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Sri Lanka petroleum firm asks treasury to bear subsidy to power utility

July 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state-run oil firm Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has asked the treasury to pick up a six billion rupee subsidy tab for selling fuel to the Ceylon Electricity Board at a steep discount, officials said Wednesday. The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), currently buys fuel at 55 rupees a litre from Ceypetco, when the actual selling price should be around 70 rupees, more..

Sri Lanka forwarders want action on automated cargo clearance

July 5 (LBO) Lengthy delays in automating Sri Lanka's cargo clearing system were hurting the island's chances of becoming a trading hub and making trading inefficient, a top freight forwarder said. "The automation of Sri Lanka's cargo clearing system has not happened yet although it has been talked about for about five years," said Niral Kadawatharatchie, chairman of the Sri Lanka Freight Forwarders' Association. more..

It easy to give relief to 59 ministers more than to 20 million people -Jeyaraj

July 5 (LeN) Chief Government whip minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle says if parliamentarians from the opposition join the government they would be offered ministerial portfolios and strengthen the government. Answering a question raised by a journalist the minister stated this at a press conference held at the government information department today. more..

Basil & Judicial secretary meets CJ

July 5 (LeN) The highest positions in the both political and judicial arena are now wondering why President's senior advisor and brother Basil Rajapakse and Secretary to the ministry of judicial affairs Suhada Gamlath last evening met Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, after he delivered several controversial decisions. According to news available to LeN the two have held a discussion with the chief justice for over three hours last evening. more..

Govt expresses concern over the attack on Thinakkural journalist

July 5 (GDI) Government today expressed concern over the attack on the Thinakkural journalist, K.P. Mohan last week at the Colombo Fort security checkpoint by allegedly by some security force personnel even after producing his media identity card issued by the Department of Government Information (DGI). Minister of Media Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana, stated that the Government has instructed the relevant authorities to take steps against those who attacked the journalist. more..

'Government has the support of the International Community'

July 5 (GDI) “Government has the support of the International Community in its quest to defeat terrorism and restore peace in the island,” Minister of Highways and Road Development Jeyaraj Fernandofulle said. Minister Fernandofulle addressing the media today in Colombo rejected the claims of the opposition stating that the present Government does not have the support of the International Community. more..

Centre for National Security in Colombo

July 5 (GDI) Minister Rambukwella strongly denied the reports published by a section of the press that the Government has informed Norway that it is ready for peace talks and invited them to discuss the matter with the LTTE. “Even during a ceasefire, if the national security is threatened, we (Government) deserve the right to act appropriately to ensure the safety of the nation,” Minister Rambukwella pointed out. more..

Refugee ends life

July 5 (Hindu) A Sri Lankan refugee reportedly committed suicide on Monday night. Police said R. Mahalakshmi (34) of the Sri Lankan refugees’ camp at Subramaniyapuram under Munneerpallam police station limits allegedly consumed hair dye on July 1, as she was reportedly suffering from severe stomach pain. After being admitted to the Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital, she died on Monday night. Munneerpallam police have registered a case.

Peace process must address roots of conflict

July 5 (UPI) There are reports that the Sri Lankan government is contemplating new initiatives to revive the peace process. Taking a respite from war is likely to be politically popular with the electorate today. The country is reeling economically from the impact of the ongoing war. The increase in the defense budget has been phenomenal and is virtually double what it was last year. more..

Ramar Sethu, a world heritage centre?

July 5 (Rediff) The Rs 2,427.40-crore Sethusamudram canal project aims to create a navigable channel of 152.2 km from the Gulf of Mannar to the Bay of Bengal through the Palk Bay and Palk Strait. The project that was inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the July 2, 2005, has drawn flak from many quarters from the day the idea was mooted. One of the debates going on is whether the chain of islets called Ramar Sethu, also known as Adam's Bridge, linking India with Sri Lanka should be destroyed while dredging. more..

Sangakkara draws inspiration from Vaas

July 5 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara disclosed that he drew a lot of inspiration watching Chaminda Vaas score his maiden Test hundred at the SSC when he compiled the fifth Test double century of his career against Bangladesh at the P. Saravanamuttu Stadium. "It was not one of my most fluent innings. I had to work really hard for my runs. I didn't have a lot of rhythm when I started so I had to occupy the crease and I tried to bat out ball by ball. I knew if I batted three sessions that more often than not I will get a hundred," more..

Expect changes in Sri Lanka Cricket, says minister

July 5 (AFP) The interim committee running Sri Lankan cricket is likely to see a shake-up, the country's sports minister said on Wednesday. "We are having a look at the present composition of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) interim committee", sports minister Gamini Lokuge told. The minister said it was too early to say if the present committee, comprising five persons, will be reduced or if any change would be made at the top. more..

We were not told about lawyers, say Nauru detainees

July 5 (BT) THE 82 Sri Lankan asylum seekers detained on Nauru for more than three months are frustrated and isolated, and feel deceived by the Australian Government. More than 50 of them were interviewed by immigration officials without a lawyer, a refugee advocate has said. They did not know they had the right to see a lawyer and say the Government did not inform them, said Wicki Wickiramasingham, the chairman of Justice and Freedom for Ceylon Tamils. more..

Sri Lanka gem industry wants new deposit survey

July 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka's gem and jewellery industry is pressing for a detailed, scientific survey of the island's gem deposits since only a fraction of the resources is believed to have been tapped so far. "We have not tapped any of our primary deposits, only the secondary deposits," said Chanaka Ellawala, chairman of the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association, told LBO in an interview. more..

UNICEF Claim Unsubstantiated- Karuna

July 5 (ISL) UNICEF claim that breakaway faction of the Tamil Tigers allied to the government is recruiting children is very misleading and we state that the alleged Karuna faction who is the simple term used to call the TMVP is not involved in any systematic campaign of recruiting children to strengthen its ranks, secretary of the TMVP Mrs. S. Padminee told the Independentsl with an exclusive interview. more..

Mahendra Amerasuriya to be elected President Lions international

July 5 (AT) Mahendra Amarasuriya, scion of one of Sri Lanka’s leading philanthropists the late Thomas Amarasuriya will be elected tomorrow (July 6), as the international President, for next year, to one of the world’s largest service clubs, Lions International at the 90th annual session currently meeting at the McCormick Convention Center in Chicago Illinois. more..

Karuna group attacks EPDP and Army attacks Karuna group

July 5 (AT) Karuna Group, the breakaway group from the Tigers, has launched an anti-Yarlpani (anti-Jaffna) campaign in the east and attacked the Jaffna-based EPDP led by Douglas Devananada, a Minister in the Cabinet of President Rajapakse. Yesterday around 5 p.m. Karuna cadres marched into EPP office located at Kommaathu'rai, Chengkaladi in Batticaloa, in the Government-controlled area, and hurled bombs and started shooting wildly at the EPDP members. more..

Summary of the Cabinet decisions

July 5 (GDI) The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa to wind up the PERC, and as a preliminary step in this direction to repeal the Public Enterprise Reforms Commission Act No.01 of 1996. The Public Enterprise Reforms Commission (PERC) was established under the above Act to advise and assist the government in public enterprise reforms with objectives of more..

Media ethics should come within media to ensure individual privacy

July 5 (GDI) Minister of Mass Media and Information Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said the media should develop a code of media ethics to ensure that individual rights are not violated an persons are not unduly defamed or slandered. He urged the media to initiate a debate on the issue and to come to an accepted conclusions. He said that the government believes in democratic practices and would never dictates media. more..

Minister Amunugama briefs the IMF on Sri Lankan economic capabilities

July 5 (GDI) Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Dr. Sarath Amunugama yesterday had the opportunity of discussing Sri Lanka’s economic potential with a delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). During the discussion, Minister Amunugama briefed the visiting delegation on new developments relating to the Sri Lanka economy. more..

LTTE not representing Tamil people says Devanada

July 5 (GDI) As being a highly respected representative of the Tamil community in the political arena Minister Douglas Devananda said that LTTE is not representing the civil Tamil society which they always claim to be. He further added that his answer to the question “Why the LTTE is committing its Terror atrocities?” has been the same always and mentioned that Prabhakaran and his companions are suffering with mental disorder and have no means of existing other than engaged in terrorism. more..

'Judicature restructure; an opportunity to implement an independent judicial network'

July 5 (GDI) Government will be setting up judicature restructure with the aim of implementing an independent judicial network which will be safeguarding the democracy to maximum. Minister of Mass Media and Information Anura Priyadarshana Yapa presenting the Judicature (Amendment) Bill to the parliament yesterday (04) highlighted that the Independence of the Judiciary has been preserved in the country and the legislature, the executive and the judiciary should work without conflict with one another. more..

Indian Assistance to improve public transportation

July 5 (GDI) Following the negotiations between Sri Lanka and the Indian authorities, the Indian Government has agreed to step up the funds provided under the Indian credit line for transport from US$ 100 million to $ 150 million. According to the Minister of Transport, Dullas Alahapperuma, the additional US$ 50 million will be used to purchase 15 power sets manufactured in India for the country’s train service. more..

Central bankers meet in Sri Lanka on regional payments system

July 5 (LBO) Senior officials from South Asian central and commercial banks will meet in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo Friday to discuss the setting up of a regional payment system, the country's central bank said. Officials of regional central banks as well as the World Bank and Bank for International Settlements are due to make presentations at the forum, hosted by Sri Lanka's central bank. more..

Sri Lanka to delay opening of construction related services to India

July 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka's construction industry has successfully lobbied the government to defer the liberalisation of construction and related services under a free trade deal with India, an official said. The industry is not wholly against the idea of liberalising services but wants to protect local players until they are ready to compete in a liberalised environment, more..

Sri Lanka rupee at new life low on importer dollar demand

July 5 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee fell to a new life closing low on Thursday amid importer demand for dollars to pay trade bills and as banks covered short dollar positions, dealers said, the latest in a string of new lows in recent months. The rupee ended at a new life closing low of 111.53/111.60 per dollar, surpassing the previous low of 111.46/111.53 hit on June 27. Some analysts expect the rupee to weaken to around 118-120 per dollar by the end of the year. more..

Govt. to recover Rs. 5 mn from each absconding medical specialist

July 5 (LNP) The government will enact legislation to recover around Rs.5 million from each medical specialist and about 250 to 300 Sri Lankan doctors who had gone abroad to follow post-graduate studies and had not returned to the island within two years of completing their studies and examinations, Healthcare Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said, after conferring Mahapola scholarships to 332 students from the Badulla district to universities at the Badulla Library Auditorium recently. more..

SLMM in crucial talks with LTTE

July 5 (LNP) The SLMM and the LTTE were holding crucial discussions in Kilinochchi yesterday and today even as there seemed to be no let up in the escalating violence between Government troops and the rebels in the North and East. SLMM head Lars Johan Solvberg and spokesman Thorfinur Omarsson were scheduled to hold discussions with LTTE peace secretariat head S. Pulithevan and several other top rebel officials yesterday on various aspects relating to the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) and its monitoring. more..

Killed by poison injection

July 5 (LNP) A 59-year-old man of Hewagama in Kaduwela was killed by two persons who had injected poison into his stomach, police said. The deceased has been identified as D. Gunasena. Nawagamuwa Police arrested a suspect and was in search of the other. According to the Nawagamuwa Police, Gunasena was fast asleep around 4.00 a.m. on Wednesday when two intruders had gained entry into his room and injected poison into his stomach. more..

Warrant on film star

July 5 (LNP) A warrant was issued on popular film star and film director Ranjan Ramanayake for failure to attend courts. The Teldeniya Magistrate Saliya Perera yesterday issued a warrant on Mr. Ramanayake to appear in courts following a complaint that he had not settled a bill of Rs. 752,000 due to a hotel in the area. Along with Mr. Ramanayake, another film director Rohan Pinnaduwa had been noticed to appear in courts. more..

JVP invites Mangala to join front

July 5 (SAMN) The JVP Wednesday requested the SLFP Mahajana Wing to join a new political front led by the JVP and other progressive sections. The request was made by JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe, General Secretary Tilvin Silva and Parliamentarians Wimal Weerawansa and Anura Kumara Dissanayake to Mr. Mangala Samaraweera and Mr. Sripathi Sooriyarachchi at a meeting between the JVP and SLFP (M) at the JVP headquarters in Pelawatta Wednesday. more..

'Freedom of worship will be protected'

July 5 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa asserted that his Government integrated all the scattered religious Affairs ministries into one, in order to protect the freedom of worship of all citizens in the country. The President made this assertion when he presided at a ceremony at Temple Trees last Tuesday, to hand over the copy of the Deed of a 9 perch block of land to M. I. M. Rizwi, the Chairman of the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama Institute (the Council of Muslim Theologians), for the construction of their Head Office, more..

Vasu challenges secret deal with US

July 5 (SAMN) The Democratic Left Front Secretary and Presidential advisor Vasudeva Nanayakara Wednesday filed a fundamental rights violation petition in the Supreme Court challenging the “Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement” (ACSA) signed between Sri Lanka and the US. Mr. Nanayakara charged this agreement conferred undue and unjust benefits to the United States and caused loss and harm to the people of Sri Lanka. more..

Govt seeks to establish debt institute

July 5 (SAMN) The National Economic Council recommended for the establishment of a public debt management institute during the Economic Council meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday. The Council members that studied the proposals on “the methodologies of public debt Management in respect of 2007 and there after” forwarded to the National Economic council by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka submitted their reports to the Council yesterday. more..

Media ID sufficient for coverages

July 5 (DN) The Government Information Department Media Accreditation card for journalists is adequate for any media coverage at any place but when entering into a High Security Zone it is advisable to take the National Identity card in addition to the Media Accreditation card, non Cabinet Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. Explaining the existing situation, he said in 1994 as MPs they had to carry their NICs with them and show it when entering certain institutions under the then security situation. more..

Two decades later, LTTE suicide bombers live on

July 5 (IANS) Twenty years after a young man drove a truck packed with explosives into a military camp on this day, Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers remain passionately wedded to the cult of suicide bombings. It all began July 5, 1987 when a guerrilla, known as 'Captain Miller', was videoed smiling at the wheels of a truck full of explosives that later smashed into a building at Nelliady in Jaffna, killing scores of soldiers. The suicide bomber also perished. more..

No State probe on JVP MP, says Jeyaraj

July 5 (DN) The Government yesterday denied JVP allegations that there was a State probe on JVP MP Ramalingam Chandrasekaran and that investigators have inquired from a Rent-a-Car agency in Kottawa about the two vehicles he has been provided for official use. Highways Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle referring to a statement by JVP MP Wimal Weerawansa in Parliament on Tuesday, which appeared in yesterday’s newspapers said: “This is completely an incorrect statement. The Government has not directed the CID for such a probe.” more..

SL refugees will be brought back home from Tamil Nadu, says PM

July 5 (DM) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake has assured that immediate steps will be taken to grant citizenship to about 28,000 people who fled the country following the 1983 disturbances and are now living in refugee camps in Tamil Nadu, India. The PM also said the government will take steps to bring back the 80,000 refugees who recently fled to Tamil Nadu and resettle them here. more..

Mayor confidence of defeating motion against him

July 5 (DM) UPFA Member of Colombo Municipal Council Milton Liyanage said yesterday that the no-confidence against Mayor Mohammed Uvais Imitiaz was brought to overcome a conspiracy aimed at diminishing the popularity of the SLFP. Mr. Liyanage said the Mayor is also a part of the conspiracy. He claimed that Mayor Emitiaz and the Independent Group 3 are not SLFPers although they obtained the party membership. more..

JVP rejects Mangala’s proposal

July 5 (LT) The JVP Has rejected the proposal by SLFP – Mahajana wing to form a political front with the JVP and the UNP. The proposal was forwarded at the discussions held today between the JVP and SLFP –Mahajana wing. Mr. Mangala Samaraweera, who headed the SLFP – Mahajana wing had said that the work the JVP could do in the present situation was very important. However, the leaders of the JVP have rejected the proposal and had said that their party was not prepared to have any alliance with the UNP. more..

Rs.5400 cut from a minister’s expenditure of Rs.13,000,000

July 5 (LT) The cabinet that met yesterday decided to cut 10% from the salaries of ministers. As such from the Rs.54285.00 salary of a minister Rs.5428.50 would be deducted. The cabinet also decided to implement this cut from this month itself. The government says the decision was taken as a solution for the monetary crisis it is facing. Earlier the proposal was forwarded by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake and was to be presented to government Parliamentarians’ meeting for approval. more..

Sri Lanka bludgeon Bangladesh again

July 5 (CI) A slew of wickets after tea undid all the hard work put in by Bangladesh earlier in the day as Sri Lanka won by an innings and 90 runs at the P Saravanamuttu Stadium to seal the series 2-0 with one Test to play. The day witnessed a spirited fightback by Bangladesh, led by captain Mohammad Ashraful's unbeaten 128 and Mushfiqur Rahim's 80 but as has been the bane with Bangladesh, the momentum slipped and they handed the home side another comprehensive win. more..

Family weeps for youngster in Saudi

July 5 (BBC) The sun sets in a small house in the town Muttur, Sri Lanka. A mother sits with three children around her, all sharing a similar dazed look. Farina Nasik, mother of the children is mourning the fate of her eldest child, Rizana Nasik. Rizana Nasik, a nineteen year old Sri Lankan house maid, was last week convicted of strangling a four month old infant in Saudi Arabia. She was then sentenced a death penalty of beheading according to the Saudi Arabian High Court. more..

'Indian army didn't want to take Toppigala'

July 5 (HT) The Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF), which battled the LTTE in North-East from July 1987 to March 1990, did conduct operations in the Thoppigala jungles, but made no attempt to occupy the area because it had no strategic significance, a former area commander, Maj Gen Ashok Mehta told Hindustan Times. Gen Mehta's remarks are significant in the context of a claim by the Sri Lankan Defence spokesman, Keheliya Rambukwella, that the IPKF could not occupy Thoppigala even though it had deployed 20,000 troops. more..

Sri Lanka's Tamil rebels commemorate suicide bombers

July 5 (AFP) Sri Lanka was on high alert Thursday as Tamil Tiger rebels commemorated the 322 male and female suicide bombers who have blown themselves up for the guerrilla cause over the last two decades. Security forces set up snap roadblocks and checkpoints in the capital, Colombo, and prevented heavy vehicles from passing key government buildings amid fears the rebels could try to mark "Black Tiger" day with a bombing. more..

All of Sri Lanka must be Home to all of her people

July 6 (FI) The recent fiasco of trying to evict Tamil people from the city of Colombo, saw them being transported by the SLFP government to the North-East of the Country. In different circumstances, in 1983, when Tamil people were being killed and their houses burnt in Southern cities by Sinhala mobs, the UNP government, while encouraging the rampaging mobs, also sent Tamil people living in the South to the North-East. more..

Negotiate final settlement on basis of Oslo agreement

July 6 (FI) The National Anti-War Front is appalled by the deteriorating security conditions and the culture of impunity and violence which has gripped the country. The chronic escalation of expenditure to feed the war is now taking its toll on the poor, the pensioners and fixed income wage earners, financial burdens are near unbearable for ordinary people. War expenditure has increased dramatically to Rs. 130 billion, doubles last year’s commitment, more..

Sri Lanka rebels fete 20 years of suicide bombers

July 6 (Reuters) Draping garlands over photographs of dead comrades to the sound of rebel anthems, Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers on Thursday marked the 20th anniversary of the first attack by their elite Black Tiger suicide wing. Hoisting flags emblazoned with roaring golden Tigers and crossed rifles, insurgents and residents in the rebels' northern stronghold of Kilinochchi remembered the 322 Black Tigers who have blown themselves up in suicide attacks since 1987. more..

One warm-up each for India and Sri Lanka in Australia

July 6 (CI) Cricket Australia has confirmed that Sri Lanka and India will each have only one warm-up match in Australia before being thrust into the Test series on their 2007-08 tours. The unusual summer scheduling has also meant the traditional Prime Minister's XI fixture has been pushed back to late January in the lead-up to the one-day tri-series. Sri Lanka take on Queensland at Brisbane's Allan Border Field in a three-day clash starting on November 2. more..

Government rejects the Sunday Times report on Justice Bhagwati and IIGEP

July 6 (GDI) The attention of the Presidential Secretariat has been drawn to the prominent news item on page 01 in The Sunday Times of July 01, 2007 headlined “President urges Bhagwati to continue; clarifies AG’s remarks”. The Sunday Times report is wholly incorrect in its claim that in a letter from the President’s Office dated June 29, 2007 the President had requested Justice P. N. Bhagwati, former Chief Justice of India, to continue in his position as Chairman of the IIGEP more..