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Military at the gates of Mallavi

July 27 (LB) Swift military assault came from two directions and it took defending Tiger cadres by surprise. In the wee hours of Thursday (24), the special forces and infantry troops stormed the Vavunikulam tank bund from two directions; at 5.30 am, two battalions attached to the 573 Brigade - Seven Singha Regiment and third Gajaba Regiment broke into the enemy defences, delivering a simultaneous piercing attack on south and north corners of the tank bund. more..

BOI boys cost state millions

July 27 (LB) Customs has seized six containers of palm oil belonging to M/S Ceylon Agro Industries Ltd - a subsidiary of the influential Prima Group - over allegations that the company has defrauded the government on duty payments worth billions of rupees. It is learnt that customs has nicknamed this investigation ‘Prima Kottu-mee’, after a brand of instant noodles manufactured and sold in the domestic market by Ceylon Agro Industries. more..

Criminals raise heads

July 27 (LB) This year’s statistics of the Police Headquarters hitherto reveals a sharp increase in the registered criminals and island-reconvicted criminals (IRCs). Compared to statistics of the previous years, the number has increased, according to the Police Criminal Record Room at Torrington Avenue, Colombo 07. Criminals convicted of offences such as turning out counterfeit currency notes, coins and stamps, murder, attempted murder, causing grievous hurt, house breaking, theft, robbery, plunder, impersonation, more..

SAARC conference gets underway tomorrow

July 27 (LNP) The SAARC conference which will showcase to the entire world Sri Lanka s resilience against terrorism and the country s vibrant democracy will get underway in Colombo tomorrow. The theme of this year s SAARC summit is Partnership for our people and according to the Vision. The Summit with the participation of Eight South Asian Leaders will be staged at the BMICH. Afghanistan is attending the Summit for the first time after securing membership of the organisation. more..

Tigers should disarm before talks -EU

July 27 (LNP) The LTTE should disarm and come to the negotiations table for a peaceful solution as terrorism has no place or legacy anywhere in the world, the visiting European Parliament delegation leader Robert Evans said. Addressing the media yesterday at the Hilton Residence, Evans said they were in Sri Lanka to share their experience and look into possible ways for a peaceful solution to the conflict. more..

He flew too close to the sun

July 27 (LNP) Why Prabhakaran became so concerned about SAARC all of a sudden and declared a unilateral ceasefire must now be clear to one and all, given the damage the LTTE has suffered during the past few days. That he could have avoided that, had the government agreed to his truce, is clear. In the past, he had managed to lure governments into truce traps and make them fight war according to his timetable. more..

Govt. censures EU delegation

July 27 (SAMN) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama Saturday criticised the European Parliament’s delegation for taking hasty decisions on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and declared the delegation’s claim that it was prevented from visiting the east was a misinterpretation of what really occurred. “To know the real situation in a country, one has to visit areas and meet people. The EU delegation confined itself to Colombo and only met people with their own political agendas,” more..

UNP to oppose stripping CBK's rights

July 27 (SAMN) The UNP has decided to oppose any move to deprive former President Chandrika Kumaratunga of her civic rights through parliament on a matter of principle. The decision was taken at a discussion of the party's political affairs committee last week. Informed source said the issue was mooted by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe on the basis of a principle established in 1998, more..

Beggars booted out of city

July 27 (SAMN) Hundreds of beggars have been told to buzz off from Colombo city for the SAARC period and go elsewhere on their own as the Colombo Municipal Council has shelved a plan to temporarily relocate them in some schools outside the city. “Getting an order from a magistrate and providing them with shelter, transport and food is costly and the CMC is already lacking funds,” CMC’s Charity Commissioner D. Thenuwara said. more..

Gota rubbishes Nat. List speculations

July 27 (SAMN) The JVP Saturday said the vacancy caused by the resignation of its National List MP Wasantha Samarasinghe would be filled by Sujith Kuruwita, leader of the association of unemployed graduates amidst some speculation that the government was eyeing the position for Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. The Defence Secretary dismissed this as a figment of somebody’s imagination. more..

Promoting the interest of compatriots from Lanka

July 27 (SG) Seventeen Sri Lankan professionals along with the Sri Lankan Consulate General in Jeddah will be working for interest of Sri Lankan expatriate community and strengthen the ties between Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia. It was discussed last week when the Network of Sri Lankan Professionals (NSLP) was formed. It also is aimed at building the Sri Lankan economy through various social, cultural and professional events. more..

Exam paper money pilfered for posters!

July 27 (NS) Monies released for the printing of term test exam papers are alleged to have been pilfered for the printing of posters for the forthcoming North Central Province election scheduled for next month. The JVP chief ministerial candidate for the province, Wasantha Samarasinghe told The Nation that a sum of Rs. 9.6 million had been released for the printing of examination papers for the second school term exam. more..

SAARC booster for elections

July 27 (NS) With the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation) Conference looming, Sri Lankan politics is going though many twists and turns against a backdrop of Provincial Council Elections in the North Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces The latest issue to dominate the headlines was the offer of an unilateral ceasefire declared by the LTTE for the duration of the Summit. The declaration came rather unexpectedly, and with no strings attached. more..

LTTE’s ceasefire call a trick- MR

July 27 (NS) The LTTE which suffered a series of serious debacles militarily and psychologically, recently declared a unilateral ceasefire. Meanwhile it was evident that the Norwegian peace brokers were haunting the country once again. Several ministers who promote the federal concept were among those jubilant over the LTTE’s unilateral ceasefire declaration. “I do not trust the statements of the LTTE. They gunned down Kadirgamar during the previous ceasefire. more..

Basil Rajapakse at his democratic best!

July 27 (NS) Democracy cannot be restored without a cost says UPFA Parliamentarian and Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa. Countering charges by the Opposition that elections and the SAARC summit were a wasteful exercise, Rajapaksa said restoration of democracy, development and globalisation have all been done at a cost. “Nothing is free. We can ignore elections and save money, but for what?” questioned Rajapaksa more..

Saudi TV crew off to film Sri Lanka

July 27 (AN) A four-member TV crew from the Kingdom has left for Sri Lanka to film a documentary titled "Faces and Places" to be shown on Saudi TV during the holy month of Ramadan. In addition to the places where early Arabs had visited, the crew will visit several of the country's prominent tourist attractions. "We have arranged this tour on a request made by Media Insight, a private company that works for Saudi television to prepare documentaries to project countries that would attract Saudi tourists," more..

Channa's Sigiriya: The First Sri Lankan Ballet

July 27 (Island) In the beginning was Chitrasena. To think of Chitrasena is to remember Vajira. For, as man and wife, they were one dancing flesh. They begot Sri Lanka's modern dance. And they moulded the dancing child prodigy Channa, named after Prince Siddhartha's charioteer. In due course, Channa emerged as the principal charioteer of the Chitrasena-Vajira dance tradition. Endowed with every gift a dancer could dream of Channa was obviously not meant to be a mere charioteer. more..

LTTE is falling apart like a pack of cards, says Gotabaya Rajapaksa

July 27 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday appealed to over 10,000 soldiers who had left the military for various personal reasons during the past four to five years to return to fight for their motherland. "This is a very decisive juncture when the security forces have got the upper hand and need all the help they can get", he told the Sunday Island. more..

175 media professionals to attend SAARC Journalists Summit in Colombo

July 27 (Island) More than 175 South Asian media industry professionals are expected to attend the fourth SAARC Journalists Summit, to be held in Colombo from July 29 to August 1. The participants will include many senior and experienced professionals from the print and electronic media, a spokesman for the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA)-Sri Lanka Chapter told the Sunday Island. more..

'We’ll seek legal intervention again if govt. fails to act'

July 27 (Island) Former MP and Opposition Leader of the CMC, Vasudeva Nanayakkra, yesterday said that he would move the Supreme Court against the government if the latter ignored the landmark ruling and recommendations on his application against the sale of 90 per cent shares of the Lanka Marine Services Limited, a wholly owned company of the CPC which was a profit making, debt free and tax paying company, to John Keells Holdings. more..

Close cooperation vital to nip terrorism

July 27 (SO) SAARC countries will work hand-in-hand to eliminate terrorism, which is a critical challenge to all the countries in the region, Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Palitha Kohona said. He said that an agreement on countering terrorism and a treaty on mutual assistance on criminal matters were being negotiated at the SAARC. more..

LTTE heading for its waterloo - TDNA

July 27 (SO) The current military operations by the security forces in the Wanni have weakened the LTTE terribly and reports from Kilinochchi indicate that the outfit is in complete dissaray as they are unable to face the advancing troops, the Tamil Democratic National Alliance (TDNA) delegation led by Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) Leader Veerasingam Anandasangari told the visiting European Union delegation. more..

Remove barriers to export fruits and vegetables to India - NAC chairman

July 27 (SO) The food crisis experienced by the world is a blessing in disguise for a country of our size with ample resources as the world’s largest democracy, India, with a 1.2 billion population is our neighbour. Chairman, National Agribusiness Council(NAC) Sarath De Silva said that the people engaged in agriculture will not experience a glut or surplus as we can export the excess produce but more..

New digital money order system soon

July 27 (SO) A new digital system for money orders to prevent frauds will be introduced shortly, said Posts and Telecommunication Minister, Mahinda Wijesekera. He said that officers who were involved in multi-million rupee money order frauds will be severely dealt with after the investigation. Post offices will have facilities to check the genuineness of money orders under the new system, he said. more..

TMVP seeks entry into Army, Police

July 27 (ST) The Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP), currently headed by Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna, has asked the government to enroll 1,000 armed cadres to the Police and armed forces, a party spokesman said yesterday. TMVP spokesperson Azad Moulana said they had made representations in this regard to the Defence Ministry and were waiting for a favourable response. more..

Fake pilot takes SriLankan Airlines for a ride

July 27 (ST) Civil Aviation authorities yesterday revoked the licence of a SriLankan Airlines flight captain after it was revealed that the man was a fake, a top official said. Civil Aviation Director General Parakrama Dissanayake said the pilot, a German national, had gained employment with the airlines, producing cleverly-doctored documents. He said the decision to revoke the licence was taken after Sri Lankan Airline submitted clear evidence which suggested that the suspect had forged documents regarding his qualifications and experience. more..

Treasury Sec: To go or not to go

July 27 (ST) Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera, under fire over his role in the controversial privatization of Lanka Marine Services Ltd (LMSL) which was condemned by the Supreme Court and severe strictures passed on him, offered to resign soon after the court verdict but was urged by the Government to stay on, The Sunday Times reliably understands. "He offered to resign but was persuaded by higher-ups to stay on," one source said. more..

Tiger truce for SAARC but decisive battles loom

July 27 (ST) The LTTE's offer not to disturb the summit of SAARC first came last Sunday. In an interview with their Political Wing leader, P. Nadesan, an English Sunday weekly asked whether the Tiger guerrillas were carrying out a campaign to destabilise the south to prevent the SAARC summit taking place. "We are not naïve to disturb the SAARC conference. We believe that the other countries of SAARC group will support us in our just struggle for the Tamil people," he replied. more..

Manmohan to meet Pillayan

July 27 (ST) The coming week will bring many moments of glory to President Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa. That it will be somewhat similar to those euphoric moments when he won the November 2005 Presidential elections is in no doubt. He will host other South Asian leaders - the likes of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, more..

SAARC meeting begins, crackdown on dogs

July 27 (IANS) A meeting of officials of South Asian countries began here Sunday, after an unprecedented crackdown on stray dogs ahead of the SAARC summit early next month. A foreign ministry official said that the SAARC commenced its meeting, with Sri Lanka taking the chair from India. Grace Asirwatham, director general of SAARC and the foreign ministry's South Asia wing, took charge of the 33rd session of the Programming Committee from Indian joint secretary Kheya Battachariya, more..

Sri Lanka deploys thousands of troops to secure leaders at regional summit

July 27 (AP) Sri Lanka sealed off roads and deployed 19,000 soldiers and police in the capital Sunday to prepare for a summit of South Asian leaders amid a raging civil war. Violence in the Indian Ocean nation's quarter-century civil war has escalated in recent months, with near-daily airstrikes against ethnic Tamil rebels, gunbattles in the volatile north and a series of bomb and suicide attacks in Colombo and its suburbs. more..

Basil & Gotabhaya are the true outsiders - Ranil

July 28 (LD) Though President Mahinda Rajapakasa calls Ranjan Ramanayake an ‘outsider’, it is actually Basil and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who are the true outsiders, leader of the UNP, Ranil Wickremesinghe said. Addressing a group of lawyers in Rathnapura today (July 26th) the UNP leader said, “Ranjan is a citizen of this country. However, Basil and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa are citizens of America.” more..

Ranatunga tells Lankan players to skip IPL for England tour

July 28 (PTI) Next edition of the Indian Premier League might not feature any Sri Lankan with cricket board chief Arjuna Ranatunga writing to the players, asking them to skip IPL 2009 which coincides with their tour of England. In a complete volte face to his earlier stance on IPL, Ranatunga made it clear that the board released the players for only the inaugural edition which concluded last month. more..

Ranatunga slams India's 'Twenty20' approach

July 28 (IE) As Sri Lankan Cricket chairman Arjuna Ranatunga sits in his office overlooking the ground, he has a ringside view of the Indian batting collapse. The broad smile on his face is for the flawless show by his team, but he suddenly gets profound when asked about the error-prone Indians. “The way that the Indians have played this Test is an eye-opener not just for us but for all cricket-playing countries. They dealt with this like a Twenty20 game. I think they were not prepared for Test cricket,” he says. more..

LTTE's Muhamalai-I

July 28 (LG) LTTE casualties in the Vavunikulam battle is over 100 killed and at least another 100 injured, sources in the Army confirmed to DefenceWire a few hours ago. After this battle, Tiger leaders have been requesting their cadres not to engage in and further fighting with the Security Forces saying that they have now 'reverted back to a unilateral cease-fire'. more..

New Book: The untold story of the Rajiv Gandhi Assassination

July 28 (LG) Do you know the difference between a suicide bomber and a human bomb? Did you also know that former President Dr Abdul Kalam had also helped in the investigation of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case? About 17 years after Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, author and forensic scientist Chandra Sekharan has finally been able to tell it all. Hardly 24 hours after the blast that killed former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Chandra Sekharan came up first with the human bomb theory. more..

Civilian displacements in the Vanni

July 28 (GV) Reports coming in from sources in Kilinochchi district shows that military operations in the district have led to mass displacements of the civilian population living in the Vanni. In the past 3 weeks, approximately 9,000 families (approximately 40,000 individuals) were displaced from areas close to the FDL (Manthai East) towards Northern part of the Vanni and inner land. more..

Jayawardene backs umpire appeals

July 28 (BBC) Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said the new experimental rule allowing players to challenge umpiring decisions stopped mistakes being made. Sri Lanka successfully used the rule, which is on trial in their three-Test series against India, four times during their emphatic win in the first match. The rule allows players to request a review by referring it to the third official monitoring television replays. more..

I'd certainly not want to face Murali, Mendis: Sangakkara

July 28 (PTI) Captain Kumar Sangakkara on Sunday sympathised with Indian batsmen for the humiliation they received at the hands of Sri Lanka's dreadful spin combination -- Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis -- in their first cricket Tests at the SSC. Sangakkara felt it was indeed a difficult ask to be up against the duo, especially while chasing a mammoth target of 600. "India were rightly disappointed after their batting in the first innings, but you have to give credit to Murali and Ajantha," more..

India feeling 'robbed' by umpire referral system

July 28 (CN) Grumpy responses to the success or otherwise of the umpires referral system being tested in India's Test series with Sri Lanka suggests that Anil Kumble is not happy with the overall results. Maybe because most of them went against India when the umpires were either asked to refer an appeal or as one occasion wanted it was referred because Mark Benson felt the need to get the decision right. more..

Provincial council and power sharing!

July 28 (LG) All sides have accepted that a political solution is a must to find a lasting solution to the national ethnic problem. However, no one is prepared to put forward a solution or implement it. They fear and hesitate that they have to go against the views of extremist forces in the country. Both major parties have understood that extremists are going to be hurdle even for a lesser power sharing. more..

Demolition of houses!

July 28 (LG) The demolition of houses and the sudden eviction of people in Slave Island by the Urban Development Authority officials has created a crisis and legal proceedings have been initiated. During the eviction, there had been house break and heart break. The occupants of the houses almost confronted the officials and the police had to fire tear gas to disperse the agitated crowd. more..

Home is a refugee camp in Tamil Nadu

July 28 (LG) Life was irreversibly altered for many thousands of Tamils when thick black fumes consumed their homes and their lives in July 1983. But unheard and uncared for - except as an irritant or an occasional political embarrassment - Sri Lanka's Tamil refugees are making Tamil Nadu their home. Most of them, over 100,000 in number consider Tamil Nadu their permanent home - some quarter century after the ethnic fires. more..

Spending billions on a useless talk shop

July 28 (LG) Much is being said about the SAARC conference to be held in Colombo this week. On the one hand government politicians are of the opinion that it would boost the image of our country and it is worth the money spent. Sri Lanka and its President would become the regional head of a very large population in this part of the world. They say, we should take pride in this and all who oppose it are not patriots, and are connected to the Tigers. more..

Extremist monks are disgracing Buddhism

July 28 (LG) The Buddha became a universally revered noble philosopher because he addressed fear and sorrow, two aspects of life most dreaded by all humanity and beasts alike. All religions that exist today have their foundation laid on fear and sorrow in humanity. The Buddha sacrificed his princely pleasures, family and all worldly possessions in order to find a way out for this unholy phenomenon which occurs in the cycle of life. more..

The Fonseka Factor

July 28 (LG) Let their be no confusion as to the root attributes of the current success by Sri Lankan Army in the northern front. General Fonseka and his strategy has effectively bled the enemy through slow attrition for over 18 months and now the SLA is going in for the kill. The SLA is moving in on the LTTE northern strongholds at a pace of almost 3KM per day. more..

'Trust Deficiency' Still

July 28 (LG) "Heads, I win. Tail, you lose." At a time when the Sri Lankan armed forces are making marked and acknowledged progress in the conventional war against the LTTE, the latter seems to have taken the Government off-guard on a matter of political tactic. Whether the LTTE strategy is the same as the tactic suggests remains a matter of speculation, and is thus indicative of the 'trust deficiency' that the outfit commands. more..

The longest war: Sri Lanka’s identity conflicts & conflicted identities

July 28 (TC) This month, July, the 25th anniversary of July 83, has quite appropriately seen significant commentary in the press over the interrelated themes of the war, its character or its perceived character, and contending interpretations of Sri Lankan identity. In 2001, in an essay entitled "The Sources of Intractability", published in Ethnic Studies Report, the journal of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) I wrote of the Sri Lankan conflict that more..

LTTE using vehicles belonging to INGOs

July 28 (GDI) An International Non-Government Organization (INGO) operating in the North has been accused for providing their vehicles for LTTE which are been used for military activities and for propaganda. It is also reliably learnt that the terrorists are using several vehicles belonging to this INGO based in Kilinochchi district. The terrorists had obtained these vehicles from the office of an INGO named Norwegian Peoples Aid (NPA) in Kilinochchi, early this week. more..

Malaysia seeks more investment opportunities in Sri Lanka

July 28 (GDI) Several Malaysian companies have expressed a keen interest in opening up new ventures in Sri Lanka including key infrastructure projects. Addressing the fourth annual businesses awards of the Sri Lanka-Malaysia Business Council last week the High Commissioner for Malaysia in Sri Lanka, Rosli Ismail said Malaysia has been the biggest investor in Sri Lanka for nearly four consecutive years with more..