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Sri Lanka stocks near 5-month lows, all eyes on war

May 9 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares fell to near five-month lows on Tuesday as investors fretting about whether the island's civil war is set to escalate sold blue chip stocks like Sri Lanka Telecom and John Keells, while the rupee firmed slightly. The Colombo All Share index closed 1.67 percent lower at 2,707.47 points, compounding losses of nearly 2 percent since last week. more..

FM reiterates Government’s efforts to address human rights

May 9 (GDI) The steps taken by the Government to face the allegations on the human right violations were explained by the Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama to the diplomatic community. Minister also explained of the appointment of an inter ministerial committee on promoting Sri Lanka’s image abroad. He stated on the establishment of a Presidential Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate into specific cases of alleged violations and more..

Sri Lanka clothing exports on track despite rebel air raids

May 9 (AFP) Sri Lanka's lucrative garment manufacturing industry Tuesday reassured overseas buyers that a spate of air raids by Tamil Tiger rebels had failed to disrupt exports. The island's three-billion-dollar apparel export industry said shipments through the sea port of Colombo were not affected and cargo flights would be re-scheduled following night-time bombing raids by the LTTE. more..

EU becomes top export market for Sri Lanka

May 9 (FP) With overall exports exceeding $6.8 billion dollars in 2006 and the European Union (EU) emerging as the number one export region calls for Sri Lanka to re-evaluate the overall export strategy of the country and make policy changes to drive focused strategies. This outstanding export performance in 2006, to the EU has dislodged NAFTA, which has been the leading export region for the country for years. more..

Student unrest in Jaffna following abductions

May 9 (TN) Fear and unrest spread across the student community in Jaffna following the abduction of four high school students by armed men Friday, sources in Jaffna said. Meanwhile, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Jaffna parliamentarians and Jaffna Technical College (JTC) students made a public appeal Monday calling for the immediate release of the four high school students, sources in Jaffna said. more..

California judge withdraws her own judgment favoring PKK and LTTE

May 9 (AT) A federal judge in Los Angeles, California has withdrawn her own judgment favoring Sri Lanka’s LTTE and the Partiya Karkeran Kurdistan (PKK) terrorist group in Turkey delivered last November. The ruling highly criticized by section of the press and legal quarters and US justice department was withdrawn by the judge on Friday may 4 in a 16 page order, more..

LTTE threat: defence preparedness reviewed

May 9 (PTI) With Sri Lanka saying that LTTE's air power was a threat to India's nuclear installations, the country's defence preparedness was reviewed today at a high-level meeting here. The meeting, chaired by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, was attended by Defence Minister A K Antony, National Security Adviser M K Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Defence Secretary Shekhar Dutt. more..

Sri Lanka enacts first computer crimes bill

May 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka on Tuesday enacted the Computer Crimes Bill introducing legislation which gives more power to law enforcement agencies when fighting computer crimes, the government ICT agency said. "The Basis of the Computer Crimes Bill is to criminalise attempts at unauthorised access to a computer, computer programme, data or information," more..

Sri Lanka’s prohibitive land taxes

May 9 (PR) Sri Lanka’s current high taxation on land transactions is putting off foreign investors in the property market, according to Real Estate Bank of India (Lanka) Private Limited (REBI Lanka), an Indian real estate company working in Sri Lanka. According yo CEO Lakshmi Narayanan, “The only problem is that the government has laid a tax of 100 percent for foreign investors over property.” more..

"No moral right to interfere" - SLPM

May 9 (BBC) A demostration was held on Tuesday to protest against alleged interference by the British government into Sri Lankan affairs. The protest organised by the Sri Lankan Patriotic Movement (SLPM) was earlier scheduled to be held opposite British High Commission in Sri Lanka but was not permitted by the police. However, the organisers were later allowed to hand over a petition to the British High Commission. more..

International help to locate officer

May 9 (BBC) Sri Lanka government has sought international assistance to locate the missing Intelligence Officer who was attached to Sri Lankan Embassy in Indonesia. Captain Mohamed Nilam, who was an intelligence official at the Sri Lankan embassy in Jakarta, has disappeared with his wife and children before termination of his term, government said. Defence spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told Sandesaya that Captain Nilam had gone missing two weeks before his term expired. more..

Minister's ally at Rupavahini gets lucky with Multimedia scholarship

May 9 (LeN) It has been reported that an employee who is in the administrative services of the Rupavahini corporation on a contract basis, said to be a close ally of media minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, has been selected for a Multimedia educational scholarship in Malaysia, which is granted only once a year to one Sri Lankan. Sources say that the relevant person has no relevance to multimedia in his work profile as he is in administrative services. more..

Pranab calls on Antony over Lanka deadlock

May 9 (BS) While developments in Pakistan are being watched closely by the Indian government, it is the situation in Sri Lanka which is being actively considered by the government. After a round of meetings initiated by Lalita Weeratunga, special envoy of Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee met Defence Minister A K Antony today. more..

The LTTE has, in a span of eight to nine years, built a rudimentary air arm of five aircraft with the attendant infrastructure

May 9 (FL) The LTTE, locked in a battle for survival since the start of the undeclared Eelam War-4 in 2005, fulfilled on March 25 its long-avowed ambition to wield an air arm. Cricket enthusiasts were in high spirits as their team had beaten India three days earlier in the World Cup in the West Indies and was raring to take on South Africa two days later. more..

In desperation, missing Eastern University Vice Chancellor's family turns to Richard Boucher for intervention

May 9 (AT) Desperate family members of Prof. S. Raveendranath of Eastern University, who has been reported missing since Dec.15, 2006, have now decided to appeal to Richard Boucher, Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs of US Department of State visiting Sri Lanka at present. His visit, which is the third to Sri Lanka, is scheduled to be over on May 10. more..

RDA Chief proposes to discourage usage of motorcars

May 9 (AT) Road Development Authority’s chief B.M.S.Fernando proposes to further increase Petrol prices to discourage use of motorcars and improve public transport system in Sri Lanka. Explaining his views, he said a number of government officials including high rankers use official cars and also represent the Government transport Committee to decide future transport projects and solutions for the prevailing transport problems. more..

Anglican Head Presses for Peace in Sri Lanka

May 9 (CP) The spiritual head of the worldwide Anglican Communion is visiting Sri Lanka this week in an effort to facilitate peace negotiations as tensions escalate between the government and the separatists in the South Asian country. Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will spend four days in the troubled nation of Sri Lanka as part of his South East Asia tour. more..

MCC rules Gilchrist's use of squash ball legal

May 9 (AP) Adam Gilchrist was entitled to use a squash ball inside his glove when batting during the World Cup final, cricket's lawmaker said Tuesday. The Marylebone Cricket Club said Gilchrist had not acted against the laws or spirit of the game. "Gilchrist's use of a squash ball was designed to alter his grip on the bat whilst at the crease, something which he was perfectly entitled to do," the MCC said in a statement Tuesday. more..

Goldilocks Malinga loves being 'Sexy'

May 9 (ToI) They call him Slinga Malinga. They call him Goldilocks. They also term him the “Sexiest Man in Cricket” today. But Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga, Mali to friends, has no problem with any of these names. Actually, he is loving every minute of it. “I am very happy to be called that... sexy,” he says on phone from Sri Lanka. more..

Back To Life After The Tsunami

May 9 (Sky) When huge waves surged up the coasts of Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand on Boxing Day 2004 the devastation of the Tsunami brought forth a surge of generosity the likes of which the world has rarely seen. In a matter of months the coffers of the Tsunami Appeal had swelled to around £2bn, writes Sky's Ross Appleyard. Two-and-a-half years later, estimates show less than half of that money has been spent on the ground. more..

UNP calls on govt. to probe secret deal with Tigers

May 9 (ML) The UNP yesterday urged the government to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee to probe allegations that money was paid to the LTTE by Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse and Basil Rajapakse, both prior to and following the last Presidential Elections. The renewed call was made following recent media reports stating world-renowned terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratne had said the LTTE had been purchasing hi-tech weapons, including planes, from Australia since the mid 90s. more..

CFA only mechanism for negotiation –LTTE

May 9 (ML) The LTTE yesterday said that if the government ditches the CFA, it would be left without the only accepted mechanism to work towards negotiations with the Tigers. "It is the most valuable document accepted by every one including the international community. If Colombo rejects it, what are they going to work with," LTTE military spokesperson Rasiah Illanthariyan told The Morning Leader. more..

Basnayake released on bail

May 9 (ML) Standard Newspapers Publisher Dushyantha Basnayake was granted bail yesterday by Colombo Chief Magistrate Kusala Sarojini Weerawardene. Basnayake was granted cash bail of Rs. 25,000 and surety bail of Rs. 2.5 million with three sureties. Basnayake’s wife and two brothers stood surety on his behalf for the sum of Rs. 2.5 million. The court ordered Basnayake to appear before The Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) on the last Sunday of every month. more..

The SLFP proposals: A slap in the face and a shot in the arm

May 9 (ML) The international spotlight is upon us yet again and this time against the backdrop of the third successful outing of the LTTE air force, the "mountain moved and produced a mouse" SLFP proposals and the House of Commons debate on Sri Lanka. US Under Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Richard Boucher is here this week, along with the Archbishop of Canterbury, a member of the House of Lords, and most members of the IIGEP as well. more..

Sri Lankan financial media can be bought cheap by corrupt businesses: senior executive

May 9 (LBO) The quality of corporate financial analysis in Sri Lanka is poor and the financial media is believed to be corrupt, a top business executive said Tuesday. Chandra Jayaratne, a former chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, said capital market investment analysts and financial journalists lacked adequate skills to do an effective job in reporting on corporate performance. more..

Sri Lankan stocks open lower despite good corporate earnings

May 9 (LBO) The Colombo stock market which closed down on Tuesday, opened lower in early morning trade Wednesday with both indices registering slips. The All Share Price Index was down six points to 2,701.03 points in the first hour of trading, with some signs of recovery, while the Milanka Index was down 15 points to 3,738.45 points. more..

Sri Lankan firms to follow new process if bonus issues were not ratified by shareholders

May 9 (LBO) Firms that declared a 'bonus' issue but have not yet ratified it with a shareholder vote will have to go through a process under the new company law and 'split' the shares, officials and legal experts said. A new company law came into effect in Sri Lanka on May 03, under which the concept of a traditional bonus share issue where reserves are 'capitalized' to issue a share with a 'par value' is no longer in operation. more..

Arrests of Sinhalese Pro-LTTE "RLM" movement increase to 13

May 9 (AT) The number of arrests by Sri Lanka police on the Sinhalese Pro-LTTE "Revolutionary Liberation Front" (RLF) movement has increased to 13 while police sources also saying that many Sinhalese RLF members have fled to LTTE controlled uncleared areas. Reports said the RLM members "unlike their Tamil counterparts, do not recruit women fearing that women would leak out information. They did not trust women." more..

LTTE fundraising activity in the United Kingdom encourages war, not peace

May 9 (AT) Sri Lanka ‘s Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama that Dr Kim Howells had clearly pointed out “LTTE fundraising activity in the United Kingdom encourages war, not peace.” He added British Minister Dr Kim Howells had recently met British security authorities “to discuss how we [the U.K.] could counter the bullying, threats and acts of fraud that are used regularly to extract money from the Tamil population and others in the country”. more..

Vavuniya LTTE head killed

May 9 (PISL) The Vavuniya District leader of the LTTE, known as ‘Mathan’, died in a clash with security forces yesterday morning. Policemen at checkpoint at Pandarikulam had observed two LTTE cadres coming on a motor bike and had fired at them. One of the cadres fell and the other had escaped. Later, on checking the identity of the dead LTTE cadre, police found that he was the Vavuniya regional leader Mathan, more..

Nobody can interfere with free education system - President

May 9 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has promised that he would not let anyone to interfere with the country's free education. The President had promised this at a scholarships endowment ceremony at Temple Trees yesterday where he gave away 125 scholarships among the students who have passed Year Five Scholarship Exam from Employees' Trust Fund Board's member families. more..

Prima taken to Court

May 9 (GDI) Colombo Additional Magistrate Sujeewa Nissanka yesterday summoned the seven directors of Prima Ceylon Limited to appear before court on May 25 for the breach of laws pertaining to consumer protection stipulated by the Consumer Affairs Authority. The Consumer Affairs Authority yesterday filed charges against Prima Ceylon Limited for increasing of the price of wheat flour, an essential commodity, without the permission of the Consumer Affairs Authority. more..

'President steering country in right direction'

May 9 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is now steering the country's administration on the right track, hence it was the bounden duty of the clergy and religious leaders to extend the hand of support and not interfere with the administration, and bring undue pressure and distract him from the course he is following bringing the country back to normalcy, said Mahanayake of the Asgiriya Chapter Most Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Ratanapala Thera. more..

No room for foreign interference - Foreign Minister

May 9 (GDI) Foreign Affairs Minister Rohitha Bogollagama yesterday assured the Parliament that not even a semblance of foreign interference in the internal affairs of the country will be allowed. Responding to a JVP sponsored adjournment debate on the House of Commons debate on Sri Lankan situation, the Minister said the UK has not conveyed any message through diplomatic channels about any decision taken by the Parliament regarding the Parliamentary group's proposed visit to Sri Lanka. more..

Tigers bought arms with Govt. money: UNP

May 9 (LNP) The UNP charged yesterday the LTTE had procured arms in Australia using monies given to it by the government before and after the Presidential Election as alleged by former minister Sripathy Sooriyarachchi in Parliament recently. Referring to a statement made by Mr. Sooriyarachchi, Party frontliner Lakshman Kiriella told a news conference the government had given Rs. 200 billion to the LTTE in the run up to the election in 2005, more..

CBK appeals for more security

May 9 (LNP) Responding to last week`s Supreme Court decision, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa against the reduction of her security. The former president`s secretary, P. Dissanayake told the Daily Mirror yesterday there was no response yet from the President. According to Mr. Dissanayake another request made by the former President`s security chief Nimal Chandrasiri to increase the security had been turned down by IGP Victor Perera. more..

Aviation Ministry lethargy to ground budget airlines?

May 9 (LNP) The Ports and Aviation Ministry`s failure to extend on time the licences of airline operators, whose licences had expired, has jeopardised the future of three budget airline projects, including a Rs.13 billion investment recently cleared by the BOI. The government in December 2005 had issued licenses to three operators who applied to operate international budget airlines from the Colombo hub. The three were Expo Aviation, Deccan Aviation and the Holiday Air. more..

Mixed reactions after cheating accusation against Australia

May 9 (LNP) When `The Island` questioned whether the tactic adopted by Australian batsman Adam Gilchrist by using a squash ball in his batting glove was legal, there were mixed reactions from some leading figures of Sri Lankan cricket. Gilchrist blasted the quickest hundred in a World Cup final and was named the Man of the Match for his 149, but since it has been revealed that the Australian batsman was aided by a squash ball that gave him a better grip, there have been outrageous response from the public, with many branding the batsman a cheat. more..

Is protecting sovereignty a crime: UNP

May 9 (SAMN) The UNP Tuesday said the government which is dedicated only to the ‘Rajapaksha Poshanaya’ considers safeguarding the public sovereignty as a crime. The party said the government’s stand is clearly visible in the recent statement made by Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. Yapa alleged in his statement that UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is attempting to tarnish the country’s image internationally. more..

UNP wants parliamentary sessions filmed

May 9 (SAMN) The UNP on Monday proposed to prepare visual documentation of every parliamentary session to go parallel with the Hansard report. Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera made the proposal at the party leaders’ meeting on Monday. Perera said the public should know what their representatives were doing in the House, and therefore there was nothing wrong in preparing such video documentation. more..

Citizens in East still denied newspapers

May 9 (SAMN) The government assured that appropriate steps would be taken to ensure the circulation of certain Tamil newspapers in the east. Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said the government was already looking into this issue and would take the necessary steps to rectify the situation. The Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLTMA) last week expressed concern over the continuing ban in the east on certain Tamil newspapers. more..

SLTB to develop Arugambay

May 9 (SAMN) The Sri Lanka Tourist Board (SLTB) Tuesday said that steps to develop Arugambay have already commenced. SLTB Director General S. Kalaiselvam said that a land of 600 acres was identified to build a resort. "This land is about six kilometers away from the Arugambay town. We have selected this land to build a resort like the ones we have in Bentota and several other tourist areas in the country," Kalaiselvam said. more..

Govt to take over 29 more estate hospitals

May 9 (DN) The Government has taken over the responsibility of the estate sector Tamil community and ensured their well being by taking over 20 estate hospitals and the Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry will take over another 29 estate hospitals from January 1 next year. All estate sector hospitals will be taken over by the Government to ensure the well being of estate sector community, a ministry spokesman said. more..

More facilities for public servants

May 9 (DN) A host of privileges including housing facilities, foreign training, official quarters and low interest loans will be granted to public servants, said Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister Karu Jayasuriya yesterday. More than 2,000 houses are being constructed in Kundasale, Habaraduwa and another 25,000 housing units will be built at the Summit Flats premises in Colombo for public servants. more..

Co-chairs to discuss Lankan crisis

May 9 (DM) The co-chairs to the Tokyo donor conference – The United States, the European Union, Norway and Japan – will meet in Colombo tomorrow to take stock of the volatile situation in the country, well informed sources told the Daily Mirror. Richard Boucher, the visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian affairs will attend the meeting with the co-chairs ambassadors who are said to be concerned over the fate of the ceasefire agreement as a result of the deteriorating security situation. more..

Former Uva chief minister arrested

May 9 (DM) Bribery Commission officers arrested the former Uva province chief minister and parliamentarian Samaraweera Weerawanni on Monday for his involvement in a corruption case in year 2000. Mr. Weerawanni was produced before Colombo Chief Magistrate Sarojini Kusala Weerawardena on the same day and was released on cash bail of Rs.10, 000 and a surety bail of Rs.300, 000. more..

LTTE poses no aerial threat to India: Lanka

May 9 (SS) Sri Lanka has said that the LTTE does not pose an aerial threat to India. The statement came a day after its Foreign Secretary claimed that the Tamil group could target nuclear facilities of the neighbouring country. The authorities have not even discussed the possibility of the Tamil Tiger rebels using their aircraft to bomb any location in India, Military spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe said while contradicting the statement of their Foreign Secretary, Paltha Kohono. more..

Boiler explosion kills 5 in eastern Sri Lanka

May 9 (AP) A boiler at a rice mill exploded Wednesday, killing five people in eastern Sri Lanka, police said. The early-morning blast near the town of Kalmunai killed three people on the spot and injured six others, two of whom died later in a hospital, area police officer Gamini Weerasinghe said. Kalmunai is in an area that has become a center of violence in Sri Lanka's undeclared civil war, more..

Flight chaos as Sri Lanka closes airport at night

May 9 (AFP) Thousands of passengers have been stranded amid confusion over re-scheduled flights as Sri Lanka's only international airport was set to close at night, travel trade officials said Wednesday. The Bandaranaike International Airport will be open only from 4:00 am (2230 GMT) to 10:00 pm (1730 GMT) from Thursday as part of security measures following four daring night time raids by Tamil Tiger aircraft. more..

Anglican head Williams seeks to foster Sri Lanka peace

May 9 (Reuters) Visiting Sri Lanka amid escalating civil war, the spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans said on Wednesday he wanted to help foster peace on the majority-Buddhist island. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, making a pastoral visit to the island as the state fights near daily land and sea battles with separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, said he wanted to learn about suffering caused by a war that has killed nearly 70,000 people since 1983. more..