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Highest ever monthly Container throughput for Sri Lanka Ports Authority

Sep 24 (GDI) The highest ever throughput in the history of SLPA was recorded in August this year. Port of Colombo has handled 2,233,929 TEUs during the first eight months of 2007. This is an increase of over 12% over the last years comparable volume. Transshipment throughput which accounts for over 76% of the total Colombo volume had a growth of 14%. The domestic volume has reported an increase of 6%. more..

International consensus needed to bring Terrorists under control

Sep 24 (GDI) Professor G.L. Peiris Minister for Export Development and International Trade addressing a meeting with the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs A.G. Losyukov in Republic of Soviet Russia emphasized on the problems associated with terrorism. He illustrated how a few days ago a bomb attacked the Russian train operating between Moscow and St. Petersburg, and more..

President to address UN High-Level Dialogue on Climate Change today

Sep 24 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will address the UN High-Level Dialogue on Climate Change today in New York. He is scheduled to deliver a talk on “Financing the response to climate Change investing in tomorrow.” Environment Minister Champika Ranawaka will also speak at the UN Dialogue. Heads of State and Governments from nearly 80 countries, including President Rajapaksa are attending Monday’ UN Summit on Climate Change. more..

New School; New Hope

Sep 24 (NRC) Eleven-year-old Karmahen sits in the front row of his new classroom - in Kalkudah Namagal School standing on the tsunami-ravaged landscape of the Batticaloa coast, in eastern Sri Lanka. On that terrible morning in December when the wave came, Karmahen saw his mother for the last time, as he ran to safety ahead of the advancing waters. When he came back few days after, there was nothing left in his home, it was all reduced to rubble. He is now staying with his father and grandmother. more..

Fire in Jumeirah villa renders 50 homeless

Sep 24 (KT) A major fire that broke out yesterday in a 15-room villa in Jumeirah has rendered homeless nearly 50 people belonging to 14 Filipino, Indian and Sri Lankan families. Investigations are on to ascertain the exact cause of fire. Civil Defence officials, however, told Khaleej Times, “The fire started around 9am in one of the rooms. Since the rooms had wooden partitions, the fire spread to six other rooms. Nobody was injured.” more..

If things go on in this manner people will topple the government – Vijitha Herath

Sep 24 (LT) JVP parliamentarian Vijitha Herath says that if the economic burden is passed on to the people any further, it is not Mr. Ranil Wikramasinghe but the progressive masses of the country that will topple this government. He said this at a mass rally held at Wattala yesterday. In his comments he said the progressive masses of this country will come together in thousands and bring about the downfall of the government if people are burdened anymore. more..

Rizana’s Lawyers Meet Tribal Elders in Dawadmi

Sep 24 (AN) Lawyers for Rizana Nafeek, a Sri Lankan domestic helper who was charged by a court in Dawadmi with the murder of a four-month-old child, met tribal leaders in Dawadmi over the weekend in order to negotiate with the members of the victim’s family. The lawyers explained Rizana’s situation to the leaders and told them why she should be pardoned on humanitarian grounds. more..

Disarming for Peace: Lessons from Nepal

Sep 24 (ISL) The success of the Peace Negotiations in Nepal owes much to an agreement by the ‘Maoist Rebels’ or the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN-Maoist) to Disarm, Demobilize and Reintegrate (DDR) its combatants, including child soldiers, under the auspices of the UN. The Maoists voluntarily disarmed though they were in control of two-thirds the landmass of Nepal at the time. A comparison between the LTTE and the Maoists reveal some interesting facts. more..

Avoiding LRRP

Sep 24 (ISL) It has now come to light that the LTTE's senior leadership has strictly limited their movements for fear of LRRP attacks. At first, LTTE leaders would travel only on 'main roads' in LTTE areas to avoid attack. Then they used decoy vehicles and convoys to distract LRRP. They also tried using antique vehicles in place of the customary Pajero Jeep and Double Cab. It later transpired that LTTE leaders were also using ambulances attached to the 'Tamil Ealam Health Service'. more..

Over 200 golfers from around the world for SriLankan Airlines Classic

Sep 24 (KT) The flags are up and the greens have been spruced up in Kandy’s picturesque Victoria Golf and Country Resort to tee off at the12th annual SriLankan Airlines’ Golf Classic on October 10. “The SriLankan Golf Classic is one of our most popular events, drawing golfers from around the world. "The tournament has grown to be very popular, with a large number of players coming back each year,” says Chandana De Silva, head of corporate communications at SriLankan. more..

US says Sri Lanka must not use `Unitary` or `Federal` terms in final agreement

Sep 24 (LNP) US Ambassador in Sri Lanka Robert O Blake, has emphasised upon the need that the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) deviates from divisive, emotive terms like `federalism` and `unitary` in its endeavor of drawing up a solution to the ethnic problem. Addressing a seminar on `Sri Lanka: the Way Forward,` Ambassador Blake noted that the Sri Lanka Government had achieved some important victories during the last several months. more..

LTTE cadres surrender in large numbers

Sep 24 (LNP) The LTTE cadres in the North are now surrendering to the Armed Forces following dissatisfaction in the organisation. According to defence sources, the outfit is in total disarray with several senior cadres including the leader of the political wing of the LTTE S.P. Thamilselvan expressing dissatisfaction over the current stance taken by the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran to ignore the political approach and to concentrate more on the military build-up. more..

Cops, GSs compete for top bribe-takers

Sep 24 (LNP) Chairmen of Pradeshiya Sabhas, Divisional Secretaries, School principals and Secretaries to Provincial Ministries are among the suspects arrested by the Bribery Commission. But policemen and grama sevakas continue to top the list of bribe takers with the Commission recording the arrest of 20 law enforcement personnel and 10 village-headmen. SSP Neville Guruge, the senior officer in charge of investigations, attributed their success to a significant increase in the number of complaints received by the Commission. more..

Prison tunnel leads to `inside help`

Sep 24 (LNP) The discovery of a tunnel last week at the Kalutara prison, believed to have been dug by LTTE detainees has led to more startling revelations and investigators are now pointing fingers at some prisons officials who are believed to have been directly involved in the attempted prison break. Investigations suggest that large sums of money could have been offered to the prison officials to ensure that some guards were not permitted to visit the particular cell from where the inmates planned their daring escape before they were transferred to another prison. more..

Majority prefer devolution: Survey

Sep 24 (SAMN) A recent survey indicated that there was a consensus among public on power devloution, with only 10 per cent of respondents rejecting any form of devolution, including the existing provincial council system. The deliberative poll with a sample of 1800, carried out by the Marga Institute in collaboration with the National Peace Council in 18 districts, has brought out the people’s attitudes by equipping them with better information of the relevant issues, sources said. more..

Sweet course: Gem of a dessert

Sep 24 (SAMN) The Fortress Sri Lanka, an award winning luxury resort in Galle has created the most expensive dessert in the world. Priced at $14,500 ‘The Fortress Stilt Fisherman Indulgence’ is an effort by the resort’s culinary team to create a one of a kind dessert that is intrinsically linked with the destination, offering both long lasting memories and a keepsake of the experience. more..

HSZ in Muttur east to be reduced

Sep 24 (SAMN) The government had decided to reduce the High Security Zone (HSZ) in Muttur East and resettle some of the displaced from those areas, the Ministry of Resettlement and Disaster Relief informed aid agencies at a meeting in Trincomalee last week. Rear Admiral (Rtd.) H.R. Amaraweera said that government authorities are planning to reduce the High Security Zone in Muttur East by five Grama Niladhari (GN) Divisions. more..

Vasu, Rajendran to boycott satyagraha

Sep 24 (SAMN) Opposition Leader of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Deputy Mayor, S. Rajendran are to boycott the satyagraha which is to be held today at Town Hall against the Government’s move to suspend the Council.. Nanayakkara said he would not participate in the satyagraha as it is not clear what the motives of those who are participating in the satyagaha campaign. more..

Eastern Province will be brought on par with WP - Basil Rajapaksa ,MP

Sep 24 (DN) The Government is planning to develop the Eastern Province on par with the Western Province, within the next five years with the “Reawakening of the East” specially targeted to achieve that objective, MP Basil Rajapaksa said. Addressing a two-day workshop for the stakeholder of the, ‘Eastern Reawakening’ at the BMICH on Saturday, Rajapaksa said the Government aims to increase the present supply of electricity of 58 per cent to 78 per cent by the end of year 2010. more..

Eradicating terrorism is the only path to peace

Sep 24 (DN) The stance of the Rajapaksa Government articulated by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in Trincomalee last Monday provides much-needed reassurance to all peace-loving people in the country. Indeed, without eradicating terrorism how could we expect peace to be established and prevail? The LTTE has proved to the entire world that it is not interested in pursuing peace-only the establishment of a separate state at any cost. more..

Finance Bill row likely to intensify on Oct. 11

Sep 24 (DM) The row over four out of the five controversial Finance Bills is likely to intensify with the JVP and UNP planning to object the Bills being taken up for vote again in Parliament by the government on October 11. The party leaders discussed the issue last Friday at a meeting in the parliamentary complex and Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva wanted to take the Bills for the Committee Stage debate on October 11, together with a few other Finance Regulations. more..

Australia, NZ call for end to fighting

Sep 24 (DM) Australia and New Zealand have called for an end to the fighting in Sri Lanka and increased security for children affected by the war, including child soldiers recruited both by the LTTE and the Karuna faction. Making separate statements at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva on Friday, the two Pacific countries noted that they would support all international efforts to resume peace talks in Sri Lanka. more..

Weapon starved LTTE may tap supplies in South India hideouts: Report

Sep 24 (TOI) The LTTE rebels in Sri Lanka, running short of ammunition, particularly heavy calibre artillery and mortars, will try to tap the supplies from their "South Indian hideouts," a media report said on Monday. "As tigers experience what the military believes is the worst shortage of ammunition, particularly heavy calibre artillery and mortars, the Sri Lankan navy is stepping up its efforts to prevent them from bringing in fresh supplies to the Mannar mainland," more..

Tamil Tigers 'have deep Aussie links'

Sep 24 (AAP) An expert on security issues in South Asia has told a Melbourne court that Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers organisation has roots which run deep in Australia's Tamil community. Dr Christopher Smith has given evidence to the Melbourne Magistrates Court in the committal hearing for three men accused of using the Melbourne-based Tamil Coordinating Committee to raise funds for Sri Lanka's LTTE, also known as Tamil Tigers. more..

Garment workers to battle for better wages

Sep 24 (BT) A “Living Wage” campaign will be launched by Garment worker as the current wages are enough to live on. This is mainly due to the increase in cost of living which is making it difficult to make both ends meet. The campaign will be launched in October. From October to end-November, thousands of garment workers are to start on a variety of events from lamp lightings, demonstrations and awareness rallies, to put pressure on companies and the government, to increase their wages. more..

Sri Lanka battles claim 27 lives: military

Sep 24 (AFP) Heavy fighting between security forces and Tamil rebels in northern Sri Lanka has left at least 27 people dead, military officials said. The LTTE lost at least 20 men in pre-dawn clashes Monday on the Jaffna peninsula, according to the defence ministry. Another three Tigers were killed in the Wanni region further south, it added. Government troops were attempting to break into territory in Wanni where the LTTE run a mini-state. more..

India hold their nerve to win thriller

Sep 25 (CI) Ten days earlier, India and Pakistan couldn't be separated in Durban. In front of a frenzied crowd at the Wanderers on Monday, they played out perhaps the best final ever seen in a major tournament. Once again, the ice-cool Misbah-ul-Haq threatened to drag Pakistan back from the brink, but the Indians just about held their nerve to clinch a five-run victory and the inaugural ICC World Twenty20. more..

British High Commissioner praises tourism industry, calls for investment to deliver full potential

Sep 25 (AT) Highlighting the potential for tourism to contribute to Sri Lanka’s economic development the British High Commissioner, Dominick Chilcott praised the performance of the industry despite the difficult environment created by the conflict. On 22 September, the British High Commissioner, Dominick Chilcott, spoke at the Ceylon Hotel School Graduates Association in Habarana. more..

Tigers tried to target Gotabhaya in U.S.

Sep 25 (AT) The movement of two suspected LTTE hit men from Canada to the USA during a recent private visit to America by the Defence Ministry Secretary Col. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa sparked off a quick re-action from the US Federal Agencies. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) which was tipped off by friendly agencies about the movement of LTTE operatives swiftly tracked down Col. Rajapakse to provide him with security, according to reliable sources. more..

Mayor protests 'President's plans'

Sep 25 (BBC) Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) members urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa not to put the CMC under a special commissioner. A group of CMC Councillors staged a Satyagraha protest on Monday in the capital. Colombo Mayor Emitiaz Uvaiz Mohamed said: "Placing the Colombo Municiple council under a special commissioner is not fair for the elected councillors". The Mayor who was eleted as an independant candidtate later joined the Rajapaksa's Sri Lanka Freedom Paty with 23 other councillors. more..

CAA chief cautioned and released

Sep 25 (BBC) The Supreme Court in Sri Lanka has ordered former head of Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) not to take up any government office in the future. Chief Justice said because of the actions taken by Sarath Wijesinghe as the chairman of the CAA many consumers has to suffer. Earlier this month the Court found him guilty of contempt and not implementing a price formula for liquid petroleum gas as directed by the judiciary. more..

UNHRC special session on SL: AI

Sep 25 (BBC) Amnesty International [AI] calls for the UN Human Rights Council to meet in a special session soon after the completion of the High Commissioner Louise Arbour's proposed visit to Sri Lanka in October. In a speech given to the Sixth Session of Human Rights Council on Monday, Amnesty International said it is very concerned about what they called "the serious and deteriorating human rights situation in Sri Lanka". more..

Enter Basil, exit the people

Sep 25 (LeN) President Mahinda Rajapakse's brother who was officially a Senior Presidential Adviser earlier, swore in as a national list MP replacing the National Congress Minister late Anver Ismail. The writer had to take it as a controversial matter related to democracy since most of the media did not take it in that vein. One weekend newspaper introduced it as a measure that strengthened the President. Another 'alternative' newspaper was tight lipped on this matter. more..

Roots of Current LTTE Predicament Lie in its Politics

Sep 25 (FI) The Defence Secretary has recently stated that the crushing of the LTTE must precede a political settlement. This comes against the President’s remarks to journalist, Inderjit Badhwar that he is in effect bound to appease the Sinhalese constituency that voted for him and is constrained to stand by a unitary state. The APRC that was the last glimmer of hope for a political settlement has thus been left hamstrung. more..

Sri Lanka media watchdog sounds alarm over moves for new clampdown

Sep 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Free Media Movement (FMM), a media rights watchdog, said Monday it was concerned over an alleged government move to ban reporting on arms purchases. The reported draft of new emergency regulations prohibiting coverage of defence procurement violates freedom of expression and media freedom and gravely undermines transparency and accountability, the group said in a statement. more..

Military solution will only make Prabhakaran a legend: Tamil rights activist

Sep 25 (HT) Dr Rajan Hoole, a Tamil rights activist who won the Martin Ennals award recently, has warned the Sri Lankan government against killing the LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran. Prabhakaran's destruction through military action would only result in his becoming a more dangerous legend among the Tamil people than he was already, he said. "Treating the destruction of Prabhakaran as an end in itself, would make him an even more dangerous legend among the Tamils everywhere," more..

Saudi Group to Finance Rehab Center in Sri Lanka

Sep 25 (AN) A Saudi company is to build a center for mentally retarded children in Sri Lanka and has agreed to offer SR500,000 for the project. Jiffry Haniffa, leader of a delegation from the Islamic Center for Physically Handicapped (ICPH) in Doolmala, Sri Lanka, who is currently on a visit to the Kingdom, told Arab News that the Al-Zamil Group has agreed to give SR500,000 to help mentally retarded Muslim children on the island. more..

'Don't offer higher administrative posts to henchmen'

Sep 25 (LeN) Supreme Court today ordered the Minister of Trade and the Presidential Secretary not to appoint persons to higher administrative positions based on the political allegiances. The Supreme Court made this order when it summoned the former Chairman of the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) Sarath Wijesinghe to punish him for contempt of court. The Supreme Court said that appointing individuals like Sarath Wijesinghe is a disaster and LAUGFS Gas and Dilaog TV consumers were caused severe inconvenience by him. more..

Sri Lanka treasury yields up again

Sep 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka's benchmark 3- month treasury yields went up 15 basis points to 18.20 with the cut-off pushing 18.30 percent dealers said, as authorities struggled to stabilize an economy hit by heavy government spending. Meanwhile 6-month yields went up 15 basis points to 17.47 percent and the 12-month went up 16 basis points to 17.31 percent. The auction was held a day earlier because Wednesday is a religious holiday in Sri Lanka. more..

French police arrested five LTTE gangsters belongs to ‘Vennila’ gang

Sep 25 (AT) Five gang members belonging to the Tamil Tigers’ in Paris were arrested by the French police in a swoop this morning. Today in the small hours of the morning, many houses belonging to the LTTE members in the suburbs of Paris were rounded up by the French Police and they arrested the most wanted LTTE criminal gangsters. The arrested gangsters belong to the Vennila gang and they were said to be involved in abductions, threat and intimidations and were also responsible for collecting funds forcefully. more..

Ravi K. questions govt. ability to unveil a budget

Sep 25 (LD) The United National Party today (September 25th) questioned the ability of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government to unveil a budget at a time when revenue of the state was declining fast and the cost of living was skyrocketing. Speaking to the media in Colombo, UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake quoted the Ceylon Electricity Board as having said that its losses for next year alone have been estimated at Rs. 48 million. more..

Police action aggravates campus clash

Sep 25 (LD) The outcome of a volleyball match between the Science Faculty and the IT Unit of the Colombo University on the 24th of September has led to clashes that had aggravated due to certain police actions, reports say. Two children of the Inspector General of Police are said to be members of one team. The two groups had clashed in front of the Kirulapone Police Station again. more..

UNP abandons federal solution

Sep 25 (LD) The United National Party has now adopted the further strengthening of the 13th Amendment as a means of resolving the ethnic conflict, rather than the federal system of governance it had been promoting up to now. The Sinhala language "Lankadeepa" newspaper in its Tuesday issue carried the same story, thus: The United National Party has decided to abandon its stance that the North East issue should be resolved through a federal solution. more..

Norway Losing Its Niche

Sep 25 (ISL) The first official Norwegian delegation to arrive in Sri Lanka on the subject of facilitating in the ethnic conflict was on February 16, 2000. The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry announced this as an attempt to explore “the possibility of Norway assisting discussions to take place between the Sri Lanka Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) aimed at resolving the ethnic problem” (Jeyaraj). more..

Tamil sovereignty, basis of peace talks - LTTE

Sep 25 (TN) LTTE, in a statement issued Monday, urged the UN General Assembly which has gathered for its 62nd session in New York, USA, to recognize the concept of the sovereignty of the Tamil people and support the peace process in accordance with this principle. The LTTE statement characterized the confidence of some members of the International Community on Sri Lanka's latest APRC which has not brought any constructive outcome to date, as a misplaced confidence. more..

Muslims allege Sinhala colonization in Pulmoddai

Sep 25 (TN) Muslim residents in Pulmoddai village have made representations to their leaders that the Sri Lanka government is taking steps to acquire several acres of their traditional lands to colonise Sinhalese under the pretext of establishing an industrial estate with the assistance of the Mineral Sands Corporation, civil society sources in Trincomalee said. The Mineral Sands Corporation administered by the central government runs an Ilmenite Factory in Pulmoddai. more..

Multi text system replaced by Single text system

Sep 25 (GDI) Grade five Scholarships increased by five thousand. Media briefing was held today at the Government Information Department Premises, chaired by the Minister of Education Susil Premjayantha on Developments in Education. The Director General of the National Institute of Education, Dr.Jagath Wickramasinghe and Mr.N.Dharmasena Commissioner of the Department of Publications also participated. more..

Sri Lankan Cultural Heritage showcased in France

Sep 25 (GDI) "Serendipity – an Evening of Sri Lankan Dance and Rhythm", a Sri Lankan cultural show featuring the Channa – Upuli Performing Arts Foundation was held on 11 September 2007 at the UNESCO Headquarters in France. The event was organized by the of Sri Lankans in France and the Permanent Delegation of Sri Lanka to UNESCO in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Tourist Board and Sri Lankan Airlines. more..

30 years for Sri Lanka – Korea Relations

Sep 25 (GDI) Sri Lanka and Korea will be celebrating 30 years of diplomatic relations this year. To mark the occasion, A programme to promote and increase employment opportunities for Sri Lankans in Korea was implemented. Accordingly, Ceylinco Fast Cash Money Remittance programme and a special insurance scheme were launched for the Sri Lankans employed in Korea. All Fast Cash members and Seylan Bank NRFC account holders are entitled to this insurance scheme. more..

President to Address UN on Leadership Challenge of Climate Change

Sep 25 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is due to address the UN High Level Summit today (25) in New York. His speech is to concentrate on the Leadership Challenge of Climate Change. There he will outline the Government's commitment to peace and development for all regions, including the newly liberated East. President Rajapaksa’s keynote address at the UN General Assembly's high-level debate, will be followed by the address of US President George W. Bush. more..