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LTTE beams a new second TV channel using Israeli up linking facilities

May 13 (AT) The Tamil rebel outfit, LTTE is planning to beam a second TV channel this week called "Tharishanam" (Revelation). The new transmission will be a pay channel, and will run as a client of Globecast and is to be up linked on to the Israeli Satlink platform in the Hotbird 8 satellite. The” Asian Tribune” contacted, Ms. Yael Shamos, Marketing Director, Satlink Communications Ltd., M.P. Harei-Yehuda 90850, Neve-Ilan, Israel. more..

Delusional Politics

May 13 (AT) The Rajapakse administration’s method of handling the serial fuel price increases (the latest is the third in a matter of weeks) seems symbolic of its conduct of the affairs of the nation. The regime has adopted a policy of upping fuel prices under the cover of night; consequently many a Sri Lankan discover the new prices the hard way, at the filling station next morning. more..

Despite positive corporate results, share market slumps

May 13 (AT) According to the HNB Stockbrokers share market continued to slide amid investors opting to stay in the sideline during this week. The recent developments in the war front have forced investors to reassess their strategies and adopt more of a wait and see approach. Both the market indices continued to drop this week with the All share Price Index (ASPI) shedding 80 points during the first two days of trading this week. more..

Sri Lanka Calls for Bigger Pilgrim Quota

May 13 (AN) Sri Lanka requested the Kingdom to increase the nation’s Haj quota for the next season in a meeting between a high-level Sri Lankan delegation and Saudi Haj Minister Dr. Fouad Al-Farsy yesterday. The Sri Lankan delegation included Abdul Hameed Fowzie, minister of petroleum and petroleum resources and minister in charge of Haj affairs, Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Bhaila, Deputy Tourism Minister Faizer Mustaffa, more..

Jobs for 20,000 more graduate

May 13 (GDI) The Government is planning to recruit more than 2O,000 graduates for vacancies in variousState sector institutions, Finance and State Revenue Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said yesterday. They will be recruited to Ministries, Departments, Corporations, State Banks, Public owned Companies, and institutions under the Provincial Councils, Minister Siyambalapitiya said. more..

Bank of Ceylon on path to increase private sector lending

May 13 (LBO) State-owned Bank of Ceylon is on a path to increase private sector lending and strengthen its capital to keep pace with a growing loan book, officials said. The Bank of Ceylon, Sri Lanka's largest bank has been a principal financier of the government but in the last quarter private sector lending has overtaken loans to the state sector. more..

Test cricket returns to the R Premadasa Stadium

May 13 (CI) Test cricket returns to the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, the venue famous for holding the world record Test total of 952 for 6 by Sri Lanka, when it hosts the first Test of the three-match series against Bangladesh next month. The series, which also includes three ODIs, gets underway on June 25. The stadium is currently the property of Sri Lanka Cricket who have signed a 33-year lease and acquired the premises. more..

Businessman's arrest in Jakarta chills Colombo

May 13 (ANN) The arrest in Jakarta last week of Datuk Vijayeswaran S. Vijayaratnam of Questnet International (QI) in connection with a US$90 million fraud in the Philippines has brought a chilling effect to top business circles in Colombo. Vijayeswaran had big stakes in John Keells Holdings (JKH), one of the country's biggest business conglomerates, and the National Development Bank (NDB). more..

TDC welcome Human Rights Watch Appeal

May 13 (ISL) The Tamil Democratic Congress (TDC) welcome the timely appeal of the New York based International Non-governmental organization ‘Human Rights Watch’ that ‘the United Nations should deploy human rights monitors to Sri Lanka to protect civilians caught in continuing fighting between troops and separatist rebels’. The situation has become dire for the people in Sri Lanka in particular the minority Tamil and Muslim communities. more..

Over 5,000 illegal Indian vessels enter Lankan waters monthly

May 13 (LNP) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a statement to clarify recent written responses to Indian Parliamentary questions regarding incidents involving fishermen from Tamil Nadu. These responses claim the involvement of the Sri Lanka Navy in attacks and killings of the fishermen. In this context, the Ministry wishes to draw attention to the following: more..

CID busts LTTE-linked vehicle racket

May 13 (LNP) The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has busted a racket where stolen vehicles are sold to the LTTE by an organised gang using forged documents. `We arrested seven suspects and recovered three vehicles`, a CID official said. At least ten vehicles had been stolen by this gang in Nuwara Eliya and Colombo suburbs to be sold to the LTTE by changing the chassis number and forging documents for the forward transfer in Vavuniya, he said. more..

Rush to wrap up multi-billion SLT deal with Malaysian firm

May 13 (LNP) A Government-appointed Presidential Committee on Friday rushed to wrap up a proposed agreement between Maxis, Malaysia`s biggest mobile telephone operator, and Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) to purchase a part of the stake owned by the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT), completely ignoring a rival offer from one of Indonesia`s largest telecom operators. more..

Lanka risking losing large swathe of its ocean territory?

May 13 (LNP) Sri Lanka risks losing its rights to a sea territory as big as its land mass due to a seriously flawed methodology that is being employed to locate what is called its ``one-kilometer isopach`` (the line joining points on the seabed where the thickness of the underlying sediment is one kilometer), a group of public interest activists with the patronage of the chief justice warned last week in a public statement. more..

MR says won’t budge from APRC findings

May 13 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has vowed to honour the final findings of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) as the final peace proposal for the country to solve the ethnic conflict. The President had made this assurance to a three member Tamil party delegation that met him last week in Colombo. The delegation was led by TULF leader V. Anandasangari. more..

CBK stripped more and more

May 13 (SAMN) Moves are underway to get former President Chandrika Kumaratunga to return six more vehicles which belonged to the Presidential Secretariat but are now in her possession. Presidential Security Division (PSD) chief S. M. Wickremasinghe has written to the Presidential Secretariat asking it to collect the six vehicles and the call came as police this week took away most of the motorcycles and other vehicles assigned for the former President. more..

Sri Lanka Cricket – a billion Rs richer

May 13 (SAMN) The Coffers of the cash strapped Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) will swell by over a billion Sri Lankan rupees shortly when the island receives its due entitlement for participating in the World Cup and for emerging as runners-up in the tournament. A top official of Sri Lanka Cricket confirmed that Sri Lanka will receive US $ 8.5 million as participation fees. more..

OIC in massive timber racket

May 13 (SAMN) Two special Police teams Saturday uncovered a large scale timber racket that was being carried out deep in the jungles of Laggala. The massive timber racket, which amounts to several millions of rupees, was uncovered by the two teams from Walana Crime Division and the Police Headquarters. Initial investigations have disclosed that Laggala OIC too has been allegedly involved in the racket, along with some other persons. more..

Plantation policy presented

May 13 (SO) The National Plantation Industry policy for the plantation sector was presented last week at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute", Colombo . Plantation Industries Minister D. M. Jayaratne said, "until now, we did not have a documented national policy for the plantation industry and this will help to achieve long term sustainability of the sector. In Sri Lanka,the plantation sector comprises tea, rubber, coconut and also sugar, oil palm, cashew and palmyrah. more..

Gemidiriya People's companies a boon to SMEs

May 13 (SO) The Mudunkotuwa West Gemidiriya People's Company in Kiriella, Ratnapura has secured a deal to supply brush handles to Ravi Brush (Pvt) Ltd, a Hayleys Group company. The sub contract was secured by Gemidiriya under the business linkage program. Despite many SMI initiatives most of them end in failure as the products fail in the market. SMEs have to compete with mainly low cost imports of products in almost every industry. more..

Govt. tossed about in crisis after crisis

May 13 (ST) It came in the backdrop of a worsening economy and a new, frightening phase of the ongoing undeclared Eelam War IV. The world's only superpower, the United States of America, delivered a strong message to the Mahinda Rajapaksa Administration - ameliorate human rights conditions, rein in paramilitary groups and respect media freedom. That seemed the recipe to avoid global isolation. more..

Four air raids worse than four wars

May 13 (ST) Four different Tiger guerrilla air raids within just over a month has caused more panic and concern in the country's defence and security establishment than four different phases of the separatist war - the last being the ongoing undeclared Eelam War IV. At meetings of the National Security Council, conferences at the Ministry of Defence and forward planning exercises by Army, Navy, Air Force and Police headquarters, the main focus still remains the air threat posed by Tiger guerrillas. more..

More fuel hikes soon, CoL soars

May 13 (ST) Hard on the heels of Friday’s fuel price hike, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) Chairman Asantha de Mel warned yesterday of a further increase, raising fears of a chain reaction on a variety of essential consumer goods. Against the backdrop of Friday’s increase, electricity tariffs, bus and rail fares, LP gas, milk foods are among items that are up for immediate price revision. A further fuel price hike will only mean a further upward revision, officials warned. more..

From Mul Pituwa to Lake House Mul Putuwa

May 13 (ST) Veteran Sinhala journalist Bandula Padmakumara, anchor of the well-known Swarnavahini morning programme Mul Pituwa (Front Page) will be the new Chairman of Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd., the publishers of many state-run newspapers including the Daily News and Sunday Observer. His appointment, rumoured for several weeks, was delayed in the wake of protests by some trade unions and journalist groups at Lake House. more..

US to actively take part in Sri Lankan peace process

May 13 (NS) The US government is likely to play an active role in Sri Lanka with regard to the ethnic conflict and the peace process in the near future. The US government on the eve of the Sri Lankan visit of Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Richard Boucher, said that they would try to get both parties back to the negotiating table. They urged the Sri Lankan government and LTTE to restart peace talks as soon as possible. more..

Eating humble pie in a war of diplomacy

May 13 (NS) Call it a colonial hangover or whatever else you want to call it, but Britain’s unprecedented interest in Sri Lankan affairs dominated the headlines last week. Why did Sri Lanka’s last colonial ruler suddenly wake up to the fact that the island nation was in the throes of civil strife? What prompted its lament about Sri Lankan affairs in general and about the country’s human rights record in particular? more..

Major attempts world record

May 13 (NS) Major W.J.M. Dhammika Navaratne Bandara (42), of the Sri Lanka Army Police Regiment, is planning to create a Guinness record in 50 ventures, called ‘Panas Prayama’. The ‘Panas Prayama’ programme will include 19 track and field events including, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m; games - Tennis, Table Tennis, Soccer, Karate, Boxing etc.; arts and craft; singing in the voices of 13 popular artistes including, more..

Sri Lankan apparel group to expand into Vietnam this year

May 13 (VLN) Sri Lanka’s Daya Group will invest in an apparel joint venture in Vietnam this year to stay competitive in the global market, a Sri Lankan newswire has reported. The Sunday Times Online quoted the group’s Chairman, Daya Gamage, as saying that the project will start in July. It quoted him as saying that Daya group had signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the joint venture in March this year, but did not elaborate. more..

Villagers damn Government bulldozing

May 13 (NS) Moragahakanda and Kaluganga Development Projects, the largest reservoir project under the Mahaweli River Development Programme in Sri Lanka, was inaugurated in January, by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The government spent lavishly to advertise and promote the programme through posters and hoardings visible almost in all the main towns. more..

MR seeks AG’s advise on crisis ridden CMC

May 13 (NS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has sought advice from Attorney General C.R. De Silva as to what action he should take regarding the crisis ridden Colombo Municipal Council. The present administration wanted the Council dissolved and a city administrator appointed in lieu of the Mayor. But they are not in a position to do so since the law requires an inquiry by a retired Supreme Court judge after framing charges against the errant council. more..

Sri Lanka begins resettlement of war-victims

May 13 (PTI) Sri Lanka is set to resettle about 125,000 people displaced by fighting in the island's east, officials said today even as international relief agencies expressed fear about their safety. Government officials said the first batch of 4,000 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) will be moved tomorrow to their homes in Vellaveli under a programme that will be completed in about two weeks. more..

Several areas in Sabaragamuwa flooded

May 13 (ITN) Several areas in the Sabaragamuwa province are under water. About 200 families are displaced. Among them are 11 families of Pasyala. 89 persons have been found shelter at the Udapola Vidyalaya. The Ruwanwella, Yatiyantota, Dehiowita and Deraniyagala electorates were flooded following the overflow of the Seethawake River due to heavy rain. 15 families are displaced in an earth slip at Ambanagala in Deraniyagala. more..

LTTE blasts two transformers in Ampara

May 13 (ITN) The LTTE blasted two power transformers with time bombs at Maradamunai in Ampara this morning. One time bomb exploded at around 7.00 o’clock this morning. The Electricity Board had intimated to the police that time bombs were placed at two more transformers. However, the transformer near the Maradamunai hospital was destroyed in an explosion at about 8.15 a.m. STF soldiers managed to defuse the time bomb at the transformer near the Nawala School. more..

Soldiers find communication sets, mines meant for rebels in northern Sri Lanka

May 13 (AP) Sri Lankan authorities have recovered two-way radios and explosives which were to be used by Tamil Tiger rebels, the Defense Ministry said on Sunday. Sri Lankan soldiers stopped a truck on Saturday at a check point near northern Vavuniya town and discovered 479 radios hidden in 32 television sets, the ministry's information center said. The driver and an employee of the truck company were arrested. more..

Foreign aid cut fear as Sri Lanka fails on human rights

May 13 (AFP) Sri Lanka's failure to share power with minority Tamils and put an end to extra-judicial killings have raised prospects of more aid cuts to the embattled island, officials and diplomats say. A top US envoy left Colombo on Thursday after castigating the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse for not delivering on promises to reduce violence while Britain also froze debt relief to its former colony. more..

Buddhist monk fatally shot in Sri Lanka, 4 guerrillas killed in clashes: military

May 13 (AP) Unidentified gunmen stormed a Buddhist temple in eastern Sri Lanka on Sunday and fatally shot the chief monk, while clashes between soldiers and Tamil Tiger rebels killed four guerrillas in the northwest, the military said. The Defense Ministry information center said the Rev. Handungamuwe Nandarathana was at his temple in eastern Trincomalee district when he was killed. more..

Buddhist monk slain as Sri Lanka killings grind on

May 13 (Reuters) Unidentified gunmen shot dead a senior Buddhist monk near a border separating government from Tamil Tiger territory in the island's northeast on Sunday, a day after troops killed five rebels in separate incidents, the military said. Military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said it was too early to say who was behind the monk's killing in the far northeastern district of Trincomalee, more..

Sri Lanka Chillies advertising awards end without finalists

May 14 (LBO) The Chillies advertising awards in Sri Lanka finished Saturday with no winners among the finalists but Triad Advertising agency clinched two gold awards, unofficially making them the winners. Triad won two golds, one silver and ten bronze awards while Leo Burnett Solutions won one gold, seven silver awards and 18 bronze. Grant McCann Erickson clinched five silvers and ten bronze awards. more..

Damaging 'Ram Setu' will undermine India's nuclear power: BJP

May 14 (UNI) Voicing concern against the prospective destruction of the under-sea bridge between Sri Lanka and Rameswaram under the Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project, the BJP today claimed that any damage to the 'Ram Setu' will undermine country's nuclear potential. "Dr Tad Murty, Canadian tsunami expert on the Sethusamudram Project has feared that the present alignment of the project could trigger a tsunami in the channel and cause devastation in South Kerala," more..

Sri Lankan magistrate directs police to investigate disappearance of SEP member

May 14 (wsws) A magistrate’s court on Kayts Island in northern Sri Lanka on Thursday called on police to conduct a proper investigation into the disappearance of Socialist Equality Party (SEP) member Nadarajah Wimaleswaran and his friend, Sivanathan Mathivathanan. The pair has now been missing since March 22. The Kayts magistrate Jeyaram Trotsky was responding to a letter presented in court by the wives of the two men requesting that he direct the police to expedite their inquiry. more..

Norwegian Tamil reported missing in Sri Lanka

May 14 (TN) A 31-year old Norwegian citizen of Tamil origin has been reported missing since March 31, after he was questioned by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in Vavu:niyaa. Sounthararajan Thambirajah who has lived in Norway for 13 years since 1993 had come to Sri Lanka last year on marriage purpose and was trapped in Ki'linochchi as violence broke out in August 2006. more..

Security of Tamils, critical for reconciliation- Kajendran

May 14 (TN) "Sri Lanka parliament cannot abdicate its responsibility from debating issues related to security of the Tamil people living in the Northeast. My statements Wednesday that generated much controversy were related to Tamils' basic issue of security," Selvarajah Kajendran, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian for Jaffna district, told TamilNet Sunday. more..

US military sales to Sri Lanka up from $1.4m to $60.8m

May 14 (TN) The Center for Defense Information (CDI), an independent think-tank based in Washington D.C which provides expert analysis on various components of U.S. national security, international security and defense policy, said in a report that Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to Sri Lanka from US increased 40 fold, from $1.4m in 2006 to $60.8m in 2007. more..

Sri Lanka Chillies advertising awards set high standards

May 14 (LBO) International judges marking creative works for Sri Lanka's Chillies advertising awards have been so strict on maintaining high standards that there were no winners in some categories. "The judges have been very strict on standards," Laila Gunesekere, Executive Director Marketing of Grant McCann Erickson told reporters Monday. more..

Sri Lankan beer brand's profit plunges as ad ban, war, taxes take toll

May 14 (LBO) The Ceylon Brewery, which owns Sri Lanka's top beer brand, has reported a sharp fall in group profit for the year ended March 31, 2007 as an advertising ban and falling tourist arrivals hit consumption. Net profit plunged 48 percent to 69.9 million rupees for the year ended March 31, 2007 from 134 million rupees the year before while group revenue rose to 3,982 million rupees from 3,846 million rupees. more..

Sri Lanka's Shell unit losses mount

May 14 (LBO) Anglo-Dutch gas firm Shell is in "serious dialogue" with the Sri Lankan government after losses ballooned to millions of dollars as authorities resist calls for "sustainable" price increase, officials said. Sri Lanka's biggest gas supplier is unable to wipe the red ink off its books as cooking gas prices are currently fixed at 960 rupees (8.89 dollars) for a 12.5 kilo cylinder in line with the government's price control mechanism. more..

BoC with island wide network to block LTTE fund rising

May 14 (GDI) Bank of Ceylon (BoC) will officially join hands with the Government to counter terrorism. This will be implemented through conducting awareness programs and provide training to its employees to block funding channels of the LTTE to unleash terrorism in the country. "This will be done through our branch network this month," said Chairman BoC Udayasiri Kariyawasam more..

25 railway compartments to arrive from China in August

May 14 (GDI) As the first phase of the Government’s effort to modernize and introduce a more efficient railway system in Sri Lanka, the first consignment of 25 railway compartments will arrive in Sri Lanka on the month of August. These 25 railway compartments are from a batch of 100 ordered from China by the Government of Sri Lanka. more..

Police seizes LTTE Communication equipment

May 14 (GDI) Sri Lanka Police has been able to foil an LTTE attempt to smuggle highly sensitive communication equipment in to uncleared areas. According to the reports form the Media Center for National Security, 33A lorry carrying Globle positioning system (GPS) devious and communication sets to north was arrested by the Police at the Irattaperiyakulam road block in Vavuniya on last Saturday evening. more..

Karuna - Pillaiyan rivalry patched up

May 14 (AT) Karuna has agreed to come forward to patch up differences with the rival Commandant Pillaiyan and end the fratricidal warfare initiated by his loyal commanders Iniyabarathi, Veera, Ranjan, Thileepan and Jeeventiran. The patching up exercise was forced on Karuna and at last he decided to meet alone Pillaiyan and his delegation for a three hour face to face meeting in Colombo. more..

The attempt made by Mangala, Anura, Ranil to form an alliance was foiled by Wimal- President

May 14 (LeN) President Mahinda Rajapakse says that he never proposed or intended to get Mangala Samaraweera to the government's ranks once again and present him a ministerial portfolio. Speaking to some officials of the Lake house at temple trees yesterday the head of state had said that Samaraweera came to meet him after speaking to Alevi Maulana and that they did not talk about any serious issues in politics before the two had dinner shile watching a world cup cricket match. more..