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Security on high gear for SAARC

Aug 2 (SAMN) Over 19,000 Police and Security Forces personnel have been deployed for the 15th SAARC summit scheduled to begin later today and conclude Sunday, with the participation of Heads of States from eight SAARC nations who arrived here Friday. “The situation is totally under control and security arrangements are set for the Summit,” Colombo DIG Nimal Mediwaka said, adding that except for the high security zones demarcated for security reasons in Colombo Fort, BMICH and Parliament complex, more..

Lanka third among terror-hit countries

Aug 2 (SAMN) Sri Lanka has been ranked third and India the fifth among the list of countries most hit by terror in the first quarter of this year, a report released by a Turkey based anti-terror organisation said. The Centre of Excellence - Defence Against Terrorism (COE-DAT), in its report based on a worldwide research said some 2396 terrorist incidents occurred across the world during this period, thereby killing 4204 people and injuring 7614. more..

WFP owns up to blunder, apologises

Aug 2 (SAMN) The World Food Programme (WFP) Representative Mohamed Saleheen Friday apologised to the Government of Sri Lanka for his organisation’s erroneous statement that 30 per cent of Sri Lankan families go without food for days, following the government registering its strong protest with the WFP against its misleading statement which had received worldwide publicity, and called for an explanation. more..

Media must report whole truth: FM

Aug 2 (SAMN) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama Friday said the media is a force for good, and that great power must also be accompanied by responsibility. He was addressing the SAARC Journalists’ Summit – IV held in Colombo. Full text of the Minister’s speech: It gives me great pleasure to share with you some thoughts on the occasion of the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) meeting, which is being held on the sidelines of the SAARC Summit in Colombo. more..

SAARC focus on five key issues

Aug 2 (DN) The 15th SAARC Heads of State Summit will get underway in Colombo today with special emphasis on the issues of terrorism, poverty alleviation, food and energy security, and climate change. The Summit, which marks the climax of five days of deliberations by the SAARC Programming and Standing committees and the Council of Ministers since July 27, will be attended by the Heads of State or Government of all eight SAARC nations. more..

TRC directed to filter obscene websites

Aug 2 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has issued a special directive to the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) that websites featuring obscene and pornographic material should be filtered with immediate effect to protect children against internet pornography. This decision was taken as there has been increasing concern about the exposure of children to obscene and pornographic materials via the internet. more..

‘Mervyn used force to take over land’

Aug 2 (DM) The SLRDCWU charged yesterday that Minister Mervyn Silva had allegedly used force and taken over land that belonged to SLRDC workers in Wedamulla, Kelaniya area. SLRDCWU President W.R.A. Priyankara said 21 blocks of land, each comprising 2.29 perches has been taken by the Minister and his supporters who had bulldozed the land and had put up a plantation cultivation. more..

Karuna regrets Manmohan won’t meet TMVP

Aug 2 (DM) TMVP leader Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman yesterday said he regretted that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could not give his party an opportunity to meet him during his stay in Colombo to attend the SAARC summit. Karuna told the Daily Mirror, his deputy and Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan was planning to discuss certain vital issues with the Indian Prime Minister. more..

JVP launches NCP development programme

Aug 2 (Island) A ceremony organised by the JVP to inaugurate the development activities of the North Central Province was held on Thursday in the presence of religious leaders, artistes, high ranking state officials and party leaders was held at the Youth Resort Centre, Anuradhapura on Thursday. The ceremony was jointly presided by Anuradhapura JVP parliamentarian K. D. Lalkantha and JVP’s chief ministerial candidate Vasantha Samarasinghe. more..

Sri Lanka to push for common currency in SAARC

Aug 2 (Island) Sri Lanka is to push for a common currency while priority will be given to eradicating terrorism at the 15th SAARC heads of State Summit which begins at the BMICH, Colombo this afternoon. All eight heads of State or Governments arrived in Colombo yesterday for the conference which concludes tomorrow. Today’s conference was preceded by the SAARC Foreign Ministers conference. more..

Sri Lanka leader calls for lower international phone tariffs in south Asia

Aug 3 (LBO) Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa called for lower international direct dial (IDD) tariffs to better integrate the people of south Asia when he opened a regional summit in Colombo Saturday. This could be part of the effort to improve connectivity in the region, he told the inaugural session of the 15th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC). more..

Sri Lanka to give cement plant to Birla, says construction minister

Aug 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka wants to give India's Aditya Birla group a contract to revive a defunct cement plant in Kankesanturai, in the northern Jaffna peninsula, owned by the listed Lanka Cement, construction minister Rajitha Senaratne said. Senaratne told our sister news website that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had recently given him instructions to have a joint venture with India's Birla group to revive the cement plant. more..

Sehwag and Gambhir wrest initiative

Aug 3 (CI) The Galle Test continued to amaze: the third day featured periods of heavy attrition, heavy artillery, then some attrition and some more artillery, and two wickets in two overs to cap it off. But India managed to walk away with the honours, thanks to a special two-wicket over from Anil Kumble and fifties by Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. Despite Mahela Jayawardene's calm innings and two late strikes by Sri Lanka, India moved towards a comfortable lead more..

Tamil Nadu threats needs strong response

Aug 3 (AT) SAARC summit in Colombo notwithstanding Tamil Nadu mobs laid siege to Sri Lanka's Deputy High Commission in Chennai. Yet the JVP and the JHU with all their rhetoric against Indian hegemony are yet to 'return the compliments' by staging a protest demonstration opposite the Indian High Commission. The Marxist JVP in particular needs to make a statement on this, since it is the Tamil Nadu Communists who are leading the anti-Sri Lankan demonstration over more..

Honda to export vehicles to Sri Lanka

Aug 3 (PTI) Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt Ltd (HMSI) - a subsidiary of Honda Motor Company Ltd, Japan is all set to start exporting its vehicles to Sri Lanka, a HMSI top official said here on Saturday. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the launch of company's new 125cc motorcycle 'CBF Stunner' here, HMSI All India Sales Head Y Guleria said "we will be exporting our motorcycles and scooters to Sri Lanka shortly". more..

India has to act in Sri Lanka, pro-LTTE group tells PM

Aug 3 (IANS) A Tamil political party sympathetic to the Tamil Tigers has told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that India has to play a role in ending the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. Accusing Colombo of causing misery to civilians by relentlessly pursuing war against the Tigers, a team of MPs from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) told Manmohan Singh here late Friday that the global community also expected India to act. more..

Sri Lanka says Tamil Tigers have links to Al-Qaida

Aug 3 (ET) Two senior officials of the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry said on Friday the government has reason to believe that the Tamil Tigers have been in contact with other terrorist organizations in the region including al-Qaida. "We have come across some persons of different nations in the region" during operations against the LTTE, ministry spokesman Kehelna Rambukwella told a briefing in which he was assisted by senior army officials and naval commanders. more..

Assassination of Alfred Durayappah

Aug 3 (TC) 1975 was my fifth year as Government Agent of Trincomalee District. I now counted twenty-two years in nine District Kachcheries and looked forward, at long last, to working in a Department or Ministry in Colombo. A call from on high dashed my hopes. I was instructed to assume duties as G.A. Jaffna, which position had fallen vacant with the transfer of Wimal Amerasekera. more..

Should we accept the so-called "Indo-Lanka Accord?"

Aug 3 (AT) The natural instinct of every living being whether man, animal is to protect and defend its abode even if it means getting killed in the process. Then why is it that JR Jayawardene did not have the spine to issue a dire warning to India not to step inside our territorial waters, unless they wanted to get annihilated which Prabhakaran did single handed later for different reasons? No man with any national feeling would ever yield his country to the enemy. more..

Colonel Soosai – the Rare Admiral

Aug 3 (AT) Colonel Soosai, the leader of Sea Tigers, who is known among Walkie-talkies as 'Sara Osca,' still cuts a formidable figure among his young subordinates. Those who have a fierce loyalty to Soosai may even compare him with the legendary 'Obelix' - and in extreme cases, even pushing the latter into the second place in ranking. 'Obelix', who used to eat a fully-grown wild boar for breakfast, lunch and dinner, did amazing things, more..

Sri Lankan Psychologist wins Ramon Magsaysay award

Aug 3 (AT) A humanitarian worker who has helped the traumatized victims of the Boxing Day Tsunami in Sri Lanka, Ananda Galappatti has been awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for an emergent leader, the Manila, Philippines based award committee announced. The 34 year-old London-born psychologist who specialized in trauma worked in Batticaloa, a worst hit area of the tsunami disaster to ease the trauma of the victims to be recognized and more..

Sri Lanka’s strategy for combating terror recognized by US State Dept

Aug 3 (AT) "The multi-pronged approach for combating terrorism was a tremendous success in Sri Lanka," said Dayani Panagoga, Director (Policy) of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) at a high powered seminar conducted by the US State Department, at the Carnegie Foundation in Washington D.C. Attendees to that Near East and South Asian Strategic studies forum were convinced that Sri Lankan anti-terror strategy had great potential for everyone. more..

India-Pakistan row clouds summit

Aug 3 (BBC) Pakistan has offered to investigate a bomb attack on India's embassy in Kabul last month that killed more than 50 people, India's foreign secretary says. The announcement followed talks between the two countries' prime ministers at a South Asian summit in Sri Lanka. Pakistan has come under pressure over claims, which it denies, that its spy agency was involved in the bombing. Earlier, the Indian foreign secretary said relations had deteriorated to their worst level for four years. more..

Redouble collective efforts to combat terrorism – President to SAARC

Aug 3 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, addressing the opening session of the 15th SAARC Summit this morning (August 2) at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, called on the South Asian leaders attending the summit to commit themselves and their countries to a more determined and concerted effort to collectively combat the scourge of terrorism in all its forms and manifestation. more..

Black July: Unforgettable month for Sri Lankan Tamils

Aug 3 (IL) Sri Lankan Tamils throughout the world remember and commemorate the victims of Black July'83. Twenty-five years ago, the state-sponsored pogrom against Tamils in Sri Lanka resulted in the deaths of 3000 people and property damages of over $300 million U.S. The days between July 24 and July 30, 1983, were tragic and unforgettable for the Tamils. For Tamils July is the month to reflect and remember. more..

Ajantha Mendis is the sorcerer's apprentice

Aug 3 (TO) If you observe Balapuwaduge Ajantha Winslo Mendis at a press conference, you can almost imagine Alice in Wonderland. Along with the enigmatic smiles as his captain or manager translates his answers from Sinhala to English, there is a sense of wide-eyed wonder, almost as if he’s asking himself: “What am I doing here and how did it happen?” Just three years ago, Mendis, then 20, was trying to figure out what to do with his life. more..

'We are still in it' - Jayawardene

Aug 3 (CI) India may have gained the upper hand after dominating the third's day play in Galle, but Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan captain, believes his team is not yet out of the contest. Jayawardene made a determined 86 but Sri Lanka conceded a lead of 37 on the first innings before India, buoyed by another brisk opening stand, reached 200 for 4 in their second innings. Jayawardene, however, looked back to the second day, and said losing four wickets against Harbhajan Singh in the final session had prevented his team from gaining the advantage. more..

Combined opp. effort to protect voters’ rights

Aug 3 (LD) Parties in the opposition are presently in talks to make a combined effort at elections for the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councils on August 23rd to ensure voting rights of their peoples, said leader of the SLFP Mahajana Wing Mangala Samaraweera. Mr. Samaraweera told ‘Lanka Dissent’ that they have received information that warns of intensified violence on election days. more..

Salusala to lose Jawatte land

Aug 3 (LD) The main state-sector textile institution, the Salusala, is to lose the prime land at Jawatte, Colombo where its head office is presently located. The 503-perch land is to be handed over to a businessman for an investment project, who is involved in an attempt to compensate and retire all Salusala employees, ‘Ravaya’ reports. When the newspaper spoke to Textile Minister Mahinda Ratnatilake, he admitted the Jawatte land has been sought by Capital One (Pvt.) Ltd. more..

Cabinet paper to sell water approved

Aug 3 (LD) The cabinet has approved a paper presented by Minister of Irrigation and Water Management Chamal Rajapaksa that proposes the sale of water as a commodity, ‘Lanka’ newspaper reports. The meeting of ministers on July 09th had given its consent to the paper which grants the right to the country’s water resources to two leading multinational companies operating in the island, one of them in the milk powder industry. more..

Monk in sexual abuse case given bail

Aug 3 (LD) A person said to be a monk, who is accused of sexually abusing a young woman who was serving as an advisor to a higher educational institution, has been released on bail. Colombo Fort Magistrate and Additional District Judge Namal Bandara Balalle ordered his release on a Rs. 10,000 personal bail and two Rs. 200,000 sureties. The accused, Kovulwewe Vanaratana, has been warned against intimidating the complainant. more..

Lanka pays Washington lobbyists to clean her image

Aug 3 (SL) Rather than address human rights concerns as a responsible democratic government, the Rajapakse regime has taken upon itself to pay millions of tax payers' rupees to foreign lobbyists to whitewash its domestic mess. To this end, on January 22 this year Sri Lanka's former Ambassador to Washington Bernard Goonetilleke, at the instigation we learn of Foreign Affairs Ministry Secretary Palitha Kohona, was to write to several selected public relations companies stating that more..

President’s million rupee biriyani and CJ’s warning signals

Aug 3 (SL) While chaos reigned in the streets of Colombo with massive traffic jams as the government prepared for the multi billion rupee SAARC show last week, the SLFP was busy raking in millions of rupees from selected businessmen at Temple Trees even as the Chief Justice signalled, no one including the President was above the law. That the people are undergoing tremendous economic hardships there is no gainsaying with many a small business house forced to more..

Presidential ambitions of Dulles and revamping the Secretariat

Aug 3 (SL) The internal conflict of the Rajapakse family has now intensified to such an extent that it is also felt by people outside the family circle. Some of the main reasons for the internal conflict were President Mahinda Rajapakse’s decision not to appoint Basil Rajapakse as organiser of the Beliatte electorate and the imminent introduction of Gotabaya Rajapakse into politics. more..

Transport Ministry incompetence costs Treasury Rs. 1 billion

Aug 3 (SL) Amidst all the government's mind-boggling wastage of public funds, there is a lot of leeway for 'smaller' amounts of wastage and mischievous activity to slip under the radar. With Mihin Lanka having lost Rs.3 billion in under a year, only to be outdone by SriLankan Airlines losing Rs.5.7 billion within just three months of Emirates' abdication of management, one would have thought that there was a limit to the government's tenacity for burning Treasury cash. more..

Army gaining advantage as fighting rages in the North

Aug 3 (TC) Medical personnel travelling last week from Government controlled Vavuniya to the hospital in Tiger controlled Puliyankulam were surprised to find the town deserted and hospital closed. It was then that they came to know of the latest orders issued by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to the helpless civilian population under their control in the Northern mainland known as Wanni. more..

SAARC: KAAK-KAAK, eat, drink and BARK-BARK!

Aug 3 (SL) Readers would have presumed on reading this column last week on 'SAARC-SAARC- KAAK-KAAK' that we are not devoted enthusiasts of the political jamboree now on in Colombo despite the headlines of government and pro-government newspapers saying that 'paradise now' will soon dawn on the South Asian region - food and energy crises will be resolved, terrorism eliminated, poverty alleviated, South Asia will be sans borders, visas and much more. more..

JVP’s next strike stillborn

Aug 3 (LB) A JVP three day strike has become unlikely this year as many unions have declined to join hands to carry out the three day general strike. When asked, the JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe he declined to comment about dates for the three day strike, When asked whether the strike will occur this year, he said that ‘the JVP has to discuss with other unions to muster their support and a final decision has not yet taken.’ more..

City hoteliers’ loss tops Rs. 100 million

Aug 3 (LB) City hoteliers have incurred an estimated loss over Rs. 100 million during the last 10 days, due to the unexpected arrangements made by the Sri Lankan Government in hosting the 15th SAARC summit in Colombo. Sri Lanka, now well-known for sudden closure of roads citing national security, and for adopting stringent traffic control to make room for VIP movements, has also managed a serious blow to its struggling tourism industry as well. more..

Sports Medicine Unit drugging athletes?

Aug 3 (LB) Blaming officials has been a popular mantra of local athletes, but short distance champion Premila Priyadarshani’s charge that Institute of Sports Medicine attached to the Ministry of Sports should be faulted for her failed drug test, is not a shot in the dark, LAKBIMAnEWS understands. A double gold medallist at the South Asian Athletic Championship held in Cochin, India in March, Priyadarshani was tested positive for the banned substance Terbutaline after last month’s National Athletic Championships in Colombo. more..

Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?

Aug 3 (LB) As was widely expected, Treasury Secretary P B Jayasundera resigned but didn’t resign. Yup, it’s a strange kind of resignation we have in Sri Lanka. Supreme Court strictures as stinging as those delivered in the Lanka Marine Services Ltd case would have caused an ordinary man (with a modicum of conscience) to sport a paper bag over his head for the rest of his life. Or at least to quit his post. more..

US: Fight terror, respect democracy

Aug 3 (SAMN) The United States said Friday that while Washington fully recognised the terrorist threat Sri Lanka continued to face from the LTTE, it should continue acting like a democracy and protect all its citizens. The comments were made by the Bush administration's South Asian Affairs Chief Richard Boucher who is leading the United States observer mission to the SAARC summit in Colombo. more..

High toll in Mallavi fighting

Aug 3 (SAMN) Heavy fighting was reported in the Mallavi area Saturday, the strategic town midway on the Vellankulam-Mankulam Road, according to both government and Tiger military sources, though the army said it captured Vellankulam, west of Mallavi. The Tigers said the fighting began at around 5.00 a.m. on Friday morning and went on till 7.00 p.m. Both sides confirmed that heavy fighting was reported, but gave varying casualty figures. more..

Work on second Zoo in mid August

Aug 3 (SAMN) The construction of the proposed second and largest Zoological Gardens in Sri Lanka will commence during the middle of this month in Pinnawala, Dehiwela Zoological Gardens Assistant Director, Renuka Bandaranaike said Friday. She said the total cost of the new Zoo estimated at 2500 million rupees and Rs. 80 million will be allocated for the current year. When completed in 2011, the zoo would be four times bigger than the first and oldest Zoo in Dehiwela. more..

We are sympathetic to Tamils, says Indian PM

Aug 3 (IANS) India is sympathetic to Sri Lanka’s Tamil community on humanitarian grounds, a Tamil politician quoted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as saying Friday. D. Sitharthan of the People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) called on Manmohan Singh at the Taj Samudra Hotel along with two other Tamil politicians, V. Anandasangaree and T. Sritharan. more..

15th SAARC Summit calls for speedier economic growth, food security, counter terrorism

Aug 3 (Island) Calls for vicious cycles of economic growth, food security and regional cooperation on combating terrorism, dominated the 15th SAARC Summit, held amidst pomp, pageantry and unprecedented local and international security at the BMICH yesterday. The Summit got underway with President Mahinda Rajapaksa who assumed the chairmanship of the eight nation grouping, exhorting the need for greater economic cooperation, more..

JVP was first choice for case against JKH

Aug 3 (Island) Had the JVP agreed, the case against the sale of 90 per cent shares of the Lanka Marine Services Limited, a wholly owned company of the CPC which was a profit making, debt free and tax paying company, to John Keells Holdings would have been filed by the Marxist Party, well informed sources said. The petitioner would have been a JVP frontliner, the sources said, adding Vasudeva Nanayakkara whom the Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva called more..

Dharma charka ditched from police uniform

Aug 3 (Island) Against the backdrop of the government’s decision to absorb the SLPR (Sri Lanka Police Reserve) into the Regular Force, Police Headquarters has prohibited five categories of officers and men from wearing the Dharma Charkkra emblem, the police insignia introduced during JRJ’s administration, on their uniforms. The former IGP Victor Perera has issued the ban shortly before he retired from service to become the Governor of the Northern Province. more..

PBJ likely to step down after SAARC

Aug 3 (Island) Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundera who is expected to leave office at the end of SAARC summit has been among the officials included in the government delegation for meetings with dignitaries here for the event. Jayasundera last week sent his resignation after paying Rs. 500,000 fine to the government for his role in the controversial LMSL transaction. more..

Intimidation and threats rampant in run-up to polls

Aug 3 (ST) Complaints of threats and intimidation have been pouring in in connection with the upcoming elections in the North Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces, with cases of elections-related violence being especially noticeable in the Polonnaruwa district, say election monitoring bodies. Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE) spokesman Keerthi Tennakoon told The Sunday Times that CAFFE had so far received 45 elections-violence related complaints more..