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British Minister brings gloomy news

July 17 (DM) At a meeting with Eastern Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan and other councillors in Trincomalee yesterday, visiting British Minister Malloch Brown, said that there were human rights violations in Sri Lanka, and therefore he could not guarantee the extension of the GSP+ facility given to Sri Lankan exports to the European Union under these circumstances. more..

Hashan bowled out from manager’s job

July 17 (DM) Ex-cricket captain Hashan Tillekaratne was yesterday bowled out from his appointment as manager of the Sri Lanka team as Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge refused to endorse his post a day after he was introduced to the local and international media as the new manager. The Daily Mirror learns that Minister Lokuge had expressed displeasure over what he saw as an impending political confrontation between him and Tillekeratne who is the opposition UNP organiser for more..

250 more families in Slave Island to be evicted

July 17 (LD) More families have been ordered by the defence Ministry to leave their houses at Slave Island, as a security measure for next month's SAARC summit in Colombo. The latest eviction order to nearly 250 families living in Elephant House Watta, came after a similar notification to residents of adjoining Glain Place early this week. These people have been living in these areas for as long as 70 years and some have even made permanent houses. more..

In village in war-ravaged Sri Lanka, the only jobs are at the military recruitment office

July 17 (AP) Iyathigewewa is a classic company town. But the youth don't head off to work in the local mine or factory - they go to war. With no other job prospects in this impoverished, remote northern village about 27 miles (45 kilometers) south of the front lines, roughly half the men of fighting age have enlisted in the army, navy, police or other security branches. more..

SLC denies move to replace Tillakratne as manager

July 17 (PTI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on Thursday stoutly denied any move to replace former captain Hashan Tillakaratne from the post of national team's manager for the upcoming home series against India. Clearing the confusion, a top SLC official said a formal clearance on Tillakaratne's appointment was awaited from Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge and that "it was only a formality". more..

North American Tamil Tigers are at sixes and sevens

July 18 (LG) The funding for Tiger terrorism in Sri Lanka has its roots in California for that’s where it began led by a group of Tamil doctors, followed by an elite group in Australia, likewise then in the United Kingdom. The crooked and corrupt Canadian chapter of utter fraudsters followed the 1983 riots. Although it was begun well, soon it was seen as a lucrative means to make fortunes. more..

We are on a winning track says Maj Gen. Chandrasiri

July 18 (LG) "There is a great civilian support to the army. The Army and the public is working together to maintain peace in the peninsular. Public is clearly against LTTE terrorism. We have done a great deal for the public through maintaining law and order to assisting them on humanitarian basis. The recent huge turnout for Jaffna Mela is a clear evidence for the phenomenon." more..

UK reportedly concerned over twisting of Brown statement

July 18 (LD) The British High Commission in Colombo is reportedly concerned over misrepresention of a statement by visiting UK minister Lord Mark Malloch-Brown at a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said sources at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The government statement, citing the British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for Africa, Asia and the UN, was published in the media yesterday (July 16th). more..

Body of missing youth found nearly 1 month later

July 18 (LD) The body of a Tamil youth who went missing nearly a month ago, has been unearthed from a plot presently been used as a vegetable garden but previously belonged to the EPDP at Chenkaladi in Eravur, Batticaloa. The victim has been identified by his father as Devadas Suresh Kumar, who was abducted in Chenkaladi on the 19th of June. According to Eravur Police, six suspects, all EPDP members, are in their custody regarding the abduction. more..

Attempt to bring Gotabhaya to Parliament

July 18 (LD) An attempt is reportedly afoot to appoint Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to the national list MP position that fell vacant following the resignation of JVP's Wasantha Samarasinghe. A group, including JHU policymaker and Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, NFF chairman Wimal Weerawansa and senior lawyer Gomin Dayasiri, has made this proposal to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, government sources said. more..

'Getting back Katchathivu will not solve problem'

July 18 (NIP) Contrary to the popular view that redeeming Katchathivu from Sri Lanka would put an end to the problems of Tamil Nadu fishermen, the representatives of the community from Rameswaram on Wednesday demanded an agreement with the Lankan Government enabling fishermen from both countries fish in areas beyond Katchathivu. Talking to Express, CR Senthilvel, district secretary, Ramanathapuram CITU Fishermen Association, said fish was available in a large quantity in areas beyond Katchathivu. more..

New restrictions for INGOs

July 18 (BBC) Government of Sri Lanka on Thursday introduced visa restrictions on United Nations and other foreign aid staff working in the country. The new guidelines were circulated among all heads of organisations at a meeting chaired by the foreign minister on Monday. The introduction of the new regulations come at a time when tensions between the government and both the United Nations and many member states, remains high. more..

The most dangerous seas in the world

July 18 (TE) ON A dazzling morning in April, the Playa de Bakio, a Spanish fishing boat, limped into paradisal Port Victoria in the Seychelles, damaged by grenades. Its crew of 26 was shaken. A Spanish military aircraft flew them to momentary fame in Spain. The fishermen had been held by Somali pirates for a week and freed after a ransom of $1.2m—so it was rumoured—was paid, in contravention of Spanish law. more..

Sri Lankan air force bombs rebels

July 18 (AP) Sri Lankan air force jets bombed a group of ethnic Tamil rebels Thursday, a day after new fighting in the north killed 27 people, the military said. The jets attacked a gathering of Tamil Tiger naval fighters in the Mannar region Thursday afternoon, a day after troops seized control of a nearby base used by the rebel's naval wing, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said. more..

"Lankan spin attack against best batting lineup"

July 18 (PTI) Predicting some really high quality action during the upcoming home series against India, Sri Lanka's former captain Arjuna Ranatunga said it will be good Sri Lankan spin attack against the world's best batting lineup. Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a tour promotion programme here on Thursday, he said "it will be a tough series for Sri Lanka against India whether it plays at home or abroad". more..

Mendis working on 'sixth' delivery

July 18 (PTI) Having bamboozled batsmen in the recent Asia Cup, Sri Lanka's 'mystery' spinner Ajantha Mendis sought to put Indian batsmen on the back foot ahead of the Test series by disclosing that he was working on a new delivery to add more variety to his armoury. "I am new to this game (Tests). I have five different deliveries and am working on the sixth," Mendis said. Mendis said he was looking forward to bowling to the top Indian batting line-up alongside his idol Muthiah Muralitharan in more..

Sri Lankan refugee camp hit by fire

July 18 (Xinhua) Some 150 families living in a camp for internally displaced people in northern Sri Lanka's Vavuniya district were affected by a fire, officials said Thursday. S. Shanmugam, district secretary or the chief government administrative officer at Vavuniya said that the fire broken out in the Poonthottam camp, about 254 km north of Colombo around 9 a.m. local time. "Two people aged 70 and 56 were injured and all the belongings of the people in the camp were destroyed. more..

Minister irked at former Sri Lanka captain's appointment

July 18 (IANS) Sri Lanka's Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge has expressed concern over the appointment of the former captain Hashan Tillakaratne as the new manager of the Sri Lankan national team for the current Indian tour. Sri Lanka and visiting India are playing three-match Test series, starting July 23 at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) here in Colombo. The Test series would be followed by a five-match ODI series starting from August 18 at the Dambulla international stadium. more..

Court stops UK from returning Tamil to Sri Lanka

July 18 (Reuters) The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday that an ethnic Tamil man denied asylum in Britain could not be sent back to his native Sri Lanka because he would be at risk of torture there. The ruling could have implications for hundreds of other Tamils trying to avoid expulsion from Britain to Sri Lanka. Thursday's ruling centred on a 33-year-old man who sought asylum in Britain in 1999 citing more..

EU HR Court makes landmark judgment on Sri Lanka

July 18 (LD) The European Human Rights Court delivered on Thursday, a landmark judgment on an application made by a Sri Lankan Tamil against his expulsion to Sri Lanka, by the British authorities. The EU HR Court had decided increased human rights violations in Sri Lanka posed a threat to the returnee and the possibility of arrest at the airport itself. This judgment may help over another 300 detainees who run the risk of deportation from the UK. more..

The tamasha that is SAARC - Who really cares and benefits?

July 18 (GV) An interesting advertisement by a tour operator caught my eye in a daily paper last week. It said “Get away during the SAARC summit” as a part of an advertisement promoting overseas holidays costing between Rs. 38,000 to Rs. 70,000 to get away from the country or more aptly the city between July 23rd to August 3rd, the scheduled days for the ministerial as well as Heads of State summit of the SAARC. more..

Jathaka Katha now online

July 18 (GDI) The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) has taken a historic step by publishing the 'Jathaka Katha' (stories of the incarnations of Lord Buddha) online in the Sinhala language, President Rajapaksa said at the launch of its new website today (17) at Temple Trees. While expressing his gratitude for the untiring efforts of the team responsible for bringing his wish to fruition, more..

DMK to observe day-long fast on Saturday

July 18 (Hindu) The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam will observe a day-long fast on Saturday to protest against the killing of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy and to urge the Centre to take urgent steps in the issue. This was among the decisions taken at the 20-member High Level Policy Implementation Committee of the party which met at the party headquarters here on Thursday. DMK deputy general secretary M.K. Stalin will lead the fast in Rameswaram, more..

40 refugees arrive in a single day

July 18 (Hindu) Forty Sri Lankan refugees landed at different places of Rameswaram island on Wednesday. This is the highest number to arrive in a single day in recent months. Of them, 11 were rescued by the Naval detachment at Rameswaram. S.R. Shinde, Area Commander, South, said that on information provided from the helicopter of Naval Air Station, a team was sent to 2nd island and the stranded refugees were rescued. more..

Jigsaw puzzle of India's Sri Lanka policy

July 18 (AT) Can India clearly define its policy vis-à-vis LTTE-TNA links with Tamil Nadu politics? It is a small wonder if Delhi cannot answer this question. In an interview with the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation's Sinhala Service on July 15 Sri Lanka's Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka said according to military intelligence sources the LTTE plan was to capture the whole island, instead of merely capturing the North and East for establishing the so-called Tamil Eelam. more..

Sri Lanka gets more World Bank money for roads

July 18 (LBO) The World Bank is giving 98 million US dollars in additional financing for road re-building in Sri Lanka amid soaring costs of oil based materials, the multilateral lender said. The money comes to supplement a 100 million dollar road sector assistance project originally approved in 2005 to run with funds from International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank's concessional window. more..

In Pictures: Returning to Muthur East

July 18 (TW) Groups of Tamil families, fled from Muthur east in Trincomalee district to Batticaloa with the launching of military operation by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) on their villages in 2006 are in the midst of being resettled in batches. They have been staying in temporary shelters located in Batticaloa and Sengkaladi. The IDPs were brought from Batticaloa via Vaakarai-Verukal road in state sector buses and resettled in their villages in Moothoor east which are not located in the high security zone (HSZ). more..

Mysterious presence of Indian in Tiger territory

July 18 (LNP) A chance detection of a boat trying to move through an SLN cordon now in place in the Gulf of Mannar has revealed the presence of some Indians in the LTTE-held area in the Vanni. An Indian holding passport (ETN/059/001/355/2001) was among seven persons attempting to cross the Indo-Lanka maritime boundary on Wednesday. Selvam Sudesh Kanan has claimed that he along with three other Indians arrived in the LTTE held area in the Vanni on January 10, 2003. more..

Army severs LTTE main sea supply route, advances towards Pooneryn

July 18 (LNP) The LTTE yesterday suffered another massive setback as the Task Force I led Brig. Shavendra de Silva marched on the Veditalaivu Sea Tiger base on the North-west coast, severing the outfit`s main sea supply route via South India. The LTTE had been using this base to smuggle in military supplies with the help of its Tamil Nadu based confederates. Yesterday`s offensive that delivered the well fortified Sea Tiger base to the army had been preceded by a series of commando raids, the army said. more..

When dogs at the same bone agree

July 18 (LNP) Many are those who lament the absence of consensual politics in this country. Politicians, blinded by partisan interests, are always at daggers drawn. More often than not they behave like a pack of canines near a butcher`s shop fighting over bones. There is no end to their raucous brawls. They are consumed with such acrimony that it is not seldom that they come to blows even in Parliament, where a group of school children once broke down, frightened out of their wits by an un-parliamentary scrap below. more..

Foreign security for visiting VIPs

July 18 (SAMN) The government Thursday asserted that bodyguards and security personnel of foreign dignitaries attending the upcoming SAARC summit would be allowed to conduct their duties undisturbed but stressed they could not meddle with state security. Western Province senior DIG Nimal Mediwaka said the government had allowed foreign security units to arrive along with foreign VIPs to carry out their duties related to the personal security of the respective state leaders, but more..

Lecturers to form monitoring body

July 18 (SAMN) University lecturers are planning to form an independent body to monitor the upcoming elections to the North Central and Sabaragamuwa provincial councils. The National University Teachers’ Alliance (NUTA) which mooted the idea said it decided to embark on this mission because of the surge in violence in the run up to the polls. NUTA President Kelaniya University Lecturer Dr. Chandana Abeyratne said ‘gross election malpractice’ had left a grave blow to democracy today. more..

Move to expand ocean area

July 18 (SAMN) All measures have been finalised to acquire the full extent of the country’s ocean area, Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Felix Perera said Thursday, adding that with the expansion, the new ocean limits would extend to 23 times of the country’s geographical area from current seven times. The expansion process will be done through the Delineation of Outer Edge of the Continental Margin (DEOCOM) project coming under the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. more..

Refute 'LTTE links' claim: JVP to Govt.

July 18 (SAMN) JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe has urged the government to refute its claims that the JVP had links with the LTTE. Unless this was done the JVP will call off its plans to protest against the LTTE's proposed Black July commemoration rallies to be held in foreign capitals. He was addressing the inaugural JVP provincial election rally held in Anuradhapura on Wednesday. more..

Tamil and Sinhalese youth unite for world youth day

July 18 (UCAN) Ceylon used to be known the world over for its tea but today Sri Lanka is known for its divisive ethnic war, claims a Sri Lankan delegate to the international World Youth Day (WYD) 2008 celebration. Jemisthas Thiotrimas, who lives in the embattled northern city of Jaffna, knows about that war firsthand. The 28-year-old Tamil office clerk spent two days making the difficult overland journey south to Colombo from his hometown, more..

President lauds move to propagate Buddhism over internet

July 18 (DN) The International Communication and Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka's initiative to include the famous Buddhist text Pansiya Panas Jathakaya based on stories relating to previous births of the Buddha in the Internet came in for high praise from President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday. The President describing the move as a historic one added that the Pansiya Panas Jathakaya was a text which more..

Vehicles manufactured using local raw materials to get more benefits

July 18 (DN) If motor vehicles could be manufactured in Sri Lanka utilising over 80 per cent local raw materials the Ministry would extend its fullest co-operation for it, said Industrial Development Minister Kumara Welgama. He was participating at the occasion of the providing of the relevant license for the manufacturing of the “Yashoda Ambassador 2000 DSZ” vehicle production. more..

Plan to lessen PC dependence on Treasury dropped

July 18 (Island) The government has temporarily dropped a controversial plan to lessen the dependence of Provincial Councils (PCs) on the Treasury by allowing them to sharply increase the Business Turnover Tax (BTT). Authoritative sources said the WPC expected to raise revenue from last year's estimate of Rs. 8,770 million to Rs. 11,000 million. The plan was to be first implemented by the SLFP-run Western Provincial Council, officials said. more..

'Giving 'prosecuting power' to Bribery Commission big mistake'

July 18 (Island) Attorney General C. R. de Silva yesterday expressed the view that the Bribery and Corruption Commission should never have been given power to prosecute. Responding to The Island queries, he sad earlier the prosecution of Bribery and Corruption cases had been handled by the Attorney General's Department. The decision to empower the Commission to take legal action during the PA administration had been a big mistake, he said. more..

Narrow escape for woman in Kandy

July 18 (DM) A young woman who crept under the belly of an elephant at the Nata Devalaya premises in Kandy yesterday to ward off malefic effects had a narrow escape from being trampled to death by the elephant. The mahout with difficulty managed to bring the elephant under control and saved the woman – a resident of Nelundeniya - who escaped with minor injuries. more..

Liberating ‘Freedom Island’

July 18 (DM) The weekly Security Council meeting on Wednesday was attended by the defence top brass including Defence Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and was presided over by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Soon after the meeting commenced, Army Commander Sarath Fonseka informed the President that his troops had captured most of the areas surrounding the LTTE’s largest sea supply base in the north western coast- Viduthalaitivu (translated as Freedom Island) and by Wednesday evening, more..

Sri Lanka aims to rescue children trapped in armed conflicts

July 18 (AT) Addressing the Security Council debate on Children and Armed Conflict, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam said that Sri Lanka remains committed to working closely with the Council and its Working Group to rescue children trapped in situations of armed conflict for the cause of making the world safer for children. more..

Sri Lanka not yet ready to sign trade pact with India: officials

July 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka is not yet ready to sign a trade pact with India, senior officials said as protests mounted from domestic business interests and a minority party backing the ruling coalition. International trade secretary S Ranugge told our sister website that the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) was not yet ready to be signed as some of the items in the concession lists were yet to be finalized. more..

Sri Lanka trade deficit up on oil imports, slow industrial exports

July 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka's trade gap had expanded 79 percent to 2.5 billion US dollars in the five months to May 2008 on higher imports of oil while industrial exports slowed, government data showed. In the five months to May imports rose 34.9 percent to 5.9 billion dollars, while exports grew 12.6 percent to 3.2 billion rupees, the Central Bank said. In the month of May exports grew 17 percent to 745.9 million US dollars, and more..

200 foreign journalists expected for SAARC

July 18 (GDI) A team of between 200 and 250 foreign journalists is expected in the island to cover the forthcoming SAARC summit in Colombo, Director Information of the Government Information Department Anusha Palpita told The media team will arrive from July 25th, Mr. Palpita added. About 125 Indian journalists are travelling for the event. The Government is to set up two media centres in Colombo, one in Committee Room 'B' of the BMICH. more..

'Prevention of child recruitment needs more than sympathetic words'

July 18 (GDI) "Because non-state actors are not bound by internationally enforceable legal instruments, they should be subject to stricter scrutiny and more rigorous and internationally enforceable punitive measures," Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Prasad Kariyawasam said in his contribution to the Security Council debate on children in armed conflict. more..

SC injunction prevents demolition of houses

July 18 (LD) The Supreme Court issued an injunction against the implementation of an order by the Defence Secretary to demolish houses at Glennie Street, Slave Island, Colombo 02. The SC order, effective until July 22nd, came after it considered a fundamental rights petition filed by the affected area residents. The petitioners alleged that the Defence Ministry had ordered them to vacate within seven days the houses in which they have been living for generations. more..

Govt. to blame if Janaka Perera harmed - UNP

July 18 (LD) The United National Party has told the government that it should accept entire blame had any harm come to the life of the party's chief ministerial candidate for the north central province, retired Major General Janaka Perera. The ruling UPFA's main candidate has been provided with a large security contingent, while the ex-army officer had yet to be given any security, said party MP Lakshman Kiriella. more..

Chenkalady town protests youth's murder

July 18 (LD) Shops remained closed today in Chenkalady town in Eravur, Batticaloa to protest the murder of a youth, whose body was found from a land where the EPDP has an office. Shops and houses in the area hoisted white flags to mourn the death of Devadasan Suresh Kumar, who had been running a foreign employment agency in the town. The 35-year-old father of two was abducted by a group that came in a white van on June 19th near a filling station in Chenkaladi. more..

Colombo closes in on victory in Sri Lanka's long civil war

July 18 (VS) The offensive launched two years ago by Sri Lankan government forces against Tamil Tiger rebels took on new momentum in the past few days with the capture of a key rebel naval base. On Wednesday government troops took the port town of Vidattaltivu on Sri Lanka's northwest coast after heavy fighting. The port has been a base for the Tamil Tigers' small boat navy and is an important entry point for arms and other supplies smuggled in by the rebels, mostly from India across the Palk Strait. more..