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Rights abuses in focus at Sri Lanka donor Oslo meet

June 25 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's main foreign donors meet in Oslo this week to seek ways to halt renewed civil war, and a key focus will be human rights abuses blamed on the state and its Tamil Tiger foes, diplomats say. President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government is under mounting pressure to safeguard human rights and properly probe abuses blamed on state security forces after abductions and massacres attributed to both sides, more..

Sri Lanka state bank gets new directorate ahead of take-over

June 26 (LBO) A new board of directors has been appointed to state-owned SME Bank as a first step in a proposed take-over by Lankaputhra Development Bank, an official said. Lankaputhra Bank chairman A de Vass Gunewardene is the new chairman of SME Bank, former Chairman Moksevi Prelis said. The directorate is made up of Shiromi Wikremesinghe (CEO of Lankaputhra), Kosala Wickremanayake, S S C de Silva, Palane Amarasinghe, and treasury representative Chandra Wikcremanayake. more..

Where has chief justice gone?

June 26 (LeN) Where has the Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva who recently created storms in the local political arena gone when he left for abroad on Saturday? What for? Are the two questions many have begun to raise today. The questions are being raised as the Chief Justice who was invited to make the key note address on "Basic law and its future" at the Hong Kong City University, has still not reached there. more..

Despite moving from the Mul Pituwa to the top chair, work lamentable

June 26 (LeN) It is being reported that veteran journalist Bandula Padmakumara, Chairman of the Lake House, has takes steps to remove all notices and letters published by a Trade Union in their notice board, and let an empty notice board hang. The chairman has used his power against the Lake House Branch of the JVP inter company trade union. A spokesperson from the trade union told 'LeN' that they had copies of two letter sent to the Chairman opposing a statement made by the general manager. more..

Lanka re-opens police station in former Tiger territory

June 26 (PTI) Sri Lanka today reopened its police station in Vavunathivu area of Batticaloa district which was held by Tamil Tiger rebels for over 15 years, officials said. The police station was re-established after troops drove out the rebel LTTE following a two-month battle in the coastal district of Batticaloa, they said. "About 32,000 people who were displaced from Vavunathivu because of recent fighting have now returned and resettled and the police station was set up to cater to their needs," more..

Sri Lanka battles cash crunch

June 26 (HT) Due to inefficiency, corruption, fall in income and the mounting expenditure on war, the Sri Lankan government is facing a financial crunch. This is likely to get worse in the future because of a planned rise in defence expenditure. At last Wednesday's cabinet meeting, President Mahinda Rajapaksa had turned down requests from a number of ministers for more financial allocations, The Sunday Times reported. more..

ICJ Calls for renewed investigation in Sri Lanka

June 26 (TW) The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) today released an “addendum” to the report of its observer of the investigation and inquest into the killing of 17 Action Contre la Faim (ACF) aid workers in Muttur, Sri Lanka, in August 2006. In April 2007, the ICJ published the first report of the observer, senior British barrister, Michael Birnbaum QC. In it he expressed concerns over the continuity and integrity of the transmission of the ballistics exhibits. more..

Hard work paid off, says Vandort

June 26 (CI) Michael Vandort played his last Test over a year ago, against England in June 2006, and it could have stayed that way had Upul Tharanga not broken a bone in his foot in the build-up to the first Test against Bangladesh. Seeing his chance, Vandort cashed in and was unbeaten on 87 at the end of the first day. "To a certain extent I was surprised by my recall," said Vandort after the day's play. more..

'Prabakaran should be held responsible for the deaths of over 70,000 people'

June 26 (AT) In a open letter, V.Anandasangaree, the Leader of Tamil United Liberation Front has alleged the V.Prabakaran, the reclusive leader of the LTTE, should be held responsible for the deaths of over 70 thousand people of all faiths, of all age groups, of both sexes of all communities in Sri Lanka not only at the battle front but also in land and claymore mine attacks, hand grenade and bomb attacks and also massacres of innocent ones in buses, and trains. more..

Tigers use Tamil gangs to bash whistle blowers in UK

June 26 (AT) Faced with stern action by the London Metropolitan Police raiding Tamil Tiger homes and hide-outs the Tiger headquarters in Vanni, Sri Lanka has ordered three Tamil gangster groups to silence anti-LTTE individuals and groups residents in Britain. According to reliable sources the notorious London Tamil gangster groups, known to the locals as Ilford Boys, Tooting Boys, Jaffna Boys and Eatham Boys are asked to more..

SLFP is for full devolution of power and for a negotiated settlement

June 26 (AT) The seventh Business for Peace Forum of the Business for Peace Initiative organized by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka took place at the JAIC Hilton Hotel and Maitripala Sirisena, General Secretary, Sri Lanka Freedom Party and Minister of Agricultural Development and Agrarian Services spoke on the theme “Maintaining a balance on Peace Building and Economic Growth – The SLFP Viewpoint”. more..

I will go along with JVP and even the UNP- Mangala Samaraweera

June 26 (AT) Mangala Samaraweera, Sri Lanka's controversial political figure who joined the opposition last week and now leading the ruling SLFP's "People's Wing" faction said that if necessary he is willing to form alliances with not only the Marxist JVP but even the centre right and main opposition UNP. "UNP is our main opposition, whether we like it or not. Even at its most volatile moment, there are 3.5 million voters ready to vote for UNP. more..

Series of discussions on New Companies Act

June 26 (AT) The New Companies Act No. 7 of 2007 has aroused considerable interest among the private sector business community and it has been the focal point of analytical discussions at various forums. The Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) too organized such a Seminar on "The New Companies Act - A close Examination from the Business Community's Perspective. more..

Bringing relief to Vaharai

June 26 (AN) The Red Cross has launched a three-month relief operation in the Vaharai region of Sri Lanka. The operation, which is targeting around 14,500 people, is intended to help people returning to their homes in the region after heavy fighting forced the entire population of Vaharai to flee at the end of 2006. Returning residents are already receiving important items, including cooking pots, hurricane lamps, and hygiene kits. more..

Only CFA can save Sri Lanka - Thamilchelvan

June 26 (TN) S.P Thamilchelvan, head of the Political Division of the LTTE, in an interview with TamilNet on Monday said that to bring peace and pave the way for talks, the international community should come forward to "support the struggle for rights of the Tamil people and force the Sri Lankan Government to implement the ceasefire agreement in full.” Characterizing the "efforts” to bring a united position among the southern parties as the "same old drama," more..

Sri Lanka in Tug-of-War with UN, Relief Agencies

June 26 (IPS) Sri Lanka, which has consistently received high marks from the United Nations for its superlative social indicators on literacy, child mortality and health care, has received failing grades for its growing human rights abuses and failure to protect civilians in the country's battle zones. After a rash of killings of aid workers, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has demanded "a thorough investigation" into the killings. more..

Bullet goes ‘missing’ in Sri Lanka murder probe

June 26 (AFP) A bullet being used in an investigation into the killings in Sri Lanka of 17 aid workers last August may have been removed from evidence, an international legal watchdog said yesterday. The International Commission of Jurists said its observer on the probe, senior British lawyer Michael Birnbaum, found signs that a 5.56 calibre bullet was removed and substituted with another type in evidence submitted to local magistrates. more..

Sri Lanka-AP to develop tourism in Buddhist circuit

June 26 (Hindu) Sri Lanka and Andhra Pradesh will soon join hands in a bid to leverage the tourism potential of the Buddhist circuit to woo international tourists, said P.M. Amza, Deputy High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Southern India. On a recent visit here, he said a network was being put in place to promote a single package showcasing the awesome tourism potential in Sri Lanka and AP that were separated by a short flight. more..

Back with a vengeance

June 26 (CI) If Marvan Atapattu was given a day off at Lashings CC and was able watch the opening day of this series then it might not have been easy viewing. According to Jayanda Dharmadasa, Sri Lanka Cricket's chairman, Atapattu has requested more time to overcome the "trauma" of his difficult World Cup on the sidelines. Michael Vandort, meanwhile, a opener that has been overlooked so much in his career that he might be forgiven for seeking professional trauma counseling, more..

Tamil-Muslim abductions: Why is there deafening silence?

June 26 (FI) It was first the Tamils and now the Muslims and despite all the recent rumblings on increasing abductions amongst ethnic minorities there is still a deafening silence. Silence because still a large part of the country is either unaware of it or refuses to accept it. Silence also because the existing ranting lacks any sense of earnestness and has turned into a political spectacle. more..

Sri Lanka to set up prosperity index to track rural growth

June 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Central Bank is to introduce a prosperity index to track the progress of the island's provinces which are lagging behind and have high levels of poverty, Central Bank governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said. It will also set up a results-based monitoring and evaluation system to see how development in the provinces is taking place. more..

Pictorial: Koiyaavaady welfare camp, Puttlam district

June 26 (TW) There are 136 families- 720 persons living in Koiyaavaady welfare camp in Puttlam district for more than 17 years. They were forced to leave their home town in the Northern Province in 1990 by the LTTE. The Muslim community says that they do not know the reason for the LTTE to act in such a manner. The people are worried of the duration of their stay in these welfare camps, as the situation is deteriorating in the North. more..

"Appeal" against beheading

June 26 (BBC) Sri Lankan authorities say that it will appeal the ruling against a Sri Lankan house maid by Saudi High Courts. A spokesman for the Sri Lankan embassy in Saudi Arabia said that it has requested legal assistance from the Sri Lankan foreign employment bureau (SLFEB) in order to appeal on behalf of Rizana Nasik, from Muttur. Labour Secretary K B G Premadasa speaking to BBC Sandeshaya from Riyadh said that the maid was convicted of strangling a four months old infant. more..

The Sunday Times publishes a false story about the CJ

June 26 (ISL) Chief Justice Sarath N Silva left yesterday for Hong Kong to attend a seminar ignoring threats by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to hold a protest against him. He is due to attend a conference entitled “Hong Kong Basic Law: the first ten years and its future” organized by the City University. Justice Silva was due to leave earlier this week for the event, but had been delayed due to logistical arrangements. more..

Sri Lankan builders looks to prolong housing boom

June 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka's construction industry has called on the government to create a better "enabling environment" for the trade to promote more building activity. Dakshitha Thalgodapitiya, Secretary General of the Chamber of Construction Industry (CCI), said more incentives were required and a change of focus to prevent a slowdown in the construction sector. The construction industry has been growing at a hectic pace in recent years, more..

Sri Lanka drops controversial new tea export tax

June 26 (LBO) A proposal to increase a tax on Sri Lankan tea exports to fund subsidies has been dropped after opposition from producers and exporters, a top official said. The government proposed increasing the export cess by two rupees to six rupees per kilo in response to demands from small holders to subsidise fertiliser for tea producers. But the move failed to get the nod of stakeholders such as the Planters Association, Ceylon Tea Traders Association and exporters. more..

Programme associate at the UN office in Colombo leaves city with her family due to extortion threat

June 26 (LeN) Vasuki Mahendran, a programme associate at the Finance section of the United Nations country office in Colombo has left Colombo today 26th June afternoon with her husband and children due to extortion threat. Before exit, she has lodged a complaint with Civil Monitoring Commission says CMC convener Mano Ganesan MP. more..

17 Sinhala Tigers further remanded till July 9

June 26 (AT) Seventeen Sinhalese men accused of fronting for the LTTE were further remanded by the Additional Magistrate Colombo on June 25. They are members of "Revolutionary Liberation Front" (RLF), a Sinhalese rebel movement quietly preparing for attacks on key economic centres in Sri Lanka. The Terrorist Investigations Division (TID) informed the court on June 25 that the members of RLF were trained by the LTTE and the RLF had even opened several of their offices across the country. more..

Finger Impression Attendance Registration system to commence soon for Health Employees

June 26 (GDI) The Government will be initiating Finger impression attendance registration system as a mean of enhancing the working efficiency of the Health sector employees. According to Minister of Health Nimal Siripala de Silva, the finger impression attendance registration system will commence soon from the hospitals in Hambanthota district. more..

Religious leaders accuse LTTE of using places of worship for their terror activities

June 26 (GDI) Following the heavy defeat at Thoppigala which has been the LTTE’s last stronghold since many years, it is now clearly evident that the LTTE carders escaping from Thoppigala take shelter in places of religious worship, thus taking the advantage of security forces respect towards Hindu temples and Christian churches. more..

VAT tariff reduced for 10 essential goods

June 26 (GDI) Government has taken steps to provide tariff relief for ten essential goods in order to bring down prices. This decision was taken during a discussion between the President Mahinda Rajapaksa and essential goods importers last evening at Temple Trees. The discussion focused on stabilizing the price level of the essential goods, the problems of the essential goods importers and the necessary solutions for these problems. more..

Lanka urged to use UNHRC position to improve rights record

June 26 (LNP) Human rights groups have urged Sri Lanka to use its high ranking position received at the UN Human Rights Council to improve its human rights record and to put pressure on the LTTE to respect human rights norms. The Human Rights Council on Friday elected the new President and officers of the Bureau of the Council for its second cycle. This included Ambassador Dayan Jayatillake from Sri Lanka being appointed as one of four Vice Presidents. more..

More Tigers surrender to security forces

June 26 (LNP) Two more cadres of the LTTE surrendered to the security forces on Sunday at Valachchanai, said Media Center for National Security (MCNS). According to MCNS figures, 659 LTTE cadres have so far surrendered to the security forces. The majority of them surrendered from former rebel held areas in the Batticaloa district. Meanwhile, the MCNS said that the government forces have surrounded the LTTE`s Beirut Camp, the last bastion of the rebels in thick Thoppigala jungles. more..

Health Ministry buries aid

June 26 (LNP) The government returned more than two billion rupees worth of underutilized foreign aid given to the Health Ministry during the past three years, the Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts has revealed. Of this massive amount, Rs. 234 million accounting for 31 percent of the total capital aid received in 2003, was returned to donor countries in 2004, while in the following year Rs. 1,048 million was returned. more..

CEB engineers want COPE to probe second Power plant

June 26 (LNP) The Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union yesterday urged the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises to initiate a full probe into the setting up of second power plant at Kerawalapitiya, before a huge amount public money goes waste. The CEBEU told the COPE Committee that if the second plant is set up as planned it would result in a loss of billions. more..

LTTE gets equipment from Japan

June 26 (SAMN) While Defence Authorities probed the LTTE’s acquiring of what was believed to be Chinese built military hardware, it has now been revealed that the rebels possess Japanese manufactured equipment, including radars, a Defence official said. The revelation comes after security forces recovered a powerful radar from an LTTE vessel seized by the Navy following a fierce battle off Point Pedro last week. more..

Church asks help for Madhu feast

June 26 (SAMN) The Catholic Church in Mannar, Monday called for a temporary ceasefire, for the up-coming Madhu Feast on July 2 to allow devotees to participate in festivities peacefully. A spokesman from the Catholic Church in Mannar, said the feast will be on despite the war situation in the Madhu area. Therefore he called on the authorities to arrange for the people to participate in the festivities in a peaceful manner. more..

Compensation for July strikers

June 26 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has called for proposals from July Strikers regarding their compensations to make immediate allocations. President Rajapaksa gave these instructions to representatives of the July Strikers' Joint Trade Union when he met them at Temple Trees to discuss their problems, Monday. The Union's president D. Gunaratna said there are around 2,000 strikers who have not received any compensation. more..

Police OIC, 2 constables arrested

June 26 (SAMN) The CID Monday informed the Colombo Chief Magistrate that the Officer-In-Charge of the Pundaluoya police station and two constables were taken into custody for releasing, without properly checking, a bomb-laden lorry with over 1000 kilograms of explosives. The CID informed Court that the OIC, Inspector Sampath Bandara, and two constables Jayalath Ekanayake and Chandrasena Rajakaruna, were being interrogated as to how they could not detect a bomb laden lorry, more..

Claymore mine uncovered on civilian information- Rajagiriya

June 26 (MoD) The Borella Police, investigating on civilian information uncovered a claymore mine weighing around 20 Kgs at Obesekarapura, Rajagiriya on Tuesday the 26th of June, at 1 p.m. The mine was transported to Colombo, concealed in the diesel tank of a double cab, belonging to Local Government Commissioner in Kilinochchi, said the Borella Police officials. more..

Situation Report

June 26 (SLA) NAVAL TROOPS on foot patrol in the general area of PESALAI, MANNAR this morning (26) after observation of a suspicious movement of two unidentified men in the area signaled them to stop for identification but those two men started to run away. While running, those two men started firing at the sailors who were pursuing them. However, troops reacted and opened counter fire on them killing one of them on the spot. more..

Army wins hearts, minds of Jaffna population

June 26 (DN) The Army has forged an excellent rapport with the people of Jaffna which has helped in the creation of a conducive environment for the smooth functioning of normal life, Jaffna Commander Major General G. A. Chandrasiri said. "The Army has acted with responsibility and the citizens are appreciative of the Army's services in almost all spheres of activity," Major General Chandrasiri said. more..

Mangala's crossover motivated by Premiership ambition, says SB

June 26 (DN) UNP National Organiser S.B.Dissanayake said yesterday that Mangala Samaraweera's decision to sit in the Opposition was based on personal reasons with the ultimate aim of re-inducting Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga into politics and through it to obtain for himself the Premiership. He said it was time that everyone shed their personal ambitions and act with sacrifice for the common goal of all. more..

Tamil Tiger cyber terror sponsored by US companies

June 26 (AT) The Sri Lankan government is making preparations to combat the cyber campaign unleashed to glorify terror on a global scale by agents of Tamil Tigers. The Sri Lanka Government has put together its campaign by lodging complaints with the US Justice Department about the US companies hosting pro-Tamil Tiger websites. According to Sri Lanka Government sources there are scores of pro-Tiger websites whose domain names have been registered in USA. more..

When justice fails, political dissent turns violent

June 26 (KT) IT IS difficult to believe that Sri Lankan authorities did not know who Justice PN Bhagwati was when they invited him to head the panel of International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP), which is tasked with monitoring investigations by a presidential commission into grave human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings. more..

Nalanda Ellawala case to be resumed

June 26 (DM) The Nalanda Ellawala murder case which came to an abrupt halt when vital documents relating to the case were destroyed in a fire is to be resumed shortly. “All destroyed documents in this case have been reconstructed. The Attorney General is about to indict suspects who will stand trial in the Ratnapura High Court, shortly,” Senior State Counsel Mohan Seneviratna told the Daily Mirror. more..

Extremism needs change of heart for development: Dr. Amunugama

June 26 (DM) Sinhala as well as Tamil extremists hold obsolete attitudes which should be changed for them to join hands and effectively face the challenges before us, Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Minister Dr. Sarath Amugugama said on Sunday at the opening ceremony of a road at Hadeniya, Marawanagoda in Galagedara. The Minister said that we cannot solve our problems as long as we stand divided. more..

Two vessels handed over to Sri Lankan Navy

June 26 (NIP) The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) personnel handed over two Sri Lankan vessels to its Navy here on Monday. Sources said one of the two Lankan vessels - Samuthra Deva Matha - seized by the ICG for illegal fishing in Indian waters near Cuddalore on April 23 and the other one Kaveesha Budha, rescued along with its six crew on April 1 near Devanampattinam, were handed over to the Chennai police. more..

Sri Lankan refugees’ wards to be admitted to schools near camps

June 26 (Hindu) Children of Sri Lankan refugees in the State will be admitted to schools near their refugee camps. A Government Order to this effect was passed on Monday. Besides being admitted to local government schools, the students would be allowed to complete their school education in Tamil Nadu and provided with uniforms, textbooks, note books and lunch. more..

Man posing as cop dupes Sri Lankans

June 26 (ToI) Three Sri Lankan nationals were allegedly duped of Rs 60,000 by a man posing as Delhi Police inspector in the Nizamuddin area of south Delhi on Saturday. According to the police, the trio were returning back from Nehru Place, where they had gone to obtain visas for Austria, when the incident occurred. The trio — Joseph Ivan Fernando and his two friends, Namal Sandaruwan and Prem Chandana — had come to Delhi a few days back and were staying at Paharganj. more..