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India struggle despite Tendulkar and Karthik

July 20 (CI) Sachin Tendulkar and Dinesh Karthik were the only batsmen to get meaningful practice ahead of the first Test, as the rest of the Indians fell cheaply on the second day of the tour game against Sri Lanka Board XI. Tendulkar top-scored with 69, while Karthik sealed his spot for the first Test with a patient, unbeaten 58, but none of the others got among the runs as the Indians closed the day on 196 for 8, still 28 behind the Board XI total. more..

LTTE front hold secret exhibition in the House of Commons

July 20 (LG) I had a meeting with the Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPGT) Virendra Sharma MP today (16/7/2008) in the House of Commons. The purpose of the meeting was to strengthen the APPGT to incorporate the wider and the silent majority voices of the Tamil diaspora in the UK. The meeting was very useful. I was provided a copy of an invitation for secret exhibition held by the APPGT today in the parliament in conjunction with the LTTE front British Tamil Forum (BTF). more..

Tamil Nadu wants back islet ceded to Sri Lanka

July 20 (IANS) The frequent killings of Tamil fishermen in the Palk Strait between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka is developing into a major diplomatic row, with the state government Saturday demanding the return of an islet ceded to Sri Lanka in 1974. Inaugurating a day-long statewide hunger strike, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said the demand for Kachchatheevu islet to be returned to the state will be renewed if the Sri Lankan Navy does not stop targeting Indian fishermen. more..

Shortages cause price of essential food items spiral high in Jaffna

July 20 (TW) Due to shortage in Sri Lanka Government storage facilities, food prices in the Jaffna peninsula have spiraled to an all time high, the premier Tamil daily Virakesari reported on its website today, July 19th. Now that dependency is on imports by the private businesses only and prices are not in a position to be controlled by officials. Prices of essential food items such as rice, flour and sugar have gone up in price suddenly very drastically. more..

National policy on teacher recruitment

July 20 (LG) I understand the Cabinet has approved a memorandum submitted by the Education Minister Susil Premajayantha to formulate a national policy on teacher recruitment making first degree mandatory for recruitment to teachers’ service from 2009 onwards. Well done! A significant step towards qualitative school education. According to this proposal I understand graduates below 30 will be recruited to 18 National Colleges of Education (NCOE) and given training for one and a half years. more..

Nepal, Lanka trade ties need expanding

July 20 (HT) Nepal and Sri Lanka have much in common, said businessmen at an interaction ‘Nepal-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Prospects,’ with visiting minister for Trade Marketing Development Cooperative and Consumer Services of Sri Lanka Bandula Gunawardhana here today. “The people of both countries face similar challenges and aspirations of getting out of the vicious cycle of poverty and deprivation,” Kush Kumar Joshi, more..

Interview with Anita Pratap

July 20 (LG) Of course there will be talks. But not this year. People don’t realize there are two lame duck governments that are integral to peace in Sri Lanka. India and the United States...India is very concerned about the problem... There is no inclination or time left for the current UPA government to facilitate a new set of peace talks. But that does not mean total disengagement on the part of India. India is clear that it does not want a major escalation of war in Sri Lanka... more..

Bruce Fein Episode developing into a major scandal

July 20 (LG) The Tamils for Justice (T4J) in a leading article in their website have stated that “Attorney Bruce Fein who has been retained by Tamils for Justice (T4J) visited Toronto from Tuesday 17th to Sunday 22nd June 2008 to brief the Canadian Tamil public and non-Tamil Canadians about his work under the directions and instructions of Tamils for Justice” and added that they could publicly announce some of them. more..

Karunanidhi looks to hook for support from parties

July 20 (LG) Urging members of all parties to unite and fight for the cause of Tamil fishermen, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said the Centre should help get back the rights of Tamil fishermen in Katchatheevu. A State-wide fast was observed by the DMK today to press the Centre to take up with the Sri Lankan government the issue of ‘frequent’ killings of Indian fishermen allegedly by the island navy. more..

Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya meets US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte

July 20 (AT) Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya met with Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and presented him with a copy of his Credentials that accredited him as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United States of America on 18th July 2008. During the meeting with Deputy Secretary of State, issues of mutual interests to the United States of America and Sri Lanka such as more..

Psychiatrist warns against 'disaster experts'

July 20 (AT) Dr. Athula Sumathipala, Research Associate, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College University of London warned last week against the hidden agendas of certain 'good Samaritans' who rush into countries in times of disaster. He made special reference to the tsunami of December 26, 2004. Dr. Sumathipala was speaking on Helping disaster survivors: "What should be and should not be done," at the Dharmavijaya Foundation, Colombo 7 on July 16. more..

SPUR urges FBI to investigate Bruce Fein and the money trails

July 20 (AT) Ranjith Soysa, the spokesperson of the Society for Peace Unity and Human Rights a non governmental organization based in Melbourne, Australia has brought to the notice of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of United States and has urged them to investigate Mr. Bruce Fein, the Atorney of the Tamils for Justice. In his appeal to the FBI, Ranjit Soysa has pointed out that Bruce Fein, an American Attorney, who has been retained by the Tamil For Justice, more..

India expresses concerns to Sri Lanka

July 20 (BBC) Government of India has expressed its deep concern to Sri Lanka over the firing incidents at Indian fishermen at sea. Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs on Saturday. India's Secreatry for South Asian Affairs, N.Ravi conveyed India's concerns to the Island nation through him. The Congress led United Progressive government in India is under immense pressure from its coalition partners in Tamilnadu who are urging the centre to put pressure on Sri lanka. more..

Tamil Nadu parties told to stop paying lip service over Katchatheevu

July 20 (TW) Only upon an assurance to honour the rights of India over Katchatheevu under agreements, the political parties in Tamil Nadu must lend support to the central government in India. Apart from this, all Tamil Nadu political parties, including DMK, AIDMK, PMK and MDMK are paying lip service and political posturing only on the issue, by just keep talking of Tamil, Tamils and welfare of Tamils. more..

Ajantha Mendis ready to become the new star-turn

July 20 (TMG) Sri Lanka are preparing for a crucial three-match Test series with India, starting this week, and the build-up has been dominated by a media frenzy over Sri Lanka's latest unorthodox bowler, Ajantha Mendis, a mysterious finger spinner who shot to fame in the final of the Asia Cup. Up until the Asia Cup, Mendis was a curious but little-known 23-year-old spinner playing Division Two first-class cricket for the Sri Lankan Army. more..

Impunity, a debilitating fixture in state culture

July 20 (TC) Colombo’s Welikada high security prison was the scene of two massacres of Tamil political prisoners during the communal violence of July 1983, first after lunch on July 25 claiming 35 prisoners and second, about 4.00 PM on the July 27 claiming a further 18. On both occasions Secretary of Justice Mervyn Wijesinghe asked Colombo Magistrate Keerthi Srilal Wijewardene to hold inquests with the assistance of Tilak Marapone and C.R. de Silva (the present AG) from the Attorney General’s Department. more..

Attack on free expression

July 20 (TC) An on-line poll by the Asian Tribune asks “Should the Sri Lanka Government appoint a Press Commission, with full powers to probe the media? And, I’d rather ask, should the people appoint a commission to probe all the attacks, physical and verbal that have been carried out against the Sri Lankan media, with impunity, in the recent years? Never before has the local media been subjected to such horrendous crimes as has been in the past two years. more..

Sri Lankan Navy denies hand in killing of two Tamil Nadu fishermen

July 20 (Hindu) Denying the involvement of the Sri Lankan Navy in mid-sea attacks on Indian fishermen, the Commander of the Sri Lankan Navy, Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, on Saturday said the Sri Lankan Navy exercised utmost care in dealing with suspicious craft at sea to ensure the safety of its own vessels and the safety of innocent Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen and refugees or Internally Displaced Persons who are moving in boats. more..

Lankan forums discuss ways to help the needy

July 20 (GT) REPRESENTATIVES of the Sri Lankan associations in Qatar and the ambassador-designate discussed ways to reach out to the community and help those in need. They also discussed the feasibility of establishing a “mobile service” by the embassy to help needy community members. The discussions took place when community leaders called on the ambassador-designate, Vijayasiri Padukkage, at the chancery. more..

India summons Sri Lankan envoy on fishermen's issue

July 20 (IANS) India Saturday summoned Sri Lankan envoy C.R. Jayasinghe and lodged a protest over the alleged firing by the Sri Lankan Navy a week ago that killed two Indian fishermen. N. Ravi, secretary (East) in the external affairs ministry, called the Sri Lankan envoy and expressed 'deep concern' at the recent incidents involving Indian fishermen, particularly the July 12 incident in which two fishermen were killed, ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said. more..

authorities take action to assist families affected by floods

July 20 (GDI) Heavy rain overnight yesterday (18) has caused floods in several parts of the country affecting 4,000 families in Ratnapura, Kegalle, Kalutara and Galle districts, the Disaster Management Centre announced. The Ratnapura district has recorded the highest number of displaced people with 1,000 families affected so far. Two deaths have been reported: one in Kegalle and a second in Matale. more..

Tight security net for SAARC

July 20 (SAMN) At least 12,000 police officers backed by the armed forces and home guards will form one of the largest ever security dragnets in the country since independence for the SAARC summit in Colombo later this month. Several security measures from searches to surveillance have already gone into place in the city and suburbs, Senior DIG Nimal Mediwaka said, adding that police officers from within the metropolis and more..

SL to counter US Resolutions

July 20 (SAMN) Sri Lanka is planning to launch a counterattack against the United States Resolution 1338, tabled in Congress last week, which calls for an international Human Rights (HR) monitoring mission to help maintain law and order in the embattled island. This is apart from several other demands, which include an end to the ongoing military onslaught and the culture of impunity in the face of growing HR violations. more..

Govt. to Lankanise foreign NGOs

July 20 (SAMN) The government is to restrict permission for expatriate workers in Sri Lanka by directing Government Agents to first ascertain whether locally qualified personnel are available. It is only thereafter that foreign personnel assigned by Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) will be given work permits to serve, in terms of new guidelines issued by the government on Wednesday. more..

IDP's living under trees in the Wanni

July 20 (SAMN) Displaced people in the Wanni are left to seek shelter out in the open, under trees, the latest humanitarian update filed by the UN and other agencies said. "According to field reports, displaced persons are sheltering under trees with limited access to basic facilities. UNHCR and UNICEF have distributed tarpaulin sheets to over 1,000 families so far, " the Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC) an umbrella organisation of UN and other humanitarian agencies said Saturday, more..

Slave Island's underprivileged on fire over losing their homes

July 20 (SL) While the government gets ready to party in the coming weeks, there is fear and fire in the hearts of over 700 underprivileged families in Garden No. 100 and the adjoining gardens where residents were asked to vacate their homes. This place is called Glennie Street; it is also called Glennie Passage and is located on Masjidul Jumaih Road, Slave Island. This is a place where very few of us have been. more..

Security concerns over SAARC and double standards on defence

July 20 (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..

Duminda unmasked by Anarkali

July 20 (SL) Celebrated actress Anarkali Akarsha who was to marry young politician Duminda Silva in December says that if this is how politicians in our country conduct themselves, she would rather be a free ordinary citizen than the wife of a gun-wielding politician. Alleging that Duminda Silva abducted her using machine gun wielding masked goons who were holding guns to her head and body and forcing a pistol end down her mother's throat, more..

MR’s visit to Thirupathi and the politics of worship

July 20 (SL) Sri Lankan heads of state are known to pay extra attention to readings in their star signs and invoking the blessings of the deities to overcome the so-called ill effects of bad planetary movements. President Mahinda Rajapakse is no different and pays great attention to the advice given to him by astrologers. The President is also known to conduct various poojas — following the advice of astrologers. more..

India said “CEPA or interference?”

July 20 (LB) Mystery and talk of intrigue surrounds the CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership) agreement that was to be signed during the forthcoming SAARC summit. The government has now decided to postpone the signing or to call it off. What’s definite is that there will be no signing of CEPA during SAARC. Reports are that the government’s coalition partners were angered that “India was trying to use CEPA as a bargaining chip to ensure Indian non-interference in the government’s forward march in the Wanni." more..

Colombo beggars marched out

July 20 (LB) Based on intelligence reports, police are to remove all “unwanted persons” from the city with a view to assuring security in Colombo for the forthcoming SAARC summit. They said only people who have “solid reasons to be there” will be authorized to enter high security zones while the SAARC summit was underway. “All unnecessary persons from the high security zones will be removed due to security reasons,” clarified SSP Ranjith Gunasekera, police spokesman. more..

Govt’s problems not our problems

July 20 (LB) The JVP Trade Union leader K D Lalkantha, the moving force behind the JVP led work stoppage last week, is planning a three-day strike to follow the one day strike demanding a pay hike of Rs.5000 for all workers. Lalkantha was interviewed by LAKBIMAnEWS. Excerpts: Ln: How do you assess the success of your one day strike? LK: About 70 percent of the workers participated in the strike. more..

The Sinhalese as seen by Ivor Jennings

July 20 (LB) The Sinhalese make up two-thirds of the people of Sri Lanka. Their language Sinhala belongs to the Aryan group as English and Latin belong to the British. This is an article that gives an insight to the writings of Sir Ivor Jennings, an Englishman who was in Sri Lanka from 1941 to 1955 and served as the principal of Ceylon University College and vice chancellor of University of Ceylon. more..

Over 1000 permanent houses for shanty dwellers

July 20 (SO) The Urban Development Authority (UDA) yesterday said that over 1000 permanent houses are under construction at the Railway yard, Dematagoda, to be given to residents of Station Passage, Glennie Passage and Garden Stuart Street of Kompannaweediya before the end of March next year. All families who had lost their unauthorised dwellings at Kompannaweediya, following the demolition of structures have already been provided with `transit homes’ (temporary houses) at Mattakkuliya. more..

Victory day not far off

July 20 (SO) Agreeing that the national problem could only be solved through political means, the Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka said that not only Tamils but also Sinhalese and the Muslims need political solutions to solve some of their problems. He said that the political solution should be completely different from what the LTTE and the TNA were clamouring for. Their ultimate goal is to destroy Sinhalese as was revealed by the ‘Eelam Pandiyan’ cadres, who had surrendered earlier.” more..

National policy for migrant workers

July 20 (SO) A national Labour Migration Policy for safe and skilled migration for over a million Sri Lankan workers will be implemented. Secretary, Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Ministry Sunil S. Sirisena said that the National Labour migration policy will focus on three key areas Governance and management of labour migration, rights and welfare of migrant workers and their families in Sri Lanka. more..

Anacondas attract record income for Dehiwela Zoo

July 20 (SO) The National Zoological Park, Dehiwela earned a record income of over one million rupees during the past four days following the display of new born anacondas. Over 60,000 locals and foreigners visited the Zoological Park during the period commencing from July 15.National Zoological Park, Director Dhammika Malsinghe told the Sunday Observer that this was the first occasion that a record number of people had visited the Zoological Park after the bomb blast that occurred inside the park a few months ago. more..

Rathnapriya calls on Unions to be stronger, better organised

July 20 (NS) The trade union movement of Sri Lanka should unite to launch a successful general strike against the government and make it adhere to its promises regarding the salary increments, and reducing the bus and train fares. So said the Convenor of August 4 Trade Union Movement (A4TUM), Saman Rathnapriya. Speaking at the meeting yesterday, he said that all the trade union should be very well organised and efficient if they want to make an impact on the government. more..

Black July 25 years later

July 20 (NS) On Wednesday, July 23, exactly twenty five years ago, thirteen soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army were ambushed on the outskirts of Jaffna. A day later, as the bodies of the dead servicemen were being prepared for a discreet burial at the general cemetery in Colombo, violence directed at the Tamil community erupted. That violence was to spread countrywide and end in a pogrom of the Tamil community and gave impetus to the LTTE to wage war with the Sri Lankan state—a war which continues to this date, more..

'I won’t return to Parliament, there is much to be done in a Province'

July 20 (NS) Mahipala Herath is the chief ministerial candidate for the Sabragamuwa Province from the UPFA. A veteran politician, Herath entered Parliament in 1994. In 1999, he was appointed Deputy Minister, Housing and Urban Development. In 2000, he became Minister, Industrial Development. He quit Parliament in 2004, to contest the Provincial Council (PC) election and subsequently, elected as the Sabragamuwa Chief Minister (CM). more..

Popular items face Duty Free clampdown

July 20 (NS) A range of popular electrical items including, TVs, refrigerators, deep freezers, air conditioners, washing machines and other large electrical appliances available at the Duty Free at the country’s only international airport in Katunayake, will no longer enjoy ‘duty free’ status from next month. Customers at Duty Free shops will no longer be able to buy TV sets wider than 32 inches, 500 litre refrigerators, large deep freezers, more..

Govt. seeks to deny LTTE access to Indian waters

July 20 (Island) With the armed forces making rapid progress on the Vanni front, Sri Lanka is seeking to deny the LTTE access to Indian waters which a senior security forces official asserted would quicken the collapse of its fighting capability. The official said effective blockades in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Straits would be possible only if India prevented Tamil Nadu fishing fleet from poaching in Sri Lankan waters. more..

Elections chief says unsuitable people elected under present system

July 20 (Island) Many of those elected under the present electoral system cannot be of any service to the people and it must definitely be changed with a mix of the old first past the post and proportional representation (PR) systems, Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake said last week. He made these comments at a news conference where he stressed that it was time to make the long overdue changes to the present electoral system. more..

Opposition unhappy about foreign view of government-Karuna nexus

July 20 (Island) The UNP-led Opposition at logger heads with President Mahinda Rajapaksa over his cosy relationship with the armed breakaway LTTE faction headed by ‘Colonel’ Karuna Amman is seriously disturbed over the international community’s readiness to strike a working relationship with the group. "We are disappointed," a UNP MP told The Sunday Island. The international community shouldn’t have contacted the TMVP now in control of more..

When Tamil was a Compulsory Subject for All

July 20 (Island) The Black July of 1983 was a time when most Sinhala people too went through untold misery, distress and mental agony. The homes of many Tamil friends were going up in flames. In the days that followed the racial riots, innocent Tamils irrespective of their social standing, were all incarcerated in refugee camps. I found solace in the fact that I was on a team of Health Ministry doctors that was tasked with looking into the health and medical needs of the refugees. more..

GSP Plus: Story of emperor without clothes

July 20 (ST) At Temple Trees on Esala Poya Day, it was a star-studded event. President Mahinda Rajapaksa sat together with the country's leading film idols, the heroes, heroines and villains of the Sinhala screen to hear religious sermons from the Buddhist clergy. With that over, the film stars were treated to a different show. The Governor of the Central Bank gave them a talk on the economic situation. more..

The significance of the Vidattaltivu victory

July 20 (ST) There was a great sense of elation in the security establishment, quite justifiably, over the Army's re-capture last Wednesday of the coastal village of Vidattaltivu in the Mannar sector. It was the location of a major Sea Tiger base. Its importance grew after Security Forces launched an offensive in this sector since July 2 last year. After losing the coastal areas of Silavathurai (south of Mannar) in October 2007, for Tiger guerrillas Vidattaltivu became a landing point for military and medical supplies. more..

SAARC scare drives locals to beach ball

July 20 (ST) The Tourist Board has pumped in over Rs. 25 million into a musical extravaganza on the southern beaches of Hikkaduwa to attract foreign guests but instead the five-day event has drawn in thousands of locals eager to get out of Colombo in view of the tight security for the SAARC summit. The event has also attracted some Indians who have come to support their cricket team. more..

Police earplugs on Jaffna phones

July 20 (ST) Users of CDMA and mobile phones in the Jaffna peninsula have been asked to obtain a police clearance certificate for the use of the phones from this month, an official said yesterday. For the past two months, CDMA phones have been barred while the use of hand phones is restricted to a few hours a day in the peninsula. The police have already sent a printed application form to the Jaffna Telecom office to deliver it to phone users along with their telephone bills for this month, more..

Nationalism & The Left In Sri Lanka

July 21 (LG) It is very clear from Marx’s writings that united action of the working class across national borders is a necessary condition for the overthrow of capitalism, and that nationalism therefore has no place in his politics. However, by the early twentieth century, Marxists like Lenin and Luxemburg were grappling with the dilemmas posed by colonialism, and what policies should be adopted in relation to the colonies. more..