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Is Muhamalli the Political Graveyard of Mahinda Rajapakse?

Apr 29 (SLW) Ever since I wrote a news analysis on the second battle to capture Muhamallai titled “Once Bitten, Twice Shy, Are They Really?” many things have changed. Firstly, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have given up conventional war fare in the eastern theater and reverted to guerilla warfare. This was perceived by many as a victory for the Sri Lanka Army (SLA). more..

Jaffna lawyers announce boycott of Courts

Apr 29 (TN) Northern Bar Association of Sri Lanka (NBSL) decided in its Saturday meeting in Jaffna to launch a boycott of all Courts of Law in the Jaffna peninsula from 2 May until the section allocated for the use of their members in the newly opened judicial complex is made available, Ms. Shantha Abimannasingam, Zonal Vice President of NBSL said. Failure of any constructive measure to be taken despite NBSL discussions on this issue with the Attorney General and more..

Sri Lankan soldiers and families speak to the WSWS

Apr 29 (wsws) Hundreds of injured soldiers have been hospitalised in Sri Lanka after a military offensive in the Muhamalai-Nagarkovil-Kilali area on April 22-24 was beaten back by the LTTE. The operation involved about 800 troops directly, backed by another 5,000 personnel. Wounded solders are now undergoing treatment at the Palali military hospital on the northern Jaffna peninsula, Anuradhapura hospital in north-central province, more..

Sri Lankan army suffers a debacle as a northern offensive collapses

Apr 29 (wsws) The Sri Lankan army suffered a serious defeat last week when a military offensive near Muhamalai and Kilali was repulsed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). There is no reliable figure for the number of casualties, but at least 140 soldiers were killed and over 300 wounded. The number is almost certain to rise as news of the operation filters out through heavy government censorship. more..

Fighting the LTTE and Bishop Joseph

Apr 29 (LG) The Sri Lankan State and its army have been entrusted with the unenviable task of defeating the LTTE militarily and defeating Bishop Rayappu Joseph’s "Peace Zone" strategy at the same time. The first task, which is defeating the LTTE militarily, has been complicated in the Mannar sector due to the interdependence and joint operation strategies of the LTTE and Bishop Joseph. more..

A role now for India? (Part II)

Apr 29 (LG) War and violence in Sri Lanka have come a long way, since it all commenced in the early Eighties. So has the Indian involvement in trying to find an amicable political solution, and helping to implement it on the ground. From direct political and military involvement of the Eighties, New Delhi’s role in Sri Lanka is today confined to subtle diplomatic measures and initiatives aimed mainly at mitigating the sufferings of the Tamil-speaking community in the country. more..

Alleged raging bribery, corruption and mismanagement in Health Ministry

Apr 29 (LG) Alleged massive bribery, corruption and mismanagement in the Health Ministry has compelled the World Bank to terminate the HIV/AIDS prevention project worth US $ 12.6 million, without extension. The World Bank said the project fund coming under the Ministry of Health has been under utilized with just only 55% of the grant disbursed. Since the initiation of the National HIV/AIDS prevention project (NHAPP), it has been beset with multiplying problems : more..

'Role of weapons has no place in sacred places'

Apr 29 (LG) Security forces have stated that they had freed the Madhu Shrine from the grip of Tigers, on consistent offensives launched. It’s to the happiness of the people that the Madhu Shrine has been freed without any damages to the sacred place by way of military onslaughts. We share that happiness with the people, moderate Tamil political party the EPDP said in a statement. more..

The killing of civilians must stop on both sides of the border

Apr 29 (LG) The Tamil Information Centre (TIC) is deeply distressed over the deaths and injuries caused by a bomb in a passenger bus during rush hour in Piliyandala, a suburb of the Capital, Colombo on 25 April 2008. The bomb killed 26 civilians and wounded 62. In recent times, there have been a number of incidents in which civilians travelling in public buses have been targeted. more..

Beyond Madhu: Inside story of dollars crows in Sri Lanka

Apr 29 (LG) After months of slow and cautious progress, Sri Lanka announced that the Army has finally managed to capture the Madhu Church. Despite grave provocations from LTTE, the SLA has admirably managed to restrain themselves from causing any damage to the Historical Church. Had there been the slightest scratch to the Church to by SLA shelling, the whole Jim Band of Tiger Propagandists would have danced on one leg and shouted to the world that a “Sinhala Buddhist Army has nuked a Christian Church”. more..

Time has come for fresh Indian initiative in Sri Lanka

Apr 29 (LG) The Tamil Nadu state assembly resolution calling upon the Centre to take steps to bring peace in Sri Lanka last Wednesday, April 24, merits follow up action by all those who aspire for resolving the Sri Lanka Tamil issue peacefully. The resolution perhaps for the first time reflects the desire of Tamils everywhere for India to take a more proactive role in Sri Lanka in the interest of all stakeholders – more..

Muslim Aid celebrates New Year in South

Apr 29 (MG) Muslim Aid Sri Lanka (MASL) held a Peace Sports Festival and Trade Fair in Ambalantota in the Hambantota district to celebrate Sinhala and Hindu New Year, with its partner the Youth Enterprise Information Centre (YEIC). Some 700 people from all three communities joined in for a day of traditional sports such as a bun-eating contest, egg and spoon race, weaving coconut palms, pillow fight, sack race and coconut scraping. more..

Ahmadinejad visit a big boost to Lanka-Iran ties

Apr 29 (MG) Will this be the opening of a new chapter of International Relations to revive the “NON-ALIGNED NATIONS MOVEMENT (NAM) of 1955/1961? Sri Lanka has hailed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit here Monday as an important step in cementing closer ties between the two nations. The stand taken by the Government of Mahinda Rajapaksa in brushing aside the warnings of the United States over Sri Lanka’s growing close ties and diplomatic relations with Iran signals more..

7,200 families displaced due to floods

Apr 29 (LD) Seven thousand and two hundred families have been rendered homeless due to the flooding of several districts, Director of the National Disaster Management Centre N.P Hettiarachchi said. He told ‘Lanka Dissent’ a short while a go that torrential rains sent many areas of Ratnapura, Kalutara, Nuwara Eliya, Kegalle and Puttalam under water. Biyagama, Kelaniya, and Kirindiwela area of Gampaha district are also flooded. more..

ID made compulsory for voting at East PC polls

Apr 29 (LD) Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake yesterday (April 28th) gave an undertaking to make the need of proper identity document compulsory for voting at the Eastern Provincial Council Election in accordance with the Election Special Provisions Act. The step followed the writ application filed by the People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) requesting for an order to make IDs compulsory at the election was taken up by the Court of Appeal. more..

Wimal gives ultimatum to JVP leadership

Apr 29 (LD) Former Propaganda Secretary of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna Wimal Weerawansa has given an ultimatum until May 01st for the party leadership to negotiate their differences, failing which he has decided to launch a new political movement. Speaking to the media at the BMICH in Colombo this morning, Mr. Weerawansa said the new political effort would involve JVP MP Nandana Gunatilake and several others who deserted the party recently. more..

Jeyaraj murder suspect dies in CID custody

Apr 29 (LD) A woman who was in the custody of the Criminal Investigation Department for alleged involvement in the assassination of Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle had died after being admitted to the Colombo National Hospital on the night of April 27th. The suspect, identified as a Tamil national named Rani, had been detained at the CID office for a couple of weeks for interrogation before falling sick on that night, according to police sources. more..

IIGEP changes tune regarding Government's political will

Apr 29 (GDI) "The IIGEP has now completely gone back on two major issues pertaining to the alleged lack of political will on the part of the government and the way in which commission proceedings take place," said the Minister of Human Rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe. Minister stated that the Chairman of the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons, India's ex-Chief Justice P. N. Bhagawatti, had written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa clarifying the position taken by the IIGEP in its sixth public statement, more..

Landslide threat in eight districts -- NBRO

Apr 29 (GDI) The National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) yesterday warned the public to be vigilant because sudden landslides could occur in the districts of Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Ratnapura, Kegalle, Kalutara, Galle and Matara as a result of torrential rains. A spokesman for the Disaster Management Centre has said that those who live close to Galagedara, Nawalapitiya, Suduhumpola, Bahirawakanda, Mahaiyawa, Peradeniya, Thennakumbura, Ambagamuwa, Kothmale, more..

ACF criticism of Govt should be viewed against its own culpability -- SCOPP

Apr 29 (GDI) The Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) has expressed astonishment at what is calls "the effrontery of Action Against Hunger (ACF)" which claims it has no trust in a Government investigation into the massacre of 17 of its workers two years ago, and has therefore closed its Colombo office and left the country. The SCOPP media release also states the following: more..

Iran President presides over launch of Sapugaskanda

Apr 29 (GDI) President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, today participated at the launch of work on modernizing the Sapugaskanda Petroleum Refinery which is estimated to cost US$ 750 million., while the Iranian Minister of Trade participated in the ceremony to launch the Uma Oya Multi-Purpose Scheme. Both projects are being funded by Iran. "With the expansion of the Sapugaskanda Petroleum Refinery, Sri Lanka will be able to increase its output from more..

Climate Change Secretariat and Carbon Fund launched

Apr 29 (GDI) The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources yesterday (28th) launched a Climate Change Secretariat and the Sri Lanka Carbon Fund. The Climate Change Secretariat will function as the institutional mechanism tasked with responding to climate change including the development of relevant policies and programs. It will be the repository of all climate change related information. more..

Justice and fairness is what both Sri Lanka and Iran need -- Iranian President

Apr 29 (GDI) The visiting President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that what was needed was justice and fairness in the entire world. Addressing the media after bilateral talks with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Iranian President celebrated the fact that Sri Lanka and Iran had resolved to work together in a spirit of cooperation for the mutual benefit of the peoples of both countries. more..

Chikungunya spreading to other districts

Apr 29 (SAMN) Health experts fear it is only a matter of time before the Chikungunya epidemic that has crippled Ratnapura and Kalutara areas will spread out to other districts. “The Chikungunya is a viral infection which spreads from Aedes albopictus, a vector that is found in abundance in rural Sri Lanka. Therefore, it is a matter of time before it spreads to other areas,” Health Ministry Epidemiology Unit Chief Epidemiologist, Dr. Nihal Abeysinghe said. more..

Agreements will help peace: Ahmadinejad

Apr 29 (SAMN) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Monday said the agreements signed between Sri Lanka and Iran will be beneficial for both countries. Speaking at a media briefing after the bilateral talks the Iranian leader also said both Sri Lanka and Iran respected the territorial integrity of both countries. “Comprehensive corporation agreements signed between us is also for peace and stability in both countries,” the visiting President said. more..

Customs seize contraband worth millions

Apr 29 (SAMN) Customs Revenue Task Force (RTF) yesterday seized Rs.25 million worth stock of contraband including sets of Satellite Communication Receivers which had been imported sans permission of the Defence Ministry. The RTF examined a container at the Bloemendhal Container Yard and detected 12 sets of high-tech Satellite Communication Receivers which are specially used by the Navy in its vessels to communicate with the land authorities. more..

Eastern development on par

Apr 29 (SAMN) The government has launched a massive development drive in the Eastern Province including the recently liberated areas to develop the province on par with other provinces. Attention has been drawn towards highway development and road development, the health sector and provision of good sanitation facilities to the public, agriculture sector, community development programmes. more..

EP Postal voting begins

Apr 29 (DN) Postal voting took place yesterday for the Eastern Provincial Council Elections. It will continue today. According to Election Secretariat sources there are 22,412 eligible postal voters, 4,427 from Batticaloa, 9,468 from Ampara and 8,517 in Trincomalee. Public officers who are unable to cast their vote on election day due to their official functions have been, as in the past, provided with this facility, authorities said. more..

Oil hedging to continue

Apr 29 (DN) Standard Chartered Bank will go ahead with the oil hedging arrangement with the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) despite the current volatile oil prices in the international market, Chief Executive Officer Clive Haswell said. "When the market is highly predictable and volatile only are the oil hedging arrangements important. Therefore, the CPC has a good relationship with us which they hope to continue in the future," more..

NCPA locks up school van drivers, owners

Apr 29 (Island) The National Child Protection Authority on Saturday (26) kept nearly 200 school vehicle drivers and their owners locked up inside the S. de S. Jayasinghe Memorial hall in Dehiwala till 5.30 p.m for its workshop on the prevention of child abuse. The organizing was chaotic and in a bid to keep the participants for the evening sessions the organizers resorted to the unusual practice of telling the participants that they could not leave the hall for any purpose till the event was over. more..

Lightning striking cause of blackout

Apr 29 (Island) The total power failure which lasted for two hours between 5.40 p.m. and 7.40 p.m. yesterday was possibly due to lightning striking the Biyagama/Kotmale 220 K V Line, Ceylon Electricity Board General Manager Ranjith Pulleperuma said yesterday. However, the CEB Engineers’ Union President J. Meegoda told The Island yesterday that more such blackouts would be experienced in the future. more..

Ensure people’s sovereignty, Ranil tells Government

Apr 29 (DM) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday invited the government to talk to the UNP, other Opposition Parties in Parliament and civil society groups and the international community so as to arrive at a consensus on restoring people’s sovereignty and to take measures to restore the people’s rights and prevent the subversion of the democratic order enshrined in the Constitution. more..

IUSF to sign a giant protesting petition

Apr 29 (DM) Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) alleged that 644 schools had been closed over the last decade. IUSF said the Education Minister himself has said that 36 schools had been closed in 2007. The IUSF said that the fewer amount of teachers, the shortage of text books, lack of classrooms, libraries, play grounds and poor amenities caused schools to be closed. more..

Sri Lanka EPF makes billions in real losses

Apr 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's main private sector retirement fund has lost billions this year as the state used the monetary system to inflate away debt at the expense of the private sector workers in the country. In 2007, Sri Lanka's main private sector retirement fund, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) lost 23 billion rupees in real terms as inflation shot up and interest rates lagged behind. more..

ADB to approve new plan for Colombo

Apr 29 (SG) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has reportedy agreed a new plan for the development of Colombo South Harbour in Sri Lanka. The new plan would allow for the construction of a breakwater for the new Colombo South Harbour, using US$300 million funding from the bank. The ADB office in Colombo said that details and a final confirmation of the new deal would not be available until early next week. more..

Sri Lankan desiccated coconut mills get set to resume production

Apr 29 (LBO) Sri Lankan desiccated coconut millers are preparing to resume production next month after months of leaving their mills virtually idle owing to the shortage and high prices of nuts, industry officials said. The supply of coconuts is expected to improve in the coming weeks as the peak harvesting season gets under way, said Coconut Cultivation Board chairman Jayantha Gunatilake. more..

Renegotiate Kachativu Pact with Sri Lanka, demands D Raja

Apr 29 (PTI) A CPI member today demanded that the agreement with Sri Lanka on the Kachativu Island be "reopened and renegotiated" in view of increasing attacks on Indian fishermen by naval forces of that country. Raising the matter during Zero Hour in Rajya Sabha, D Raja said the Island in the Palk Strait has gained strategic importance and the ongoing ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka has been affecting Indian fishermen. more..

BJP asks India to mediate between Sri Lanka and LTTE

Apr 29 (PTI) Asking the Centre to play a 'major role' to bring both the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE to negotiating table, the BJP today said the recent meeting between Priyanka Vadhra and Nalini, a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi Assassination case, was done with a 'motif'. "The Indian Government should play a major role to bring both the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government to negotiating table," BJP president Rajnath Singh told reporters here. more..

Three arrested in Britain over Tamil Tiger probe

Apr 29 (TI) Three men were arrested today by counter-terrorist officers in London and Wales as part of a long-term investigation into the Tamil Tigers. Scotland Yard said dawn raids took place at residential and business properties in Newtown, Powys, Mitcham, south-west London, and Surrey. Two men, aged 39 and 46, were arrested at separate addresses in Newtown, and a third, aged 33, was held in Mitcham, a spokesman said. more..

Iranian president launches energy project in Sri Lanka

Apr 29 (AFP) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday launched a 1.2-billion-dollar project largely funded by Tehran to upgrade Sri Lanka's sole oil refinery, officials said. Ahmadinejad and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse planted an ebony sapling to launch work at the Sapugaskande refinery, just outside the capital Colombo. The four-year upgrade will triple Sri Lanka's refinery capacity to 150,000 barrels per day from the current 50,000 barrels. more..

Mervyn Silva injured, Kelaniya PS chairman dead in road mishap

Apr 29 (LD) Labour Minister Mervyn Silva was injured in a road accident at Aralaganwila in Polonnaruwa this afternoon (Apr. 29th), reports said. The incident also left Chairman of the Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha Seevali Kelanitilake dead, and another person seriously wounded. Mr. Silva is being airlifted to Colombo for treatment to a badly hurt leg and hand. more..

Visiting Iranian president hails ties with Sri Lanka

Apr 29 (IANS) Hailing the bilateral ties with Sri Lanka, visiting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has expressed his country's commitment 'to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the island nation', officials said Tuesday. 'Iran and Sri Lanka were committed to protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each other, and it was very clear that cooperation in the political, economic, and cultural spheres between Sri Lanka and Iran would more..

JHU accuses SLMC of unleashing Muslim terrorism in east

Apr 30 (LD) The Jathika Hela Urumaya, an affiliate of the present government, is accusing Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauff Hakeem of unleashing Muslim extremism in several areas of the east to target the forthcoming Eastern Provincial Council polls there. Mr. Hakeem has let loose an 'Otu' (Arabic) terrorism in areas such as Potuvil, Panama, Akkarapattu, Samanturai, Kinniya, Mutur and Kalmunai, JHU spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe charged. more..

JVP blames govt. for East Tamils' curse

Apr 30 (LD) JVP politburo member Anura Kumara Dissanayake has accused the present regime of having brought the eastern Tamil people under the curse of a certain group, instead of ensuring them democracy and freedom. In comments to 'Lanka Dissent' regarding the May 10th polls for the provincial council in the east, Mr. Dissanayake said the government has been acting against democratic norms from the very beginning. more..

Anura B's last will to feature in court

Apr 30 (LD) One of the four executors of the last will of the late politician Anura Bandaranaike is intending to go to court over the uncertainty surrounding the document. Mr. Bandaranaike's two sisters, Chandrika and Sunethra will not inherit anything according to the last will dated May 10th, 1996. There have been claims of the existence of another last will, by close associates of the Bandaranaike family. more..

Sri Lanka mulls sea, rock sand after ban on river bed mining

Apr 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka has attracted foreign investors to mine offshore sea sand for the local construction industry which is facing a severe shortage of sand following a ban on river bed mining. Minister of Construction and Engineering Services Rajitha Senaratne said Tuesday that alternatives such as sea sand and manufactured sand were being considered to ease the raw material shortage. more..

Vatican greets Buddhists for Vesakh festival

Apr 30 (DPA) The Vatican issued Tuesday 'warm greetings' to Buddhists for their festival of Vesakh which this year is celebrated between May 12 and 18. In the message, the Vatican's top inter-faith dialogue official, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, also called on Christians and Buddhists to work closely to preserve nature and the environment. 'Christianity and Buddhism have always upheld a great respect for nature and taught that we should be grateful stewards of the earth. more..

Suchirindia to build twin towers in Colombo

Apr 30 (BS) Hyderabad-based real estate company Suchirindia has joined hands with Sri Lanka's NEB Infrastructure Projects Private Limited to construct twin towers – 70-storeyed and 30-storeyed – in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The twin towers, which will be undertaken with the Urban Development Authority in Colombo, is estimated to cost $355 million (around Rs 1,420 crore), and is the first overseas project of the company, more..

60 Sri Lankan fishermen held

Apr 30 (CO) Sixty Sri Lankan fishermen, mostly Sinhalese origin, were taken into custody by the Indian Coast Guard along with 12 boats for reportedly entering the Indian waters off Andaman coast, official sources said. The fishermen and their boats were being brought to Mandapam Coast Guard Station near here where they were expected to be handed over to police for further action, officials here said. more..

Law altering Tamil new year day challenged in India

Apr 30 (IANS) A yet to be enacted Tamil Nadu law, seeking to alter the Tamil new year day from a tentative date in mid-April to on or around January 14, was challenged Tuesday before the Supreme Court. The petition seeking to stall the state legislature from enacting the law altering the Tamil New year day was filed by a Chennai-based social activist K.R. Ramaswami. more..