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Sri Lanka’s Muslims: Caught in the Crossfire

May 30 (ICG) Throughout much of the 25-year Sri Lankan conflict, attention has focused on the confrontation between the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamils. The views of the country’s Muslims, who are 8 per cent of the population and see themselves as a separate ethnic group, have largely been ignored. Understanding their role in the conflict and addressing their political aspirations are vital if there is to be a lasting peace settlement. more..

Sri Lankan ambassador sees excellent prospects for trade with Iran

May 30 (MNA) After a ceremony on Sunday in which Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama inaugurated the Sri Lanka-Iran Business Council at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Tehran, the Tehran Times conducted a brief interview with Sri Lankan Ambassador M. M. Zuhair. Following are excerpts of the interview: “I foresee excellent prospects for trade between Iran and Sri Lanka. Both countries have tremendous potential for expanding imports and exports of products. more..

Sri Lankan air force bombs northern Tamil rebel base; rebels say civilian killed

May 30 (AP) Sri Lankan air force jets pounded a Tamil rebel base in the north Tuesday, the Sri Lankan military said, a day after a roadside bomb triggered by suspected rebels near the capital killed eight people. Air force planes hit the base in Puthukudiyiruppu village in the rebel stronghold of Mullaithivu district, an official at the Defense Ministry media center said. more..

Water flows for tsunami survivors in southern Sri Lanka

May 30 (RW) Squatting atop a large concrete tank N. Kahawita peers down through an open hatch, checking the water levels in the darkness below. Nearby Upul Baduge is opening a valve that releases water from the holding tank into a purification system. From here the water is pumped 50 feet vertically into a concrete water tower perched on a hilltop that dominates the surrounding landscape. more..

Sri Lanka seeks urgent arms supplies from India

May 30 (PTI) The arms shopping list includes low level transportable radars and quick reaction ground to air missiles to contain the threat posed by Tigers. Facing fresh attacks from Tamil Tigers like aerial strikes, Sri Lanka today asked India for "urgent weapons supplies" saying if there was no response from New Delhi, it might have to turn to other countries for help. more..

Sri Lanka aid donors get security guarantees for workers

May 30 (AFP) Key Sri Lankan aid donors Tuesday announced the government had offered security guarantees for their workers who have been accused by state media and ministers of supporting Tamil Tiger rebels. The 10-point "guiding principles" for security followed talks with the government after the killing of 17 workers from a French aid organisation in August. more..

'Ram Sethu' being raked up to stall SSCP project: Centre

May 30 (PTI) Dismissing the theory of 'Ram Sethu' as "mythology and not scientifically-supported" with any concrete evidence, the Centre today told the Madras High Court that it was only the Adams Bridge that was being called so for the purpose of challenging the Rs 2,400 crore Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project (SSCP). In a counter affidavit to a petition filed by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy against the project, more..

Sri Lanka: Balance Of Terror

May 30 (CC) It does not take much long to realise that, the undeclared war in Sri Lanka has gone pear shaped. The economy is in deep trouble. The declared intention of beating the LTTE militarily has also all gone awry. Only the flourish of rhetoric remains alive and well. The talk of ‘surgical strikes on the Terrorists’ in order to open up negotiations is a badly advised imported idea for Sri Lanka. more..

Muslim leaders complain to embassies of abductions

May 30 (ML) Leading members of the Muslim community have made representations to several diplomatic missions in Colombo on the abduction of businessmen from the community for ransom. Reports of the abduction of Muslim businessmen follow the spate of Tamil businessmen who were abducted for ransom. The Morning Leader learns leading members of the Muslim community have made representations to several diplomatic missions more..

JHU wants Buddhism to be State Religion

May 30 (ML) The JHU in their proposals to the APRC has stated that Buddhism should be upgraded from foremost place to "State Religion." However JHU party members have stressed the need to continue with the executive presidential system with amendments. The JHU’S proposals were submitted to the APRC and the US Embassy, British High Commission, Russian Embassy, Indian High Commission, Chinese Embassy, Japanese Embassy, Thai Embassy, Canadian High Commission and the Australian High Commission yesterday. more..

School unions come out against reforms

May 30 (ML) Several School Unions have opposed the proposed admission policy for National Schools. A letter to the National Education Commission (NEC) dated May 14 and signed by 13 heads of Past Pupils’ Associations of National Schools around the island stated that they oppose the proposed admission policy for several reasons. Among the causes cited in the letter were the great demand for some National Schools over others, more..

Gallon of petrol to hit Rs. 508 in June

May 30 (ML) Market factors are set to force petrol prices above the dreaded threshold of Rs. 500 per gallon, with the price of diesel too climbing by 9% to Rs. 328 and 50 cents. A gallon of petrol will cost Rs. 508.50 following the increase. Both the LIOC and CPC have confirmed imminent rises in the prices of both petrol and diesel. more..

sri lanka: A tide of lawlessness

May 30 (MM) 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. The government is pressing for a military victory over the Tigers, and a series of tit-for-tat clashes have left heavy casualties on both sides -- as well as discrepancies over the true body count. more..

Cuba-Sri Lanka Boost Cultural Relations

May 30 (ACN) Sri Lanka's Minister of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, and Cuban Vice Minister of Culture Vivian Velunza held a meeting on Monday aimed at strengthening cultural relations between the two nations. Abeywardena said that a cooperation agreement to be inked on Wednesday aims to expand cultural exchange between Cuba and Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka among 26 countries at high-powered Asian security summit

May 30 (AT) Sri Lanka is due to participate at the major Asian security summit starting in Singapore on Thursday at which the progress made in counter terrorism activities will be an important subject. This is the first time Sri Lanka participates at this summit which began in 2002. The presence of official delegations from several southeast countries which have reportedly been used by the LTTE as bases or transshipment points for the smuggling of weapons and narcotics will make this summit of particular significance to Colombo. more..

Govt is to grant compensation for Rathmalana Bomb victims

May 30 (AT) Compensation will be granted for those who were killed and injured in the bomb explosion occurred in Ratmalana. Deputy Director of the rehabilitation authority affiliated to the Ministry of resettlement Ananda Wijepala says a maximum of one hundred thousand rupees will be provided on behalf of a dead person while it is a maximum of 50,000 for a person injured in the incident. more..

Sri Lanka donors to follow new aid code

May 30 (Hindu) The main donors to Sri Lanka have signed on a set of 10 "Guiding Principles for Humanitarian and Development Assistance in Sri Lanka" with a view to "impartially provide humanitarian and development help to citizens in need, not to fuel conflict or terrorism". Mahinda Samarasinghe, Sri Lanka Minister for Disaster Management and Human Rights was present along with representatives of the donor countries here on Tuesday to mark the public launch of the Guiding Principles. more..

A fine JVP initiative

May 30 (Hindu) The readiness shown by the Sri Lanka government to amend the Grant of Citizenship to Persons of Indian Origin Act, 2003 to enable an estimated 28,500 `Ceylon Tamil refugees' living in various camps across Tamil Nadu to get Sri Lankan citizenship is commendable. These poorest of the poor among the refugees, who fled the north-east of the island in 1990 on account of the ethnic conflict, could not become Sri Lankan citizens because of an anomaly in the Citizenship Act as amended in 2003. more..

Lanka pleads, Delhi ponders- Wanted: Aid to counter LTTE

May 30 (TT) The Sri Lankan government has gone beyond seeking arms assistance in its conflict with the LTTE and is asking for more pro-active help from a reluctant India. Sri Lanka’s defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse who is now in Delhi, wants Indian intelligence inputs and logistics deployment in “sea denial” — or naval blockade — tactics to deter the Sea Tigers, the LTTE’s naval wing, since a May 25 attack on the island of Delft near Jaffna. more..

A lesson to emulate from Singapore

May 30 (TW) Mr.Ranjith Gunaratne an officer of the Sri Lanka Overseas Foreign Service has translated the The Singapore Story by Senior Minister of Singapore Mr.Lee Kwan Yu as Singappuru Kathawa. Both Mr.Lee Kwan Yu and His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka have given messages which are published in the book. They are both worth reading and is of immense contemporary relevance. more..

Sri Lanka's worsening war fans ethnic Tamils' fears

May 30 (Reuters) Placing a green coconut by a burning brass oil lamp on a desk doubling as a makeshift Hindu altar, the woman talked about the future with hope and fear. "We're planning to get married," said the smiling 29-year-old with coffee brown skin, a vermilion dot on her forehead and her husband-to-be by her side. "But we are, together, planning to go to another country first ... Can you help?" more..

Sri Lanka changes exchange rate index base

May 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka has changed the base year of two indexes that track the performance of the rupee against the country's trading partners to reflect the changing structure of trade in recent years, the Central Bank said. The bank said it was shifting the base year for the Nominal Effective Exchange Rate (NEER) and Real Effective Exchange Rate (REER) from 1999 to 2006. more..

Sri Lanka to clear tax kinks to promote securitization, boost investor protection

May 30 (LBO) Sri Lankan companies that securitize leases will get to retain capital allowances and be exempt from stamp duty under a new law being drafted by capital markets regulators, officials said Monday. Asset-securitization would help reduce the cost of capital and give investors alternative forms of investment, they told a seminar on future prospects and challenges for securitization in Sri Lanka. more..

Lanka seeks India's help

May 30 (TOI) Sri Lanka has sought more military equipment and assistance from India to tackle the "escalating" LTTE threat in the island nation, as also "more effective" coordinated naval patrolling along the IMBL in Palk Bay. Sources said visiting Sri Lankan defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse listed out his country's "urgent military requirements" during meetings with national security advisor M K Narayanan, Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta and Army chief General J J Singh, more..

Foreign aid & `national prestige'

May 30 (CC) One fails to understand, why countries in the Third world depend so much on the aid from the advanced nations in the West and elsewhere for their sustenance, especially from the USA, UK, Japan and Germany. It is funny that the developing countries, in the name of advancing their so-called national interest, silently digest insult meted out to them by the rich nations while their loyal media keep mum about that altogether. more..

Madhu Peace Zone mooted

May 30 (LeN) The possibility of setting up a peace zone comprising the Madhu Church precincts and the surrounding areas was discussed when President Mahinda Rajapaksa met with the Archbishop of Colombo Rt. Revd. Oswald Gomis, the Bishop of Mannar Rt. Revd. Rayappu Joseph and the Bishop of Chilaw Rt. Revd. Valence Mendis at Temple Trees yesterday morning (29). more..

Sri Lanka inflation spikes in May, but moderating trend still seen

May 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka's inflation spiked in May by a massive 3 percentage points, reversing a three month trend of falling prices, but the 12-month un-adjusted inflation continued to move down. In April the Colombo Consumer Price Index rose by 151 index points, with food prices rising by 141 points to 5,176 point, but the index number is still lower than the January peak of 5,184, the government's statistics office said. more..

Sri Lanka travel ban only to the north and east: UK

May 30 (LBO) Britain is advising its citizens not to travel to the north and east of Sri Lanka, but they are free to visit other parts of the country, the UK High Commission (embassy) in Colombo said. "Some recent newspaper reports may have left readers thinking the UK does not want British nationals to travel to Sri Lanka," British High Commission said in a statement quoting a spokesperson. more..

'Government’s Disaster Management programme is well structured'

May 30 (GDI) “The Government has spent Rs.50 million on disaster mitigation and disaster prevention programmes,” said Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe. Minister elucidated these details to the media stating that the Government has spent Rs.13.5 million to clean the Thimpanna Paspenna canal, Rs.2 million to clean the Kohuwala canal, Rs.1 million to renovate Mutuwela canal and Rs.10 million to clean the Welanwila canal. more..

Publication Bureau tuned to meet new demand

May 30 (GDI) The new-look Government Publications Bureau was opened this morning by Minister of Information and Mass Media Anura Priyadhrshana Yapa. The new office with a state of art computer system to locate any of the thousands of publications within seconds is located at Maya Avenue, Colombo 6. Minister Yapa said that with the facilities available at the new location, the Publications Bureau will be able to cater to the growing demands for government publications. more..

Govt will never abandon rural development - President

May 30 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa reiterated that despite the recent gruesome LTTE bombings and the resulting carnage, the Government will never reverse its planned development projects in the villages in pursuit of a developed and prosperous village. The President said that when the LTTE is defeated in the North and the East and is made to bend down on their knees there, the LTTE in sheer frustration is striving hard to incite and instigate the civilian polity and antagonise them. more..

Omanthai entry/exit point to be reopened

May 30 (GDI) Omanthai entry/exit point will be reopened for the civilian movement today after being closed for almost two weeks. Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe addressing a news conference held at the European Commission Delegation office yesterday said he decision was taken after ICRC officials discussed with the defence ministry. more..

Int’l community should warn LTTE - TULF

May 30 (GDI) The Tamil United Liberation Front very strongly condemns the LTTE for the ruthless manner in which they took the lives of 7 innocent civilians and caused injuries to 37 others of whom how many have lost their limbs and eyesights are not known. This is not the first time they have done this. Everyone knows the motive the LTTE has for doing this. more..

Prsident discusses Madu peace zone proposal

May 30 (GDI) The President Mahinda Rajapaksa met with the Rt. Reverences to discuss the possibility of setting up a peace zone comprising the Madhu Church precincts and the surrounding areas at TempleTree’s this morning (29). Archbishop of Colombo Rt. Revd. Oswald Gomis, the Bishop of Mannar Rt. Revd. Rayappu Joseph and the Bishop of Chilaw Rt. Revd. Valence Mendis participated at the occation. more..

Kruna group imitating Prabhakaran in abducting, detaining, and killing Tamil dissidents

May 30 (AT) Nearly 80 pro-Pillaiyan cadres are held incommunicado in deplorable condition in camps run by Karuna supporters. Also 27 women, who are mostly mothers and wives of Pillaiyan supporters are detained illegally and held by Karuna's cadres. These detained women are wives and mothers of those Pillaiyan supporters who have left Amparai Batticaloa and joined Pillaiyan group in the Trincomalee district. more..

Tigers eyeing two birds

May 30 (ANN) The Tigers are obviously at their tether’s end. The war is not moving in the direction they want. The loss of the strategic Eastern Province and the proposition of further escalation of violence with the possibility of the army marching on their heartland have naturally given them jitters. They may still have their strike capability as manifest in their recent foray into the Navy camp on the Delft Island but the protraction of the war has come to aggravate their woes as regards recruitment, rearming and international opinion. more..

Jaffna forces experience transport chaos

May 30 (LNP) In the absence of an efficient system to move off-duty security forces and police personnel to and from the Jaffna peninsula, officers and men are undergoing tremendous hardships. About 1,600 personnel were stranded at the strategic Palaly air base last Thursday (24). Some of them are believed to have been languishing there for several days. The SLAF had operated only two flights to Palaly on Tuesday (22). more..

Anti LTTE protest campaign in London

May 30 (LNP) Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim expatriates living in London are planning to hold a major protest campaign urging the Government of United Kingdom not to lift the ban imposed on LTTE in United Kingdom. The protest campaign is scheduled to be held in front of the Parliament building in London on the 8th of June. more..

Two sued for counterfeit perfume

May 30 (LNP) `Kenzo`, an international perfume company, has sued two businessmen for importing counterfeit Kenzo perfumes into Sri Lanka. The Customs Department detected and detained the cargo. Kenzo, is a famous brand with having many outlets worldwide. Two businessmen, Abdul Hassen Abdul Hakeem and Fathima Askia Mohamed Asker, who were carrying on business under the name of Blue Sky Enterprises at Keyzer Street, Colombo 11, were alleged to have imported the illegal cargo. more..

Yahoo Photos

May 30 (Reuters) An internally-displaced ethnic Tamil boy holds a toy weapon in front of a UNICEF signboard at a refugee camp in Batticaloa May 29, 2007. The government plans to resettle more than 100,000 people displaced in Batticaloa after driving the Tamil Tigers from their eastern stronghold in recent months. more..

Crime wave sweeping the country: JHU

May 30 (SAMN) The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) Tuesday charged that there was a crime wave sweeping the country and there was a need for a dictator to restore democracy. The Leader of the JHU, Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thero speaking to the media said that the root cause for the increase in the crime wave was the irrelevant arguments put forward under the guise of human rights. more..

SSP seeks refuge in Police Hospital

May 30 (SAMN) Senior Superintendent of Police K. Udayapala, wanted in connection with the killings of Morris Wickremasinghe and his brother Noel, has sought refuge in the Police Hospital. SSP Udayapala was named by Colombo Magistrate Manjula Tillekeratne, during the Magisterial inquiry, on March 22, 2007 into the killing of Nawala Nihal’s brother Maurice Wickremasinghe. more..

Stocks end flat as attack near capital weighs

May 30 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares ended a shade firmer on Wednesday, halting a six day losing streak, but investors remained cautious after suspected Tamil Tiger rebels killed eight people and injured 35 with a roadside bomb near the capital earlier in the week. The Colombo All Share index closed 0.08 percent firmer at 2,508.30 points, a rise of 1.98 points. The index is down around 7.8 percent so far this year after falling sharply this month before recovering. more..

Water levels in major reservoirs low

May 30 (SAMN) The Irrigation Department is currently recording low levels of water at many of the major reservoirs around the country. These low levels of water are forcing many area farmers to use the smaller anicuts for their cultivation or switch from paddy or their usual cultivation to field crops which require less amounts of water. more..

No vaccine: 700,000 children affected

May 30 (SAMN) About 700.000 children in 18 districts are facing the possibility of not getting their third dose of Anti Japanese Encephalitis vaccine on time due to the unavailability of the supplies. Children in the districts except Kandy, Kegalle, Badulla, Kilinochchi, Mullathivu and Mannar are given the vaccine up to the age of seven years in three stages to immunize them against Japanese Encephalitis. more..

Lankan nominated for energy award

May 30 (DN) Executive Director, of Integrated Development Association (IDEA), Kandy R.M. Amerasekera has been nominated for the World Clean Energy Awards 2007 in the trade and services sector. His name, among the 70 nominees from 20 countries was announced in New York by former UNEP Director General Professor Ernst Ulrich von Weizscker President of the jury for the World Clean Energy Awards. more..

Lankan youth invents advanced artificial leg

May 30 (DN) A Sri Lankan youth Aruna Sajeewa Samarawickrama has invented a flexible artificial leg. The product has been named ‘New Plex’. The artificial leg has also received the silver medal at the 35th New Inventors Competition in Geneva. “After examining the other artificial limb products carefully, I identified the shortcomings and overcame those faults,” Samarawickrama said. more..

Estate Tamils seek 16 seats

May 30 (DM) The Upcountry People’s Front (UPF) has asked for 16 parliamentary seats for Tamils of Indian origin under the proposed electoral reforms along with ten constituencies re-demarcated to strengthen the community’s representation. The UPF, a party of the governing coalition, discussed its proposals with other political parties representing the upcountry Tamils at the Indian community council meeting held on Monday. more..

Deities protect country full of corruption: Ranil

May 30 (DM) Opposition leader, Ranil Wickremasinghe said on Monday at Kalutara that the four members of the Rajapaksa family who rule the country today in spite of having a Jumbo Cabinet are similar to the four guardian deities who protect the country although there are three hundred and thirty million deities. He made this statement at a rally and ceremony held for handing over the appointment letter to the new UNP organizer of Kalutara, Lakshman Ananda Wijemanne. more..

Opposition leader tries to force an agenda

May 30 (IFJ) The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has criticised comments from opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe which argued that Sri Lankan editors should be summoned before Parliament and questioned under the Parliamentary Privileges Act. Wickramasinghe’s comments were part of a larger statement censuring newspapers for not printing remarks from Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle on a Supreme Court decision limiting the security provided to former president Chandrika Kumaratunaga. more..