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CBK not coming back to active politics: Jeyaraj

June 21 (DM) Minister and Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle yesterday said that former President Chandrika Kumaratunga had personally told him she would never enter active politics under any circumstances. He said the speculated third political force headed by Ms. Kumaratunga with former ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi would not be a threat to the Government more..

Re: World Refugee Day

June 21 (RW) As we honor the 14 million refugees on World Refugee Day, 20 June 2007 , TRO would also like to highlight the plight of the world's Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). According to UNHCR figures there are currently 24.5 million IDPs worldwide, who have been displaced by conflict. The conflict in Sri Lanka has resulted in over one million Tamil refugees leaving the island to Canada, Western Europeand other parts of the world. more..

'Dramatic decline' in safety of scribes in Lanka

June 21 (HT) There has been a "dramatic decline" in the safety of journalists and a "significant deterioration" in media freedom since the Mahinda Rajapaksa government assumed office in late 2005, says a note submitted by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) to the International Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression Mission currently in Sri Lanka. more..

Vanished Sri Lankans raise Canadian security fears

June 21 (CP) Eleven Sri Lankans who vanished from a Prince Edward Island mussel farm in the middle of the night may represent a security threat, MP Wayne Easter warned yesterday. "Everyone says they've done nothing illegal," Mr. Easter, MP for the P.E.I. riding of Malpeque, said in a phone interview from Ottawa. "Well, no, they haven't. But I believe there is a certain risk to the country here." more..

Sri Lanka: War and Repression Continue

June 21 (WP) The Sri Lankan Army (SLA) has met strong resistance in its attempts to seize areas of the island country that are controlled by the LTTE. The LTTE are fighting for an independent state in the predominantly Tamil inhabited north and east of Sri Lanka. The LTTE. fought a full-scale war for independence between 1983 and 2001. A ceasefire agreement was signed between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government in February 2002, but the SLA violated its provisions, resulting in renewed fighting over the past 18 months. more..

Sri Lanka urged to stop censoring pro-Tiger Web site

June 21 (Reuters) International press freedom group Reporters Without Borders has called on Sri Lanka's government to stop censoring a pro-Tamil Tiger Web site, local access to which has been blocked for days. Sri Lanka's government and military on Thursday both denied they had ordered internet service providers to block, which officials widely dismiss as an outlet for pro-rebel propaganda. more..

Lankan media cynical about Mangala's prospects

June 21 (HT) Media reactions to the split in the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the formation of the SLFP (Mahajana Wing) by the sacked Minister Mangala Samaraweera have been cynical. In the media's view, the SLFP (MW) doesn't look as if it will make a difference to the political scene. But at the same time, it is acknowledged that President Mahinda Rajapaksa may be a worried man. more..

Fishing industry still lacks large tonnage boats

June 22 (IRIN) Two and a half years after the tsunami, and unprecedented assistance from donors to Sri Lanka's hard-hit fishing industry, some fishermen are still struggling to fully restore their livelihoods. The government's Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA), said that of the over 19,000 boats destroyed by the tsunami, 90 per cent had been replaced and fishermen were now catching 70 per cent of what they did prior to the tsunami. more..

Sri Lanka rebel lawmakers claim wider support

June 22 (LBO) Rebel lawmakers of the ruling party are claiming wider support to become a moderate "third force" in Sri Lanka's politics, and said they would initiate talks with other opposition parties soon. Mangala Samaraweera, who was sacked by President Mahinda Rajapakse earlier, said the rebels would be talking with like-minded members in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) as well as other opposition parties. more..

Sri Lanka's open source community touts free software without piracy

June 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka's open source software community is promoting free programs that can be used on operating systems like Microsoft Windows, without breaking anyone's copyright. The Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) advocacy community says, individuals or small companies that cannot afford proprietary computer programs should switch to FOSS software which can do the same tasks legally, instead of resorting to piracy. more..

Tharanga out of Test opener

June 22 (ECB) Sri Lanka opener Upul Tharanga is set to miss the first two Tests against Bangladesh after suffering a foot injury. Young left-hander Tharanga received a blow on his instep from team-mate Lasith Malinga in the nets and was subsequently diagnosed with a hairline fracture. Tharanga’s manager, Kushil Gunasekera, said: “He is definitely out of the first Test as the doctors feel that it will take a minimum of seven days to heal. more..

Civilians caught up in Sri Lanka conflict

June 22 (CA) Civilians are bearing the brunt of violence as fighting rages in Sri Lanka between the military and the LTTE. Earlier this month nearly 400 members of the minority Tamil community were loaded onto buses by police and evicted from the capital Colombo in a move that caused outrage among human rights groups and the international community. The government said they were expelled as part of continuing efforts to stop the LTTE rebels infiltrating the city. more..

Lankan Govt. denies censorship despite blocking Tamilnet

June 22 (PTI) With media groups criticising the blockage of domestic access to a pro-rebel website, Sri Lankan government today claimed that it was not behind the move despite the country's main internet service provider insisting that it was ordered by the authorities to do so. Media Minister Anura Yapa said the government had no hand in blocking subscribers of the state-owned Sri Lanka Telecom of accessing the, a website favouring LTTE, while the military too denied involvement. more..

Indian spikers beat Sri Lanka in Asian Zone Championship

June 22 (ZN) India beat Sri Lanka in their second match of the Asian Central Zone Men's Volleyball Championship in Islamabad today. The Indians, who lost to Iran in their opening encounter, defeated the Lankans 25-16 25-17 25-19 in the 65-minute contest. Sivarajan came out with an extraordinary performance and Fed the team well. G Pradeep and Sube Singh were successful in blocks. more..

A package offered by Malaysia to fleeing Muslim Businessmen

June 22 (LeN) A leading person in the Muslim business forum told LeN that over 70 leading Muslims have applied for citizenship in Malaysia since over a 70 Muslim businessmen have been abducted and threatened in the recent months. According to our source a couple of leading businessmen have already fled the country to Malaysia while the owner of Trust Lanka who paid Rs. 200 million in ransom after being abducted has fled to India with his family. more..

We are ready to join with any party to save the country- Mangala

June 22 (LeN) Former minister Mangala Samaraweera says President Mahinda Rajapakse is the best president Velupillai Prabakaran ever got. He made this statement addressing the first media briefing organized by the Mahajana Faction of the SLFP, in Colombo today. Mangala Samaraweera who is said to be one of those who tirelessly worked to appoint President Mahinda Rajapakse to the seat heavily criticized the government throughout this morning's media briefing. more..

Will U.S. appoint a special envoy to Sri Lanka?

June 22 (LeN) The Co-Chairs of the Sri Lanka Congressional Caucus, Congressman Frank Pallone and Congressman Jerry Weller, Chairman of the Sub-Committee on the Middle East and South Asia, tabled a resolution before the US Congress on Tuesday, calling on all parties to the Sri Lankan conflict to negotiate a political solution that will be fair to all ethnic communities whilst ruling out a military solution to the conflict. more..

The Govt. will be broken down before their own eyes- Sripathi

June 22 (LeN) Member of the SLFP Mhajana Faction former minister Sripathi Suriarachchi says all most all the development projects that were initiated lately were handed over to contractors without a proper tender system and all that functions to satisfy the needs of one person. He made this statement addressing the first media briefing organized by the Mahajana faction along with Mangala Samaraweera. more..

We are not a political party- Mangala

June 22 (BBC) The aim of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (Peoples Fraction) is to bring the main party into the correct path said former Foreign Minister and Matara District MP Mangala Samraweera. “We are not a separate political party, we are a pressure group within the SLFP” he said. In a press conference launching his new party, Mangala Samaraweera pointed out that the principles and values of Sri Lanka Freedom Party have been destroyed by the present leadership. more..

Gajanayaka re-arrested

June 22 (BBC) Former senior air force officer Nishantha Gajanayaka has been arrested again. The UNP has accused that the retired air force officer Nishanatha Gajanayaka and DIG Rohan Abegunawarndena had links with alleged abductions and murder of TNA MP Nadarajah Raviraj. During a recent debate to extend emergency regulations some UNP parliamentarians including MP Luxman Seneviratne accused Nishantha Gajanayaka and DIG Rohan Abegunawardhana for committing abductions and murders in Colombo. more..

Media, the Fantasy of Empire and, Sri Lankan futures

June 22 (TW) I must thank my colleagues, comrades and friends in the Free Media Movement and the allied journalists’ and media professionals’ organisations for the honour they have bestowed me by asking me to deliver this First Memorial Lecture commemorating the life and untimely death of journalist/ social activist and, Tamil nationalist liberation fighter Dharmaratnam Sivaram. more..

Bandits begin breaking barracks

June 22 (RW) The tigers restricted to an area of few square kilometers subsequent to a chaotic withdrawal at the face of Government’s Security Forces’ humanitarian operations to rescue the besieged Tamil civilians from the clutches of tigers in the Eastern district of Batticaloa had commenced breaking the barracks to be rehabilitated under the laws of the State defying the orders of the timid and humiliated tiger leadership at Kilinochchi. more..

Can’t wait till terrorism is solved to develop – Cabraal, Governor of Central Bank

June 22 (AT) In his keynote address to the Fiji Institute of Accountants Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, asked whether the people have to wait till the terrorist problem is solved to build a new school, build a new bridge for farmers to bring their produce to the market or to build a new port to develop infrastructure. more..

Sino-Lankan joint venture to provide high quality refrigeration equipment

June 22 (AT) China’s Yantai Moon Company Ltd. and Lanka Industrial Services Agencies (Pvt) Ltd. have entered into a joint venture project to make available high quality and advanced refrigeration equipment to the Sri Lankan market. This event marks a significant step in the field of refrigeration and brings Sri Lanka on par with other countries enjoying similar facilities. more..

Kawda mewata waga kiyanne?

June 22 (FSL) Six months into office, President Chandrika Kumaratunga and her alliance government including the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna are still owing state media institutions over Rs. 22 million in dues having failed to pay for television and newspaper advertisements carried in the run-up to the April 2 general election. more..

Sri Lanka boosts drinking water supplies to capital

June 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka is boosting pipe-borne water supply to the capital Colombo by expanding two water treatment plants, a senior government minister said. The National Water Supply and Drainage Board has negotiated a loan from Hungary to expand the treatment plants at Labugama and Kalatuwawa reservoirs, Information Minister Anura Yapa said. The two reservoirs are located in a picturesque hilly wet zone rainforest just off Colombo. more..

Is Sri Lanka running in place or falling behind?

June 22 (LBO) A little over a year ago, I wrote a column called "The Sri Lankan state: Failed, failing or maligned?". It was about a comparative ranking on countries on the likelihood of them becoming failed states. At the end of a critical assessment of their methodology, (link), I concluded that "Notwithstanding these methodological problems, the index does provide a good basis for debate and discussion on the condition of the Sri Lankan state." more..

Sri Lanka and Maldives talk fish

June 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka and the Maldives are looking at joint ventures and investment in fisheries following the visit of senior minister from the atolls, a foreign ministry statement said Thursday. Abdullah Kamaludeen, Minister of Fisheries, Agriculture and Marine Resources of Maldives visited Colombo during from 18-20 to attend the second meeting of a special joint commission set up to deal with fishery issues. more..

China and India racing for growth without Sri Lanka

June 22 (TW) “We have got to live with the consequences of our actions and are responsible for our own people taking the right decisions for them. Look at the former Philippines, the old Ceylon, the old East Pakistan and several others. I have. When I went to Colombo for the first time in 1956 it was a better city than Singapore because Singapore for three and a half years was under Japanese occupation and Colombo was the centre or HQ of Mountbatten’s Southeast Asia command. more..

North- East fishing restrictions lifted

June 22 (GDI) With almost the entire Eastern Province has been liberated from the LTTE control, the Government has lift the restrictions imposed on fishing community in the area.Earlier, due to the LTTE threats and obstacles towards the fishermen and the attacks launched by the LTTE cardres disguised as fishermen compelled the Government to impose certain limitations on fishing activities in the region. more..

Sri Lanka may keep key interest rate unchanged for fourth month

June 22 (BN) Sri Lanka's central bank will probably keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged for a fourth straight meeting to push inflation lower while supporting growth. Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Nivard Cabraal will leave the repurchase rate at 10.5 percent, the highest level in Asia, according to 10 of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. One economist expected a 25 basis point increase. more..

Sri Lanka's tsunami-hit stadium may not be ready for test

June 22 (AFP) The tsunami-devastated Galle international stadium may not be ready to host the first test against England later this year. England are scheduled to play at the ground, one of the world's most picturesque cricket venues, overlooked by a centuries-old Dutch fort, at the start of December. However, a senior official connected with the redevelopment of the stadium said Galle could be ready to host the third and final match of the series from December 18. more..

Sri Lanka says it found 15 decomposing bodies killed in eastern clashes

June 22 (AP) Army soldiers found the bodies of 15 Tamil rebels and nearly a hundred anti-personnel mines when they searched territory captured this week from the guerrillas in eastern Sri Lanka, an official said Friday. The find brought the estimated rebel death toll to 45 in Tuesday's clashes in the Thopigala area between the army and the separatist Tamil Tigers, an official at the Defense Ministry information center said. more..

Drug and alcohol use in SL to be minimized by 2010

June 22 (GDI) Sri Lanka will be working towards minimizing the consumption of drug and alcohol use in the country by the year 2010. This was announced to media yesterday by the Chairman of the National Dangerous Drug Control Board (NDDCB), Mr. D.P. Mendis. He commented the above while explaining the plans laid by the NDDCB to mark the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking which falls on June 26. more..

Table a debate for tax evaders - Wimal Weerawanse

June 22 (LT) JVP parliamentarian Wimal Weerawanse making a special statement in parliament yesterday (21st) demanded a debate in parliament to reveal the truth to the country about the tax evaders. The MP's special statement was concerned about a statement made by secretary to the finance ministry that a report presented by the government audit was not factually correct. more..

Sri Lanka tourism plummets in May

June 22 (LBO) Visitors to Sri Lanka plummeted 40 percent in May with Europe and East Asia showing steep falls, as an intensifying conflict, travel advisories and air raids on the capital scared away foreigners. Total arrivals in May fell to 26,307 from 43,825 in April. In the first five months total arrivals have now fallen 23.4 percent 193,981 the government's statistics office said. more..

Sri Lankan copycat Malinga ends up in hospital

June 22 (AFP) A man who tried to bleach his hair to look like Sri Lanka's "sexiest" cricket player, Lasith Malinga, has ended up in hospital with severe burns, the Daily Mirror said here Friday. The 20-year-old man in the central town of Kandy was hospitalised after he used two types of acid to try to dye his hair, the report said. more..

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa speaks to The Nation

June 22 (LNP) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, in a wide-ranging interview with The Nation, spoke about many issues, including the government`s security strategy, the importance of defeating the LTTE militarily, abductions and his views on the UN and EU. Asserting that his job was to militarily weaken the LTTE, he said politicians would then take over, start a political process, and provide a political package and political solution. more..

4000 employment opportunities from 18th Industrial Estate

June 22 (LNP) Minister of Industrial Development and `Ranaviru` Welfare Kumara Welgama says that the main goal behind the construction of Puttalam Industrial Estate is to provide 4000 employment opportunities. To achieve the targets set by `Mahinda Chinthanaya` steps have been taken to allocate 50- acre plot adjoining the Holcim Cement Factory at Puttalam to start factories. more..

Leadership by Mosque helped Muslims cope with tsunami losses

June 22 (LNP) Of all communities, the Muslims had been most successful in managing the losses caused by the Tsunami mainly due to the leadership provided by the Mosque in tsunami rehabilitation work, a research conducted by the Peradeniya University has revealed. Prof. H. M. D. R. Herath, of the Psychology Department, said that the research revealed that the lead role played by the mosque had helped in the proper distribution of tsunami relief and allocation of new houses among the affected Muslims. more..

Jousting politicos and crouching Tigers

June 22 (LNP) There are signs of a political storm brewing in the distance. The SLFP dissidents are girding up their loins in a bid to take on their bete noire President Mahinda Rajapakse. The inauguration of a new wing of the SLFP is slated for today at Horagolla. The Rathu Sahodarayas have issued a threat of a general strike. The UNP is threatening to take to the streets shortly against the government. more..

Call to defeat Rajapaksa Govt.

June 22 (SAMN) Leaders of the SLFP ‘Mahajana Wing’, Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathy Sooriyarachchi Thursday called upon all political parties and civil societies to join them to defeat the Government of Mahinda Rajapaksa, which they said was corrupt and run by the Rajapaksa family. Mangala Samaraweera said the new wing of the SLFP is not a political party but a pressure group to force the present leaders to stick to the policy of the original SLFP founded by late S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike. more..

PAFFREL chief denies working for Govt.

June 22 (SAMN) The Executive Director of PAFFREL Kingsley Rodrigo Thursday denied he was sub-contracting for the Government and not crusading for Human Rights and Democracy in the country. He said that he was only helping to bring together people from all political hues together with some Human-Rights activists to form a "Steering Committee" to minimize abductions, disappearances and killings. more..

Compensation for evacuated Tamils

June 22 (SAMN) The Centre for Policy Alternatives in its affidavit filed this week in the fundamental rights violation petition against the forcible evacuation of Tamils from Colombo pleaded with the Supreme Court to grant substantive and / or punitive compensation to the affected. Dr Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu, the Executive Director, in the affidavit had pleaded to court to direct the relevant authorities to take disciplinary action and appropriate punishment against all those responsible for the forcible eviction of Tamils. more..

Significant inflow of vehicles

June 22 (SAMN) The number of vehicles in Sri Lanka has shown a rapid increase during the recent past. The total number of vehicles has almost doubled during the last decade. From the year 2000 to 2006 the total number of vehicles have increased from 170,382 to 2,827,902, said Senior Superintendent of Police V.T. Sunderalingam addressing a Traffic Management Course held in Singapore recently. more..

Jayalath Jayawardene raises privileges issue on summons by CID

June 22 (LT) The letter of the CID inviting him to visit its office tomorrow to make a statement has violated his privileges as a Parliamentarian says Dr. Jayalath Jayawardene, Member of the UNP. Raising a privileges issue in the Parliament Dr. Jayawardene said it is impossible to believe that the CID was unaware that tomorrow was a day Parliamentary sessions were held. more..

Govt. hands over No Faith Motion against UNP MP

June 22 (DN) The Government yesterday handed over a No Confidence Motion against Badulla district UNP Parliamentarian Lakshman Seneviratne. Chief Government Whip and Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle and several other Ministers handed over the No Confidence Motion to Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara. It is signed by 78 Government MPs. more..

PS Chairman nabbed while taking graft

June 22 (DN) The Rambewa Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman was arrested by Bribery Commission sleuths yesterday while accepting a gratification of Rs. 25,000 from an applicant seeking employment in Korea. The arrest was made at the Pradeshiya Sabha premises. The Chairman had received three application forms for foreign employment to Korea under the Government's foreign employment scheme. more..

‘Janatha Sathkaraka Sevaya’ held despite security situation

June 22 (DM) Janatha Sathkaraka Sevaya, a concept of Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs, Karu Jayasuriya, is being implemented to ease the administrative constraints faced by people in rural areas. The first and second CCMS were held in Moneragala and Puttalam last month. The recent CCMS was held on the 16 and 17 June at Polonnaruwa. more..

JVP takes Govt. to task on PB’s dismissal of AG’s report

June 22 (DM) The JVP took the government to task in Parliament yesterday regarding Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundara’a dismissal of the Auditor General’s (AG) report on tax fraud amounting to Rs.389 billion, which was tabled and debated in the House last year. JVP group leader Wimal Weerawansa noted that when the staggering tax fraud was debated in Parliament last August, all government members including the then Deputy Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya praised the AG’s report and pledged to bring the tax offenders to book. more..