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Regional cooperation better to support economies - CB Governor

July 8 (GDI) It is rational and logical to think of a regional payment system because a country can relate to its neighbour better than a country far away to bring in stability, security and economic cooperation, said Governor Central Bank of Sri Lanka Ajith Nivard Cabraal addressing the SAARC Finance Conference on 'Towards a Regional Payments Group' organised by the Central Bank on Friday. more..

Tourist arrivals will pick up soon

July 8 (GDI) The tourism industry is confident that in a couple of months the situation on the war front will change and tourist arrivals will increase, said Managing Director Aitken Spence Hotels Management and Immediate Past President Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka Malin Hapugoda. Hapugoda said he was optimistic that the security situation in the country will change since there cannot be war forever and tourism will boom as in 2002 when the ceasefire agreement was in operation. more..

Troops brave desperate attacks of the LTTE to wrest Thoppigala

July 8 (GDI) The battle in Thoppigala took a new turn on Friday with the report of highest number of deaths on a single day after the commencement of the Thoppigala operation in June this year. The Tiger outfit getting severe beatings both by the ground troops and by the Air Force fired towards the advancing troops in North of Narakamulla on Friday around noon. more..

Rs 1,200m to expedite rehabilitation in East

July 8 (GDI) The Government has allocated Rs 1,200 million to expedite rehabilitation and reconstruction work in the liberated areas in the Eastern province, Minister of Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Rished Badurdeen said. Over 33,314 displaced families have been resettled in the liberated areas. The number of families resettled in Vakerai is 4,227, Wellaweli 8,718, Kokadichole 6,314, Vaunithive 7,211 and Verugal, Kadiraweli, Panchankerni and Poonagar 6,817 during the past few months. more..

International community 'silent' over LTTE's killings

July 8 (GDI) The PLOTE has blamed the international community for indirectly encouraging the LTTE to create a culture of human violations in the country by maintaining a 'silence' over the killings and abductions by terrorists. The Leader of the PLOTE Dharmalingam Sithadthan said that today the whole world is talking about human rights violations in Sri Lanka and at the beginning of the ceasefire agreement (CFA) and after the LTTE killed hundreds of people but not a single voice was raised by the international community or INGOs against them. more..

Moragoda off to US on dual mission

July 8 (SAMN) Tourism Minister Milinda Moragoda left for the United States Saturday on a dual mission to participate in the committee meeting of the High-level Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor and to present Sri Lanka’s case to the new heads of the World Bank (WB) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Moragoda said his primary objective was to participate at the high-level commission in New York which was appointed by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. more..

EPDP, TMVP war spreads to the web

July 8 (SAMN) The EPDP and the Karuna faction known as the TMVP have declared a cyber-war against each other as they prepare for local polls in the Eastern Province. Making full use of their web-sites, the two parties have launched scathing attacks, accusing each other of corruption, extortion of money and harassment of civilians. The web war is taking place after recent clashes between EPDP cadres and Karuna faction members in the Batticaloa district. more..

Universities in turmoil

July 8 (SAMN) As student clashes and student-management disputes increase in the State universities, the quality and standard of the local universities was being questioned with university academic activities being disrupted regularly and campuses hit by academic staff shortages. This week Rajarata University students launched a hunger strike demanding improvement to basic amenities such as hostel facilities and provision of lecturers and lecture halls. more..

Questionable defence deals

July 8 (SAMN) The government’s chief procurer of defence supplies, does massive defence deals running into millions, without any state audit at all. Speculation is that this arrangement is to paper-over certain doubtful deals running into millions of US dollars. Lanka Logistics and Technologies Ltd., the fully state owned limited liability company, engaged in defence deals running into enormous sums of money is surprisingly not audited by the Auditor General, which casts doubts over some of the defence deals entered into in recent times. more..

HNB will not give a loan, just because I was Minister

July 8 (LN) Former Minister and United National Party parliamentarian Dr.Jayalath Jayawardane was interviewed by LAKBIMAnEWS Journalist Thava Sajitharan last week. The MP said his interrogation by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) was a mere harassment. During President Kumaratunga’s regime, you were accused of being involved with the LTTE several times. You were the Minister of Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Refugees then. Now you have been interrogated by the CID. more..

Colombo boys will text you under the table!

July 8 (LN) Mobile phones shed their identity as functional communication tools a long time ago Mobile phones are fast becoming status symbols especially among teenagers and young adults. Says Sachi (16) “If you don’t have a camera phone or one with lots of special features, people judge you. They think you’re poor or something or very uncool. Whenever you have a minute to spare kids compare their phones. more..

‘Come with us Mangala, only us’

July 8 (LN) The Mangala - Sripathi SLFP Mahajana Wing duo met the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna last Wednesday morning. They had informed the JVP that they would arrive at the party headquarters at 11 am for the discussion. Nonetheless, they went there quite early. JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinha, Chief Secretary Tilvin Silva and propaganda secretary, Wimal Weeravansa received them. At the beginning of the talks, Mangala tendered a formal explanation as to why they left the government. more..

Speculation over changes to 17th Amendment

July 8 (LN) The parliamentary select committee appointed to propose amendments to the 17th Amendment will meet for the last time on July 20 to finalise its report, says Constitutional Affairs Minister, D E W Gunasekera. Gunasekera, who chairs the committee, said he will then table the report in Parliament after which a paper will be presented to Cabinet. “After submitting the Cabinet paper, I will ensure that it goes as a Bill to Parliament,” Gunasekera said, when asked whether this report would disappear like many others. more..

Top clergymen for Wanni to end clashes

July 8 (SO) A top level peace delegation of Buddhist and Catholic clergy will visit the Wanni shortly to explore the possibilities of resuming the stalled peace process bring an end to the ongoing clashes in the North and the East according to Mannar Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph. The Bishop who succeeded in making the warring sides to agree on creating a "no war zone" around the Madhu Shrine area during the festive season later this month told more..

CWC to oppose allocation of prime planation lands

July 8 (SO) Deputy Minister of Estate Infrastructure Development, Muthu Sivalingam said that the Ceylon Workers' Congress (CWC) would vehemently oppose steps currently being initiated to allot prime plantation lands in the Nuwara Eliya district to families of the majority community who were affected in the landslides. He was addressing a recent meeting at the parliamentary complex to discuss the issue relating to the acquisition of plantation lands for colonised settlements in respect of families affected by landslides. more..

SLMM sounds warning bells

July 8 (NS) Nordic monitors have sounded warning bells declaring that Sri Lanka’s nearly three decade long armed conflict may never see the light of day if the ongoing trend between the government and the LTTE continues. The statement comes just days after the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) head Retired Maj. Gen. Lars Solberg and its spokesman Thorfinnur Omarsson held talks with LTTE peace secretariat chief S. Pulidevan and its military spokesman Ilanthirayan in Kilinochchi. more..

When the tough gets going

July 8 (NS) The JVP treads cautiously. Publicly it maintains its ‘guardian of public morals’ role with gusto. When Mangala Samaraweera comes calling they have to tell him that opposing Rajapaksa is in fashion but that should not be at the expense of strengthening Ranil Wickremesinghe because they sense dissolution and disaster if Wickremesinghe and Samaraweera combine their political cunning. more..

Muslims, Tamils in a rare show of solidarity?

July 8 (NS) Leading minority political parties in the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) are likely to reach a common stand in the coming weeks in a bid to safeguard minority rights in the country. The Nation understands that marathon meeting sessions are being held between political representatives of the APRC with some meetings going on for at least seven hours per session. more..

Major union showdown against government soon

July 8 (NS) The date for the impending country-wide general strike will be taken on Wednesday, trade union leader and parliamentarian K.D. Lalkantha told The Nation. The JVP sponsored National Trade Union Centre (NTUC) led by Lalkantha summoned a meeting of representatives of a wide spectrum of trade unions in the private, estate and public sectors last Wednesday to discuss the major problems faced by the workers. more..

Crises, chaos and confusion

July 8 (ST) The rapidly rising cost of living fuelled further by the previous week's oil price hike, the-on-again-off-again peace process, the exacerbating undeclared Eelam War IV, the aggravating political crisis in the wake of re-alignment of opposition forces are a few of the many crucial issues staring in the face of the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration. No previous regime perhaps was forced to cope simultaneously with a huge basket of lethal issues. more..

The terrible truth behind the freezer truck

July 8 (ST) Two recent detections - over 1,000 kilogrammes of explosives in Trincomalee and a 20 kilogramme Claymore mine at Obeysekerapura (near Borella) - have laid bare a new modus operandi used by the LTTE to carry out attacks. Handlers are giving instructions from abroad to guerrilla operatives in Sri Lanka to execute tasks. This includes persons whom they should contact, movement of weapons and explosives. more..

Implement ceasefire, Govt. tells SLMM

July 8 (ST) Amidst confusion and contradictory signals on the war and peace process, a top official said yesterday the Government had told the Scandinavian ceasefire monitors to fully implement the existing Ceasefire Agreement with the LTTE. This statement by Government Peace Secretariat Chief Rajiva Wijesinha followed statements made by government leaders who proclaimed that they would call for amendments to the CFA which they claimed was ‘non-functional’ and just a ‘piece of paper’. more..

Moragoda co. off the hook for now

July 8 (ST) The Presidential Commission of Inquiry investigating failed finance companies began work earlier this week but what was surprising – even before it fully started – was that it would not be immediately probing failed companies such as Mercantile Credit Ltd. Commission Secretary Ms. J.A.N. Dissanayake told The Sunday Times that the commission would, in the first instance, concentrate only on two of the five terms of reference listed in the mandate. more..

Eastern elections 'will spark violence'

July 8 (BBC) The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka say that the proposed local government elections in the East will spark new violence in the country. Talking to BBC Sandeshaya, Bishop of Batticaloa, Dr. Kingsley Swampillai said the violence in the East had eased in the past few weeks. "[It's] a little bit better but the problems are still there". "The greater part of the area is under army control, but they are still fighting the LTTE in the western part of Batticaloa," he said. more..

Emirates to begin night flights to Sri Lanka

July 8 (AFP) Dubai's Emirates Airline said Sunday that night flights to Sri Lanka will resume after the end of a curfew in response to Tamil rebel air raids, but other carriers have not followed suit. Emirates will start normal day and night operations from next Sunday, the airline's Area Manager for Sri Lanka Tissa Bibile said. more..

Seven 'new' Wonders of the World named

July 8 (AFP) Seven "new" wonders of the world including the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal and the Colosseum in Rome were chosen overnight by nearly 100 million Internet and phone voters, upsetting purists. The other wonders named were the centuries-old pink ruins of Petra in Jordan, the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru, and the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza in Mexico. more..

RCA commissions new Lanka projects

July 8 (KT) The UAE Red Crescent Society (RCA) has commissioned a number of projects in Sri Lanka as part of its efforts to provide support to the people affected by Tsunami. An RCA delegation, led by Mohammed Habroush Al Rumaithi, Deputy Secretary- General for Local Affairs, opened a new housing project in the Khalifa bin Zayed City in Ambara town, east Sri Lanka. The Dh11.9 million new city, comprises 100 houses, more..

Good karma and lazy days - a trip down memory lane in Sri Lanka

July 8 (TI) Memories of my first visit to Sri Lanka 20 years ago are intense. A country so naturally beautiful, its inhabitants so full of grace, that each day brought fresh delights. Being driven in a 1950s white Mercedes saloon at a leisurely pace along empty narrow roads full of potholes, seeing wild elephants in the distance. Swimming off a long, white-sand beach with a ferocious undertow north of Trincomalee at Nilaveli. more..

Lanka minister proposes Tamil Council to end bloodshed

July 8 (PTI) Sri Lanka's war against Tiger rebels may not end the drawn-out ethnic conflict and the way out is for minority Tamils to have their own council with extensive autonomy, a minister has said. Special Projects Minister Mahinda Wijesekera said he was proposing a "Tamil Council" that could manage the island's northern and eastern provinces for "two to three years." "I am not saying give the north-east to the Tigers, but they also can be in the Tamil Council I am proposing," more..

Back to life from the clutches of the tigers

July 8 (PTI) Simon Sosa, a fisherman from Kerala, who was abducted by the LTTE and later taken into custody by Maldivian police, says he is lucky to be back alive after more than three harrowing months at sea with lankan Tamil tigers. Hailing from Njarackal in Ernakulam district, Sosa was abducted by LTTE when the boat, ‘Sri Krishna’ he was steering was captured by the tigers while fishing near Tuticorin. more..

Sri Lanka's navy and Tamil Tiger rebels clash, as ground battles kill 28

July 8 (AP) A fierce sea clash erupted between Sri Lanka's navy and Tamil Tiger rebels off the country's east coast overnight, the military said Sunday as two days of ground battles killed 28 combatants in the north and east. The sea battle broke out when a flotilla of 15 rebel boats tried to attack naval boats patrolling off Kallarawa, a fishing village in the eastern Trincomalee district on Saturday night, more..

Jet fighter canon injures four at Sri Lanka air base

July 8 (AFP) Four airmen were seriously injured Sunday after a canon was activated on a jet fighter near the island's only international airport, officials said. The war plane was being loaded with weapons at the Katunayake air base -- which shares a runway with the Bandaranaike International Airport -- when the explosion happened, a military official said. "Four airmen have been injured and taken to hospital and there is some damage to the aircraft also," more..

'Defamed' Rajapaksa asks Ranil to cough up Rs 2 billion

July 8 (HT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa had sent a "Letter of Demand" to the Leader of the Opposition, Ranil Wickremesinghe, seeking SLRs 2 billion ($17.96 million) for allegedly defaming him in a recent public speech at Kegalle The Sunday Times said. Rajapaksa's lawyer told the paper that its sister Sinhala-language publication Lankadeepa had also been asked to pay SLRs 2 billion because it had published Wickremesinghe's objectionable remark. more..

Sri Lankan warplanes bomb Tamil rebel mortar locations in the east

July 9 (AP) Fighter jets pounded rebel mortar positions in what the military calls the last Tamil Tiger stronghold in Sri Lanka's east on Sunday, hours after a major sea clash in the region. Airstrikes hit four guerrilla mortar positions in Thoppigala, but there were no casualty figures to report, an official at the Defense Ministry's information center said on condition of anonymity, in line with policy. more..

EPDP rejects threats of Karuna Group to evict Jaffna Tamils from the east

July 9 (AT) Resisting threats from the Karuna Group to throw the EPDP from the east the EPDP has stated that it will not surrender to the demands of the Karuna Group. It says: “This land belong all those democratic forces who love the people. We are not going to allow anyone who is trying to stop us from performing our obligations and prevent us our rights to be of service to our people. more..

President Rajapaksa vowed to wipe out terrorism soon from the north

July 9 (AT) President Rajapaksa said in Trincomalee that the government is dedicated to wipe out the LTTE who are involved unleashing terrorism in the Northern Province, as the government forces almost cleared them from the Eastern Province. “To bring about permanent peace to this country the government is dedicated to chase out the terrorists from the Northern Province soon, like they were chased out from the Eastern Province,” more..

FACETS Sri Lanka 2007: Premier Gem & Jewellery Show

July 9 (AT) All arrangements are in place to have the FACETS Sri Lanka 2007 the premier International Gem and Jewellery Show of Sri Lanka from 30th August to 2nd September 2007 at the BMICH, for the 17th year running. Chanaka Ellawala, Chairman, Sri Lanka Gem & Jewellery Association addressing the stall holders of the Exhibition held last week at Hotel Taj Samudra to explain as more..

'No fuel cut' for Mihin Air

July 9 (BBC) Sri Lanka government has assured constant supply of fuel to Mihin Air despite Rs. 50 million still owed by the airline. Petroleum Resources minister AHM Fowzie told BBC Sandeshaya that the Petroleum Corporation will not stop fuel supply to the state-owned airline. "Many other government owned institutions owe money to Petroleum Corporation," Minister Fowzie said. The ministry has written to the airline to make the payments as soon as possible, according to the minister. more..

Senior LTTE cadres fled Thoppigala, says navy

July 9 (Hindu) At least four airmen were injured on Sunday when a “weapon” fixed to an air force jet exploded at the main base in Katunayake, close to the international airport. The Government implemented extra security measures in and around Katunayake after the first air strike by the Tigers in March. Following the second strike in April, the civilian airport was closed for night traffic temporarily. The ban was lifted on July 1. more..

Extortionist Gajanayaka's Rs. 2.5 million credit card reveals many secrets

July 9 (LeN) The CID has questioned the credit card section heads of the Bank of Ceylon over a credit card issued to a former Air Force official named Gajanayaka who is now in custody for the charges of abducting and extorting money from the Tamil and Muslim businesspersons of Colombo. The value of the credit card is Rs. 2.5 million. A senior official of the bank has recommended issuing a credit card to this value to Gajanayaka. more..

Sri Lanka to tighten controls on tea imports

July 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Tea Board plans to double the import duty on foreign-made teas and introduce quality certification for imports to prevent their blending with Ceylon Tea. Officials say this is aimed at safeguarding the image of pure Ceylon Tea. Under the new rules, to be gazetted soon, the import tax on orthodox tea imports is to be hiked to 50 percent of the cost, insurance and freight value from the current 25 percent, Tea Board officials said. more..

Military offensive used to clear eastern Special Economic Zone

July 9 (wsws) In an unprecedented move, the Sri Lankan government has created a High Security Zone (HSZ) around a new Special Economic Zone at Sampur and Muttur East in the eastern district of Trincomalee. The area was held by the LTTE before being seized by the military last September in open breach of the 2002 ceasefire agreement. The latest decision has exposed all the lies used to justify the offensive. more..

'The need is not another government but a different government'

July 9 (LT) "The country needs different governance not just another government" JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe says. He said this at the special seminar to make the university teachers aware of the new national front to be formed by the party under the theme of 'A real national front – A government to build the country'. Mr. Amarasinghe also pointed out, "While the security forces of the country are sacrificing to win in the north, government ministers dishonour them by steeling national wealth, fraud and corruption and more..

Minister Chandrasena goes to the CID – Pledges to quit if the charges proved!

July 9 (LT) Minister SM Chandrasena has reportedly gone to the Criminal Investigation Department today morning to voluntarily make a statement regarding the corruption allegations on him. After the the closure of Mavil-aru anicut government decided to pay compensation to the farmers whose paddy fields were destroyed. JVP Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake recently made a statement that since Minister Chandrasena, been accused of defrauding Rs.8.9 million from the compensation of Mavil-aru farmers that incident more..

Chilcott to involve more in the internal affairs as the ambassador of European Union

July 9 (LT) Dominick Chilcott, the UK ambassador in Sri Lanka is nominated to represent the European Union's Presidency in the country, the British High Commission announced Monday. The EU Presidency rotates every six months among member states which in turn shifted to Portugal from 1st of July. Since Sri Lanka does not have a Portugal embassy in Sri Lanka, the British High Commission will perform the duties of the "Local Presidency" at the request of the Portuguese government. more..

More revelations on Parami Kulatunga assassination!

July 9 (LT) More information was revealed on the assassination of Major general parami Kul;atunga, police announced today. Police says that the Major from the Army Coordination Unit apprehended in connection with the assassination has revealed the latest facts. Accused has confessed of informing the Wanni Tigers the movements of late Mr kulatunga for which he received a sum of Rs.800,000. more..

Sri Lanka gets weapons to fight avian flu epidemic

July 9 (LBO) The United States has given Sri Lanka protective gear, test and decontamination kits to combat an outbreak of bird flu, the US embassy in Colombo said. Sri Lanka government's Department of Animal Production and Health had received 4,500 suits of personal protection equipment, 1,500 rapid test kits, and 40 decontamination kits crucial to a quick and decisive response by the to mitigate the possibility of an epidemic. more..

Modernize regional payments system - Jayamaha

July 9 (F2F) South Asian countries need to modernize their payments systems to cope with rapidly increasing cross border trade and investment flows trigged by faster economic growth, according to senior Sri Lanka central banker. "Trade and investment flows and demand for financial services will exceed the present levels over the next couple of years," said Ranee Jayamaha, Deputy Governor of Central bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) at more..

Sri Lanka supermarket chain take-over wrapped up

July 9 (LBO) Kshatriya Holdings' take-over of a supermarket chain has been concluded, the listed firm said in a stock exchange filing, but did not reveal the purchase price. The retail chain, 'Kings Super' operated a network of ten supermarkets in Colombo city. The firm had bought the assets, brand and trademarks through a subsidiary, K H L Distributors Ltd. more..

Sri Lanka shares hit lowest volume in 2.5 years

July 9 (LBO) The Colombo share market hit the lowest volumes for over 2.5 years as an intensifying conflict and rising government expenditure drained resources towards a widening budget deficit. Turnover fell to 47.4 million rupees Monday with the All Share closing 13.04 points down and the liquid Milanka down 21.02 points. Today's trading was lower than the 48.7 million rupees recorded on April 09, more..