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A year after massacre of aid workers, Sri Lanka still asks who, when and why?

June 24 (NYT) The victims had been ordered to lie face down, arms outstretched, all in a row in the front yard of a white bungalow. Two lay next to a parked van, interrupted perhaps in a bid to escape. Most of the dead wore T-shirts bearing the name of the aid group that employed them: the Paris-based Action Contre La Faim, or Action Against Hunger. The bungalow was their local office, where they had huddled for at least three days last August, waiting to be rescued as soldiers and rebels battled for control of this town. more..

Norway donor meeting to mull strategy on Sri Lanka conflict

June 24 (AFP) Peace-broker Norway is holding a crucial meeting with Sri Lanka's top aid donors this week in a bid to halt a new wave of bloodshed, but analysts said they see little prospect of a breakthrough. The formal meeting on Tuesday would follow a preparatory gathering of officials on Monday in Norway's capital, Oslo, and explore ways of bringing the government and Tamil Tiger rebels back to peace negotiations, a Norwegian statement said. more..

Lankan Govt slams Justice Bhagwati

June 24 (HT) Attorney General has accused Justice PN Bhagwati, Chairman of the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) overseeing investigations into human rights violations in the island, of "insulting" the members of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. "Your comments about questioning witnesses and the general conduct of investigations, amount to an expression of direct insult to the honourable Commissioners whom the government proudly believes are some of the most treasured sons and daughters of Sri Lanka," more..

Sri Lanka’s Predicament: Ethno-Nationalism versus Civic-Nationalism

June 25 (AT) The failure of Sri Lanka to forge national unity which is the main reason for the long drawn out war since 1983 can mainly be attributed to the nature of nationalism on both sides of the fence. Instead of civic nationalism which is sane and rational and looks beyond one’s own ethnicity or religion, Sri Lanka has been immersed in ethno nationalism which is quite the opposite. more..

CCC and Riyadh Commerce and Industry Chamber signs trade agreement

June 25 (AT) The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) which just concluded its second successful Sri Lanka Economic Summit, made use of this opportunity to enter into a co-operation agreement with the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI). Hussein A Al-Athel, Secretary General, RCCI was among many overseas participants who attended the 2007 Sri Lanka Economic Summit organized by the CCC, was the only overseas Chamber representative to attend this Important event. more..

GCE O/L results: We need a paradigm shift

June 25 (TW) Thanks to the Commissioner General of Examinations the Sri Lankan public has been told the reality of the G.C.E. (O/L) Exam. Some of the salient features of the statement are:- 1. Over 51% of students failed the Exam. 2. Geometry is not known either by those taught or the teacher. 3. Over 51% failed in Science. 4. 63% in English. 5. In nine Colombo Schools not a single student has qualified to do the A/L. more..

Women should participate more for peace processes to succeed

June 25 (FI) Internal armed conflicts within states between government forces and insurgents or militant groups is a phenomenon seen throughout the world. It is widely recognised that in all these conflicts it is the women and children who are the most affected. In this context, the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 of 2000, is most relevant as it addresses the impact of war on women while also recognising the contribution that women’s participation can make to conflict resolution and peace building. more..

Reports reveal Gotabhaya ordered Tamils to be forcibly evicted from Colombo lodges

June 25 (LeN) A weekend English newspaper reports that orders to evict Tamil's from lodges in Colombo and suburbs were directly given by Defense secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse at a high level security meeting on the 31st of May. The newspaper says these details are being stated in the minutes recorded at the meeting. It also reports that around 75 high ranking military officials were present at the meeting held at the auditorium of the Defense ministry and more..

Central bank says overnight rate volatility and inflation would moderate

June 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka's reserve money targeting regime is getting results and the high volatility in overnight rates will moderate, Central Bank said Monday, days after short-term treasury yields went up by 30 basis points. The bank no longer operates a full policy rate regime, with the discount window nominally at 12.00 percent, but with access severely curtailed. more..

Sri Lanka donor meeting in Norway unlikely to break deadlock: analysts

June 25 (AFP) Peace broker Norway is holding a crucial meeting with Sri Lanka's top aid donors this week in a bid to halt a new wave of bloodshed, but analysts Sunday said they see little prospect of a breakthrough. The formal meeting on Tuesday would follow a preparatory gathering of officials on Monday in Norway's capital, Oslo, and explore ways of bringing the government and Tamil Tiger rebels back to peace negotiations, a Norwegian statement said. more..

Local elections in Sri Lanka's north, east postponed

June 25 (Xinhua) Local council elections in six districts of Sri Lanka's conflict-torn Northern and Eastern provinces have been further held back, elections officials said Sunday. Elections for councils in those six districts would now take place at the end of February 2008, rather than the already rescheduled date of June 30 this year. more..

As violence rises, media climate declines

June 25 (IPS) The overhead projector cast a ghastly glow on the larger- than-life picture of Darmarathnam Sivaram, the Sri Lankan Tamil journalist abducted and killed in April 2005. Colleagues had gathered for his commemorative lecture and the ghostly atmosphere fit right into place. "On the day we remember Siva, his website has been blocked by authorities here," Sunanda Deshapriya, the convener of the Free Media Movement (FMM), wondered aloud just before the lecture. more..

Qatar dream, of money & escape from Lanka ‘war’

June 25 (TT) Now 65, this father of four boys and an adopted girl lives in a resettlement colony 25 km from this port town which is under the army’s siege for the past year or so. He owns no land, lost his little kiosks as he was tossed around from one camp to another, and is without work. His sons are daily wagers and his foster daughter stacked some savings after working as a maid in Jordan for three years. more..

Investigations in to financial discipline of several state organizations

June 25 (LT) Parliamentary accounts committee has decided to initiate broad investigations into financial discipline of many state institutions. The chairmen of the committee MP Wijedasa Rajapaksha says that investigations have already been initiated in respect of several state institutions. It has been decided to launch investigations without delay as evidence of financial frauds and corruption in several state institutions have come to light. more..

Provide "Samurdhi" subsidy immediately - JVP request President

June 25 (LT) JVP Parliamentarian Padma Udayashantha in a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksha points out that 300 million rupees due to be given to "Samurdhi" recipients has not yet been released and therefore those people have had to suffer immense hardships. The letter says that though with short comings, "Samurdhi" scheme has been close friend to thee poor people and the contribution of those people to the development of the country cannot be underestimated. more..

Tamils in South Africa protests against 'genocide' in Sri Lanka

June 25 (PTI) Hundreds of Tamils and other Indian-origin groups on Sunday held a demonstration here to protest the alleged "genocide of Tamil people" in Sri Lanka. Members of the Tamil Co-ordinating Committee of South Africa (TCC-SA), took out a march which culminated at the Mahatma Gandhi Park in the Indian-dominated township of Chatsworth. more..

Sparks from "The notes of a vagabond mind"

June 25 (CC) The Sri Lankan film director and writer, Tissa Abeysekara, is one of our greatest storytellers in both Sinhala and English. Two of the best examples are his short novels, Bringing Tony Home, published in 1998; and In My Kingdom of the Sun and the Holy Peak of 2004. These are landmarks in Sri Lankan literature. His latest work, Ayalea Giya Sithaka Satahan (Notes of a Vagabond Mind), this time in Sinhala, is a new genre in itself; more..

Sri Lankan unions betray university workers’ struggle

June 25 (wsws) The Sri Lankan trade unions have carried out another miserable betrayal. On June 8, just days before a proposed indefinite island-wide strike, the Inter University Trade Union Joint Committee (IUTUJC) called off all industrial action in defence of employees at the University of Colombo who had been disciplined over protest actions. The decision sets a dangerous precedent for the victimisation of other sections of workers seeking to defend jobs, conditions and basic rights. more..

Sri Lanka and International Community

June 25 (TN) Nation, nation-state and nationalism are manifestations of a psychological phenomenon, experienced collectively by a group of people. It is a feeling of attachment and identity that comes naturally. Nationalism cannot be dictated to unwilling sections of the peoples of a country, whoever may come forward guaranteeing the territorial integrity of that country. Such guarantees may be meaningful when one nation invades others, but not when there is a genuine struggle for freedom within a country. more..

President pledges to go ahead with development projects despite obstacles

June 25 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has pledged to go ahead with the development projects despite any obstacles in its way. President Rajapaksa has stated this attending a discussion with a high- level delegation on a conference on the Moragahakanda Project held at Temple Trees. He added that the project becoming operational within a short period of a around one-and-a-half years and more..

Sri Lanka to extend maritime boundary

June 25 (GDI) Fisheries Ministry enters into agreement with a UK company to geophysical survey and marking of the 1000 nautical mile coastal boundary. Sri Lanka will be claiming another 800 nautical miles added to the presently owned 200 nautical miles of its maritime border, which will mark Sri Lanka’s maritime boarder up to 1000 miles. A UK based company GEMS Ltd. has entered into an agreement with the Ministry to carry out the surveying and marking. more..

President visits sacred sites in South

June 25 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa conducted a surprise visit to the Southern sacred lands of Tissamaharama and Kataragama on last Saturday. At Kirivehera, the Chief Incumbent of the Kirivehera Most Ven. Dr. Aluthweva Soratha Thera performed religious rites to invoke blessings on President Rajapaksa. Following his visit to Kirivehera, President visited Kataragama Devalaya and attended a special Pooja, more..

Five abductor suspects arrested

June 25 (GDI) A group of five abductors who were involved in demanding ransom and abduction of Tamil and Muslims inhabiting in Colombo have been arrested by the Dematagoda Police. The arrest was made following a complaint received on June 19th from Vadugarajah Senathilrajah, who stated that his friend Masiliamani Nethrarajah alias Suren a resident of Wattala was abducted by an unknown person near the Ranpa building in the Dematagoda Police area, demanding a ransom of Rs. five million. more..

Tigers zero in on Wanni civilians to beat critical manpower shortage

June 25 (PISL) An all out effort by the LTTE to boost its fighting strength in the Wanni has triggered a flight of civilians. "People are risking their lives to reach government-held areas as Tigers target whole families for conscription," an SLN official said on Sunday. Although the Nordic truce monitoring mission has recorded 34 cases of forced recruitment of adults over a period of time, the actual figures, more..

Sri Lanka education quality hit by poor teaching staff

June 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka has lost the lead it once had in education, slowing the progress of the country, education specialists have warned. A telling sign of the times is that a large number of recently recruited teachers are being trained on the job with students as guinea pigs. While university graduates have been appointed teachers even earlier, they were usually appointed to teach older children. more..

Sri Lankan investors told to grasp the bear by the ears

June 25 (LBO) Investors in Sri Lanka's stock market have been advised not to run away during a downturn, but rather to use the opportunity to invest in underpriced equities that have potential to yield gains in future. "Don’t move away when there is a bear market, continue to invest," Angelo Ranasinghe of Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers said. A bear market could be a good place to pick good stocks at a lower price, he told investors at a recent seminar. more..

Security concerns affect Red Cross tsunami projects in northern Sri Lanka

June 25 (RW) Australian Red Cross has been working in Sri Lanka responding to the needs of tsunami survivors and communities since December 2004. This has included work in the northern districts of Jaffna and Kilinochchi and in Ampara in the east, areas with significant Tamil and Muslim populations. In August 2006 hostilities between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Army escalated in northern Sri Lanka. more..

Think of country`s well-being - Asgiriya, Malwatte Prelates tell Mangala, Sripathi

June 25 (LNP) The Prelates of the Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters have admonished both ex Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Suriarachchi to return to the Government fold,at a critical time the country was facing, if they have any concern and care for the well-being of the country. If there were issues with conflicting interest, those could be resolved through dialogue. more..

SLFP responds positively to UNP invitation for working together

June 25 (LNP) Former Minister Mangala Samaraweera who is spearheading the SLFP Mahajana Wing yesterday responded positively to UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe`s invitation for them to join forces with the Opposition in the political fight against the government. Mr. Wickremesinghe, at a recent public rally in Kurunegala, invited ousted Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi to join hands with them to fight against the autocratic nature of the government. more..

Statues and vandals

June 25 (LNP) People seem to have problems with statues all over the world. The Taliban leaders couldn`t sleep until they totally obliterated the Bamiyan Buddha statues. No sooner had the Soviet Union collapsed than the new rulers did begin pulling down all the statues of Lenin et al in a mighty hurry. The US-led forces started to demolish Saddam`s statues so urgently, as if that had been the sole purpose of their invasion of Iraq. more..

Inter-Provincial levy to raise funds

June 25 (SAMN) To recoup the losses of Provincial Councils by the government slashing of around 50 per cent of their funds, the Chief Ministers’ Forum decided to introduce a levy on products from a certain Province that are sold in another province. A resolution to this effect was passed at the Forum held in Embiliptiya over the weekend. This decision had been taken to find alternate means of revenue for the Councils in the aftermath of the government slash on Provincial Council funds citing war expenditure. more..

Stage set for Poson festival

June 25 (SAMN) The final session of the Poson Steering Committee of Anuradhapura was held on June 21 at the District Secretariat with Government Agent H. M. K. Herath presiding. Representatives of all Government bodies in Anuradhapura and Mihintale, NGOs and members of the Maha Sangha were present. The GA traditional ‘Pan Perahera’ in which water collected from all major reservoirs in the locality of Anuradhapura, is brought in procession from Isurumuniya Raja Maha Viharaya more..

34 abductions in East in one week: SLMM

June 25 (SAMN) A staggering number of 34 people have been reported abducted in the east within the space of just one week, according to a report by the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), and the number included 16 under aged youth. The SLMM weekly situation report for the period June 11-17 notes that of the 34 abductions three were from the Trincomalee district, fourteen in Ampara and seventeen in Batticaloa. more..

Committee summons Treasury Secretary

June 25 (SAMN) The Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts has summoned Treasury Secretary Dr.P.B. Jayasundara to appear before it on July 5, to clarify his media statement regarding the Auditor General’s report which exposed the loss of state revenue running into billions of rupees. According to the Auditor General’s report, there had been a massive loss of tax revenue because of irregularities and inefficiency at the Inland Revenue Department. more..

Sri Lanka rattle Bangladesh in first cricket Test

June 25 (CI) It was, even by Bangladesh's modest standards, quite a collapse. Put into bat, they struggled against the seamers, were clueless against Muttiah Muralitharan, and were shot out for a paltry 89, just after lunch on the opening day in Colombo. Shahadat Hossain struck twice to create a mild flutter in the Sri Lankan camp but Mahela Jayawardene and Michael Vandort ensured that the hosts went into the tea break in a position of strength. more..

Hindu organizations appeal to SLA to relax curfew hours in Jaffna

June 25 (TN) Following the announcement by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in Palaali High Command on Friday extending the curfew hours in North by two more hours from 7:00 p.m. till 5:00 a.m., Hindu religious organizations have appealed to SLA officials to relax the curfew hours to enable devotees to attend the summer religious festivals soon to be held in the peninsula, sources in Jaffna said. more..

Ananda Deputy Principal dies

June 25 (DN) The death occurred yesterday of Rohana Ponnamperuma, Deputy Principal, Ananda College, Colombo. An old boy of Dharmashoka College, Ambalangoda he joined the teaching profession from one of the leading schools in Elpitiya. He joined the staff of Ananda College in 1994. He was promoted to Deputy Principal in 2000. He is survived by his wife Indrani Narangala, a teacher at Sirimavo Balika and son Dimuthu, a student at Ananda College. more..

Two cheese production centres under Gama Neguma

June 25 (DN) Moves are underway to establish two cheese production centres in Horowpothana and Kahatagasdigiliya under the Gama Neguma project with technical assistance from Austo Valley Provincial Government- Italy to raise the living standards of the dairy farmers in these areas, Nation Building Minister S.M. Chandrasena said. During his recent visit to Italy the Minister visited Austo Valley Province and inspected small scale cheese production centres run by rural residents of Austo Valley. more..

Fuel adulteration racket uncovered

June 25 (DM) A large-scale racket where diesel fuel mixed with kerosene was sold at a filling station in Yatiyantota was uncovered yesterday, police said. Yatiyantota police told the Daily Mirror that they had received information on Saturday night about the racket. Police officers had hid themselves near the filling station and arrested two persons who tried to pour a barrel of kerosene into an underground diesel fuel tank. more..

Play active role in APRC, Co-chairs tell Ranil

June 25 (DM) The Co-chairs of the Tokyo Donor Conference who are meeting in Oslo today have also pressurized Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and the UNP to be more actively involved in the All Party Conference to come up with a solution to the ethnic conflict, diplomatic sources said. It is learnt that this was expressed during a meeting between Mr. Wickremesinghe and the donor countries as well as at another separate meeting with foreign ambassadors recently in Colombo. more..

Mihin Air to fly to Europe

June 25 (CAPA) Mihin Air, a Sri Lankan budget airline start-up, plans to launch services to Europe very soon, although details were not disclosed. The carrier will be also adding four more destinations within the next two weeks, increasing its destinations to five. Mihin will use A320 and A321 equipment to operate the services. The carrier also announced plans to launch services in 3Q07 between Dubai and South Indian cities Tiruvanandapuram and Trichi via Colombo, more..

Buddhist monks demand CBI probe into Bodhi tree damage

June 25 (IANS) Buddhist monks have demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the damage caused to the famed Bodhi tree of Gaya, accusing the Bihar government of suppressing the fact that a branch of the holy tree was chopped off. 'Only a CBI probe into the cutting off of a branch of the Bodhi tree will help dispel doubts among Buddhists worldwide that the state government is sincere about coming clean on the controversy,' more..

Sri Lanka cenbank holds policy rates steady

June 25 (Reuters) Central bank on Monday held official interest rates steady at their highest levels since 2002, saying short-term interest rates were at a stable level. The overnight repurchase rate remains at 10.50 percent and the reverse repurchase rate was held at 12 percent. "Within the monetary sector, reserve money, which is the operational target of the monetary policy, was maintained within the targeted level thus far in 2007 and it is poised to be well within the second quarter target as well," more..

Sri Lanka rupee at new life low, shares end weaker

June 25 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee fell to a second consecutive life closing low on Monday, traders said, citing speculative interbank demand for dollars amid market fears the international community could penalise the government over rights abuse concerns, while shares fell. The rupee ended at a new all-time closing low of 111.10/111.12 per dollar, surpassing the previous life low of 111.00/111.02 hit on Friday. more..

Sri Lanka can expect private censure after co-chairs meet

June 25 (IANS) Amid a virtual war and rampant rights abuses, the international community overseeing Sri Lanka's tattered peace process is expected to privately censure Colombo after a meeting in Oslo Tuesday. In a departure from the past, the co-chairs to the peace process - the US, Japan, the European Union and official peace facilitator Norway - may not issue any statement so as not to publicly offend the sensibilities of the Sri Lankan government. more..

India urged to join Sri Lanka group for peace

June 25 (IANS) India has been urged by Tamil activists to join a 'Contact Group' along with other global players to start a political engagement that will help resolve Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict. The Sri Lanka Democracy Forum (SLDF), made up of Tamil activists settled in several countries, has said that India and Britain should team up with the US, Japan, Norway and the European Union, which form what is known as co-chairs, to set up a new 'Contact Group'. more..

Workers unsure of pardon rules for absconders

June 25 (Gulf) A number of Sri Lankan housemaids who have run away from their sponsors said they would like to come back to the UAE but are unaware of the amnesty rules for absconders. "I would like to go home as I have been away from my daughter and two sons for the past four years. I have to come back again as I am the only one to support my elderly mother and three children. My husband ran away five years ago," more..

Galle delays force change to England tour of Sri Lanka

June 25 (Reuters) The itinerary for England's tour of Sri Lanka at the end of the year has been changed because of delays to construction work in Galle. Galle International Stadium, originally the venue for the first test, will now host the third and final test starting on December 18, with the opening match switching to Kandy. "We did not want to take any risks with the post-tsunami construction work now taking place in Galle as there had been some delays," more..

Policeman wounded, 1 insurgent killed in clashes in northern Sri Lanka

June 25 (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels fired mortars at a security post, wounding a policeman, while soldiers killed one insurgent in Sri Lanka's volatile northwest, the military said Monday. The post in northern Vavuniya district came under attack on Sunday, an official at the Defense Ministry's information center said on condition of anonymity in line with policy. more..

Western countries cracking down on LTTE operatives

June 25 (IANS) The arrest of its senior most operative in Britain is the latest of crippling setbacks Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers have suffered in the West, which was seen until recently as a safe haven for the deadly insurgent group. The LTTE is facing an unprecedented crackdown in countries ranging from the US to Australia where it had over the years painstakingly built an overseas empire to finance and arm its separatist campaign in Sri Lanka. more..