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CID grills Gajanayake

June 10 (SAMN) The government Saturday took a dramatic step in the probe on the spate of abductions, ransom demands and killings when the CID questioned a former Air Force officer who is alleged to have been involved in these crimes. Defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said Saturday night former Air Force Squadron Leader Nishantha Gajanayaka was being questioned and his statement recorded. more..

Bank loan interest rates soar

June 10 (SAMN) Borrowers of housing loans will be paying more as interest from this month onwards. The interest rates of all loans including housing loans, personal and business loans have increased drastically over the past month. Any individual who would be obtaining a housing loan from a commercial bank would be paying interest at a rate between 17 and 18 percent. more..

Rambukwella deputy defence minister?

June 10 (SAMN) Senior government parliamentarians are to pressurise President Mahinda Rajapaksa to appoint a deputy minister of defence to answer queries in Parliament. Senior Cabinet ministers have already decided to seek an appointment with President Mahinda Rajapaksa to discuss this issue seriously. A government spokesman said it has been decided by the senior parliamentarians to suggest the name of the present defence spokesman and Minister Keheliya Rambukwella for the post of deputy minister. more..

Over 1000 killed in 3 months: PAFFREL

June 10 (SAMN) The People’s Action for Free and Fair Election (PAFFREL) issuing an interim report on the ongoing human rights situation in the country has disclosed that at least 1006 people have been killed in the country within a short span of three months. Chairman of the organization Kinsley Rodrigo said that during the period from March 1 to May 31 apart from the killings, a total of 72 have disappeared, 815 arrested and 88 have been abducted. more..

Safeguarding and improving country’s social development imperatives

June 10 (ST) Controversy abounds on the economic growth rate achieved in recent years, particularly the growth rate for 2006. This is quite apart from the differences of 7.2, 7.4 and 7.7 that the three government institutions, the Department of Census and Statistics, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Finance have come up with for last year. more..

Double trouble for SriLankan

June 10 (ST) A SriLankan Airlines seaplane carrying US Ambassador Robert O Blake had to make a belly landing at the Ratmalana airport after the pilot reportedly forgot to switch on the landing wheels of the plane. The sea plane hired by the US Embassy had been returning with the Ambassador to Colombo from the East when the incident took place last week. No one was hurt. more..

How an explosives - laden lorry was stopped and stripped

June 10 (ST) The alert police officer, whose prompt action led to the detection of the biggest ever haul of explosives in a lorry last Friday was substituting for a sick colleague, when the detection was made at a checkpoint at Kotavehara Palugas junction in Nikeweratiya. Recalling the events of that day D.H.M.Prematillaka who was manning the checkpoint along with three others said, “Around 3.30 p.m. we noticed a lorry approaching the roadblock and we waved it down. more..

Telecom deal not finalised – Minister

June 10 (ST) The Government dismissed Opposition allegations that it was involved in under hand deals regarding the speculated sale of shares of Sri Lanka Telecom held by NTT to a Malaysian company. Minister of Finance (non Cabinet) Ranjith Siyambalapiatya told Parliament on Friday that with the sale, the price of SLT shares would rise and the main beneficiary of this would be the Government given the fact it was the biggest share holder with over 50% of the shares. more..

Economic crisis to take Sri Lanka by storm

June 10 (NS) Politics is the art of possible, they say. In Sri Lanka, nothing is impossible in politics – today’s political enemy could be the best ally tomorrow and vice versa and these are the characteristics of the art of ‘possible’ politics. In today’s context, many people believe that politics is a dirty game which works hand in glove with corruption, murder, abductions and various other criminal acts. more..

Ranil snubs Milinda?

June 10 (NS) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Tourism Minister Milinda Moragoda were among the distinguished guests at the wedding reception of former Central Bank Governor A.S. Jayawardene’s daughter, which was held at a five-star hotel in Colombo on Thursday. Wickremesinghe was seated along with Ronnie De Mel and his wife among others at one table while Moragoda, along with his wife Jennifer, was seated at the adjoining table. more..

Telecom unions threaten legal action if demands not met

June 10 (NS) Telecom trade unions will take both legal and trade union action if their conditions are not incorporated in the new agreement entered into between the Government and Malaysian telecom giant Maxis. President of the apex body of telecom unions- Sri Lanka Telecom Trade Unions Alliance, G. Anura Perera told The Nation that he was discussing this with his attorneys and was considering filing writ application and fundamental rights petition in Court of Appeal and Supreme Court respectively, in his capacity as a share holder. more..

Asia Box gives new dimension

June 10 (NS) Adding more spice to the already complicated drama, a group of Sri Lankan Insurance (SLIC) officials led by business tycoon Harry Jayawardene told a parliamentary committee that a hitherto unknown company was part of the conglomerate which bought the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation from the government in 2003. more..

Appreciation: Prof. Samaranayake: doyen of IT studies

June 10 (SO) It is with profound sorrow and gratitude, I pen this tribute over the sudden demise of Professor V.K. Samaranayake (68), widely known as `Father of Information and Communication Technology in Sri Lanka'.He breathed his last on June 6 (Wednesday) in Stockholm, Sweden attending a review of the Swedish Government's ICT development assistance programme. more..

Yahoo Photos

June 10 (AFP) An elederly Tamil woman smiles after returning to Colombo. Sri Lanka's prime minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake has apologised to ethnic minority Tamils for evicting them from the capital, saying the government would ensure it did not happen again. more..

Power price hike imminent

June 10 (SO) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) will be compelled to increase the price per unit of electricity within the next few days due to the soaring oil prices and sharp drop in water levels in reservoirs, Minister of Power and Energy W. D. J. Seneviratne told the Sunday Observer. Of the requirements of electricity, 65 percent is generated by fuel. Due to the soaring oil price and drop in water levels in the main hydro reservoirs the CEB incurs a loss of Rs 45 million per day. more..

Sri Lankan Tamils in fear amid Colombo crackdown

June 10 (AFP) Every time 16-year-old Suresh Subramanium steps out of his home in Sri Lanka's heavily-guarded capital, his father says a silent prayer for his son's safe return. The Subramaniums are ethnic Tamils, and run a grocery store in Colombo. They have lived in the city all their lives, and have little connection to the north and east where government troops are fighting Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Sri Lankan police chief defends eviction of Tamils

June 10 (AFP) Sri Lanka's police chief on Sunday defended the eviction of ethnic Tamils from the capital despite growing international condemnation of the move. Brushing aside allegations of "ethnic cleansing", the defence ministry quoted Inspector General of Police Victor Perera as saying the minority ethnic Tamils agreed to leave the Sinhalese-dominated capital on their own. more..

Sri Lanka says sorry for evicting Tamils

June 10 (AFP) Sri Lanka's prime minister on Sunday apologised to ethnic minority Tamils for evicting them from the capital, promising there would be no repeat of the controversial operation. "It was a big mistake," Ratnasiri Wickremanayake told reporters here, referring to Thursday's expulsion of hundreds of Tamils at gunpoint from low-budget Colombo hostels. more..

PM apologises for expulsion of Tamils

June 10 (HT) The Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Ratnasiri Wickramanayake, on Sunday apologised for the mass expulsion of Tamils belonging to the troubled North and East of the country from the capital city of Colombo, and pledged that such a thing would never be allowed to happen again. "We apologise for what has happened. Government takes full responsibility for it," the Prime Minister told the media in Colombo. more..

Elephants destroy '1000 houses'

June 11 (BBC) People in the war-torn eastern Sri Lanka say thousands were made homeless as wild elephants have destroyed their houses. Over one thousand houses were destroyed in nearly 35 villages, according to regional authorities. Residents in Kokadicholai, Vellaveli where people were recently resettled and Vavunathivu and Chenkaladi where the resttlement to be started soon were made homeless as a result. more..

Sri Lanka rebels could blow up 'half of Colombo': PM

June 11 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels have rigged up a truck with over a tonne of explosives that could blow up half of Colombo, Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake claimed Sunday. The authorities received information about the truck bomb following the discovery last week of over 1,000 kilogrammes (2,200 pounds) of plastic explosives hidden in another truck, Wickremanayake said. more..

Dhoni powers Asia home

June 11 (CI) A promising start by Africa's bowlers swiftly dissipated into another run-fest as Mahela Jayawardene and Mahendra Singh Dhoni provided direction and then aggression to set up Asia's third win of the Afro-Asia Cup at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. Dhoni and Jayawardene slammed centuries during their 218-run stand for the sixth wicket, a record in ODIs, and lifted Asia to 331 for 8, their third consecutive 300-plus score of the series. more..

Sri Lanka war claims civilian lives

June 11 (AJ) In a police station in eastern Sri Lanka, six, seemingly ordinary teenage girls wait to be processed. Their short hairstyles mark them out as female fighters in the LTTE. The girls say they were forced to fight for the Tigers. "I was walking with my mother going to see my grandmother,” one of the girls told Al Jazeera. "Then the LTTE attacked my mother and took me away." Pushpu, another of the girls, says she was taken three months ago as she tended her parents vegetable garden. more..

Thoppigala capture is done without Karuna’s help

June 11 (AT) Sri Lanka Army and the Special task Force has come to the conclusion that it is useless to wait any longer for Karuna’s men to make a forward thrust in the Thopigala jungle terrain and to follow it up with a large contingent of regular armed forces to flush out the remaining Tiger cadres in the East. “Asian Tribune” leant that Karuna came forward to send his cadres as advance force in the Thoppigala jungle region prior to the split with Pillaiyan before 04 May. more..

New Book Outlines Negotiations with Tigers

June 11 (AT) Dr. John Gooneratne, a senior foreign service officer and a former Secretary-General of the SCOPP, has written what is described as the first authentic, undiluted account of negotiations between the Government and the LTTE. Titled 'Negotiating with the Tigers," the book covers the period from the emergence of the United National Front Government led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in December 2001 to the end of the administration of President Chandrika Kumaratunga in November 2005. more..

Tamil Tiger supporters facing stringent measures in France

June 11 (AT) French Police has planned to collect information regarding those leaving from France to Switzerland to participate in the protest march organized by the LTTE to be held today. One of the measures is to photocopy passports and travel documents of Tiger supporters traveling from France to Geneva. The protest march timed to be held on 11 June, the opening day of the 5th session of the Human Rights Commission (June 11 to 18.) more..

Terrorist roots of human rights violations

June 11 (AT) Evicting Tamil lodgers from Colombo and the Supreme Court ordering an immediate halt on their eviction has no doubt pushed the government into a difficult and embarrassing position. Already it is being claimed that the eviction of Tamil lodgers to their native places in the North and the East would legitimize the claim for a separate state or homeland in the eyes of the world. The eviction has even been called ethnic cleansing. more..

"Conditions in Colombo lodges appalling"

June 11 (Hindu) Media Centre for National Security (MCNS), a Sri Lanka Government outfit, which disseminates news about defence related issues, said on Sunday that people arriving from North and East live "in appalling conditions" in lodges in Colombo. In a photo feature carried on the MCNS website ( it said, "Our cameras captured the condition of some of the lodges in Pettah and Kotahena." more..

What is the Legacy of Percy Mahinda Rajapakse?

June 11 (AT) During the last Presidential elections, the UNP camp whipped up sentiments that Mahinda Rajapakse is a “Sinhala nationalist” since he had the backing of the JVP and the JHU. However, most of the intelligentsia and the people who personally and indirectly knew Rajapakse discarded this view as being mere propaganda cooked up by the UNP to discredit and defeat the man who now holds absolute power. more..

Why should we Lankans have an ethnic issue?

June 11 (TW) We had great ties with South India. According to the history of the Kandyan Kingdom, lots of Sinhala youth were absorbed into the palace “ettulkattale as Appuharmys. Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe had a lot of connections with Sinhala nobles and commoners. He was a devout Buddhist. According to the book, Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe worshipped the Tooth Relic of the Buddha twice a day. Kneeling beside and bent head as a mark of respect. more..

'LTTE bodies' handed to ICRC

June 11 (BBC) Sri lankan authorities say they handed over eight bodies of Tamil Tigers to International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC). Police in Maha Oya have handed over the bodies to ICRC representative in Ampara. At least 30 LTTE cadres were killed as heavy fighting erupted on Friday in Thoppigala, military authorities said. Mahiyangana District Judge, Ruvan Pathirana, has ordered to hand over the eight bodies to ICRC after a hearing on Saturday. more..

Sri Lanka Shipping Co to set up fertilizer bagging plant in Colombo port

June 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka Shipping Company Limited is planning to start a fertilizer bagging plant in Colombo port, an official said. The company plans to set up an automated bagging plant with an investment of 70 million rupees, M. Reza, director of Sri Lanka Shipping Company said. Fertilizer is transported to Colombo in bulk from other countries to reduce the cost of freight and high bagging costs overseas. more..

Expatriate workers being exploited: Lankan envoy

June 11 (GT) EMPLOYERS, recruitment agencies and middlemen are exploiting expatriate workers disregarding government rules on wages and safety of workers, the Sri Lankan ambassador has said. “All these high rise buildings and other projects are built by the sweat and blood of poor expatriate workers. They sometimes work without proper pay, no rest and no food. Sometimes they pay by sacrificing their lives. more..

Lanka terror stirs fear in PSUs

June 11 (TT) Indian Oil Corporation and the National Thermal Power Corporation are concerned over the deteriorating security conditions in Sri Lanka. IOC has already invested in the island nation and NTPC proposes to set up a power plant there. According to sources, the ministry of external affairs has been asked to convey the concerns of the two companies in its talks with the Sri Lankan government. more..

Sri Lanka human rights panel is criticized

June 11 (NYT) An international panel appointed by the government of Sri Lanka has issued a stark indictment of a presidential commission impaneled to investigate serious human rights violations, saying that its activities so far “do not satisfy international norms and standards.” The appointment last fall of the panel, the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons, was widely seen as an effort by President Mahinda Rajapakse to stave off moves to deploy international human rights monitors to his country. more..

Sri Lankan military recovers nearly 600 mortar rounds from rebel area

June 11 (AP) Military forces have recovered nearly 600 mortar rounds and three anti-tank mines from Tamil Tiger rebel areas, a military spokesman said Monday. Soldiers found the 597 mortar rounds and the mines in the Batticaloa district on Sunday evening, said military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe. "We are thinking they have run away while hiding these things," he said, referring to the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels who have waged a decades-long war against the government. more..

Terrorism, a major setback for womens' development - First Lady

June 11 (GDI) First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa underscored the importance of the Women Leaders subject to tremendous pressures in various spheres, in the developing world, having a distinct vision in overcoming their obstacles. Addressing the second International Women's Conference in Bangalore, India last Friday, Madam Shiranthi Rajapaksa said, "women, especially in the developing world face much hardship as a result of terrorism, poverty, lack of education, more..

Public-private deal to send goods to Jaffna

June 11 (GDI) Deputy Secretary to the Treasury and Essential Services Commissioner General S.B. Divaratne has initiated a public private partnership with the Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka Business for Peace Initiative (FCCISL-BPI) to reactivate the conflict affected private trader network in Jaffna. Arrangements have been made to ship over 7,000 freight tons of essential goods and hardware items, more..

FTA with Pakistan likely to boost tea exports

June 11 (GDI) Tea volumes traded at the Colombo Auction have once again returned to their former, pre-industrial action, levels. This week a quantity of 6.35 Mkg was traded, up from the 6.22 Mkg moved during last week's sale. The proportion of Ex-estate teas were also up from 1.04 Mkg to 1.150 Mkg. This trend is set to continue. In the Tippy market, Iran, CIS and Dubai were moderately active this week. Well-made select best tea appreciated for all varieties. more..

'Goodwill towards Lanka must be translated into practical action'

June 11 (GDI) The international community must translate their goodwill shown towards Sri Lanka into practical action, Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona said. Delivering a lecture at the Nanyang University in Singapore over the weekend, Dr. Kohona said: "Like poverty, terrorism anywhere is a threat to humanity everywhere. It should be defeated if democracies are to survive." more..

Federalism and devolution: Can they usher peace in Lanka?

June 11 (TW) After a lapse of many long years and a loss of over 60,000 lives, an intolerably excessive and wasteful dissipation of funds on arms, ammunition and extravagant armed services, Sri Lanka’s leaders prudently set out to negotiate an acceptable and fair settlement that could appease an embittered enemy, the Tamil community indigenous to the island as much as the majority Sinhalese populace. more..

A socialist perspective to defend Sri Lankan university workers

June 11 (wsws) Tens of thousands of Sri Lankan university workers have been in struggle against punitive actions taken by the United People Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government and university authorities. They are demanding the withdrawal of a pay cut imposed for striking and the reinstatement of workers suspended at the University of Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka film regulations may block positive coverage needed to boost tourism

June 11 (LBO) Earlier this year, a foreign television crew working for the Travel Channel in London arrived in the country to do a documentary on the tourism hotspots. Travel Channel’s first priority was to visit and film the Dutch Galle fort in the southern coastal region of Sri Lanka. Then their troubles started. Trying to shoot a boutique hotel at the Galle Fort, a group of officials suddenly converged on the crew and said they needed a permit from the Archaeological Department, which would cost 50,000 rupees to film the area. more..

Minister Keheliya Rambukwella to be impeached, says UNP

June 11 (AT) The UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday that the UNP will bring an impeachment motion against Sri Lanka Defence Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella for misleading the Parliament by statement "the Tamil eviction of Colombo was done since they were supporting the LTTE" and "the Tamils went willingly." Mr. Wickremesinghe said that the Minister, despite stating this to the Parliament, did not state the same to the Supreme Court when more..

FTA between Sri Lanka and India- a reality in 2008

June 11 (GDI) The proposed Free Trade Agreement between Sri Lanka and India will be signed on 2008 March. The FTA between the two neighboring nations will focus on offering opportunities to exploit potential in service sectors such as finance, tourism, health and education. The implementation of FTA would throw open IT and BPO sectors. more..

Special Economic Zone in Puttalam

June 11 (GDI) Government is working along with the Board of Investment (BOI) to build up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Puttlam, in the Northwestern Part of the country. A 340 acres plot of land, located along the Anuradhapura-Kurunagela Road has already been selected for the proposed SEZ. The first phase of the project will develop an extent of 225 acres and the second phase will develop 115 acres. more..

Kanthan connection: Deeper than cell phone links

June 11 (GDI) The name Kuthupdeen- does it ring a bell? Of course it should, perhaps, alarm bells. He was the person implicated in the famous VAT scam amounting to a loss of billions of rupees to the country. However, not much progress has been made in the case after Kuthupdeen fled the country and is believed to be residing in Dubhai. Another person to flee to Dubhai is Emil Kanthan, against whom there is an indictment on charges of attempted murder, pending in the Kalutara High Court. more..

Cleaning programme in Matugama town under the concept of beautifying

June 11 (GDI) The Ministry of Natural Resources has organized an Islandwide cleaning program under the concept beautifying the cities. Under this concept, 82nd programe will be held on June 11 at 9.00 in all the Government Institutions in the Matugama Region, School children and the public will participate in this. 81 institutions under the Pradeshiya Sabha would be participating in this program. more..

Resettlement continues in 24 GN divisions in Vavunathivu

June 11 (GDI) The Government will be commencing the resettlement of internally displaced persons in the Vavunathivu Divisional Secretariat, in the East, from 15 June. Accordingly the resettlement will be carried out through six days in 24 Grama Niladari (GN) divisions which comprises of 31,047 persons of 8,029 families. The displaced will gather at Batticaloa Town and after records are updated will be transported to their areas through the Valayiravu Bridge in 15 buses daily. more..

US takes Internet to rural Sri Lanka

June 11 (CIOL) In a new private-public partnership, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) dedicated a cyber-center that links international and local businesses to bring modern information technology to some of the furthest reaches of Sri Lanka. The cyber-center, known as Easy Seva, the first of the 25 that will be launched over the next four months by the US-based Synergy Strategy Group (SSG) with support from USAID. more..