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JVP to veto supplementary estimate

June 16 (SAMN) JVP politburo has instructed its parliamentary group to vote against the supplementary estimate of Rs 65,756,100/= allotted for seven newly set up ministries to be presented in Parliament next Tuesday(19), party sources said. "This Government boasts of the world’s biggest Cabinet while the masses are suffering and shouldering its cost. These allocations had not been in the budget proposals for this year and more..

Religious leaders join hands against lawlessness

June 16 (TW) Religious leaders yesterday gathered at the Narahenpita Abeyramaya Temple and expressed condemnation over the prevailing situation. They said that they would protest to President Mahinda Rajapakse and if the present trend of displacements, abductions and murder of innocent civilians continue they would be compelled to resort to an organized form of protest. more..

Is an identity crisis hampering a political solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka?

June 16 (AT) For a majority of citizens, being Sri Lankan is synonymous with being Sinhalese, and other ethnic groups are accommodated rather than accepted as equals. They are there at the behest of the generosity of the Sinhalese, not because they have an equal right to everything that a Sinhala person enjoys as a right. For this majority, Sri Lanka is Sinhala Nation and its deterministic values are Sinhala values, whatever they are. more..

Security beefed up in Sri Lankan capital

June 16 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan police has intensified security measures in the capital Colombo, officials said Saturday. Rohan Abeywardena, deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Colombo security, said that special plans are underway to nab possible infiltration by LTTE rebels to carry out attacks in the city. "This would mean sudden checks on vehicles and people entering the city with additional road check points being placed", Abeywardena said. more..

Narayan’s doctrine untenable and undiplomatic – G.Parthasarathy

June 16 (AT) One of India’s leading former diplomats who have dealt in Indo-Lankan matters in the past has called India’s new Sri Lankan policy undiplomatic and untenable and bluntly questioned the Manmohan Singh government under what international treaty Sri Lanka is obliged to buy weapons only from India. Former Indian diplomat G.Parthasarathi attacked Indian National Security Advisor M.K. Narayan for his new policy of bullying Sri Lanka more..

‘Introducing more leisure yachts will be a money spinner’

June 16 (DN) Sri Lanka should look to woo leisure yachts to sail to the country said the Minister of Fisheries Felix Perera. This concept is widely used in the Maldives. Minister speaking to the Daily News after launching the region’s first fisheries boat powered by fuel and sail at the Mirissa harbour said that over 500 luxury yachts go to the Maldives every month very close to this area. more..

No imminent bus fare hike

June 16 (DN) Private bus operators yesterday called upon transport authorities to delay the bus fare hike scheduled for next month until fare anomalies on all bus routes are rectified. Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) Chairman Gemunu Wijeratne told the media that they will request the Transport Ministry to defer this year’s fare increase until the completion of the programme to address fare anomalies on bus routes. more..

Primary classes will not be scrapped: Govt.

June 16 (DM) Amidst mounting pressure by past pupils’ associations and parents’ organizations against the government’s proposed move to scrap primary classes from national schools, the Education Ministry yesterday denied such moves and assured no such decision had been taken to that effect. Minister Susil Premajayantha said the government would not also abolish the system of admitting students to grade one classes at national schools according to slots allocated on religious grounds. more..

Karu wants stop to extravagant spending

June 16 (DM) Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister Karu Jayasuriya has directed all his ministry officials to avoid extravagant spending on state functions organized by the ministry. Minister Jayasuriya has directed his secretary to inform District and Divisional Secretaries to refrain from huge spending at ministerial functions. The circular also advised officials to desist from securing the participation of school children at state functions on week days more..

Fighting in northern Sri Lanka kills 2 separatist rebels, military says

June 16 (AP) Soldiers and Tamil Tiger rebels clashed in Sri Lanka's north, leaving at least two guerrillas dead, the military said Saturday — a day after the country's president met a Norwegian peace broker in Geneva to discuss the stalled peace process. Fighting erupted Friday in Muhamalai and Nagarkovil villages, along a defense line separating government-held and rebel-held territories in the island's restive north, more..

Rushed resettlement causing problems in Vaharai

June 16 (HT) The resettlement of 15,000 Sri Lankan Tamil war refugees in Vaharai, 65 km north of Batticaloa town in Eastern Sri Lanka, appears to have been done without adequate planning and preparation. After a visit to the site earlier this week, one felt that it would have been prudent for the government to have waited until the basic infrastructure in terms of housing, sanitation, water supply and power was created before the refugees were brought back. more..

Ethnic war ramps up in Sri Lanka

June 16 (WT) The bitter ethnic war that has ravaged Sri Lanka for 25 years has entered a new and terrible phase. Since 1983, Sri Lanka's government, which represents the majority community, Sinhalese and Buddhist, has been battling the LTTE, which is seeking a homeland in the north and east for the Hindu and Tamil minority. A cease-fire, brokered by Norway in 2002, promised an end to the violence that has claimed at least 70,000 lives. more..

President meets Norwegian peace broker as religious leaders condemn violence

June 16 (AP) The Sri Lankan president met with a Norwegian peace broker in Geneva on Friday to discuss the worsening conflict as religious leaders in Colombo denounced recent human rights violations. President Mahinda Rajapakse on Friday met with Erik Solheim, the Norwegian who helped broker a 2002 cease-fire that halted nearly two decades of fighting, Norwegian Embassy spokesman Erik Nurnberg said. more..

Ethnic Cleansing By Decree: The Evicted Tamils of Trincomalee

June 17 (TW) The Mahinda Rajapakse administration issued an Extraodinary Gazette notification today that Mutur East and Sampur are now declared a High Security Zone. It announced a Special Economic Zone in the area under the Board of Investment Law. This would have a land area of 675 square kilometers (260.5 square miles). The 51,450 Tamils who fled Mutur East and Sampur late last year would not be allowed to return. more..

Houses for the Poorest of the Poor? NO

June 17 (TW) When I was in Sri Lanka last year, I observed apartments being built - high rise and skyscrapers - in the City of Colombo and its suburbs. These apartments are built for the “new rich” people over the last decade due to the mismanagement of the country by governments past and present. These apartments attract a monthly rental in excess of Rs. 50,000. 1 ask the question as to who can pay such high rents. The answer is simple: “only the rich”. more..

Sri Lanka rains may allow power utility to avoid blackouts

June 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's power utility has increased its hydro storage after heavy rains in the last three days, and if the trend continues it may be able to avoid power cuts in the immediate future, LBO learns. The Ceylon Electricity Board warned that power cuts were imminent after monsoon rains were delayed and hydro storage fell to the equivalent of 450 million units (GigaWatt hours) of electricity. more..

ICJ asks President to consider establishment of HR field operation

June 17 (TW) Meeting with the President of Sri Lanka yesterday, the Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) expressed serious concern about the grave human rights situation in Sri Lanka, including, renewed patterns of enforced disappearances and targeted killings of civilians, as well as shrinking space for civil society. more..

Monstrous Mistakes

June 17 (AT) Is it a case of the gods driving insane, those they wish to destroy? Is there any other possible explanation for such inexplicable errors? The pro-Tiger Tamilnet accorded it much prominence – and little wonder. A Tiger propagandist could not have done a better job for the LTTE than Gotabhaya Rajapakse, Defence Secretary and Presidential sibling, did, with his recent BBC interview. more..

LTTE has found a new center of power in enigmatic Kanimozhi

June 17 (AT) Opposition political forces in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu say with the advent of Kanimozhi , the favorite daughter of Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) patriarch Muthuvel Karunanidhi as a Rajya Sabha or Upper House member of the Indian Parliament the Sri Lankan terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has found a friendly center of power in New Delhi. more..

Loony Leftists a source of amusement

June 17 (AT) Two of the responses to the June 16 "Asian Tribune" report, `Heavy fighting continues in the North-East of Sri Lanka,' by Sarath Kumara alleges that he is either a hard-core LTTEer writing under a Sinhela a sounding pseudonym or a LTTE payroller. I think he is neither but a genuine Tiger sympathizer – an activist of the loony `Left.' One of those Marxist nuts still patiently waiting for the world revolution and the dawn of the classless society! more..

Did America attack Iraq because of human rights violations- SLG questions British High Commissioner

June 17 (LT) Barrister S.L. Gunasekara questioned British High Commissioner whether the western countries led by America attacked Iraq because there were human rights violations in that country. Mr. Gunasekara thus questioned the British High Commissioner Mr. Dominic Wilcot after he delivered a lecture at a seminar organized by the NGO named “Eekshi”. more..

Death of The electronic and IT Specialist who dead in Israel is Suspicious

June 17 (LT) Death of The electronic and Information Technology expert Mr. Amith Indika Munindradasa who died in Israel is spurious his relatives said He has gone to Israel on last 7th with representatives of the Sri lanka Army for the purchase of Weapons and he dead there on the 12th after he the got pneumonia. His relatives who are Suspicious of his death say that he did not suffer from any illness before he left for Israel and more..

Rajapaksa, Solheim hold talks

June 17 (Hindu) Amid growing international pressure to halt human rights violations and put the peace process back on track, Norwegian peace facilitator Erik Solheim called on Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday in Geneva for a "discussion on the current situation" in the island. Mr. Rajapaksa is currently in Geneva to attend the 96th International Labour Organisation (ILO) conference, where he delivered the keynote address on Friday. more..

Two alumni from opposite sides of Sri Lanka's conflict now friends

June 17 (RI) When the package arrived at Thevananth Thevanayagam's office in Jaffna, it seemed like a miracle. It contained a month's supply of dry milk for his two young children, and a potential lifesaving medicine to help cure them from Chikungunya fever, a disease that causes very high fevers and is especially dangerous for the young. But the real miracle was that the parcel's special air delivery was arranged by the man he had spent, hours, days, and weeks fiercely arguing with about the longstanding conflict in their native Sri Lanka. more..

'Some people in Sri Lanakan security forces could be involved abductions'

June 17 (LeN) Top military official and Jaffna commander, Maj. Gen. G. A. Chandrasiri admitted that some people in Sri Lanakan security forces could be involved abductions in Jaffna. General Chandasiri disclosed his fact when he was interviewed by New York Times reporter Somini Sengupta. Her news feature published on Friday New York Times front page as "Sri Lanka's Scars Trace Lines of War Without End" . more..

The Merchants of Death

June 17 (ISL) Technically, nobody should want to have war. War is so horrendous and so devastating that nobody in their right minds would desire it. But unfortunately, this is not the case. There are those who benefit from war and make enormous amounts of money. They are called the Merchants of Death. These are arms dealers who make exorbitant sums of money through the legal and illegal manufacture and sale of weapons, mainly small arms. They often sell arms to both sides in a conflict. more..

Atapattu pulls out of Bangladesh series

June 17 (CI) Former Sri Lanka captain and opening batsman Marvan Atapattu has pulled out of the upcoming Test series against Bangladesh citing personal commitments. Atapattu, 36 was named in the Test squad of 15 picked on June 13 for the three matches against Bangladesh beginning on June 25. Kanagan Mathivanan, the Sri Lanka Cricket secretary, said that the board had received a letter from Atapattu that due to commitments he was unavailable for the Bangladesh series. more..

Ten commandments to restore peace in Sri Lanka

June 17 (TW) Sri Lanka (known as Ceylon till 1972) has a long and rich history. The island of three main communities – Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim – however, has attracted global attention in recent years, particularly for its deadly ethnic civil war. Sri Lanka, once hoped by the West as a model of democracy, requires political solutions to ease ethnic tensions and to restore the trust of the marginalised minorities. more..

Photo Journal: “Garland making is a sacred service”

June 17 (TW) There are many garland makers along the Galle Road in Bambalapitty near the Hindu temples. Annamalai Navaratnam (50) is one of them. He comes to his small shop in the morning to make garlands along with his two assistants. He is known as “Nava” among his fellow garland makers and customers. Nava has been making garlands for the past 25 years. He recalled his memories with a smile. more..

De-merger, district devolution and dislodging the lodgers

June 17 (TW) It is difficult to think of a worse state action than the senseless and insensitive eviction of 376 subaltern Tamils from their wretched lodges in Colombo. But it should not be difficult to see that the eviction episode has exposed the utter inability of the present government to do anything right. Everything that was started after the 2005 election has misfired, a steady progression from one blunder to another, leaving the Rajpakse presidency – for all intents and purposes, moral as well as material – a lame duck regime. more..

Fresh initiatives to stabilise CFA

June 17 (LNP) The representatives of the Co-Chair countries dealing with the Sri Lankan peace process are expected to gather at the Norwegian capital Oslo this week to discuss the current state of the Ceasefire Agreement in Sri Lanka (CFA). The Co-Chair countries are expected to come up with fresh initiatives in stabilising the CFA in Sri Lanka which is in a weak state, informed sources said. more..

We have to destroy common enemy, asserts Defence Secy.

June 17 (LNP) Reiterating his commitment to bring the war on LTTE terrorism to a successful conclusion, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse yesterday declared that President Mahinda Rajapakse was solidly behind the military effort. There is absolutely no dispute over the need to defeat the LTTE militarily, he said, asserting that a halt to operations would only give the LTTE an opportunity to regroup again. more..

Sri Lanka moving towards regional gem hub status

June 17 (LNP) Sri Lanka is reaching out towards regional gem hub status behind Bangkok by capitalizing on country`s gem wealth, ability in value addition and its geographical location, Entreprise Development Minister Mano Wijeratne said last week. `We cannot overtake Bangkok but we can be next in line in this part of the world by liberalizing government policy (Regulations) on the gem trade`, he noted. more..

Click on to Lanka`s bloggers

June 17 (LNP) They rant and rave, they wax lyrical, they crack each other up they spout poetry, abuse and sympathy they analyse politics, plays and personal problems they post videos, photographs and racy limericks. Acclamations and insults are exchanged under anonymous and unlikely pseudonyms as more and more people join the fray, choosing sides, forming allies. The keyboards click, the screens flicker, as comment after comment follows post after post. more..

Travel embargo on Gotabhaya

June 17 (SAMN) Sri Lanka’s controversial defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is facing a travel embargo along with other officials for allegedly committing human rights violations and abductions in the country. Rajapaksa also faces the threat of being turned back at international airports in some Western countries for admitting the eviction of Tamils from Colombo and the rampant abductions taking place in the country, which is a ‘human rights violation’, informed sources said. more..

Population will decline after 2040

June 17 (SAMN) Sri Lanka’s population will decline after 2040, primarily due to a significantly low level of fertility, a think-tank has warned. Research by the Institute of Policy Studies has revealed that Sri Lanka’s population which is around 20 million now will reach 20.1 million by 2011 and could attain its peak of 21.1 million in 2031. According to analysts, it is not only Sri Lanka’s fast aging population that authorities should be mindful of but the continuing decline in the Total Fertility Rate (TFR). more..

BIA to be open at night, soon

June 17 (SAMN) The government has decided to reopen the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) at night, after the delivery of sophisticated defence equipment to prevent LTTE air strikes in the future. The defence establishment will soon take delivery of 3D radars which will be able to detect low-flying Tiger craft, defence officials said. The radars are to arrive in Sri Lanka shortly, after which BIA will be open for air traffic at night. more..

Milk to students at reasonable prices

June 17 (SAMN) Consumer Affairs and Cooperatives Minister Bandula Gunawardena is planning to provide milk and related products to school children at reasonable prices to overcome financial difficulties in purchasing imported milk powder which is beyond the reach of the poor. ‘Milk Super’, a new concept under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Cooperatives to promote fresh milk and related products will be started in 100 schools this year, more..

Find remedies or else no coconuts by 2010

June 17 (SO) The Coconut Growers Association of Sri Lanka(CGA) warns that there won't be coconuts even for domestic consumption by 2010 unless suitable remedies are found to arrest the declining trend in the national production of coconuts. President CGA, Nimal Samarakkody said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has a vision and wants to develop the coconut industry. more..

Once a week ban on light vehicles, best recourse

June 17 (SO) Public sector executive, Ashok Witharana was confident that fuel consumption could be drastically cut down if a new vehicular system is introduced here like in some countries. "As there is no proper system, all types of heavy as well as light vehicles move along the same lane," "This situation creates not only traffic jams, but also wastage of fuel,". more..

Sri Lanka insurance industry worried over new regulation

June 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's insurance industry has voiced concern over a recent proposal by regulators to transfer the Strike, Riot, Civil Commotion and Terrorism Fund to the National Insurance Trust Fund. The industry is asking the government to relax the proposal for compulsory ceding of re-insurance premiums, said Marina Tharmaratnam, CEO of Union Assurance. The compulsory nature of the proposal, she added, disturbs the industry. more..

Bangladesh in Sri Lanka despite security fears

June 17 (AFP) Bangladesh's national cricket team arrived in Sri Lanka on Sunday for three Test matches and three one-day internationals despite heightened fears of Tamil Tiger bomb attacks, officials said. The Sri Lankan government immediately hailed the visit as a sign of confidence in the island's security arrangements. "The Bangladeshi government has accepted our security guarantees making the tour possible," more..

Rajapaksa ticks off US

June 17 (NS) The US Embassy in Colombo is reported to be very displeased by the comments made by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa during an interview with Reuters and the BBC last week. “The embassy is very displeased by the remarks, but they also realise that he is famous for making such unguarded statements,” one official said on condition of anonymity. more..

PSD clips veteran pilot’s wings

June 17 (NS) The Presidential Security Division (PSD) yesterday prevented an experienced SriLankan Airlines pilot from flying President Mahinda Rajapaksa back to Colombo after his visit to Geneva, The Nation learns. The PSD insisted that Head of SriLankan’s Ground and Air Safety Unit and pilot with 14 years experience, Sri Segaram, could not fly President Rajapaksa because he did not have ‘security clearance’. more..

JVP to take COPE culprits to courts

June 17 (NS) The JVP is set to take legal action against the alleged fraudsters including present government ministers and public officials who were named in the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) report which revealed misappropriation of public funds amounting to a whopping Rs. 150 billion in 26 state institutions. A JVP spokesman told The Nation that his party will shortly file a court case in the hope of bringing the perpetrators to book. more..

SLMC sets up fact finding mission to challenge Govt.

June 17 (NS) The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has appointed a Fact Finding Mission to collect more details of those who are behind the series of abductions that is taking place in the country. The objective of the mission is to collect more data and then challenge President Rajapakse with the unearthed facts. The government last week discounted claims by the Muslims that the members of their community became the latest target of the abductors. more..

Co-chairs to tighten screws on Lanka

June 17 (ST) The four Co-chairs meeting in Oslo next week are to consider the next step in the face of Sri Lanka’s refusal to bow to western pressure to halt the war, allow international monitors to oversee human rights obligations and to be cowed by cuts in western aid. Norway, which is calling the meeting, is expected to present a rather pessimistic report to its other three partners following Minister Erik Solheim’s meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Geneva and more..

Tide turning against royal party

June 17 (ST) Though the incident itself faded from the public domain almost as suddenly as it has occurred, last Monday's 'ambush' of Irrigation, Ports and Civil Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa was a very serious political development. Already, Rajapaksa the elder -- the eldest of the siblings running the country -- a quiet and retiring type had been thrust into the political controversy by his brother Rajapaksa the Second (Mahinda) by making him Minister of Ports and Aviation, a portfolio that has some juicy contracts in the pipeline. more..

Petrol rationing: More corruption, little conservation

June 17 (ST) There are conflicting reports about whether the government intends to control the consumption of petrol or not. Reports that a rationing programme is on the cards has been followed by the Minister of Petroleum and Petroleum Resources saying that there would be a “free flow of fuel.” We are not even sure whether he is the authority deciding the issue. In any case he is referring to the prospect of oil resources in the country in the future, hardly the current situation. more..

SLT in another controversial deal

June 17 (ST) Telecommunication trade unions are accusing the NTT-controlled management of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) of making a series of controversial decisions even as the Japanese company prepares to give up management control by August. The joint Telecommunication Trade Union Front said hasty decisions to outsource call centres, new recruitment and undue promotions would adversely impact on SLT’s operations. more..