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No immediate fuel, power hike: Govt

June 12 (SAMN) The government yesterday ruled out an immediate hike on fuel and electricity prices despite fluctuations in the world market. The decision was reached following a lengthy Cabinet Sub Committee meeting chaired by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake last evening. A Committee member told the Daily Mirror that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had instructed them not to increase fuel prices and electricity charges this year, as a measure to cushion the cost of living. more..

President meets Malaysia Telekom’s chief

June 12 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa met the Chairman of Malaysian Telekom Tan Sri Dato Ir Muhammad Radzi bin Haji Mansor and Dialog Telekom CEO Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya. The meeting was a day after Dialog Telekom announced it will invest a further US$ 300 million in the next 2 years bringing the total to US$ 800 million (or over Rs. 90 billion), thereby becoming the biggest investor in Sri Lanka. more..

Shoals of dead fish wash ashore at Beruwala Beach

June 12 (DN) A shoal of fish which died under mysterious circumstances was washed ashore at Beruwala beach last week. A manager of a Tourist Hotel in Beruwala told the Daily News that thousands of dead fish were washed ashore at night. Several tourists who pricked their feet with the bones of decomposed fish are being treated at private hospitals. more..

Demand for natural rubber rises

June 12 (DN) The demand for Sri Lankan natural rubber has gone up as never before and today's prices for rubber will be stable for another 25 years. Therefore we have to develop the rubber industry to meet the future demand and earn foreign exchange, Petroleum Resources and Development Minister A.H.M.Fowzie said. He was addressing the Rubber Smallholders in Western Province at a workshop organised by the Ministry of Plantation Industries more..

Yahoo Photos

June 12 (AFP) Military personell inspect the area where an electricity pylon in Orugodawatte in Colombo was attacked. Tamil Tiger saboteurs came close to cutting off a large chunk of Sri Lanka's electricity supply Tuesday by skirting tight security and setting off a bomb against a key power line, more..

Sunday night blast – it was a meteoroid

June 12 (DM) A meteorite explosion in the air above Sri Lanka rocked many areas on Sunday night and caused panic among people who feared it was another bomb blast or air attack. The Astronomy Unit of Colombo University and Arthur C. Clarke Centre confirmed the loud bang heard on Sunday night was a meteorite explosion. According to Colombo University senior lecturer Chandana Jayaratne the explosion had taken place over Nattandiya and the size of the meteoroid was around one meter. more..

A case of mistaken identity turns ugly

June 12 (DM) A leading Muslim businessman’s driver, who was allegedly abducted on Friday after reportedly being mistaken for his employer by the abductors, had died under suspicious circumstances in the Kegalle Hospital yesterday. The Daily Mirror yesterday reported that the driver had turned up in Kegalle, allegedly poisoned by his abductors. The post mortem was to be conducted later yesterday. more..

Stocks rise led by blue chips, rupee firmer

June 12 (Reuters) Shares ended firmer on Tuesday on select buying of blue chips like conglomerate John Keells Holdings and Sri Lanka Telecom after sharp falls in recent weeks, traders said. The Colombo All Share index closed 0.94 percent firmer at 2,581.04 points, a rise of 23.93 points. The index has fallen nearly 14 percent since March amid escalating renewed civil war and high interest rates, which have encouraged some investors to turn to fixed deposits and bonds. more..

Sri Lankan gold medallist sprinter retires

June 12 (AFP) Sri Lankan sprinter Damayanthi Darsha, a three-time Asian gold medallist, announced her retirement Tuesday. The 32-year-old Darsha, a 400-metre specialist, is the only Sri Lankan to win three Asian Games gold medals. In the 1998 Games she won gold medals in both the 200 and 400 metres. In the 2002 Games held in Busan, South Korea, she took gold in the 400 metres. more..

'A Peck on the Cheek'

June 12 (ON) In Sri Lanka, a country divided by religion and language, the civil war between the Sinhalese government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a separatist organization, has claimed an estimated 68,000 lives since 1983. Human rights groups have said that, as a result of the war, more than 1 million people have been displaced, homeless or living in camps. more..

Tamil Tiger saboteurs target Sri Lanka power supply

June 12 (AFP) Tamil Tiger saboteurs came close to cutting off a large chunk of Sri Lanka's electricity supply Tuesday by skirting tight security and setting off a bomb against a key power line, officials said. The device, which was rigged to a timer, was attached to a steel pylon located between a key thermal power generating facility and the main control centre in Colombo. more..

Four Tamil rebels die in an explosion in Colombo

June 12 (DPA) Four Tamil guerrillas were killed in eastern Sri Lanka and an electricity pylon was damaged in an explosion in Colombo on Tuesday, the military said. The rebels were killed on Tuesday morning in Pulipanchikulam, 320 km east of the capital where the government claims to have cleared much of the area by pushing the guerrillas back into a jungle base. more..

Sri Lanka arrests 4 for power transformer attack

June 12 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan police said Tuesday that at least four people were arrested for attempting to blow up a key voltage transformer near the capital Colombo. The police blamed Tamil Tiger rebels for the attempted attack. "Among the four arrested are one Sinhalese, two Tamils and a Muslim," a police spokesman said. An improvised explosive device exploded around 7:10 a.m. at the Colombo north suburb of Wellampitiya more..

Britain not to lift LTTE ban

June 12 (BBC) The British government has announced that it will not lift the ban on Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers. After a two-day officials visit, State minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Dr. Kim Howells, said the UK will not lift the ban "while the LTTE continues to use terrorism". Dr. Kim Howells has handed over a special letter by British PM, Tony Blair, to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Sri Lanka bullied by West, says defence official

June 12 (Reuters) Sri Lanka is being bullied by Western countries over human rights, the island's defence secretary said on Tuesday, declaring Tamil Tiger rebels have infiltrated and misled United Nations agencies. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President Mahinda Rajapaksa's brother, accused foreign powers of applying double standards when it comes to human rights violations, saying all measures were fair to defeat "terrorists". more..

Rebuilding livelihoods in tsunami-hit, war-torn Vaharai

June 13 (IRIN) If you are a mason, it is not in Colombo or one of the bigger cities of Sri Lanka where you might earn most. Ironically, these days, it seems to be in Vaharai, the small, war-torn division in Batticaloa District in eastern Sri Lanka. That is where hundreds of homes suffered a one-two punch, first from the December 2004 tsunami and more recently from conflict. The need is great for skilled labourers who come with tools in hand. more..

Kick starting recovery in Vaharai

June 13 (RW) As he rocks his baby's cradle and fans away the ever persistent flies, 26 year old Mathan talks calmly about the fears he has for his family's future. "We lost everything to the tsunami and when the fighting started we lost everything all over again. My home is gone, my fishing boat and nets have been stolen and now I have another mouth to feed". more..

President’s Message of Condolence on the death of Professor V.K. Samaranayake

June 13 (GDI) It is with shock and grief that I learnt of the passing away of Vidya Jyothi Professor V.K Samaranayake at Stockholm, Sweden. It was in keeping with his nature that his final journey abroad was concerned with his abiding interest in Information technology, and how it could help Sri Lanka. more..

Woolmer died of natural causes: Jamaican police

June 13 (AFP) Former Pakistani cricket coach Bob Woolmer was not murdered but died of natural causes, Jamaican police said Tuesday. Jamaica Constabulary Force commissioner Lucius Thomas also ruled out match-fixing in relation to Woolmer's death during the World Cup tournament in the Caribbean. Foreign pathologists "concur with the view that Mr Woolmer died of natural causes" while in further toxicology tests, "no substance was found to indicate that Bob Woolmer was poisoned," he said. more..

Sri Lanka told to focus on mass transport to clear urban traffic chaos

June 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka should switch to mass urban transport to combat traffic congestion, and start a powerful umbrella organization to implement projects, a Sri Lankan-born professional heading a big US transport utility has advocated. The island should also build concrete roads, said Walter Wickramasinghe, Vice President and Director of Management of Metropolitan Transit Authority, in Houston, Texas, more..

Sri Lanka to study critical rights report

June 13 (AFP) Sri Lanka's president has called for "careful study" of a critical report that said the island is failing to investigate grave human rights abuses, a spokesman said Tuesday. President Mahinda Rajapakse was speaking after an international panel said a commission appointed to investigate 16 high profile cases, involving murder and abduction, had failed to make headway since it began operating in November 2006. more..

PM 'protecting' Defence Secretary

June 13 (BBC) The main opposition in Sri Lanka has accused the powerful Defence Secretary of ordering the eviction of Tamils from the lodges in Colombo. The UNP says the government is now trying to protect Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the younger brother of the President. UNP lawmaker Dayasiri Jayasekara told journalists in Colombo that Defence Secretary Rajapaksa has given instructions to evict the Tamils in a meeting held on 31 May. more..

President attempts to clear the way before reaching Geneva

June 13 (LeN) President Mahinda Rajapakse says refraining from alarming businessmen and civilians is the total responsibility of the government. The president stated this at a discussion held at the temple trees to discuss issues faced by the Muslim community this afternoon before leaving to Geneva for the ILO conference. more..

Violating rights is not only an internal matter- British foreign minister

June 13 (LeN) "The situation in Sri Lanka looks darker now than my last visit in February, where there were many hopes of an all-party political solution that would create a basis for future talks. That looks further away now" Visiting British foreign minister Kim Howells has told President Mahinda Rajapakse. Howells has made this statement when he met President Mahinda Rajapakse at Temple Trees yesterday. more..

Coffin of media freedom burnt in front of Rupavahini Corporation

June 13 (LeN) The National Youth Front attached to the United National Party today issued a warning to the government that stern steps would be taken if the government under President Rajapakse continues to harass media in the island. Chairman of the Front Akila Viraj Kariyawasam told the media during a massive protest staged in front of the Rupavahini Corporation that the government is attacking private media organizations both directly and indirectly especially by cutting off advertisement. more..

Raped girl denied schooling

June 13 (BBC) Education authorities in Sri Lanka have denied the right of a girl to education after she was raped, a rights watchdog said. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) said the principal of a school in Galle has refused to allow the victim to resume her education in the school. “The Principal has stated that the girl denied entry because she is now a disgrace and a bad example to the other students,” a statement issued by the watchdog said. more..

'Ethnic Cleansing' in Sri Lanka?

June 13 (Time) Even by Sri Lanka's standards, the forced eviction of 375 Tamils from the capital of Colombo last week seemed a step too far. The June 7 evictions, carried out by police and soldiers in a nighttime raid on areas of Colombo populated by the Tamil ethnic minority, was the latest chapter in the brutal civil war that pits government forces against Tamil-separatist militants in the country's north. more..

Jeyaraj takes PM to task over apology drama

June 13 (ML) The Government was in the throes of another crisis yesterday over the public apology made by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake on the eviction of Tamils from the city with several Ministers to publicly criticise the Premier’s statement and distance the government from it. Chief Government Whip and Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle on Monday criticised Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake for accepting responsibility on behalf of the government and apologising for the eviction of Tamil citizens from Colombo. more..

Rajapakses on the backfoot

June 13 (ML) President Percival M. Rajapakse was to face his second week of political hell even as the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) on Monday observed that the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights had made little noticeable headway in investigations since its inception in November last year. Sri Lanka already has the dubious distinction of having the largest internally displaced population in Asia, including 299,000 newly displaced since April 2006 due to the conflict. more..

Reduction of VAT to benefit consumers

June 13 (ML) The VAT on 10 listed essential items has been brought down to five percent from the usual 15 percent. The Consumer Affairs Minister has brought down the VAT on these items following the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) price revisions for this month. Minister Bandula Gunewardena told The Morning Leader that VAT on these items had been reduced for the benefit of the public. more..

Rajapaksa for careful study of Bhagwati panel report

June 13 (Hindu) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered a careful study of the observations and recommendations made in the Interim Report of the members of the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) headed by Justice P.N. Bhagwati. In its report made public on Monday, the IIGEP has raised several fundamental questions regarding the functioning of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) regarding the investigation of 16 specified human rights violation cases. more..

Don't expect swift justice for Sri Lanka aid killings

June 13 (AN) As I returned to work in London last week, nine months to the day after a road smash on assignment in eastern Sri Lanka broke my neck and left me paralysed from the shoulders down, the news from my old patch was depressingly familiar. Two Red Cross workers -- local Sri Lankan staff rather than their international counterparts who tend to steal the headlines -- were taken inside the high-security main Colombo railway station by men identifying themselves as plainclothes police. more..

Lanka woos businessmen

June 13 (TP) Sri Lanka has invited Qatari businessmen to explore investment opportunities in the island country. There are lucrative investment opportunities for foreign businessmen, particularly in the real estate sector in Sri Lanka. This was stated by Sri Lanka's visiting Deputy Foreign Minister, Hussein A Bhaila, at a meeting yesterday with the Chairman of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI), Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassem Al Thani. more..

“UK ready to help with the search for peace in SL,”- Kim Howells

June 13 (GDI) “The UK is ready to help with the search for peace and the need for all parties to the conflict to move away from the path of violence and respect human rights,” said the visiting British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs- Dr. Kim Howells. Dr. Howells stated in a press release that the British and Norwegian governments and the wider international community want to see Sri Lanka remain as a single country which is able to address the legitimate demands of all its ethnic groups within its existing borders. more..

Sri Lanka declines to host Asian Athletics

June 13 (AFP) Sri Lanka has turned down an offer to host the 17th Asian Athletics Championship in July and August citing the cost, an official said on Tuesday. “The Asian Athletics Association (AAA) inquired from us if we could host the event,” a Sri Lankan Athletic Association official, who declined to be named, said. “We would have loved to have done that, but the cost was too much.” more..

Lanka urges Qatar to ban LTTE activity

June 13 (GT) SRI LANKA has requested Qatar to ban the activities of LTTE in the country and curb remittances to the Tamil separatist organisation. The appeal was made by visiting Sri Lankan Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hussein A Bhaila when he met HE the Assistant Foreign Minister Saif Muqaddam al-Buainin. Bhaila told al-Buainin that LTTE operatives were forcibly collecting money from fellow Tamils in Qatar and those funds were being remitted to militant activities back home. more..

'Abused' maid takes shelter at centre

June 13 (GDN) A SRI Lankan housemaid is in the custody of the Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS) after running away from her Bahraini sponsor's allegedly abusive family. Ekanayaka Gnanawathie, who is staying in the shelter for domestic workers, claims she was kicked and dragged by her hair daily by the man's wife and two elder children. She showed the GDN a chipped front tooth that she says happened when she was pushed into a wall at the family home. more..

Internally displaced people in Sri Lanka and Iraq face more risk, Red Cross chief says

June 13 (AP) The Red Cross is helping between 2 and 3 million internally displaced people around the world and the number could exceed 4 million by the end of the year because of escalating conflicts in such hot spots as Iraq and Sri Lanka, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross said Tuesday. more..

Sri Lanka economy slows in first quarter as expansionary stimulus wears off

June 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka's first economy slowed sharply to 6.1 percent in the first quarter of 2007 from 7.9 percent last year, as the conflict began to take its toll and the effects of an expansionary stimulus wore off. The government's statistics office said gross domestic product grew by 7.4 percent in the last quarter, while in the second and third quarters of 2006 it was 7.8 and 7.9 percent. more..

Sri Lanka sees insurance cover, land giving boost to ayurveda

June 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka's government should lobby international insurance companies to cover ayurveda therapies and give land to grow herbs, a top ayurveda professional says. The demand for ayurveda products and services was already huge and growing rapidly, Asoka Hettigoda, managing director, Hettigoda Industries, said. more..

Government re-establishes the Tourist Police

June 13 (GDI) The Tourist Police Division has been reestablished by the Ministry of Tourism along with the Sri Lanka Tourist Board and the Police Department. The tourist Police will be coordinating and facilitating the service needs of the in-bound and out-bound tourists. The Tourist Police Division, located at the premises of the Sri Lanka Tourist Board, was declared open by the Minister of Tourism Milinda Moragoda and IGP Victor Perera. more..

Govt. to set up Language training Center

June 13 (GDI) The Governemt is in the process of setting up of a National Institute of Language Education and Training, thus fulfilling a long felt need. This was stated by the Minister of Constitutional Affairs and National Integration Dew Gunasekara. The Parliament has unanimously passed the Bill on the National Institute of Language Education and Training on the 7th of this month. more..

President left the island to address ILO general meeting

June 13 (GDI) Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa left the island this morning to address the 93rd Annual General Meeting of the International Labour Conference. The 93rd Annual General Meeting of the International Labour Organisation commenced on the 11th of this month at Geneva in Switzerland and will end on the 15th. President Rajapaksa has been invited to be presented as the chief guest at the meeting. more..

Sri Lankan board acquires Dambulla stadium

June 13 (CI) The controversial Rangiri Dambulla International Cricket Stadium has been finally acquired by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) following the intervention of Gamini Lokuge,the Sports Minister. Last December, SLC was to have signed a 30-year lease agreement with the authorities of the Dambulla temple, to whom the land belonged. But for some reasons, the agreement failed to materialise with the temple authorities disputing the annual payment. more..

Jayasuriya joins Lancashire

June 13 (CI) Sanath Jayasuriya has signed a short-term contract with Lancashire as cover for the absence of Muttiah Muralitharan, who will be involved in a three-match Test series against Bangladesh. Jayasuriya will play in Lancashire Twenty20 Cup group matches and will be available to play until Muralitharan returns on July 20. "I'm extremely happy to have been called to participate in the forthcoming season," Jayasuriya said from his Colombo home. more..

New logo for Lankan products to promote local brands

June 13 (ANN) A new identification logo for quality Sri Lankan brands and products was launched on Monday (June 11) by the Mawbima Lanka Foundation, a non-profit organisation established to promote indigenous products and brands. The organisation will issue the "Sooryasingha" logo for the brands and products which their evaluation criteria and will certify them as genuine Sri Lankan products and brands, Mawbima Lanka Chairman Ariyaseela Wickramanayake said. more..

Help end abductions

June 13 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday appealed to all sections of the community to shun petty party politics and rally round the Government to crush the ongoing conspiracy of abductions for ransom and extortion from top businessmen in Colombo. At a meeting with leading businessmen in Colombo, to ascertain the security situation in the city and the safety of the Muslim business community at Temple Trees, more..

Don`t disturb Kadir in his sleep!

June 13 (LNP) Politicians and canines have one thing in common. (Of the two, the latter are the better in most respects!) They raise a leg wherever they feel like doing so with no concern for the objects they cause to stink in the process. (Remember some years ago a minister, sozzled to the gills, got into hot water by mistaking a hotel swimming pool for a urinal.) Our comment is, however, not on a mistakenly polluted pool but an intentionally sullied think tank. more..

Orugodawatte blast: No disruption to power

June 13 (LNP) Suspected LTTE cadres targetted a high tension power line at Orugodawatte yesterday morning by setting off a bomb, but there were no casualties or disruption to power supply, police said.Wellampitiya police Inspector Jayantha Atapattu said at least four people were taken in for questioning while a joint cordon and search operation was launched in the surrounding areas. more..

Making a difference in Sri Lanka

June 13 (TS) Q: Why on Earth did you go? A: I went to Sri Lanka to help with rebuilding in the aftermath of the 2004 Asian tsunami. I had seen images on TV of the tsunami devastation, but this didn't prepare me for what I would witness and experience: 40-foot (12-metre) waves reaching as far inland as 3 kilometres marred the landscape like a nuclear bomb explosion. more..