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No plan to call it a day: Jayasuriya

May 26 (KT) Sanath Jayasuriya is a jewel in Sri Lanka cricket crown. The man who rewrote the cricket rules by his explosive batting at top of the order, left-arm spin bowling and electric fielding, was in Abu Dhabi to play the one-day series against Pakistan. He spoke to Khaleej Times about his game and future plans: “I have no plans to call it a day. I am enjoying the game. I am fit enough to play international cricket and I feel there is still some cricket left in me. more..

Arrested operators who ran Goldquest scheme to be extradited to face fraud charges

May 26 (LBO) The Philippine government has asked for arrested operators of the Questnet referral schemes in which tens of thousands of poor Asians and Africans have lost money, to be formally extradited, reports said. Earlier in May, the public face of the Quest International (QI) group, Vijayeswaran Vijayaratnam, director Joseph Luis Tomacruz Bismark, and two other senior executives, Donna Marie Glen Imson and Tagumpay Pablo Perez Kintanar were arrested in Indonesia. more..

Rajapaka lauds Ambedkar's service to Buddhism

May 26 (HT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has lauded the contribution of Dr. BR Ambedkar to Buddhism. "He had pioneered the renaissance of Buddhism in India and was responsible for millions embracing Buddhism in the land of its birth," Rajapaksa said in a message to the two-day International Buddhist Conference which began on Saturday at Mumbai. The meet is to mark the 50th anniversary of Ambedkar's conversion to Buddhism. more..

Japan under pressure over Sri Lanka aid

May 26 (AFP) An international human rights group is lobbying Sri Lanka's top donor Japan to exert greater pressure on the island nation to address spiralling violence. But Tokyo said it has no plans for now to slash aid and follow the lead of Sri Lanka's former colonial ruler Britain and Germany, which have frozen debt relief due to rights concerns. "It has dramatically worsened over the last year," Sophie Richardson of Human Rights Watch said of Sri Lanka's rights record, more..

LTTE women cardres surrender

May 27 (BBC) The government says that six women Tamil Tiger cardres surrrendred to an army camp in the East. A defence spokesman at the Army media unit said that the six women were between 14 to 17 years of age and that they had been forcibly taken away by the LTTE. The LTTE women cardres had been abducted while visiting their relatives and on the way to a Hindu temple. more..

International Finance Corporation facilitates SME Banking

May 27 (AT) In a recently released survey done by the International Financial Corporation (IFC) the private sector arm of the World Bank indicated that in a Research Study, highlighted opportunities for growth in smaller businesses in Sri Lanka and underscored the challenges these companies face, such as lack of access to finance. The study examines businesses in several key industries and suggests concrete steps to improve the local business environment. more..

How the Tigers beat the Sri Lankan government

May 27 (AT) Today LTTE has grown as one of the leading terrorists outfit in the world. Though it operates from the jungle terrains of sprawling Vanni in the North of Sri Lanka, Velupillai Prabakaran has shot his way ruthlessly into the international lime light. In the beginning, the Tamil outfit adopted the guerilla warfare tactics, followed by suicide attacks. more..

The Sin of Hubris

May 27 (AT) The candle is being burnt on both ends. The regime, having lost the battle for international public opinion, is in the process of loosing the struggle for national public opinion as well. We did not loose international support because of the war per se but because of the manner in which we pursued that war, with scant regard for the security of unarmed civilian Tamils. more..

Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Exhibition in Los Angeles to focus its Potential and Opportunity for US Entrepreneurs

May 27 (AT) Sri Lanka Consul General in Los Angeles, California Jaliya Wickremasuriya does not want the South Asian nation he represents to be popularly known in the United States for its disasters and calamities such as the deadly tsunami or the separatist Tamil Tiger movement’s terrorist activities. more..

Kusma Rajaratna - one time firebrand woman member of parliament dies of heart attack

May 27 (AT) One time firebrand woman Member of Parliament Mrs Kusuma Rajaratna who represented the backward Welimada and later Uva Paranagama constituencies in the Sri Lanka parliament died of a massive heart attack, her husband and former parliamentarian K.M. P. Rajaratna said. Kusuma, one of the most attractive and charismatic lady politicians of the Sri Lanka Parliament was 81 years of age at her death. more..

Sri Lanka Army chief says Tamil rebels limited to pockets

May 27 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's Army Commander Sarath Fonseka said Saturday that his troops have been successful in limiting the Tamil Tiger rebels to pockets in the troubled Northern and Eastern provinces. Fonseka told reporters in the central town of Kandy that his troops need to be commended. "The LTTE is now limited to a few areas specially in the east. The priority for the Army now is to help government in its resettlement program of civilians," Fonseka said. more..

Pawar's plea to Rajapaksa on devolution package

May 27 (HT) Sharad Pawar, Indian Minister for Agriculture and political veteran, has urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to offer a devolution package which will satisfy the political "moderates" in Sri Lanka. In his meeting with Rajapaksa in Colombo earlier this week, Pawar emphasized the need to find a political rather than a military solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, and more..

Colombo Dockyard profit surge 50% on ship repair work

May 27 (LBO) Profits at Colombo Dockyard Ltd (CDL), Sri Lanka's sole listed ship builder, surged 50 percent in the March quarter largely with ship repair work, an official said. Net profit for the first quarter rose to 200 million rupees from 133.6 million rupees in the same period last year, while consolidated revenue increased to 1.98 billion rupees from 1.71 billion rupees, results filed with the Colombo Stock Exchange showed. more..

100 more children ordained as monks

May 27 (ITN) 100 children have been ordained as monks. President Mahinda Rajapakse had requested the maha sangha of all nikayas to ordain 2550 children to mark the 2550th Buddha Jayanthi. President Rajapakse said he is dedicated to extending government patronage to activities of the Buddha Sasana. He said security of the Buddhism is not only ensured through the constitution but traditionally it is also the responsibility of the government. more..

Tissera picks positives in series defeat

May 27 (CI) Michael Tissera, the outgoing manager of the Sri Lankan team, has said Sri Lanka's defeat in the recent three-match series against Pakistan, in the Abu Dhabi, could be attributed to post World Cup fatigue but added that there was positives to take forward from the reversal. "If they weren't thoroughly drained out both mentally and physically having gone through a stressful 2007 World Cup playing the best 11 nations in the world, more..

Sri Lanka A squad to be picked on expected lines

May 27 (CI) The Sri Lanka A squad for the tour of England starting in July is expected to be drawn from the squad of 19 players selected for training on February 21. Chandika Hathurusingha, the former Sri Lankan batsman who is currently coaching the Sri Lanka A side, said that the team comprising 16 players would be selected from the 19 already chosen for training, but added that it would probably include a few players from the national side who may not be needed for the home series against Bangladesh. more..

Ratnayake to replace Penney as assistant coach

May 27 (CI) Rumesh Ratnayake, the former Sri Lanka fast bowler, has agreed to succeed Trevor Penney as Sri Lanka's assistant coach once Penney's contract expires at the end of August. Sri Lanka Cricket was planning to get Ratnayake roped in for next month's home series against Bangladesh, but his commitments with the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) as a developing officer won't see him relieved off his duties until August end. more..

Navy Intelligence officer who helped Mahinda cannot stay in the island

May 27 (LeN) Commander Rohana Gamage who was serving in the Navy intelligence unit as its coordinator in the Vavuniya district on the request of the president and the defense ministry, and then remanded and freed on the charges of having connections with the LTTE, has requested the Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and JVP leader Somawanse Amarasinghe asking them to intervene and make sure that nothing of that sort happens against. more..

Chandrika informs President in writing regarding her return at the end of July

May 27 (LeN) It is being reported that the President is a bit shaken after former President Chandrika Kumaratunga informed President Mahinda Rajapakse in writing that she is going to return to the island at the end of July. Writing to the president regarding the Supreme court decision to cut down on the privileges given to her and her security, the former president has informed Mahinda Rajapakse in this regard. more..

Conducting trials after hanging

May 27 (LeN) It is being reported that the letter sent to Mangala Samaraweera by SLFP party Secretary Maithripala Sirisena requesting Samaraweera to explain the reasons for him to breach the party's code of conduct, has been stopped from getting to the hands of the former minister. According to information available to 'LeN' the letter has been halted by Minister Dala Alahaperuma. more..

Dr. Subramanian Sway commends JVP for taking the first step in granting citizenship to Tamil refugees in Indian camps

May 27 (AT) JVP, the Sri Lankan Marxist party, has been commended by the leader of the Janata Party, Dr. Subramaniam Swamy, for moving a motion to grant citizenship to Sri Lankan refugees In Indian camps. He has hailed it as an “act of statesmanship for which the JVP should be congratulated universally.” The motion to grant citizenship was moved by JVP MP, Ramalingam Chandrasekeran and seconded by Bimal Ratnayake. more..

Book review: Vannathikulam (Butterfly Lake) – a novelette of understanding and hope

May 27 (AT) Dr. Noel Nadesan, the author of Vannanthikulam,Uthayam, a Tamil community newspaper in Australia), a Tamil political activist and now as a novelist. All these roles come into play in his novelette Vannathikulam. Naturally, it is not surprising to find a combination of a variety of experiences weaving their way delicately through the novelette, turning it into a rich tapestry. more..

Food crisis looms in the Wanni

May 27 (LNP) Fears of a humanitarian crisis including food shortages loomed large in the Wanni as Government and the LTTE traded charges against each other over re-opening of the only entry-exit points at Omanthai and Uyilankulam.The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is refusing to position its personnel at these points until security guarantees are obtained from both sides. more..

More alarm bells over telecom deal: Maxis eyeing even Govt. shares

May 27 (LNP) Malaysian firm Maxis is aiming for a bigger slice of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) to get substantial control of the telecommunications giant but overcoming a huge public outcry and Defence Ministry clearance are major roadblocks it is facing, industry analysts said. Public condemnation that almost led to a parliamentary debate this week on an allegedly corrupt deal that is shrouded in secrecy has also put the government into a defensive mode, they said. more..

CMC fate in the balance

May 27 (LNP) Colombo`s Mayor Uvais Mohamed Imthiyaz has submitted his reply to the charge-sheet served by Western Province Chief Minister Reginald Cooray. Chief Minister Cooray said the mayor`s explanation was being studied and a decision on the fate of the council would be taken soon. The Mayor handed over his reply just hours before the 14-day deadline expired on Friday, his chief coordinating officer Sham Nawaz said. more..

Potential gems in Lanka’s 90% land area

May 27 (SAMN) Sri Lanka is to become a regional hub in the world gem industry by establishing an exclusive economic zone for gem and jewellery in Ratnapura, offering attractive incentives to investors. This is according to geological opinion that 90% of land in Sri Lanka has gem bearing potential. The government is exploring opportunities to find new markets and studying the feasibility of promoting Free Trade agreements with countries like Singapore and Thailand, more..

Cinema industry in jeopardy

May 27 (SAMN) The cinema industry is faced with imminent collapse as most cinemas in the country are running at loss. Eighty seven Cinema halls have been closed for the past five years. National Cinema Hall Owners' Association President Nimal Kularathna said. Addressing a press briefing at the Samudradevi Hall, Rajagiriya, he said the unequal film distribution is the main cause for this. more..

Missing vehicles and expanding fuel bill

May 27 (SAMN) In the wake of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s administration targeting former Deputy Minister Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi over the misappropriation of a government vehicle, the ADB has queried the disappearance of two luxury Montero jeeps with the Environment Ministry. The ministry is in a dilemma following the ADB’s demand for an explanation as the two Monteros acquired with ADB funds are among 21 vehicles removed by politicians who ran the ministry. more..

Harry J before COPE

May 27 (SAMN) The Parliament Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) is to summon business tycoon Harry Jayewardena before it over the privatisation of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) while it is also to receive a much anticipated sub committee report which will recommend the annulment of the privatisation of Lanka Marine Services (LMS), reliable sources said. The Sub committee was appointed by COPE to further investigate the irregularities of the two deals. more..

CMC Mayor replies; I have done nothing wrong

May 27 (SO) Colombo Municipal Council Mayor, Uvais Mohamed Imithiyas had forwarded his reply to the Western Province Chief Minister Reginald Cooray last Friday. He told the Sunday Observer that he had done nothing wrong and therefore there was nothing to worry. The Mayor's reply comprised 15 pages with two attachments. He said the allegations against the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) were rejected by him. more..

Unusual heat, says Met Dept.

May 27 (SO) The Meteorology Department said the heat experienced at present was somewhat unusual compared to the previous years. A spokesman for the Meterological Department said the lack of wind and the rain were the main reasons for the heat. The highest temperature, 32 degrees Celsius was recorded last week in Colombo. The south west monsoon has also delayed this year,and that is another reason for the hot weather spells. more..

Tenth anniversary of Sinhala newspaper in the UK

May 27 (LD) A decade, in any lingo, is a long period of time in terms of publishing and distributing a newspaper. It becomes even more laborious when one takes on the responsibility of such a yeoman task on one's own shoulders single handed. To execute such an operation it not only demands absolute dedication, but involves a tremendous amount of monetary burden and risk factor as well, to ensure its smooth and uninterrupted operation. more..

Building of ‘high rises’ on hold

May 27 (NS) The government is to impose a temporary suspension on the construction of high rise buildings near security installations. The decision is expected to be announced shortly and thereafter security clearance would have to be taken before the construction work of high rise buildings commence. Government sources said that it is not the high rise buildings that cause security concerns but the construction period that takes a long time that causes security threats. more..

Never fear to negotiate

May 27 (NS) The proposals the SLFP submitted to the APRC as a means of resolving the ethnic issue were summarily rejected by the LTTE last week. That didn’t make headline news because it was only to be expected. The SLFP proposals envisaged the district as the unit of devolving power, a concept tried and tested during the tenure of late President J.R. Jayewardene in the eighties with not much success. more..

SLFP seniors unhappy

May 27 (NS) Has President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s popularity taken a beating over the past few months? This was the question that is being raised in political circles over the week. Some people try to give an answer in the affirmative while others think that his popularity in the rural areas remains intact. There is no doubt that the recent decision taken by the president to appoint his elder brother as Minister of Ports and Aviation is not popular with the masses. more..

‘IGP acted on own volition to prune CBK’s security’

May 27 (NS) Justice Minister Dilan Perera has expressed dismay over IGP Victor Perera’s interpretation of the recent Supreme Court ruling against the former President Chandrika Kumaratunga on her security. The Minister said he was shocked when the IGP gave orders to reduce the former head of state’s security to seven. He said it was preposterous for the chief of the law enforcement authority to interpret the law or the decision of the Supreme Court of this land according to his whims and fancies. more..

Rajapaksa Govt. on razor's edge

May 27 (ST) Trouble shooting seems never to end for President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is dogged by a plethora of issues after just 18 months in office. The Government's moves to acquire MiG-29 multi-role combat aircraft from Russia at a substantial cost (to be paid later) and the controversy over the proposed sale of Sri Lanka Telecom shares held by Japan's NTT to a Malaysian company - both exclusive disclosures by The Sunday Times were clearly uppermost. more..

Tale of two wars: Ground battle and media battle

May 27 (ST) The island of Delft (Nedun Theevu or Long Island), off the northern Jaffna peninsula, was known centuries ago under Portuguese rule as Cow Island. There were plenty of cattle there. Yet the mortality rate was high because they sometimes fed on the venomous herbs that grew wild. The Portuguese had a fort there. The ruins are still evident. During that period, they brought some horses into the island. more..

Mahinda Chintana – But where is the implementation?

May 27 (ST) Leading economists, donor agencies and civil society representatives called on the government to ‘implement’ the ambitious Mahinda Chintana framework and disseminate the true information relating to the status of the economy in the country, while addressing the macro economic issues in the country. They conceded that the strategies ‘look good on paper’, but the country has not seen implementation as effectively since the document was made public. more..

Customs forging ahead with Distilleries Co probe

May 27 (ST) Officials at the Customs Department say they are forging ahead with their investigation into alleged fraud by the Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka (DCSL) despite threats they have received in an effort to halt the probe. These officials lament the fact that they are not being provided with adequate security and that the Director General of the Customs. more..

Simply Serendip

May 27 (Hindu) THE first time a woman threw a bucket of water, I ducked, nearly missing the wiry youth who ran past our van to gratefully accept the shower. All along the roads in sleepy Habarana in north-central Sri Lanka, women waited with water to keep up the spirit of their men folk who celebrated the Sinhalese New Year by running marathons under the scorching sun. Even the menacing military guys at check posts smiled indulgently at the runners, who were followed by batches of youngsters on bikes. more..

Mass conversion to Buddhism today

May 27 (Hindu) After embracing Buddhism, along with a few thousand followers, on October 16, 1956 in Nagpur, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar wanted to hold a mass conversion on Mumbai's racecourse ground exactly two months later to induct a million people in the religion of peace and humanism. That could not happen as the champion of equality and abolition of casteism passed away just 10 days before that date. more..

Bodhgaya: The place where 'Waisak' has its roots

May 27 (JP) Ever since a 35-year-old Nepalese ascetic named Siddhartha Gautama sat down beneath a pipal tree over 2,500 years ago and vowed not to move till he had reached enlightenment, Bodhgaya has been sacred ground. Wander through the main streets of this small town in north-eastern India and the chant "Saranam Gachchhami, Buddham Saranam Gachchhami" ("I take refuge in the Buddha") echoes from cheap boomboxes and hidden speakers, more..

Sri Lanka: truly a land like no other

May 27 (DH) If your ideal holiday destination is about relaxing on sandy beaches, driving down misty mountains, a wildlife safari, just about visiting sacred shrines, or even better, a bit of everything then Ayu bowa (welcome) to Sri Lanka. The island nation has more to it than terror, you will see even as you embark on your journey from Bandaranayike Airport to Colombo. more..

Tamils rally for protection, against terror laws

May 27 (GL) “Australian Tamils demand protection not persecution” was the theme of a gathering of more than 500 members of the Tamil community outside the Victorian parliament on May 22. Participants at the 3.5-hour vigil carried placards of Tamil students, educators, politicians and priests who have been murdered or “disappeared” by the Sri Lankan army. more..

Sri Lankan FM hopes for successful Iran-US talks

May 27 (IRNA) Visiting Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama here Saturday expressed hope that Iran-US talks on Iraq security, slated for May 28, would be successful. Bogollagama attended a joint press conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. The Sri Lankan minister expressed his country's support for peaceful settlement of the dispute over Iran's nuclear program, and said that talks would be the only solution to the dispute. more..

Sri Lanka dispute over Abu Dhabi tour heats up

May 27 (AFP) Sri Lankan cricket's governing body hit back at the national team's chief selector, after his dismissal of last week's one-day series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi as "absolutely ridiculous." An official at Sri Lanka Cricket said they had sent two letters to Asantha de Mel, the chairman of selectors, expressing unhappiness over the way he has handled the team. more..

Caught in an air raid scare in Sri Lanka

May 27 (Reuters) We boarded on time shortly before 1 a.m. and a few minutes later the captain came on the PA system. Our four-hour flight from Colombo to Singapore would be delayed because of a "security issue", he said. As soon as the Sri Lankan military cleared us to get under way he would let us know. I texted a Colombo-based colleague about the delay, just to be safe, then switched off my mobile phone and started to doze off. more..

Sri Lankan military: 4 Tamil rebels killed in separate clashes

May 27 (AP) Sri Lankan troops killed four suspected Tamil Tiger rebels in separate clashes in the east and soldiers found 11 anti-tank mines buried in the country's north, the military said Sunday. Navy sailors killed three suspected separatist Tamil rebels during a ground operation in a jungle area north of the eastern port town of Trincomalee on Sunday, a Defense Ministry official said on condition of anonymity, citing policy. more..

Sri Lanka set for more bloodshed: analysts

May 27 (AFP) A new wave of air and naval combat is likely in Sri Lanka as government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels step up battles that have killed more than 5,000 people since peace talks collapsed, analysts say. Defence officials say the military is planning to buy MiG-29 supersonic jet fighters, Mi-24 helicopter gunships and bigger guns for navy fast attack craft to counter growing threats from the rebels at sea and in the air. more..