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High Court orders arrest of vessels

June 1 (DN) Colombo High Court Judge Upali Abeyratne, exercising Admiralty Jurisdiction has issued summons to owners and order for the arrest of vessels M.V. Malakas (Tug Boat), lying at the Galle Port, together with Barge Nazil 2002 grounded in the sea of Galle. The plaintiff CEC Shipping (Pvt) Limited, Biyagama Road, Kelaniya cited M.V. KALAKAS (Tug Boat) and S. Ahmadi of Talaeiyeh Joonob Agency Co. St. Borge Safid Building, Bushehr, Iran as defendants. more..

New facilities for differently abled people

June 1 (DM) At the National General Meeting of differently abled people held recently its president Social Services and Social Welfare Ministers, Douglas Devananda issued orders to provide a number of relief services to the differently abled people. The facility of five percent discount allowed for persons more than 55 years of age in state pharmacies in respect of drugs will be extended to differently abled people as well. more..

Govt. to reduce annual budgetary allocations to Provincial Councils

June 1 (DM) The government has decided to reduce the annual budgetary allocations for the provincial councils which will see some development work being suspended in rural areas. In keeping with the circular issued by the Local Government Ministry, Provincial Chief Secretaries have already informed the authorities of their respective councils in this regard. more..

S'pore urged to explore Sri Lanka's property, IT, industrial sectors

June 1 (CNA) Singapore companies have many business opportunities in Sri Lanka's real estate, information technology and manufacturing sectors. This according to high level ministers from Sri Lanka, who spoke to potential investors in Singapore on Friday. They say the Sri Lanka economy grew 7.3 per cent last year and the country attracted more than US$600 million of foreign direct investment for greenfield projects. more..

Sri Lanka hospital burglar breaks leg on the job

June 1 (Reuters) A Sri Lankan burglar who pretended to be a patient to steal cash from a hospital ended up in a ward himself after he jumped out of the window and broke his leg. "The robber came and pretended to be admitted as a patient, and while he was in the ward, he opened a nurse's handbag and took money and a cell phone," said Mahanama Rajamantharee, director of Ragama General Hospital just north of the capital Colombo. more..

Army officer, village guard killed in northern Sri Lanka

June 1 (AP) An army officer and a village guard were shot dead in northern Sri Lanka on Friday, the military said, blaming separatist rebels, as soldiers hunting insurgents in the country's eastern jungles recovered 81 roadside bombs. The army lieutenant and guard were traveling by motorbike in Kabithigollewa village when they were fired upon, said Lt. Col. Upali Rajapakse, a senior military official. more..

Villagers under rebel fire in Sri Lanka's north

June 1 (Xinhua) Tamil Tiger rebels fired mortars and artillery at a village in the north on Thursday, forcing villagers flee the area, defense officials said. Some 300 families fled the village of Ethavatunuwewa in the Welioya district as the LTTE fired artillery at the village. Ranawana Dhamminda Thero, chief Buddhist priest of the village temple, said the first round of fire landed at the village around 10:15 a.m. while another round landed an hour later. more..

Stocks firm on retail buying, war weighs

June 1 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares ended firmer on Friday for a second consecutive day, but investors remained cautious after suspected Tamil Tiger rebels detonated two deadly roadside bombs in and around the capital in a week. The Colombo All Share index closed 0.7 percent firmer at 2,525.83 points, a rise of 17.53 points. The index is down around 7.2 percent so far this year after falling sharply last month before recovering. more..

Sri Lanka evicts 'loitering' Tamils from capital

June 1 (AFP) Hundreds of minority Tamils have been asked to leave Sri Lanka's capital and return to their villages, some in conflict areas, because they are a "threat to national security," police said Friday. Police Inspector-General Victor Perera said Tamils from the embattled northern and eastern provinces were spending long periods of time in Colombo without any work. more..

Tamil Tigers set for blacklist

June 1 (TA) THE Tamil Tigers are soon to be listed as a terrorist organisation in Australia. Although the federal Government says it has made no formal decision to proscribe the Sri Lankan separatist group, also known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, preparations for the move are believed to be under way in Canberra. The move would rank it alongside 19 other proscribed groups, including al-Qa'ida, Jemmah Islamiah and Lashkar-e-Toiba. more..

63 suspects named in Tamil Tigers case

June 1 (NP) An RCMP investigation into the alleged flow of money from Canada to the Tamil Tigers terrorist group in Sri Lanka has identified 63 suspects, a Quebec judge said in a ruling released yesterday. Justice Louise Villemure also said police had seized computer discs in Toronto that show the movement of money from Canada to bank accounts in Sri Lanka, where the Tigers are waging a long-standing civil war. more..

Mixed feelings in Lanka over India's demand

June 1 (HT) Sri Lankans have received with mixed feelings India's demand that Colombo avoid procuring arms from Pakistan and China, and that it should come to India instead, even though India will not provide offensive equipment. Sri Lankan officials have reacted cautiously to the demand voiced by National Security Advisor MK Narayanan in Chennai on Thursday. But Sinhala commentators are indignant, and the Tamil leaders are dismayed, if not angry. more..

Only India can involve in Sri Lanka, says Rajapakse

June 1 (IANS) No country but India can involve in Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict, President Mahinda Rajapakse said in an interview published Friday, adding that there was a need to weaken the Tamil Tigers. In an interview with Al-Jazeera TV channel, Rajapakse also said that his increasing emphasis on military action was only a minor element in the pursuit of a political compromise. more..

Al Jazeera interview with the Prisident: Sri Lanka president 'ready to talk'

June 1 (AJ) The following is a transcript of an interview between Al Jazeera’s 101 East presenter Teymoor Nabili and Mahinda Rajapaksa, the president of Sri Lanka: Teymoor Nabili: Mr President, the Tamil Tigers launched their first attack against your government and against the Sri Lankan people only weeks after you came to power. Why do you think it was, that after so long of adhering to the peace plan, they suddenly decided to start attacking again? more..

Sri Lanka government seeks peace talks

June 1 (AFP) Sri Lanka's president offered to open peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels on Friday even as security forces were locked in combat with the guerrillas. President Mahinda Rajapakse would enter negotiations with the LTTE if they agreed to resume where they left off in October 2006, his spokesman Chandrapala Liyanage told AFP. "I am ready to talk even today in the present circumstances," he quoted the president as saying. more..

France gives Sri Lanka 13.4 mln dlrs for tsunami recovery

June 2 (AFP) France on Friday gave Sri Lanka a 10 million euro (13.4 million dollar) loan to develop its construction industry and rebuild areas hit by the December 2004 tsunami, the finance ministry said. The money will be channelled through local banks to help contractors buy equipment and for their working capital needs, a ministry statement said. more..

Sri Lanka media rights body slam opposition leader over attempts to intimidate media

June 2 (LBO) The Free Media Movement has slammed the opposition United National Party over its continued attempts to intimidate newspaper editors using parliamentary privilege. A call by Sri Lanka's opposition leader to summon newspaper editors to parliament which drew fire from the Free Media Movement was followed by another statement from the UNP the FMM said. more..

JKH group mulls expansion in India, profitability declines

June 2 (LBO) John Keells Holdings group net profits grew 16 per cent to 3.53 billion rupees in the financial year ended March 2007, the company said. Group revenue increased 12 per cent to 32.86 billion rupees when compared with the previous year, according to the company's annual report. JKH chairman Susantha Ratnayake said the group intends to expand abroad as a key long term growth strategy and was looking at investments especially in India. more..

Speaker 'forced' not to probe fraud

June 2 (BBC) The main opposition has accused the government of avoiding probes on alleged widespread corruption involving senior officials. The government is influencing the speaker not to appoint parliamentary committees to probe allegations into corruption when buying MiG fighter jets from Ukraine. UNP lawmaker Dayasiri Jayasekara said the WJM Lokubandara is "forced" not to take any action despite repeated requests by opposition parties. more..

'No panic' over Indian remarks

June 2 (BBC) The Foreign Ministry has called for an explanation over remarks by a senior Indian official that Sri Lanka should not buy weapons from Pakistan or China. Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Bahila told BBC Sandeshaya that the ministry is expecting a reply by Saturday over remarks by National Security Advisor, KR Narayanan. Stating that India is a big power in the region, Narayanan has advised Sri Lanka not to approach any other country for procuring arms. more..

This is a state affair, not big and small brother affair- Dayasiri

June 2 (LeN) UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara says the government has still not been able to identify who their friends and enemies are, even after 2 years of coming into power. The UNP parliamentarian made this statement reacting on a statement made by Indian National Advisor M.K. Narayanan asking the government not to purchase arms from Pakistan of China. more..

India has not right to determine whom we buy arms from- JHU

June 2 (LeN) JHU national organizer Udaya Gammanpila says India has no right to dictate Sri Lanka where to purchase arms from as Sri Lanka is a sovereign state. He made this statement reacting on a statement made by Indian National Advisor M.K. Narayanan asking the government not to purchase arms from Pakistan of China. "We actually don't believe a country like India made such a statement. But if they did, this is direct intervention to Sri Lanka's Sovereignty. more..

We have to wait until North East is cleared to arrest criminals- IGP

June 2 (LeN) IGP Victor Perera says most of the criminals that were being wanted for many crimes have already been arrested but for the rest to be arrested, they would have to wait until the North & East is cleared. He was speaking at a press conference in Colombo this morning. Here a journalist questioned, "The CID and the TID are investigating all incidents and explosions that occurred since the suicide attack on the army commander. more..

Colombo lodges told to be cautious in taking Tamils

June 2 (HT) In view of the recent claymore mine blasts in and around Colombo, the police have asked lodge owners in the Pettah area of the city to be 'cautious' about giving out rooms to Tamils from the war-affected North Eastern part of the country. Defence Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told Hindustan Times in Colombo, that in view of the experience gathered in the last 10 years, the police had told the lodge owners of the possibility of Tamil Tiger terrorists using their facilities, and more..

Sri Lankan police thwart suicide attack after stopping explosive-packed truck

June 2 (AP) Sri Lankan police thwarted a suicide attack when they stopped a truck packed with powerful explosives at a checkpoint in the country's northwest and arrested two suspects Friday, an official said. Policemen manning the checkpoint in Nikaweratiya village in Kurunegala district checked a suspicious truck and found it was loaded with more than 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of C4 high-potent explosives, more..

`No' to meet on LTTE

June 2 (Hindu) Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama on Friday ruled out the need for an international conference on resolving the terror threat posed by the LTTE. Mr. Bogollagama was answering questions after delivering a lecture here on the theme "Sri Lanka: A safe destination for business." The lecture was organised by the Singapore-based Institute of South Asian Studies. more..

Sri Lanka tourism industry targets women to boost visitor numbers

June 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tourism industry aims to attract more women visitors under its efforts to revive faltering arrivals as an escalating internal conflict harms the island's image, a top official said. The industry is working on several special holiday packages targeting niche markets like professional women and retired people in a campaign to fill empty hotel rooms, the island's tourism chief said Friday. more..

CCC to establish Sri Lanka – Maldives bilateral business council

June 2 (AT) Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) considering the importance of Business Councils to promote its goals and objectives in bilateral trade and investment, at the request of the Department of Commerce launch the Sri Lanka – Maldives Bilateral Business Council on May 25, 2007. During the last 28 years CCC, has been successfully operating 18 Bilateral Business Councils under its purview and Sri Lanka – Maldives Bilateral Business Council would be 19th Bilateral Business Council. more..

Open Letter (Sri Lanka): JHU "Monk" calls for dictatorship!!

June 2 (ISL) Democratic activists from Cambodia and Pakistan write to the leader of the JHU on the issue of dictatorship. Both of us who are the authors of this letter are from Cambodia and Pakistan, two countries that have witnessed the bitterest lessons of dictatorship.We were shocked and saddened to see a statement in the Sri Lankan media attributing a comment to you in which you said that the country (Sri Lanka) should “cast aside the fool’s democracy and look for a dictator who could restore democracy at least during his rule of five years.” more..

Aussie reaction to Sri Lanka's Murali embarrasses Moody

June 2 (AFP) Former Sri Lankan cricket coach Tom Moody says he is embarrassed by the derogatory reaction and constant harassment directed by Australian crowds towards Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. Muralitharan's ultra-flexible bowling action has come under its heaviest scrutiny in Australia, where he has been called for throwing on two tours, prompting him to boycott Sri Lanka's 2004 tour here. more..

Speedy action on garbage disposal

June 2 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday directed the Environmental Ministry to take appropriate and speedy action on garbage disposal, Human-Elephant-Conflict and illicit sand mining. President Rajapaksa reiterated that protection and conservation of the environment was of paramount importance to the nation and therefore all measures should be taken to eliminate or at least minimise all environmental hazards encountered by the people, more..

“Right to Life should be the top priority”- IGP Victor Perera

June 2 (GDI) Clarifying the ambiguous situation arouse with the Pettah Police’s action in to Lodges located in the area the Inspector General of Police –Victor Perera said that the decision taken by the Police to move out lodge occupants in Colombo is applicable only for people who are remaining in Colombo indefinitely without any valuid reas. more..

Singapore assures to curb LTTE activities in the country

June 2 (GDI) Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama who is paying his first visit to Singapore since assuming office as Foreign Minister was assured by the Government of Singapore to take stern actions against the LTTE terrorists activities carried out inside their territory. Accordingly the Singaporean authorities would be more vigilant and will observe possible LTTE efforts to use Singapore as a hub for money laundering and for satellite transmission of its television programmes. more..

Largest stock of LTTE’s explosives apprehended by security officials

June 2 (GDI) Reportedly the biggest explosives haul recovered in Sri Lanka was seized by the Police yesterday (01). The quantity of the explosives contained 940kgs of C4 carefully concealed underneath a stockpile of coconuts in a Lorry. The lorry was traveling from Kurunegala to Puttalam when it was stopped by the Police at a Check point in Palugashandiya. The explosives had been stocked in 47 boxes each carrying 20 kg, the Police said. more..

Sri Lanka is not prepared to depend on the USA or any other country! – PM

June 2 (LT) Sri Lanka was not prepared to depend on the aid given by the USA or western countries said Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake. The Prime Minister said this when he met a delegation from China. Certain quarters try to present Sri Lanka as a country of violence and where human rights are violated. more..

JVP to take legal action against fraudsters revealed by COPE

June 2 (LT) The JVP is making preparations to take legal action against the fraudsters who have been revealed by COPE report said a spokesman for the party to ‘Lankatruth’. As the government was not interested in taking any Action against the fraudsters, the JVP has decided to take legal action against them. The spokesman said the decision was taken by the Political Bureau of the party, which met on Wednesday. more..

Hamilton, Harry hit out at India

June 2 (LNP) Two former commanders of the Army and Air Force yesterday came down hard on India over comments made by the Indian National Security Adviser that Sri Lanka should not seek weapons from Pakistan or China. Former Army Chief Hamilton Wanasinghe said India should not tell Sri Lanka from where it should purchase military hardware or not. It is Sri Lanka`s choice, so the request is `unfair`,` General Wanasinghe who commanded the Army from 1988 to 1991 told the Daily Mirror. more..

President makes surprise visit to Katunayake air base

June 2 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa made a surprise visit to the Katunayake Air Base adjoining the Bandaranaike International Airport on Thursday night, to inspect the security situation and radar systems there, sources said. `The President and senior defence officials visited the Air Force base and held talks with senior officers there about the current situation in the backdrop of the LTTE`s air attack a few weeks ago,` a senior defence ministry official said. more..

Milk food shock: Prices soar by 25%

June 2 (LNP) As the prices of four popular brands of milk powder went up by as much as 25%, the government yesterday said it was helpless since it could not prevent price fluctuations in the international market. The price of a one kilogram pack of Highland milk was increased from Rs. 340 to Rs. 425, while the 400 gram standard pack went up by Rs. 140 to Rs. 180. The prices of Lakspray, Diamond and Laksathosa were also increased to Rs. 425 a kilogram more..

Problems of being bully`s buddy - II

June 2 (LNP) India always behaves like a sadist deriving, as she does, immense pleasure from the suffering of her neighbours, like those cheap Indian soap opera characters who are full hatred, envy, jealousy and hubris. She has a massive ego to nurse, and this she does at the expense of others. She treats her small neighbours like untouchables. Indian National Security Advisor M. K. Narayan has said Sri Lanka should not seek arms from Pakistan or China. more..

We can’t treat threats lightly: IGP

June 2 (SAMN) Police on Friday clarified the confusion regarding lodge occupants in Colombo, saying the order to move out was given only for people who were remaining in Colombo indefinitely. Police Chief Victor Perera told journalists the decision in no way hampered residents of the North and East entering the capital to carry out their businesses. The IGP reiterated the police force was completely committed to protecting human rights and that the “right to live” had to be given prominence over every other right for the common man. more..

UNP claims Govt. cutting Telecom debate

June 2 (SAMN) The main opposition UNP Friday charged the government was pressurising the Speaker not to give in to requests from the opposition over the controversial Telecom issue. UNP Kurunegala District MP Dayasiri Jayasekera told a news conference the debate on the SLT issue had not been included in the Order Book of the sessions due next week. The party is to raise the issue when Parliament meets next week. more..

UNP reformists hold convention today

June 2 (SAMN) The group of UNP reformists are likely to adopt resolutions on several issues including the party stand, the ethnic issue, the rising cost of living and devolution of power at a convention today, the group said. Spokesman R.A.D. Sirisena said the meeting would be held at the Maharagama Youth Centre this morning. He said its first and foremost concern would be to condemn what it called the dictatorial attitude within the party. more..

Guilty will be brought to book: MR

June 2 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa Friday assured that all those who were behind extra judicial killings and abductions would soon be brought to book. He made this assurance to relatives of the abducted persons who met him at Temple Trees, accompanied by Up Country People’s Front Liner and Minister P. Radhakrishnan. Radhakrishnan said over 50 persons, all relatives of the abducted victims went along with him to meet the President. more..

Fourteen arrested near Kerawalapitiya Power Station

June 2 (LT) Fourteen people who had taken up residence in houses around Kerawalapitiya Power Station have been arrested by the police. They have been apprehended in a search operation conducted on receiving complaints by residents in the area of suspicious behaviour of the arrestees. Among the arrested are individuals who have recently come from Jaffna, Batticaloa and Hatton. more..

Sri Lanka Festival in Tokyo attracts over 100,000

June 2 (DN) Over 100,000 visitors, mainly Japanese, visited the fourth annual Sri Lanka Festival at Tokyo's Yoyogi Park on May 26. It was inaugurated with the lighting of the oil lamp by Akie Abe, wife of Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Abe attended the Sri Lanka Festival as the chief guest on the invitation of Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Japan Ranjith Uyangoda. The Festival was held in Tokyo's Yoyogi Park on May 26-27 under the theme 'Experience nature's best'. more..

Prices of 14 items further stabilised

June 2 (DN) Prices of 14 essential commodities will be further stabilised to afford relief to consumers, said Trade, Marketing Development, Co-operative and Consumer Services Minister Bandula Gunawardana yesterday. The Minister said according to the agreement reached with the Food Commodities Importers and Traders Association, the prices of 14 essential commodities will be: more..

Mystery over missing file

June 2 (DM) Customs officials are at a loss over the disappearance of a highly confidential file connected to the investigation of an alleged Rs. 800 million fraud that involves a major business chain owned by a highly influential individual, politically and financially. One official on the condition of anonymity said “the file went missing a few days after our colleague, Sujith Perera was gunned down in 2002, on his way to office. more..

Health employees to strike on overtime payments

June 2 (DM) Health department employees have threatened to go on strike if the Ministry of Health Care and Nutrition fails to pay them their overtime for the month of May, for refusing to use the Automated Finger Sensing Machines (Biometric Technology) to register their arrival and departure, the President of the Health Services Trade Union Alliance, (HSTUA) Ravi Kumudesh said. more..

'Tough position to be taken against terrorism and the LTTE'-U.S Ambassador

June 2 (MoD) The Ambassador for the United States of America Robert O.Blake speaks to C.A.Chandraprema about the LTTE, the nature of the Sri Lankan conflict, the confidence shown by expatriate Tamils in Sri Lanka's long term prospects and the possibility of a political settlement in Sri Lanka. The full text of the interview published in 'The Island' a popular Sri Lankan news portal is as follows. more..