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Farah Mihlar, the Internally Displaced and Ethnic Cleansing

May 22 (TW) Farah Mihlar had written an opinion piece entitled Tigers at the Door in the UK-based Guardian newspaper on 16 May, 2007. The Daily Mirror in Colombo duly reproduced this as a feature article on 18 May, 2007. She had commented on the British parliamentary debates on human rights in Sri Lanka. I had written to the Daily Mirror to point out her flawed data but this was not published! more..

Sri Lanka to de-regulate payphone business

May 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka plans to allow third parties to operate payphone booths in an attempt to popularise them in far flung areas outside the city of Colombo, a top official said. The island's eight public switched telephone network (PSTN) operators will now be allowed to appoint a third party to operate and maintain a public phone booth on a revenue sharing model. more..

Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka continue to slide fighting escalates

May 22 (AFP) The number of holidaymakers visiting Sri Lanka fell by nearly 20 percent in the first four months of this year as fighting between troops and Tamil rebels escalated, the tourism authority said Monday. Visitor numbers to Sri Lanka dropped to 167,674, down 19.9 percent over the corresponding period of last year. Arrivals from the key markets of Germany and India declined sharply. more..

Kshathriya to boost stake in Sri Lanka dairy firm, Kotmale Holdings

May 22 (LBO) Kshathriya Holdings, a listed unit of Sri Lanka's Janashakthi group says it will boost the stake in Kotmale Holdings to make it a subsidiary. Last week Kshatriya Holdings bought a 27 percent parcel of the Food and Beverage based company for 10.50 rupees a share. "Kshatriya Holdings Limited intends to progressively invest into the issued share capital of Kotmale Holdings Limited thereby enabling it to become a subsidiary of Kshatriya Holdings Limited," more..

How can you fight when the heads of the Army & Navy are not talking?- Thilak Karunarathne

May 22 (LeN) Treasurer of the UNP, former minister Thilak Karunarathne questions how to be engaged in an accurate war when the heads of the Army and Navy are not talking to each other. He has brought up this question during a discussion with the "Lankadeepa" newspaper. When LeN questioned Karunarathne based on what he made such a statement, and he replied saying "Anurudha Rathwatte wanted to be prince Sapumal more that triumphing war. more..

Unity Government talks resurfaces

May 22 (LeN) UNP Kurunegala District parliamentarian Gamini Jayawickrama says if president Rajapakse is whole heartedly for a national public programme instead of a national unity government, it should be discussed with the Opposition leader. He made this statement rejecting the reports that were published saying that he too was discussing to establish a national unity government. more..

A mill owner in Walana abducted

May 22 (LeN) An unidentified group who arrived in a White van has abducted a timber mill owner from the Walana area in Panadura this morning. When 'LeN' inquired regarding the matter a spokesperson of the Walana crime division said a group had blocked the way of the businessman when he was traveling to his business premises and abducted him. more..

A new deep- Water Harbour next to Colombo

May 22 (GDI) Government is drawing sketches to build a new deep-water harbour next to Colombo under the Colombo Port Expansion Project. The new port will be designed to handle ships with a draft of 16 metres and as long as 400 metres. Colombo Port Expansion Project would enable the harbour to cater to much bigger container vessels being deployed on international trade routes. more..

Government to host 8th International Congress on AIDS

May 22 (GDI) Government will be hosting the 8th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) at Colombo from 19th to 23rd August 2007. It was also revealed that over 3000 delegates from over 60 countries will attend the congress. HIV/AIDS has affected 40.3 million in the world and 26 million of them are workers in their peak. more..

US envoy raises muted concerns about democratic rights in Sri Lanka

May 22 (wsws) During his visit to Sri Lanka on May 8-10, US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher for the first time made reference to US concerns over the abuse of basic democratic rights by the government and the country’s security forces. The Bush administration has backed Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and his renewed war against the LTTE to the hilt. more..

The disappointment over GCE (O/L) results

May 22 (TW) The baffling revelations made by the Commissioner General of Examinations about the GCE (O/L) results may have shocked all those who have the future of the country at heart. The underlying causes may be ultifactorial, but this is such a complex problem that it has to be delved into minutely as so much expense and energey that is siphoned into educating our youth seems to go waste. To think that 51% students fail is a reflection on our society. more..

There isn't much left in the tank: Jayawardene

May 22 (Gulf) The Sri Lankans were convincingly beaten by Pakistan and skipper Mahela Jayawardene put it down to the dropped catches and lack of "mental and physical" rest after their World Cup campaign. "There is not much left in the tank. Over the two and a half months leading into the World Cup the players have given their everything and they do need rest, mental and physical," he said during the post match press conference. more..

Jaffna undergrads temporarily suspend boycott

May 22 (TN) In response to the request made by Jaffna University Acting vice-chancellor (VC), Jaffna Government Agent (GA), University Senate and Education society members, the Jaffna University Student Union (JUSU) temporarily suspended the boycott, JUSU leaders said. The students launched the boycott in protest against the abduction of students, intrusion into the campus by armed men and more..

Rajapakse Gets Warm Kuwait Welcome

May 22 (AN) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse who arrived here on a state visit, was given a red carpet welcome at the Kuwait International Airport yesterday. He was also given a guard of honor by the armed forces of the state. The roads leading to the Bayan Palace were dotted with Sri Lankan and Kuwaiti national flags to welcome the president. more..

Sri Lanka missed the richness of plurality – Amartya Sen

May 22 (TN) While answering a question put to him on Sri Lanka, the Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen observed that Sri Lanka successfully implemented a number of welfare programmes such as free education, free health etc., to its people which should have contributed to peace in that country. But, by taking a position of upholding exclusive status to Buddhism and Sinhalese, it isolated other sections of the society from having a sense of national identity. more..

Central Bank steadfast on low inflation and economic stability: Governor

May 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Central Bank will diligently pursue its aim of economic and price stability and not finance the budget deficit with printed money, Governor Nivard Cabraal said. Quoting former Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Paul Volker, he said the 'truly unique power of a central bank is the power to create money and ultimately the power to create is also the power to destroy'. more..

Central bank expects to meet June reserve money target 'comfortably'

May 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka will reach the June reserve money target 'comfortably' with interest rates at current levels, the Central Bank said in its May monetary policy review. Though reserve money increased in April from a higher demand for currency, the bank says it was able to meet an internal target for April, with a combination of overnight and permanent absorption of excess liquidity. more..

Kuwait help for oil exploration

May 22 (GDI) Kuwait will send a team of oil experts to Sri Lanka to help its on-going oil exploration efforts and its actions under way to modernise existing oil refineries. The Oil Minister of Kuwait, Sheikh Ali Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah has promised to send the team of oil experts during bilateral talks held between him and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Kuwait, yesterday. more..

Sri Lanka Festival 2007 in Tokyo

May 22 (GDI) Sri Lanka Festival 2007 is poised to be celebrated ‘nature’s best’ in Tokyo over the weekend, it will be held in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park in Shibuya ward on May 26-27 from 10 am to 6 pm for the fourth consecutive year. The Sri Lanka Festival has become a regular feature in the Tokyo events calendar and it provides the Japanese with a unique opportunity to experience a taste of Sri Lanka right in the heart of Tokyo. more..

President Meets the Sri Lankan Expatriates in Kuwait

May 22 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa pledged to solve the problems encountered by the Sri Lankan expatriates working in Middle Eastern countries such as in Jordan and Kuwait and also to actively cooperate bi-laterally in escalating their welfare. President gave this assurance yesterday, during his meeting with the Sri Lankan expatriates to inquire in to the difficulties and issues. more..

No decline in flight arrivals

May 22 (GDI) There is no decline in total flight arrivals following the closure of the Bandaranaike International Airport for six hours every night, it was disclosed yesterday. There has been no discernible impact on flight operations apart from the change of schedules, Aviation Deputy Minister Sarath Kumara Gunaratne said. These trends were discussed at a meeting he held with the representatives of the travel trade at his Ministry. more..

More opportunities for Sri Lankan workers in Kuwait

May 22 (GDI) The state of Kuwait has extended willingness to release and repatriate the Sri Lankan expatriates imprisoned in Kuwait. This assurance was given by the Minister of Social Affairs and Labour Sabah Al- Khalid Al- Hamad Al- Sabha to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa while at a discussions held between them. The event took place at Bryan Palace last evening from Sri Lanka time. more..

Stocks end weaker as investors lock in gains

May 22 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares ended weaker on Tuesday as retail investors sold shares across the board after two days of sharp gains and uncertainty stoked by the island's civil war weighed, traders said. The Colombo All Share index closed a provisional 0.81 percent weaker at 2,591.32 points, a fall of 21.24 points. The index is now down around 4.8 percent so far this year after falling sharply over the past fortnight. more..

Sri Lanka look to salvage pride

May 22 (CI) Just over a week ago, before the start of the Abu Dhabi series, it was hard to imagine a young Pakistan team, with a new captain and without the services of a coach, would go into the final ODI having already wrapped up the series. The twin wins appeared convincing thanks mainly to Shahid Afridi, who reminded us that he can score once in a while even as he has, as noted time and again, matured immensely with the other half of his allrounder status. more..

Central bank holds rates, says at stable level

May 22 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank held official policy rates steady on Tuesday at their highest levels since 2002, saying they had reached a "stable level", but analysts are not so sure. The overnight repurchase rate remains at 10.50 percent and the reverse repurchase rate at 12 percent. "With the continued tight monetary policy stance pursued by the Central Bank, the bank was able to bring down the high growth in monetary aggregates observed in the previous year," more..

Crimes they commit for a piece of land

May 22 (ANN) Man consumed with greed and hatred is worse than even the worst beast in the wild. Nothing demonstrates the barbarity of man better than instances such as the recent multiple murder at Delgoda, where five members of the same family were chopped to death. Among them were two children. The pictures of the victims we front-paged yesterday were shocking and heartrending. The police believe their massacre was over a land dispute. more..

Sea sand to replace river sand

May 22 (ANN) After much discussion and research the Ministry of Environment has decided that the only way to curb environmental damage to rivers and their banks is sea sand mining. The country annually requires nine million cubic metres of sand for construction purposes and this requirement increases annually by nine per cent. "At least a major part of the requirement should be obtained from the sea," more..

SC orders immediate promotion of Maj. Gen.

May 22 (LNP) The Supreme Court yesterday ordered that Major General (temporary) Nimal Ainsley Jayasuriya be promoted and confirmed as Major General before the end of this month. The bench which heard the fundamental rights violation case filed by Maj. Gen. Jayasuriya comprised Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva and Justices Shirani Tillekewardena and J. Balapatabendi. The Supreme Court said the Army which has to protect the rights of the citizens must start with the rights of its own officers. more..

Treasure hunters arrested

May 22 (LNP) Eight persons, including an Interpreter Mudaliyar of a Court in Anuradhapura and an employee of the Anuradhapura Municipality were taken into custody by the Nochchiyagama Police when they were engaged in a treasure hunt atop an ancient rock in the Periyanagalle tank in Adampane. The raid was conducted on information provided by villagers of the area. more..

Counterfeit currency found in restaurant

May 22 (LNP) A special CID team, along with the Anuradhapura Police, raided a restaurant in Anuradhapura town yesterday and recovered 14 counterfeit Rs 500 currency notes. The restaurant was owned by a woman. She, her son and an employee of the restaurant were taken into custody along with the counterfeit currency Police said the discovery was only the tip of an iceberg. Preliminary investigations point to this being a long standing operation where millions have changed hands. more..

Colombo Mayor puts up strong face

May 22 (SAMN) Colombo Mayor Mohammed U. Emitiyaz referring to the charge sheet served on him recently said Monday he was not worried as he had not engaged in any malpractice. Emitiyaz said he would submit answers by Friday. However he said he could ask for more time if the need arose. “I will be able get more time to answer as I have been working closely with the Western Province Chief Minister Reginald Cooray,” he said. more..

Chinese, UNP on same wavelength: Ranil

May 22 (SAMN) Chinese Communist party leaders emphasized that power devolution was the only way out of the national question prevalent here, Opposition Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, said at a briefing to the party’s parliamentary group on his Chinese tour Monday. He said China remains an undivided country despite being geographically large, due to devolution of power to the provinces. more..

Probe on hush hush project in Parliament

May 22 (SAMN) Amidst questions and some confusion, an audit report on the setting up of an information and communication technology (ICT) system for Parliament at a cost of Rs. 75 million has been sought by Parliament Secretary General Priyanee Wijesekera. Auditor-General P.A. Pematileke said although the AG’s Department had intended to forward the report to Parliament at an earlier stage, certain problems encountered during the audit inquiry prevented it from doing so. more..

Solar power for Moneragala

May 22 (SAMN) Women's Empowerment and Child Development Minister Sumedha G. Jayasena recently opened the community centre of the Monaragala town and installed 300 solar systems in homes owned by low income families in the area, Coordinating Secretary to the Minister W. Wijekoon said. He said this technologically advanced project provides energy facilities to 300 households in remote rural areas in Wellawaya, Madulla and Siyambalanduwa more..

The feud and the firebomb

May 22 (TS) Pream Anandarajah, clean cut and Toronto born, slides down low in the passenger seat. He looks cautiously over his right shoulder at a group of students gathered near his high school. "That's them," he says, referring to the FOBs. It's a common insult directed at recent immigrants that means "fresh off the boat," in this case, from Sri Lanka. more..

Tigers deny Sri Lanka jets bomb rebel camp

May 22 (Reuters) Sri Lankan air force jets pounded a Tamil Tiger training camp in the island's north on Tuesday, the military said, but the rebels said the bombs had fallen in uninhabited jungle and caused no damage. Military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said the air force bombed a camp near the town of Mankulam, which lies around 20 miles north of a "border" that separates government territory from the rebels' de facto state. more..

Children's Heart Project to eliminate waiting list for surgery

May 22 (DN) The Children's Heart Project of Sri Lanka, has since its inception in 1993, helped to raise the number of heart operations performed on children from virtually zero to 600 per year. The Children's Heart Project of Sri Lanka is a Government approved charity that supports the improvement of diagnosis, treatment and care of children's heart disease. more..

Independence Square rehabilitation project begins

May 22 (DN) The foot path between Independence Square and the planetarium named as Janaraja Sakmana will be handed over at a ceremony by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake today at 8.30 am as part of the ceremony to mark the 35th Republic day. Urban Development Minister Rohana Dissanayake will also participate. more..

Presidential Commission commences inquiries into aid workers killing

May 22 (DM) The Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into serious violations of Human Rights has commenced inquiry into the killings of aid workers of the international non governmental organization Action CONTRE LA Faim (Action Against Hunger) which is the second item listed in the 16 serious human rights violations to be probed by the Commission. more..

Delgoda murder victims buried in front of a large gathering

May 22 (DM) The funeral of five members of the same family at Mahawatta in Delgoda who were brutally hacked to death by a group of unknown persons on Friday, took place last evening at the Delgoda public cemetery amidst a large gathering. The victims were the head of the family K.W.M. Thilakaratne (36), his wife S.A.D. Ramyalatha (34), his mother-in-law S.A. Pabawathie (80), the two sons K.W.M. Dilshan Maduwantha (08) and K.W.M. Sachithra Lakshan (04). more..

Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2007 to be held in Colombo

May 22 (F2F) Apparel exporters will be discussing the industry's path forward at the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2007. The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) organizes the summit, from 6-7 June in Colombo, in partnership with the Board of Investment. The initiative, supported by the SAARC and Trade Promotion projects, is implemented jointly by CCC and German Technical Co-operation (GTZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ). more..

Many schools in east reopen, though fear persists

May 22 (IRIN) L. Arupragasam is a happy man. The head teacher has finally returned to his school which is located in Kalavanchchikudi division, Batticaloa district, eastern Sri Lanka. Last December, Arupragasam, along with 230 of his students had to abandon the school so it could be used as a shelter for about 2,000 displaced people. Now, some six-months later, Arupragasam is back at work and the school is back in action. more..

Sri Lanka sinks into lawlessness

May 22 (AFP) Cases of murder, abduction, disappearance and intimidation surface almost daily in Sri Lanka as the South Asian nation appears to be sliding into lawlessness and war. With a truce between the government and the rebel LTTE in tatters and peace talks long since abandoned, rights workers and the media fear the situation is spiralling out of control. more..

Sri Lankan warplanes bomb separatist rebel training base in north, military says

May 22 (AP) Sri Lankan warplanes pounded a rebel training base in the volatile north on Tuesday, the military said, in worsening violence that has shattered an internationally backed peace process. The air force targeted a Tamil Tiger base in Mankulam, in Mullaitivu district Tuesday morning, air force spokesman Group Capt. Ajantha Silva said. more..

Casting a giant shadow

May 23 (CI) It appeared Sri Lanka's cricket officials could stave off the decision; armed with extra cash after the World Cup, they appeared confident of securing their coach for a fresh contract. Even some of the players thought and hoped he would stay. But Tom Moody, who will step down as Sri Lanka coach after Tuesday's match against Pakistan at Abu Dhabi, had clearly made up his mind weeks before and more..

Norwegian passports 'not stolen'

May 23 (BBC) The Norwegian government has denied media reports that nearly 700 passports have been confiscated in Thailand. In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Norwegian foreign Ministry has admitted that two people were imprisoned after they were involved in illegally purchasing Norwegian passports. A Norwegian policeman has sold nine blank passports to a Norwegian national of Sri Lankan origin, the statement said. more..

Journalist assaulted in Ampara

May 23 (BBC) Media organisations in Sri Lanka have strongly protested an attack on a regional journalists in Ampara on Monday. In a joint statement, media organisations said journalist S.M.M. Ramsan of the weekly Tamil newspaper "Engal Thesam" was assaulted by a group in Maradamune. His equipment forcibly confiscated while he was covering a tsunami related meeting, watchdogs said. more..

More proposals from UNP group

May 23 (BBC) A dissident group of Sri Lanka's main opposition have produced another set of proposals aiming at resolving the national question. Group leader, minister Karu Jayasuriya, told journalists that the all the members of the group agreed to devolve power according to 13 amendment to the constitution. The 13 amendment, brought in after the Indo-Sri Lanka accord, devolved certain centralised powers into Provincial Councils. more..

Sri Lanka: Bringing relief despite intense fighting

May 23 (ICRC) The ICRC is helping more than 12,000 internally displaced people now living on the coastline after they fled clashes inland between governmental forces and the Tamil Tigers. Toon Vandenhove, ICRC head of delegation in Sri Lanka, insists that access to victims should be provided at all times. more..

Law and order crumbling in Sri Lanka, human rights group says

May 23 (AP) Sri Lanka is facing "lawlessness of epidemic proportions," a human rights group said Tuesday. "Such lawlessness is manifested by the ongoing abductions and forced disappearances, the spate of crime in all areas of life, the increase of violence in civil society where even entire families are wiped out and the use of direct violence against alleged criminals," the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission said in a statement Tuesday. more..