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Govt. hopes Japan will ban LTTE

June 7 (LNP) The Government hopes the latest visit by Japanese peace envoy Yasushi Akashi will result in the listing of the LTTE or the freezing of its funds in Japan, defence spokesman and Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. Minister Rambukwella said Japan had deferred listing the rebels in August last year after the LTTE had given an assurance it would cease violence and resume peace negotiations. more..

EU tells Lanka, military solution not the way

June 7 (LNP) The Development Committee of the European Parliament at a public hearing in Brussels on Tuesday stressed that a military solution in Sri Lanka was not the way forward and called on the government to put forward a `credible devolution package.` The session on Sri Lanka was conducted in two parts, the first part dealing with the `impact of post-tsunami reconstruction in Sri Lanka and Indonesia and the second part dealing with the `human rights situation and humanitarian space in Sri Lanka`. more..

Defence Ministry denies 150 soldiers killed

June 7 (LNP) Defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday denied that 150 security forces men were killed in the fierce four day gun battle last week in Pompaimadu. At a news conference held by Parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella on Tuesday it had been said 150 security forces men were killed in this battle against the Tigers. The Minister said only 15 soldiers were killed and 52 were injured with 20 seriously injured. more..

UNP, JVP, five others oppose PSC proposals

June 7 (LNP) Seven political parties, including the UNP and the JVP, are opposed to the interim report submitted by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms headed by Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. The JHU is still on the fence. At yesterday`s UNP`s democratic group press conference, Minister Professor G. L. Peiris said the present system of proportional representation heavily favours rich candidates to get elected to Parliament. more..

'Govt safeguarding media freedom'

June 7 (SAMN) Information and Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa yesterday told Parliament that the Government was safeguarding media freedom by allowing media personnel to independently perform their duties. The Minister speaking at the Emergency debate said UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was going from country to country and making statements on the violation of press freedom and fundamental human rights in Sri Lanka. more..

Colombo University activities appreciate

June 7 (SAMN) The Parliamentary Select Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) expressed its appreciation of the Colombo University administration after a study of the University’s activities. All members of the COPE, including those representing opposition parties have thanked the Vice Chancellor of the University a job well done. more..

Literary works to be showcased

June 7 (SAMN) The Public Administration and Home Affairs Ministry plans to publish a volume of poems and short stories written by Administrative Officers. Home Affairs Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera said that creative writings would help the administrative officers to look at many issues pertaining to public from a humanitarian angle and take just and humane decisions and help the vulnerable groups in the society, without being confined to rigid administrative rules. more..

Nurses warn against closure of school

June 7 (SAMN) All Ceylon Nurses’ Union is up in arms against the move to close down the Nursing Training School for mental health in Mulleriyawa within the next two weeks. "We are totally against this and will resort to trade union action if our request to have a meeting with Health Minister and the health authorities is not granted, President All Ceylon Nurses’ Union S. B. Madiwatta said. more..

EU plaudits for Lanka

June 7 (DN) The Government scored a huge victory at Tuesday’s public hearing of the European Parliament relating to Sri Lanka in Brussels when the Lankan delegation successfully countered all allegations levelled against it about the misuse of tsunami funds and human rights violations. “The European Parliament Development Committee was impressed after hearing the presentation of the Government delegation and expressed its satisfaction on the progress Sri Lanka has made in the re-construction of affected areas,” more..

UNP democratic group endorses proposed electoral reforms

June 7 (DN) The UNP Democratic Group endorsed the proposed electoral reforms presented to Parliament by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms. Export Development and International Trade Minister G. L. Peiris at a press briefing at the Kirulapona Seth Sevana yesterday said people have been clamouring for the abrogation of present electoral system which has caused many estrangements and fissures within a party. more..

UNP alleges Government top officials involved in abductions

June 7 (DM) The main Opposition UNP and the JVP yesterday came out strongly against the trend of killings, abductions and human rights violations and called on the Government to bring the situation under control immediately. Speaking at the emergency debate in Parliament UNP Parliamentarian Laxman Seneviratne and JVP Parliamentarian Ramalingam Chandrasekaran vehemently criticised the Government’s handling of the present situation. more..

Ranil’s conduct shocking: Minister

June 7 (DM) Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne in Paliament yesterday accused Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe of giving a distorted picture of Sri Lanka to the world.Speaking during the Emergency debate, Mr. Seneviratne said in no other country did the opposition leader engage in such practices. The same sentiment was expressed by Education Minister Susil Premajayantha, who labelled Mr. Wickremesinghe’s actions as “unpatriotic”. more..

India 'very friendly country', says Sri Lanka

June 7 (IANS) Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake has described India as a "very friendly country" and said his government will never do anything that harms longstanding bilateral ties. "India is our very friendly country. India is a country that has given us everything what we asked," he told parliament Wednesday after an opposition MP accused the government of damaging relations with New Delhi. more..

Tsunami family face deportation

June 7 (MEN) A SRI Lankan family whose village was wiped out in by the tsunami of Boxing Day 2004 is facing deportation from Britain. Immigration officials backed up by police arrived at the Salford home of former fisherman Gorindarajah Gorindarajah, 52, early yesterday and he was taken into custody. He has lived in Salford for six years after fleeing his home with wife Mary Ida, 51, and son Raj to escape threats from Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

The truth about Sri Lanka's Baby 81

June 7 (AN) You probably don't know the name Abilass Jeyarajah. Looking back on coverage of the Sri Lankan tsunami, you're much more likely to recognise the nickname he was given at the time: Baby 81. It was the ideal story; a young baby miraculously rescued from the wave, but with no identification to show whom he belonged to, a symbol both of the devastating impact of the tsunami and of the spirit of survival. more..

Lanka a major drug destination

June 7 (UNI) Sri Lanka continues to be a major destination of drug trafficking in this region though it was doubtful as to whether the island nation was the sole consumer, according to Inspector General of Police (Anti-Video Piracy Cell) G Ramanathan. Talking to a group of reporters here on Thursday, he said Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan were the states supplying the bulk of the illegal consignments. Drug cultivation and production was very high in these three states, he added. more..

Amid War, India's Emerging Sri Lanka Tilt

June 7 (NPI) After witnessing the steady demise of a peace process it quietly helped put in place, India is caught between a belligerent Sri Lankan regime and the Tamil Tigers. Now it seems to be slowly tilting towards Colombo. Despite some vocal bad blood vis-à-vis Colombo, New Delhi appears to be throwing its weight behind Sri Lanka in the war against the LTTE even while overtly maintaining equidistance. more..

Soldiers kill 5 Tamil rebels in east Sri Lanka, military says, near where envoy is visiting

June 7 (AP) Clashes in one of the last separatist strongholds in eastern Sri Lanka left five rebels dead, the military said Thursday, near a district where a Japanese peace envoy was visiting Tamils displaced by conflict. The fighting erupted Wednesday in the Thoppigala area of Batticaloa district, the Defense Ministry information center said. more..

Parliament in uproar over security measure in capital

June 7 (Xinhua) Parliament was held up over an hour Thursday as Tamil legislators protested police action to evict members of Tamil community taking temporary lodging in the capital Colombo, officials said. "The session was suspended between 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 local time," a parliamentary official said. The house went in uproar as opposition UNP Tamil legislator Thiagrajah Maheswaran tore his shirt and threw into the well of the chamber protesting the police action. more..

Yahoo Photos

June 8 (AP) Activists hold photos of Sri Lanka Red Cross society members Sinnaraja Shammuganathan, left portrait, and Karthigesu Chandramohan, right portrait wearing glasses, during a protest condemning their killings in Colombo, June 6, 2007. more..

Sri Lanka accused of ethnic cleansing as over 300 Tamils evicted from capital

June 7 (AP) Hundreds of ethnic Tamils were removed from Sri Lanka's capital over fears they could be a security threat, police said Thursday — a move condemned by human rights campaigners as "ethnic cleansing." The more than 300 Tamils were rounded up during a search for possible Tamil Tiger rebel infiltrators and were sent back to their home regions in the north and east by bus, said senior police officer Rohan Abeywardena. more..

Police evict Tamils from Colombo

June 7 (BBC) Police in Sri Lanka have forced hundreds of the minority Tamil community out of the capital Colombo for what they say are security reasons. They launched overnight raids in Tamil areas of the city and forced guests staying in budget hotels onto buses. Police said that Tamils who were in the capital "without valid reasons" were made to board buses bound for the north and east of the island. more..

Colombo police swoop on Tamil visitors from North-East

June 7 (HT) In an unprecedented campaign to ferret out lurking LTTE operatives, the Sri Lankan police swooped down on scores of lodges in Colombo and its suburbs at the crack of dawn on Thursday, and whisked away hundreds of Tamil guests from the troubled Northern and Eastern Provinces. Official sources said that 376 Tamils, including 85 women, were taken away in buses to be sent back to their homes in the North-East. more..

Sri Lanka police evict ethnic Tamils from capital

June 7 (AFP) Armed Sri Lankan police forced hundreds of ethnic minority Tamils out of the capital Colombo as part of an effort to clear the city of feared Tamil Tiger cells, officials and witnesses said. Police stormed Tamil-majority areas of the capital under the cover of darkness and forced guests at low-budget hostels to get into buses escorted by armed men, residents said. more..

PMK seeks Centre's help to save Eelam Tamils from hunger death

June 8 (UNI) Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) founder-leader Dr S Ramadoss today appealed to the Centre to save Eelam Tamils from imminent hunger death following escalation of violence in the decade-long Lankan ethnic strife. He was of the view that arms should not be supplied to the island nation at any cost. "The situation in Sri Lanka is deteriorating day by day. The Eelam Tamils are being put to untold hardship as they face shortage of food and medicines. more..

Yahoo Photos

June 8 (AFP) Top Japanese envoy to Sri Lanka, Yasushi Akashi (left), met with officials and aid workers in the island's embattled eastern region following talks with President Mahinda Rajapakse (right) on the tattered peace process. more..

Diverse religions pray for “war heroes”

June 8 (AN) Buddhists Christian Muslims and Hindus in Sri Lanka today celebrated religious ceremonies, and held two minutes of silence, marking the end of the first ever “War heroes’ month”, an initiative promoted by the President Mahinda Rajapakse to lift the spirits of the soldiers currently fighting a war against Tamil Tiger separatists. The event found favour among the population, who appreciate the army’s defence of the nation, but more..

Shipping lines prefer Indian ports to Colombo

June 8 (MC) Sri Lankan shippers are feeling the pressure of India's booming export-import trade with some of the major shipping lines deciding to give priority to Indian ports over Colombo. Mr Jayanath Perera, Chairman, Sri Lanka Shippers Council, said shipping lines such as Maersk, UASC, K Line and Norasia have diverted some of their services to Nhava Sheva in Mumbai. Some have withdrawn their European services to and from Colombo. more..

400 million ransoms paid by abducted Muslim businessmen

June 8 (LeN) Over 400 million rupees have been collected as ransom from around 6 Muslim businessmen who were abducted from Colombo during the period of a month. Here is a breakdown of the sums each of the abducted Muslim businessman has paid. 100 million rupees from M. Rafeek, the owner of Expo Lanka. 50 million from Mubarak chairman of Nolimit. 100 million from Fousal Hameed the Chairman of the Hameedias. more..

Under which provisions did the defense secretary freeze bank accounts?

June 8 (LeN) Colombo supreme court judge Nimal Amaratunga today questioned under what grounds the Defense Secretary has demanded the bank accounts of the CBE company, belonging to Tiran Allas who is now in police custoday, were frozen. When a petition filed regarding the matter was taken up this morning the cupreme court inquired from the additional solicitor general as under what provisions of the law the secretary of the defense ministry had acted in issuing directions to freeze the bank accounts. more..

Hambanthota Port’s construction begins

June 8 (GDI) The construction work of the Hambanthota Port began today (07), bringing in to reality yet another pledge in ‘Mahinda Chinthana’ - President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s policy draft. Attending the ceremony, Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayake stated that the present Government is taking every possible measure to secure the countries’ sovereignty and it is able to implement this kind of massive development projects while preoccupied in the task of protecting the security of the nation. more..

UN experts see Sri Lanka murders as growing trend against aid workers

June 8 (AFP) The murder of two Red Cross workers in Sri Lanka appears to be part of a trend in which aid workers are deliberately targeted, two United Nations human rights experts said Thursday. Sri Lankan Red Cross workers Sinnarasa Shanmugalingam and Karthekesu Chandramohan were abducted in the capital Colombo last Friday and murdered by armed men claiming to be police, the Red Cross said. more..

‘Stop the expulsion of Tamils from Colombo’

June 8 (TW) On receiving reports of the expulsion of Tamils from various locations in Colombo this morning, June 7, 2007, members of our organizations visited the Wellawatte, Pettah and Peliyagoda areas and spoke to various persons who had been affected by the process and the police in the area. This move is directly attributed to the statement made by the IGP on the 1st of June, claiming that Tamil people cannot remain in Colombo without a valid reason. more..

Tigers' Down Under

June 8 (OI) The LTTE is yet to be outlawed in Australia which is also one of its largest sources of funding. But its recently established linkages with the al-Qaeda has brought it under the scanner. With an estimated Tamil population of 30,000, Australia is one of the largest sources of funding for the LTTE. In confirmation, the Sri Lankan foreign secretary Palitha Kohona disclosed on May 1, 2007, that the LTTE internationally raises approximately USD 10 million to USD 30 million a month, of which almost 20 to 30 per cent comes from Australia. more..

Lanka political parties slam government's degrading eviction of Tamils

June 8 (AT) The main political parties including the UNP, the TNA, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, the Marxist JVP, the TULF, the New Left Front and have severely condemned Government of Sri Lanka's action of force eviction of Tamils from the capital Colombo. Only the Sinhala party JHU has come out in support of minority Tamil evictions. And the evicted Tamils, now said to be around 500 packed in 50 passenger buses were to arrive in the cities of Vavuniya, Batticaloa and Trincomalee. more..

Hiding behind Administrative Devolution to Circumvent Political Devolution

June 8 (AT) The SLFP, and its head, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also the President of the SLFP, appears to favour a devolution model that focuses on administrative devolution rather than political devolution. Making the District the devolved unit rather than the province and reserving extensive powers for the central government gives one that impression considering that little or no effective political devolution is possible at district level. more..

Understanding Buddhism

June 8 (CN) Conflicts between Buddhists and Christians can be resolved through peace education, said the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The “sad reality” of continued prejudice and misunderstanding can be overcome by educating people about other faiths and by helping families and schools reinforce the value of peaceful coexistence, the council said in a message to Buddhists preparing for the feast of Vesak. more..

A war strange as fiction

June 8 (ET) SITTING in a refugee camp outside Batticaloa, in eastern Sri Lanka, Radikhela, a skinny 21-year-old in a pink pinafore, softly describes how her father died. He had his hands cut off, his belly sliced open, and then was beaten in the dust until he expired. His crime was to have been forced into skivvying for Sri Lanka's rebels, a ruthless guerrilla army and suicide cult known as the Tamil Tigers. more..

Eethnic cleansing say Tamil MPs

June 8 (BBC) The opposition has strongly protested the forcible eviction of Tamil people from Colombo in an emergency parliament debate on Thursday. The opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe, protesting against this action by the government told parliament that it was illegal. The TNA, JVP, the UNP and staged a protest in parliament and criticised the forcible eviction of people and transporting them to north and east. more..

Deportation not best solution - Rajitha

June 8 (BBC) The government has taken action to move Tamil lodgers from Colombo on security grounds as they they do not have a valid reason to stay. Government Minister Rajitha Senaratna says that although it’s not the fairest solution, the government did not have any other option but to transport Tamil lodgers out of Colombo on the recommendation of the security forces. “If we don't listen to the security forces they might ask the politicians to take over security” said Minister Senaratna. more..

Envoy disputes media reports on Lanka situation

June 8 (GT) THE actual situation in Sri Lanka is different from what is being portrayed in large sections of the media, the Sri Lankan ambassador has said. Many of the reports suggested that the Sri Lankan government had imposed a war on the LTTE, “but it is not true”, Ambassador S B Atugoda told Gulf Times yesterday. LTTE had been invited for talks by the country’s President Mahinda Rajapakse as soon as he had assumed charge in November 2005. more..

Rural firms in Sri Lanka get web link from USAID and big business

June 8 (LBO) The first of a series of 'cyber-centers' that will link rural business in Sri Lanka with the internet has been opened in the central hill town of Matale, the United States embassy said. The public private partnership where Qualcomm, Microsoft, and Sri Lanka's Dialog Telekom InfoShare, National Development Bank, and Lanka Orix Leasing Company are teaming up with the USAID will see 25 such centres being opened. more..

Determining the appropriate territorial units for the grant of internal autonomy

June 8 (FI) The choice of the appropriate territorial unit in the State, to which a greater measure of autonomy through the assignment of powers is sought to be granted in respect of matters of government, has to be considered in relation to the specific political context prevalent at any given time in Sri Lanka. Its success or failure would be greatly conditioned by such factors operating nationally, as well as internationally. more..

The voice of conscience

June 8 (FI) In 1917, when Mahathma Gandhi arrived in Champaran, Bihar, to carry out a survey of the conditions of the peasants, the local authorities served him with notice to quit the district by the next available train. It gave an opportunity to Gandhi put into the acid-test his intrinsic non-obedience concept for the first time in Indian soil. In the trial that followed, this is what Gandhi told the court. more..

Sri Lanka Expresses Support for Palestinian Statehood

June 8 (AT) Speaking at a ceremony to mark the fortieth year of the occupation of Palestinian lands, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam expressed his country's unequivocal and sincere support to the Palestinian people in their just struggle to obtain inalienable rights including the right to statehood and right to return to their lands. more.. temporary closed

June 8 (ISL) The editorial board of decided to temporary close the news site because of death threats received by their reporters in LTTE controlled area and other areas in the south. "Our reporters are living under fire, they have been reporting from inside the LTTE circulars" said Editor of the Voiceofeelam. "We started our site on last February in the hopes of revealing the real situation of Tamil People in the LTTE controlled area and Island wide." He added. more..

China, India eyeing Sri Lanka's phosphate deposit: Minister

June 8 (LBO) China and India has expressed interest in Sri Lanka's rock phosphate deposits from which the government itself cannot make high grade fertilizer, a government minister told an economic forum in Colombo. Sri Lanka's phosphate deposit in the north central region of Eppawela, has been a political hot potato for years, and attempts to develop it with a Western mining firm ran into stiff opposition. more..

US condemns Sri Lanka Tamil evictions from capital

June 8 (LBO) The United States Friday condemned the eviction of ethnic Tamils without jobs from Colombo, and asked the government to reveal where they were taken. "Such measures violate the Sri Lankan Constitution’s guarantee that every citizen has the right to freedom of movement and choice of residence within Sri Lanka," the embassy said in a statement. "The United States understands and supports Sri Lanka’s obligation to defend itself against terrorism. more..

Hospital in southern Sri Lanka bought by Hemas

June 8 (LBO) Hemas group a listed diversified group that is in consumer goods, energy, leisure and healthcare said it had acquired a hospital in the southern Sri Lankan city of Galle. Hemas said the privately-owned Southern Hospital will soon be upgraded with new medical technologies. "Hemas Southern Hospitals will, over the next six months, renovate, refurbish and upgrade this hospital to a 25 bed multi-specialty secondary care hospital," more..

President to address ILO Annual General Meeting

June 8 (GDI) Sri Lanka President Mahinda will be addressing the 93rd Annual General Meeting of the International Labour Conference. The 93rd Annual General Meeting of the International Labour Organisation is scheduled to be held from 11th to 15th June 2007 at Geneva in Switzerland. President Rajapaksa has been invited to be presented as the chief guest at the meeting. more..