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“LTTE using civilians as shields”

Sep 8 (Hindu) Sri Lankan forces on Friday claimed that at least four Tamil Tigers were killed and a soldier died in clashes along the Wanni Forward Defence Line (FDL) even as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) urged both sides to ensure that lives of civilians are not put to unnecessary risk. According to Defence Ministry, the LTTE casualties occurred in retaliatory attacks on Thursday afternoon. more..

“No information on defence panel with Sri Lanka”

Sep 8 (Hindu) The External Affairs Ministry says it has no information about the setting up of an India-Sri Lanka committee on defence comprising senior officials. Sri Lanka’s official web site on Thursday claimed that the committee was formed following the visit by a high level delegation from Colombo to New Delhi on September 3 and 4. While admitting that the delegation visited India last week, Foreign Office spokesperson Navtej Sarna said the interaction was part of a regular exchange of visits between officials of both countries. more..

Sri Lanka military says it seized explosives, rifles in former rebel stronghold

Sep 8 (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers recovered a haul of weapons and explosives on Friday, including 680 mortar bombs, from a village in the east seized earlier from separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, the Defense Ministry said. Soldiers searching Tharavaikulam village, a former rebel nerve center in eastern Batticaloa district, found 53 assault rifles and about 65,000 bullets, an official at the ministry's information center said on condition of anonymity in line with policy. more..

US Taking Part in Naval Exercise in Bay of Bengal

Sep 8 (VoA) The largest ever naval exercise of its kind is underway between India's Andaman Islands and Sri Lanka. India is hosting four other navies for the Malabar exercise. The unprecedented scope of the at-sea training is raising questions about its strategic intent. VOA's Steve Herman reports from aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk in the Bay of Bengal. Never before in peacetime have five navies come together to drill with so many assets and for so long. more..

Plea to Centre on medicines to Sri Lanka

Sep 8 (Hindu) The Centre has the duty to accord permission allowing the supply of food and medicine through the Red Cross to the suffering Sri Lankan Tamils in the island nation, general secretary of Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), Vaiko, said on Friday. The Centre must make up its mind and take appropriate steps to allow food and medicines collected by various Tamil organisations in the State for the suffering Lankan Tamils, he said. more..

Sri Lanka cement firm eyes road building market

Sep 8 (LBO) Tokyo Cement Company says it is positioning itself to supply the southern highway project and Sri Lanka's southern market by setting up a ready mix supply centre in Aluthgama at a cost of 100 million rupees. The company, which operates a cement making plant in Cod Bay, Trincomalee, in a joint venture with Japan's Mitsui Mining Company Ltd and St. Anthony's group of Sri Lanka, told shareholders in its 2007 annual report that the planned road projects would offer a good market for its products. more..

Mangala fails to deliver and Ranil defeated again in Parliament

Sep 8 (AT) Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Leader of the Opposition, who had high hopes of defeating the Mahinda Rajapakse government in Parliament was defeated once again yesterday when the Speaker, W. J. M. Lokubandara, a UNP MP, declared that the five Finance Bills presented to Parliament on Thursday was passed validly. The passing of these bills by electronic voting was a big blow to the Wickremesinghe-Samaraweera alliance that threatened to pull out government MPs and bring down the government. more..

What benefit would Chandrika get for helping Ranil to become the President?

Sep 8 (AT) During the forty five minutes long meeting at the official residence of the former President of Sri Lanka, Chandrika Kumaratunga, what did the opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe discussed with her Officially no newspaper or television stations in Sri Lanka know since the media was barred from the meeting. For the two politicians, the meeting was highly confidential. Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle says it was so confidential Wickremesinghe even did not want to carry his own cell phone into the meeting. more..

Misinformation campaign on food and medicine in Jaffna, nailed

Sep 8 (AT) Sri Lanka Deputy High Commission in Chennai has provided facts and figures since 11 August 2006, and has nailed the misinformation campaign systematically carried out on the alleged shortages of food and medicine in Jaffna, after the Tamil Tiger initiated closure of the A-9 road. “There are no shortages of food, medicine and other essential items in the Jaffna Peninsula. more..

Wahabism – An intolerant ideology

Sep 8 (AT) President of All Ceylon Thareekathul Mufliheen, M.C.A. Hameed pointed out that It is disheartening to see Muslims in Sri Lanka are intolerant of practices and preaching of the fellow Muslims, particularly by Wahabists who consider all other practices unislamic. He further pointed out, “Freedom of speech and search for knowledge are curtailed by the Wahabis which would lead the Muslims into the abyss of ignorance and darkness.” more..

Scandinavian Monitor to Man the SLMM Office in Jaffna

Sep 8 (AT) Scandinavian Peace monitors have come forward to man the SLMM office in Jaffna with international officials on a permanent basis. Though SLMM office in Jaffna so far remained opened, it is manned by national staff with international monitors traveling to Jaffna regularly. This decision was confirmed at a regular meeting held on Thursday between the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) and the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission. more..

CCC & John Keells combination to show the way for youth employment

Sep 8 (AT) A major constraint in the procurement of employment for the school leavers has been the lack of career guidance. Thus many of these GCE OL and AL qualified school leavers do not know that there are employment available in various fields. To assist the job thirsty youth Ceylon chamber of Commerce in association with John Keells Social Responsibility Foundation is pursuing a programme of providing career guidance to Sri Lankan School children in their O’Level and A’Levels by means of DVD/CDs as well as through mass media, specially through electronic media. more..

Ambassador to UN in Geneva writes to Asian Tribune

Sep 8 (AT) Dayan Jayatilleka and other members of the 'Vikalpa Kandayama' and its allies were indeed indicted under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Emergency. What is pertinent is that while Jayatilleka and others were indicted on 14 counts, 'not a single one of the charges was of separatism/secessionism, or even made a passing reference to it!' - Dayan Jayatilleke more..

The obligations of the one-man commission

Sep 8 (ISL) Recently Mahanama Tilakaratne, the Chairman of the Commission to Investigate Killings, Disappearances, Abductions and Unidentified Dead Bodies (the one-man commission) was quoted in the press as saying that 1,425 out of the 1,992 people thought to have disappeared since September 2006 to June 2007 had returned. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has earlier commented that the figure of over 500 persons who have not returned could be presumed to have disappeared. more..

Dallas Achilles: Fifty years of wonderful music

Sep 8 (ISL) A great musician of Sri Lankan origin will celebrate his fifty years in music with an evening bound to be rich in melodic reminiscence and rhythmic nostalgia September 29 in Melbourne, Australia. He was one of the many gifted people who became a loss to Sri Lanka when the country embarked on a racial and religious paranoia. Dallas Achilles who was a member of the great jazz and band team, The Sharps, migrated to Australia and more..

The Phyrric Victory of Capturing Thoppigala

Sep 8 (FI) Come around mid-July this year, there were victory celebrations with much euphoria, if not in the North and North East of Sri Lanka, with some enthusiasm certainly in the rest of the country, at the behest of the State which gave the lead with a colourful military parade at Independence Square, reminiscent of the yearly Independence day celebrations, on the occasion of the conquest of Thoppigala, even before the powder ran dry. more..

Federalism and the Multiethnic Challenge in Sri Lanka: A Review

Sep 8 (FI) The tentative efforts hitherto attempted in Sri Lanka to adopt a federal framework for its constitutional arrangements commencing from 1926 when it was first mooted by S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike on a visit to Jaffna, in 1929 when proposed by the Kandyan delegation before the Donoughmore Commission appointed to consider constitutional reform, in 1949 by the Federal Party as its avowed political objective when led by S.J.V.Chelvanayakam have one common feature. more..

Mahinda Can Take Path of Destruction or Re-Construction

Sep 8 (TC) In his Mahaweera Day speech in 2005, Vellupillai Pirapaharan, the LTTE leader, depicted Ranil Wickremesinghe as a calculating fox who tried to deceive everyone by entering into a ceasefire agreement with the LTTE. Ranil Wickremesinghe has once again shown his foxy behaviour in his comments on the capture of Thoppigala by the security forces of the Government of Sri Lanka. more..

Vehicle assembling factory for South

Sep 8 (GDI) Industrial Development and Ranaviru Welfare Minister- Kumara Welgama hailed the motor car assembly plant in Hambantota for providing employment and utilizing local resources for the manufactures of local motor cars. The Minster appreciated the facilities, benefits and welfare activities that have been provided for the 1700 employees who are working at the factory. more..

Frankfurt receives new Consulate Office

Sep 8 (GDI) A new consulate General Office was officially inaugurated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs- Rohitha Bogollagama yesterday (07). The consulate was relocated in Frankfurt to promote Sri Lannka’s interests more efficiently including investment, trade and tourism and also to serve the expatriate community in the Hesse area. The Minister for Federal and European Affairs of State of Hesse- Voker Hoff, Chairman of the City Parliament of Frankfurt- Buhrmnn, more..

President reiterates Govt. commitment to eliminate terrorism

Sep 8 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing a mammoth public rally in Galle affirmed that his Government will continue the same policy frame work until terrorism is totally eradicated from the country yesterday (07). He also urged for continued support of the public in bringing his vision to a success. "I will never ever breach the trust placed in me by the people" President said. more..

Country to achieve 100% literacy by 2011

Sep 8 (GDI) The Ministry of Education has taken in to consideration of the methodologies that should be applied to achieve the literacy rate to 100% by the year 2011. Accordingly two initiatives will be introduced to the national education system. Under the first step, the parents of all children who are over three years will be motivated to send their children to preschools after which the Ministry will enroll the children to school education system. more..

District Court issues interim injunction against UNP

Sep 8 (GDI) A court order was issued on opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe in preventing the suspension of 11 UNP Members who had joined the Government and assumed duties as Ministers of Parliament from their memberships of the Working Committee of the UNP. The order will be valid until the end of this case. The Court issued the enjoining order preventing the suspension of the ministers whose memberships had been suspended without holding a proper inquiry. more..

'Karuna' threatens political parties

Sep 8 (BBC) A Tamil political party in Sri Lanka has expressed optimism that differences with the breakaway LTTE group would be resolved through dialogue. Leader of PLOTE, Dharmalingam Siddharthan, told BBC Sandeshaya that the party would be allowed to carry on political work in the east despite threats allegedly made by the Karuna group. Leaflets distributed in Batticaloa in the name of Chennan Force has threatened people not to support TNA, TULF, EPDP, PLOTE and EPRLF political parties. more..

Sri Lanka Freedom Party becomes 56

Sep 8 (Fri) The Sri Lanka Freedom party was an instrument to champion and voice the aspirations of the Sinhala Buddhists that had been suppressed for almost four hundred years of foreign domination, Personal and political differences led to Bandaranayake leaving the UNP and forming his own party in September 1951. Through the SLFP was formed in 1951 the Sinhala Maha Sabha prepared the ground for the formation of the SLFP which voiced the aspirations of the Sinhala Buddhists after it was formed in the 1930’s. more..

Of stray dogs and bitches

Sep 8 (Fri) Rabies is on the increase. Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva this week claimed that over 2000 persons bitten by dogs had been treated last month at state hospitals. He said he was unable to say how many of them had been bitten by stray dogs. The dog population of this country is 2.3 million, statistics indicate. During the past eight months, 29 persons bitten by dogs have perished by contracting rabies. more..

President upholds Tamil problems

Sep 8 (Fri) President Mahinda Rajapakse reiterated that he would address the genuine Political aspirations of the Tamils in the country, but would not accept LTTE terrorism and would wipe it out. The President was speaking to News Post on 1st September over the current political situation in Sri Lanka. Excerpts of the interview: ‘Federalism is a negative word in Sri Lanka because people think it synonymous with dividing the country. Also, I prefer the phrase ‘power sharing’ to ‘devolution’,’ the President said, more..

Malaka in another night club brawl

Sep 8 (LNP) In another nightclub brawl non-cabinet Labour Minister Mervyn Silva`s son Malaka had on Thursday night allegedly attacked a Finance Director of a leading commercial institution. The victim Chaminda Senasinghe`s brother, UNP Western Provincial Councilor Sujeewa Senasinghe told the Daily Mirror his brother had gone with a young German lady to a night club in Bambalapitiya for dinner when Malaka Silva and about ten others had allegedly assaulted him. more..

Ready to relinquish post if MPs want: Speaker

Sep 8 (LNP) Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara told parliament yesterday he was highly worried about what happened in the House the previous day and under these circumstances was prepared to step down if the members requested him to do so. Causing ripples of laughter among government members, UNP MP Mahinda Ratnatilake said during the commotion two ministers had crawled up to him from behind the Speaker`s chair and tried to pull down his sarong. more..

A question of reputation

Sep 8 (LNP) One of our readers who had been away for a while yesterday afternoon inquired about a story doing the rounds that we had brought Parliament into disrepute through a headline in The Island. He wanted to know whether there was any truth in the story. We told him that whoever thought so ought to be a real nincompoop who urgently needed some schooling. His inquiry prompted this comment. more..

KumbukRiver nominated for Travel Oscars

Sep 8 (SAMN) Sri Lanka’s KumbukRiver has been nominated for the Leading Eco-Lodge in the World at the World Travel Awards, the Oscars of the travel and tourism world, the first time Sri Lanka figures among the ‘world’s leading’ classifications at the showpiece annual event which also includes awards by continent as well. KumbukRiver has been voted among the world’s 8 leading eco-lodges and will vie for the top slot when professionals from over 160,000 travel agents more..

Tourism industry to combat child abuse

Sep 8 (SAMN) The Tourism Ministry and the Tourist Board with the assistance of UNICEF is working out means of eliminating sexual exploitation of children in Sri Lanka. As the sexual exploitation of children in tourism has become a major problem to both tourism receiving and tourism sending countries worldwide and has been recognized as a global phenomenon that has adverse impacts on millions of children each year, more..

Lankan team briefs HR groups in Geneva

Sep 8 (SAMN) A series of new police stations and posts will be established in the Eastern Province before the local government elections said Police Spokesman Jayantha Wickramaratne. The Senior DIG said yesterday that five police stations had already been esblished in the Eastern range especially in the Batticaloa division. Apart from the established police stations in Sampur, Kattaparichchan in Trincomalee division and Vakarai in Batticaloa division four more stations have been opened in Ayithyamalai, Vavunathivu, Kokkadicholai and Karadiyanaru in the same division. more..

Select Committee to probe MiG deal

Sep 8 (SAMN) The motion to appoint a Select Committee to probe alleged bribery and corruption regarding the procurement of MiG 27 aircraft has now been placed on the parliamentary order paper. Accordingly, Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara is to appoint the Committee at a future date. The Committee is expected to investigate whether the purchased aircraft had long expired its useful lifespan. It will conduct also investigations into allegations that ‘front companies’ had been used in procuring these aircraft. more..

Navy camps for Silavathura, Mullikulam

Sep 8 (DN) As the ground troops are consolidating their positions in Silavathura, Arippu and Kondachchi, the Navy is planning to establish two Navy camps in Silavathura and Mullikulam to provide security for the fishing community. Navy Spokesman Commander D.K.P. Dassanayaka said the two Navy detachments will be established tomorrow. "Fishermen south of Mannar underwent immense hardships at the hands of the LTTE as they used the innocent fishermen to smuggle goods to LTTE held areas," Commander Dassanayaka added. more..

Tourism Act to bring Rs. 1b from Cess Fund

Sep 8 (DN) The proposed Tourism Act would bring an annual income of nearly Rs. one billion to the industry, the Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism George Michael said. This money would be collected from the CESS fund, which is being accumulated from a levy from registered hotels and a percentage from the Embarkation tax. Michael said that the Treasury is annually forwarding around Rs. 450 million to run the activities of the Ministry. more..

Mavil Aru fraud: JVP reveals alleged financial transactions

Sep 8 (DM) The JVP yesterday revealed information of bank transactions worth Rs. 400,000 related to the alleged financial fraud in the payment of compensation to farmers who were affected by the LTTE’s forcible closure of Mavil Aru sluice gates last year. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake told journalists yesterday that Agrarian Insurance Board Chairman Namal Ratnayake had allegedly deposited Rs. 400,000 in the Cinnamon Gardens Branch of Commercial Bank to be more..

Restore kerosene subsidy: Bimal

Sep 8 (DM) UNP and the JVP which came together to oppose the five financial bills in Parliament on Thursday came together yesterday as well in order to call on the government to restore the kerosene subsidy. JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake who moved an adjournment motion in the House yesterday called on the Government to restore the Rs 16 subsidy per litre of Kerosene which the government cut some time back. more..

Sri Lanka, India to discuss new cricket league

Sep 8 (AFP) A top Sri Lankan cricket official will attend a meeting of the Indian Cricket Board next week to discuss a new league being floated to counter a controversial rebel series. "We have been asked to come and I will represent Sri Lanka Cricket," Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) President Jayantha Dharmadasa told AFP Saturday. India's cricket chiefs will meet in New Delhi on September 13 to discuss a glitzy Twenty20 series to compete with the unofficial Indian Cricket League (ICL) to size. more..

Sri Lanka President intervenes in Chandana retirement

Sep 8 (AFP) Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse has asked the country's sports minister to investigate all-rounder Upul Chandana's hasty retirement. "The president asked me to go into the reasons which led Chandana to announce his retirement," Gamini Lokuge told AFP Saturday. Lokuge said he would invite Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials and the national selection panel to discuss the matter. more..

US lawmakers express concerns over safety of Sri Lankan defense correspondent

Sep 8 (AP) U.S. lawmakers have asked Sri Lanka's government to protect a local defense journalist, saying he faces danger after reporting on alleged corruption in a military warplane purchase, according to a letter seen Saturday. Sri Lanka's government had been providing high-profile defense reporter Iqbal Athas with police protection for about nine years, but withdrew it last month. more..

‘Sri Lanka combines normalcy with collapse’

Sep 8 (TC) Since the recent return to open warfare between government forces and the LTTE, the conflict in Sri Lanka has been escalating steadily, and hopes of a peaceful resolution have receded. Dr. Jehan Perera, Executive Director of the independent advocacy organisation National Peace Council, has for years been at the center of peace efforts in Sri Lanka. In an extensive online interview with Bijuraj, he presents a nuanced view of the situation, tracing the roots of the ongoing turmoil in Sri Lanka Court. more..

Sri Lanka gunbattles, blast kill 13

Sep 8 (Reuters) Sri Lankan soldiers killed seven Tamil Tiger rebels in clashes in the north of the island, the military said on Saturday, adding it lost three of its men in the fighting. Three civilians were also killed in a landmine blast in the eastern district of Batticaloa, blamed on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fighting for a separate homeland for minority ethnic Tamils. more..

Sri Lanka eco-lodge on track for global award

Sep 9 (LBO) A Sri Lankan eco-lodge built in the shape of an elephant has been nominated for a top slot at the World Travel Awards, its operators said. KumbukRiver, in Okkampitiya in the Buttala is about 250 kilometres away from the capital Colombo and are among the eight lodges nominated for Leading Eco-Lodge in the World at the World Travel Awards to be held later this year. more..

Sri Lanka John Keells bunker cash cow in fresh court challenge

Sep 9 (LBO) A rival bunker supplier has joined the court action challenging the sale of Sri Lanka's then-bunkering monopoly, Lanka Marine Services, which has now emerged as one of John Keells Holdings main money-spinners. The Sri Lanka Shipping Group said in a statement that it had filed an intervention application in the Supreme Court through their attorneys Julius & Creasy on Wednesday, September 5 in the action filed by former leftist parliamentarian Vasudeva Nanayakkara. more..

Mahinda’s military victories defeat Ranil’s anti-national politics

Sep 9 (AT) Opening the Emergency debate in Parliament for the UNP last week Lakshman Kiriella said that “the government should target ‘Wanni’ in its military onslaught against terrorism instead of focusing its attention on insignificant locations.” In effect, he is ridiculing once again the achievements of our soldiers who are sacrificing their lives to liberate the areas held by the Tamil Tigers. more..

Human suffering reflects in Pilgrimages: Is common at Our Lady of Matara Shrine too

Sep 9 (AT) Most people apparently are in hope driven faith and this mentality drives them to adhere to some religion or dogma. Hope is to amass whatever possible for comfortable living and they continue to be faithful, hoping that the god or the deity would fulfill the hopes. Many religious followers are also in the habit of going on pilgrimages to worship their gods or other deities and when they go they take all their worries and difficulties in life in the hope of some solace and true faith have also fulfill the hopes. more..

“Navy will get better hold of Mannar Sea”

Sep 9 (Hindu) At least 12 persons, including seven LTTE cadre and three soldiers were reported killed in clashes in the north in the last 24 hours. The Defence Ministry said the Army repulsed an LTTE attempt to infiltrate the Forward Defence Line (FDL) in Jaffna killing two Tiger cadres. A few more attempts were also thwarted by the troops in Vavuniya. The military alleged that two members of the EPDP were gunned down by the LTTE in in Jaffna and Mannar. more..

Window to truth

Sep 9 (NIP) From the spontaneous applause that followed the Chennai screening of the Tamil film Aanivaer, writer-director John Mahendran knew he had finally stuck the right chord with his audience. "Nanda (who plays the lead) and I were standing outside the doors of the theater when we heard the claps," recalls an overwhelmed John, adding that the response was just the same during screenings in Tamil pockets in London, Canada, Switzerland, Norway and Denmark. more..

'What if we use our powers incorrectly like the pen that is used wrongly'

Sep 9 (LNP) Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka making a statement to a weekend newspaper states that allegations on a fraud in Mig deal are lies and says that no one has taken at least five cents commission in military procurements. "We acquired lots of military equipment in the recent past. More than 100 armored cars and around 400 other vehicles, a number that exceeded the number of vehicles purchased in past ten years, were procured at the expense of millions of dollars. more..