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Kelaniya Campus closed for over 4 months - Students Council

July 25 (LD) The Inter-University Students Council is alleging that the Kelaniya Campus remains closed for around five months now. Convener of the Council Upul Premaratne said at a protest in Colombo today (July 24th) that the university that shut for April vacation, is yet to reopen four months and 20 days later. This has affected the academic activities of 8,000 students, he said.

ICRC hands over LTTE bodies

July 25 (BBC) The Sri Lankan army says it has handed over the bodies of nine rebels to the Tamil Tiger guerrillas in the north of the island. According to the military the fighters were killed over the past two days in clashes in the Vavuniya area. Four government soldiers were also killed and several others wounded. According to journalist Dinasena Rathugamage although a post-mortem was held at the Vavuniya hospital the identity of the rebels were not re vealed. more..

Buddhist monks destroy Church , attack Pastor

July 25 (CP) A group of Buddhist monks and a mob of locals destroyed a church in Sri Lanka and attacked the pastor earlier this month, adding to the already escalating anti-Christian violence in the south Asia country. Calvary Church in Thalahena, Malabe, northeast of the capital Colombo, was destroyed after a rumor spread that Christians had attacked a local Buddhist temple. A mob of some 500 villagers had descended on Calvary church and more..

Movement for Devolution launched

July 25 (BBC) A new movement to encourage the government to devolve power to the provincial councils was launched in Colombo on Thursday . The inaugural meeting was attended by parties to the United Pople's Front Alliance (UPFA) government as well as civil society activists. Minister Dilan Perera speaking at the inaugural meeting said that there are certain sections within the government that oppose d devolution of power. more..

Dilshan makes history with appeal

July 25 (BBC) Sri Lanka batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan created history on Thursday when he became the first player to successfully appeal against an umpiring decision. Dilshan was given out by Mark Benson, adjudged caught behind off a Zaheer Khan delivery on the second day of the first Test against India in Colombo. But he made a 'T' signal with his hands to challenge and third umpire Rudi Koertzen ruled he was not out. more..

Insurance cover for Lankan maids must

July 25 (KT) Sri Lankan housemaids coming to work in the UAE will now compulsorily have a life and personal accident insurance cover under the latest directives of the Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare in Colombo. The mandatory insurance cover, set to come into effect from August 15, is a bid to enhance protection and social security of the island nation's domestic servants abroad and would soon be extended to the workers in other countries in the Gulf. more..

Berty's 13 acre tourist hotel at Kalawewa

July 25 (LT) Berty Premalal Dissanayake , the chief ministerial candidate of the UPFA is constructing a tourist hotel in a 13 acre crown land at Kalawewa. He has started building this hotel using the powers he possessed while he was the Chief Minister of North Central Provincial Council. The construction had been carried out secretly and there is suspicion that the cost for construction had been covered by the monies defrauded from the Provincial Council. more..

Artists illustrate 25 years of war

July 25 (AP) Anoma Rajakaruna has warm memories of her childhood in the diverse suburb of Panadura, where she went to the market and the pharmacy with her mother and chatted with neighbors in a mixture of English, Sinhalese and Tamil. Then bloody riots targeting minority Tamils exploded across the Sri Lankan capital. The Tamil neighbors she once greeted disappeared and her country was plunged into a civil war that continues to consume it. more..

A thundering diplomatic slap, VIP security etc.

July 25 (LNP) Politicians in this country, including their leaders, don`t seem to grow up with their age. It is not rarely that they make spectacles of themselves. Their infantilism is too well known here to be taken seriously. But, Sri Lanka as a nation is embarrassed when those worthies go on foreign junkets and demonstrate that to the entire world. It is reported that the Sri Lankan mission in Chennai has received a stern rebuke from New Delhi for not following protocol as regards VIP security. more..

12,000 Police contingent for SAARC

July 25 (SAMN) Sri Lanka is deploying 12,000 more police to guard South Asian leaders, who will also have their own heavy security, for the SAARC Summit, officials said Thursday. Police deputy Inspector-General Nimal Mediwaka said the security arrangements will be in effect from today with Police deploying 12,000 personnel in addition to a strong presence of Army, Navy and Air Force personnel ahead of the two-day Summit starting on Aug 2. more..

Security threat looming in East

July 25 (SAMN) Contrary to government claims the eastern province continues to remain unsafe and security threats are looming with LTTE armed cadres present at many places, Puttlam District UNP parliamentarian Palitha Ranga Bandara said in Colombo Thursday. Since the Eastern PC elections, 22 police personnel were killed and 19 were seriously wounded in attacks by unidentified gunmen, the parliamentarian said. more..

CEA restricts use of polythene for polls

July 25 (SAMN) The use of polythene of less than 20 microns thickness for decorations or banners has been banned at the upcoming North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council elections, the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) said Thursday. CEA chairman Udaya Gammampila said the best message the candidates could give the country was to refrain from using polythene for their election decorations. more..

UNP offers help to retain GSP

July 25 (SAMN) The main opposition UNP Thursday pledged to support the government in its efforts to retain the GSP + facility provided by the European Union for Sri Lanka’s exports including garments and fresh fruits. UNP front-liner Ravi Karunanayake told parliament that more than 200,000 people would lose their jobs if this facility was withdrawn. “We are prepared to extend our unconditional support to the government in its efforts to renew this all-important facility,” more..

‘Neththa Wenuwata Aththa’ suspended

July 25 (LD) The Colombo Commercial High Court issued an enjoining order today (July 25th) against Chairman of the National Freedom Front, Wimal Weerawansa, preventing him from publishing and printing his book ‘Neththa Wenuwata Aththa’ (Truth instead of Myth). After considering two petitions filed under the Intellectual Property Act by JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe and party chief Secretary Tilvyn Silva yesterday, Colombo High Court judge, K.T. Chithrasiri ruled the enjoining order to be effective till August 07th. more..

Ceylon Agro accused of tax fraud

July 25 (LD) Ceylon Agro Industries Ltd, a subsidiary of Prima Company, has reportedly violated an agreement signed for receiving Board of Investment concessions and used same to defraud over Rs. 100 million of revenue to the state. Customs Department sources say its Automatic Data Processing Division came across this scam, and that it has detained six containers of hybrid maize seeds imported duty-free by the company from Thailand. more..

PB ruling, a test for President - Weliamuna

July 25 (LD) The Supreme Court's ruling against Finance Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara is a test for the executive president of the country, said constitutional lawyer J.C. Weliamuna. Mr. Weliamuna, who is also Executive Director of Transparency International-Sri Lanka, was responding to inquiries by 'Lanka Dissent' on the Finance Secretary's the continuation in service even after the verdict against him. more..

Shahrukh Khan declines

July 25 (LD) Citing security concerns, Bollywood superstar, Shahrukh Khan has declined an invitation by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to take part in a cultural event organized for the entertainment of regional leaders who are attending the 15th SAARC summit in Colombo, said Temple Trees sources. The entertainment committee organizers have even sought the assistance of the Indian High Commission to persuade Mr. Khan to attend the event. more..

13th Amendment will be fully implemented

July 25 (GDI) Minister Rajitha Senaratne told the media yesterday (July 24) that the government would vest police, land and education powers in the Provincial Councils, including the Eastern province as per the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and in line with the Interim Report of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC). Minister Senaratne also said that it was the belief of the government that a major breakthrough could be achieved through power- haring and devolution, more..

Private Sector backs Tourism's drive to capture new market

July 25 (GDI) Tigo, Real Radio, Ceylon Cold Stores, Sri Lankan Airlines, Sampath Bank and Ceylon Tobacco, among a host of others, have come forward with generous sponsorships to give Sri Lanka Tourism the necessary impetus to make the Hikkaduwa Beach Festival 2008 a mega success. This year the event has attracted a host of local and foreign bookings and with the publicity the event will generate, more..

Polythene use in election campaigns to be restricted -- CEA

July 25 (GDI) The Central Environment Authority (CEA) is set to take legal action against candidates and parties using polythese lower than 20 microns while campaigning for the forthcoming Provincial Council Elections, CEA Chaiman, Udaya Gammanpila said. Addressing a press briefing at the CEA yesterday (July 24), Gammanpila said that culprits can be imprisoned for two years if found guilty. more..

Public views sought for Patients' Charter

July 25 (GDI) The Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition has decided to call for public ideas and views for the proposed Patients Charter which will be formulated to protect patients’ rights and safety. Accordingly, proposals including views and ideas which the public believe should be included for the Patients Charter will be accepted by the committee appointed by the Ministry led by Dr. Wimal Jayantha. more..

Air attacks against Tiger targets continue

July 25 (DN) Information and Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said there is no truth in allegations that the Government has stopped air raids on Tiger facilities. These raids by the Sri Lanka Air Force are continuing, the Minister told the Cabinet news briefing. Identified Tiger bases are subjected to these attacks, he added. The Air Force has carried out a number of attacks yesterday. more..

Govt to expand school bus services

July 25 (DN) The Government has decided to expand transport services provided to school children by increasing the school bus fleet plying in different parts of the country to 1,000 next year. Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma told the media yesterday that the aim of transport authorities was to strengthen the existing State and private school bus fleet, thus relieving parents of concerns as to the safety of their school-going children as well as the rising transport costs. more..

TMVP advised against bid to create division among top leaders

July 25 (Island) The breakaway LTTE faction has been cautioned against causing a rift between ‘Colonel’ Karuna and Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, Chief Minister of the newly elected Eastern Provincial Council. The warning came soon after intelligence services found evidence of an imminent threat to the SLFP-led coalition government’s efforts to stabilize the Eastern Province. more..

Three men shot dead

July 25 (Island) Three young men in a three wheeler were gunned down by a two unidentified men on a motor cycle, around 8.30 p.m. on Wednesday at Old Ambatale Road in Mulleriyawa. All three died on the spot. They have been identified as Kapila Priyankara (29), Saman Devapriya (38) and Thushara Priayadharashana (29). The neighbours said the deceased were friends and they have been seen together on several occasions. more..

Veddah leader reaches age 107

July 25 (DM) The Veddah leader of the Girandurukotte, Hennanigala area has reached a milestone in his life by attaining the age of 107 years. His hearing and eyesight are still excellent and he still attends to his daily chores without assistance. The tribal leader is known as Thalawarige Kalu Appu. He and his wife Thalawarige Lokki (80) left Dambana, home to many Veddahs, and migrated to the Mahaweli “C” area with a few other Veddah families 25 years ago in search of a better life. more..

Sri Lankan Airlines heads for a crash: UNP

July 25 (DM) The UNP, yesterday in Parliament, charged that Sri Lankan Airline is heading for a crash suffering a loss of Rs.5700 million after it was taken over from the Emirates Company on April 1. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake who moved an adjournment motion in this regard said that there was Rs.14 billion cash reserves when the company was handed over to the government by the Emirates. more..

Muralitharan leaves India in tatters

July 25 (CI) The SSC track was woken out of its slumber by Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis, after Sri Lanka's batsmen had given them a 600-run mountain for background, and the new-ball bowlers had tried to take the shine off the ball. Once the spinners came on, everyone was left either mesmerised or stunned. By the time bad light stopped play on the third day, Sri Lanka had reduced India to 159 for 6, still needing 242 to avoid the follow-on. more..

Solution to Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict more than words

July 25 (IL) The Sri Lankan Government has done nothing but throw hurdles and challenges at Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict. As the country continues to face great political and economical setbacks in light of the war between the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the LTTE, the GoSL refuses to acknowledge these facts. Instead of spending its time actually addressing the grievances of the Tamils in the North and East it throws empty promises at and engages in military actions. more..

LTTE's ceasefire: Public relations or more?

July 25 (Rediff) On July 22, the LTTE announced that it would observe a unilateral ceasefire coinciding with the forthcoming summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation in Colombo from July 26 to August 4. It projected the proposed ceasefire as a goodwill gesture to extend its support to the "countries of our region, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives." more..

Sri Lanka approves power deal with India

July 25 (IANS) Sri Lanka has approved a proposal for a mega underwater power transmission deal with India to meet a major part of the soaring power needs in the island nation, a minister said on Friday. Power and Energy Minister WDJ Seneviratne said the proposed $450 million deal, once executed, would help export electricity through a 200-km submarine cable from the Madurai power grid in Tamil Nadu via the Palk Strait more..

Tamils hold peaceful protest in Burwood Park

July 26 (IWW) THE Tamil community held a peaceful protest in Burwood Park on Friday, July 25, to mark 25 years since the beginning of hostilities in Sri Lanka. The event, called "Black July 1983 - Remembering the 1983 holocaust of Tamils in Sri Lanka", was attended by about 100 people in chilly conditions. The Inner-West Weekly had been invited to attend by Victor Rajakulendran of the Eelam Tamil Association. more..

July disturbances

July 26 (LG) Although 25 years have rolled by since the July disturbances in Sri Lanka, its impact is still felt by the Tamil people. Since 1983, the birth of the month of July brings sad memories, fears and frustrations among the Tamils, who still suffer in one way or the other, may be in a lesser degree. There was a communal disturbance in 1958, in which the Tamil people from the south were dispatched by ships to the north and east. more..

Army upgrades to meet any challenge

July 26 (LG) With a strong likelihood of an LTTE counter-offensive in the horizon, the Sri Lanka Army recently upgraded its electronic warfare capabilities with the latest Electronic Weapons Locating Radar systems available in the market. This crucial upgrade is an important one considering that the casualties during the most recent LTTE attacks were caused by trajectory weapons, i.e. Howitzers, Mortar Bombs and Multiple-Rocket Launchers. more..

Ranil’s Docility

July 26 (LG) The November 2005 Presidential Election may be the most talked about of its kind. Tamil voters held the trump card and they played it. The question to ask is what the options available to Tamil people were, not why they didn’t vote in large numbers as they did at the 2001 General Election. In every Presidential Election after 1988, voters’ turnout was very low in the North and in Tamil areas in the East. more..

Archbishop Oswald Gomis spells out the reality

July 26 (LG) Sri Lankans have had enough of violence for too long a period of time and our dear homeland is tottering on misery, mayhem and anarchy. Hardly anyone except those who are able to plunder and pillage from a chaotic war situation that has become an industry by itself want lawlessness to prevail. The LTTE ceased to be a force of the Tamils in Sri Lanka long ago. The TNA group of Members of Parliament is a traitorous band of opportunists doing the Simian Tango to the Wanni organ-grinder. more..

U.S. Congressman to speak at mass rally commemorating "Black July"

July 26 (LG) Democratic Congressman Danny Davis from Illinois is scheduled to speak today on the human rights in Sri Lanka at a mass rally in the U.S. capital organized to commemorate the 25th anniversary of "Black July". Congressman Davis will join representatives from the media watch dog organization Reporters Without Borders to address the rally organized by People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) and U.S. Campaign for Burma (USCB). more..

Tiger Tactics

July 26 (LG) The leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Veluppillai Prabhakaran, once again has declared a unilateral ceasefire for 10 days, to cover the forthcoming SAARC summit. However the Government of Sri Lanka already rejects the LTTE proposal and says they are ready with the necessary security strength to counter any LTTE activities and that they need no LTTE ceasefire these days to keep the country safe. more..

Breaking News: Bruce Fein takes to his heels

July 26 (LG) The once upon a time Ronald Reagan administration Deputy Attorney General and the Washington lawyer Bruce Fein who threatened to line up the Rajapakse brothers and Major-General Sarath Fonseka before the Grand Jury in the US has now decamped from Justice for Thamils too according to our sources close to the LTTE-inclined Tamils in Canada. Bruce Fein was earlier retained by Tamils for Justice, the organization that sent him to Toronto to raise funds for more..

National Council For Elders

July 26 (LG) An opportunity has been created for claiming maintenance of the neglected parents from their children under the provisions of Parliamentary Act No. 09 of 2000 for Protection of the Rights of the Elders. In accordance with the clause 15 (1) of this Act it is deemed essential that children should under any circumstance willfully neglect their parents and also a duty is cast upon them to take care of their parents and attend to all their requirements. more..

LTTE: Losses After Losses

July 26 (LG) Consolidating Troops of the 57 Division and Special Forces in the North of Vannakulam after a pitched round of battles late Thursday (24) night have been able to collect thirty-three (33) dead bodies of LTTE cadres as the dusk fell on Friday (25) along with a massive stock of arms and ammunition. Valiant troops taking a strategic measure after the initial capture of the area, quite close to Mallavi town awaited a retaliatory attack in return since the damage to the enemy was colossal at the first phase. more..

LTTE claim works on the multiples of four or five times the actual numbers

July 26 (LG) The LTTE front British Tamil Forum (BTF) claimed: ‘Over two thousand people, largely Tamils turned up with a relatively short notice outside the British Parliament last night (23 July 2008) between 8 pm and 10pm holding candles to mark respect and as remembrance of over 3,000 Tamils who were slaughtered during Sri Lankan State sponsored riots, 25 years ago’. more..

All Our Black Julys

July 26 (LG) It was 4 a.m. that Monday morning in July 1983 when the telephone call from Ramachandran my old classmate at Royal woke me up. As only those who have grown up together from childhood can be so friendlily rude to each other, I snapped why he was waking me up so early. His answer yanked me out of sleepiness. He said that he was leaving that morning to his adopted home Canada (which of course I knew already) but that some problem was brewing. more..

Excesses in election campaign!

July 26 (LG) Although the Commissioner of Elections has promised to hold a fair and free election, there are reports of election violence and mal-practices from the North Central and Sabragamuwa Provinces. The opposition parties have made complaints that politicians belonging to government party are abusing their powers to get votes. UNP and JVP have brought these excesses to the notice of the Commissioner of Elections. more..

Govt clarifies position on EP delegation's aborted visit to Trinco

July 26 (GDI) The Foreign Ministry has clarified the circumstances which led to the planned visit my the European Parliament's delegation to Trincomalee being cancelled. In this regard, the Ministry has issued the following statement: The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been drawn to the reference made on the circumstances which led to the cancellation of the visit to Trincomalee by the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with South Asia. more..

EU Delegation condemns the LTTE but asks to protect human rights in Sri Lanka

July 26 (AT) The Visiting EU delegation said the EU condemned LTTE activities and said the EU would not protect the terrorism. Speaking to media in Colombo on Friday Leader of the delegation Robert Evans said the EU parliamentarians are fully aware that Sri Lanka is involved in the fight against terrorism but still believe that more must be done to defend human rights and put an end to the frightening number of abductions. more..

Bernard Goonatilake, new Chairman for Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management

July 26 (AT) Mr. Bernard Goonatilake, Sri Lanka's former Ambassador to the United States of America succeeds Mr. H.M.G.S. Pallihakkara as the new Chairman of the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management (SLITHM). Milinda Moragoda, Minister of Tourism, has made this appointment with effect from 1 August 2008. Mr. Goonatilake is a senior diplomat and former Secretary to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. more..

'Pakistan to help Sri Lanka'

July 26 (AT) Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Quereshi declared in London that Pakistan is maintaining "excellent” relations with Sri Lanka and the Indian Ocean island republic will continue to receive all help to crush terrorism from his country. Speaking to a packed house in the larger hall of the International Istitute of Strategic Studies in London the Pakistan Foreign Minister said Sri Lanka will receive all help the country’s government need to eradicate the terrorist menace. more..

Candlelit vigils for the victims of LTTE terrorism

July 26 (AT) The Asian Tribune wrote on 22.07.08 that the "British Tamil Forum" is planning to mark Black July ‘83 by lighting candles at Parliament Square. This vigil is another event in a series of protest actions launched by the pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora in several western countries. By intensifying such campaigns, and by enlisting the help of the Tamil Diaspora, the LTTE is striving for a decisive victory in its thirty year long battle with the government of Sri Lanka. more..

JHU's stance and the 13th Amendment

July 26 (AT) Minister Rajitha Senaratne's vow to vest, police, land and educational powers in the Provincial Councils raises several questions. What is the stance of the Jaatika Hela Urumaya and the newly-formed National Freedom Front on this? Some months back JHU member Udaya Gammanpila said his party was strongly opposed to police powers and powers to allocate land being granted to the Provinces. more..