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Unemployed graduates to mount more pressure on govt

June 5 (DM) Unemployed graduates took the government to task yesterday for the failure to provide them with employment at state institutions as pledged in the run up to the Presidential Polls in 2005. Convenor of the Combined Association of Unemployed Graduates Sujith Kuruwita told a news conference yesterday they would hold a demonstration in Colombo tomorrow (June 6) to mount pressure on the government to grant them appointment at state institutions. more..

Sri Lanka offers security guarantees to Bangladesh

June 5 (AFP) Sri Lanka assured Bangladesh of high security during their upcoming cricket tour this month even as fighting escalated between troops and Tamil Tiger rebels, Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge said. Bangladesh arrive here on June 17 for a tour comprising three Test matches and three one-day internationals. All matches will be played in Colombo, except the third Test which will be held in the hill resort of Kandy. more..

30 refugees land in Rameswaram

June 5 (CO) A batch of 30 Sri Lankan refugees, including nine women and 10 children, arrived by two fibreglass boats here today, officials said. The refugees, who belonged to Neduntheevu in the island nation, were intercepted in the mid-sea by the Indian Coast Guard and brought to Rameswaram. They were handed over to the police. One of the refugees said they left their homes following heavy fighting between the LTTE and Sri Lankan security forces. more..

Sri Lanka blast kills senior police officer

June 5 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels set off a roadside bomb in eastern Sri Lanka Tuesday, killing a senior police official in an attack that coincided with a visit to the area by the US ambassador, the military said. A police chief inspector was killed and his sub-inspector wounded when they were ambushed at Kokkadichcholai in the district of Batticaloa, 300 kilometres (190 miles) east of the capital Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka killings worry UN's Ban, Japan envoy visits

June 5 (Reuters) United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon has voiced concern about the safety of aid workers in Sri Lanka after the murder of two Red Cross volunteers, his office said, as Japan's peace envoy began a visit to the war-battered island. Two Tamil Sri Lanka Red Cross volunteers were taken away by men who identified themselves as policemen from a train station in Colombo on Friday and their corpses were found dumped outside the capital two days later. more..

Sri Lankan war planes pound Tamil rebel position; Japanese peace envoy arrives

June 5 (AP) War planes bombed Tamil rebel positions in Sri Lanka's volatile north for a second day Tuesday and a blast killed a police commando in the east, the military said, as a Japanese peace envoy arrived to discuss the future of the country's shattered peace process. The air force raid targeted a Tamil Tiger military location in Mankulam in Mullaitivu district, military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said. more..

Japan in Sri Lanka peace bid amid bloodshed

June 5 (AFP) A top Japanese envoy arrived in war-torn Sri Lanka to try and restore a tattered peace process after some of the bloodiest battles between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels this year. The run-up to the visit by Yasushi Akashi, a former UN diplomat and trouble shooter in Cambodia and Kosovo, has been marred by an upsurge in fighting in the north of the island that left scores of combatants dead. more..

LTTE seeks outside monitors as Lanka denies rights violations

June 5 (HT) The LTTE on Monday demanded international monitoring of human rights violations in Sri Lanka as the Mahinda Rajapaksa government denied the charges and said that those making such allegations were doing so only to bring disrepute to President Rajapaksa, his government and the country. The LTTE's demand and the government's denial were voiced in the context of the European Parliament's public hearing on post-tsunami reconstruction and the human rights situation in Sri Lanka at Brussels on Tuesday. more..

Cricket, Las Vegas style

June 6 (LVS) Applause ushers Kalika Pathirana onto the makeshift cricket pitch on the fringe of Las Vegas. He doesn't disappoint, slicing one ball beyond the boundary for four runs, nearly to the feet of a cluster of admirers sitting on white plastic chairs under a dark green canopy. Pathirana, who lost his right arm below the elbow in 1992 during Sri Lanka's civil war, is a fan favorite for his hustle and inspiration. more..

Indian Navy heightens vigil to check LTTE clout

June 6 (NIP) The Indian Navy is strategically moving to retain its upper hand in the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean amidst threat from external forces. The topic figured prominently on the agenda of Naval Commanders’ Conference here recently. The Navy intensified “Operation Tasha” to ensure peace in the maritime territories of India adjoining Sri Lanka against the backdrop of growing military clout of the LTTE’s naval wing. more..

Ranatunga wants Indian job, Bayliss aims a little lower

June 6 (SMH) TREVOR Bayliss will fly to Colombo next week to interview for Tom Moody's recently vacated post - but the impending arrival of the NSW coach was not the biggest development in Sri Lanka yesterday. Instead, the emergence of former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga as a leading contender for India's head coaching position had the cricketing world abuzz, particularly with India set to tour Australia next summer. more..

In the web of war

June 6 (FL) SRI LANKA, a country of just about 20 million, is overpopulated in the cyber world although it has only two million computer users. The relatively high level of computer literacy makes the Lanka-related e-traffic phenomenal, considering the fact that less than 10 per cent of the population has access to the Internet. more..

Refugees as citizens

June 6 (FL) MAY 26, 2007, will go down as a `red letter day' in the otherwise divisive and fractious parliamentary history of Sri Lanka. The Treasury and Opposition benches in one voice agreed to enact whatever legislative measures were needed to confer citizenship rights on 28,500 "Sri Lanka Tamils of recent Indian origin" currently languishing in refugee camps across Tamil Nadu. more..

Telecom deal sealed. Trade unions are not bothered even if it is sold to Prabakaran

June 6 (LeN) Chairman of the Telecommunications Officers Union Rohan Nishanka told the media in Colombo this evening that the deal to sell 25.3% shares of Sri Lanka Telecom to Maxis Company in Malaysia has already been completed over the past week. This media briefing was organized by the SLT trade unions association. more..

Complaint to the bribery commission regarding the "Big Man" who took $10 million through the SLT deal

June 6 (LeN) Chairman of the Sri Lanka Telecom Trade Unions Association G. Anura Perera told the media in Colombo this evening that he will file a complain with the bribery commission to investigate and tell the public who is the "powerful person" that has clinched $10 million from the SLT deal as stated by a parliamentarian. more..

JVP protests good for nothing- Wickremebahu

June 6 (LeN) Leader of the left front doctor Wickremebahu Karunarathne says the JVP protests against the government is like "a father complaining regarding a woman who bears his own child". He was referring to the protests staged by the JVP criticizing the government's decision to increase the prices of essential goods. more..

'Our country’s future depends on the development of the education system'

June 6 (GDI) Our country’s future depends on the development of the education system, and until the Sri Lankan University system overcomes the unnecessary problems attached with it, we can not put the base to a developed future,” stated the Chairman of the University Grants Commission-Professor Gamini Samaranayake. Prof. Samaranayake stated this today addressing a press briefing on the critical issues related to the current University System. more..

'No interruption in power plant construction work'

June 6 (GDI) The all three major projects initiated by the Government to overcome the power crisis that could severely affect the country's development process in the near future are functioning well in accordance with the scheduled time period," said Minister of Power and Energy W.D.J. Senaviratne. He stated this at a press conference held today to brief the media on the current progress of the mega projects inaugurated by the Ministry today. more..

INGOs 'misappropriate' tsunami aid

June 6 (GDI) International Non-Governmental Agencies (INGOs) are accused of misappropriating tsunami aid given to Sri Lanka, a leading European parliamentarian said. Member of European Parliament (MEP), Niranjan Deva told BBC Sandeshaya that leading INGOs including Oxfam, Save the Children Vision were given nearly US$30 million to help Sri Lanka's tsunami affected. more..

Reaching out to those who ‘lost everything’

June 6 (UCAN) A Catholic priest is consoling and encouraging parishioners who returned recently to their villages after they "lost everything" when they fled fighting half a year ago. "Fear and insecurity" are the biggest problems, says Father Mathurangan Croos, parish priest of St Anthony's Church in Vakarai, about 220 kilometers (about 135 miles) northeast of Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka market up as telecoms shine but war nags

June 6 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares ended firmer on Tuesday on select buying in telecom shares, but trade volume remained thin as escalating fighting between the state and Tamil Tiger rebels kept many investors sidelined. The Colombo All Share index closed 0.69 percent firmer at 2,529.93 points, a rise of 17.38 points. The index is down around 7 percent so far this year after falling sharply last month before recovering. more..

Centre rigid over Setu Samundran project: Shankaracharya

June 6 (UNI) Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati today said the Centre has adopted a rigid stand over Setu Samundran project forcing devotees of Lord Rama and believers of the country's history to prepare for a struggle. "Setu Samundran project is a challenge, which we need to accept and struggle for safeguarding our national self-respect and beliefs. Our posterity would not forgive us if we fail to discharge our responsibility to protect the Ram Setu" more..

LTTE: Technologically innovative rebels

June 6 (EP) During their 32-year campaign for an independent Tamil homeland, the LTTE have achieved a number of innovations that could change the face of rebel warfare. More than 64,000 Sri Lankans, out of a population of 21 million, have died in the conflict. In 1984, the LTTE in 1984 established its maritime "Sea Tigers" wing, which has been responsible for sinking 29 Sri Lankan naval gunboats and a freighter. more..

Price control to be introduced in Jaffna Peninsula

June 6 (TN) K.Ganesh, the Government Agent (GA) of Jaffna, announced Monday that effective immediately all items, both essential and non essential, should be sold only at control prices determined by the officials of Jaffna Secretariat. The decision to institute price control was taken at a conference held at the secretariat Monday morning at 10:00 am to curb the spiraling cost of consumer items in the peninsula, Secretariat officials said. more..

Conflict IDPs hampering tsunami reconstruction effort

June 6 (IRIN) Mohamed Azar remembers the exact date trouble started - August 4, 2006, the day thousands of scared civilians fleeing fighting in Muttur Division came streaming into the eastern town of Kantale in Trincomalee District. "They just kept coming. It was like a flood. They were camping all over the place, by the side of roads, in schools, even in an unused cinema," Azar, who works with the aid group Muslim Aid, told IRIN. more..

'Strike right balance to avoid burnout'

June 6 (PTI) Asian XI captain Mahela Jayawardene of Sri Lanka, who recently joined the ICC's Cricket Committee, on Tuesday said authorities and players must strike a right balance between playing and resting to avoid burn-out. "We talked on the issue of excess cricket at the ICC cricket committee meeting but could not arrive at a conclusion. The argument can go both ways but we should try and strike a balance between playing and resting," more..

Dilshan steers Asia home

June 6 (CI) It was bound to happen. An inexperienced bunch of Africans could only muster a below-par 109 for 8 and the Asians reached the target with four overs to spare. The Asian bowling was disciplined and the fielding, despite a lack of pre-match practice, sharp as they tightened the tourniquet after sending the novices to bat. more..

India asked to desist from returning to bad neighbor policy

June 6 (AT) India told to desist from interfering in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka. It should not return to bad neighbor policy urged Somawansa Amarasinghe, Leader of Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna. “The only country to have intruded on our sovereignty in the postcolonial period is India,” he has alleged. more..

Red Lotus trains for disaster management

June 6 (AT) Red Lotus – the Buddhist equivalent of the Red Cross and Red Crescent - launched its first two-day training course in Disaster Preparedness and Disaster Management for Buddhist monks at the Dharmavijaya Foundation, Colombo 7 on June 4-5. Red Lotus was inspired by the yeoman service that Bhikkus rendered in Sri Lanka during the December 2004 tsunami. more..

65 die in Sri Lanka fighting

June 6 (Hindu) At least 65 persons, 14 soldiers and 52 Tamil Tiger cadres, were killed in pitched battles along the Forward Defence Lines (FDLs) in the north and stray incidents in the east during the last 48 hours. The Defence Ministry said the air force on Tuesday bombed a "gathering of LTTE" leaders In Mankulam area. "Fierce battle between the security forces and the LTTE terrorists erupted in Mullikulam, Kalmadu and Vilathikulam areas in Vavuniya as more..

Christians arrested for destruction of statues

June 6 (CDN) A pastor and two associates from Mt. Carmel Theological College in Kandy, Sri Lanka, were arrested on May 27 and charged with destroying Buddhist statues. Pastor Suresh Ramachandran, principal of the college, was released on May 28 after authorities learned he had a clear alibi. Pastor Christian Velu Selvarajah and Stephen Thomas, however, are still in custody and face an initial hearing on Thursday (June 7), more..

Ranil calls for arrest of Basil, PB and Lalith

June 6 (ML) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday called for the arrest of Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapakse, Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga and Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera in connection with the secret deal with the LTTE following revelations made by former Airport and Aviation Chief Tiran Alles. more..

Tiran puts Rajapakse brothers in the dock

June 6 (ML) While heavy fighting continues in the north and East with the government and LTTE trading exaggerated casualty figures, the arrest of former Aviation Chief Tiran Alles on May 30, the brutal abduction and murder of two Red Cross workers on June 1, and yesterday’s public hearing on tsunami reconstruction and human rights by the European Parliament’s Development Committee in Brussels has again sent the Mahinda Rajapakse government into a tail spin. more..

SLPI gets high on Milinda

June 6 (ML) Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) has requested the Sri Lanka Tourist Board (SLTB) facilities to set up a Press Club including a liquor bar Additional Secretary Tourism Ministry George Michael said. The SLPI has requested Tourism Minister Milinda Moragoda for the approval to set up the Press Club at the Sri Lanka Tourist Board premises to which the Ministry and the SLTB approval has been granted, he said. more..

JVP unions launch campaign against govt. on broken promises

June 6 (ML) The JVP affiliated National Trade Union Centre (NTUC) initiated a massive signature campaign yesterday to urge the government to keep its promises. JVP Parliamentarian Piyasiri Wijenayake told The Morning Leader that unless President Mahinda Rajapakse addressed the three major demands — to pay Rs.2.50 for every rising CoL index, to pay the terminated distress loan and the housing loans, more..

My views about the situation in the North-East

June 6 (FI) I was born and brought up in Trincomalee, and since my childhood I witnessed and experienced barbaric state-sponsored racism. Military oppression and suppression became unbearable and I fled the country in 1985. I adore those children who had different ideas in their mind - they thought that bringing freedom to our homeland was their supreme duty. Armed resistance and struggle for self- rule became their brave mission. more..

Are we able to break communal and political polarization?

June 6 (TW) President Rajapakse articulated the hopes and aspirations of the people of this country when he told Al Jazeera that a “political solution was his only aim”. The expectations which the country had at independence have still not been realised. After almost sixty years, the Head of State leads a society which is sadly polarised. There is also a war which he inherited and has to be brought to an end. more..

Sri Lanka set to interview Bayliss

June 6 (CI) Trevor Bayliss will be interviewed by Sri Lanka next week as a potential replacement for Tom Moody as the country's head coach. Bayliss is competing with at least one other Australian, Terry Oliver, who is in charge of the Queensland team and has already met with Sri Lankan officials. Bayliss, the coach of New South Wales since 2004-05, told The Sydney Morning Herald he was due to be interviewed in Colombo on June 14. more..

Sri Lanka to face blackouts if monsoons do not come in two weeks

June 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state electricity utility warned that power cuts would be imposed if monsoon rains do not come in the next two weeks to boost its hydro storage capacity. "Our hydro storage capacity is down to 482 GigaWatthours (GWh)," Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) General Manager Ranjith Pulleperuma told reporters. more..

President’s paradoxes

June 6 (TN) In an extensive interview to Al Jazeera television last week, Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse set out his government’s policy on the island’s protracted conflict. In doing so he put forward a number of contradictory assertions and policies, which boiled down to a single overriding theme: military defeat of the Tamil Tigers. Responding to the questions in his native Sinhala President Rajapakse slammed the LTTE as ‘terrorists’ and ‘criminals’ and vowed to wipe them out. more..

Sri Lanka finance ministry, auditor-general in row over revenue losses

June 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Finance Ministry has disputed a report by the auditor-general that weak collections led to a revenue loss of 360 billion rupees. The loss, it said in its annual report for 2006, was not more than 6.2 billion rupees of which half related to the VAT refund fraud which occurred during 2002-04. It also rejected the auditor-general's assessment of 22 billion rupees in tax arrears, saying that the figure needs to be 'revisited'. more..

Yasushi Akashi meets JVP leader

June 6 (LT) “Japanese government has continued aids to Sri Lanka even among lots of interferences, for which we are grateful” JVP leader Somawanse Amarasinghe said today when he met Japanese Government’s special envoy Yasushi Akashi at JVP headquarters at Battaramulla. Mr. Akashi met political party leaders after he met HE the president completing his latest mission to refresh foreign funded ‘peace process’ which is highly criticized by the JVP. more..

European Parliamentarians condemn terrorism by the LTTE as a cause of concern

June 6 (GDI) Several Members of the European Parliament (MEP) have condemned terrorism by the LTTE as a cause of concern, and they have emphasized the need for the LTTE to return to the negotiating table. Some MEPs identified terrorism as the root cause of the prevailing situation in Sri Lanka, and highlighted the complete denial of human rights of civilians living in areas under LTTE control. more..

Navy assists Greek vessel experiencing engine failure

June 6 (GDI) A Greek Merchant Vessel which has been experiencing engine failure was assisted by the Sri Lankan Navy. The ship "Themopylae Sierra" which reached Trincomalee harbour safely under naval protection on Sunday (03), experienced an engine failure while transiting in the eastern coast. The Navy provided security and technical support to the vessel specially because of the LTTE track record of sea piracy. more..

Akashi meets Foreign Secretary

June 6 (GDI) Japanese envoy does not intend to visit Kilinochchi instead will visit Vakarai. Mr. Yashushi Akashi, the Japanese special envoy for peace building, rehabilitation and reconstruction in Sri Lanka, met the Secretary of Foreign Affairs Dr. Palitha Kohona yesterday (05). Mr. Akashi and Dr. Kohona had very cordial discussions. And the discussions were fruitful,” Government Defence Spokesperson Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said today more..

NARA establishes 24 hour Tidal Wave monitoring system

June 6 (GDI) An ocean observation center on 24 hours basis to monitor the real time ocean conditions around Sri Lanka waters is maintained by the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA). This monitoring unit was established under the direction of Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Felix Perera. more..

Use of Aluminum causes Kidney failures in North Central Province

June 6 (GDI) The Ministry of Indigenous Medicine has taken actions to distribute clay pots and pans among the public living in North Western Province. This action was taken by the Ministry officials after identifying that the cause behind the increasing number of kidney failures living in the area is due to the use of Aluminum utensils as cooking materials. more..

Sri Lanka Tamil leader asks India to break peace logjam

June 6 (AT) A Sri Lankan Tamil Group has asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take the initiative to break the peace log jam in the Island nation charging President Rajapakse with 'skilfully' exploiting India's declared policy of not interference in the Sri Lankan crisis 'to carry on with his war designs'. more..

Karuna to join hands with Govt.

June 6 (LNP) The TMVP led by Karuna Amman yesterday said it would contest future elections and tie up with the government to serve the people, the Tamils in particular in the East. TMVP Ampara district leader I. Bharathi told the media that the party had already laid the groundwork to serve the Tamils in the East and the party was confident of sweeping the polls in the province. more..

LTTE exploits places of worship

June 6 (LNP) In a disturbing trend, LTTE terrorists are increasingly resorting to the use of places of Hindu worship in the North to carry out its diabolical plans and in the process bring disaffection to the Security Forces among the Tamil community when search operations are conducted on these premises. Security Forces recovered large caches of weapons from at least five Hindu temples in the North in the recent past with shootouts occurring inside one such temple when troops entered the premises more..