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Japan funded Kudawella Jayawickrama School commissioned

May 8 (RW) The new Kudawella Jayawickrama School in Hambantota district was constructed with Japanese funds and a felicitation ceremony organized by the Ministry of Education and the students of the school in appreciation of the Japanese Government was held on 7th May 2007. The Government of Japan provided approximately Rs. 75 million for the construction of this school. more..

Japan funded reconstruction of tangalle fisheries harbour completed

May 8 (RW) Tangalle Fishery Harbour, which was damaged by the Tsunami in 2004, was reconstructed with Japanese assistance. The official opening ceremony of the newly constructed Fishery Harbour took place on 6th May, 2007. Hon. Felix Perera, Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and Mr. Nobuaki Ito, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Japan were present at the ceremony. more..

Drugs to Lanka from 3 northern states: IG

May 8 (UNI) Sri Lanka continues to be a major destination of drug trafficking in this region though it was doubtful as to whether the island nation was the sole consumer, according to Inspector General of Police (Anti-Video Piracy Cell) G Ramanathan. Talking to a group of reporters here today, he said Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan were the states supplying the bulk of the illegal consignments. more..

Sri Lanka rubbishes British aid freeze

May 8 (PTI) Sri Lanka today rubbished Britain's suspension of debt relief saying the amount was "too insignificant to be bothered about". "How much of aid are we talking about. Three million dollars," Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said here. "It is insignificant for us to bother (about). Let us look at in the context of total aid portfolio." However, he said it was wrong for London to hold the USD three million debt relief it had promised following the 2004 tsunami. more..

Colombo lifts curbs on diplomats' visits

May 8 (Hindu) U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher will call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa here on Tuesday for consultations on the volatile security situation. The visit assumes significance in the wake of the three aerial raids by the Tamil Tigers since March 26 and the Government's call to the international community for help in meeting the challenge. more..

Pakistani Firms Urged to Set up Industries in Sri Lanka

May 8 (AP) Consul General of Sri Lanka, V.S. Sidath Kumar has advised the business community to set up industrial units based on Pakistan raw materials in Sri Lanka for value addition and re-export to European countries. Addressing members of Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI) on Thursday, he said that Sri Lanka has an agreement with European Union (EU) under which Sri Lanka is allowed to export 720 items duty free to EU countries. more..

Sri Lanka rupee at new low, stocks fall on war fears

May 8 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee fell to a new life low on Monday and shares ended weaker as concerned investors looked for signs of whether a new chapter in the island's civil war will deepen or ease, dealers said. The rupee closed at a new all-time low of 110.95/111.00 per dollar, compared to Friday's close of 110.80/110.83 -- which was in turn the latest in a string of new life lows. more..

Sri Lanka restricts flights after rebel raids

May 8 (AFP) Sri Lanka has restricted domestic flights and banned amphibious aircraft from using irrigation reservoirs following Tamil Tiger air attacks, officials said Monday. The military banned Sri Lanka's national carrier, Sri Lankan Airlines, from operating a lucrative domestic service of Single Otter aircraft using reservoirs for take-off and landing, a defence ministry official said. more..

Sri Lanka's micro finance sector gets boost from global giant

May 8 (LBO) A local bank and an international micro-finance specialist have tied up with the world's largest bank to widen banking access to local micro enterprises, officials said Monday. Citigroup Foundation with the Foundation for Development Co-operation (FDC) and Banking with a Poor Network (BWTP) is helping micro-finance organizations build links with companies and government organizations and large financial institutions. more..

Sri Lanka hots up for 'Chillies' awards

May 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's advertising fraternity is kicking off a weeklong fest in the run up to the Sri Lanka Advertising Awards, the Chillies 2007, its organizers said. To be held on May 12 at the Sri Lanka Exhibition & Convention Center, the event brings together the advertising industry. Around this year's awards would be built a series of seminars and interactive workshops to develop news ideas and concepts spiced with opportunities for relaxation, more..

Political astuteness is Rajapakse’s legacy in Lanka

May 8 (KT) WE PRIDE ourselves on our democratic tradition. Ours is Asia’s longest surviving democracy. Just three years after Britain introduced universal suffrage, Sri Lankans in 1931 exercised this democratic right. Universal suffrage does not mean merely that all adults have the right to vote. It also means that race, religion, ethnicity, class or gender basis does not stand as a barrier for any one to participate in a democratic government. The only barriers, perhaps, are age and citizenship. more..

SEP holds May Day meeting in Colombo

May 8 (wsws) The Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka) held its May Day rally in Colombo on May 1 to mark the international workers day. About 200 people attended, including, workers, students and youth from Colombo, and surrounding suburbs as well as from Chilaw in northwestern province, Ambalangoda in southern province, Kandy in central province and Hatton and Bandarawela in the island’s central plantation districts. more..

Mervyn Silva a threat to media freedom - FMM

May 8 (ISL) The Free Media Movement (FMM) charged that Labour Minister Mervyn Silva’s recent threat to stop the distribution of Divaina and The Island newspapers in his newly appointed constituency Kelaniya is a clear threat to the independent media. Divaina and The Island newspapers last week reported the story of an alleged extortion racket masterminded by an underworld gang backed by a ‘deputy minister,’ which has irked Silva and more..

Sri Lanka to probe past finance company bailouts by monetary authorities

May 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka has appointed a special presidential commission to probe finance companies that went bust in the 1990s, after the country's top whistle-blower found fault with monetary authorities for not recovering large amounts due to the state. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has picked justice Priyantha Perera to head the commission which also includes lawyer Faisz Mustapha, banker Eastman Narangoda and the head of the accounting watchdog Ajith Ratnayake. more..

Sri Lankan stock market sinks to yearly low, war jitters spark sell-off

May 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stock market fell to its lowest level this year Tuesday as small investors sold shares owing to fears that intensified fighting could effect economic and corporate growth, brokers said. The Colombo Stock Exchange benchmark All Share Price Index (ASPI) plunged 56.10 points (2.04 percent) to 2,697.22 points in early morning trade, its lowest point this year. more..

Sri Lanka anti-inflation fight mired in excess liquidity

May 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's fight against inflation has received a set-back with monetary authorities unable to sterilize excess liquidity in the banking system which is now reaching towards one percent of the gross domestic product. Excess liquidity in the banking system reached 22 billion rupees, reminiscent of the 'bad old days' of 2004 and 2006 when the authorities fuelled very high inflation and a balance of payments crisis. more..

Sri Lanka Central Bank says coins a plenty

May 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank says there is no 'shortage' of coins in the country, and a campaign to bring back coins into circulation has been mis-understood by the public. Authorities started a campaign to persuade children to break their piggy banks and exchange coins for notes and a 20 percent bonus in school books and pens. more..

Open warfare between Karuna and his deputy Pillaiyan

May 8 (AT) The Karuna Group in the east which broke away from the Vanni-led LTTE has split into two groups, according to sources in Colombo. The deputy leader Pillaiyan of the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal military wing, has broken away from his leader, Murlitharan alias Colonel Karuna. Sources revealed that the falling out has occurred over issues of "money and the command structure". more..

US State Department’s Richard Boucher in Sri Lanka to talk on unit of devolution, human rights and IDPs

May 8 (AT) Richard Boucher, Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs in the United States Department of State undertakes his third visit to Sri Lanka May 8 through 10. According to the American Embassy press release, “he will discuss the peace process, humanitarian issues, and human rights with President Rajapaksa, government ministers, senior military officials, and civil society leaders in Colombo and Jaffna.” more..

FM expresses Govt’s concern on LTTE abduction and detention of UN members

May 8 (GDI) Government’s concern over the LTTE’s abduction and detention of two United Nation’s (UN) staff members was conveyed by the Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama to the acting UN resident coordinator Jeff Taft Dick yesterday (07). Mr. Jeff Taft Dick, Representative and Country Director of the World Food Programme in Sri Lanka and Acting UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. more..

Diplomats given green light to visit East

May 8 (GDI) The Diplomatic community will further need not seek prior approvals from the Government for visits in the Eastern part of the island, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said, preceding his briefing with the Colombo based diplomats yesterday. According to Minister Bogollagama from now onwards the diplomatic community has been given the green light to visit the East at any given time without obtaining permission from the Foreign Ministry as was earlier required. more..

President salute war heroes

May 8 (GDI) Declaring the month of remembrance in tribute of the war heroes on 07 May President Mahinda Rajapaksa points out that the war heroes are fighting not to invade another country but strictly to safeguard the sovereignty and the integrity of the motherland. A period of one month from 07 May Until 07 June is declared as the Ranaviru (War Heroes’) month to honour those salient soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the cause of protecting the country. more..

No post-flood disease outbreaks

May 8 (GDI) Although there are no reports on any outbreaks of diseases after floods, the Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry has made all arrangements to prevent any possible outbreaks. This programme is being implemented on a directive by Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, a ministry spokesman said. He said that there are no reports about water borne diseases or any other disease outbreak following the floods but more..

Air defences expansion on track

May 8 (GDI) Adequate steps have already been taken to increase the air defence network to face any impending air attack by the LTTE, Government Defence Affairs Spokesman Minister Rambukwella said. "The Government is confident that the process is moving fast to meet the challenge," Rambukwella said. The Minister said the Security Forces now depend on a "spot defence" system. "Interception and neutralisation will come in due course." more..

No need to worry about British House debate - FM

May 8 (LNP) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama yesterday told local mediamen there was no need to react to what was said and heard in the British Parliament. `What is debated in British House of Commons is not the opinion or the standpoint of the British Government,` Bogollagama said. Asked whether there was any truth in rumours that LTTE`s S. P. Thamilselvan would be given an opportunity to address the British House of Commons, Bogollagama said that he did not believe that the British High Commission in Colombo would give a visa to a terrorist to enter the UK. more..

People can`t even say paan

May 8 (LNP) Either bakery owners or the Consumer Affairs Authority worthies or we the public must go back to school! We seem to have a serious numeracy problem. Wheat flour price has been jacked up by Rs. 3.50 per kilo again and the bakery owners have increased the price of a 450-gram loaf of bread by two rupees. That is two loaves weighing 900 grams fetch four rupees?fifty cents more than the price increase per kilo! So, in real terms, the paan eating public will see flour price has gone up by over four rupees per kilo! more..

Govt. seeks review of ceasefire deal

May 8 (LNP) The government is seeking to review the ceasefire agreement and hopes the Norwegian facilitators will take the initiative to convince the LTTE to agree to a review in the light of continuing violations of the 2002 agreement by both sides, a spokesman said yesterday.Addressing a news conference government defense spokesman Keheliya Rambukwelle said the government was prepared to review the ceasefire agreement and that it was up to Norway to take the initiative. more..

Govt. summons, censures UN Cbo Chief

May 8 (SAMN) Representative and Country Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) and Acting UN Resident and Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Sri Lanka Jeff Taft Dick came under heavy censure from the Foreign Ministry Monday over his office’s failure to bring to the government’s notice the abduction and detention of two UN staff members by the LTTE until April 27. more..

Eastern resettlement before June end

May 8 (SAMN) Steps are being taken to resettle the displaced people in the East by the end of June with the completion of de-mining and the establishment of Police stations and other infrastructure, Military Spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said Monday. He said the Police Special Task Force is establishing camps in the west of Batticaloa and the South of Chenkaladi - Maha Oya road to facilitate the resettlement of people, more..

University non academics call off strike

May 8 (SAMN) University non academics called off their week long strike yesterday. President of the Inter University Trade Union Joint Committee Lionel Malwattage said Monday. The IUTUJC which consists of 23 trade unions of the university sector with a membership of over 12,000 launched an islandwide strike from April 24 demanding rectification of salary anomalies and payments of salary arrears from 1997 paralysing the university system. more..

Defence team visits Wanni and Ampara

May 8 (SAMN) A top defence delegation led by Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Air Chief Marshal Donald Perera made a fact finding mission in Wanni and Ampara areas on Sunday in the aftermath of a series of terrorist attacks that occurred in the past few weeks. Army Headquarters said that the CDS accompanied by Army Commander Sarath Fonseka several Senior Army Officers and DIG Ampara first reached the Mahaoya Special Task Force (STF) camp where more..

Colombo floods: Were the trunk channels at fault ?

May 8 (DN) The condition of the main drain channel network of the Colombo City is adequate to drain the unexpected storm rainwater to the sea or reservation areas but the weak trunk channel system of the city is at fault, Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (LR&DC) General Manager Gemunu Alawaththegama told "Daily News" yesterday. more..

Govt to import wheat flour

May 8 (DN) The Government has decided to import wheat flour with immediate effect to provide relief to consumers. This is in response to the increased flour prices by Prima Ltd without prior approval from the Government. "We expect to import 15,000 mt of wheat flour monthly through Sathosa and it will reduce the prices in the open market," Trade, Marketing Development, Co-operatives and Consumer Services Minister Bandula Gunawardana told the media yesterday. more..

Private bus operators demand 20% hike

May 8 (DM) The private bus owners yesterday unanimously decided to demand an unprecedented 20% bus fare hike and wanted a response from the government by May 15. At a meeting held with transport authorities recently Lanka Private Bus Owners Association President Gamunu Wijeratne said that given the increased costs of fuel and spare parts the LPBOA would not agree for anything lower than a 20% bus fare hike. more..

Official lethargy, ignorance worse than floods

May 8 (DM) Flood victims who are still languishing in camps in the city were critical of government agencies and the Disaster Management Ministry or Centre, claiming that hardly any assistance was provided by them. Many of them even did not know that such establishments even existed at all. Most of the flood displaced sheltered at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Kettarama was from Applewatte, a cluster of densely populated slums in Maradana. more..

Rama Sethu: Historic facts vs political fiction - II

May 8 (NT) I would assert my proud and unshakable constitutional right to be a Political Hindu, a Social Hindu, a Cultural Hindu, an Economic Hindu, a Religious Hindu and above all a Spiritual Hindu and declare from the house top that for more than 800 millions of Hindus in India and millions of Hindus outside India throughout the world the RAMA SETHU BRIDGE is as holy and as sacred as the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem to the Jews, the Vatican in Rome to the Roman Catholics, the Bodh Gaya in Bihar to the Buddhists and more..

Shell raises gas prices in Lanka after LTTE attack

May 8 (PTI) Anglo-Dutch gas firm Shell has raised its retail prices in Sri Lanka by four per cent following an air attack by rebel Tamil Tigers on their storage facility, officials said. After the increase in prices, which will be effective from May 26, a 13-kg cylinder of Liquefied Petroleum Gas will cost Rs 998, up from Rs 960 at present. The storage facility of Shell was hit by a Tamil Tiger air attack on April 28. more..

Flash Floods - An Ominous Sign

May 8 (IPS) As Tamil militant planes flew sorties over the national capital last week, the attention of political leaders were diverted from a worse disaster unfolding on the ground -- flash floods, attributed by scientists, to climate change. No discussions followed either by the government or the otherwise active non-governmental sector on the dangers of global warming, although a United Nations panel had, in the same week, warned of the dangers posed by rising temperatures and sea levels. more..

Accused terror pair 'bought equipment'

May 8 (AAP) TWO men accused of raising money for a Sri Lankan terror campaign bought equipment that could be used in suicide attacks with money meant for tsunami aid, a court was told today. Melbourne men Aruran Vinayagamoorthy, 32, of Mt Waverley, and Sivarajah Yathavan, 36, of Vermont South, each face charges of being members of a terrorist organisation, providing support or resources to a terrorist organisation and making funds available to a terrorist organisation. more..

The LTTE resorts to air raids as a desperate step and the low-intensity war in Sri Lanka escalates

May 8 (FL) ON the night of May 3, after several hours of agonising over the April 29 aerial raid by the LTTE on two fuel depots - one of them partly owned by the Indian Oil Corporation - that feed the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF), the political and military managers of the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa decided to shut down the country's only international airport for night operations. more..

Both the Govt and the LTTE look at peace broker Norway with growing suspicion

May 8 (FL) A RECONSTRUCTED school building on the outskirts of the Trincomalee town was holding its inaugural function on that sunny day, April 24. The tsunami-hit school had been rebuilt at a cost of 46 million rupees by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), with the assistance of the Government of Norway, the facilitator of the `peace process' between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE. more..

The ammunition seizures and the murder and kidnap of fishermen bring back bad memories of the LTTE's pre-1991 presence in Tamil Nadu

May 8 (FL) THE recent developments relating to the LTTE have raised serious security concerns on both sides of Palk Straits - in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan ethnic issue has always cast a shadow in Tamil Nadu. The people of this southern State have not forgotten the violence let loose by the LTTE between 1989 and 1991. more..

Bollywood plans film on Rajiv Gandhi's assassination

May 8 (Reuters) The investigation into the 1991 assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is the subject of a Bollywood thriller which promises to reveal new facts about the suicide attack, a report said on Tuesday. Gandhi was killed by a suicide bomber while he was on his way to address an election meeting near Chennai. more..

Australia officials laugh off Sri Lanka complaint

May 8 (Reuters) Australian cricket officials have dismissed suggestions from a top Sri Lankan official that Adam Gilchrist breached the sport's ethics by batting with a squash ball in his glove during last month's World Cup final. Gilchrist destroyed Sri Lanka's bowlers with a masterful 149 off 104 balls in the Barbados final to put Australia on course for a fourth World Cup title. more..

British mediation bid runs into stormy weather

May 8 (HT) Britain's bid to mediate between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE has run into stormy weather. There are enough indications that the Rajapaksa government will eventually bow to nationalist pressure and keep the British at bay in a diplomatic way. As the Sri Lanka Patriotic Front led by the Buddhist monk Elle Gunawanse demonstrated in front of the British High Commission in Colombo on Tuesday, the JVP leader Wimal Weerawansa made a thundering speech in parliament asking more..

Karuna-Pillaiyan Factions of TMVP Clash in East

May 8 (TW) Interenecine clashes among and within Tamil armed groups is not a new development. The latest group to be afflicted in this respect is the Tamil Makkal Viduthalaip Puligal (TMVP). Bitter rivalry has ensued between the TMVP’s “national leader” Karuna Amman and its ” supreme military commander” Pillaiyaan. TMVP factions aligned to the leader and commander have clashed in the East. more..

US raises concern at Sri Lanka rights abuses

May 8 (AFP) The United States is to raise concerns about human rights in Sri Lanka during a state visit that follows international concern over extra-judicial killings, diplomats said Tuesday. US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher, who was due to arrive later Tuesday, will hold talks with President Mahinda Rajapakse, addressing the island's situation, the US embassy said. more..

U.S. to tell Sri Lanka: rein in paramilitaries

May 8 (Reuters) A top U.S. State Department official begins a visit to war-torn Sri Lanka on Tuesday, and is expected to give the government a blunt message: address any rights abuses by the security forces and rein in paramilitaries. Richard Boucher, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, warned the government and Tamil Tigers on a previous trip in November that there was no military solution to the island's two-decade civil war, more..

Sri Lanka violence increases, ministry continues

May 9 (MNN) While both sides claim to be observing a cease-fire, the signs of a deepening conflict in Sri Lanka are everywhere. Soldiers in full battle-gear patrol Colombo. The capital is increasingly fortified. Sandbagged bunkers and trenches are appearing all over the rebel-held north. According to reports, the truce has completely collapsed. War planes are constantly over rebel-held areas. Many fear it's a preview of a conflict in Sri Lanka that could see thousands die. more..

Sri Lanka: Economic, social and psychological impacts of conflict

May 9 (IRIN) For the past nine months, 27-year-old Vana Ravichandran has had only one dream - to return to his home in Muttur town, Trincomalee district, in eastern Sri Lanka. He fled Muttur last August when fighting broke out between government forces and the LTTE and travelled 120 km through shell fire and other dangers to reach the transit camp at Kurukalmadam, in Batticaloa district to the south. Now, he just wants to go home. more..