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Housemaid heads back to Sri Lanka

June 17 (GDN) A SRI Lankan housemaid who was rescued from her Bahraini sponsor's allegedly abusive family is set to fly home tomorrow. Ekanayaka Gnanawathie, who is staying in the Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS) shelter for domestic workers, claims she was kicked and dragged by her hair daily by the man's wife and two elder children. more..

Abduction of Muslim traders on rise in Sri Lanka

June 17 (Dawn) Demanding the resignation of Muslim government ministers, the main opposition, the UNP, has criticised the government for not taking action to stop the abduction of Muslim businessmen. Threatening to take up the issue with the diplomats of Muslim countries, UNP parliamentarian Kabir Hashim told a media conference that a large number of Muslim businessmen were leaving the country in fear because of the growing trend of abductions. more..

Indian fishermen attacked by Lankan counterparts

June 17 (PTI) A group of Sri Lankan fishermen this morning hurled five country-made bombs at their Indian counterparts at sea between Dhanushkodi and Katchatheevu and sank a mechanised boat, before hijacking three boats along with 12 fishermen, Tamil Nadu fisheries department officials said. The officials said three fishermen, Father Raju, Susai and Premkumar, were seriously injured in the incident, who later managed to reach Ramanathapuram coast. more..

Despite setback, RSS to continue anti-canal protest

June 17 (IANS) The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Sunday vowed to pursue its campaign against a shipping canal despite realizing that a man who fed it stories of the project's potential damage to a Hindu symbol was a fraud. The RSS, the country's most influential Hindu group, said it would definitely take action against Puneesh Taneja but that would in no way affects its protests against the Sethusamudram project off the coast of Tamil Nadu. more..

Sri Lanka facing attacks, international isolation: analysts

June 17 (AFP) Sri Lanka has vowed to wage more attacks against Tamil rebels but analysts warn it faces the prospect of devastating retaliation and risks international isolation over rising rights abuses. State-run media said last week that Tamil Tiger rebels were preparing for attacks on the capital's harbour, oil storage complex and electricity supply in response to government attacks in the north and east. more..

Calls to end asylum-seeker detention

June 17 (AAP) Australia's newest offshore detention centre will be like a maximum-security jail with a section for children, according to a senior senator. Greens Senator Kerry Nettle told a rally in Melbourne on Sunday marking Refugee Week that she had seen the government's "massive" new centre being built on Christmas Island, which is situated 2,600 kilometres north west of Perth. more..

Sampur HSZ : part of 'development'

June 17 (BBC) The government of Sri Lanka has rejected reports that certain areas in the east has been named as High Securtiy Zones (HSZ). Defence Affairs spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, however admitted that new "development plans" are under consideration for Muttur and Sampur. He also admitted that Sampur and Muttur residents will lose their properties and ancestral lands as a result of the government plans. more..

Sri Lanka in the verge of a massive crisis due to fuel dispute

June 17 (LeN) Officials of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation warn the country might face a severe fuel shortage if the CPC is unable to repay the loans which it has acquired to purchase crude oil, and if the banks stop issuing loans for the purpose. It is being reported that the Electricity board, the Railway Department, the Three armed forces and several others have already purchased oil worth 28,000 million rupees from the CPC and are yet to pay the debts. more..

'While masses endure hardships to eradicate terrorism ministers pilfer public money'

June 18 (LT) While masses bear untold hardships and make sacrifices in order to eradicate terrorism from the country the government has installed hundreds of ministerial portfolios to pilfer public money says JVP Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa. He said this at a special media meeting held in Colombo today. more..

'We do not leave university until problems are solved'

June 18 (LT) Student Union of the Rajarata University says that they will not leave the University premises until solutions to the crises in the university are given. A representative of the Rajarata Student Union said so when inquired by us. Rajarata University has been closed indefinitely has following the tense situation that erupted in the university recently and the students who are evicted from the hostels are staying in the university premises in protest against this decision of the senate. more..

Sri Lankan authorities claim rebel arrests in Colombo

June 18 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan police said Sunday that 28 people were rounded up in an operation to nab Tamil Tiger rebels in the capital Colombo. The move came after the police said it had intensified security measures in the city Saturday. The arrests were made when the police at Welikada, an eastern Colombo suburb, carried out a raid in the area. There were sudden checks on vehicles entering the city, with additional road checks placed. more..

JVP to vote against Mahinda

June 18 (BBC) President Mahinda Rajapaksa's political ally, JVP has decided to vote against the government in a parliamentary vote. JVP says the government is to produce temporary budget of Rs. 6500 million to the parliament as an extra expenditure for the next few months. JVP parliamentary group leader, Wimal Weerawansa, told journalists in Colombo that the party will vote against government's proposal for extra money. more..

Sri Lanka launches last phase of resettlement in Batticaloa

June 18 (Hindu) The Sri Lanka Government announced on Sunday that the "final phase" of the resettlement programme for internally displaced people (IDP) in Batticaloa district was launched on Friday. A report on the Defence Ministry web site quoted Batticaloa Government Agent S. Arunenayagam as saying that 31,047 persons of 8,029 families were to be resettled within a week and the resettlement would be completed by June 20. more..

Mississauga MP calls to suspend aid to Sri Lanka

June 18 (MN) Mississauga East -Cooksville MP Albina Guarnieri is urging the federal government to suspend aid and trade to Sri Lanka. Guarnieri told the MPs in the House of Commons she is upset over the killing of humanitarian workers and bombing of civilians as the Sri Lankan army battles Tamil fighters in a vicious civil war. “It is time for Canada to finally suspend aid and trade until the Sri Lankan government starts respecting the human rights of civilians,” more..

Jaffna Commander disdains false reporting by the New York Times reporter

June 18 (MoD) Security Forces Commander for Jaffna Major General G.A. Chandasiri, vehemently condemned a false news report appeared on a foreign newspaper quoting him saying that certain members of the Security forces are involved in Human Rights violations in Jaffna. Speaking to the, General Chandasiri, said that this was a shameful falsification of facts by the part of the journalist depraving the true spirit of professional journalism. more..

Pictorial: St. Bridget’s Convent holds Walk 2007

June 18 (TW) St. Bridget’s Convent - Gently and Firmly - is the motto of the school. It was started on February 1st 1902.The school has celebrated it’s centenary on February 1 st 2002. It started with 14 students 105 years ago, and now schooling more than 1,000 students. St. Bridget’s Convent has produced many leaders and torchbearers in government, business, the professions, sports and the arts, serving in several communities in Sri Lanka and around the globe; more..

Sri Lanka appoints new committee to examine plantation leases

June 18 (LBO) The government is setting up a new committee to examine the long-term leases of estate lands to the privatized plantations firms, a senior government minister said. Sri Lanka has privatized former government held estates through long-term leases given to more than 20 plantations companies. A new committee would be appointed to re-examine and re-negotiate the leases after a previous one became dysfunctional with the resignation of some members. more..

Tigers flee Thoppigala

June 18 (GDI) Hundreds of Tiger cadres entrapped in the Thoppigala jungles commenced fleeing the area yesterday amidst major assault by the Security Forces on their Beirut base, cutting off all supply routes, Security Forces said. The Security Forces said over 75 Tiger cadres had fled the Thoppigala jungles towards the Wanni taking cover of thick jungles west of Vakarai and south-west of Trikonamadu. more..

Three new bridges for East

June 18 (GDI) The construction of three new bridges connecting Irrakkandy, Puduweikattu and Yanoya areas in the Eastern province at a cost of Rs.1,800 million commenced on Saturday. The proposed bridges will be built on a soft loan granted by the Spanish Government under the "Jathika Saviya" development programme. Work will be completed in one year. more..

Expat Lankans a force to counter LTTE propaganda

June 18 (GDI) Reiterating the Government’s firm commitment towards eradicating terrorism in all its forms, President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Geneva appealed to all Sri Lankans domiciled and employed abroad to take the lead to counter the LTTE’s false and malicious propaganda. President Rajapaksa who met a group of Sri Lankans in Switzerland emphasised the importance of Sri Lankan migrant population’s contribution in portraying the truth to the world. more..

India trade boom boosts Sri Lanka transhipment traffic

June 18 (LBO) South Asia Gateway Terminals (SAGT), Colombo Port's privatised container facility, aims to handle 1.6 million containers by the end of this year, as India's bulging trade volumes increase the flow of cargo through the harbour. SAGT's new chief executive, Steven Edkins, believes Colombo will retain its status as South Asia's transhipment hub despite the expansion and recent cuts in tariffs in Indian ports and direct calls there by shipping lines. more..

Erosion of media freedom and human rights in Sri Lanka under watchdog eye

June 18 (LBO) An international mission by rights bodies will take place later this month to asses the deteriorating media freedoms and human rights in Sri Lanka, the Free Media Movement (FMM) said Monday. FMM said the mission made up of 11 bodies including the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), International Media Support (IMS), International Press Institute (IPI) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) would be in Sri Lanka from June 18 to 23. more..

Sri Lankan firms to showcase products at global SME fair

June 18 (LBO) Malaysia will help 25 top Sri Lankan exporters take part in the global Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) trade fair, giving them vital exposure to buyers and possibly Malaysian funding. The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said it believes that the fair will help local businessmen to develop and promote the Sri Lankan brand. more..

The EPDP delegation had met European Union representatives in Brussels

June 18 (ISL) Although the invitation was extended to the EPDP Secretary General K.N. Douglas Devananda, he was not abe to attend the meeting as he had to accompany the President to Geneva for the ILO conference. Hence Mr. Devananda’s special delagtion lead by his Secretary and EPDP’s political spokesman Mr. S. Thavarasa met the EU representatives in Brussels, the capital of Belgium. more..

News from Vanni: Desperate parents flock to inquire about their children

June 18 (ISL) Seventeen year old Thamilini Sundaravadivel who was forcefully taken away for military training by the LTTE month ago was released in a highly distressed state ten days ago. She was dropped in the village by the LTTE recruiters. Thamilini had walked home and found to be physically weak and highly distressed. Overjoyed family members tried to speak to her but she would not talk and was said to be in a state of depression and was fearing to say anything. more..

Rajapakse siblings and the stupid minister must go

June 18 (ISL) Post and Telecommunications Minister D M Jayaratne's statement that most of the rich persons alleged to have been abducted in recent days have returned home safely without any evidence of having paid ransom or any other demands for their release can only reflect his intellectual debility or he is simply being the mongrel of his master. more..

SL discusses investment ventures with Germany

June 18 (GDI) Visiting Sri Lanka Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Sarath Amunugama discussed the possible economic ventures in Sri Lanka for the German investors with the Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Economic Co-operation and Development in Berlin Mrs Karin Kortmann. During the discussion Minister Amunugama thanked the German government for its continuous assistance in development co-operation and more..

Dairy products at reasonable prices for school children

June 18 (GDI) Milk and several dairy products will be made available to school children at reasonable price levels, under a new concept ‘Super Milk’ that will be will be initially started at 100 schools during this year. Minister of Consumer Affairs and Cooperatives Bandula Gunawardana stated that the Government will be taking this measure with the aim of facilitating the poor who cannot afford to purchase these imported milk powder because of their high price scales. more..

Atapattu could face disciplinary action

June 18 (CI) Marvan Atapattu, the former Sri Lankan captain, could face disciplinary action after pulling out of Sri Lanka's forthcoming series against Bangladesh. Atapattu was recalled to the Test squad for the first time in 18 months but later sent an email to the board expressing his unavailability citing personal commitments. Atapattu, centrally contracted to the board, is currently playing club cricket with Lashings in England. more..

'Govt. burdens the people with its wrong economic policy'

June 18 (LT) The government is burdening the people with its wrong economic policies says National Trade Unions Centre (NTUC). This is more evident by increasing the interest rates for loan schemes for state employees NTUC points out. The loan schemes for state employees had been abandoned due to increase of bank interest rates which was a result of government's monetary crisis. more..

STF Crosses Language Barrier

June 18 (PISL) Religious leaders representing different faiths told SCOPP officials that the language issue had been a serious obstacle to efforts to bring about normalcy in the area, but pointed out that things had changed a lot since August 2006. Today, according to the Inter Religious Organisation for Peace, Batticaloa, people are more comfortable with the STF than before, especially in IDP camps. They attribute this change principally to the fact that they are able to communicate with the STF in their mother tongue. more..

Political solution deadlock worsens problem on Tamil Tigers

June 18 (ANN) The undue delay in finalising a set of political proposals was detrimental to the ongoing military efforts against the LTTE, authoritative sources said. Contrary to claims, the process remained deadlocked with the government yet to decide on devolution proposals, the sources said. A further delay would be catastrophic, sources said, warning that the international community was taking advantage of the inexcusable hold-up of the political process to demand an end to the military campaign. more..

Suicide belts found behind Kovil

June 18 (LNP) The army on Sunday recovered two explosives-packed belts concealed behind a kovil in Waligamam (West). An army headquarters spokesperson said that the recovery was made on a tip-off given by a civilian. Initial inquiries revealed that the device was set to explode if the person wearing it raised his or her hands. According to him the device would have been primarily used by women suicide cadres to target VIPs. The recovery was made at 10.25 am. more..

Sparks fly while Govt. briefs UNHRC

June 18 (LNP) A briefing by a government delegation at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) saw a heated exchange of words between the Ministerial team and NGOs who raised concerns of human rights violations in Sri Lanka, sources who attended the session told the Daily Mirror. Leading NGOs including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and a BBC UN Correspondent questioned the government`s human rights record, the activities of paramilitary groups and the need for an international human rights monitoring mechanism. more..

US$ 1 b boost for power sector

June 18 (LNP) The Government is embarking on a number of massive electricity projects exceeding an investment of US$ 1,000 million over the next few years to avert any power crisis. The biggest project is the coal-fired Norochcholai power plant, an investment of US$ 455 million. `The plant will be fully operational by 2012, adding 900 MW adding to the national grid. The 300 MW first phase will be operational by 2009,` Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne said. more..

All holy hands to oars, please!

June 18 (LNP) Perpetuation of a conflict is inevitable when its resolution is entirely left to the warring parties and the vested interests who step in, masquerading as mediators or facilitators. The parties embroiled in a protracted conflict are naturally driven by maximalism and brinkmanship, which ruin the chances of their reaching a consensus, without which a negotiated settlement is only a pie in the sky. more..

Draft National Policy out, Sports Law to remain

June 18 (LB) Causing outrage in some sporting circles, Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge ruled out the implementation of the draft National Sports Policy, Code of Ethics and Financial Allocations Methodology for national sports associations and said he would stick with the existing Sports Law, instead. The National Sports Policy, Code of Ethics and Financial Allocations Methodology were drafted by the National Sports Council (NSC) and sent for ministry approval three months ago. more..

Probe into LRC land distribution

June 18 (SAMN) The government has appointed a special Ministerial Committee presided by the Constitutional Affairs and National Integration Minister DEW Gunasekera to investigate the present status of about 988,000 acres of land acquired by the government under Land Reform Law of 1972. The Committee consisting of Ministers Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Chamal Rajapaksa and Jeewan Kumaratunga would look into the present status and the issues related to such lands and make recommendations and more..

No confidence motion against Rambukwella

June 18 (SAMN) The UNP is to hand over the no confidence motion against Defence Spokesman and Minister Keheliya Rambukwella to the Speaker on Tuesday. UNP front liner Parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella said Sunday that the Party would hand over the motion to the Speaker on Tuesday. Asked whether it will be taken during this week’s sessions he said that would be decided by the Speaker. more..

Nat trust fund for artistes launched

June 18 (SAMN) The Sri Lankan Artistes National Trust Fund was launched by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs last week in order to look into the welfare activities of all performing and non performing artistes. The Fund which fills a long felt need in the field of contemporary arts, is the brain child of President Mahinda Rajapaksa where he emphasised the need to protect artistic personage in his inaugural speech as the President of the country. more..

Sri Lanka win netball triangular final

June 18 (SAMN) Sri Lanka’s netballers proved that they are a force to be reckoned with among the Asian nations when they swamped Maldives by 66 points to 30 in the final of the Dialog Tri-Nation South Asian Netball Championship concluded at the Sugathadasa Stadium Sunday. Sri Lanka fielded their best outfit from the start taking no chances against a much improved Maldives outfit. They played very well with their passes and anticipation to receive the ball. more..

First Lady launches “Youth Aspirations” Website

June 18 (DN) First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa yesterday launched the official web site of the “Youth Aspirations” (Thaarunyata Hetak) at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel yesterday, amid a large gathering of distinguished guests including the three Service Chiefs. The Chairman of the “Youth Aspirations” Namal Rajapaksa reflecting on the movement’s theme asserted that the development and harnessing of skills of all Sri Lankan youth, irrespective of their race, caste, religion or any other differences, for a better tomorrow, was the main aim. more..

ISF welcomes pay hike for security professionals

June 18 (DN) The Industrial Security Foundation (ISF) (Sri Lanka) Inc., body corporate for commercial and industrial security trade has welcomed the pay hike granted to civil security personnel. ISF said that the decisions made by Wages Boards representing 31 trades to increase the minimum wages to Rs. 5,000 approved by the Minister of Labour Relations and Manpower, has come into effect from May 01, 2007. more..

Moulana downplays DM’s abduction talk

June 18 (DM) Against the backdrop of a statement made by Minister D.M. Jayaratne to an English weekly that the Muslim businessmen had actually not been abducted but were only having a nice time with their ‘pretty ones’, away from their wives, Western Province Governor Alavi Moulana said yesterday that Minister Jayaratne must have said so in a lighter vein. more..

Hoax: Tiger-hit story

June 18 (LB) The Criminal Investigation Department toge-ther with top level government officials invented the story of a Tiger plot to attack the Colombo port and skillfully planted it in the media to justify the eviction of Tamil lodgers from Colombo, LAKBIMAnEWS learnt. They had passed the fabricated information to a private television channel generally considered anti-government. This TV station carried the story in its prime time news bulletin. more..

Minister Navinna on Deduru Oya protest

June 18 (DM) Accepting that there may be reasons for the people affected by the ongoing Deduru Oya Reservoir Development Project (DRDP) to be agitated on account of the failure of the officials to honour the promises made to them, Rural Development and Self Employment Services Minister, S.B.Navinna said that steps would be taken to supply drinking water by means of bowsers, as lack of safe drinking water was one of the major problems in the North Western Province. more..

Buddhist nationalism behind Sri Lanka's violent surge

June 18 (CSM) As the war that has ravaged Sri Lanka for 25 years once again degenerates into widespread violence, the government is receiving new support from an unusual political group. They are orange-robed, barefoot Buddhist monks. But instead of extolling peace and harmony, they are employing the uncompromising language of military strength. "Day by day we are weakening the LTTE militarily," says the Venerable Athuraliye Rathana, more..

Exclusive With Sri Lanka`s New Coach

June 18 (C365) Typical of someone prepared to step out of their comfort zone and face a challenge, Sri Lanka's new 44-year-old coach Trevor Bayliss fits the image. While he may call himself a "practical coach" and someone who knows a thing or two about the role, he is not going to be a Tom Moody clone, although those at Sri Lanka Cricket who interviewed him were impressed with his presentation. more..

2011 Cricket World Cup co-hosts to seek common visa

June 18 (Reuters) Cricket officials from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh decided on Monday to push for a common visa that would allow spectators easier travel between the 2011 World Cup co-hosts during the tournament. The four co-hosts also decided at a meeting in Bhurban, Pakistan to discuss possible changes to the duration of the next World Cup with the International Cricket Council (ICC). more..

Sri Lanka stops diesel hedging due to high price

June 18 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's government has shelved hedging of diesel purchases by state fuel company Ceypetco because it believes prices may fall, Petroleum Minister A.H.M. Fowzie said on Monday. Ceylon Petroleum Corp. (Ceypetco) in February hedged 150,000 barrels of diesel over three months at $67.50-$72 a barrel, to insulate the state from international oil price volatility that has hammered the non-producer, and to help curb inflation. more..