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Sri Lanka's pioneer ISP given extra time to restore services

May 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka's telecom watchdog has given the island's first Internet service provider, Lanka Internet Services Ltd., extra time to restore services to thousands of customers currently stranded offline, after the company halted services, a top official said. Lanka Internet hit financial difficulty in March with the senior management disappearing without paying staff or creditors. more..

Top photo agency ventures into Sri Lanka, highlights copyrights issues

May 18 (LBO) Sri Lankans are still not aware of the gravity of copyright violations, according to Viinod Nair, representative of top photo agency Getty Images, which has just entered the local market. Nair is president of sales marketing and strategy for Visage Media Services, based in Hyderabad, India which has tied up with Getty Images, the world’s largest image bank. more..

Sri Lanka stocks end firmer on Dialog stake sale

May 18 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares firmed sharply on Friday, ending a 13-day losing streak, after Telekom Malaysia announced overnight it had sold a 3.2 percent stake in its local unit Dialog Telekom to boost liquidity, traders said. The Colombo All Share index closed a provisional 3.11 percent higher at 2,571.46 points, a gain of 77.59 points. more..

HRC stands by DM story

May 18 (ISL) The National Human Rights Commission yesterday reiterated the statement it made on Monday that some 200 children had been handed over to the HRC in Jaffna over the past five months, by concerned parents for safety purposes. Commissioner D. Jayawickrema told the Daily Mirror around 200 children had been taken into the custody of the Commission’s Jaffna branch following requests by parents who feared their children would be abducted by the LTTE. more..

Tamilnet is lying - Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Savundaranayagam

May 18 (ISL) Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Savundaranayagam, Bishop of Jaffna in a hurriedly dispatched letter to Commander Security Forces Headquarters (SFHQ) Major General G.A. Chandrasiri on Thursday (17) denies having spoken to “Tamil Net” in the aftermath of a meeting at Palaly with Jaffna Commander on Wednesday (16). Pro-LTTE mouthpiece “Tamil Net” in its Thursday’s (17) lead story captioned “Normalcy not possible without students’ release – Bishop” quoted the holy dignitary as saying more..

Need to make a change within Sri Lanka

May 18 (ISL) Sri Lanka has the perfect mix. She is an Island not too small but not too big – with majestic mountains and sandy beaches, grassy plains, rain forests, jungles, acres of paddy fields and wildlife aplenty. She has a culture and history which rivals that of China. She has adequate natural resources to sustain herself, and of course not forgetting her greatest asset - The friendly easygoing people. more..

Maldives sink ‘Sri Krishna’ hijacked by Sea Tigers

May 18 (PISL) LTTE efforts to replenish its depleted arsenal suffered a serious setback with the Maldivian Coast Guard destroying a large Indian fishing trawler, Sri Krishna, carrying a sizeable consignment of arms, ammunition and equipment in their southern territorial waters. The incident took place several hundred nautical miles off the south of the Maldives archipelago. more..

Police round up beggars using children for begging

May 18 (LNP) Beggars using children at the Colombo Fort Railway station were rounded up by Fort Police yesterday. The beggars included blind men and women with babies. They will be produced before Fort Magistrate, Police said. He said that the children including infants were hired by the beggars from their parents for a daily fee. more..

Noted criminal killed in shoot out

May 18 (LNP) The Ratgama Police yesterday shot dead a notorious and wanted criminal near a check point on the Panwila Road. Acting on a tip off that a group of men were transporting weapons and ganja, the Ratgama Police lay in wait near the check point. They saw a motor cycle approaching and signaled it to stop. But it continued without heeding police orders and its the pillion rider fired at the police party. more..

Buddhist monks - back to basics

May 18 (LNP) According to a decision taken at a discussion of higher authorities of Buddhist Affairs headed by Ven. Welamitiyawe Kusaladhamma Nayaka Thera, the Chancellor of Kelaniya University, steps will be taken by Buddhist monks to visit houses for alms as it was done during the time of the Buddha. Ven.Kadigamuwe Medhankara Nayaka Thera, the Chief Advisor of Pirivenas and Dhamma schools in the Kurunegala district revealed this at a meeting of Dhamma school teachers held recently at the Bingiriya National School. more..

Rajapaksa Bros. increase their wealth: UNP

May 18 (LNP) The main opposition UNP yesterday charged `the Rajapaksa brothers` now control more than 75 percent of the country`s annual budget after the appointment of Chamal Rajapaksa as the Ports and Aviation Minister. Party frontliner Lakshman Kiriella told journalists that earlier they had the control of over 65 percent of the budget because the highest number of projects and institutions had directly come under the purview of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

President to attend G-11 Summit

May 18 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa left the island to attend the G-11 Summit and the World Economic Forum in Jordan, Thursday. A high-level business delegation accompanied President Rajapaksa on this official tour to Jordan by a Mihin Lanka flight. The business delegation will attend two summits and endeavour to fulfil an array of new investment opportunities on this tour. more..

PNM rejects SLFP proposals

May 18 (SAMN) The Patriotic National Movement (PNM) co-president, JVP Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa Thursday told a media conference that the SLFP proposal to the APRC was akin to an egg with nothing inside. "Whatever decision the Government takes it should be aimed at defeating terrorism," he said. The government must be wary of pursuing the agendas of foreign powers and concentrate on the formulation of a national economic policy, Weerawansa said. more..

Govt. institutions owe CPC Rs. 17 bl

May 18 (SAMN) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has requested the government to deduct the debts outstanding to it from government institutions from their tax payments to the Treasury, if the debtors have no money to pay the CPC. Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Minister A. H. M. Fowzie told a press conference Thursday that the CPC is owed a crippling Rs. 17 billion by several government organisations. more..

Railway on verge of collapse: Unions

May 18 (SAMN) Railway trade unions Thursday warned that the department is on verge of collapse as a result of the key posts not being filled and sabotage they claimed that officials (un-named) were responsible for the sabotage. The Organisation for the Protection of the Properties and the Rights of Railway Employees said that Sri Lanka Railways is now going through the worst period in its 143 year history. more..

SLTB designates 25 model depots

May 18 (DN) The Transport Ministry has taken steps to select and nominate 25 Depots of the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) as SLTB ‘Model Depots’ to provide a more efficient and people friendly transport service to commuters. The Cabinet has given approval to establish these 25 SLTB Model Depots following a Cabinet memorandum submitted by Transport Minister Dallas Alahapperuma. more..

ADB aid for provincial road repairs

May 18 (DN) Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon said about 2,400 KMs of provincial roads will be renovated islandwide with Asian Development Bank (ADB) financial assistance. The contractors to whom tenders had been awarded but failed to perform a satisfactory job have already been blacklisted and cases filed in court. more..

Kalpitiya: It was a tidal surge

May 18 (DM) A tidal surge flooded the Paliyawatte Island off Kalpitiya on Wednesday, the National Aquatic Research and Development Agency (NARA) said yesterday. NARA predicted that more tidal surges may occur in the seas off Kalpitiya till Tuesday. NARA’s ocean observation centre said the tide which was a combination of the tidal surge and the normal astronomical tide was not a tidal wave and was not induced by tidal phenomena. more..

GCE O/L: Visaka has best all-island results

May 18 (DM) Devi Balika Vidyalaya, Colombo has performed the best at the G.C.E. Ordinary Level Examinations held in December, 2006, while Science College, Matale secured the second slot. The third and fourth places were secured by Ratnavali Balika Vidyalaya, Gampaha and Visaka Balika Maha Vidyalaya, Colombo respectively. However, the latter tops the list having the best all island results among schools having classes from Grade 1 to 13. more..

Tamil leader denies funding terrorist group

May 18 (NP) The head of an organization that is suspected of funding the Tamil Tigers terrorist group has testified that he considers the Tigers "freedom fighters" and he supports their "activities that would benefit the people." But he denied that his organization, the World Tamil Movement, has sent money to the Sri Lankan guerillas. more..

Married Sri Lankan fears for life if deported

May 18 (HFN) Kimberly Charron, 20, and Dammika Kumara Tissawalangumndiyanselage, 31, have often been asked if their marriage is one of convenience. When Kuma, as he is known to his friends, caught Charron's eye in the Halifax Shopping Centre in April 2006, the Sri Lankan had already been fighting to stay in Canada for some time. more..

Sri Lanka to advertise for foreign cricket coach

May 18 (AP) The Sri Lankan cricket board is looking to hire another foreigner to replace outgoing national cricket coach Tom Moody. Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Kangadaran Mathivanan on Friday said the post will be advertised Saturday and the board expects to have a list of candidates by next week. Moody, a former Australian test player credited with guiding Sri Lanka to the World Cup final in the West Indies last month, will take over as coach of Western Australia more..

Sri Lanka tea industry slams plan to hike export cess

May 18 (LBO) The Colombo Tea Traders' Association (CTTA) said Friday the industry was strongly opposed to government plans to increase the tea export cess. It also accused the government of violating the basic principles of the export cess scheme and of acting in bad faith in going back on previous pledges of financial aid. more..

Moves by Sri Lanka Military Worry Human Rights Group

May 18 (WP) A leading human rights activist expressed fears that a northbound mobilization of troops in Sri Lanka indicated the Colombo government was planning to open another front in its push into Tamil Tiger territory, in retaliation for increasingly brazen rebel attacks involving airstrikes against military air bases. more..

8 killed in fresh Sri Lanka violence

May 18 (AFP) At least five suspected Tamil Tiger rebels and three civilians have been killed in fresh violence in Sri Lanka, the military said Friday. Security forces shot dead five members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in a jungle area around the eastern lagoon town of Batticaloa on Thursday evening, officials said. more..

U.N. warns Sri Lanka food aid running out, conditional

May 18 (Reuters) The U.N. World Food Programme warned on Friday its food aid for Sri Lanka would run out within weeks, and slapped conditions on some of it, amid donor concerns over fresh conflict between the state and Tamil Tigers. Visiting World Food Programme Asia Regional Director Anthony Banbury said donors were worried about the two sides in the conflict diverting aid away from one another, more..

Sri Lanka says kills 38 rebels in week as war rages on

May 18 (Reuters) Sri Lankan troops killed nearly 40 Tamil Tiger rebels over the past week, the military said on Friday, after a spate of clashes in the island's war-ravaged north and east. Troops have recovered the bodies of 13 rebels at the sites of clashes in the northwestern district of Mannar, northern district of Vavuniya and eastern district of Batticaloa, and closed two main "border" posts along defense lines that separate government from rebel-held territory after mortar bomb duels. more..

'Abducted' Indian fishermen return

May 19 (BBC) A group of Indian fishermen allegedly abducted by Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers have returned to Tamil Nadu on Friday. Eleven of the 12 missing fishermen returned to Rameswaram, police said. The whereabouts of the remaining fisherman is yet to be found. Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Krishnamurthi told BBC Tamil Service that the group is being escorted to Chennai, where investigations are carried out. more..

Media 'irresponsible' on aid workers

May 19 (BBC) The United Nations has expressed concern that aid workers lives are at risk in Sri Lanka due to negative media campaigns. Calling media coverage on aid workers and UN as "irresponsible", the World Food Programme (WFP) said Sri Lankan media's unjustifiable accusations put aid workers' lives in danger. "We are specially concerned about safety and security of aid workers and attack on aid workers," more..

“Any Division of Sri Lanka would be detrimental to Tamils living outside North & East”

May 19 (AT) "Our Party favors a solution to the crisis in Sri Lanka without dividing the country on ethnic lines. Any such division will be detrimental to the Tamils living in areas outside the north and the east," emphasized Ramlingham Chandrasekaer,Deputy Chairman of the Committees in the Sri Lanka’s Parliament and the central committee member of the Janatha Vimukthi Perumuna (JVP). more..

Selling Telecom without any profit, technology & transparency is a question to the minister too

May 19 (LeN) Minister of Posts and Telecom Rauf Hakeem told 'LeN' that he has a certain issues regarding the proposal to sell a high percentage of shares of SLT held by the NTT communication corporation in Japan to a Malaysian company without calling in for tenders. The minister made this statement when 'LeN' questioned Hakeem what his stand is regarding the attempt to sell parts of SLT shares without calling for tenders, as the SLT falls under his purview. more..

Peace Mag. editor disappeared in Colombo

May 19 (LeN) Wijaya Kanthan, the former editor of a well known Tamil Peace publication 'Samadana Nokku' has been abducted by an unknown gang in hub of Colombo today. He has been working in Center for Policy Alternatives previously. The abduction has occurred while he was traveling from CEDEC organisation to Borella. Wijaya Kanthan has worked with slain scholar Kethishwarn Loganathan and worked hard to make peace process a success. more..

"Lanka" closed; reopening doubtful

May 19 (LeN) Publishing of the "Lanka" news paper, published by the JVP, Lanka Multi Publishers Company Private limited, has been temporarily suspended due to a financial issue. The "Lanka" newspaper was being published every Friday but was not issued today. When 'LeN' questioned the editorial why the paper was not published, a spokesperson said it was not printed due to a technical fault. more..

Pakistan ride home on Afridi blitz

May 19 (CI) A scintillating unbeaten 73 off just 34 balls by Shahid Afridi sealed a convincing win for Pakistan as they swept to a five-wicket victory with a whopping eight overs to spare in the first one-day international at Abu Dhabi. Afridi was easily the star, smashing 32 in an over off Malinga Bandara - the second-highest number of runs scored in an over - and ensuring that what looked like a tricky run-chase became a romp. more..

University Senate discusses crisis in Jaffna Campus

May 19 (TN) The Jaffna University Senate held a special meeting presided by Acting Vice-chancellor Prof. K. Kumaravadivel Friday to discuss matters related to the reopening of the university amid death notices issued to Jaffna University staff and students allegedly by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) troopers and the recent student abductions, sources close to University administration said. more..

Sirisena Coorey slams Ranil to step down immediately

May 19 (AT) A former UNP government Cabinet Minister and party stalwart B. Sirisena Coorey has slammed the leader of UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe saying that he should step down from the party leadership immediately. Speaking to the Asian Tribune, Coorey also said the current Colombo Municipal Council has high levels of corruption and the ruling group of CMC has become 'the puppets of the SLFP'. more..

Progressive marginalization of the Tea Industry

May 19 (AT) In their monthly media report for the month of May 2007, The Colombo Tea Traders’ Association indicated that it was barely a year ago that the Tea Cess levy was increased by Rs.1.50 per kilogram, from Rs.2.50 to Rs.4.00 per Kilogram, in the face of strong resistance from the Tea Industry, spearheaded by the Colombo Tea Traders’ Association [CTTA]. more..

Long before human rights issue surfaced, U.S. cut economic aid to Sri Lanka – Significantly

May 19 (AT) The United States drastically reduced its economic aid package to Sri Lanka since 2004, long before the human rights issue surfaced when this South Asian nation faced the most critical challenge to its sovereignty, territorial integrity and democracy by the world’s most ruthless terrorist outfit, the Tamil Tigers, whom former American ambassador Jeffrey Lunstead in a recent report stated that the “LTTE was essentially a Sri Lankan group and it did not pose a ‘direct’ threat to the US.” more..

Sri Lankan ceramic exporters hit by gas pricing politics

May 19 (LBO) Sri Lankan ceramic exporters are protesting against sharp increases in liquid industrial petroleum gas (LPG) prices and of having to effectively cross-subsidise the island's domestic gas consumers. Recent increases in the price of LPG used to fire kilns have made matters worse for ceramic manufacturers already struggling in competitive export markets, Sunil Wijesinha, chairman of tableware exporter Dankotuwa Porcelain told LBO. more..

Sri Lanka - Jordan govts and trade chambers sign new deals ahead of G11 summit

May 19 (AFP) Heads of state and representatives of 11 developing countries meet in Jordan on Saturday to draw up a platform of cooperation with the G8 industrialised nations and bolster multilateral trade. The G11 summit grouping Croatia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Georgia, Honduras, Indonesia, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Paraguay and Sri Lanka meets on the shores of the Dead Sea on the sidelines of the Middle East World Economic Forum. more..

President holds talks with Pakistani, Afghan leaders

May 19 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday participated in the opening ceremony and sessions of the World Economic Forum near the Dead Sea in Jordan. The President met Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in Amman yesterday, where the two leaders discussed bilateral and trade links. Investment opportunities in both countries were also discussed. more..

WHO commends Lanka’s anti-drug regulations

May 19 (GDI) First in Asia to implement tobacco, alcohol control measures. The Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Margaret Chan has highly commended Sri Lanka for becoming the first country in Asia to implement laws to minimise the use of drugs and alcohol. President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s initiative Mathata Thitha (Full stop to drugs and liquor) has set a good example for other countries in the region, Chan has said. more..

Panaluwa, the next industrial zone

May 19 (GDI) The next industrial zone of Sri Lanka would be established in Panaluwa in Homagama area. According to reports form the Ministry of Rural Industries and Self-Employment Promotion, it would be serving as the industrial zone for 13 selected small and medium entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs will invest around Rs. 250 million to set up their new business ventures. more..

Sri Lankan students offered larger portion of Australian scholarships

May 19 (GDI) Sri Lankan students will be offered with much more wider path in entering Australia to persue their education. Students aspiring to pursue higher studies in Australia were yesterday given an insight into what it involved and how the required paper work could be processed through a public awareness programme conducted by the Australian High Commission and a scholarship programme offered by the Australian government was also launched. more..

Action to prevent flash floods

May 19 (GDI) In a move to rectify the blunders which caused the recent flash floods, the Disaster Management Ministry has called for reports from the four affected districts, identifying the individual causes. Citing ad-hoc filling of marshy land, unattended lakes that had been blocked for years, blocked drainage systems and illegal structures as the reasons for flooding, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said more..

Intra-Family Political Strife Shakes DMK Party in Tamil Nadu

May 19 (TW) It was Dr. W. Dahanayake, who ridiculed the U.N.P. in the fifties of the last century by saying it was not the United National Party but an Uncles Nephews Party. How aptly that descriptio fitted the grand old party of the Senanayakes, Kotelawelas, Jayewardenes and Wickremasinghes is debatable. However there is a political party in Tamil Nadu across the palk straits that could be appropriately termed an Uncle Nephews party. more..

Why are we so spineless?

May 19 (TW) For society to succeed in any undertaking - whether it is to eradicate poverty, improve educational standards, increase exports, or do anything else of national importance - its efforts must be underpinned by the Rule of Law, impartial and speedy dispensation of justice, and genuine democracy. Sri Lanka, instead, has drifted down towards lawlessness, injustice and oligarchy over the past two generations, during which span of time we, its citizens, have been supposed to be in charge of our own affairs. more..

NGO phobia and Norway bashing gone wild

May 19 (LeN) Press articles centered on Norway bashing is not a new phenomenon to Sri Lankans at all. However, it is with great interest that I have been following the recent articles and editorials in the Daily News, the Daily Mirror, the Divaina among others as well as the Defence Ministry website pertaining to a lecture organised by the World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka (WAPS) at the Mahaweli Auditorium in Colombo on the 20th of April 2007, on the so called Norwegian involvement with LTTE terrorism. more..

Do not disrupt education says EPDP

May 19 (ISL) We have always denounced the abductions and killings taking place in Jaffna. We are highly worried over the missing of 4 students and the threats to the lives of students and teachers. We have appealed to the security forces to trace the whereabouts of the missing students and hand over them to their parents. We have to struggle to bring to an end the activities to ruin the education, the only treasure left for our people. more..

Troops unwilling to take on Karuna faction - Chilcott

May 19 (LNP) The Security forces have been unwilling to take on the Karuna faction by using the rule of law, British High Commissioner Dominick Chilcott said at a reception on Thursday evening, at the British Council to introduce a unique cooperation between the German Development Cooperation (GTZ) and the British Council in Colombo, Chilcott, who was the Guest of Honour said, `and in that context I welcome the story in today`s The Island newspaper.` more..