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Highways Minister says two sides to ‘dislodging’ episode

June 14 (DN) The Government is committed to ensuring the right to live freely for all citizens in any part of the country, even though this was not the case in some parts of the North and East due to the LTTE’s communal attitude, Highways and Road Development Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle told a media briefing yesterday. Referring to the recent eviction of more than 300 Tamil lodgers from Colombo, Fernandopulle said there was two sides to the story and some elements were trying to blow the incident out of proportion to gain cheap political mileage. more..

Six Lankan Tamil refugees arrested

June 14 (CO) Six Sri Lankan refugees have been arrested from Ervadi village in Ramanathapuram district while trying to return to their homeland without informing the officials here. According to police, the refugees have confessed that they wanted to return to Sri Lanka and were waiting for a boat when they were nabbed early morning yesterday. The six refugees have been sent to the Mandapam camp. Police have registered a case based on their 'confession' and were on the lookout for their agent. more..

Indonesia arrests 'people smuggler boss'

June 14 (AAP) Indonesian police have arrested the suspected ringleader of a people smuggling operation accused of trying to bring 83 Sri Lankan asylum seekers to Australia earlier this year. The federal government revealed the arrest of Abraham Lauhenapessy, known as Captain Bram, as it congratulated Indonesia for disrupting a major people smuggling syndicate. more..

CPI flays eviction of Tamils from Colombo

June 14 (PTI) Condemning the recent eviction of Tamils from Colombo by the Sri Lankan police, the CPI's Tamil Nadu unit today said "state terrorism" was much more dangerous than "hypothetical terrorism." The party's State secretary D Pandian told reporters here that "the eviction of Tamils is a barbaric act. The island government does not have the locus standi to evict them since they are citizens of Sri Lanka." more..

Who is Gotabhaya to make such attacks?: UNP

June 14 (DM) The UNP yesterday took Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to task for his critical comments about the international community, saying he was neither the executive President nor a responsible person from the legislature to make the kind of statement he had made. The main Opposition UNP was reacting to Mr. Rajapaksa’s criticism aimed at the international community including the European Union, the US and Britain whom he accused of trying to bully Sri Lanka, more..

DNA test reveals, not Fr. Brown or his aide

June 14 (DM) The DNA analysis into the part of a body found off Pungkudutheevu has confirmed that the human remains are not of either disappeared Rev. Father Jim Brown or his aide Vincent Vimalathas as alleged earlier, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday. Following a court order, a senior Professor in Forensic Medicine of the University of Colombo, the Molecular Medicine Unit of the University of Kelaniya conducted a DNA analysis in this regard and presented its report to the Magistrate of Kayts. more..

Sri Lanka's construction hardware firms feel price pressure

June 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's building material makers are considering a round of price increases with a depreciating rupee hitting production costs and higher interest hurting profits, officials said. "We can see that our business is in a difficult position," Gerald de Saram, Managing Director, Chemical Industries Colombo said. "Daily there are price hikes and we have to import almost all the raw material we need." more..

Sri Lanka's largest cash call oversubscribed

June 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's biggest mobile phone company, Dialog Telekom, said Thursday its 15.5 billion rupee cash call had recieved applications for double its value. Dialog’s parent Telekom Malaysia had bought in full its entitlement under the rights issue, spending 13 billion rupees, a company statement said. The inward foreign currency remittances for the rights issue, the largest equity raising executed in the island's capital market, have exceeded 130 million US dollars, it said. more..

The government defends itself by attacking the international community

June 14 (AN) Sri Lanka’s government has launched a bitter attack on the International community’s criticism of recent violations of human rights in the country, fuelled by reports of the forced deportation of Tamils from the capital Colombo, which the government claims was motivated by “security reasons”. In a BBC interview the Minister for Defence, Gotabaya Rajpakse, declared that the reports of deteriorating human rights conditions in the country were unfounded and that they were being used by world powers to “bully” Colombo. more..

'Rebels should return to negotiating table'

June 14 (KH) Clashes between Sri Lankan government troops and separatist rebels are an almost daily occurrence, but negotiations really are the only solution, says the country's foreign minister. "The terrorists should return back to the negotiating table. We are ready to talk tomorrow because we want peace in Sri Lanka, and we want a political process. We don't want temporary resolutions, we want a dialogue towards accomplishing sustainable peace," more..

Minister calls Prabhakaran 'as witness'

June 14 (BBC) A senior cabinet minister in the Sri Lankan government called upon Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran to reveal whether the president provided them with funds worth billions. Chief government whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said in Colombo on Wednesday that the government will initiate investigations "if the LTTE claims that Mahinda Rajapaksa provided 15 billion Rupees as alleged by Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi and Tiran Alles". more..

Sri Lanka slums to get facelift with UN, private sector help

June 14 (LBO) The United Nations Habitat section has teamed up with Sri Lanka's urban development ministry to improve living conditions of low income families living in the capital city's slums. The program was launched by the UN Human Settlement Program with the help of Ministry of Urban Development and Emerging Markets Group (EMG) in Sri Lanka on Thursday. more..

Filipino aid worker shot by navy in apparent misunderstanding

June 14 (AP) A Filipino aid worker was shot and wounded by navy troops after he strayed too close to a naval camp in eastern Sri Lanka where security forces are battling Tamil Tiger rebels, the military said Thursday. The Mercy Corps worker, Antonio Villamor, was walking at night near a naval camp north of the port town of Trincomalee, despite warnings to the public to stay away, said Brig. Gen. Prasad Samarasinghe. more..

Sri Lanka rebels planning attack on Colombo port: report

June 14 (AFP) Sri Lankan police have uncovered a plan by Tamil Tiger rebels to launch a suicide attack against the country's main sea port in the capital, a report said Thursday quoting police investigators. The LTTE were ready to launch sea-borne attacks against Colombo harbour, which they had failed to attack on at least two previous occasions, the privately-run Sirasa channel said. more..

Court blocks Japan's NTT from selling stake in Sri Lanka Telecom

June 14 (AFX) Sri Lanka's Supreme Court halted Japan's Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) from selling shares in the island's main telecom company pending a corruption probe. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Sarath Silva suspended the proposed sale to Global Telecom Holdings, a unit of Malaysia's Usaha Tegas Sdn, and set a new hearing date for Sept 17. "This type of transaction must have a high degree of transparency," the chief justice said, more..

UN pressures LTTE to show progress on child rights issues

June 15 (TN) The UN Security Council’s Working Group on Children in Armed Conflict said that Liberation Tigers and the Karuna group "continue to recruit and use child soldiers and commit serious violations of children’s rights," and in a statement urged the LTTE "to proceed immediately, in a transparent manner, to return the children to their families, to respect the neutrality of schools and to permit access to humanitarian actors in zones that are under its control." more..

New Tech alums aid Sri Lankan villages

June 15 (NVR) In 2004, Nick Batter and Cory Hoover took their diplomas from Napa’s New Technology High School and headed for college. It might have been a typical year of freshman fun, until the devastating December tsunami struck South Asia. Reports of widespread destruction on the Indian Ocean island of Sri Lanka moved Batter, Hoover and Gereon Yee — all friends from Sonoma High School — to action. more..

Sri Lanka trade deficit expands in April but BOP steady

June 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka's exports grew 11.5 percent and imports by 7.4 percent in the first four months of 2007, keeping the trade deficit at last year's level, but the gap in the month of April itself widened, the Central Bank said. In April exports grew 6.8 percent to 535 million dollars, slower than the 22 percent spurt seen in March while imports surged 19.7 percent to 927 million dollars expanding the April deficit by 43.5 percent to 391 million dollars. more..

Do not harass Sri Lankan: HC

June 15 (CO) Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has directed Tuticorin police not to harass a petitioner whose citizenship was under question, as the Centre was yet to determine whether he was an Indian or Sri Lankan. Disposing a Writ Petition filed by M M Mohideen Iqbal, Justice K Chandru said as the petitioner claimed that he was an Indian citizen and a final decision had not been taken, the police should not harass him. more..

Trevor Bayliss to be the new coach of Sri Lanka

June 15 (CI) In a surprise move Sri Lanka Cricket appointed Trevor Bayliss as the new coach of Sri Lanka yesterday. Bayliss was in Colombo for an interview and Sri Lanka Cricket president Jayantha Dharmadasa said that he made such an impactful presentation that they had no hesitation in contracting him as the next coach. more..

Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Crisis

June 15 (ICG) The resumption of war between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE has been accompanied by widespread human rights abuses by both sides. While the LTTE has continued its deliberately provocative attacks on the military and Sinhalese civilians as well as its violent repression of Tamil dissenters and forced recruitment of both adults and children, the government is using extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances as part of a brutal counter-insurgency campaign. more..

Graduate profiles: Kenny Chandrasekera

June 15 (NA) Kenny Chandrasekera is a normal American kid. He's an Eagle Scout, and he has a favorite wooden bat that he's practiced with for years. But the bat is for cricket, not baseball, and Kenny is not an American citizen - he's still Sri Lankan, although he got his green card as a sophomore at Marin Catholic. “I guess I am Americanized,” he said. “I'm definitely different from a Sri Lankan kid my age who lives in Sri Lanka.” more..

President must invite international human rights field operation

June 15 (AI) President Mahinda Rajapakse, as Head of State, must take personal initiative to end the human rights crisis in Sri Lanka, said Amnesty International's Secretary General Irene Khan, after a meeting with President Rajapakse today. Ms Khan urged President Rajapakse to use his executive power to invite the United Nations to set up a strong human rights field operation in Sri Lanka to investigate and verify serious human rights abuses committed by all sides, throughout the country. more..

Sri Lanka tea strike prunes profits at Maskeliya Plantations

June 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Maskeliya Plantations, which produces some of the island's best high grown teas, has reported a sharp fall in profits following a strike last year. Profit after tax fell 91 percent to 11.3 million rupees in the financial year ended March 31, 2007 from 138 million rupees the year before. Turnover was virtually stagnant at 1.9 billion rupees, mainly because of higher auction prices more..

India tightens surveillance along south coast

June 15 (DNA) India has mounted the tightest ever surveillance along the southern coast after Intelligence reports of a probable attack by the air and naval wings of the LTTE on a few Sri Lankan camps close to the Indian border. “There are reasons to believe that the LTTE is planning a coordinated attack on some Sri Lankan camps. Some of the targets in Sri Lanka are too close for our comfort,” an Intelligence source told DNA. more..

Red Cross / Red Crescent officials meet with Sri Lankan president in Geneva

June 15 (ICRC) Senior officials of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement met in Geneva this morning with the president of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapakse, to seek information on action taken by the Sri Lankan authorities after the murder of two staff members of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society earlier this month. The meeting was organized at Mr Rajapakse's request. more..

Mihin Lanka targets South Indian cities

June 15 (Gulf) A new Sri Lankan airline said it would offer the cheapest fares from Dubai to South Indian cities, if it wins Indian approval this summer. Mihin Lanka, which owns just two aircraft, an Airbus A320 and A321, began daily flights to Dubai in April from the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo. The budget carrier, which distinguishes itself from other no-frills airlines by offering an in-flight meal, said it is awaiting approval from the Indian government to fly to two cities in Tiruvanandapuram and Trichi. more..

Sri Lanka Navy arrests rebels in north

June 15 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan Navy said Thursday that at least five members of the rebel LTTE had been arrested for transporting cement for the LTTE off the northern coast. Three boats with five people onboard were detected at Pesalai in the north Wednesday evening and they were carrying cement to the rebel held areas, a Naval spokesman said. Each of the three boats had 10 bags of 50kg cement at the time of arrest, the Navy said. more..

World Bank Powers Renewable Energy

June 15 (WB) The World Bank today approved additional financing of US$40 million credit to strengthen the Government of Sri Lanka’s efforts to bring electricity to remote rural communities and promote private sector power generation from renewable energy sources in urban areas. Expressing confidence that the additional financing will scale up the project, Naoko Ishii, World Bank Country Director said “Over the past four years, more..

First Sri Lankan Buddhist mission to Germany 1957

June 15 (AT) Fifty years ago today (June 15) a unique and unshakable bond was forged between Sri Lankan and German Buddhists. On that day three scholar monks set off on a Dharmaduta mission to Germany. Leading the delegation was the Venerable Soma Thera. The other two bhikkus were Venerable Kheminda and Venerable Vinitha. They formed the first permanent Theravada Buddhist mission in that country, marking an epochal event in history of Buddhism. more..

Sri Lanka Human Rights War

June 15 (AT) On June 7, 2006 Colombo police sent 376 Tamils, including 85 women, from Colombo to their in the north and east because they could not provide "valid reasons" for being in Colombo. The police action ostensibly carried out for 'security reasons,' added yet another dimension to the woes of Tamil citizens who have become the pawns in the war going on in Sri Lanka. Their 'sins' were that they were Tamils, unemployed, and citizens from the northern and eastern part of the country. more..

Sri Lanka downturn cushioned by Maldives profits of top leisure firms

June 15 (LBO) Two of Sri Lanka's leisure sector players have managed to cushion a downturn in tourism on the island, with profits from resorts they own in the Maldives. John Keells Holdings, one of the biggest capitalised firms in the Colombo bourse, and Aitken Spence, have been expanding in to the Maldive Islands in recent years. more..

SriLankan Airlines awarded prestigious Imperial Mark for excellence

June 15 (TBB) SriLankan Airlines has become the only airline in Asia to be awarded the prestigious Imperial Mark, a global accolade of excellence in recognition of its exceptional levels of service and quality. SriLankan joins the ranks of prestigious companies that have been awarded the Imperial Mark, which include exclusive global brands such as Omega watches, Clive Christian perfumes, and Tiffany & Co. of New York. more..

Armed group forcibly takes away journalist Parameshwari's passport & ID

June 15 (LeN) An armed group has forcibly taken away the passport and the national identity card of Journalist of the Maubima news paper Parameshwari, at the Borella underground tunnel this afternoon. According to what Parameshwari told 'LeN' two armed persons in casual clothing have told her passport and identity card needs to be checked since she carries hoax ones at around 10:30 this morning. more..

Investigate about the Minister also- Chief Magistrate

June 15 (LeN) Colombo Chief Magistrate Sarojani Kusala Weerawardena ordered the CID yesterday to look in to the conduct of the relevant minister as well, while investigating the Mavilaru compensation fraud case. At the time of the fraud the subject minister was S.M. Chandrasena who is now a Nation Building Minister. Earlier the CID had plans of questioning minister Chandrasena but it did not materialize. more..

Judiciary last bastion to protect citizen's rights

June 15 (LeN) Mr. Romesh de Silva President's counsel in the course of making submissions before the Chief Magistrates Court stated that he is appearing yesterday because the civil liberties of a citizen as guaranteed by the Constitution of the country are affected. He went on to state that today it was that of the accused and tomorrow it may be his rights that are similarly affected and that it is important that such rights are safeguarded at all times and in all circumstances. more..

Lankan students around the world write to Mahinda

June 15 (ISL) We, the students and youth of the international community, are deeply concerned about the rapid deterioration of political and democratic rights of the people of Sri Lanka and the steady militarization of the Sri Lankan society. The escalation of military attacks, in addition to recent abductions and killings of civilians, support the widely held theory that the Ceasefire Agreement, signed by the Government and the LTTE, has been abandoned. more..

Sri Lanka to light up rural homes with renewable energy

June 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka will be able to light up 60,000 rural homes and also connect new private-sector renewable energy to the urban power grid with a new World Bank credit, the multilateral lender said. Only three-fourths of households in Sri Lanka have grid-connected power and it is too expensive for the cash-strapped utility to electrify remote villages, though most rural areas have been given power. more..

Sri Lanka offers rural patients remote medical treatment through broadband link

June 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka has equipped a rural hospital with computer facilities and a broadband link to offer patients remote consultation, diagnosis, and treatment through telemedicine, the government information technology agency ICTA said Friday. The project in Kurunegala, in the island's north-central region, was launched under the Information and Communication Technology Agency’s 'Nenasala' program of ICT centres in partnership with the Human Genetics Unit of the Colombo University medical faculty. more..

President to address the ILO conference today

June 15 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will deliver a special address at the 96th International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Conference today (15) at Geneva, Switzerland. He has been invited to be presented as the chief guest of the meeting. President Rajapaksa arrived at Geneva, Switzerland yesterday to participate the 96th Session of the ILO Conference. more..

WHO introduces new set of rules to control epidemic outbreaks

June 15 (GDI) The World Health Organization (WHO) introduces new international health regulations which will be applicable and effective to all WHO member countries in the world. The revised International Health Regulations (IHR) entres into force from 15 June. The Regulations consist of a comprehensive and tested set of rules and procedures which will help to make the world more secure from threats to global health. more..

UN appreciation for government’s efforts to protect human rights

June 15 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s and his Government’s actions to preserve the human rights amidst the heightened acts of terrorism, were highly appreciated by the United Nation’s (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Louis Arbour. President Rajapaksa, who is currently visiting Geneva, Switzerland to attend the 96th International Labour Organisation’s Conference, conducted a discussion with Ms. Arbour yesterday (14). more..

Kariyawasam’s curries

June 15 (NIP) He has come all the way from Sri Lanka to tickle the Kochi palate. Chef de-partie of Taj Exotica, Bentota, Kariyawasam Majuwana Gamage Mahinda Lal Dias is busy churning out recipes for the Sri Lankan Food Festival that’s drawing many people to Taj Malabar. But this is not his first visit to the city. Kariyawasam was at the Taj Malabar two years ago making every tongue crave for more of his lip-smacking preparations. No wonder he is back with more new fares up his sleeve. more..

No substitute for negotiated peace

June 15 (ANN) The government has been attempting an impossible repair job after the fiasco of the forced eviction of Tamil citizens from Colombo. The President has ordered the Police to submit a report to him within a week. By the time this column appears, that week would have passed. The Prime Minister has expressed regrets saying that this expulsion order, along with disappearances, abductions and killings had brought the government into disrepute. more..

Gotabhaya Rajapakse tells NYT: Military has been ordered to kill Prabhakaran

June 15 (LNP) The Sri Lankan military has been ordered to kill Velupillai Prabhakaran and finish off the LTTE once and for all, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse has disclosed. This is perhaps for the first time in over a quarter century that an important Sri Lankan government functionary has openly admitted that the military has actually been ordered to kill the founder of the LTTE. more..

Lankans sentenced to death

June 15 (LNP) Two Sri Lankans and an Indian were convicted of the murder of an Arabian woman in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia while attempting to rob her of her jewellery. They were sentenced to death by Jeddah Courts. Five other Sri Lankans were sentenced to five years imprisonment and 500 lashes with the whip during their period of imprisonment. These crimes had been committed in April 2006 in the Rajuda area of Jeddah. more..

Dhanapala speaks on peace at book launch

June 15 (LNP) Former Secretary General of the Secretariat for Coordinating Peace Process (SCOPP), Jayantha Dhanapala, said yesterday that time and circumstances would eventually lead the LTTE Leader, Prabahakaran, to change from being a ruthless terrorist to go to the negotiating table. Dhanapala made this point at the launch of the book `Negotiating with LTTE` by Former Secretary General of SCOPP, John Goonaratne at the Mahaweli Centre yesterday. more..

Ruling party bigwig under scrutiny over Mavilaru compensation

June 15 (LNP) A powerful ruling party politician, from the Anuradhapura district, is under scrutiny over the disbursement of compensation to Mavilaru farmers who were affected by the closure of the anicut by the LTTE. Nearly Rs. 7 million has been disbursed fraudently, the head of the investigating team said. The special team, appointed by the government to investigate irregularities and malpractices in the disbursement of compensation, yesterday recorded statements from a large number of victims. more..

Tighter gun control laws soon

June 15 (SAMN) The Government will shortly bring in amendments to the Firearms Ordinance to regulate the possession and use of firearms. Enhanced penalties will be introduced for the unlawful and unauthorised possession of firearms while the use of firearms for sports and new varieties of firearms will also be strictly regulated. Cabinet Spokesman Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said the amendments aimed at updating the existing law on firearms, received Cabinet approval on Wednesday. more..

No eyewash: ‘Sorry’ the official word

June 15 (SAMN) Amidst confusion of tears and sneers over last week’s controversial eviction of Tamils from Colombo, Cabinet spokesman Anura Priyadharsana Yapa Thursday gave a degree of clarity to the chaos by announcing that Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka’s expression of regret over the incident was the official government position. “What the Prime Minister said is the official stand of the government on the issue and there will be no change in it,” Minister Yapa told the media more..