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Sri Lanka ruling party proposal failed to meet the concerns of the Tamils

May 2 (AT) The so-called proposals put forward by the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom party clearly shows that it has failed to grasp the reality by putting forward a Sinhalese solution to a national issue. This clearly indicates that those who drafted this proposal are not pragmatic in their approach to the subject. It amounts to a famous Tamil adage, "The story of a donkey wearing away as an ant." more..

'SLFP Devolution Proposal failed to meet the aspirations of the Tamils'

May 2 (AT) Three Tamil political parties in a joint statement expressed their disappointment over the devolution proposal put forward by the ruling SLFP. The joint statement added that the proposal did not meet the genuine aspirations of the Tamils. V. Ananandasanagaree, President TULF, D.Sithadthan, President PLOTE and T.Sritharan General Secretary, EPRLF have said in the joint statement that instead of taking the peace process forward, the ruling party’s proposal has made it difficult to find a reasonable solution. more..

Devolution must not ignore development says Sri Lankan President

May 2 (AT) Sri Lanka's president Mahinda Rajapakse defended his party's devolution proposals announced on Monday as a first step in the search for a political solution to its long standing conflict. President Rajapakse on his way back from Barbados where he witnessed the cricket World Cup final between Sri Lanka and Australia, stopped over briefly in London on Monday, during which he had a short conversation with "Asian Tribune." more..

May First, Vesak, Workers Day and St Joseph’s feast - What significance to Sri Lanka?

May 2 (AT) Many are confused of what Buddhism aspires on war and peace and the Vesak season could be seen ideal for the people to dwell upon the Buddhist precepts on war and peace. Dwelling upon the war, peace and how they could be viewed through Buddhist philosophy and its significance on Vesak, Ven Mahagalkadawala Punnyasara Nayake Thero said that in Buddhism the highest perception is the principles and precepts involving Amisa pooja and Prathipaththi pooja. more..

More Tamil arrests expected in Australia

May 2 (AAP) Sri Lanka's secretary of foreign affairs Dr Palitha Kohona today tipped further arrests in Australia over illegal fundraising for the Tamil Tigers terror group. Dr Kohona said there might be people who genuinely and voluntarily contributed to the Tamil cause. But he said Tamil Tiger fundraisers had engaged in a range of illegal activities around the world. more..

SLFP for parliamentary model

May 2 (Hindu) "An undivided country, national consensus and an honourable peace" will be the basis of his `ideal gram rajya' initiative for resolution of the ethnic conflict, Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said. Quoting from his November 2005 election manifesto, "Mahinda Chintanaya," he praised the political package suggested by the ruling SLFP to the All-Parties Representative Conference. more..

Emirates to resume flights on Friday

May 2 (Gulf) Emirates airline said it would resume service to Colombo this Friday, after halting service to the Sri Lankan capital following a Tiger rebel air attack on oil facilities on Sunday. "Following a review of the situation in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, Emirates is to resume normal operations to and from the city from May 4, 2007," Emirates said in a statement posted on its website. more..

Malinga named the ‘sexiest cricketer’

May 2 (IN) Though Sri Lanka ended up as the runners-up in the just-concluded World Cup but their young and fashionable pacer Lasith Malinga has been named the ‘The Sexiest Men In Cricket’. Players like former Windies ODI team skipper Brian Lara, England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, Australian pacer Shaun Tait, Windies opener Chris Gayle, England batsman Kevin Petersen, Kiwi spinner Daniel Vettori and South Africa pacer Makhaya Ntini were the other players in the race. more..

Lankan govt had no part in Tigers arrests: Ruddock

May 2 (ABC) Attorney-General Philip Ruddock says the government was not pressured by Sri Lankan officials before police swooped on two suspected Tamil Tigers fundraisers. The two men were arrested yesterday after counter-terrorism police raided a number of homes in Melbourne and Sydney. The 32- and 36-year-olds have been charged with being members of, funding and supporting a terrorist organisation. more..

Sri Lanka launches offshore round

May 2 (OPE) Sri Lanka has finally announced its long-delayed licensing round, but after years of waiting only three offshore blocks in the Mannar basin will be offered this August. Eight exploration blocks in the basin, numbered one to eight from north to south, have been designated with the outer two earmarked for direct award to Indian and Chinese state oil companies, more..

Aust Sri Lankans 'pressured' to give money to Tigers

May 2 (ABC) Members of the Sri Lankan community in Australia have complained of being intimidated into donating funds to the Tamil Tigers terrorist group, the country's Honorary Consul says. The claims are unrelated to yesterday's arrests of two Melbourne men who have been charged with being members of, funding and supporting a terrorist organisation. more..

A. Y. S. Gnanam as his grandson saw him

May 2 (TW) I was given the honour of talking to you about the many things my grandfather, AYS Gnanam, meant to me. I will be referring to him as Thatha, as that is the name I’m used to calling him by. I have never heard anyone call Thatha by his first name. It was as if he was only Mr. Gnanam, a title that when used in reference to him seemingly demanded respect and admiration. I always knew he was special but how important he was I only realised at St Anthony’s 50th anniversary. more..

A thriving industry of Tamil extortion

May 2 (HM) Sixty-year-old Egamabaram Palaniraja, the owner of Mythili Jewellers in the heart of Colombo, went missing on 12 September last year, along with his 23-year-old son Balasaravanan and employee, Ganesan Muhundan. All three were abducted while returning home at around nine in the evening, just metres away from the Sri Lankan prime minister’s office. Two days later, Palaniraja was released 250 km from Colombo, in Polonnaruwa more..

Sri Lanka among countries where media freedom in decline

May 2 (AFP) Press freedom around the world deteriorated last year due to coups, attempts to stifle political opposition and regulate use of the Internet, a leading watchdog said in a report Tuesday. US-based Freedom House outlined what it said were particularly troubling trends in Asia, the former Soviet Union and Latin America, in a report that warned that democracy as a whole would likely suffer. more..

Vesak celebrated with piety, fervour

May 2 (GDI) Vesak which marks the Birth, Enlightenment and the Passing Away (Parinibbana) of the Noble One was observed throughout Sri Lanka yesterday with fervour, piety and solemnity by millions of Buddhists. Devotees of other religions too joined in the celebrations. Temples throughout Sri Lanka were teeming with white-clad devotees who had flocked to perform the customary Vesak day rites and religious observances. more..

Vesak observances should spread compassion toward humanity - President

May 2 (GDI) During this Vesak season the observance of Buddhist principles should lead to disseminating compassion towards humanity, President Mahinda Rajapaksa states in his Vesak day message. “I am convinced that true development should be both material and spiritual. The objective in implementing our policies is to establish a society that practices pancha seela and shuns the four evil dispositions,” President points out. more..

Tiger gangs attack rival PLOTE members in Zurich

May 2 (AT) On May Day Tamil Tiger gangsters waylaid and attacked members of the PLOTE organization -- a rival political party -- in Zurich, Switzerland. Six PLOTE cadres sustained injuries and were admitted to hospitals. Two of the injured are in a serious condition, according to hospital sources. The attack took place when members of the PLOTE organization participated in May Day rally organized by the left-wing organizations and the progressive forces in Zurich. more..

BJP shocked over killing of fishermen

May 2 (Hindu) The Bharatiya Janata Party was shocked when it came to know that Sea Tigers killed the fishermen from Tamil Nadu, said the party's State president, L. Ganesan, on Tuesday. In a statement here on Tuesday, Mr. Ganesan said the LTTE was operating in Indian waters with impunity and smuggling arms. But Tamil fishermen were killed or arrested when they accidentally strayed into the Sri Lankan waters. more..

The neighbourhood festival of many a lantern

May 2 (Hindu) The Sri Lanka High Commission here is all decked up to celebrate Buddha Purnima, the most important event in the Sri Lankan religious calendar. The highlight of the celebrations is the installation of a huge traditional Vesak lantern made by the employees that was lit up on Tuesday evening as part of the two-day festivities. more..

LTTE a global menace – FM

May 2 (PISL) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama on Monday said that the LTTE was a global menace and collective action was necessary to defeat such destructive forces of terrorism. The alertness and swift manner in which the Armed Forces and Police reacted, as well as the vigilance of the general public resulted in the LTTE having to abort its destructive, horrendous acts which were becoming a problem for the entire region, more..

Terrorist outfits worldwide copy LTTE innovations

May 2 (LNP) Many LTTE innovations, such as explosive belts, vests, and bras; using female suicide bombers and waterborne suicide attacks against ships, have been copied by other terrorist groups; an annual US report on worldwide terrorism said. The report - `Country Reports on Terrorism` - released on Monday, covers developments in countries in which acts of terrorism occurred, countries that are state sponsors of terrorism, more..

Lawyers dumbfounded by BASL silence

May 2 (LNP) A group of lawyers have expressed concern over the failure of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka to raise its voice against the human rights violations in the country. In the latest incident, an Executive member of the BASL and its Kandy Zonal Vice President, complained that the unanimous decision to issue a statement expressing deep concern at the wide spread disappearances, abductions and extra judicial killings was not put into action even after two months. more..

Chennai gets ready to assist Colombo airport

May 2 (LNP) Chennai airport is geared to accommodate civilian aircraft that may be diverted due to any possible LTTE air raids in Colombo, agency news reports said yesterday (1). Air Traffic Control (ATC) and Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials, who control ground operations, are on high alert to handle flight diversions, takeoffs and landings, and flight parking if Colombo airport is suddenly closed, more..

Offering soya meat to carnivores!

May 2 (LNP) The SLFP devolution model has been unveiled at last. It proposes devolution at the district level based on what it terms an indigenous model inspired by the idea of Gram Rajaya. The SLFP proposes that the country revert to a parliamentary system of government with a bicameral legislature. The executive presidency, it says, should be abolished but in the absence of a national consensus for that purpose, it will continue with amendments. more..

Navy recovers new ‘killing’ device

May 2 (SAMN) The navy has recovered, what an authoritative official termed, as a suicide device which has not been previously used by the LTTE. An authoritative navy official speculated that the device may have been developed recently to be used against individual targets. "It is a small device packed with steel balls to carry out an individual assassination, " he said more..

TMVP’s APRC proposals centres on East

May 2 (SAMN) The TMVP, better known as ‘Karuna Faction’ has drafted their preferred solution to the conflict in the East, which will be submitted to the APRC soon. TMVP spokesman Asad Moulana said their proposals focus mainly on three issues: resettlement of displaced people in the East, establishing a provincial council for the east with greater powers, and deciding whether the Eastern people want to re-merge with the North through a referendum. more..

SLMC not happy with SLFP proposals

May 2 (SAMN) Post and Telecommunications Minister Rauff Hakeem, who was re-elected as Leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Tuesday, said that the SLFP proposals to resolve the national issue fell short of their expectations, but his party was prepared to discuss them further. He made these comments at the SLMC Delegates Conference, at which he was endorsed as the leader of the party, more..

Opposition has to support Govt.: Keheliya

May 2 (SAMN) The opposition parties have a moral responsibility to assist the government in all possible ways to bring the menace of terrorism into halt, Government Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said on Monday. Replying to a statement made by UNP MP John Amaratunga he said on Sunday that the Tigers had acquired their air power even before signing the truce pact in 2001. more..

CCPI dips as some commodity prices decrease

May 2 (DN) The Consumer Price Index of Colombo City (CCPI) for April has registered a 4.2 index point decrease over March, a release from the Prices of Wages Division of the Department of Census and Statistics states. The CCPI for all items for April was posted at 5025.4 index points. A decrease of 4.2 index point change or 0.1 percentage was noted from March 2007 posted at 5029.6 index points. more..

Rs. 35 million project to encourage coconut cultivation in home gardens

May 2 (DN) The Plantations Ministry will distribute 40,000 nursery coconut plants and 500 metric tonnes of fertiliser to 4,000 families free of charge during the year to encourage coconut cultivation in home gardens. The estimated cost for the project is Rs. 35 million according to the Plantations Ministry. Plans are under way to initiate this project in the Central and North Western Provinces on May 5. more..

University strike goes on

May 2 (DM) University non-academics yesterday decided to continue with their strike launched countrywide as the University Grants Commission (UGC) was unable to resolve the strikers’ salary problems for which they had been agitating when the meeting between the two parties took place yesterday. The meeting took place between the UGC and the representatives of the Inter-University Trade Union Joint Committee. more..

Take terrorist problem to UN, teachers tell Mahinda

May 2 (DM) The All-Ceylon Union of English Teachers (ACUET) in its May Day message requested the President to take up the terrorist issue at the United Nations Organisation (UNO) very soon. The Union’s Secretary General, M.A. Stanley Perera appealed to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to consider taking up the issue at a UN emergency session in order to highlight the massacre of civilians and destruction caused to their wealth and property by terrorists. more..

Brave priest saves youth from abduction

May 2 (SN) In this time of crisis when the international community is reprimanding Sri Lanka for the growing number of killings, abductions and disappearances, a brave Catholic priest has given an example of the civic and individual action needed to address the crisis. Rev. Fr. Alfred Alexander told the Daily Mirror how he saved a 22-year-old youth who was about to be abducted by six men in a white van on the Marine Drive near Vivekananda Road in Wellawatte recently. more..

Sri Lanka's seesaw of war and cricket

May 2 (ES) Last weekend, Sri Lankans huddled together around TV sets to cheer their team battling unsuccessfully for the Cricket World Cup. But nationwide panic following Tamil Tiger attacks on Colombo shattered the momentary euphoria of togetherness even amid defeat. This seesaw of war and cricket, the island’s only current claim to news headlines, cannot match the legendary fame of Serendip, the home of serendipitous people. more..

Madras HC bench rejects pre-arrest bail to "LTTE associate"

May 2 (ZN) The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has rejected anticipatory bail to a person, wanted in connection with the smuggling of steel balls and other materials to the LTTE in Sri Lanka. Justice G Rajasuriya last evening dismissed the anticipatory bail application of K Jeyaraman citing stiff opposition by the prosecution. more..

Kerala approaches Centre to rescue fishermen in LTTE custody

May 2 (PTI) The Kerala government on Wednesday urged the Centre to take necessary steps for securing the release of 12 Indian fishermen, including one from Njarakkal in Ernakulam district of the state, now under the custody of LTTE in Sri Lanka. According to information provided by the Tamil Nadu Director General of Police, the 12 fishermen, who put out to sea from the cost of Needakara in Kollam District on March 4, were in a LTTE camp. more..

Buddha's ashes brought to Mumbai

May 2 (NDTV) Buddha's ashes were brought to Mumbai from Sri Lanka to mark his 2500th birth anniversary on Tuesday. Thousands of devotees at Ulhasnagar on the outskirts of the city gathered for a glimpse of the urn. "Maharashtra is celebrating 50 years of Buddhism that's why we have brought the ashes here, also our faith is celebrating of 2,550 years of existence," said Ananda Mahatero, Monk, Sri Lanka. more..

SriLankan Airlines bouyed by $19 million profit in ‘06

May 2 (AB) Buoyed by a strong performance over the last couple of years, SriLankan Airlines announced strong financial results at the ongoing Arabian Travel Market in Dubai. The Group's Nett Profit after tax crossed AED 67 million ($19 million approx) for the financial year 2005/06, an increase of 48.33% from the previous year's AED 45.65 million ($12.43 million). more..

Sri Lanka to allay airline fears over rebel air attacks

May 2 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government said Tuesday that it will have talks with at least three international airlines who have either suspended their services to the island or changed their schedules for fears of further attacks by Tamil Tiger rebels. Renton Alwis, the chairman of the Ceylon Tourist Board, said that talks would be held with Emirates, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines. more..

Australians funding Tamil Tigers: Downer

May 2 (AAP) Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer says there is no doubt that Australian money is funding the Tamil Tigers terrorist group. Sri Lankan secretary of foreign affairs Dr Palitha Kohona on Wednesday said the Tigers raised $US10-$US30 million ($A12-$A36 million) a month from around the world with up to 30 per cent from Australia. Mr Downer said while he believed that figure was an exaggeration, Sri Lanka had raised the problem of Australian money flowing to the terror group "over the years". more..

SLFP ready to be 'flexible' over power sharing: Sri Lankan minister

May 2 (IANS) A Sri Lankan minister overseeing the preparation of a power sharing formula to end the ethnic conflict says the ruling party will be 'flexible' over its devolution proposal that has not enthused the minorities. 'They are prepared to accept the majority view, prepared to be flexible,' Science and Technology Minister Tissa Vitarana said in a telephonic interview as the SLFP made its proposals public on May Day. more..

Fresh alert in Rameswaram, Ramanathapuram coastal areas

May 2 (PTI) The coastal areas of Rameswaram and Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu have been placed under fresh alert following the recent aerial attack by the LTTE on various vital installations in Sri Lanka. "We may not have any threat, but the Naval Detachment have been alerted. Round-the-clock vigil has been ordered under the fresh alert", a top official of the Navy said. more..

Soldiers and rebels clash in Sri Lanka; official says 13 insurgents killed

May 2 (AP) At least 13 Tamil rebels have been killed in two days of clashes with Sri Lankan forces in the country's north, the military said Wednesday. The fiercest fighting took place in rebel-held territory just beyond Mannar district in the northwest, which has emerged in recent weeks as a flash point in Sri Lanka's escalating conflict. more..

Sri Lanka Buddhist celebration marred by killings of 15

May 2 (AFP) Two Tamil civilians and 13 Tamil Tiger rebels were killed in northern Sri Lanka as the country marked the holiest Buddhist anniversary, military officials said. Unidentified gunmen short dead the two civilians on Tuesday night, the start of the Wesak festival marking the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha more than 2,500 years ago, officials said. more..

Flying Tigers threaten Lankan economy

May 2 (HT) The Air Tigers' recent attacks on major military and economic targets in and around Colombo are seriously threatening the Sri Lankan economy. Given the concentration of military and economic assets in Colombo and the dependence of the economy on foreign trade and tourist arrivals, any sustained threat to the capital will have very unpleasant consequences for the country as a whole. more..

Highlights of SLFP devolution proposals

May 2 (GDI) The SLFP led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, unveiled the proposals of the United People's Freedom Alliance at the May Day rally held in Colombo yesterday (May 01). Addressing the SLFP May Day Rally at Town Hall grounds via a special link, President Rajapaksa said: "It is our firm belief that the ordinary Tamil masses must be made partners in the political power structure while striving to defeat terrorism." more..

UK to try hand at Lanka mediation

May 2 (HT) With the war in Sri Lanka escalating dangerously, and the Norwegian bid to broker peace having failed, indications are that the UK is beginning to show an interest in mediation. The UK does not intend to push Norway out, but it wants to see how the Sri Lankan government, the LTTE and the Norwegians can be brought together and made to sort out matters before they go completely out of control, informed sources say. more..

Jaya slams Union Minister Baalu over Ramar Sethu

May 3 (TT) AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa has accused Union Surface Transport Minister T R Baalu of making attempts to destroy proof regarding the existence of Ramar Sethu or Adams Bridge in the Palk Strait. In a statement, Jayalalithaa alleged that Baalu visited the famous Saraswathi Mahal library in Thanjavur on April 30 and intimidated the officials there, while attempting to destroy historic documents about the bridge. more..

UK warns of 'Tamil Tiger fraud'

May 3 (BBC) The British government has warned of widespread fraud scams across the country, which it says could be funding terrorist acts in Sri Lanka. Foreign office minister Kim Howells told MPs intelligence reports indicated that fraudulently obtained money might be making its way to Tamil rebels. Mr Howells also ruled out lifting the ban on the Tamil Tigers. more..

Top Sri Lankan singer releases song for autism

May 3 (ARN) The award-winning Sri Lanka-born singer-songwriter, Nimal Mendis, has released a song for autism in London. This is the first time a South Asian songwriter has released a song on this topic. There are an estimated 39,000 children with autism in Sri Lanka. Thousands there do not have access to education, health, specialist speech therapy or respite care. more..