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Largest LTTE vehicle fleet detected

June 27 (LNP) Advancing troops in Thoppigala area detected the largest ever single fleet of vehicles abandoned by the LTTE. Troops in Narakamulla, Taravikulam and surrounding areas in Thoppigala were able to detect six double cabs, four vans, seven tractors with trailers, fifteen trailers, nine Canter lorries, nineteen motorbikes and two bowsers, a senior military official said. more..

21% of population elderly by 2050

June 27 (SAMN) The government said last week that the number of senior citizens in Sri Lanka will reach 21% of the population by 2050 and that caring for them could be a challenge to the nation unless they are gainfully engaged for the development of the country. Social Service and Social Welfare Ministry Secretary V. Jegarasasingam, said that immediate steps should be taken to secure the physical and mental well-being of Sri Lanka’s senior citizens, so that they would not be a burden to the country. more..

Govt. awaits ruling on Gr. 1 admissions

June 27 (SAMN) The government has refuted allegations by trade unions and Past Pupils’ Associations (PPA) that its decision to separate the primary sections from national schools had lowered the PPA quota for Grade 1 admissions. Education Services Minister Nirmala Kotalawala said although charges had been levelled against the Education Ministry for planning to separate the primary section from national schools what has been done was not to separate the primary section but introduce a new marking scheme for the new intake. more..

SCOPP welcomes Govt. decision

June 27 (SAMN) The Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) has welcomed the decision of the Government to lift restrictions on fishing activities in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, in a move to bring greater relief to the civilian population affected by conflict in the region. Following discussions with authorities in the Security Services and the Fisheries Ministry, President Rajapaksa issued a directive to increase opportunities for fishing with immediate effect. more..

Maximum power devolution

June 27 (SAMN) A political solution with maximum power devolution rather than war is the SLFP stance in solving the current ethnic problem, said Agricultural Development and Agrarian Services Minister and SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena. He said so delivering the guest lecture at the 7th Business for Peace Forum organised by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) at the JAIC Hilton Colombo recently. more..

Lankan Doctor honoured

June 27 (DN) The American Biographical Institute USA has nominated Dr. Terence Perera to be a recipient of this year's Man of The Year Commemorative Gold Medal. The Institute confers a small number of men, representing a variety of countries, this medal in recognition of contributions made to society. Dr. Perera served for over 12 years as World Health Organisation (WHO) Senior Advisor in Maternal and Child Health for the South East Asia Region. more..

'Ranil striving to form alliance with Mangala, Sripathy'

June 27 (DN) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is making an effort to make an alliance with SLFP breakaway former Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathy Sooriyarachchi, the UNP Democratic Group said yesterday. The UNP lost its power due to its bad leadership and the President won the power because of his goodwill to lead the country on the right path. more..

Ferial to lose NUA grip?

June 27 (DM) The Sri Lanka Progressive Front (SLPF), which in 1999 joined hands with the SLMC to form the National Unity Alliance (NUA), has challenged Minister Ferial Ashraff’s leadership of the alliance, the Daily Mirror learns. The SLPF has informed Ms. Ashraff that according to the NUA Constitution only members of the two constituent parties are legally entitled to hold any NUA office and since Minister Ashraff is no more a member of the SLMC, she had ceased to be a NUA member, more..

Audit report sniffs fraud in Parliament project

June 27 (DM) A draft interim report prepared by the Auditor General’s Department on the installation of an ICT network in Parliament, has questioned the “very unusual” price increase between the original and subsequent estimates, while describing Parliament’s administrative decision to introduce a redundant cabling infrastructure as “highly dubious”. more..

Bangladesh produce overdue fight

June 27 (CI) For those who love the underdog, the first two sessions of the third day's play of the first Test offered reason to hope. Inspired by a fighting 86-run opening stand between Shahriar Nafees and Javed Omar, Bangladesh retreated to tea having lost only three wickets. For all the resistance, though, they were still up against it as they trailed by 300 runs at the Sinhalese Sports Club. more..

Bandaranaike Wants To See Women In Peacekeeping Role

June 27 (NPI) Former Sri Lankan president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga called for women to play an active role in crisis management and peacekeeping around the globe. Speaking before the European Parliament's Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality in Brussels Tuesday evening, Bandaranaike proposed to the European Union to consider sending women when the European bloc undertakes peace missions, according to Inepnext news agency. more..

Insinuations regarding the Muttur massacres - Govt

June 27 (RW) There has been much publicity recently regarding the killing of 17 ACF workers in Muttur last year. This is particularly worrying to the Secretariat for Monitoring the Peace Process, since it will contribute to a further erosion of confidence amongst stakeholders. While one of our main purposes now is confidence building, as the National Peace Council noted at a recent consultative meeting, it is equally important to deal with the erosion of confidence. more..

Sri Lanka – ICRC Bulletin No. 14 / 2007

June 27 (AN) General situation The recent murders of two staff members of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society have shocked the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the wider humanitarian community in Sri Lanka. Sinnarasa Shanmugalingam and Karthekesu Chandramohan had been in Colombo attending a training workshop organized by the Sri Lanka Red Cross. On 1 June, they were abducted by unknown men. more..

Pre-dawn attacks by Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka kill 4, military says

June 27 (AP) Separatist Tamil Tiger rebels launched two pre-dawn attacks on government forces in northern Sri Lanka on Wednesday, killing three soldiers and a village guard, the military said. The insurgents attacked a check post manned by the army and local recruits, known as village guards, in northern Vavuniya district, killing two soldiers and one of the village guards, more..

Sri Lankan police detain 300 after bomb discovery

June 27 (AFP) About 300 people were detained in Sri Lanka's capital Wednesday in connection with a powerful bomb found near an oil storage depot that was defused by the military, police said. Heavily-armed forces raided the area in the capital where a 20-kilogram (44-pound) bomb linked to Tamil rebels was found on Tuesday inside the fuel tank of a vehicle owned by an official from a rebel-held northern district, police said. more..

Japan voices concern about human rights in Sri Lanka

June 27 (AFP) Japan, the single largest donor to Sri Lanka, expressed concern about the human rights situation in the island nation during a visit by Colombo's foreign minister, the government said. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso raised "the Japanese public's heightening concerns over the human rights situation in Sri Lanka" during a meeting with his counterpart Rohitha Bogollagama, Aso's ministry said in a statement. more..

Sri Lankan Tamils call on NZ govt for help

June 28 (Stuff) Local Sri Lankan Tamils are calling on the New Zealand Government to push for independent observers in their strife-torn homeland. About 30 members of the Wellington Tamil community today gathered at Parliament to protest against alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. For the past 24 years members of the minority group have been waging a guerilla war for a separate Tamil state in the country's north and east. more..

Govt. establishes a new information center to avert abductions

June 28 (GDI) Under the direction of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Government has established center to gather information about the abductions that occur in Colombo and the in the suburb. This was revealed to Media by the Minister of Media- Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena at a press conference held in Colombo today. The center will officially commence its work from tomorrow (28) at the BMICH. more..

Security Forces make further advances in Thoppigala

June 28 (GDI) Troops are making further advances in Thoppigala area in the east after consolidating positions in the areas earlier captured. The Security Forces have also captured hey roads such as Pankunaveli - Narakamulla road and Sittandy -Periyamadu road in the Thoppigala area. This was revealed to media by the Military Spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe addressing the weekly media conference held in Colombo today. more..

Insinuations regarding the Muttur Massacres

June 28 (ISL) There has been much publicity recently regarding the killing of 17 ACF workers in Muttur last year. This is particularly worrying to the Secretariat for Monitoring the Peace Process, since it will contribute to a further erosion of confidence amongst stakeholders. While one of our main purposes now is confidence building, as the National Peace Council noted at a recent consultative meeting, it is equally important to deal with the erosion of confidence. more..

Dear Mahinda “Chinthana” Rajapaksa Ayya alias Our President

June 28 (ISL) Our President seems not one bit bothered as he goes on his disastrous way. Creating seven new ministries and the funds needed to run them are the latest bone of contention. Opposition in Parliament and elsewhere does not deter him one bit and he is not likely to slow down in creating more money consuming frivolities. We are soon likely to need a minister for printing of currency at the rate things are going. more..

Rajagiriya bomb incident was administered from London

June 28 (LeN) Government Defence spokesperson minister Keheliya Rambukwella says the person who is directly involved with transporting the bomb that was found in Rajagiriya yesterday, was residing in a Colombo lodge. The minister said that 8 persons have been arrested in connection to the incident and one of them is a Provincial commissioner from Kilinochchi and the person directly involved with transporting the bomb is a Mason who has come to Colombo in search of a job. more..

JVP has launched a new 'FRONT' says, Somawanse

June 28 (LeN) Leader of the JVP Somawanse Amarasinghe today revealed that a new government by the name "New National Front" would be created uniting all parties, factions and classes. The JVP leader disclosed this at a media briefing held at the Public Library auditorium to brief the media regarding the new front that will be established under the JVP leadership. more..

"Renew Muttur investigation" ICJ

June 28 (BBC) The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) is calling the President of Sri Lanka to renew the investigation into the killing of 17 aid workers in Muttur in August 2006. Secretary-General of ICJ Nicholas Howen told that key material evidence had been tampered with. "What we know is that someone has removed a bullet and replaced it with another," he said. more..

Sri Lanka dismisses massacre evidence tampering claim

June 28 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's government on Wednesday dismissed a claim that evidence in a probe into the massacre of 17 aid workers blamed on security forces was tampered with, and called for a fresh ballistics examination. The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) -- an international body of lawyers who have been observing the inquiry -- said this week it suspected a bullet recovered from the corpses of one of the slain aid staff had been substituted. more..

Penney rues dropped catches

June 28 (CI) Sri Lanka's stand-in coach, Trevor Penney, expects his side to wrap up the first Test against Bangladesh on the fourth morning at SSC tomorrow despite a fighting performance from Bangladesh in their second innings. After being shot out for 89 in the first innings, Bangladesh put up stern resistance in the second to end the third day at 233 for 5, still trailing by 255 runs. more..

Tharanga on the road to recovery

June 28 (CI) Upul Tharanga, the Sri Lankan opening batsman, is recovering fast from his foot injury but he may not be rushed into the second Test against Bangladesh starting July 3 at the P. Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo. He suffered a hairline fracture on his left heel at practice three days before the first Test after he was hit by a yorker from fast bowler Lasith Malinga. more..

Sri Lanka: Of success and credibility

June 28 (AT) The deteriorating human rights situation or the enhanced abuse of power/bribery & corruption situation notwithstanding, President Mahinda Rajapakse’s “war on terror” is achieving results. However the erosion of credibility is a very dangerous factor. (Especially when you are running an elected, legal government) When one’s credibility is lessened or lost completely, people (including the international community) tend to disbelieve you at face value. more..

Sri Lanka's economy probably grew at slowest pace in two years

June 28 (BN) Sri Lanka's economy probably grew at the slowest pace in two years as Asia's highest interest rates and renewed violence between government forces and separatist rebels curbed spending. Gross domestic product expanded 6.1 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, after 6.2 percent growth in the three months to Dec. 31, according to the median forecast of 11 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. more..

Lanka minister in visa trouble

June 28 (TT) A Sri Lankan minister landed at the Cochin international airport without a visa and had to be given a temporary landing permit for $40. M.M. Mustapha, the deputy minister of higher education, arrived on a private visit this morning by a Sri Lankan Airlines flight. The Kerala Management Association, his local hosts, received him at the VIP lounge, after which he went for customs and immigration checks. more..

Sri Lanka national line to buy cargo ship

June 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka's national shipping line has shelved plans to acquire a tanker for crude oil imports and is going ahead with the purchase of a cargo vessel to supply the northern Jaffna peninsula, an official said. Ceylon Shipping Corporation (CSC) officials said a cargo ship is the more urgent requirement because of the need to ship food, medicine and other provisions to Jaffna which can only be supplied by sea and air. more..

Infrastructure Upgrade Essential for Competitiveness, Says Ambassador Blake

June 28 (TW) Thank you for inviting me today. It is an honor to speak to the Chamber of Construction Industry and I look forward to hearing Dr. Walter Wickramasinghe speak on a very important and timely issue — transportation. First, permit me if you will, to ask you a trivia question: Can anyone here name the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka in 1987? In a moment, I will return to this question — that will give some of you time to rack your memories. more..

Sri Lanka Today Is Where Northern Ireland Was 15 Years Ago

June 28 (FI) The following thoughts are inspired by a discussion the author had with Derek Poole, from Northern Ireland, who is involved in peace-building work for 25 years. He spoke to some community-level peace builders invited by the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA). Poole has been developing many local bridge-building programmes designed to help communities, political and paramilitary leaders, to explore the common goal of peace and reconciliation, and alternative ways of building peace. more..

Why Sri Lanka does not need Western development aid

June 28 (FI) Cuts in aid are being considered by the Co-chairs to pressure the Sri Lankan Government to halt its military offensive against the LTTE and take effective steps to curb the associated human rights violations. Paradoxically this is being considered in the background of a war that is being vigorously waged in Iraq and Afghanistan by some Co-chair members themselves (e.g. United States and NATO, the military arm of the European Union) in which thousands are dying and violations of every kind are being committed daily. more..

Insinuations regarding the Muttur Massacres

June 28 (ISL) There has been much publicity recently regarding the killing of 17 ACF workers in Muttur last year. This is particularly worrying to the Secretariat for Monitoring the Peace Process, since it will contribute to a further erosion of confidence amongst stakeholders. While one of our main purposes now is confidence building, as the National Peace Council noted at a recent consultative meeting, it is equally important to deal with the erosion of confidence. more..

FMM slams moves to bring back law that curbed critical reporting

June 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Free Media Movement (FMM) has expressed shock at attempts to bring back a repealed law which it said was used in the past to silence critical reportage and to persecute editors and journalists. The rights body said the criminal defamation law, was repealed by the UNP government in June 2002 as a result of campaigns by national and international media and press freedom organisations. more..

'Mangala’s “Challenge of a dream” would be only a dream'

June 28 (LT) “Challenge of a dream” launched by Mr. Mangala Samaraweera would be only a dream says Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle. Addressing a media briefing in Colombo today Minister Fernandopulle said when its contents are read it is obvious that it would remain a dream. Mr. Fernandopulle said in the document it is stated that crossing over from political parties would be banned. However, the creator of the document himself is a person who crossed over said Mr. Fernandopulle. more..

We’ll build Broad People’s Front to guide country on new path -JVP

June 28 (LT) The JVP will build a broad people’s front to guide the country that has been dragged to a bottomless pit said Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe, Leader of the JVP. He said this addressing a media meeting held in Colombo today (27th). Mr. Amarasinghe asked whether a bad government should be replaced by a worst one. He pointed out that what was needed for the country today is not a substitute for the present government but an alternative with a new path. more..

Summary of cabinet decisions

June 28 (GDI) The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also the Minister of Religious Affairs and Moral Upliftment, to include Temple societies under the National Procurement Agency Guidelines No.3.9.1. H.E. the President said in the Memorandum that 9,272 temples and 9,604 Dhamma Schools registered with the Department of Buddhist Affairs, which is under the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Moral Upliftment, exist in the country. more..

Allegation that most of the disappeared had been abducted is incorrect

June 28 (GDI) The Mahanama Thilakerathne Commission on Abductions, Disappearance and Unresolved Killings is to submit its third and final report to the President Mahinda Rajapaksa shortly. Chairman of the Commission, Justice Thilakerathne said that that the allegation that a large number of persons who had disappeared had been abducted was incorrect. more..

Japan persists with aid to Sri Lanka

June 28 (GDI) The Government of Japan has granted an assistant package worth of 500 million yen (Rs 453 million) to help the displaced persons in Sri Lanka. This funding is a part of Tokyo’s effort to aid the Sri Lanka’s peace process. Japan has been playing a major role in bringing an end to the country’s two decade long crises. Granting of funds was announced by the Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso on Wednesday. more..

International action against LTTE supporters

June 28 (GDI) International action against the LTTE cadres are continuing with UK and Australia taking stern measures against the LTTE activists in those countries. Two key LTTE members operating in United Kingdom were charged by Scotland Yard Police yesterday (27). They were charged under the Terrorism Act 2000 with providing support to the LTTE, which is a proscribed organisation in the UK. more..

Govt to shut down PERC

June 28 (GDI) The Public Enterprises Reforms Commission (PERC), which was instrumental in privatising many State ventures, will be shut down by the Government shortly. Highways Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said the Cabinet paper in this regard was to be presented to the Cabinet last evening. He was addressing reporters at the weekly media briefing on the country’s current situation at the Information Department yesterday. more..

Two cops, Airman arrested in abductions episode

June 28 (GDI) A special squad attached to the CID yesterday made a major breakthrough in their investigations into the multi- million rupee extortion racket targeting Tamil and Muslim businessmen when they took into custody two policemen and an Air Force sergeant. Earlier the CID special squad took into custody a senior ex-Airman who is alleged to have conducted the operation of kidnapping and extorting money from wealthy businessmen in Colombo and other areas. more..

Sri Lanka successfully overcomes disputes being resilient against the shocks - FM

June 28 (GDI) “Sri Lanka has experience in the continuous need to be resilient against external and internal shocks. This is a challenge we have been continually overcoming with the assistance of our friends abroad such as Japan,” said Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. Minister Bogollagama stated this addressing a Sri Lanka Business Forum held at the Tokyo Hilton on Tuesday (26). more..

SL delegation visits Qatar and the UAE

June 28 (GDI) With the aim of finding out the welfare needs and the problems faced by the Sri Lankan Community, a Sri Lankan delegation led by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hussein A. Bhaila, went on an official visit to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates from 11 to 18 June 2007. This visit is considered as the first leg of the consular visits of the Middle Eastern Countries, where large number of Sri Lankan migrant workers are employed. more..

Sri Lankan government cracks down on protesting farmers

June 28 (wsws) Sri Lankan police have carried out a wave of arrests after protests by thousands of farmers in the Northwest province against their forced eviction to make way for an irrigation scheme. The police action came in the wake of an angry confrontation on June 11 between farmers in several remote villages near Wariyapola and Irrigation, Ports and Civil Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapakse. more..

GDP growth still centred in Western Province

June 28 (ANN) The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country grew by 18.4 per cent in 2006, in nominal terms, reaching 2,484 billion rupees (US$22.27 billion) with per capita income amounting to 126,306 rupees ($1,132), the Central Bank said. The distribution of the GDP among provinces shows that contribution to GDP at provincial level was largely concentrated in the Western Province with a slight decline from the year before. more..

'Our bowlers created the opportunities' - Jayawardene

June 28 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan captain, described his team's thumping innings and 234-run victory over Bangladesh in the first Test as a brilliant effort under tough conditions. "The important thing for us was to make sure we go very hard at them," said Jayawardene after Sri Lanka had wrapped up the Test half an hour into the fourth morning to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. more..

Lanka rebel Ministers open new political office, begin talks with opposition camps

June 28 (AT) Former Lankan rebel Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathy Sooriyarachchi launched talks with political parties this morning when they met opposition leader, UNP's Ranil Wickremesinghe. Amidst allegations by government that SLFP (M) faction is heading a conspiracy against the government, the convener of SLFP (M) faction Mangala Samaraweera said "Our talks are aimed at forming a broad front against the current government." more..