addressing on the ‘Vulnerability of tea plantations to climate change’ he said the majority of tea plantations in the most vulnerable regions are low and mid country which belong to smallholders with land extent less than one acre. more..

Police Commission asked to promote SSP

July 4 (DN) The Supreme Court yesterday directed the National Police Commission to consider the appointment of Senior Superintendent of Police Lancelot Perera to the post of Deputy Inspector General in terms of the law. The Bench comprising Supreme Court Justices Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, N.E. Dissanayake and Jagath Balapatabendi directed the NPC after considering a Fundamental Right application filed by Police Department’s Music Director Lancelot Perera. more..

UNP says govt. using EPF money to fund jumbo Cabinet

July 4 (DM) The UNP charged in parliament yesterday that the government had obtained Rs 37 billion from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), belonging to three million workers, just to maintain its jumbo cabinet. UNP MP for Kegalle district, Kabir Hashim, said that another overdraft worth Rs. 50 billion had been obtained from the Bank of Ceylon. He said the limit of this overdraft had risen only up to Rs 35 billion, even during the rule of former President Chandrika Kumaratunga. more..

UNP, JVP criticize granting loans to large scale entrepreneurs

July 4 (DM) The UNP and JVP criticized the government in Parliament yesterday for granting loans running into millions of rupees to large scale entrepreneurs through ‘Lankaputhra Bank’ despite it being meant for small and medium scale businessmen. The House took up the issue as an adjournment motion, proposed by the Kurunegala district UNP MP, Dayasiri Jayasekara against the government’s move to transfer funds of the SME Bank to the Lankaputhra Bank. more..

Bayliss reveals Sri Lanka plans

July 4 (BBC) Australian Trevor Bayliss takes over as coach of Sri Lanka in August after their series against Bangladesh. BBC Sport speaks to the former New South Wales player and coach about his plans for the job and his thoughts on his new team. Q. Congratulations on your appointment with Sri Lanka. Is becoming an international coach the culmination of a life's work? more..

SL rattle top order after declaration

July 4 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara's recorded his fifth double century in Tests as captain Mahela Jayawardene declared the innings with a massive lead of 389 runs. Bangladesh have a minimum of 13 overs to bat out the rest of the day and ensure they don't lose any overnight wickets going into the third day. more..

Sri Lanka interested in developing Lumbini

July 4 (NN) Sri Lanka has shown interest in supporting Nepal for the development of Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha, and make it an international travel destination. Before leaving for New Delhi on Tuesday, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitta Bogollagama told reporters in a press conference in Kathmandu that his government was interested in providing assistance to Nepal for the development of Lumbini. more..

Air force pounds rebel positions in Sri Lanka's volatile east; soldiers kill 7 rebels

July 4 (AP) Government warplanes pounded four separatist Tamil Tiger positions in the east of Sri Lanka on Wednesday, while troops thrust into rebel-held regions in the north and killed seven insurgents, the military said. The planes targeted four locations where the rebels gather for briefings in Thoppigala, a mountainous jungle-clad region in the east, military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe told reporters. more..

Overseas remittances not an unmixed blessing

July 4 (HT) Sri Lanka gets over $2 billion in the form of remittances from its citizens working overseas, mostly as unskilled and semi-skilled labour. The 1.5 million men and women, working mainly in the Middle East, are the second highest contributors to the country's foreign exchange kitty, after the garment exporters. more..

Norway in no Hurry to resume mediation

July 4 (IPS) While much store is being set by the prospect of Norway returning to its key role as mediator between the nationalist government of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and ethnic Tamil rebels, indications are that the Scandinavians are in no hurry. Norwegian embassy spokesman Erik Nurenberg told IPS on Tuesday that there were no immediate plans for a visit to the Tamil-dominated north and east of the island by special peace envoy Johann Hansen Bauer as reported. more..

Sri Lanka says Red Cross killers in rebel area

July 4 (Reuters) Sri Lankan police have identified suspects in the abduction and murder of two minority Tamil Red Cross volunteers, but they have fled into terrain controlled by Tamil Tiger rebels, the government said on Wednesday. The corpses of the two men were found a month ago dumped southeast of Colombo, two days after they were taken away by men who identified themselves as police at a train station near a high security zone in the capital. more..

Police arrest ex-air force officer, 5 security personnel for civilian abductions

July 4 (AP) Sri Lankan police have arrested a former air force officer, a serving airman and four police officers for their alleged involvement in civilian abductions, a government spokesman said Wednesday. The suspects were arrested last month after initial investigations suggested they were linked to several abduction and extortion cases, government security spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said. more..

Sri Lanka says no fresh bid to restart peace process

July 4 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government on Wednesday denied press reports that it has extended a fresh invitation to the Norwegian facilitators to make a new initiative to kick start the island country's faltering peace process. Keheliya Rambukwella, the minister of Foreign Employment and the government's defense spokesman said "there is no fresh invitation to Norway or a fresh initiative by them." more..

Sanath plans double jackpot

July 5 (MEN) SANATH Jayasuriya has his sights set on a Twenty20 double this year. First, he aims to put Lancashire in the quarter-finals of the Twenty20 Cup, then he aims to fire Sri Lanka to victory in the inaugural World Cup in South Africa in September. Having taken nine wickets in four games, the former Sri Lankan captain is Lancashire's leading wicket-taker in the shortest form of the game this season more..

Harper urged to locate Canadian Embassy branch in Jaffna

July 5 (TN) Citing difficulties faced by relatives of Tamil constituents of Pickering- Scarborough East in accessing Canadian Embassy located in Colombo, Mr. Dan McTeague, Canadian parliamentarian, in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Harper, urged him to consider locating an Canadian Embassy branch in Jaffna. more..

Fear for Safety / Death Threat: Sadaruwan Senadheera

July 5 (AI) SRI LANKA Sadaruwan Senadheera, (m) aged 45, Editor Sadaruwan Senadheera is the editor of Lanka Enews, an online news service which reports on human rights and corruption issues in Sri Lanka. Amnesty International is concerned for his safety as he has been receiving threatening telephone calls and emails since January 2007. The most recent death threat came after the publication of a story which criticised the government in June. more..