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Sri Lanka Mission conducted successful reaching out program with the Tamils in Italy

July 26 (AT) For the first time Tamils have managed to organise successfully a day of dialogue and cooperation with the Government of Sri Lanka and it was said that this was the first step of a long journey towards peace in the country. It all started in the Reggio Emilia, one of the two provinces in Italy where there is a large concentration of Tamils. The largest concentration is in Palermo. more..

Sri Lankans in Finland demonstrate against the LTTE

July 26 (AT) Sri Lankans who are living in Finland have gathered yesterday in Helsinki to take part in a demonstration against the LTTE terrorist activities in Sri Lanka. The demonstration was held for 2 hours in Helsinki city centre in front of the Finish Parliament with a strong participation of peace loving Sri Lankans and Finns alike. Finland has a small Sri Lankan community of around 700 expatriates. more..

Only six months more to end the war

July 26 (AT) Less than six months from today at midday on Tuesday 20th January 2009 President George W Bush will vacate the White House and irrespective of the outcome of the November 4th 2008 presidential election, his successor is unlikely to persecute the war against terrorism with the same resolve. While neither this date nor this event may hold much significance for Sri Lankans, it is likely to influence any military or political solution that more..

Mayor's murder at Vishnu temple

July 26 (AT) As expected 'Black July' 1983 was the focus of several newspaper articles last week. This month however also recalls another dark event which does not seem to have received that much attention - the political murder 33 years ago that sparked off a chain of events culminating in our current crisis. It is the assassination of Jaffna's SLFP Mayor Alfred Duraiappah on July 27, 1975 - a seminal event marking the onset the Northern insurgency. more..

Sri Lanka 'GSP+' trade concession extension doubtful: EU parliamentarian

July 26 (LBO) The extension of trade concessions from the European Union to Sri Lanka is doubtful unless the country takes action to protect human and political rights and improve press freedom, a visiting European parliamentary delegation said. "It is doubtful at the moment," European parliamentarian Robert Evans who led the delegation told reporters after meeting government and civil society representatives in Colombo. more..

JVP Members of Kaduwela Pradeshiya Sabha attacked by government thugs

July 26 (LT) The JVP members of Kaduwela Pradeshiya Sabha have been attacked by a group of thugs directed by its UPFA Chairman G.H. Buddhadasa. About 150 thugs had been involved in the attack which had taken place after the session of the Pradeshiya Sabha held today. JVP Member Asitha Niroshana, who was seriously injured in the incident, has been admitted to Nawagamuwa Hospital. more..

APRC not a reality without TNA - Robert Evans

July 26 (LD) Robert Evans, a member of the visiting European Parliamentary delegation, has said that the All Party Representative Committee process would not be a reality without the presence of the Tamil National Alliance. Speaking to the media in Colombo today (July 25th), he maintained however, terrorism should not have a place in Sri Lanka. Mr. Evans also hoped the president would implement the 17th amendment and establish independent commissions to guarantee democracy. more..

E.U. team cautions Colombo on rights violations

July 26 (Hindu) A visiting delegation of the European Parliament on Friday warned Sri Lanka hat it could loose the GSP+ status (which provides preferential access to the textile sector in the E.U. market) unless it addressed concerns over human rights violations and media freedom. The GSP is an autonomous trade arrangement through which the E.U. provides non-reciprocal preferential access to the E.U market to 176 developing countries and territories, in the form of reduced tariffs for their goods when entering the E.U. market. more..

Civilians urged to escape Tiger clutches

July 26 (SAMN) Army Chief Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka said Friday intensified ground operations on the Mannar, Vavuniya and Welioya fronts would help civilians flee LTTE’s clutches. The area held by the LTTE was rapidly shrinking due to military action on a wide front across the Vanni, he said, urging civilians to reach security forces lines as the enemy wouldn’t have the time or the resources to effectively block escape routes. more..

TISL condemns COPE, PAC appointments

July 26 (SAMN) Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) Friday condemned the election of ministers to chair the highly influential Parliamentary Standing committees COPE and PAC, saying that it was an ‘intentional undemocratic move to weaken legislative scrutiny so that the irregular financial expenditure by the Executive would continue unabated’. The International watch dog on good governance also urged the two ministers to resign from those positions and display their commitment, integrity and democratic values. more..

No firing by SL Navy: India

July 26 (SAMN) Commodore P E Van Halteren, the top Naval Officer in Tamil Nadu Friday categorically denied allegations that the Sri Lankan Navy was straying into Indian waters and firing at Indian fishermen. “They (Lankan Navy) never cross into our territory,” Halteren said, adding that incidents may be taking place when the Indian fishermen sail too close to Sri Lankan maritime boundary. more..

JVP asks Govt. to increase pensions

July 26 (SAMN) The JVP Friday charged in Parliament that the government has not given pensioneers the increment which it has promised several months ago. JVP MP Lakshman Nipunaarachchi who moved an adjournment motion on the issue in the House yesterday said although the government had issued a circular which said pensions would be increased by an amount equivalent to half months salary of a public servant it had never been implemented. more..

'Maithripala too has accepted that JVP has villages full of members'

July 26 (LT) "Government ministers say at various places that entire villages of JVP members join UPFA. By doing so they accept the fact that masses in their entire villages support the JVP. However, the mammoth crowd assembled here today indicates that none of these members have left the party," said the Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe addressing a mass rally to confirm the victory of the JVP at the election for more..

Hikkaduwa beach fest targets young travelers

July 26 (LBO) Hikkaduwa Beach Festival which is kicking off on July 30, will attract more young tourists to the island, and is positioned to become the South Asian equivalent of the Rio carnival, officials said. The five day event has had organizers working hard to put Sri Lanka on the map for young people around the world. "Looking at other markets, we find entertainment coupled with local culture as the key reason for people to go to these destinations," more..

Is ethical and balanced journalism needed?

July 26 (GV) In my view, there are reporters and there are journalists. Reporters do exactly that. They report. But journalists on the other hand, should not be mere instruments of describing, but should be the activists who are working for change through their role as advocates. Journalists are blessed with something that most advocates have to look for: an audience that listens to them. more..

Pricking the conscience on reminiscences of ‘Black July’

July 26 (GV) In July 1983, my Accountant Mr. Vallipuram at the Cooperative Department lived off Castle Street where his neighbour was a notorious Sinhalese thug. Until ‘Black July’ Vallipuram once told me that, that thug was the ‘assailant select’ in his mind, whenever he feared a racial riot. When violent crowds ‘visited’ him early morning on the Day of ‘Black July’ around 3.30 a.m. he, his wife and son escaped through the back door in to the premises of the thug, as it was the safest. more..

Catholic village honors its Cricket hero

July 26 (UCAN) A Catholic village near Colombo has just welcomed home a conquering hero, described as a master of googlies, flippers, leg breaks and off-breaks. These "tricky" bowling techniques are the secret behind Sri Lanka's new cricket sensation, 23-year-old Ajantha Mendis, who returned to his home village of Kadalana on July 16 to find a crowd of 5,000 waiting for him. more..

Madhu statue brought to Bishop's house due to 'Heavy Fighting'

July 26 (UCAN) The revered statue of Our Lady of Madhu has been brought to the Mannar bishop's house from a war-torn area in Tamil rebel's control, due to worries about its safety. Diocesan priests brought the statue in an ambulance to the bishop's house in Mannar, 230 kilometers north of Colombo, on July 22. Bishop Rayappu Joseph said he moved the statue from Thevanpiddi due to recent heavy fighting in that area between government forces and the LTTE. more..

Review system under the scanner

July 26 (CI) On the stroke of lunch on the fourth day, Virender Sehwag entered the record books as the first batsman to be given out by the third umpire under the review system being trialled in the series. But the decision opened the door for more questions than answering the original one. Sehwag had padded up to a Muttiah Muralitharan ball which was delivered from round the stumps, had just pitched on leg - half of it was inside the mat - and straightened. more..

New phone laws to protect consumers’ rights - PM

July 26 (DN) Prime Minister yesterday stated in Parliament that the rights of the public will be protected by issuing licences/certificates of ownership of fixed line telephones. The Prime Minister made this observation in response to a statement made by Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera. Prime Minister Wickramanayaka stated that after amending the licences of fixed line telephone service providers in 2004, permission has been granted for CDMA telephone services. more..

Rs.11 billion more for fertiliser subsidy

July 26 (DN) The Government yesterday presented a Supplementary Estimate for Rs.11.84 billion to Parliament to meet the fertiliser subsidy payment in addition to the allocation of Rs.15 billion to the Ministry of Agriculture Development and Agrarian Services. Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardana presented the Supplementary Estimate to Parliament yesterday on behalf of Agriculture Development and Agrarian Services Minister Maithripala Sirisena. more..

Drama at airport over removal of body

July 26 (DM) A tussle between a Negombo undertaker and the ICRC to transport the remains of a young woman who had committed suicide led to a drama atthe Bandaranaike International Airport yesterday. The hearse belonging to the Negombo undertaker and the ICRC had arrived at the airport early on Thursday but the body of the woman was taken away from the airport only at 1.30 am yesterday. more..

Emergency medical teams set for SAARC

July 26 (Island) The Health Ministry, in collaboration with the medical teams of the army, navy and air force, will provide round the clock medical care to the various categories of participants in the SAARC summit to be held in Colombo. A Ministry spokesman said that the Katunayaka Airport medical division had been strengthened and an emergency treatment unit will be set up to provide treatment in emergencies. more..

'Permits for mobile phones could be misused'

July 26 (Island) The Government should overrule the decision to insist on permits for mobile telephones, Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael said in parliament yesterday. The decision to allow only permit holders to use these telephones would restrict their use by over seven million people. This was going to affect not only the users of telephones but the telecommunications sector which is one of the leading private sector ventures. more..

Bag with Killinochi address found

July 26 (NIP) A donation slip book bearing a Killinochi address in Sri Lanka and found among other items like camera, video cassettes, Rs. 25,000 in cash and two film rolls in a bag, was seized by the police, here on Thursday. The bag was found abandoned near the Thoondigai Vinayagar Temple in Tiruchendur by a daily wage labourer. Local police took custody of the bag on Thursday. more..

Ministers request to sack P.B.

July 26 (LD) Several Cabinet Ministers are to request President to dismiss Secretary of the Finance Ministry and the Treasury, P.B. Jayasundara, the ‘Lakbima’ newspaper reports. The Chief Justice, Sarath N. Silva recently ordered Dr. P.B. Jayasundara to pay Rs. 500,000, as compensation after finding him guilty of corruption during a sale of an 8.5-acre land of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and a transfer of 90 per cent stake of Lanka Marine Services Ltd to John Keells Holdings (JKH). more..

Fighting kills 70 combatants

July 26 (AP) Heavy fighting between Sri Lankan government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels along the front lines of their civil war killed 62 rebels and eight soldiers, the military said Saturday. The fighting occurred throughout Friday in the Vavuniya, Jaffna, Welioya and Mullaitivu districts bordering the rebels' de facto state in the north, said Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara, the military spokesman. more..

Sri Lanka's worsening human rights could hit economy -EU

July 26 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's failure to address human rights concerns, including a "frightening" number of abductions, could cost the island nation a lucrative trade concession, the European Union said on Friday. Concluding a visit to the island nation, an EU delegation for South Asia relations said that the Sri Lankan government needed to do more to address rights abuses. more..

Murali leaves India in shambles

July 26 (CI) Tortured by Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis, India headed to a massive innings defeat, 131.4 overs to play out and the confidence of handling the spinners nowhere in sight. Murali and Mendis, assisted by the ever-alert close-in fielders and the wicketkeeper, did not loosen the vice grip they have had over the batsmen ever since the ball was thrown to Mendis in the 10th over of India's first innings. more..

India pressurizes Rajapakse Govt. to stop operations during SAARC summit!

July 27 (LT) Sunday Lanka- a Sinhalese week-end paper has revealed that India is pressurizing government to halt all ongoing operations against tiger terrorist organization in the North during the period SAARC summit is held. The paper to be issued tomorrow states, "It has been reported that on intense pressure from India the government is contemplating stopping all operations in the North during the period as stated in the unilateral ceasefire declared by the tiger organization. more..

SLMC welcomes the LTTE's truce offer

July 27 (LG) Sri Lanka Muslim Congress has welcomed the unilateral ceasefire declared by the LTTE to coincide with the SAARC Summit. SLMC General Secretary Hassan Ali, in an interview to Virakesri, stated that the very word ceasefire brings joy to the peace loving people of the country. He added that it would be an appropriate gesture if the government too reciprocate by making the unilateral ceasefire, a bilateral one. more..

We have no faith on unilateral ceasefire declaration by the Tiger – EPDP

July 27 (LG) Douglas Devananda, Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare, stated that he had no faith on the unilateral ceasefire declared by the Tigers as they would conveniently use this period to strengthen themselves militarily in the manner they had done in previous occasions and that everyone was well aware of their tactics. The Minister said so on the last 22nd evening at a discussion he had with the Parliamentary Member Group of European Union. more..

LTTE fund raising arm TRO in on fund raising initiative

July 27 (LG) The activities of the UK based Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) which was closed down by the Charity Commission few years ago for its involvement with the Tamil Tigers has now been spearheaded by another TRO-UK. TRO-UK was formed by the very same trustees of the original TRO and it remained dormant for over five years. The appeal of the TRO-UK for funds reproduced herein confirms that it is taking the same route like the defunct TRO Charity. more..

LTTE-EU delegation disappointed

July 27 (LG) A EU delegation led by a Robert Evans MEP concluded its visit to Sri Lanka this week, on a highly critical note. This was expected as Mr Evans has a long history of association with the LTTE, a banned terrorist organization in the United Kingdom. Mr Evans primary constituency in London covers the areas of Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kingston, Merton, Richmond and Sutton. more..

EU Parliamentarians Came to Sri Lanka with Pre-drawn Conclusions?

July 27 (AT) I read with great interest the story today about the EU Parliamentarians who were "turned back from Ratmalana Airport" while on their way to visit the Eastern Provinces. It’s too bad, because their aborted tour to Trincomalee District could have demonstrated the tremendous progress the Government has made in the area since its liberation last year – politically, socially, economically, and otherwise. more..

Traitors–Elections- & Pro-LTTE Anti-National Forces

July 27 (AT) Not so many moons ago, our Opposition Leader and UNP Leader Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe gave a new definition to the word “traitor” and pointed out that the greatest traitor we have in recent times is Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapakse. Why? Because he resigned from the Army and migrated to the USA but returned to Sri Lanka when his brother President Mahinda Rajapakse came into power and became the Secretary of the Ministry of Defense. more..

Pro-LTTE Australian MP statements shredded to pieces

July 27 (AT) The statement recently made in the floor of the Australian Parliament by John Murphy, Parliamentary Secretary of Trade and the Member for Lowe constituency in Australia came into severe criticism. The recent statement he made in the parliament was criticized as one sided, biased and pointed out that he has failed to condemn the LTTE and its leader Velupillai Prabakaran for reneging on their words and continuously recruiting underage children. more..

Black July and its Common Sense

July 27 (AT) The killers of Black July were neither soldiers nor terrorists. The killers of Black July were civilians, untrained in the task of killing and unfamiliar with the idea of killing fellow human beings. There was ‘underworld elements’ among them, but that was a time when killing was rare even in the ‘underworld’. And these ordinary people murdered other ordinary unarmed men, women and children, fellow human beings whose only crime was their ethnicity. more..

First ever Sri Lankan Gems & Jewellaries exhibition in Iran

July 27 (AT) Since the visit of Mahinda Rajapakse, President, Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka to the Islamic Re-Public of Iran and his diplomatic meeting with the President of Islamic Re-Public of Iran Mahmood Ahmadinjad have created a very good diplomatic relationship and trade opportunities between the two countries. Sri Lankan delegation consisting Senior Coordinator to the President Mahinda Rajapakse for the United States of America and more..

Where o where have you gone, Bruce Fein?

July 27 (AT) The infamous Washington D. C. mercenary attorney, former US Deputy Attorney General (appointed by Ronald Reagan) Bruce Fein, has disappeared. He hasn’t been seen or heard from since June 23rd after his very successful panhandling expedition in Canada where he raised an untold amount of money for the noble Tamil Eeelam cause. I learned that his former boss at LTTE front organization, Tamils for Justice, Mr. Jayantha Gnanakone, allegedly says “he has been hiding in the hills,” and more..

Surprised how India folded - Jayawardene

July 27 (CI) Sri Lanka won the first Test in a little over three days and Mahela Jayawardene said he was surprised by the way India folded up. Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis shared 19 wickets between them as India slumped to an innings-and-239-run defeat. "When you see that [Indian] batting line-up you think these guys have a lot of experience, that they will buckle down and really give you a fight," Jayawardene said. more..

Minister’s wife in ‘fishy’ fishing - Ravaya

July 27 (LD) A company belonging to the wife of Posts and Telecommunication Minister Mahinda Wijesekara is involved in unloading fish locally in violation of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act, ‘Ravaya’ reports. Named ‘Bonbridge’, the company has obtained permission from the Director General of Aquatic Resources, but had not supplied 25 per cent of the catch as per agreement, said the newspaper. more..

Ministerial media subcommittee 'dumb' - UNP

July 27 (LD) The ministerial subcommittee tasked with matters of the media has become non-contactable, said UNP’s free media spokesman Dayasiri Jayasekara. He told ‘Lanka Dissent’ that telephones at the BMICH office of this subcommittee have been inaccessible for the past one week. According to him, the 0602119241 telephone has been suspended by the service provider, while there is no answer to the 2669128 telephone. more..

War-torn Sri Lanka nowhere near political settlement

July 27 (FI) The reality that Sri Lanka needs political solution to the problems pestering the entire population in varying degrees and that there is no militarily solution is widely recognized. Any devious move to avoid the required changes to the failed system of governing centrally will only prolong the suffering of the people. The unity and peace the country needs for moving forward will continue to elude with dire consequences. more..

The Colombo SAARC summit: Big India and her small neighbours

July 27 (TC) Founded by Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 1985, and joined by Afghanistan in 2007, the SAARC should by now have become not only a force among the global trading blocs but also a supranational plane for political and economic cooperation for the member states. SAARC has the population, the essential institutional framework at the national level with the exception of Afghanistan, and more..

SriLankan nosedives with Rs. 5 billion loss in three months

July 27 (SL) The news from the state aviation industry only continues to go from bad to worse. Aviation officials from Minister Chamal Rajapakse, outgoing Mihin Lanka CEO Sajin Vaas Gunawardena and his replacement Anura Bandara insist that the situation is improving. But it is not. The latest blow for the industry's reputation came last Wednesday in parliament when UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake sparked an adjournment debate that revealed more..

Summit blues and court rulings as Govt. blunders on

July 27 (SL) As the 15th SAARC Summit kicks off today in Colombo amidst controversy over excessive expenditure, hundreds of bullet proof vehicles, oppressive security measures and unlawful eviction of innocent residents from their homes, the forum's host, President Mahinda Rajapakse will also be wracked by human rights allegations of massive proportions. Unlikely though it is that easily one of the world's most failed organisations will manage to address more..

A cunning coyote in the UNP's midst

July 27 (SL) The opposition UNP is suffering from a confused state of mind. In the midst of a crucial provincial council election campaign it seems to be preoccupied with bestowing upon new comer S.B. Dissanayake a parliamentary seat merely to check whether his civic rights are in tact. And this for a man who was asked to run for the Sabaragamuwa chief minister's post not just to prove his metal but also to test the civic rights issue which of course he declined. more..

NFF goes into tailspin after Govt. dumps Wimal

July 27 (SL) The two-faced acts of JVP defector and Leader of the National Freedom Front (NFF), Wimal Weerawansa came out in the open during his days as the star of the JVP. Although Weerawansa denied every detail revealed about him in the media, before long, everyone was able to see his true nature for themselves. His decision to defect from the JVP, along with 10 other members, to form a separate party indirectly supportive of the government was when Weerawansa made his great expose to the people. more..

Lobbyists get millions to stop sanctions

July 27 (LB) The government has sought the services of international lobbyists in the form of lobbying companies, at the cost of millions of rupees in order to stave off foreign sanctions on Sri Lanka. LAKBIMAnEWS learns that the government has recently signed such a deal with an American firm to obtain ‘lobbying services’ at a cost of Rs.65 million (US $ 600,000) for a one year period in order to persuade some congressmen in the US Senate, to desist from taking action against Sri Lanka. more..