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Malaysia, 2nd most popular holiday destination for Sri Lankans

July 7 (Bernama) Malaysia was the second most popular holiday destination for holiday-makers from Sri Lanka after Thailand, due mainly to value for money deals and regular flight frequencies. China came in third followed by Singapore. This was evident from holiday packages bought by Sri Lankans and Indians from SriLankan Holidays, the leisure arm of national carrier SriLankan Airlines. more..

Sri Lankan teenager faces beheading within days

July 7 (AI) A Sri Lankan teenager in Saudi Arabia faces beheading within days after being convicted of murder, despite having had no legal representation at her trial and reportedly being only 17 at the time of the alleged crime. Rizana Nafeek, a domestic worker, was sentenced to death on 16 June for the alleged murder of an infant in her care. She was arrested in May 2005, had no access to lawyers either during interrogation or at her trial and more..

Data on past disasters to help forecast cyclical trends

July 7 (IRIN) Buffeted by recurring floods, droughts and epidemics, Sri Lanka has begun tracking the social and economic impact of disasters over three decades in a bid to reduce the effects of future calamities. The 2004 tsunami catastrophe was the island's most devastating, with more than 39,000 lives lost, but smaller disasters over the years have plagued the Indian Ocean island, causing significant deaths and heavy losses in agriculture and infrastructure. more..

Minister's brother CID probe impartiality questioned

July 7 (TN) Investigation by Criminal Investigation Department (CID) into alleged involvement of Mr. Nisantha Gajatheera, the brother of Minister Chandrasiri Gajatheeera, in recent abductions will not be conducted in a transparent and impartial manner, said United National Party (UNP) Member of parliament from Kandy District Laxman Seneviratne, speaking at the emergency debate in parliament on Thursday, parliamentary sources said. more..

Police were slow to act after savage beating

July 7 (AI) Police have apologised to a man savagely attacked while working at a private party for the time it has taken to investigate the assault. Sanjeev Subramaniam, 40, accused police of ignoring the attack in Kingswood, which left him with permanent scars and almost blind. He was glassed in the face at a luxury house in Sandy Lane after he intervened when a group of men beat up a man who complained about racist jokes being made. more..

IMF says Sri Lanka is economically strong

July 7 (GDI) International Monetary Fund (IMF) expressed satisfaction over the present economic situation in Sri Lanka. These observations were made at a meeting, the representatives of IMF, had with the President Mahinda Rajapaksa today at the Temple Trees. Monetary Reformative activities and multi purpose economic policies, adopted by the Government and the mutual relation prevailing between the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank were also commenced by them. more..

'Govt will hold the election in the East soon'

July 7 (GDI) “The Government will be taking steps to hold the local government elections in east as soon as possible under the directives of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa,” stated the Senior Vice Chairman of the SLFP, Nimal Siripala de Silva. Addressing a press briefing today (06), Minister de Silva stated that the Government will be facilitating the citizens of East to elect peoples’ representatives in accordance with their choices through these elections. more..

Sri Lankan president vows to help British fight against terrorism

July 7 (DPA) Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa has written to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown expressing solidarity and vowing to fight terrorism, reports said Friday. 'I write to express my solidarity with you, your government and the people of Britain at this critical time when your country faces an unprecedented threat of terrorism,' President Rajapaksa said in his message. more..

The Ongoing Struggle for Democracy in Sri Lanka

July 7 (FI) The eviction of hundreds of Tamils from Colombo would have been a catastrophe, threatening to push the country into the infamous category of nations which practice ethnic cleansing, internationally defined as a crime against humanity. Fortunately, the outcry against the move by citizens of all communities, as well as international condemnation and the Supreme Court ruling ordering the evictions to stop, averted this disaster. more..

Two security personnel of President and PM among arrested Extortions

July 7 (LeN) Among the people who were arrested in connection with abductions and extortions there are two personnel attached to the security divisions of the President and the prime Minister. The President's Security Personnel taken into custody by the CID is a Sub Inspector of Police. While the environment was being prepared to take him into custody, abruptly the sub inspector was transferred to Bambalapitiya police Station. more..

ICJ issues 2 nd statement regarding investigation about Muttur massacre

July 7 (LeN) The ICJ has issued two reports of Michael Birnbaum, QC, its observer to the inquest and investigation into the killing of 17 Action Contre la Faim (ACF) aid workers in Muttur in August 2006: the first in April 2007, with an "Addendum" issued in June 2007. The ICJ welcomes the proposal of the Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights, made on 29 June, more..

Sangakkara moves to No.3 in ICC ratings

July 7 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka's vice-captain, has shot up to No.3 in the LG ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen. Sangakkara, who recently cracked an unbeaten 200 in his latest outing against Bangladesh, has only Pakistan's Mohammad Yousuf and Australia's Ricky Ponting ahead of him in the list. Sangakkara can, however, claim to be ahead of Yousuf and Ponting in at least one respect: this was his fifth Test double hundred, eclipsing the four each scored by the two players in front of him in the table. more..

Sri Lanka TV industry hit by penal tax

July 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka's television industry aimed at English speakers have sought relief after a penal tax brought by Sinhala teledrama artistes threatened to put them out of business, officials said. Media reports said last week that several television stations including the mass-market state-owned Rupavahini, ITN as well as privately owned Sirasa and Art TV had delayed the payment of the penalty after advertising revenues fell. more..

I’m proud to be a Thamilian

July 7 (TW) I am proud to be a Thamilian especially when I become aware of my culture that I carry as expressed in rich literature in the language I speak that is spoken by over 60 million people all over the world. This is not a jingoistic statement but an expression of felt experience. I love literatures of the world including Sinhala and Thamil literatures, but I am not thoroughly immersed in the earlier literatures in my language, except more..

Karuna engaged in a new power struggle to grab the east from EPDP

July 7 (AT) Karuna Group has formally announced the ban of Eelam People Democratic Party (EPDP) led by Minister Douglas Devananda through pamphlets distributed widely in the Batticoloa in the eastern province. This group has also warned of severe consequence for The pamphlets are issued in the name of the “Force of the Rising Sun”. The following is a translation of the pamphlet: more..

US Administration and Congress get Half Truths about Sri Lanka

July 7 (AT) “Washington is a difficult terrain to operate in. Your message has to be clear and crisp and precise to break through. You have to show creativity. You have to know your audience. You have to tailor your message to this audience. You have to have a multi-prong strategy that includes hard-core issues and soft issues,” was what Tshepo Mazibuko, public diplomacy counselor at the South African Embassy told Washington Diplomat carried in its April 2007 issue. more..

CCC organizes discussion on New Companies Act

July 7 (AT) Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) organized a follow-up discussion to their earlier Seminar on the New Companies Act that came into operation recently with Dr Harsha Cabral, PC, Member, Advisory Commission on Comany Law; Sujeewa Mudalige, Partner, Pricewaterhouse Coopers; Naomal Goonewardena, Senior Partner, Nithiya Partners; Aritha Wickramanayake Precedent Partner, Nithiya Partners and Dr Wickrama Weerasooriya, Insurance Ombudsman as panalists. more..

Plantation Ministry launches Educational programme on Tea industry

July 7 (GDI) An educational programme based on the tea cultivation will be launched by the Ministry of Plantation Industries with the aim of teaching children of Tea Smallholders about tea cultivation. Accordingly, the programme will be implemented in two stages for the Ordinary Level and Advanced Level students. The programme includes theory and practical lessons starting from tea cultivation to production and more..

CID tracks extortionists in Kandy

July 7 (GDI) A gang of extortionists who have been allegedly involved in abduction and extortion rackets in Kandy have been arrested by the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) yesterday. It is reported that a special CID investigation team had uncovered this massive extortion racket. According to the CID DIG D.W. Prathapasingha, they have arrested 12 suspects involved in collecting Rs.22.5 million from a Muslim Travel Agency owner in Kandy. more..

New online database to track disasters

July 7 (GDI) Government has taken steps to establish an online database of disasters that have affected Sri Lanka since 1974 to forecast cyclical occurrences and develop prevention strategies as well as improve post-disaster relief and response. This database is being is being compiled by the government's Disaster Management Centre (DMC). more..

'Karuna will be disarmed after the civil administration restored in East'

July 7 (LeN) The Minister of Health and Nutrition Nimal Siripala de Silva says that all the armed groups roaming in the Eastern Province will be disarmed after the civil administration is restored in the Eastern Province. The Minister said so addressing a special media briefing of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo. more..

JVP MP reveals how Rs. 8.9 million worth Mavilaru compensation devoured

July 7 (LeN) JVP parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayaka says that the government is trying to undermine the misappropriation of compensation funds of the farmers whose crops were damaged due to the closure of the Mavilaru sluice gate. He says that the government should investigate urgently the incident, since there are serious doubts. The MP made this request addressing a special press conference at the parliament today. more..

SLFP to campaign against UNP’s baseless allegations

July 7 (ITN) The Sri Lanka Freedom Party unveils a programme to apprise the people of the baseless and unfounded allegations made by the UNP and certain media to embarrass the government. Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said the programme will commence on the 21st of this month from Nawalapitiya. Addressing the media at the SLFI in Colombo today, the Minister said they will organise public rallies at the regional level to counter the false propaganda carried out by the UNP. more..

Govt. to seek SC advice on Special Provisions Bill

July 7 (PISL) The Government will seek the advice of the Supreme Court on an urgent Special Provisions Bill it proposes to introduce in Parliament to annul the nominations called last year for elections in the Eastern Province. It also intends to advance the date for local government elections in the province, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva announced at a press conference yesterday. more..

Sri Lanka can have low inflation only with fiscal discipline: minister

July 7 (LBO) The state was not in a position to control prices of imported goods and price levels can only be stabilized by stopping money printing and limiting government expenses, Sri Lanka's consumer affairs minister said. Consumer affairs minister Bandula Gunewardene said tight monetary policy by the central bank had already brought inflation down from 20.5 percent to 13.0 percent. more..

Govt. intervenes to save Lankan girl

July 7 (LNP) The Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau and the Foreign Affairs Ministry have come forward to assist the young Sri Lankan girl who is on death row in Saudi Arabia, Foreign Ministry sources told the Daily Mirror yesterday. A meeting was held yesterday between Foreign Employment Promotion Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, Foreign Ministry officials and other relevant parties to discuss the plight of the girl and the assistance that could be offered. more..

Civil administration soon for East

July 7 (LNP) Civil administration will be speedily established in the East and the citizens franchise rights will be restored, SLFP Senior Deputy President Nimal Siripala de Silva told a media conference yesterday. `The Government will not allow the LTTE to rob the Eastern residents` rights,` Minister De Silva stressed. Once civil administration is established no groups other than the Armed Forces and Police will be able to remain armed, he added. more..

Thoppigala and military agony aunts

July 7 (LNP) Sri Lanka`s conflict is doom to many but boon to some. It keeps many a retired general turned armchair defence analyst going in twilight years. Every time a shell drops in this country, a former military big gun fires a comment from the other side of the Palk Strait and that travels several times around the globe on the Net before the next shell falls. At present we have them commenting on Thoppigala. One of the retired Indian military bigwigs, Ashok Mehta, has claimed Thoppigala is of no strategic importance. more..

Scientific survey must for gem deposits

July 7 (F2F) Sri Lanka that has 70 of the 200 gem minerals, and the industry is now pressing for detailed scientific survey of the Islands gem deposits. According to Chanaka Ellawala Chairman of the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewelry Association, only secondary deposits have been tapped and not primary deposits. Sri Lanka is well known for its rich gem deposits and around 70 percent of the Island mass is believed to have hidden treasure. more..

JVP fires at Mihin Lanka fuel bills

July 7 (SAMN) The JVP Friday said the government should take immediate steps to recover outstanding fuel bills running up to millions of rupees from Mihin Lanka, instead of burdening the people further. JVP parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayke told parliament that ‘Mihin Lanka’ had obtained fuel amounting to Rs. 50 million on credit from the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation against a bank guarantee of Rs.20 million. more..

No Cabinet posts for President, PM?

July 7 (SAMN) The UNP proposed in Parliament Friday that the President and Prime Minister should be prevented from holding Cabinet portfolios so that they could effectively monitor and facilitate the work of others. While bringing a private members’ motion, UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said their leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had assured not to keep any portfolio under his purview if he was re-elected as the Prime Minister or President in the future. more..

Buddhangala monastery a sacred area

July 7 (SAMN) The Buddhangala forest monastery of the Ampara District was declared a sacred area last week. Urban Development and Sacred Areas Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardena officially declared the sacred area last week at a ceremony at the monastery. The monastery’s chief monk Ven. Dhammananda Nayaka Thera, Senasadhikari Ven. Dighawaapiye Susima Thera and Archaeological expert and authority Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thera were present. more..

Bus fare increase 50% not 18%: JVP

July 7 (SAMN) The JVP Friday charged in Parliament that the government had actually increased bus fares by 50 percent, although it claimed that the maximum level of the increase was 18 percent. JVP MP Vijitha Herath who moved an adjournment motion in the House yesterday said the increase of charges from Colombo to Negombo route was a clear example of this as the fare had gone up to Rs. 34 from Rs 22. more..

‘UNP supporters damaged Premadasa statue’

July 7 (DN) The suspects arrested by police for damaging late President Ranasingha Premadasa statue at Dharmapala Mawatha, Kurunegala were supporters of United National Party (UNP) strongman, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Minister Jayarathna Herath told the media at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, yesterday. He said UNP supporters Mohamed Nishan and Alakoladeniye Suranga were arrested in this regard. more..

Handicraft exhibition by National Crafts Council, a success

July 7 (DN) A handicrafts exhibition and sale organised by the National Crafts Council (NCC) under its marketing development programme to promote markets for handicraftsmen and improve their lifestyles proved a success. A NCC communique said the four day exhibition and sale opened by Southern Province Governor Kumari Balasooriya on the invitation of Rural Industries and Self-Employment Promotion Minister S.B. Nawinna drew crowds on all days. more..

Jeyaraj wants CID chief summoned to Parliament

July 7 (DM) Chief Government whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle yesterday urged Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara to summon the CID Director to Parliament to find out why a proper investigation had not been conducted on the threat received by UNP MP John Amaratunga. He said there was a conspiracy to discredit the government by imposing threats on opposition MPs. “It is essential to find out who is behind this conspiracy,” he said. more..

Hakeem wants ethnic mix in police force

July 7 (DM) Posts and Telecommunications Minister Rauff Hakeem said that Defence Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had agreed for the establishment of ‘community policing’ throughout the country. Speaking at a stamp unveiling ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Ceylon Baithul Mal Fund on Wednesday he said that he discussed measures bringing about an ethnic mix into the police force with the Defence Secretary. more..

Madhu ‘peace zone’ draws pilgrims

July 7 (AN) Around 3,000 people prayed for peace in Sri Lanka on the occasion of the annual feast of Our Lady of Madhu, the most famous shrine of Marian devotion in the country. Celebrations took place on 2 July and unfolded peacefully, however it is hoped that more people will attend for the Assumption on 15 August. The government and the rebels recently reached an agreement on the setting up of a “peace zone” around the shrine during the main Marian feasts that fall around the beginning of July and half-way through the following month. more..

Sri Lanka name Twenty20 squad

July 7 (AFP) Sri Lanka on Saturday named a 30-man preliminary squad for the inaugural Twenty20 world championships in South Africa in September. Sri Lankan squad: Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Dilruwan Perera, Upul Tharanga, Sanath Jayasuriya, Avishka Gunawardene, Mahela Udawatte, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chamara Kapugedera, Michael Vandort, Jehan Mubarak, Thilina Kandamby, Chamara Silva, Farveez Maharoof, more..

Military kills 15 rebels in clash in Sri Lanka's volatile east

July 7 (AP) Sri Lankan troops ambushed a group of Tamil Tiger rebels riding on tractors in the nation's violence-wracked east, killing 15 people, the military said Saturday. The attack, which occurred near the eastern area of Thoppigala on Friday evening, came hours after rebels killed six government soldiers in the region in a mortar attack. Government forces have cleared the Tamil Tiger guerrillas from much of eastern Sri Lanka, more..

The newly elected Lions International President is determined to stop preventable blindness everywhere

July 8 (AT) The newly elected International President of the Lions Club, Mahendra Amarasuriya said in Chicago that he was prepared to eradicate preventable eye diseases from the Indian subcontinent, his native Sri Lanka and Africa, as a priority project through an internally changed Lions organization that would be made “a dynamic vibrant 21st century organization. more..

Sri Lankan participation in the Canton Trade Fair

July 8 (AT) As it has been done for the last 10 years, The Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) is organizing to send a delegation to the October to the Chinese Export Commodity Fair popularly known as Canton Fair. This Trade Fair is well-known internationally as it has been held more than 115 times during the last 60 years. more..

Popular singer Kokila Devi Weeratunga dies

July 8 (AT) One of Sri Lanka’s most popular singers in the yester year Kokila Devi Weeratunga died at the age of 95 at the National Hospital Colombo , June 5 where she was ailing for some time. She was singing duets with the late H.W. Rupasinghe, then Ceylon’s most popular male vocalist for gramophone records of Colombia and His Masters Voice before she sang for the then Radio Ceylon. more..

Sri Lankan war provokes deep unease in Indian political establishment

July 8 (AT) The intensification of the Sri Lankan government’s war against the separatist LTTE is provoking growing concerns in New Delhi over the impact on India’s strategic interests. The conflict is not only affecting New Delhi’s relations with Colombo and risks triggering unrest in India, but is also threatening to undermine India’s broader ambitions to establish itself as the preeminent regional power. more..

History stands still in seabed off Sri Lanka

July 8 (AT) Most historians, educators and others now celebrating `Archaeological Week', seem to be exclusively preoccupied with the Sri Lanka's agro-based inland civilization. But a deeper understanding of our society and the island's past is not possible without knowledge of her maritime heritage. While saga of the ill-fated Titanic has mesmerized the world for decades, at least 100 wrecked ships lie at the sea bottom all around Sri Lanka although no proper records of these ill-fated vessels have been kept. more..

The second JVP insurgency and the fourth Eelam war

July 8 (AT) The JVP of today is not really the JVP of the second insurgency. The JVP remerged in the 1990’s partly by recreating itself in a somewhat different mould. It benefited by learning many lessons of ‘what not to do’ from its own post-1983 mistakes, mistakes which contributed in no small way to its own defeat in 1989. more..

Provincial Chief Ministers Must Compete, Not Co-operate To Get Investment

July 8 (FI) We are meeting at a time when there is unprecedented growth in the world as well as within our region. The world economy is growing at a rate of 5% a year, which is a historic growth rate. This unprecedented growth is driven by the economies of China, India, Pakistan and what are called the Eastern tigers. They are Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Borneo and the rest. more..

The ceasefire agreement and its different types of ‘Sex Appeal’

July 8 (FI) The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings. Shakespeare, Julius Caesar Fashions change. The Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) was of relatively flimsy material, to begin with. But, it had sex appeal of different sorts to the two Parties (GOSL and LTTE), at the time it was signed. Looking back over the period since the CFA was signed, one is reminded of the Zen koan of clapping with one hand, and efforts to interpret its meaning. more..

Will the JVP change its approach towards the national question ?

July 8 (FI) A United Front implies a divided rear.” That was one of Colvin R. de Silva’s quotable quotes in the 1970s, a response to cavilers on the extreme Left and reaffirmation of the independence of the LSSP despite its alliance with the SLFP. The JVP’s current position on political alliances seems to be turning the Colvin maxim on its head. The JVP, says Somawansa Amarasinghe, will avoid looking for alliances at the top and instead search for solidarity at the base. more..

Rizana sentence, a terrible travesty of justice

July 8 (FI) The Government of Sri Lanka should take an extremely serious view on the death sentence meted out on Rizana Naffeek because it was a terrible travesty of justice and added to it, are other contributory factors that made this young lady, not even 17 at the time of the incident, a victim of the need to survive and support her family, agents who operate like sharks and even falsify documents to trap young women in their recruitment efforts and children like Rizana into their nets. But will the Government of Sri Lanka wake up to this urgency? more..