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Civilians fear on annual pilgrimage to Kadirgamam temple

July 12 (LG) The annual pilgrimage to the Kadirgamam Temple is a traditional pilgrimage for many tens of thousands of Tamils in Sri Lanka. It is estimated that annually over 100,000 pilgrims visit the Kadirgamam Temple during this time of year. It is unfortunate to note that due to the presence of the armed TMVP cadres in the area, who openly carry their weapons and also the presence of cadres of the LTTE ordinary civilians fear going this years annual Kadirgamam pilgrimage. more..

National priorities come first

July 12 (LG) The JVP, humiliated by the defection of Wimal Weerawansa with 11 other JVP MPs, suffered yet another political blow at the hands of the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration when it failed to muster support for their party at the last provincial council election in the East. To apply salt to the wound incurred by the JVP, the State dissolved the two Provincial Councils of Sabaragamuwa and North Central. more..

China warns Sri Lanka

July 12 (LT) The issue of 'Irida Lanka', a Sinhalese weekend paper, has stated that China has opposed the agreement Government of Sri Lanka signed with Indian company 'Cairn India' recently to explore oil in Mannar Basin and has threatened to stop all military aid given to GoSL. According to the paper China has vehemently opposed the agreement signed with Indian company to explore oil in Manna Basin and has threatened that it will stop all military aid given to Sri Lanka if the agreement was not cancelled. more..

Low turnout in general strike expresses lack of confidence in unions

July 12 (wsws) Tens of thousands of workers joined yesterday’s general strike in Sri Lanka despite a vicious government intimidation campaign. The exact turnout is difficult to gauge as the unions led by the JVP and UNP refused to call mass meetings, rallies or marches to fight for their demands. While government ministers proclaimed the strike a complete failure, JVP parliamentarian and union leader K.D. Lalkantha declared it was “70 percent successful”. more..

LTTE Fishing in Tamil Nadu Waters

July 12 (TC) The political chief of the LTTE B Nadesan has been vocal in talking to the media ever since the election in the eastern province concluded. In these "medialogues" the LTTE's concern on the political and military developments taking place in Sri Lanka was evident. The successful implementation of the 13th amendment in the eastern province would pave way for restoration of peace and security there. And that would be political loss of face for the LTTE. more..

Minister's henchmen impersonate postal employees to sabotage strike

July 12 (LT) A large amount of irregularities have occurred as a result of government's attempt to sabotage the token strike called by the National Trade Union Centre (NTUC) on the 10th. A group of about 15 individuals, who are not postal employees, led by Ananda Abeywickrema, Coordinating Secretary of the Minister of Postal Services Mahinda Wijesekera had broken into the post office at Matara on the 11th at about 11.00 a.m. had begun 'duty' at the post office and signed the attendance register. more..

Chintana Vithanage qualifies for Olympics in Weight lifting

July 12 (GDI) Sri Lankan premier weight lifter Chinthana Geethal Vidanage qualified to contest in the Olympic Games which is to be held in August in Beijing, China. Chinthana, who clinched the gold medal in 62 kg weight lifting event at the Commonwealth Games in 2006 in Australia also set up three records at the 33rd National Sports Meet held recently. Chinthana was born in Polonnaruwa on 31st December 1981 and began his weight lifting career in 1996 when he was placed fifth at the Junior Weight-Lifting National.

Garment exports to India to increase under Indo-Lanka Trade Agreement

July 12 (GDI) The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between Sri Lanka and India, which is to be signed on the sidelines of the South Asian Association for Regional Corporation (SAARC) summit in Colombo next month, will provide substantial concessions for Sri Lankan garment exporters, said Minister of Export Development and International Trade yesterday (11). more..

New set of guidelines for Mobile and CDMA phone users/sellers

July 12 (GDI) The Sri Lanka Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) has issued a new set of guidelines in using mobile and CDMA phones. This step was taken to avert irregularities and illegal activities while minimizing threats to national security created by the irresponsible use of telephones. The following instructions have been issued in this connection: Vendor Licenses: In terms of the provisions of the Sri Lanka Telecommunications Act, No. 25 of 1991, more..

“we will soon be able to hold the National Sports Festival in Kilinochchi” - President

July 12 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa assured that the country will soon be able to stage the National Sports Festival in Kilinochchi when the region is liberated from the clutches of terrorism. President made these remarks when he addressed the gathering after declaring open the 34th National Sports Festival at D.A. Rajapaksa Stadium in Beliatta. more..

Ranjan named CM candidate of the UNP

July 12 (LD) UNP leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe has decided to nominate popular actor, Ranjan Ramanayake as the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate for the forthcoming Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council polls. The decision was taken at a special meeting presided by the opposition leader at the ‘Silver Ray’ Hotel in Pelmadulla this morning (July 12th). All UNP Parliamentarians and PC councilors of the Sabaragamuwa Province as well as senior party members who are to play a part in the forthcoming PC polls attended the meeting. more..

2,000 Karuna men to the police -‘Siyatha’

July 12 (LD) Founder leader of the TMVP, Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman has requested the government to recruit military trained TMVP members to the police, the ‘Siyatha’ newspaper reports. In the headline of its’ inaugural publication today (July 12th), the newspaper adds that the government should consider this request as an option, if the TMVP is to disarm after entering the democratic stream. more..

Terrorism requires military solution - Janaka Perera

July 12 (LD) Terrorism should countered by a military solution while the current ethnic conflict requires a political solution, says UNP’s Chief Ministerial candidate for the North Central PC Council polls, retired Major General Janaka Perera. Explaining his view to ‘Lanka Dissent’, the retired Army officer said he believed the President’s stance on the above matter to be the same. more..

Doctors of K’nochchi Hospital inconvenienced - ‘Ravaya’

July 12 (LD) Doctors of the Kilinochchi Hospital, who provide medical facilities to the entire Kilinochchi District and a part of the Mulativu District, are facing severe inconveniences, the ‘Ravaya’ reports. Citing the Kilinochchi Medical officers Association, the ‘Ravaya’ says that though the hospital requires services of 60 doctors, there are only 14 at the present and no specialists at all. more..

No Foreign Troops during the SAARC summit in Colombo

July 12 (AT) Government of Sri Lanka denies JVP criticism on security of the SAARC and said no foreign troops would be in Sri Lanka during the period. Replying a question made by JVP Parliamentarian Bimal Ratnayake , Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said the propaganda carried out by the JVP regarding a battalion of 1,500 soldiers accompany the Indian Prime Minister visiting Sri Lanka for the SAARC summit is totally false and misleading. more..

Indonesian General sent to jail for 30 months for attempting to sell weapons to LTTE

July 12 (AT) The Indonesian Marine Corps General, Eric Wotulo (61) who was charged for being the mastermind behind an attempt to smuggle hundreds of thousand dollars worth of weapons for the LTTE was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment by US District Judge Catherine C. Blake. The man charged for the orchestrating of smuggling of high tech weapons for the US banned terrorist group in Baltimore USA will be deported back to his country after serving the federal jail term according to the judgment, FBI sources said. more..

Government of Sri Lanka and the AI condemn Friday LTTE attack in Buttala

July 12 (AT) The Government of Sri Lanka and the Amnesty International expressed their condolence to the families of the bus attack victims who lost their lives in the terrorist attack at Buttala. Issuing a statement Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake said it is barbaric attack targeting civilians. The Amnesty International condemned the targeting of civilians in the ongoing conflict in Sri Lanka and urged the concerned parties to abide by the international laws. more..

President Rajapakse in Tirupati, offers special prayers

July 12 (AT) Making an unscheduled visit to Tirupati President Mahinda Rajapaksa offered prayers at the famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara on Friday night. He was received on arrival at the main entrance with full temple honours, a privilege generally reserved to the heads of states and governments. President's India visit itinerary remains shrouded in secrecy. And hence it is unclear. The visit is being described here as a private visit. more..

Sri Lanka state cash flows hit by revenue shortfalls

July 12 (LBO) Finance ministry had to rely on bank overdrafts and additional domestic borrowing to bridge cash gaps in the first five months of 2008 as revenues were below target, a government report said. The finance ministry said the cash deficit forecast for its operations by the end of May was only 4.7 billion rupees but the actual was 23.4 billion rupees. "The main reason for the deviation was the shortfall of revenue receipts," the mid-year fiscal report of the finance ministry said. more..

Kumble plays down Mendis threat

July 12 (CI) Ahead of the tour to Sri Lanka, Anil Kumble, India's Test captain, has played down the threat posed by spinner Ajantha Mendis, who scythed through India's batting in the Asia Cup final earlier this week. "He must be a tricky bowler. But I cannot see how he can remain a surprise element for very long," he told the Mumbai Mirror. "To be honest I cannot see how someone like Rahul [Dravid] would not have sorted him out. Rahul would have played straight and not heaved across the line." more..

Sri Lanka BOI signs agreement for US$ 124 million medical centre

July 12 (LNP) Silvermere Hospitals has signed an agreement with Sri Lanka`s Board of Investment (BOI) to establish a state of the art medical centre. The Embassy Medical Centre (EMC), a flagship project of the BOI, is an investment of US$ 124 million. The hospital will provide customized, professional healthcare services. Silvermere International, a US based company which has introduced cutting edge materials and technologies to South Asian markets, identified the demand for safe and high quality more..

Has the monster risen from hibernation?

July 12 (LNP) The JVP-UNP strike has come and gone. If there is a single person who believes it was a success, it is JVP MP K. D. Lal Kantha, who organised it and bragged that he and his union allies would cripple essential services on Thursday. The other JVP leaders carefully avoided committing themselves to the strike. Nor have they risen in defence of Comrade Lal Kantha, who is smarting from the failed strike. more..

Mendis is no ordinary spinner: Mallett

July 12 (LNP) Former Aussie spinner and coach Ashley Mallett feels Sri Lanka s new spin sensation Ajantha Mendis is not an average slow spin bowler but is in a different class altogether like compatriot Muttiah Muralitharan and Bill O Reilly. Recalling his days as the coach of the Sri Lanka Spin Bowling Academy in Colombo a couple of years ago, Mallett said, even before his sensational six for 13 in the Asia Cup final, he was impressed with Mendis fitness and more..

Govt. to penalise strikers

July 12 (SAMN) The government Friday decided to take disciplinary action against public servants who struck work on Thursday and as a result casual employees who participated in the strike now face losing their jobs, official sources said, adding that the government has instructed department heads to issue letters to casual employees who absented themselves from work on July 10 calling for an explanation within three days or face dismissal on Monday. more..

Tissa case: State seeks one more month

July 12 (SAMN) Senior State Counsel Friday moved for one month time to inform court whether Senior Journalist J.S. Tissainayagam who is being detained at the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) would be charged or released from detention. Court has already granted leave to proceed with the rights violation petition for the alleged infringement of his fundamental rights to freedom from torture, equality and equal protection of the law and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention. more..

MPs get stamps of higher value

July 12 (SAMN) The Philatelic Bureau of the Department of Posts earlier this week increased the denomination of stamps for Members of Parliament, under the instructions of Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mahinda Wijesekera. Earlier parliamentarians were provided only with stamps of the Rs. 5 denomination. It has now been increased to denominations of 10 rupees, 15 rupees, 25 rupees, 30 rupees along with the existing five rupees. more..

Mano to IGP: Take action on abductions

July 12 (SAMN) Civil Monitoring Committee on Abductions Convenor and Western People’s Front Leader, Mano Ganesan claimed the number of a white van had been found in Pettah and called on the IGP Jayantha Wickramaratne to take action. He was referring to the statement made by the IGP that public should inform the police regarding white vans. The latest incident s of attempted abductions had occurred at 5 a.m. on Wednesday morning at Kadiresan Street in Pettah, Colombo involving Tamil civilians (a 67-year-old mother and a 27-year-old son), more..

80 % teachers reported for duty on Thursday - Education Minister

July 12 (DN) Education Minister Susil Premajayantha completely denying the false information presented on the education sector regarding Thursday's token strike said 80 per cent of teachers countrywide had reported to work on Thursday. Education Ministry officially obtained details from schools countrywide on the attendance of teachers on Thursday. 84 per cent of teachers in the Colombo Educational Zone had reported for duty on Thursday, out of 6299 teachers in the Colombo educational zone, 5224 had reported for work. more..

Pension anomalies to be resolved soon

July 12 (DN) Discussions will take place soon with the Salary and Cadre Commission to remove the present pension anomalies, said Acting Minister of Public Administration and Home Minister Chandrasiri Gadjadheera at the 07th Annual General Meeting of the Public Servants Pensioners' Trust Fund held at Colombo Public Library recently. Minister Gadjadheera said that it has been generally accepted that the problem of cost of living today is adversely affecting all pensioners. more..

Gajanayake, 3 others indicted

July 12 (DM) Air Force Wing Commander Nishantha Gajanayake and three others including two police officials were indicted yesterday on charges of abducting a Tamil businessman and his driver and for taking a ransom of Rs. Six million. The accused including Sub Inspector Chamila Indika Daladawatta (35), police constanble W.M. Sampath Prithiviraj (30) and Prabhapillai Kandarasa, who were produced before Colombo High Court judge Sunil Rajapakse were each released on Rs. 100,000 cash bail and Rs. one million surety bonds. more..

Controversy over HQI suicide in Kalmunai

July 12 (DM) Controversy surrounded the death of Kalmunai Headquarters Inspector C.W. Wijetilake, after it was revealed that he had heard he was to be transferred while in the midst of conducting investigations into the previous day’s killing of three businessmen. The 57-year-old HQI Wijetilake who was conducting inquiries into the triple murder in Kalmunai town had returned to his quarters on Thursday night and was alleged to have shot himself in the head using his own T-56 weapon just before leaving for duty last morning. more..

Ranil calls on Malwatte Mahanayake Thero

July 12 (Island) The leader of the Opposition and United National Party called on the Most Ven. Tibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Mahanayake Thero of Malwatte Yesterday (11). The UNP leader had discussions with the prelate for over 45 minutes, but the discussions were not open to the media. While leaving the official Aramaya of the Mahanayake Thero, Wickremasinghe told the media that he visited the prelate prior to attending a party meeting at Kegalle. more..

Boys arrested for stealing PM’s security staffer’s mobile phone

July 12 (Island) Three boys, who are alleged to have stolen a cellular phone belonging to a member of the security staff of the Prime Minister, when the vehicle he was returning in after duty was stopped at the traffic lights at Grandpass Junction, were arrested by Police. Police also recovered the cellular phone. The suspects were yesterday produced before Colombo Additional Magistrate Ajith Anavaratne. more..

Ten Sports threatens legal action against SLC

July 12 (TOI) Upset over scrapping of lucrative telecast deal with the Sri Lanka Cricket, Ten Sports has threatened to take legal action against the SLC. Ten Sports chief executive Chris McDonald, in a letter to SLC chief executive Duleep Mendis, questioned the cancellation of the deal, the Daily Mirror reported on Saturday. However, the channel does not mind settling for an amicable solution. more..

Delhi accused of pressuring Colombo to end offensive against LTTE

July 12 (Dawn) It is three weeks since a high-level Indian delegation arrived in the island for closed-door discussions with Sri Lanka’s leaders, but the reverberations from the visit still continue with Sri Lanka’s Marxist-cum-Nationalist party, the JVP slamming India for ‘its invasive dictatorial foreign policy’. Indian diplomatic sources in Colombo have stated that the meeting focused ‘mainly’ on the security considerations of the upcoming Saarc summit to be held in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka says 17 rebels killed in fighting

July 12 (AP) Scattered fighting across Sri Lanka's embattled north and an attack on a passenger bus in the south killed 17 Tamil Tiger rebels and four civilians, the military said Saturday. Suspected rebel gunmen fired at a passenger bus in southern Sri Lanka, killing a 9-year-old boy and three women, the military said in a statement. Meanwhile, clashes broke out in the Mannar, Vavuniya and Welioya regions surrounding the rebel stronghold killed 17 rebels, more..

Kingdom to donate dates to Sri Lanka

July 12 (AN) The Kingdom will donate 200 metric tons of dates to the Muslims of Sri Lanka during Ramadan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced here yesterday. Saudi Ambassador in Sri Lanka Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman Al-Jammaz, told Arab News that he would handover the consignment of dates to Abdul Hameed Mohammed Fowzie, minister of petroleum and petroleum resources, in the presence of Western Province Gov. Alavi Mowlana at a ceremony in Colombo soon after the dates are received by the mission. more..

England tour, IPL controversy not settled yet: Sri Lanka

July 12 (IANS) Amid reports that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) was considering to postpone the team's England tour next year to accommodate the requests by key players to allow them to play in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament, a top official said the issue was yet to finalised. The SLC official said no decision has been reached whether or not to postpone the England tour next year and allow many key players to partake in the next IPL tournament, to commence in April 2009. more..

I Wrote a Story, Not the Whole Story

July 12 (WP) Yalini, the protagonist of my novel "Love Marriage," turns 25 this month. "I was born in the early hours of the morning, on a day in late July," she says in the book. "And as I entered this new world, my parents' old one was being destroyed." Moments after she is born, her Sri Lankan father watches on television as the country he left erupts into violence -- the anti-Tamil riots known as "Black July." more..

Two Indian fishermen killed in Lankan naval firing

July 12 (IANS) Two Indian fishermen were killed on Saturday morning in alleged firing by the Sri Lankan Navy in the Palk Straits, the police said. K. Murali 29, a fisherman injured in the incident, informed relatives ashore through mobile phone that his mates S. Vasagan and N. Narayanswamy were killed in "unprovoked" firing by the Sri Lankan navy in the Palk Straits. more..

Sri Lanka's budget deficit, foreign debts mounting: Treasury

July 12 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's overall budget deficit is growing due to increased public investment and foreign debt is mounting, the country's Treasury department said on Friday. The budget deficit has risen 25.7 percent in the first four months of 2008 compared with last year, the department's mid year fiscal position report said. "The overall deficit increased to 93.4 billion rupees ($867.4 million) from 74.3 billion rupees due to increased public investments," more..

Discipline private bus owners

July 13 (LG) Ever since the advent of the private bus consortium, no government in power has been able to inculcate even a semblance of order and discipline into this band of road terrorists. They first need to be shackled and then moulded into a civic unit. The million dollar question is who has the chutzpah to crack down on such an operation. Beginning this week, in this country, a new initiative puts all bus drivers under the scanner. more..

Naked media giants in Sri Lanka Part II

July 13 (LG) A former TNL (Janahanda) and Swarnavahini (Ratu Ira and Kinihira) political affairs commentator and producer Chandana Sooriyabandara became the organizer of Senkadagala electorate for UNP. Owner of Lakbima paper, Thilanga Sumathipala was elected as the UNP District organizer for Anuradhapura. From that day onward Lakbima is hell bent in promoting Thilanga Sumathipala as a politician! more..

'LTTE is forcibly recruiting children'

July 13 (Hindu) Sri Lanka’s Air Force (SLAF) on Saturday claimed to have launched “precision air sorties at an identified LTTE bunker line” south of Thunukkai in Mullaithivu in the north of the country amid continued fighting between the forces and the LTTE. “A bulldozer was confirmed destroyed and few other heavy machinery damaged in the air raid,” said spokesperson Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara. more..

Ready for talks with LTTE, says Mahinda Rajapaksa

July 13 (Hindu) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Saturday that his government was ready to resume talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) provided it laid down arms. Talking to journalists at the end of his two-day pilgrimage to the hill temple, Mr. Rajapaksa said the LTTE should give up terrorist activities and come to the negotiating table in the interest of the nation. more..

Buddhism online: A global spiritual force

July 13 (AT) "The Internet gives us many opportunities to promote Buddhist values, understandings and insights on a global scale" - Ven. Pannyavaro. When the Information Superhighway i.e. Internet, was launched in the mid 1990s Buddhist communities worldwide vigorously took up the challenge. With Buddhism becoming one of the fastest growing religions in the West, they converted Buddhist literature into the electronic format with a great deal of enthusiasm. more..

A Glimpse of the Future

July 13 (AT) The war is the Rajapakse administration’s one and only justification. Its self-assigned role is to wage the war as it should be waged and win, paving the way for peace and prosperity. It is in the hope of reaching that Promised Land (and soon) the masses are putting up with unprecedented hardships. But at his recent meeting with a group of foreign correspondents the Army Commander hinted at a vastly different future, a future in which the war might continue forever in the form of an insurgency: more..

WSWS speaks to Sri Lankan workers about general strike

July 13 (wsws) During Thursday’s general strike in Sri Lanka, WSWS teams spoke to workers in the capital Colombo, the city of Kandy, the towns of Hatton and Bandarawela in the central plantation districts and Jaffna town on the northern Jaffna peninsula. The extent of the walkout was difficult to gauge as most of the unions—affiliated to the opposition JVP and UNP—held no meetings, marches or pickets. more..

First Indian military contingent here Tuesday

July 13 (LB) The first contingent of a three thousand strong Indian military team providing security for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his delegation, will arrive in Colombo on Tuesday. This first contingent is expected to be about 1000 military personnel. Another contingent is scheduled to arrive on the 20th of this month. Two Five Star hotels in Colombo have been fully booked for two weeks for the accommodation of these Indian military personnel, more..

Millions for SAARC cars - but for whom?

July 13 (LB) Doubts have arisen about how much the government has spent to purchase 12 bullet proof cars and BMW escort motorcycles. Its reliably understood that the Government has spent about Rs.960 million to purchase 12 bullet proof cars for the SAARC dignitaries. In addition, President Mahinda Rajapaksa's administration has at various times purchased 31 cars during thelast three years at a cost of US$ 8.6 million. more..