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UNP believes it could win in the two Provincial Council elections

July 23 (AT) The United National Party believes it could win the forth-coming provincial council elections while the government spreads violence. "People knows how to treat the government, said UNP Secretary General Tissa Attanayake. Speaking to media in Colombo on Tuesday he said the UNP would file court cases against the election violence and malpractices. "At present we heard of instances of 22 violations from the North Central and the Sabaragamuwa provinces, more..

Govt. 'intimidating' UNP supporters

July 23 (BBC) The main opposition in Sri Lanka has accused the government of intimidating their supporters in the wake of the Provincial Council (PC) elections. UNP parliamentarian Chandrani Bandara said that government supporters travelling in the region on vehicles bearing similar number plates. “20-25 vehicles travelling together around Anuradhapura district intimidating the voters,” she told BBC Sandeshaya. more..

Sri Lanka to double lottery prices

July 23 (LBO) The Sri Lankan government is going to double the prices of lottery tickets from September onwards. National Lotteries Board chairman A De vass Gunewardena says that the last price revision was done in 1988. The new price of 20 rupees will be for weekly and instant lotteries. The national and development lotteries will also increase prize money. Last year, the national lotteries board had earned 6.5 billion rupees in revenues and paid almost half as prizes, Gunewardena says. more..

Govt. rejects LTTE ceasefire

July 23 (BBC) The Sri Lanka government has refused to reciprocate for the unilateral ceasefire announced by the Tamil Tigers. Cabinet Minister and Government defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told the BBC that the Tigers were facing defeat, and negotiations would only take place if they laid down their arms for good. The rebels said they would be forced to take 'defensive action' if they were attacked during the ceasefire. more..

British diplomat slams war on terror

July 23 (BBC) A senior former British diplomat has strongly criticized the British support for the US-led war on terror. Former British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, David Gladstone, told BBC Sandeshaya that the idea of war on terror offers legitimacy to criminal groups whose strategy is to terrorise civilians. “I don’t believe on war on terror. I don’t know what it looks like. I live in London and I can’t say that I feel like in a war situation. It only glorifies those who are setting up bombs,” he said. more..

Representatives of European parliament meet JVP Leaders

July 23 (LT) A European parliamentary delegation headed by Jonathan Evans met leaders of the JVP including the its Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe at the JVP Head Office at Pelawatta today (22nd). The political situation in the country and the democratic process was discussed while special attention was drawn to the 17th amendment to the Constitution. As a party that mediated in bringing forth the 17th amendment, the JVP would always endeavor to get it implemented said Mr. Amarasingehe. more..

Sri Lanka business chamber to form broad alliance for peace

July 23 (LBO) The private sector of Sri Lanka must join together to work towards ending the conflict to attain peace and development, the newly appointed chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) said. The 25-year ethnic conflict has affected the trade and commerce sector and slowed down the country's growth, said Jayampathi Bandaranayake, who is also chairman of Ceylon Tobacco Company. more..

Sri Lankan Airlines to reduce flights to cut costs

July 23 (LBO) Sri Lankan Airlines plans to reduce flights to cut costs amid soaring fuel prices but said the new schedule would not affect key passenger segments like tourists and migrant workers. The state-owned airline said in a statement it will go ahead with re-fleeting plans by replacing four old aircraft with Airbus A320s by the end of 2008. Sri Lankan is projecting a fuel bill of 500 million US dollars for the current year at present prices, which accounts for about half of its overall costs. more..

Sri Lanka summit to consider trade, food security moves

July 23 (LBO) South Asian leaders holding a summit in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo next months will consider setting up common standards for goods made in the region as well as a food crisis fund and buffer stocks, a senior official said. Foreign Affairs Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said south Asian leaders are expected to sign an agreement on a common standard for all goods made in the region when they meet during August 2-3. more..

LTTE to stick with ceasefire despite Govt. rejection

July 23 (ML) The Tigers yesterday said that they would abide by the unilateral ceasefire declared by them to coincide with the SAARC summit despite the government’s rejection and added that it was a goodwill gesture towards the international community, particularly towards SAARC nations. "This is a gesture aimed at the international community and the SAARC nations in particular," Tiger military spokesperson Rasiah Ilanthirayan told The Morning Leader, more..

Wimal sees Indian conspiracy over Kachchativu

July 23 (ML) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi was trying to hamper military operations in the north, especially in northwestern Mannar and support separatism in the country by raising the Kachchathivu issue once again, JVP defector and Leader of the National Freedom Front (NFF), Wimal Weerawansa said. Weerawansa making a special statement in parliament yesterday said that it was evident that the South Indian politician, who more..

Govt blowing Rs. 5.1 Billion on SAARC charges Ravi

July 23 (ML) The UNP yesterday charged that the government was set to spend Rs. 5.1 billion, on the upcoming SAARC summit, and not the Rs. 2.8 billion originally requested. Speaking in Parliament yesterday, UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said that apart from the supplementary budget request for Rs. 2.8 billion tabled in Parliament, the government had spent an additional Rs. 2.1 billion to import vehicles for the use of world leaders during the conference. more..

Colombo set to become battle ground for diplomatic war

July 23 (ML) Even as a top diplomatic source told this column last week Pakistan was doing its best not to make Sri Lanka a playground for bitter Indo-Pakistan relations, the animosity between Sri Lanka’s most strategic neighbours grew more intense with the SAARC Summit drawing near. Already the up coming summit has served only as an opportunity for the LTTE to shore up another tactical move for the benefit of the international community in the form of a Unilateral Ceasefire. more..

MILITARY riding high

July 23 (BL) Yesterday morning, around 7:30 a.m., a squadron of Kfir and MiG fighters took off, after a briefing by their superiors. Their target was a well fortified, heavily camouflaged Black Tiger training base at Udayaarakattikulam. This base is out of bounds for ordinary cadres. Only dedicated and highly motivated cadres and their instructors are granted admission. Males and females were undergoing training here, and their ‘Passing Out’ parade was to be at the end of this month, more..

Stock market crashes with JKH share price slumping after SC ruling

July 23 (BL) The share price of John Keells Holdings (JKH) plunged by nearly 5% triggering a mini-crash in the Colombo bourse yesterday, as investors reacted negatively to the Monday’s Supreme Court ruling against Sri Lanka’s premier blue chip. On Monday judgement was delivered by the Supreme Court, in a Fundamental Rights application regarding the privatisation of Lanka Marine Services (Private) Limited (LMS), a wholly owned subsidiary of John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH). more..

LTTE can’t be defeated by year end – TNA

July 23 (BL) The TNA which refused to participate at the Eastern Provincial Council election has vowed to contest a future general election. TNA Parliamentarian M. K. Sivajilingam expressing concern over the presenat political climate, said the TNA has decided to contest the future general election even in the east. Asked whether the party was prepared to contest the Northern Provincial Council election as predicted by President Rajapaksa, he said the Government could never be able to hold the election for the Northern Province. more..

Colombo, a ghost town soon?

July 23 (BL) The impending SAARC summit is expected to convert Colombo, one time contender for ‘Commercial Hub of South Asia’, to a mere ghost town. Apart from the intimidating security personnel to be deployed in their thousands in the city during the weeklong regional summit, the worst affected would be the common man, in the likes of labourers, who are a common sight in Colombo’s busy Pettah and Fort areas. more..

Major LTTE procurement network busted by Tamil Nadu Police

July 23 (GDI) The Q Branch of the Tamil Nadu police on Tuesday busted a major LTTE procurement network, seizing five imported Yamaha outboard motors, each with a 40-horse-power capacity, according to a web based Indian newspaper. In connection with the seizures, three persons, including a Sri Lankan from Manalmelkudi in Pudukottai, were taken into custody. The Q Branch team nabbed Kumargurubaran (28), a resident of Chennai, Ramesh (37), hailing from Ramanathapuram, and Manamohan (28) from Pesalai, Sri Lanka, more..

Additional observers from Japan, China and South Korea for SAARC

July 23 (GDI) Foreign Ministers of Japan, China and South Korea are expected to arrive in Sri Lanka as observers during the SAARC summit. Seven observer nations including the European Union, United States, Japan, South Korea, Mauritius and the new entrant Iran are expected to take part in the Summit in this capacity. This year's SAARC summit will be held in Colombo from July 27 to August 3 under the theme 'Partnership for our people' and more..

Southern Railway to be upgraded

July 23 (GDI) An Indian Rail construction company (RITE) is to take up the improvement of the tsunami affected coastal railway from Kaluthara to Matara and the installation of an advanced signal system with assistance granted by India. The company is to take up the renovation estimated to cost USD 78 million. An agreement to this effect was signed between the representatives of the Transport Ministry and RITE in the presence of Minister of Transport Dallas Alahapperuma. more..

‘Govt. trying to deprive CBK’s rights’

July 23 (SAMN) TNA MP M.K. Shivajilingam stated that the government was trying to deprive former President Chandrika Bandaranaike of her civic rights and vowed that the Tamil people would protest against this move. MP Shivajilingam said that just as late Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s civic rights were slashed after the Non Alignment Summit, they have come to know that the present government too is trying to deprive Chandrika Bandaranaike of her civic rights. more..

Privatisation of railways in the offing?

July 23 (SAMN) Trade unions affiliated to Sri Lanka Railways have charged that the leasing out of the southern coastal railway line to an Indian rail construction company on July 21, was the first step toward the planned railway privatisation programme. The government on Monday leased out the southern coastal railway line from Galle to Matara to Indian Right Company — an Indian rail construction company to restore the railway tracks damaged more..

Number of teachers adequate

July 23 (SAMN) Despite the decision by government teachers to refrain from evaluating Advanced Level papers the Examinations Department said it has the required number of applicants for the job, Director General Examinations, Anura Edirisinghe said. The government’s failure to rectify the teachers/principals salary anomalies for the past two years have compelled government teachers to stay away from applying for A/L 2008 paper evaluation according to the Ceylon Teacher Services Union (CTSU). more..

Strikers from power stations harassed

July 23 (SAMN) The July 10 strikers attached to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) power stations are being subjected to another evaluation on their suitability to hold office, Lanka Viduli Sevaka Sangamaya (LVSS) alleged. Following the CEB management’s decision to consider the strikers suitability to hold office in the CEB, the JVP affiliated LVSS has requested the management to put a halt to trade union suppression as trade union action is a right of the working masses. more..

Sri Lankan festival honors Buddha

July 23 (AP) A cannon booms and the crack of a dozen whips pierce the warm night. The colorful, pulsating Esala Perahera procession has begun. A centuries-old celebration of Sri Lankan Buddhism, the annual festival is a parade of whirling dancers, elaborately costumed elephants, stilt walkers and fire throwers. Its soundtrack is a cacophony of percussionists pounding traditional drums, dancers clanging finger cymbals and the rhythmic thumping of mock sword battles. more..

Fighting in northern Sri Lanka kills 29 rebels, 3 soldiers

July 23 (AP) Sri Lankan troops attacked a rebel bunker line in northern Sri Lanka, sparking a three-hour battle that killed 12 Tamil Tiger fighters, the military said Wednesday. The battle in Murunkaiadipiddi was part of a wave of fighting along the front lines of Sri Lanka's civil war Tuesday that killed 29 rebels and three soldiers, the military said. In Murunkaiadipiddi, troops destroyed five rebel bunkers after a fight that lasted from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., the military said. more..

Madhu statue brought to Bishop’s House

July 23 (LD) The statue of Our Lady of Madhu was brought to the official residence of the Mannar Bishop, Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph, last evening (July 22nd). Following heavy clashes between the security forces and the LTTE, the statue was moved to St. Saviour's Church at Vellankulam in Thevanpiddi on April 04th. The holy statue was brought into the government-controlled area through the Omanthai Entry/Exit point around 11.30 am by an ambulance. more..

JVP queries govt. stance on P.B.

July 23 (LD) Speaking in Parliament yesterday, JVP parliamentary group leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake inquired about the government’s stance on Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara, consequent to the Supreme Court verdict. The SC found the Finance Secretary guilty of 16 counts of corruption in the transfer of Lanka Marine Services Limited shares to John Keells Group from the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation in 2003. more..

Vasu 'no comment' on PB

July 23 (LD) Presidential Advisor Vasudeva Nanayakkara has dodged discussing the future of Finance Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara, against whom he obtained a Supreme Court verdict yesterday. When contacted by 'Lanka Dissent', he said he would respond only to a statement by the top government official. Ruling on a petition filed by Mr. Nanayakkara, the SC found the Finance Secretary guilty of 16 counts of corruption in the transfer of a 90 per cent stake of Lanka Marine Services Ltd. to John Keells Group in 2003. more..

SB in ploy to prove his civic rights

July 23 (LD) The national organizer of the UNP S.B. Dissanayake says he has reached agreement with the party leadership to use a recent court verdict and prove that his civic rights have not been suspended. According to the accord, UNP's K.N. Choksy would relinquish his national list appointment, and Mr. Dissanayake nominated to fill the vacancy thus created. The UNP national organizer told 'Lanka Dissent' that once he took oaths, he would make a speech and resign from Parliament, more..

Lower electricity rates for religious institutions from August

July 23 (DN) The Government has lowered the electricity rates for religious institutions starting from August 1 on the directions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The new scheme for the reduction of electricity bills is expected to reduce the electricity bills of religious institutions by 50 per cent, the sources at Sri Lanka Electricity Board said. The President had instructed Power and Energy Minister John Senevirathna to adopt relief measures to cut down the electricity bills from all places of religious worship, more..

Helping hand for local entrepreneur

July 23 (DN) Ajith Dissanayake, a self reliant local entrepreneur who has mastered the art of producing bread, biscuits and other food items using local raw materials is to be provided with State assistance to develop his industry as a flagship industry. This follows a request by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka to Trade, Marketing Development, Co-operatives and Consumer Services Minister Bandula Gunawardena following a meeting with Dissanayake at the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday. more..

Woman nabbed with substance akin to C-4 explosives

July 23 (Island) A middle-aged woman was arrested at the Phothanagama police check point near Anuradhapura with a substance similar to C-4 explosives. Under interrogation by the Anuradhapura police, she said she was from Oddusuddan and was travelling from her sister’s home in Jampettah Street in Colombo. The explosive type susbstance was detected in the sole of a new pair of shoes she was carrying in a bag. more..

Noise pollution rules to be strictly adhered to

July 23 (Island) According to recent Supreme Court ruling regarding noise pollution, the Ministry of Mass Media and Information has said the following rulings had been made and should be strictly adhered to: 1) The emission of noise by the use of amplifiers, loudspeakers and other equipment or appliances which cause annoyance to the public is considered a public nuisance under the law. more..

How did Boggles bust Rs.6 billion in six months ?

July 23 (DM) The main opposition UNP yesterday urged the government to disclose how the Foreign Ministry had spent its entire budgetary allocation of Rs.6 billion within the first six months of the year. UNP front liner John Amaratunga made the demand when speaking during the debate on the Foreign Ministry supplementary estimate of Rs.3 billion. He asked for a breakdown of how such a massive amount of money could be spent in six months and said the Ministry appeared to lack accountability. more..

Celluloid exploration of Tamil-Sri Lankan bond

July 24 (Hindu) A four-day Sri Lankan film festival, to commemorate 60 years of diplomatic relations between India and Sri Lanka, opened at the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce auditorium here on Monday. It is being hosted by the Sri Lanka Deputy High Commission, Chennai, Indo Chennai Appreciation Foundation (ICAF), Madras Film Society and Federation of Film Societies of India (Central office). more..

Police break supply chain of LTTE

July 24 (TOI) The Q Branch of the Tamil Nadu police on Tuesday busted a major LTTE procurement network, seizing five imported Yamaha outboard motors with a 40-horse-power capacity each. In connection with the seizures, three persons, including a Sri Lankan from Manalmelkudi in Pudukottai, were taken into custody. The Q Branch team nabbed Kumargurubaran (28), a resident of Chennai, Ramesh (37), hailing from Ramanathapuram, and Manamohan (28) from Pesalai, more..

Government believes in a lasting solution

July 24 (BG) SRI LANKA was never stripped of its seat on the UN Human Rights Council, as you wrote in your July 17 editorial "Sri Lanka's forgotten conflict." Like several other countries, Sri Lanka was not reelected at the end of its term. The Jaffna peninsula is administered by government, and there is no shelling or bombing there. Any attacks made are by Tamil Tigers. more..

Navy launches search and rescue operations to help distressed fishermen

July 24 (GDI) The Sri Lanka Navy has launched special search and rescue operations in the Western and Southern coastal waters to find the fishing vessels that have been distressed in prevailing adverse weather conditions. According to the Naval sources, 4 fishing vessels that had gone to sea from Negambo, Tangalle , and Ahungalla areas were initially reported missing. Navy rescue teams deployed in the Negambo seas have rescued more..

Eviction of people from unauthorized places is a necessity

July 24 (GDI) Minister Maithripala Sirisena said in parliament today (23) that people permanently lodged in unauthorized lands should be moved to other areas and added that such movement should involve a permanent solution to their housing problem. Clarifying the issue of evicting people from slums in Slave Island, the Minister said that such action is not novel and pointed out that even the previous Governments took such steps. more..

EU Parliamentarians call on Foreign Minister

July 24 (GDI) Visiting European Parliamentarians met Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama yesterday (22). THe Foreign Minister detailing the objectives of this year's SAARC summit in Colombo said that while the discussions of the regional leaders will focus on recognizing the imperative need to meet the challenges of the food and energy crises faced world over, the forthcoming SAARC Summit will provide a platform to discuss the establishment of a mechanism to harness and share resources within the region. more..

Govt. issuing `licenses`to its politicos and thugs to violate laws says UNP

July 24 (LG) Tissa Attanayake , UNP Gen. Secretary and M.P. addressing the Media at the UNP Media unit today (22Jul) ,has already started a campaign of State terror instead of an election campaign for the forthcoming Sabaragamuwa and North Central province elections. This is because it knows it can never win elections on the people’s popularity or on their fair and free exercise of franchise. more..

Folly of LTTE front British Tamil Forum

July 24 (LG) The LTTE front British Tamil Forum (BTA) which succeeded the activities of the former British Tamil Association run by Arunachalam Krishanthakumar alias Shanthan is playing hide and seek game to fool the Tamil people and the British government. On one side they fear of the Terrorism Act and on the other the free thinking democratic voices within the Tamils diaspora and they are taking cover to protect themselves from being exposed. more..

Sri Lanka-Egypt friendship and cooperation flourish further

July 24 (LG) Today July 23rd Egypt celebrates the 56th Anniversary of the July Revolution 1952, a memorable day of Egypt and turning point in its contemporary history. Egypt is no longer the same as it was in the 1950's as the consecutive stages of our course of national action have led to a new turning-point. The priority now is to complete the structure of our Egyptian democracy, pursue socio-economic reform and realize comprehensive and integrated development. more..

Make P’haran CM of north

July 24 (LG) Basing my views on recent happenings in the Eastern Province and the overwhelming support given by your government and also by our security forces I see an immediate solution to the ‘two-decade war.’ That is by the President appointing Pirapaharan, the LTTE leader as acting chief minister of the Northern Province, gifting him with a million dollar luxury bullet proof car, and like Pillayan allowed to retain his military cadres and camps with more..

The stillborn artificial Sri Lankan identity – III

July 24 (LG) On Friday the 18th The Island on page 2 of World View carried a news item under the heading "France denies citizenship to Muslim woman in full-body veil, says she’s not assimilated". Apparently this Muslim lady is not considered to be a French citizen as she has failed to assimilate the so called secular French culture and dress or undress like the French citizens of the feminine gender. more..

Why the liberation Tigers are Not liberation fighters

July 24 (LG) At its worst, a little learning can indeed be a dangerous thing, but at any time it can be exceedingly annoying. As Marx once expostulated "ignorance never helped anyone yet". In recent days the Sri Lankan press has seen the most careless flinging about of analogies, with the LTTE being written of in the same paragraphs as the IRA, the ANC, Hezbollah, Hamas and Nepal’s Maoists. more..

Can we ever forget Black July - 1983?

July 24 (LG) The ugliest and the most barbarous event in the post-independent Sri Lanka entered the pages of history 25 years ago. Some people ask why these blackest events are being reminded ritually in the month of July year after year. I believe that it is of no other reason than to reassure ourselves to see that such an event should never be allowed to recur. The General Elections in 1977 brought about the strongest Government in power since Independence with a five-sixth majority. more..

Lest We Forget!

July 24 (LG) Friday, the 25th of July of this year (2008) sees the 25th anniversary of what all Eelam Tamils will always remember ‘Black July’. This date is permanently etched in the minds of all Eelam Tamils – never to be erased! There are today, some young Tamil men and women in their 20s, who were born after this traumatic event. They were fortunate in that they were personally spared the trauma and tension that their parents may have undergone. more..

"Holistic" approach to waste management

July 24 (IRIN) Staff at the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) who manage a waste-management project in the southeastern Sri Lankan District of Ampara consider it a sign of success when town residents complain that their rubbish needs collecting. "When we started [the project] there was very little awareness of the negative aspects of improper disposal or of proper waste-management systems," Gary Morris-Iveson, more..