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Sri Lanka blasts French aid agency for failure to protect its workers

July 10 (LG) In the first week of August 2006, 17 Sri Lankan workers of the French Aid Agency Action Contre La Faim (ACF) were killed in Muttur (in the Trincomalee District of Sri Lanka) at the height of the raging battle between the Security Forces and the Tamil Tiger terrorists to gain control of Muttur. The Parisian Headquarters of ACF made a big fuss about it blaming the Sri Lankan government. more..

Bishop Thiagarajah's courageous stand on national unity

July 10 (LG) Bishop Daniel Thiagarajah of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India (JDCSI), in an interview published in the Sri Lanka Guardian has advocated unity in diversity as essential for peace in Sri Lanka. His views affecting his church have been frank and forthright but it was on the question of the ethnic crisis that has plagued Sri Lanka so long, he has come out as a worthy leader not only of his own community but the entire nation too. more..

Indian, American elections and the Tamil problem

July 10 (LG) The Tamil side particularly the LTTE has over and over again stressed the need for India to identify the real, fraternal forces of India and its pretentious friends. In fact, P.Nadesan, the LTTE political wing leader, referred to this fact quoting facts and figures in his interview with Kumutham, a Tamil weekly published from Tamil Nadu. It is history that during Indo-China war and the Indo-Pakistan war, more..

Naked media giants in Sri Lanka - Part I

July 10 (LG) They come in hundreds to Lipton circus or Fort Railway station, armed with megaphones, placards and banners. They shout and jump up and down. They take their won photos and video record their own antics. After that all of them go to a nearest bar to discuss their days work. Then they go home. The officials of the Free Media Movement, how organized the whole fiasco may “retire” to five start hotels and embassies to meet their foreign handlers and pay masters to receive the balance of payments due to them. more..

The conversion of Tissa and the expansion of Buddhism

July 10 (LG) Missaka Pabbata in Mihintale is about 16 kilometres to the east of Anuradhapura which was the capital of the island for over 1500 years since the 4th century BC and the mountain is considered to be the abode of gods. After the Buddha’s parinibbana (death) the bhikkhus in and around the state of Bihar met to codify the teachings. The monks took the teachings of the master throughout India. more..

Suppose the Sinhalese lived in the Dry Zone...

July 10 (LG) The Tamils are saying that all their problems are because they live in the inhospitable Dry Zone, while the lucky Sinhalese live in the lush Wet Zone. As you know the Dry Zone did not sustain the Tamils. So they were forced to seek greener pastures in the south. I had to point this out to Chummie Fernando, the taxi driver from Moratuwa, when asked as to why so many Tamils congregate in Wellawatte and why there are so many doctors, lawyers and other professionals in the Tamil community. more..

July 10th

July 10 (LG) A question uppermost in every one's mind is whether the government will declare July 10th as a public holiday, since the government adopted a similar strategy and closed schools for 2 days following a decision by the teachers to launch a sick note protest for 2 days. Trade unions of the JVP had called for a general strike on July 10th demanding a salary increase of Rs 5000. Political observers say that this is going to be broad based general strike like the one that was staged in 1980. more..

The stillborn artificial : Sri Lankan identity – I

July 10 (LG) R. M. B. Senanayake has decided to ride his hobby horse of attacking Sinhala Buddhist nationalism again. Obviously disgruntled by losing some of the privileges he and his tribe had enjoyed before fifty six he pours venom on Mr. SWRD Bandaranaike and the so called Sinhala Chauvinists and the majority populists etc. He probably would want the populists to be ostracized following the Athenians. more..

We are near starvation, Mr. President

July 10 (LG) I must hasten to write before lack of adequate sustenance prevents me from putting pen to paper, through weakness. In your desperate efforts to hang on to power, you are unnecessarily throwing away billions of rupees on a crowd of ministers doing nothing more than looking after themselves and their ‘catchers.’ You thought nothing of wasting more billions on a useless ‘airline,’ created solely for your stooges to make themselves luxuriously comfortable. more..

Jaffna: government eases curfew, security problem remains

July 10 (AN) The general level of security seems to have improved, the hours of curfew have been reduced, but many unresolved questions still remain, preventing people from living in tranquillity. This is affirmed in a note from the Commission for Justice and Peace of the diocese of Jaffna: the little peninsula in the north of Sri Lanka has been living with a civil war for almost 25 years, pitting the government army against the LTTE who are fighting for independence. more..

Sri Lanka Telecom sets up new unit for directory publication, data

July 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka Telecom has established a subsidiary called SLT Publications to diversify into the directory publication and other information-based businesses. SLT Publications, although a non-core business activity, was formed as a separate entity in order to gain operational advantages and productivity gains, Leisha de Silva Chandrasena, chairperson of SLT told reporters. more..

Christians and media rights groups protest media harassment

July 10 (UCAN) Christian priests joined representatives of media rights group at a "silent protest" against media harassment in front of the Colombo Magistrates Court. Police officers guarded the court on June 30 as about 50 journalists and Anglican and Catholic priests stood in silent protest holding placards. These bore photos of detained Christian journalist Jayaprakash Sittampalam Tissanayagam and written messages demanding justice for journalists. more..

FMM condemns handover of ITN men to police

July 10 (LD) Five media rights organizations led by the Free Media Movement (FMM) have expressed their concern over the handing over of two ITN journalists to the police by the UNP yesterday (July 08th). In a media release issued today, the FMM said that they also received a complaint that these two journalists were assaulted after being taken into Sirikotha. However, the UNP has rejected this allegation, it said. more..

Sri Lanka shippers say handling charge dispute still unresolved

July 10 (LBO) The Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council (SLSC) says their dispute with foreign shipping lines over a handling charge at Colombo port remains unresolved despite repeated protests and court action.The council, an apex body representing the island's exporters and importers, has waged a long campaign against the terminal handling charge (THC) imposed by lines for moving cargo through Colombo port. more..

NTUC warns of further strikes

July 10 (LT) If the government takes steps to sabotage the token strike scheduled for tomorrow a general strike would be called on the 14th and 15th says President of National Trade Union Centre(NTUC) Lal Kanthe. Speaking at a media meeting held in Colombo today. Mr. Lal Kanthe said the government has got scared of the strike. Instead of granting the just demands of the workers the government tries to sabotage the strike by threatening trade union leaders by deploying the police. more..

Forced service from CTB workers to sabotage strike

July 10 (LT) There are reports that an attempt is being made to force employees of CTB to work tomorrow so that it would sabotage the token strike scheduled to be held tomorrow. A toke strike has been organized demanding a salary increase of Rs.5000 for all state employees and several other demands. When 'Lankatruth' inquired regarding this from President of National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) Lal Kanthe, he said he had received information that more..

Maithripala claims UNP-JVP plot to topple govt.

July 10 (LD) Minister Maithripala Sirisena has described the work stoppage planned for tomorrow (July 10th) as a conspiracy by the UNP and the JVP to topple the present regime. The ulterior motive of the strike is to bring down the government, he told Parliament, adding that this attempt to persuade the people to join the trade union action to cover up own faults would fail. Also speaking here, Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva said no allowances would be made for influencing the government through strikes. more..

Govt. minister rejects JVP-LTTE deal

July 10 (LD) Government minister Mahinda Wijesekara has strongly rejected claims of a political deal between the JVP and the LTTE. He told Parliament today (July 09th) that notwithstanding the beliefs of others, he would not accept the existence of such a deal. The Minister of Posts and Telecommunications was responding to JVP Parliamentary Group leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake who wanted to know whether the government suspected an LTTE hand in tomorrow’s strike. more..

Salary increase not possible - Govt.

July 10 (BBC) By launching a general strike presenting certain political demands is evident that JVP has become a cat's paw for some other force, says Defense spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella. "JVP has said they will stop Thurday's strike if these demands are met", Minister Rambukwella said. He said additional 50 billion rupees is needed to meet the demand of the government servants for a salary increase of Rs.5000. more..

Police 'intimidate' trade union activists

July 10 (BBC) Police say that the employees have the right to resort to strike action according to the constitution of Sri Lanka. Police Spokesman, SSP Ranjith Guansekera said, although the 14th clause of the Sri Lankan constitution guarantees the right of industrial action police will not tolerate violence. SSP Gunasekera was responding to queries that police had gone to several workplaces in the Anuradhapura district in order to force teachers to abandon the strike. more..

LTTE proxy party appeal to workers to strike to defeat the government

July 10 (AT) TULF, LTTE’s proxy political party urging workers in Sri Lanka to participate in today’s strike and defeat the Government led by President Mahinda Rakjapakse. The TULF said that this Government led by the hawkish leader has to be told to give up attacks on the Tamil Tigers. In a move to fish in trouble waters, TULF sheds crocodile tears and has urged the workers in the South to participate in the strike organized by opposition parties, JVP and UNP. more..

‘Gorilla’ - A novel by a former LTTE child soldier

July 10 (AT) An English novel depicting the dreadful life of a child soldier under the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the torture inflicted upon him when he disagrees has been published. India’s Random House has just published the English version of an original Tamil novel blowing the lid off the cruel practice of recruiting and engaging child soldiers in war penned by a former child soldier, himself. more..

India-Sri Lanka CEPA to be signed during SAARC

July 10 (IANS) India is set to sign the long-awaited Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Sri Lanka on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in Colombo early next month, it was announced Wednesday. 'We hope to have the CEPA signed on the sidelines of SAARC summit opening Aug 1. This is India's first agreement within SAARC member countries,' Gopal K. Pillai, secretary in the Indian ministry of commerce and industry, told Indian reporters here. more..

Finding the road to Peace

July 10 (CC) India is set to sign the long-awaited Comprehensive Economic For the overwhelming majority of people in Sri Lanka, the civil war has been a disaster. Those in the war zones of the North and East have been worst affected, suffering death, displacement, and destruction of their livelihoods. But the lives of many in other parts of the country have been devastated too. Numerous soldiers as well as civilians have been killed and maimed; their families have suffered bereavement and loss of breadwinners. more..

'Apparel South Asia Conference' to be held in November

July 10 (GDI) Sri Lanka will host the first ever Apparel South Asia Conference on the 5th and 6th of November in Colombo, foreign news agencies reported on Thursday (10). The Conference, held under the theme "Beyond 2010 – Challenges and Opportunities", was initiated by the Sri Lanka Apparel Institute with the collaboration with the Apparel Industry in Sri Lanka as well as the support of the Joint Apparel Association Forum. more..

New Ambassador to London meets British Minister Lord Malloch Brown

July 10 (GDI) Sri Lanka's newly appointed High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Nihal Jayasinghe clarified that Sri Lanka has fulfilled all its international obligations such as ratifying all treaties as per criteria to obtain GSP+ concessions when he met the British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affair Rt. Hon. Lord Malloch Brown in London. more..

JVP Strike action an unqualified flop

July 10 (GDI) The braggadocio of JVP strong man, K.D. Lalkantha, proved to be nothing more than hot air as the much talked of strike action planned for today (July 10) fell flat. Lalkantha thundered that the JVP would bring the Government to a standstill by crippling the public transport system and bringing to a halt all other services, especially water supply and electricity. more..

IRA- Sinn Féin urges Sri Lanka for negotiation

July 10 (AT) In the wake of the ongoing military operations against the LTTE in the north, Mr.Martin McGuiness, the deputy leader of Sinn Féin, the political wing of the IRA (Irish Republican Army) stated to the BBC Belfast Bureau Andrew Whitehead, that "The resolution of the conflict in Sri Lanka can only happen at the negotiating table, nowhere else." The political analysts quoted that his sudden wake-up after two years time since he visited Sri Lanka on 2006, more..

Strike, a total success – NTUC

July 10 (LT) A media conference had been arranged at Library Services and Documentation Board Auditorium by National Trade Union Centre (NTUC) to thank all those who supported the token strike carried out today. President of NTUC Lal Kanthe said 70% of all state employees participated in the strike. He said as the strike was a complete success a meeting of all trade unions that are affiliated to NTUC would be held tomorrow (11th) to discuss future action. more..

Strikers are Tigers - Mervyn Silva

July 10 (LD) Labour Minister Mervyn Silva has charged that the one-day token strike presently underway is intended to serve the needs of the LTTE, which is bent on destroying the country. Tigers are hatching such plots to stop the channeling of funds for the war against it and for the benefits of soldiers, he said. The minister said it was clear that foreign pro-LTTE forces, including Nedumaran in India and certain Norwegians, were behind this strike. more..

Rotten egg attack on Lake House picketing

July 10 (LD) Rotten eggs were thrown at a lunch hour picketing campaign by members of the Inter Company Employees Union at Lake House in Colombo today. According to one of the victims of the attack, the LH administration had tried to disrupt the union action despite being informed in writing of the planned action in advance. Members of the ruling party trade union, the Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya, threw rotten eggs at the protestors, more..

Tour hangs in balance after president intervenes

July 10 (CI) Sri Lanka's tour of England next year hangs in the balance with Mahinda Rajapakse, the country's president, instructing his sports minister to ensure that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) propose alternate dates for the tour or decline the invitation of the England and Wales Cricket Board. Cricinfo has learnt that Rajapakse issued the instructions to Gamini Lokuge, the sports minister, after senior Sri Lankan players presented him on Wednesday with a more..

Behave or face consequences, Police warn strikers

July 10 (LNP) The police yesterday warned that it would come down hard on anyone involved in violence during today's strike. Police spokesman S.S.P. Ranjith Gunasekera said under Section 14 (1) of the Constitution, any person or group was entitled to peaceful demonstration, but those who resorted to damaging government property, attacking non-strikers and forcing people to join the strike would be arrested. more..

Let sanity prevail!

July 10 (LNP) A JVP-led token strike is scheduled to take place today. Critics of the JVP, especially the government, have called it an attempt to derail the war effort and throw a lifeline to the LTTE. The JVP has pooh-poohed this allegation and claimed that a one day strike will have no impact on the war, which, it says, is fought even on non-working days such as public holidays. Paradoxically, both the JVP and its critics are right. more..

Hakeem resigns EP PC seat

July 10 (SAMN) SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem resigned from his post as opposition leader and member of the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) Wednesday to return to Parliament. Accordingly, he will be sworn in as an MP before Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara Thursday. EPC Assembly Secretary R. Thiyagalingam confirmed to Daily Mirror that he had received a resignation letter from Mr. Hakeem. more..

JVP blasts govt on high inflation rate

July 10 (SAMN) The JVP Wednesday scoffed at the government attributing the high inflation rate prevailing in the country to the global economic crisis. Speaking during the adjournment debate on the salary problems of public and private sector workers, JVP parliamentary group leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the inflation is only 2.6 percent in Thailand, 2.9 percent in Malaysia, three percent in Philippines and more..

JNP to bring in new recruitment bill

July 10 (SAMN) The Jathika Nidahas Peramuna Wednesday pledged to end the politicisation of the public service by brining in a new Bill titled “Recruiting Criteria for Public Service Bill” to Parliament soon. JNP MP Piyasiri Wijenayake told a press conference held at the parliamentary complex yesterday that a stable recruitment process for the public sector would be introduced through this bill for the first time after independence. more..

Govt wasting funds on advisors: UNP

July 10 (SAMN) The main Opposition UNP Wednesday charged in Parliament that there are 40 senior advisors in the Road Development Authority (RDA) who get a monthly salary of Rs 40,000 each. UNP MP for Kurunegala District Dayasiri Jayasekera who participated in the adjournment debate on increasing the salaries of public sector workers in the House yesterday said the government is wasting a huge amount of funds in this manner. more..

Mervyn escapes facing similar experience

July 10 (SAMN) Labour Minister Mervyn Silva almost had a similar experience he faced at Rupavahini a few months back, at the Colombo National Hospital (CNH) yesterday, employees of the hospital said. He had visited the kitchen and had allegedly attempted to intimidate CNH employees to refrain from participating in the token strike Wednesday. When the employees gathered round him he had reportedly made a hasty retreat. more..

Facelift for city before SAARC Summit

July 10 (DN) Almost half the work for providing a facelift for Colombo has been completed, CMC Commissioner Badrani Jayawardana told Daily News yesterday. The CMC hopes to spend around Rs. 358.96 million on the rehabilitation of the roads and canals around Colombo in readiness for the SAARC Summit, he added. About Rs. 114.09 million has already been allocated for this project and a further Rs. 244.87 million will be provided by the Central Government, Jayawardana said. more..

Export income from cut flowers, foliage increases

July 10 (DN) Export income from cut flowers has increased by 30 per cent while from foliage 20 per cent, said Export Development and International Trade Minister Prof G.L. Peiris. The Minister was speaking at the inauguration of foliage exports programme in the Matale area with the participation of farmers’ societies and export oriented companies. “The substantial achievement of the Government has been to ensure that the growth of exports by more than 15 per cent in recent months more..

UNP has no right to speak of working class – Nimal

July 10 (Island) The UNP-JVP alliance put together to stage a token strike today was an alliance of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. The UNP had no right to speak about the working class because in July 1980 it put out of jobs 50,000 public servants within 24 hours when they went on strike demanding a paltry 300 rupee wage hike. This sudden sympathy for the working class was to gain political mileage for the UNP which was battered within by internal strife while more..

Exporters want rupee to depreciate

July 10 (Island) The exchange rate policy is found to be at fault and exporters believe the Central Bank ought to do something about it if an export driven economy is to emerge as envisioned for the country. Reporting to the generals about the situation of the forward defence lines, in the trenches, soldiers would naturally expect their superiors to find solutions to their problems so the battle can be won. more..

Karuna will be quizzed if necessary

July 10 (DM) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday said that the renegade LTTE leader Karuna Amman will be interrogated only if there is a necessity pertaining to his involvement in the mass killing of over 400 policemen in Mutur in 1990. Responding to a question asked by a journalist at the weekly defence media briefing at the Media Centre for National Security, Minister Rambukwella said a commission has been already appointed and inquiries are being conducted. more..

Minister cancels TV show deal

July 10 (DM) The dictatorial attitude of cricket officials and the disorganisation that is prevalent in the government-appointed Interim Committee running Sri Lanka Cricket came into full bloom yesterday as the chief of the controlling body Arjuna Ranatunga boycotted a welcome ceremony for the Asian Champions and Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge cancelled a television rights deal running into millions of dollars. more..

Sri Lanka June tourist arrivals fall 9.3 pct yr/yr

July 10 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's tourists arrivals in June fell 9.3 percent from a year earlier, the island's tourist board said, blaming security concerns related to the renewed war between the state and the Tamil Tiger rebels. "We are down, because of the security situation of the country," S. Kalaiselvam, director general at Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority told Reuters. Arrivals in June fell to 27,960 from 30,810 a year before and more..

TN govt plan to track movement of trawlers

July 10 (NIP) The Tamil Nadu Government is working on a technical system to track and communicate with Indian fishing trawlers, with the aim of preventing them from straying into Sri Lankan waters and avoiding incidents involving the Sri Lankan Navy or the LTTE. An official source, which did not want to be identified, told Express here on Wednesday, that the technical and the funding aspects of the system were being discussed. more..

31 rebels, 3 soldiers killed in Sri Lanka fighting

July 10 (AP) Fierce trench warfare and a series of ambushes in northern Sri Lanka killed 31 rebels and three soldiers, the military said Thursday. The battles — part of an escalation in the fighting between the Tamil Tiger rebels and government troops in recent months — erupted in the Vavuniya, Mannar and Welioya areas throughout the day Wednesday. In one particularly deadly fight in Vavuniya, troops captured a rebel bunker and killed eight guerrilla fighters after nine hours of clashes, more..

Sri Lanka token strike gets off to quiet start

July 10 (LBO) A one day token strike called by Sri Lanka's opposition parties got off to a peaceful start with slightly reduced traffic in the capital Colombo and most public services operating as usual, officials and residents said. Sri Lanka's state-run railways system's chief Lalithasiri Gunaruwan said train services were operating normally but logs were placed across the track near Beruwala in the South of the island. more..

Shutdown called by Sri Lankan opposition has little impact

July 10 (IANS) A nationwide shutdown called by the Sri Lankan opposition Thursday to demand an increase in salaries of public and private sector workers as well as postponement of provincial elections seemed to have little impact on the island nation. The shutdown was called by the Marxist JVP, which is demanding that the government raise the salaries of public and private sector workers by Rs.5,000 in view of the rising cost of living. more..