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IIGEP’s final press conference

Service sector university in Buttala

Apr 22 (SAMN) A committee headed by educational professionals, appointed by Higher Education Minister Professor Wiswa Warnapala to look into ways and means of rehabilitating the Buttala Gam Udawa Site, vacated by the Sabaragamuwa University undergraduates of the Applied Science Faculty, has recommended to the Minister through a comprehensive research report that the site which consists of around 125 acres of land should be made use of to set up a university catering to the service sector, more..

Adequate supplies of drugs sent to North

Apr 22 (DN) The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry has already taken measures to supply adequate drugs to the North. The drugs for the first quarter of the year have already been sent and the required drugs for the second quarter is now being loaded to ships, a Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry spokesman said. He said that usually the Ministry sends drugs to the provinces quarterly through its Medical Supply Division (MSD). more..

Acrimonious feuding inside JVP as party’s support slides

Apr 22 (wsws) Bitter factional differences have erupted in the JVP, a Sri Lankan party that combines populist demagogy with Sinhala communalism and strident support for the renewed war against the LTTE. While the dispute is dominated by personal abuse, organisational manoeuvring, court actions and violence, the tensions reflect the deep-going political and social crisis that is wracking the island as a whole. more..

265 new recruits to SLAS

Apr 22 (DN) Two hundred sixty five new recruits entered the Sri Lanka Accountants’ Service SLAS yesterday under the Induction Training Programme at the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration. The new recruits were selected through a competitive examination. Representing the Treasury, Deputy Secretary for the Treasury Sumith Abeysinghe said there will be no responses for unethical requests for favours when posting new recruits in various Government Ministries and Departments. more..

Bishops demand LTTE quit Madhu shrine

Apr 22 (Island) The Catholic Bishops' Conference in Sri Lanka has demanded that the LTTE leave the sacred precincts of the Madhu Church immediately. A statement issued by the CBCSL yesterday said: "We, the Catholic Bishops of Sri Lanka, are greatly concerned about the grave situation prevailing in the Madhu Sanctuary and its sacred area, where the LTTE and the Sri Lanka Security Forces are engaged presently in military operations and armed conflict, and more..

Ten year suspension for exam fraud

Apr 22 (Island) "In order to discourage and prevent candidates who commit fraud at public examinations conducted by the Department of Examinations, Anura Edirisinghe, Commissioner General of Examinations has decided to impose tougher penalties to those who use undue and illegal ways and means at public examinations" said Mr. W. M. Balasooriya, the Deputy Director of Education, Bingiriya addressing a conference of school principals held recently at Bingiriya National School. more..

CAA seals profiteers, UNP MPs raid shops

Apr 22 (DM) Twenty shops in the Colombo, Kandy and Gampaha districts were raided and sealed yesterday by the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) officials for selling rice above the controlled price. CAA executive officer Muthukumara said that two shops raided by his team were in Nugegoda. In both cases rice was being sold at Rs. 70 despite the price displayed being Rs. 65. One shop was in the city centre while the other was situated near the Jubilee Post. more..

To mediate or not: India not yet decided

Apr 22 (DM) India is still undecided if it would act as a mediator between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE, sources from the Indian Foreign Ministry told the Daily Mirror. The top ranking official who wished to remain anonymous said that a decision had not been reached by the Indian leaders despite repeated calls from its own politicians, urging India to act as a mediator in the Sri Lankan conflict. more..

Sri Lanka trade deficit doubles, foreign reserves up

Apr 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka's trade deficit doubled in the first two months of the year to 937 million dollars but the overall balance of payments was in surplus by 448 million dollars, the central bank said. In February exports grew 9.7 percent to 642.6 million dollars with tea exports rising 42.1 percent to 108.6 million amidst a global commodity boom but textile and garments exports saw a reversal with a fall of 2.7 percent to 257 million dollars. more..

Fighting in Sri Lanka kills 17 rebels, one soldier

Apr 22 (AP) A series of battles along the front lines of Sri Lanka's civil war killed 17 ethnic Tamil rebels and one soldier, the military said Tuesday. In the worst of the fighting Monday in Sri Lanka's northern jungles, government forces killed nine Tamil Tiger fighters in the Welioya area. A battle in Vavuniya killed four guerrillas and a clash in the Mannar area killed four other rebels and a soldier, more..

Who can clean this mess?

Apr 22 (KT) THE police are supported by the judges, who rule regardless of the evidence. Then come the lawyers, who work with the police and the judges to get cases assigned to them. Then come the doctors, who provide the necessary medical reports so that the police, the judges and the lawyers can continue to avoid all responsibility to the public — to those below." This is an extract from a book written by Patrick Lawrence, an American journalist. more..

Tamil rebels say Sri Lankan jets bombed Catholic church

Apr 22 (AFP) Tamil separatists destroyed an army tank after Sri Lankan war planes bombed a Roman Catholic church compound killing a man and wounding two children, the rebels said Tuesday. The LTTE said one of its anti-tank units confronted the soldiers who were trying to break into rebel-held territory. The group gave no details of casualties. Earlier, the LTTE accused the military of carrying out an air attack inside rebel-held territory, which killed one civilian and wounded two children at a church compound. more..

IIGEP fulfilled mandated task - Bhagwati

Apr 22 (LD) The state-appointed Commission of Inquiry is making a very slow and lethargic progress in its probe into grave human rights violations, the head of an expert panel that oversaw the investigations has alleged. Retired Indian Chief Justice P.N. Bhagwati, Chairman of the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP), made the allegation at its final news briefing that was held in Colombo this morning (April 22nd). more..

Turning to China, Iran for Funds

Apr 22 (IPS) Sri Lanka’s government, under pressure over human rights violations, is abandoning support from traditional but rights-sensitive partners like the United States and Europe and turning to countries like China and Iran to finance its infrastructure projects. Relations between the country's traditional partners and the government turned frosty in recent months as the U.S., the EU and international human rights groups raise concern over growing rights violations, including the harassment of journalists. more..

Sri Lanka's economic downturn hits realty market

Apr 22 (IANS) Although the real estate market is up and vibrant in Sri Lanka, property developers have complained that the industry has been badly hit due to 'the downturn in the economy', a media report said Tuesday. According to the state-run Daily News, the developers have said that 'there has been a drop in condominium (apartment) sales' with the banks reluctant to fund the projects. 'All developers are experiencing a difficult time as there is a downturn in the economy. more..

'Twenty20 cricket setting a different trend'

Apr 22 (Hindu) Former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga was known for his shrewd captaincy. He played mindgames against the Australians much before Sourav Ganguly. Before the T20 first game at Bangalore Ranatunga made a pertinent point by saying that “like we in the sub-continent had made haste in taking up European fast and power-packed hockey, we are now being too enthusiastic about promoting T20 which will test our strength and endurance rather than skills”. more..

LTTE 'policemen' surrender to Sri Lanka army

Apr 22 (PTI) Sri Lanka's army on Tuesday said three surrendered "LTTE policemen" have revealed they were forced to undertake route-clearing and picketing in the rebel-controlled areas and even served in prison for disagreeing to perform "police duties". "Three Tiger 'policemen' deserters have confessed to troops that they had shunned LTTE 'police duties' on several occasions and the outfit had repeatedly arrested them and confined them to the Kanagapura prison in Kilinochchi on different counts where they had met and became friends," more..

Experiences of a military-guided tour of the sensitive peninsula

Apr 22 (FL) JAFFNA town and peninsula, now home to 6.08 lakh people as per official figures, was re-captured by the Sri Lankan military from the LTTE in 1995. For an outsider on a military-guided tour – there is no other way to get there – it looks as if the Tigers, barring an estimated 1,500 of them clinging on to the thinning forward defence lines (FDLs) along the neck-shaped link to Kilinochchi, were driven out just a few weeks ago. more..

Foreign experts step up human rights criticism of Sri Lanka

Apr 22 (AFP) A team of international legal experts Tuesday stepped up their criticism of Sri Lanka, noting that repeated calls to improve its record on the issue had fallen on deaf ears. The International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) said Colombo lacked the political will to investigate grave rights abuses. The panel members spoke to reporters Tuesday for the first time after attacking Colombo in a statement last month for blocking efforts to ensure minimum standards were maintained in probing serious abuses. more..

Lawyers 'responsible' for CC crisis

Apr 23 (BBC) The legal professionals in Sri Lanka should mainly take the blame for the crisis over appointing the Constitutional Council (CC), a leading lawyer said. Gunaratne Wanninanyake, president of the Colombo Magistrate Court Bar Association (CMCBA), told BBC Sandeshaya that the legal professionals should take a greater responsibility for the crisis. The Association has passed a resolution passed urging the authorities to appoint the CC without a delay. more..

Sri Lanka relaxes rice price controls

Apr 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka has lifted price controls on the rice wholesale trade, a top official said, ending a short-lived socialist experiment not seen in the country since the heavy money printing and control era of the 1970's. Trade ministry secretary R M K Ratnayake said a decision had been made to lift controls from the wholesale trade and the move would have legal effect by mid-night Tuesday. more..

Sri Lanka must improve human rights, ensure free poll, says US official

Apr 23 (LBO) The United States has called on Sri Lanka to improve its human rights record and ensure forthcoming elections in the east are free and fair, the embassy said in a statement Tuesday. It quoted Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Don Camp as characterizing his meetings during April 20-22 in Colombo as "useful and frank, in the way of long time friends." more..

Sri Lankan official accuses international panel of conspiring against the govt

Apr 23 (AP) Sri Lanka's attorney general harshly criticized an international advisory panel Tuesday, saying its resignation from a human rights inquiry appeared part of a conspiracy to force the country to accept U.N. monitors. The panel announced last month it was quitting in frustration over the government's refusal to adopt its reform recommendations, and said the commission of inquiry into human rights cases stemming from the civil war with Tamil rebels did not meet international standards. more..

Sri Lanka to continue right probe despite panel quitting

Apr 23 (Reuters) Sri Lanka said on Tuesday it will continue an official probe into rights abuses despite the withdrawal of foreign observers who criticised a "lack of political will to find the truth". The foreign observers, who oversaw the Presidential commission of inquiry into rights abuses, had said in March that it would quit operations in Sri Lanka, citing government interference. more..

Ken talks to 'front' for banned Tamil Tigers

Apr 23 (ES) Ken Livingstone has addressed a meeting co-organised by a "front" for a banned terror organisation - even though he had been warned at the highest diplomatic levels about the group's alleged terrorist links. The Mayor sought backing from the British Tamil Forum at the meeting in Harrow on Saturday, according to its spokesman. The forum is accused by the Sri Lankan government of being a front for the Tamil Tigers, which wages an armed struggle for a separate Tamil state in Sri Lanka and more..

Sri Lankan military battle tank destroyed in north: LTTE

Apr 23 (IANS) The Tamil Tiger rebels Tuesday claimed to have destroyed a main battle tank of the Sri Lankan Army during a clash with advancing government troops close to their forward defences in the northern Jaffna peninsula. 'A Sri Lankan Army tank was fully destroyed at Muhamalai Forward Defence Line (FDL) Tuesday morning around 7.30 a.m. when LTTE's anti-tank unit confronted the army soldiers who attempted to break the Tiger FDL,' more..

Tamils’ daily misery in northern refugee camps

Apr 23 (AN) Sri Lanka’s army and the LTTE continue to battle it out, relentlessly. Government forces continue to issue victory proclamations as they carry out combined air and ground attacks, however, no one dares to visit Mannar District, the current theatre of operation, as the Defence Ministry continues to reject issuing entry permits. AsiaNews talked to Fr Sarath Iddamalgoda who last week visited the suffering population with a small group that more..

Chanaka at 50

Apr 23 (TC) Dr. Chanaka Amaratunga, the founder of the Liberal Party, turns 50 today, April 19th. In cricket, when a batsman crosses 50 he raises his bat to acknowledge the applause of the crowd. But Chanaka, a lifelong hater of cricket, was not a man who played to the gallery.In fact, a defiance of populism defined his career. 50 is generally considered the dividing line between youth and middle age. more..

IIGEP 'exceeded mandate'

Apr 23 (BBC) The international expert panel appointed to monitor the proceedings of a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) has exceeded the mandate, Sri Lanka government said. Addressing media in Colombo, minister in charge of human rights said he was “puzzled” that the International Independent Group Eminent Persons (IIGEP) has decided to leave Sri Lanka even before their term ends. more..

Claymore Kills “Kili Father” M.X. Karunaratnam at Ambaikulam

Apr 23 (TC) One more name was added last sunday to Sri Lanka’s growing list of Tamil Christian clergymen killed in the on going ethnic conflict. The latest victim was the Catholic priest Rev.Fr Mariampillai Xavier Karunaratnam popularly known as “Kilifather”. He was killed in a claymore mine explosion on April 20th. Fr. Karunaratnam had in recent times become well-known as a human rights activist. more..

IDPs continue to flee fighting in northwest

Apr 23 (IRIN) Intensified fighting in recent months in Sri Lanka's restive northwestern Mannar District has forced more than 16,000 people to flee to safe areas within the region. In light of this, A Nicholasspillai, the government agent for Mannar, told IRIN he had made contingency plans for up to 25,000 additional IDPs fleeing the clashes between government forces and the LTTE in the district, while more..

Senior U.S. State Department official visits Sri Lanka April 20-22

Apr 23 (AT) Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Don Camp visited Colombo April 20-22 as part of the U.S. Government’s regular, ongoing consultations with the Sri Lankan Government. During his visit, Mr. Camp met with senior Government of Sri Lanka officials, including Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama, Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe, more..

Concerns emphasized on the relocation of Virgin Mary statute back to the Madhu Church

Apr 23 (AT) Minister Dr. Keheliya Rambukkawella speaking to Asian Tribune said, "We are concerned about the Madhu Church and the statute of the Virgin Mary. Very much concerned about it. We think it is the Bishop of Mannar who is responsible and answerable to the community there. We are also making all arrangements by talking to the relevant authorities." more..

NGOs : the self appointed witnesses, judges, jury & executioners

Apr 23 (AT) World politics is certainly not how it used to be. We have witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Union, the rise of fundamentalism & the topic of discussion the rise of the non-governmental organizations or “private voluntary organizations", "civil society organizations" or "non-profit organizations." While initially these civil society organizations (CSOs) remained in the background of world politics they are today seen everywhere & more..

Time for Sri Lanka to focus on non-traditional security issues

Apr 23 (IL) Sri Lanka is facing enormous problems with non-traditional security (NTS) issues such as human, water, energy and environmental security. NTS issues are taking centre-stage in a globalized world, especially after end of the Cold War in the 1990s, and are prevalent in developing countries. Although Sri Lanka is better off in some of these respects when compared to other developing countries, she is still vulnerable. more..

Hara-kiri over rice!

Apr 23 (BL) The crisis over rice faced by Sri Lanka as well as several other countries is worsening with mixed reactions from all stakeholders over the corrective measures. Rice crisis appears to be easing off as merchants and millers are beginning to comply with government moves though opposition as well as consumers complain of lack of supplies. However, the Main Opposition UNP has condemned the imposition of the price control on rice by the UPFA government. more..

CPC charged with violating bunker supplies tender procedure

Apr 23 (BL) Sri Lanka’s only bunkering company- Lanka Marine Services (Pvt) Ltd is to institute legal action against state oil giant-Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) granting bunkering tender to a less qualified company in blatant violation of tender procedures. Despite repeated oral and written inquiries, regarding the application of Expression of Interest (EoI) tendered by LMS dated December 27, to act as Operational Associates of CPC in the supply of bunkers, more..

Military offensives assume new dimension

Apr 23 (BL) Rev. Father M. X. Karunaratnam, was killed in a claymore attack, allegedly carried out by a Deep Penetration Unit (DPU) of the Sri Lanka Army, on Sunday, according to initial reports from Tamileelam Police. The attack took place on the Mallavi - Vavunikkulam Road, in Wanni around 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, according to the pro-LTTE website, TamilNet. Rev. Father Karunaratnam was known to the LTTE, as Father Kili. more..

NGJA asks plantation firms to auction land for gemming

Apr 23 (BL) Illegal gemming is taking place in several plantation company-owned estates, according to the National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA). Investigations the Authority has made revealed that gem deposits are found in abundance in these estates. In view of this the NGJA has successfully negotiated with heads of plantation companies to auction gem lands of their estates for gemming. more..

JVP comes unstuck as MR follows a diabolical foreign policy

Apr 23 (ML) The New Year did not portend glad tidings for the country with the nation set to not only face a food crisis of mammoth proportions but also much political and economic upheaval. And even as President Rajapakse grappled with the nagging issue of human rights the schism within its key extremist ally the JVP grew deeper. Politicians have never failed to exploit Buddhism for personal gain and in the context of the Sri Lankan polity, no doubt with good Machiavellian reason. more..

GSP+ — still not too late

Apr 23 (ML) The countries of the world, India included, have set for themselves the Millennium Development Goals. Our date with destiny is not at the end of the millennium, but in the year 2015. Will we achieve those goals? In the seven years that remain, it is in our hands to shape our destiny. Progress is not always on a linear path, nor is it inevitable. Two thousand years ago, Saint Tiruvalluvar said: "Aran izhukkathu allavai neeki maran izhukka maanam udayathu arasu" more..

Democracy vs. Terrorism - A negotiated settlement to the conflict?

Apr 23 (IL) My presentation today focuses on the conflict in Sri Lanka. And as such, you might be puzzled as to why I am introducing elements of democracy as well as terrorism into the discussion. Well, there is good reason to focus broadly on both subjects, when speaking of a conflict that has dragged on, yes, for over 30 years. more..

Govt. urged to hold free and fair election in east without intimidation

Apr 23 (ML) The U.S. State Department’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, Donald Camp, arrived in Sri Lanka Sunday (20) for a two-day official visit and urged the government to hold a free and fair election in the Eastern Province without recourse to intimidation. Camp’s call came amidst escalating violence and increased calls for UN Human Rights Monitors by the international community and civic groups. more..

TNA blames Govt. for killing of priest

Apr 23 (ML) The murder of Rev. Fr. M Karunarathnam bears all the signs of an attack by an Army Deep Penetration Unit, the TNA said yesterday. "The deep penetration units of the armed forces have several times in the past been accused of such claymore mine explosions in the Wanni in which Tamil civilians have been killed. The killing of Rev. Fr Karunaratnam bears the hallmark of such an attack," it said in a press release. more..

"Darussalam" raided by police

Apr 23 (MG) Darussalam, the headquarters of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, in Slave Island, Colombo- 02 was raided by the Fort Crime Division this noon. Party Chairman and SLMC's chief candidate for Batticaloa district, Basheer Segu Dawood and several senior party members had been at the office by the time of the raid. The police had carried out the search without a warrant. SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem is currently in Trincomalee on campaign trail. more..

'Satisfactory measures to grant citizenship to refugees in camps in India'

Apr 23 (LT) Several satisfactory steps have been taken to grant citizenship to Sri Lankan refugees living in refugee camps in India says Parliamentarian Ramalingam Chandrasekeran, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to look into the matter of citizenship to those refugees. According to a press announcement released by Mr. Ramalingam Chandraseskeran, Deputy Chairman of Committees in the Parliament Mr. Ramalaingam and more..

Bring victory by hook or by crook! – Govt. pressurizes ‘Samurdhi’ officials

Apr 23 (LT) The government has asked all ‘Samurdhi’ officials of the Eastern Province to do anything and everything to bring victory to the government at the Eastern PC election reports our special correspondent in the Eastern Province. ‘Samurdhi’ officials were pressurized to work for the coalition backed by the government at a special meeting held in Town Hall at Ampare yesterday (22nd) with the participation of government minister Susanthe Punchinilame. more..

Making sure our food is safe

Apr 23 (LG) You're out shopping and a bottle of colourful cordial draws your attention. You pick up two bottles and then some kadachoru to go with it. An assortment of colourful chips, fancy packets and tins of yellow and pink follow. Do you know that these colourful drinks and food can be deceptive? With the aim of protecting the consumer, the Food Science Division of the Government Analyst's Department plays an important role in screening food more..

IIGEP conspired to force Sri Lanka to accept UN monitors! – Attorney General

Apr 23 (LT) Resignation by International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) from a human rights inquiry appeared part of a conspiracy to force the country to accept U.N. monitors says Attorney General C.R. de Silva. The panel announced last month it was quitting in frustration over the government's refusal to adopt its reform recommendations, and said the commission of inquiry into human rights cases stemming from the civil war with Tamil rebels did not meet international standards. more..