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Fowzie takes on critics

July 13 (LB) Sri Lanka’s Petroleum MinisterA.H.M Fowzie yesterday dismissed criticism against the petroleum deal the government struck with an India-based British company on Monday. The government signed the Petroleum Resources Agreement with Cairn India, a unit of British exploration firm Cairn Energy Plc last Monday in spite of criticisms against the deal from various quarters. more..

Government’s intention clear - they want me killed by LTTE

July 13 (LB) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is using all aces up his sleeve to win the forthcoming North Central Provincial Council election. Finally, it seems, he decided to rairoad disabled soldier Upali Wijekoon to use against Opposition chief ministerial candidate General Janaka Perera. Wijekoon is the only survivor of the blast which killed Lt. General Denzil Kobbekaduwa, Major General Wijaya Wimalaratne and many other military officers in Kayts Island in 1992. more..

APRC awakens from slumber

July 13 (SAMN) The All Party Representative Committee (APRC) will end yet another snoozing epoch this week when it recommences sittings Monday, with the latest entrant to the committee , the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) also slated to attend the meeting. Batticaloa Mayor Sivageetha Prabhakaran is expected to represent the TMVP at Monday’s meeting, which has been convened after more than a month of idleness. more..

Bullet proof cars and failed strikes stir parliament

July 13 (SL) IF anyone lost his head first, and then his face last week, that was JVP frontliner and trade union leader K. D. Lalkantha. Whatever the country's present perils may be, last week's singular legislative focus fell on the JVP's promised show of strength by striking work on July 10 and of course the provincial hustings that are showing a violent trend. The JVP, fractured and struggling to stand on its feet needed the event to show that the Marxists are not yet ready to bite the dust despite more..

How Mahinda took Wimal for a ride over the post of deputy speaker

July 13 (SL) The filling of the post of deputy speaker in parliament following Geetanjana Gunawardena's resignation became quite a task for the government with many names being proposed for the slot. Several names were proposed for the slot with many of them being names of SLFPers. Interestingly, in the midst of all these names, the name of JVP defector and head of the National Freedom Front (NFF), Wimal Weerawansa also figured suddenly in the list of names. more..

Security concerns over SAARC and double standards on defence

July 13 (SL) Even as security concerns for the SAARC Summit heightened, last Thursday saw the general strike cripple some sectors of the public service. The JVP claimed the trade union action was 70 percent successful and vowed to continue the agitation in the weeks to come using the July 10 islandwide strike as a launching pad while the government described it as a dismal failure. more..

It's tamasha time in Paradise

July 13 (SL) As cost of living issues push people towards trade union action and demands for salary hikes to fight starvation, the Sri Lankan state has committed itself to two expensive projects this July-August. Two projects that could have waited. Having committed Rs. 268 million to hold hasty provincial polls in the North Central and another Rs. 278 million for Sabaragamuwa Provinces - a year ahead of the scheduled date - the government has now committed another Rs. 2,800 million to hold the SAARC Summit in Colombo, again, a year ahead of schedule. more..

Loss of collective ‘national interest’ after independence

July 13 (FI) The citizens of Sri Lanka have a country they regard as their motherland but do all regard it as their nation? They had this perception before independence when they all proudly identified themselves as Ceylonese and jointly campaigned for self-rule. The Ceylon National Congress was truly national before this word got tarnished. After independence, the natives regardless of their ethnic, religious and regional differences regarded themselves as joint heirs to the sovereign rights. more..

SL investigate shooting on fishermen

July 13 (BBC) The authorities in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu say two Indian fishermen have been shot dead in the Palk Straits on Friday. They blamed the Sri Lankan navy for the killings. Another fisherman sustained injuries now being treated in a local hospital. Tamilnadu Minister for Fisheries K P P Sami told the BBC Tamil Service that the incident took place within the Indian waters. more..

What’s behind President’s attraction to Tirupati Temple?

July 13 (TW) What is this Tirumala Tirupathi temple that President Rajapaksa is visiting in India? Well for one, the Tirupati Temple has overtaken the Vatican, not just as the richest devotional place in the world but also the most visited place of worship. With more than 50,000 daily visitors and an average of 19 million visitors a year, it attracts almost double the estimated number of people visiting Vatican City. more..

Nutrients awareness exhibition held in Kilinochchi

July 13 (TW) An exhibition aimed at eradicating malnutrition by creating awareness among people, was held in Kilinochchi on July 12. The exhibition was held by the Medical Officer of Health in Kilinochchi. Director of Kilinochchi Regional Health Services T. Sathyamoorthy lighted lamp to declare open the exhibition. The exhibits showed maximizing the availability of essential nutrients by way of consuming various whole foods that are locally produced and widely available. more..

31 Tamil rebels, 2 soldiers killed in northern fighting

July 13 (AP) New fighting in Sri Lanka's civil war killed 31 Tamil Tiger rebels and two government soldiers, the military said Sunday. In the worst clash Saturday, 18 rebels and a soldier were killed in Mannar district, a military official said on condition of anonymity, citing government rules. Seven rebels and a soldier were killed in Vavuniya while six guerrillas died in Welioya, he said. more..

AG takes over vital bribery cases

July 13 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has directed the Attorney General's Department to take over with immediate effect all “important cases” now in the custody of the Bribery and Corruption Commission and ensure their successful prosecution. Attorney General C.R. De Silva, PC confirmed the setting up of a special Bribery Unit in his Department on the directive of President Rajapaksa, and more..

Trade unions to fight Govt. hounding

July 13 (SAMN) National Trade Union Centre (NTUC) Convener K.D. Lalkantha Saturday warned of a massive strike campaign in collaboration with the private sector if the government attempts to carry out its plans to hound and take revenge on the workers who joined Thursday’s strike. “There were various instances of violence and intimidation against the striking workers,” Lalkantha said, more..

Conventional and unconventional wars: The end of one and beginning of the other

July 13 (TC) Sri Lanka’s supposedly most successful Army Commander has spoken. According to General Sarath Fonseka, the Tigers are finished as a conventional army, if not already, certainly by next year. He has also added the caveat that the LTTE will not be totally eliminated and that as an insurgent force it could go on forever, fuelled by Tamil nationalism and bankrolled by Tamil expatriates. more..

No state media for party events: UNP

July 13 (SAMN) The UNP has taken a decision not to invite the state media to cover party events, General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said Saturday. According to Attanayake the state media has continuously misinterpreted and distorted reports of UNP events, and since that would create a wrong impression in the minds of the public, the party has decided not to invite the government media for private events, but would allow them to cover public events. more..

Salary increase: Stern action against errant companies

July 13 (SO) “The JVP and UNP trade unions demand for a public sector salary increase is purely a political slogan which reflects the frustration of the party and its support to the LTTE, a ruthless terrorist organisation”, Minister of Labour Relations and Manpower, Athauda Seneviratne said. He said the Ministry has decided to grant a minimum wage increase to employees governed by the Wages Board of the private sector ranging from 15-40 per cent from July 1. more..

LTTE no more guardian angels of Tamils - Chandrakanthan

July 13 (SO) The Chief Minister (CM) of Eastern Province Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan who is still popularly known as Pillaiyan, is confident that the Sri Lankan armed forces will soon capture Wanni as military offensives are going ahead strongly. The Chief Minister Chandrakanthan said that the security forces which are now moving steadily and strongly according to a well coordinated military plan will bring the outfit to zero, soon. more..

Popularising fresh milk to reduce milk powder imports

July 13 (SO) Drinking fresh milk is become popular and it will help to reduce the imports of milk powder said Livestock Development Minister C.B. Ratnayaka. He said that milk powder imports have dropped by 12 per cent during the past six months. Under the fresh milk popularisation project implemented by the Livestock Development Ministry, there are 450 fresh milk outlets in the country, he said. more..

Kandy gets facelift for perahera

July 13 (SO) Renovation work is going on apace in the Kandy town and its suburbs for the upcoming Kandy Esala perahera. Chief Minister of the Central Province, Sarath Ekanayake said, “The Central Province is getting a facelift to attract visitors for the Kandy perahera”. This year’s Kandy Esala perahera will be held in the beginning of August. “Tourists have always been flocking to see the Kandy Esala perahera which is one of the magnificent pageants in the world”, he said. more..

Security boost for Kataragama, Kebithigollewa

July 13 (NS) Security in and around Kataragama and Kebithigollewa has been given a fresh boost to ward off any future attacks similar to that of Friday morning, which could also affect the forthcoming Esala Perahera. “Special security arrangements have been implemented for the Esala Perahera, which is due to be held in Kataragama. As this is a festive season, general security measures are usually increased. more..

Fully functional Constitutional Council need of the hour

July 13 (NS) As the composition of the Council shows, it is intended to be impartial. Unfortunately, the Council was stymied because there appeared to be no agreement on the last slot-that reserved for the person to be nominated by the other political parties where the JVP and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) had differences of opinion. Now, that too appears to have been resolved but the work of the Council is yet to get off the ground. more..

Bandula-Fowzie clash over Economic Centres

July 13 (NS) The token strike organised by the JVP was gathering momentum last week subduing other issues including the Provincial Council (PC) election. Many within the government were under the impression that, the strike would be a success in view of the spiraling cost of living. The JVP expected government servants to join the strike demanding a salary increase. Meanwhile, the JVP focused greater attention on the PC election in the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provinces. more..

Harry J. facing fresh crisis as partners go to court to sever all ties

July 13 (NS) Business tycoon Harry Jayawardene is facing a fresh crisis, with his business partners taking him to courts seeking to sever all ties with the tycoon. R. K. Obeysekera of No. 284 Nawala Road, Nawala, Zaki Alif of 27th Lane, Inner Flower Road, Colombo 3, and V.P. Vittachi of No. 30/3, Colonel T.G. Jayawardena Mawatha, Colombo 3 have filed two cases before the Commercial High Court of the Western Province. more..

Election Chief to meet party secretaries

July 13 (Island) Political party secretaries have been invited by Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake to a special meeting at his office tomorrow (July 14) for a discussion on ensuring free and fair elections in the NCP and Sabaragamuwa. The new IGP Mr. Jayantha Wickremaratne, together with DIG Elections Gamini Navaratne and the DIGs of the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Ranges, Upali Hewage and K.P.P. Pathirana, have also been requested to be present at this meeting. more..

Lankan implicated in nuclear deal released but can’t leave Malaysia

July 13 (Island) Malaysia will not allow Sri Lankan Buhary Seyed Abu Tahir, a key accomplice of Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan accused of transferring nuclear weapons components to Libya, to leave that country at least for the time being, well informed sources said. Khan, the main figure in this case which attracted global interest, is under house arrest in Pakistan. more..

Omanthai entry/exit point to be kept clear of current fighting

July 13 (Island) Despite rapid progress on the Vavuniya front with 57 Division and Task Force 11 forcing the LTTE to retreat from their strongholds, the army is unlikely to disturb the Omanthai entry/exit point on the Kandy-Jaffna A9. Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said the Task Force 11 deployed on the right flank of the 57 Division and West of the A9 wouldn’t turn towards the highway for the time being. more..

Lord Malloch Brown to visit Sri Lanka this week

July 13 (Island) British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Lord Malloch Brown is due to visit Sri Lanka from July 14-17. This is his first visit to Sri Lanka after becoming State Minister. He is due to meet President Mahinda Rajapakse, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama and other Government Ministers during the four-day visit. more..

Going to deities amidst clouds of gloom

July 13 (ST) Be it for those in Government or the Opposition, astrologers and deities are as important as votes in Sri Lankan politics. That it has been so for decades is too well known. Years ago, a Government that craved for enhanced foreign investment invited a high-powered private sector delegation from Japan. Shigeo Nagano, head of the corporate steel giant, led the delegation of leading businessmen. more..

Ananda hit by further scandal

July 13 (ST) The Bribery Commission on Friday raided the office of Ananda College, Colombo to probe complaints that school admissions approved by former Principal B. A. Abeyratne were continuing to take place after he was transferred to the Education Ministry following his indictment over a school admission case. The Bribery Commission’s Investigations Director, Neville Guruge, said a probe was being conducted but declined to give details. more..

Biggest diplomatic reshuffle

July 13 (ST) An unprecedented 14 Sri Lankan Ambassadors and High Commissioners have either returned home or are due to return shortly at the end of their three-year assignments overseas."We have standing room only," complains one returnee, as he joins others in a scramble for office space in an overcrowded ministry. The long list of returning envoys includes: Bernard Goonetilleke (US), Prasad Kariyawasam (UN), Kshenuka Senewiratne (UK), Amanul Farouque (Lebanon), more..

Bulk of SAARC budget for police

July 13 (ST) The Police Department has been allocated a large proportion of the budget for the upcoming SAARC summit with plans to buy Radio Cars, out rider bikes and security gates, a Foreign Ministry official said yesterday. According to the estimates, of the Rs. 2.8 billion allocation, Rs. 2.1 billion will be for the Police Department. The estimate which was prepared by the budget committee is to be taken up for debate later this month. more..

JVP delegation tours China

July 13 (LD) A delegation from the JVP, led by central committee member Sunil Handunnetti, is presently on a tour of China to promote ties with the Chinese Communist Party. They had discussions with Li Hanbai, Secretary of Yunan Provincial Commission on July 10th. The Chinese official has told the JVP delegation that 25 different communities were living in harmony in his province under the concept of socialism. more..

The Ramayana trail

July 13 (Hindu) On the eve of our departure to India, sipping mocktails on the terrace of the Mount Lavinia Hotel in Colombo, the talk inevitably turned to terrorism. The discussion itself had a touch of the surreal: with liveried waiters gliding around and the waves lapping gently at the beach, literally a stone’s throw away, it was hard to believe this idyllic land was in the midst of a ruinous civil war. more..

Parliamentary Scholarship Board a white elephant?

July 13 (LD) 'Ravaya’ reports that the Parliamentary Scholarship Board has become a white elephant, with only three scholarships being granted in its five-year existence to students pursuing higher education. According to the newspaper, the payment as rental for its office at the BMICH alone is Rs. 124,000 per month. The PSB is also refusing to give details of the three scholarships it has awarded so far. more..

Corrupt principals in high education positions - Ravaya

July 13 (LD) There is strong opposition to the appointment to responsible educational positions of school principals who were transferred to the Education Ministry for alleged involvement in various irregularities in school admission, ‘Ravaya’ reports quoting ministry officials. The ex-principals given these positions are B.A. Abeyratne (Ananda College, Colombo), Renuka Malalasekara (Devi Balika Vidyalaya, Colombo), W.N.R.P. Daniels (Richmond College, Galle) and Jayantha Wickramanayake (Bandarnaike Vidyalaya, Gampaha). more..

Jayalalithaa deplores attack on fishermen

July 13 (PTI) Condemning the recent attack on Tamil Nadu fishermen allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy, which left two dead and one injured, AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa on Sunday demanded that the State press the Centre to take up the matter with Sri Lanka to put an end to such killings. In a statement here, she said the Tamil Nadu government should also "get an assurance from Sri Lanka that such incidents will not recur in the future." more..

Sri Lanka tightens use of mobile phones to fight terrorism

July 13 (AFP) Sri Lanka Saturday tightened mobile phone regulations and forced service providers to maintain full details of phone users as part of anti-terrorism moves. Phone operators were told to check the identity of subscribers before signing them up, Telecommunications Regulatory Commission chief Priyantha Kariyapperuma said. New and current subscribers also need to keep a certified copy of the letter issued by the operator for inspection by police and military, more..

Nilaveli hospital needs your help

July 14 (LG) The Nilaveli hospital in Trincomalee destrict is in an urgent need for skin diseases related medicine, according to medical sources from Nilaveli. “Majority of the cases reported at Nilaveli hospital had been cases are either respiratory or skin diseases, however, there is a clear shortage of skin related medicine,” according to Dr. Krishor Kumar of Nilaveli hospital. more..

Early release of Rajiv plotter opposed

July 14 (LG) The Tamil Nadu Government on Friday told the Madras High Court that it opposed the plea of Nalini, a life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, seeking her premature release. The submission was made before Justice S Nagamuthu who reserved orders on the petition filed by Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy seeking to implead himself in Nalini's petition, after hearing the counsels of the government, Swamy and Nalini. more..

The polls and the government resources

July 14 (LG) Although the law prohibits the utilization of government resources, those in the seats of power, flout the law and abuse the government resources for election campaign. As it is customary, the Commissioner of Elections has issued directives on the eve of the election to caution that the government resources should not be used for election campaign. Dayanda Dissanayaka, the Elections Commissioner, has laid down that helicopters, planes and government tourist houses should not be used at more..

Ethnic harmony through Trinco Buddhist Temple

July 14 (LG) The ethnic harmony is blooming in East through Trincomalee Buddhist temple, according sources from East. According to the chief prelate at Trincomalee Buddhist temple, the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims are coming together as one in East. The massive crowd that attended the Buddhist Perehada is proof for this ethnic solidarity and collaboration in East. However, several elements from TNA is trying to obstruct these positive developments, sources from East added. more..

The '3D' solution to the north east problem

July 14 (LG) The north eastern problem cannot be solved only through war. Negotiations are not the answer either. While the war is going on there must be a '3D' approach to the north and the east - Devolution, Democracy and Development. All three are necessary to bring peace and normalcy to the north and the east and to Sri Lanka. This is the only real alternative to separatism. more..

The UNP’s CM candidate

July 14 (LG) The nomination of Major-General Janaka Perera as the United National Party chief ministerial candidate at the forthcoming North-Central Provincial Council election is a token of appreciation and respect the party has for the services rendered by the armed forces to our country. Major-General Janaka Perera who commenced his career in the Sri Lanka Army’s Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Services Unit in the ’70s rose to the position of Chief of Staff having shown great leadership qualities, more..

1983 Anti-Tamil riots and militarization of the ethnic conflict

July 14 (LG) The period immediately following the elections to the District Development Councils (DDCs) in June 1981 witnessed the further development of Tamil militant organizations - particularly the LTTE, the People’s Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and the TELO. In addition the EROS, whose founder-leaders were based in London, split resulting in the formation of the EPRLF. more..

A haven to heal

July 14 (LG) Their need is great. They are from the battlefront, young men with glazed eyes, brought in with grievous injuries, some maimed, others blinded and all traumatized not only because they themselves have been in the thick of battle but because they have seen their brother-soldiers felled by gunfire, dying amidst the blood, the mud and the devastation. These are the youth, mostly from the villages, in their twenties, fighting for their country, more..

How useful is SAARC?

July 14 (LG) For sometime, many Lankans have questioned the validity of the SAARC grouping. The press has highlighted these concerns with little response from the government. The time has come for us to seriously ask ourselves what good has SAARC done so far in terms of invigorating trade, freeing of travel restrictions to enable the different peoples of the region to visit each other? more..

Eradication of LTTE (terrorism) will normalise the country

July 14 (LG) It could be observed that by eradication of terrorism by Prabhakaran, the country will return to normalcy that was prevailing prior to 1977 in Sri Lanka as a whole. It is now an undisputed fact that the civil administration in the Northern Province ceased - came to a halt with the escalation of violence accompanied by terrorism of the LTTE and many other armed groups of Tamil youth organisations, as every Lankan knows, because more..

Iran tops Sri Lanka donors up to May 2008, displacing Japan

July 14 (LBO) Iran emerged as the biggest lender to Sri Lanka, displacing traditional top donors Japan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), in the five months up to May 2008, aid commitments disclosed by the finance ministry show. Germany, which had earlier said it was cutting off aid to the island owing to displeasure with the ethnic war and allegations of government human rights abuses, was not in the top list of donors. more..

Mubarak to lead Sri Lanka Board XI against India

July 14 (CI) Jehan Mubarak will lead a Sri Lanka Board XI in their three-day fixture against India at the Nondescripts Cricket Club starting July 18. The match will be India's only warm-up game before the three-Test series against Sri Lanka. The 12-man squad includes four players who are likely to figure in the Test squad - fast bowlers Dilhara Fernando and Chanaka Welagedera and batsmen Chamara Silva and Upul Tharanga. more..