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Millions busted on Presidential anniversary

May 24 (DM) The JVP charged in Parliament yesterday that a large amount of money had been spent by the Government on functions to mark the first anniversary of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s inauguration in office. JVP strongman and Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake said monies running into millions of rupees were spent to put up cut-outs and posters of the President throughout the country. more..

Sri Lanka's repatriation blues

May 24 (AN) The refugee camp is a maze of red mud lanes, tightly packed huts with palm-leaf roofs and corrugated-iron sheds under the fierce south Indian sun. Hundreds of Sri Lankan refugees have crowded into this crammed patch on the tsunami-beaten coast of Tamil Nadu state since the early 1990s, waiting for a chance to go home. Wouldn't it be wonderful if they could? more..

Pawar in Colombo

May 24 (Hindu) Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar arrived here on Wednesday evening for talks with his counterparts in the Agriculture and other related ministries. The two-day visit is expected to bolster agriculture ties. Mr. Pawar is scheduled to call on the Sri Lanka President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, and the Foreign Minister, Rohitha Bogollagama, for an exchange of views on the situation in the island nation, more..

UK gives GBP1 million to help victims of conflict in Sri Lanka and protect aid workers

May 24 (M2) The UK will give GBP1 million to help over 300,000 Sri Lankans made homeless by the surge in violence since last year, Gareth Thomas, the Minister for International Development, announced today. Some of the funds will also be used to help improve security conditions for hundreds of aid workers, particularly those working in the North and East of Sri Lanka where fighting is fiercest. more..

Creating an oasis for tsunami survivors

May 24 (IRIN) Trudging up a steep slope laden with buckets of water was not what the residents of a new settlement for tsunami survivors in southern Sri Lanka expected to be doing when they moved in several months ago. For the 250 disaster-stricken families living on a bleak, windswept hillside in Seenimodera in the Hambantota District, daily treks to a borehole over a kilometre away took some of the gloss off moving into their new homes. more..

Sri Lankan parliament in uproar over security situation

May 24 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's parliament was in uproar on Thursday as the main opposition demanded a debate on the island's security situation. Parliamentary officials said the session was adjourned twice in the pre lunch period as the main opposition United National Party (UNP) asked that parliament have a debate on what they termed the country's grave security situation. more..

Tamil Tigers strike Sri Lanka capital, naval base

May 24 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels blew up an army bus in Sri Lanka's capital, killing at least one soldier, just hours after the guerrillas said they had also stormed a naval base and killed 35 sailors. The escalation in violence came days after the Tigers, who have been fighting for a separate state for 35 years, vowed they would never return to peace talks unless the government halted a military campaign against them. more..

Tamil rebels ambush Sri Lankan navy base

May 24 (AP) A flotilla of rebel boats launched a deadly raid Thursday on a navy camp in northern Sri Lanka, hours before a bomb exploded near an army bus in the capital killing one soldier and wounding six people. The surge in violence came amid a deepening conflict between the government and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels that has shattered an internationally backed peace process and left at least 5,000 people dead in the past 18 months. more..

LTTE is heavily gearing to capture Jaffna- Major Sarath Munasinghe

May 25 (LeN) Former Major General of the Army Sarath Munasinghe warns that the LTTE is now gearing them self up to gain territory in the Jaffna Peninsula. He said therefore the situation is now turning bad. Major Sarath Munasinghe has served the Army for over 30 years and has also been the commanding officer of the Northern Peninsula. more..

SLT shares to be sold before parliamentary debate

May 25 (LeN) Where is Global Telecommunication Holdings which is going to buy SLT shares from the finance ministry? Who the owners of it? The untold aim of this transaction is to get some personnel gains, UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara said. ayasekara revealing these details at the Opposition Leaders office this morning he said among the shares that are to be sold to the Global Telecommunications company are licenses for Television and Radio transmissions as well. more..

Karu rises, Anura drops in Gampaha

May 25 (LeN) UNP parliamentarian Karu Jayasuriya who joined the government recently has been appointed as the Chairman of the Gampaha district coordinating committee removing Minister Anura Bandaranaike from the post. The appointment has been made by President Mahinda Rajapakse. This has been informed to the Gamapha office in writing by the presidential secretariat. more..

Tigers in France admit using rough tactics to collect funds; more Tigers to be arrested

May 25 (AT) Leading Tamil Tiger agents arrested by the French Police have confessed that they were involved in the collection of funds by threat and intimidations, according to informed sources. They have also confessed that they have even abducted and harassed number of Tamils who refused to toe their line and give funds. more..

Summary of the Cabinet Decisions

May 25 (GDI) The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by His Excellency the President, who is also the Minister of Defence, Public Security, Law and Order, on the award of permanent status to the officers and lady officers who have died or already retired from the service after 15 years in the Reserve Police Service. more..

Government has no intention in selling its Telecom shares

May 25 (GDI) “The Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) shares transfer to the Malaysian company Global Telecom Holding (GTH) is done through a very transparent process,” said Cabinet Spokesmen Anura Priyadarshana Yapa today. He stated this at a media briefing held at the Government Information Department premises. The Minister further clarified that selling of Telecom shares owned by the NTT- Japan to GTH of Malaysia is not a transaction or selling of Government owned 49.5% of Telecom shares to any one or any organization. more..

Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2007 – ‘Spreading Wings of Development’

May 25 (GDI) The Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2007 will be held in next month at Colombo, focusing on the industrial promotion. The Summit which is organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Board of Investment, takes place from June 6 to 8, 2007 at Oak Room, Cinnamon Grand, Colombo. The organizers supported in the event by SAARC and Trade Promotion projects, implemented jointly by CCC and the German Technical Co-operation (GTZ) more..

Sri Lanka to start building new port in Hambantota in June

May 25 (LBO) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) is to start construction work on the planned new deep-water port in Hambantota on the island's south coast in the first week of June, officials said. The first phase of the project is to be completed in three years and three months, SLPA vice chairman R M P B Wickrema told a news conference Thursday. more..

Sri Lanka backtracks on opposition to French FM

May 25 (AFP) Sri Lanka distanced itself Thursday from opposition to Bernard Kouchner, who was named by the European Union to monitor human rights on the tropical island and is France's new foreign minister. Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said he was not against Kouchner, even though the troubled island's ambassador-designate to Geneva had opposed the EU appointment. more..

Pawar calls on Rajapaksa

May 25 (Hindu) Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Thursday called on Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa and exchanged views on bilateral relations and the security scenario in the island nation. Earlier, Mr. Pawar met Maithripala Sirisena, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Mahaweli Development and pledged Indian support for enhancement of capacity-building, training programmes and exchange of germ plasmas and scientific literature. more..

Tatas’ Lanka venture eyes tea tourism

May 25 (ET) Tata Tea has kicked off a major diversification exercise for its Sri Lankan venture, Watawala Plantations. Watawala has firmed up plans to enter tea tourism, hydro projects and alternative cropping to shore up revenues. Tata Tea is also beefing up marketing strategies for its premium tea brand in Sri Lanka, Zesta, by sprucing up sales in local market and in international markets using Tetley’s network. more..

Sri Lanka Welcomes the New President of the UN General Assembly

May 25 (AT) The 192-member UN General Assembly this week elected a new President for the forthcoming Sixty Second Session beginning September 2007. Speaking as the new chairman of the Asian Group at the UN, Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, welcomed the new President-elect, Ambassador Srgjan Kerim of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. more..

Sri Lanka's security situation worsens further

May 25 (Xinhua) Sri Lankans on Thursday witnessed a fierce battle in the north and a Claymore mine attack in the capital Colombo in less than nine hours, a clear sign that the security situation is deteriorating further. The LTTE launched a land and sea attack against the Navy at the Delft island near the northern Jaffna peninsula early Thursday, killing at least four Navy sailors and injuring four others. more..

US reiterates appeal for political solution to Sri Lanka conflict

May 25 (UNI) The Bush administration has described as unfortunate the ongoing violence in Sri Lanka, urging both sides to find a political solution to this conflict. "Certainly, we think that the Sri Lankan people deserve an opportunity to live in a peaceful, democratic country and one that is not subject to the kinds of activities that we've seen," said State Department's Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey. more..

Death threats against protesters in northern Sri Lanka

May 25 (wsws) A clandestine poster pasted on the walls of Jaffna university on May 14 listed hundreds of names of students, academics, administrators, teachers and school principals marked for death by a shadowy outfit calling itself the Tamil Alliance to Defend the Nation. The death threat came amid ongoing protests by school and university students over the disappearance of four students from two schools on the Jaffna peninsula in northern Sri Lanka. more..

The AHRC Open Letter to the Honourable Speaker and the MPs

May 25 (ISL) I am writing this letter on behalf of the Asian Human Rights Commission based in Hong Kong. The subject matter of this letter is the murder of an entire family at Delgoda, said to be related to a civil dispute over a piece of land, the subsequent arson of three houses by a large number of people and the shooting to death of two suspects after they were taken into custody by the police. more..

Upholding Humanitarian principles, key for conflict resolution- Saravanamuttu

May 25 (TN) Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, the director of Colombo-based think tank, Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA), in a discussion entitled, “Sri Lanka's Elusive Peace Process – a Role for the United States Government?” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington, Thursday, characterized Sri Lanka as "the worst place in the world for civilians, in the 15 months," more..

Jaffna students allege discrimination in University Admissions

May 25 (TN) Nine Tamil students from Jaffna district have filed separate petitions in the Court of Appeal seeking the court to order the University Grants Commission (UGC) to admit them to medical faculties in universities for the current academic year. The petitioners state in their suits that they have failed to gain admission due to continuous discrimination and unjust policies adopted by the UGC in granting admission to Tamil students, more..

AI Ignores Threat to Sri Lanka’s Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity and Democracy in Rights Abuse Report

May 25 (AT) Sri Lanka distanced itself Thursday from opposition to Bernard Kouchner, who was named by the European Union to monitor human rights on the tropical island and is France's new foreign minister. Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said he was not against Kouchner, even though the troubled island's ambassador-designate to Geneva had opposed the EU appointment. more..

"Rural Community should be interacted in the process of Rural Development"- President

May 25 (GDI) "Rural Community should be interacted in the process of Rural Development," stated the President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday. President Rajapaksa said this yesterday addressing the officials of the Ministry of Nation Building and Estate Infrastructure Development, at Temple Trees. He said that with the implementation ‘Jana Sabha’ they could actively interact the rural community in the development process and more..

New Air Surveillance Unit for SL Police

May 25 (GDI) Under the guidance of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka Police will be setting up a new Air Surveillance Unit. This was announced by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Victor Perera at a media briefing held today at the Police Headquarters in Colombo. According to IGP Perera, the necessity of establishing such a unit was in the priority list of the Sri Lanka Police expansion programme for a long period. more..

Comply with good health practices to avoid viral hepatitis

May 25 (GDI) The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry has taken immediate action to control the spread of viral hepatitis in Gampola by sending doctors attached to the Epidemiology Unit, Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry. Dr Mahipala, Deputy Director General of the Health Services said 682 patients with viral hepatitis have been reported by May 24 from Gampola. Majority of the susceptible patients are males while there is a tendency for schooling children and elders to get the infection. more..

U.A.E. - SL agreement to ensure workers’ rights

May 25 (GDI) The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) will enter in to a Memorandum of Understanding with the Sri Lanka ensure the workers’ rights and privileges of the Sri Lankan migrant workers in U.A.E. U.A.E Labour Minister, Dr. Ali Bin Abdullah Al Kaabi arrived in the island yesterday to sign the agreement. This is a follow up of the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Jordan and Kuwait. more..

Sri Lankan officials at odds over Abu Dhabi series

May 25 (CI) Sri Lanka's senior cricket officials were at odds Friday over the national team's participation in a recent one-day series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. While chairman of selectors Ashantha De Mel described the last week's series as ill-timed, Sri Lanka Cricket chief executive Duleep Mendis said it had been confirmed much in advance. more..

Wild swings of veda beri Tarzans

May 25 (ANN) If there are good politicians, they must be either dead or in the Opposition. The media is full of friends in the Opposition. Out of power, politicians behave themselves and champion various causes including media freedom. Those ruling party politicians who stand accused of trying to suppress media freedom today were the very defenders of the press when they were in the Opposition. more..

LTTE plan to disrupt B’caloa resettlement goes awry, Sea Tiger attack on Delft repulsed

May 25 (PISL) An LTTE plan to disrupt the ongoing resettlement programme in the Batticaloa district went awry Wednesday when the army trapped a group of terrorists operating in Eravur (east) in the government-held area. Troops killed seven terrorists including two women and arrested five including one they were looking for". The group is believed to have moved in recently from the Vanni to undermine government efforts to restore normalcy in the East. more..

Sri Lanka state sugar firm to be revived by LOLC and Browns

May 25 (LBO) The government of Sri Lanka has given the nod to re-start a defunct sugar factory with two listed firms, a partner in the project said Friday. "Based on this approval, the company intends to proceed with negotiations with relevant parties to complete this proposal," Lanka Orix Leasing Company (LOLC) told the Colombo Stock Exchange. more..

Sri Lanka gets $32 mn from World Bank to help war refugees

May 25 (LBO) The World Bank Friday agreed to give Sri Lanka a soft loan of 32 million dollars to help tens of thousands Muslim victims of Tamil Tiger 'ethnic cleansing'. The money will be used to provide housing, drinking water and sanitation to 20,600 displaced families, most of whom were driven out of the northern Jaffna peninsular and now living in the north-western Puttalam district. more..

Sri Lanka Telecom sale gets cabinet ok; next step management deal

May 25 (LBO) Prospective Malaysian shareholders of Sri Lanka Telecom are seeking wide-ranging management control to purchase a 25 percent stake currently owned by Japan’s NTT through a shareholders' agreement being negotiated among the three parties. Majority government owned Sri Lanka Telecom’s strategic partner NTT will retain a stake just short of 10 percent after it sells a 25.187% stake to Global Telecommunications Holdings more..

Sri Lanka marketing conference discusses consumer understanding, retailing trends

May 25 (LBO) Successful retailing needs proper understanding of the customer and catering to their demands as well as feelings, the leading retailers in Sri Lanka said. “People believe that to have air conditioned, nicely lit stores, the prices have to be higher,” says Ranjith Page CEO of Cargills (Ceylon) Limited which owns the largest supermarket chain in Sri Lanka. more..

SLT deal could be threat to security, says UNP

May 25 (LNP) The UNP said yesterday that the SLT shares deal could be a threat to national security and charged that the company was to be sold out to a Malaysian company violating `Mahinda Chintanaya` which is opposed to privatization. UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera told a press conference that the government has given permits to Global Telecom which bought 25% stake of SLT to run a TV channel, a radio channel and a 3G channel more..

MiG deal shady, says Lakshman Kiriella

May 25 (LNP) The UNP in parliament yesterday charged that the government`s proposed purchase of five MiG 29 aircraft was rife with corruption. Opening an adjournment debate in the House on the matter, UNP front liner MP Lakshman Kiriella said the government had decided to purchase the MiG 29 aircraft despite the defence Ministry stating that such planes were not needed to confront the LTTE. more..

Homeguard kills 4 including wife

May 25 (LNP) In another tragedy that sent shock waves through the Kebitigollewa area, a home guard who went berserk shot dead his estranged wife and three others at Ranchakepuwewa early yesterday. The suspect assailant P.B. Ranaweera, a resident from the same area had allegedly used his service firearm, to gun down the four victims. The victims were identified as the suspect`s wife Sunethra Kanthi (25), his mother-in-law Seelawathie (50), sister-in-law Anoma Kanthi (23) and a neighbour M. Suraweera (38). more..

Parliamentary Select Committee on Prevention of Motor Accidents

May 25 (LNP) A Parliamentary Select Committee on Prevention of Motor Accidents has been appointed on a request by Enterprise Development Minister Mano Wijeratne. The 21 member Committee will be headed by Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle. The Committee will probe the adequacy of road network, adherence to highway code by drivers, jay walking by pedestrians, police action on drivers and penalties imposed on errant drivers. more..

Proposed reforms opposed

May 25 (BBC) Several political parties including parties aligned with the government are rejecting the proposed electoral reforms. United National Party (UNP), Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), Upcountry People's Front (UPF) and Western Province People's Front (WPPF) - told media on Thursday that they oppose the proposed electoral reforms that "do not fulfil aspirations of the people". more..

Clamp down on guns in liberated East

May 25 (SAMN) The Government Thursday stressed that no one other than the Security Forces and those licensed will be allowed to carry arms in the liberated East. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama addressing the media after a diplomatic briefing, responding to media queries underlined this law covers everyone, even the Karuna faction. “Whether it is Karuna or someone else, if they break the law, we will take action against them. more..

Ranil surprised at FMM criticism

May 25 (SAMN) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Thursday expressed surprise at the criticism levelled against him by the Free Media Movement (FMM) for comments he made in parliament on May 22. Wickremesinghe told the House that the views he expressed on the privileges of parliament that day were in accordance with the role of the Opposition Leader. more..

'Muslims protected the Lankan King'

May 25 (SAMN) The Sinhalese started referring to Muslims as 'Marakkalayas' after a Muslim woman saved the life of King Rajasinghe II from the hands of the Portugese, Enterprise Development Minister Mano Wijeratne said. Speaking at the ‘Founders Day’ ceremony of the All Ceylon Union of Muslim League Youth Fronts recently, Wijeratne said that a group of Portugese had been pursuing King Rajasinghe II at Ruwanwalle when a Muslim woman gave him refuge. more..

Health workers to strike on June 1

May 25 (SAMN) According to the deputy general secretary of the All Ceylon Health Service Union, (ACHSU) Gamini Kumarasingha, health workers who are dead against the introduction of finger sensing machines at their work places to register the arrival and departure will go on strike once again on June 1. It was earlier decided that the health authorities would take the specimen finger prints of health workers on the same day. more..

Hingurana Sugar factory to re-open

May 25 (DN) The Hingurana Sugar factory, closed for over a decade, is to be re-opened as a Government private sector partnership project this year. The total investment for this would be Rs. 1.287 billion. According to Investment Promotion and Enterprise Development Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama, the agreement to re-start the factory will be signed next month. more..

Fathers main culprits in child abuse cases

May 25 (DN) A survey has revealed that out of the children who are abused, fathers are the perpetrators in 45 per cent of the cases, Women’s Empowerment and Child Development Minister Sumedha G. Jayasena said. She was addressing a workshop on `Disabled women’s rights’ at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo 7 yesterday. more..

Bus fare hike effective from July

May 25 (DM) Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma gave the nod to a 15 to 20 percent bus fare hike effective from July 1 following a discussion held yesterday morning with private bus operators. Sources claimed that the Chairman of the National Policy on Bus Fares Committee, Professor Amal Kumarage will submit to the Ministry the upwardly revised bus fare scheme by June 10. more..