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Govt. was too hasty with Weerawila airport project - UNP

July 30 (BL) The decision to move the Weerawila Airport to Mattala is just another publicity stunt, probably motivated by some personal agenda of the government, the main opposition UNP charged yesterday. Speaking to The Bottom Line, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake charged that the entire airport project in the south had been a massive publicity stunt. “The government has already spent a lot of money on construction and more..

JVP protests over assault incident

July 30 (BL) JVP candidate for the Polonnaruwa Provincial Council elections, R. K. Indrananda Silva said that the Police demonstrated their incapacity to maintain the law when dealing with the incident at Siripura on July 27 where Minister Mervyn Silva is alleged to have been involved. “At about 3:30 in the evening, Minister Mervyn Silva arrived with an entourage of 30 or 40, and like in a Hindi movie walked to the JVP supporters with their guns firing. more..

Killinochchi under siege!

July 30 (BL) 571,572 and 573 Brigades attached to the 57th Division and elite Special Forces are tactically moving towards Mallavi, Tunukkai and Mankulam. (I will not mention any battalion commanders’ names for very valid reasons). 572 Brigade captured Vannivilankulam, south of Mallavi and was moving towards Mankulam, Mallavi and further north. The LTTE tried its level best to hold Vannivilankulam, but failed. more..

Revoke blood bank transfers warns Health Trade Union

July 30 (BL) The All Ceylon Health Service Union (ACHSU) has threatened to take trade union action against the Ministry of Healthcare, for transferring several health workers who were attached to the blood bank, for giving information to the media regarding the expired blood plasma. The President of ACHSU Gamini Kumarasinghe told The Bottom Line that it’s unethical to transfer any health worker till the investigations are over.“ more..

'Terrorism and poverty' focus of SAARC

July 30 (BBC) Delegates of member countries of South Asian grouping began talks in Colombo on Tuesday to prepare the groundwork for a summit later this week that the member nations say will focus on trade and terrorism. Foreign Secretary level Delegates from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, The Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka began discussing arrangements for the summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, or SAARC, starting Saturday. more..

Fully renovated Madhu church to be handed over to Mannar Bishop

July 30 (GDI) The security forces have requested the Bishop of Mannar, Rt. Rev. Dr Rayappu Joseph to resume custody of the most sacred Madu Shrine on total completion of repairs and the renovation of the Church which was carried out by the Army. The church has been provided with supplies of water, electricity and other sanitary facilities. The Army has also cleared one square kilometer of land surrounding the shrine of landmines, more..

Ambassador Wickramasuriya Warmly Welcomed at White House

July 30 (AT) Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya presented his credentials to U.S. President George W. Bush, at the Oval Office of the White House, on July 28, 2008. Ambassador was warmly welcomed by President Bush who expressed his wish to continue the good relationship between Sri Lanka and USA. "We value your friendship greatly," Bush said. Ambassador Wickramasuriya reciprocated and conveyed President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s appreciation of U.S. support to Sri Lanka in its more..

Dismay over journalist discrediting remarks by Sri Lanka Army Chief

July 30 (TW) The Free Media Movement (FMM) is deeply disturbed over the remarks attributed to the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka in recent interviews he has granted, a statement from the organisation said today. “One such interview appeared in the state-run Sunday Observer newspaper of July 20, 2008. The contents were later posted on the website of the Ministry of Defence thus giving it official credence. more..

‘LTTE violating ceasefire’

July 30 (AA) The Sri Lankan military on Tuesday accused the LTTE of violating the unilateral ceasefire announced by the rebels to coincide with the Saarc summit here this weekend. Even as the fighting raged in the north, the Saarc foreign secretaries began discussions in Colombo. Military spokesperson Brigadier Udaya Nanayakara said the rebels fired at least ten artillery rounds in the Poonaryn and Muhamalai areas in northern Jaffna peninsula on Tuesday morning injuring two soldiers. more..

NCP a volcano waiting to explode

July 30 (ML) ANURADHAPURA resembles a simmering volcano, all ready to erupt and with days to go for the provincial poll. The tension is so thick that all three parties, the UPFA, the UNP and the JVP appear to be conducting quiet campaigns that are seemingly peaceful that give lie to the violence that prevails in the region. What is patently obvious however, is the role of the police. Police inaction appears to be only a symptom of the disease more..

CEPA will have Indians swamping Sri Lanka

July 30 (ML) AT the Indo-Lanka Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) seminar in Sri Lanka, the Commerce Secretary of India, Gopal K.Pillai said the agreement will not have Indians swamping Sri Lanka and it is an attractive opportunity that Sri Lanka must exploit. But I wonder if he was aware of the reality behind the trade numbers between the two countries where we see that India has much to honour from the current Indo-Lanka FTA, and more..

Bulldozer rampage – Are the Muslim ministers ‘bonded slaves?’

July 30 (ML) IT is said that eighty percent of those affected by the Slave Island evictions were Muslims. The manner in which the demolition job was scheduled for a Friday morning and again restarted during noon Jumma prayers when the resident men folk had gone to mosque, makes one suspect whether this was executed under a well planned strategy. It is sad that a Muslim woman minister’s office is also connected to this "demolishing" department within the building and this action would have been within her knowledge. more..

Indian PM won’t meet Pillayan

July 30 (ML) THE Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh will not meet the Chief Minister of the Eastern Province, S. Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan but will meet TNA Leader R. Sampanthan and TDNA Chief, V. Anandasangaree. The Morning Leader learns the TMVP, the party of Pillayan had made a formal request on behalf of the Chief Minister to meet the Indian Premier during the SAARC Summit. more..

SAARC geared for firm action

July 30 (SAMN) The ongoing 15th SAARC summit will mark the significant transformation of the regional organisation from the declaratory stage to the implementation stage after 23 years, Export Development and International Trade Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said. Prof. Peiris said this year’s summit held in Sri Lanka reflects a shift in ‘the spirit and the level of co-operation’ among the Member States which is explained by its theme ‘SAARC Partnership for People’. more..

Commercial flights from Jaffna suspended

July 30 (SAMN) Commercial flights to and from the Jaffna peninsula will be suspended for three days from August 1 to August 3 due to the SAARC Summit, the IASC situation report said. The report said, the suspension was due the security situation in the Peninsula being tense, with LTTE positions shelled daily. Telephone connections in Kilinochchi had also been disconnected since July 23 till last weekend the report said though lines in the Wanni remained unanswered Tuesday as well. more..

French magistrate to probe ACF killings

July 30 (SAMN) A French magistrate sent by his government is in Sri Lanka to investigate the ACF massacre in Muttur. The magistrate, who arrived in the country early this month, is expected to submit a comprehensive report on his findings to the French government by August, after which a discussion is to be held between France and its international allies on the possibility of holding an international inquiry into the brutal massacre. more..

Test paper shortage extends exam hours

July 30 (SAMN) The second term test in several schools in the Galewela Educational Zone was held for more than two hours due to a shortage of question papers inconveniencing teachers and students, sources said. The exam had not commenced till 10 a.m. in several schools and teachers were compelled to make a long trek to the town to take photocopies of question papers to meet the shortage, they said. more..

SAARC focus on food, terrorism

July 30 (Hindu) The 15th SAARC Summit, scheduled for August 2 and 3, would come out with a declaration on “food security” and deliberate on the “collective action on modalities of dealing with menace of terrorism.” The Standing Committee of the summit, comprising Foreign Secretaries of the eight Member-States, on the opening day of its two-day meeting on Tuesday agreed on the need for separate declaration on food security in the context of rising food costs and shortages experienced by the region. more..

Sri Lanka official says Australia and Myanmar would be admitted as SAARC observers

July 30 (LBO) Australia and Myanmar would be admitted as observers of the SAARC at this year's sessions, now underway in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, an official said. Sri Lanka's additional foreign secretary Prasad Kariawasam told reporters after a meeting of the so-called 'standing committee' of foreign secretaries of the eight SAARC member states, that the two nations would join seven other observers. more..

Presidential Pardon for Minister Thondaman

July 30 (DN) A Presidential Pardon was granted in the case where Nuwara Eliya Magistrate Amali Ranaweera imposed a suspended sentence of six months imprisonment pending for three years on Minister Arumugan Thondaman, Deputy Minister and Ceylon Workers’ Congress President Muthu Sivalingam and V. Radhakrishnan, a member of the Central Provincial Council. President has taken this decision in accordance with the powers vested in him under the Constitution, Presidential sources said. more..

Mahinda Chinthana addresses all needs of the community

July 30 (DN) The Mahinda Chinthana National Development goals consist of development plans for the country, former North Central Province Chief Minister and North Central Province Chief Ministerial candidate Berty Premalal Dissanayake said. He said all possible steps have been taken under the Mahinda Chinthana concept to achieve a sustainable development and to improve the livelihood of the community below poverty line. more..

Pride of lions and tales of tiger piece

July 30 (DM) My dear Mahinda Ayia, Ayubowan, vanakkam, assalamu alaikkum and congratulations on assuming the largely ceremonial chairmanship of SAARC when the controversial and crisis-ridden summit of the South Asian leaders is held this week. Amid widespread criticism over whether it is valid to bust some Rs.5 billion for this event or non event and the oppressive high security measures which have made many exclaim “Deiyo Saarc-ki”, it was the LTTE which gave an unexpected start to the SAARC meetings. more..

Prabhakaran’s dream of membership as member of SAARC

July 30 (DM) It was just last week, Prabakaran sent a goodwill message to the forthcoming SAARC summit. This was after his unilateral declaration of ceasefire. It is not known whether this message meant that he hopes to seek SAARC membership for an Eelam Govt at the next Summit as the ninth member state. Otherwise, Prabhakaran has no necessity to make goodwill gestures to the SAARC summit and declare a unilateral ceasefire. more..

Parliament to hold reception for SAARC leaders

July 30 (Island) (August 3) morning and a reception will be accorded to them in the House, Sergeant at Arms Anil Samarasekara told The Island yesterday (29). SAARC leaders last visited Sri Lanka for the summit held in 1998. The present summit will host leaders from Afghanistan, the new member of SAARC, along with Bangladesh, Bhutan, India Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the BMICH for two days August 2 and 3. more..

US to provide 430 mn dollars for undersea power transmission

July 30 (Island) The United States Energy Aid Fund (USEAF) will provide USD 430 million for proposed high tension under sea power transmission line from Madurai in South Indian to Talaimannar. This power supply project from India is in response to a request made by the Sri Lankan government during the 14th SAARC Summit held in New Delhi last year. Under the Indo-Lanka Regional Co-operation agreement, the project will supply 1,000 MW of power to Sri Lanka. more..

Bayliss warns of India backlash

July 30 (CI) Trevor Bayliss, Sri Lanka's coach, expects India to come back hard in Galle after being drubbed by an innings and 239 runs inside four days in the first Test at the SSC in Colombo. Bayliss said the best batsmen in the world were bound to struggle against spinners Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan, who shared 19 of the 20 wickets at the SSC. "We are expecting India to come back hard," Bayliss said. more..

National Guilt and Expiation: What happened at the end of July 1983?

July 30 (TC) Former Anglican Bishop of Kurunegala, Lakshman Wickremesinghe issued this message after the July violence of 1983. He passed away shortly afterwards thereby making this his last message. We reproduce it here as it is of poignant relevance at this time. Bishop Lakshman as he was popularly known is the paternal uncle of Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and the maternal uncle of Rajiva Wijesinghe, secretary, ministry of human rights: more..

Sri Lanka suspends internal flights for security reasons

July 30 (LBO) Sri Lankan authorities plan to suspend domestic flights to northern Jaffna later this week for the duration of a summit of south Asian leaders in Colombo, a senior government official said. Civil Aviation Authority director general Parakrama Dissanayake said flights by domestic carriers between Colombo and Jaffna have been suspended during August 1-3 for security reasons. more..

5 hr. wait for journalists at SAARC

July 30 (LD) Journalists who were assigned to cover the two-day Standing Committee meeting of the 15th SAARC summit charge that they had been kept waiting for nearly five hours yesterday. The journalists have been directed to be at the Government Information Department by 6.00 a.m. After being subjected to a thorough checking, an official of the Government Information Department has escorted them to the BMICH in a bus. more..

Wrong for president to appoint interim committees

July 30 (LD) It is wrong for Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa to appoint interim committees for sports governing bodies just because he is President of the country, said former President of Sri Lankan Cricket, Thilanga Sumathipala. In an interview with a private television channel, Mr. Sumathipala said that if associates of the President could be appointed as he wishes, he should first change the sports laws and the country's constitution to suit his wants. more..

PB to stop gambling

July 30 (LD) Secretary of the Finance Ministry and Treasury, Dr. P.B. Jayasundara has directed two ministry officials to prepare a budget estimate for a ‘Sooduwata Thitha’ programme, pertaining to measures that can be taken to end gambling. Dr. Jayasundara gave the directive to two of his officials after presiding at a special meeting at the Ministry yesterday (July 29th) to discuss Budget 2009, a senior official of the Finance Ministry told ‘Lanka Dissent’. more..

Sri Lanka sees gains from appointment to world body

July 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka's health minister's appointment to the World Health Organisation (WHO) could help channel more foreign funds to develop the health sector in the island, the association of private medical practitioners said. Nimal Siripala de Silva, minister of healthcare and nutrition, was appointed as the chairman of the WHO executive committee which is its policy-making body. more..

South Asian Free Media Association Summit to begin today

July 30 (GDI) Around one hundred journalists, gathered under the banner of the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA), will meet today to discuss issues pertaining to the freedom of the media in conflict situations. The results of the deliberations are to be presented as a common declaration to the SAARC foreign ministers. Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and Parliamentarian Lauxman Kiriella will grace the occasion. more..

Eggs, omelets, GSP plus and EU

July 31 (LG) A visiting EU Parliamentary delegation has criticized Sri Lanka on human rights abuses. The head of the so called delegation, Mr Robert Evans has threatened that Sri Lanka that is not going to get GS plus trade concessions from the EU. Perhaps Mr Evans is not aware of the fact that Sri Lanka is fighting a bitter battle with the worlds most ruthless terrorists, the LTTE. Probably he thinks that making omelets is possible without breaking the eggs, I am not sure. more..

Ceasefire offer highlights crisis of credibility

July 31 (LG) The LTTE has announced its intention to declare a unilateral ceasefire from July 26 to August 4 to cover the duration of the SAARC Summit in Sri Lanka which brings together the heads of state of the eight South Asian countries. This is not the first occasion on which the LTTE has made such an offer. The Sri Lankan government has rejected the LTTE's offer as a ploy to gain a respite from the government's military operations and more..

SAARC 2008: Connectivity, heritage and conflict resolution

July 31 (LG) South Asia is a historically evolved region drawing its ‘identity consciousness’ from the rich tangible and intangible heritage found in its natural landscape. We in South Asia are nurtured within the legacy of a shared heritage for over three thousand years and its ethos is a classic representation of diversity and commonalities. Our heritage is essentially inclusive and not exclusive. more..

The stillborn artificial Sri Lankan identity – IV

July 31 (LG) Pandukabhaya was able to unite all the gothras except the gothra of Vyadha or the Vedda and form the Sinhala nation long before capitalism was established in any part of the world. If the westerners insist on capitalism as a prerequisite for building a nation, then it is due to the fact that in the west no nation had been formed before the advent of capitalism. more..

Winning the War,Winning the Peace

July 31 (LG) We must not settle for a draw in a game we can win and are winning. As we draw closer to victory, those who wish to deny it to us will intensify their efforts. Let us do everything that can help us win the war, and desist from anything that may prevent or divert us. We also need a vision for winning the peace. Our vision for winning the peace will play a part in helping or hindering the winning of the war. more..

Essential foundation to solve the national question

July 31 (LG) We are told endlessly that, once the war in the North ends, either by the defeat of the LTTE or by their giving up their weapons, negotiations with all concerned parties would be initiated. We have also been informed recently that the open military confrontation with the LITE may be expected to come to an end next year but a guerilla-type war could persist for twenty years or more thereafter. more..

From killer machines to mechanics – story of ex-LTTE cadres in Jaffna

July 31 (LG) This is not the usual negative story you would hear about LTTE cadres in Jaffna. This is a very unique story. This is the success story of how killer machines of LTTE had transformed themselves to productive society members through Protective Accommodation Rehabilitation Center in Jaffna. It is interesting to note that although the Army is not directly involve in the management, more..

The Rajapakse Presidency (Part VII)

July 31 (LG) If President Rajapakse’s inheritance was a mix of positives and negatives on the domestic front, on the international front it was almost uniformly positive. By the time he assumed the Presidency the LTTE had made itself unwelcome in many a Western capital. This process of self-discrediting climaxed with the Tiger enforced boycott of the Presidential election. Most Western countries had wanted a Ranil Wickremesinghe victory and more..

Tea prices hit by collection fears

July 31 (LBO) Prices of Sri Lankan low grown leafy grade teas fell sharply at this week's Colombo auctions owing to fears that buyers may not be able to collect their purchases. Brokers said most of the leafy grade teas remained unsold as local buyers had a fear of collection problems and avoided purchasing large volumes. A security clampdown ahead of a summit of south Asian leaders in Colombo later this week has led to travel restrictions, more..

Jayawardene banks on familiar conditions

July 31 (CI) Galle has been something of a fortress for Sri Lanka: they have lost just one of their last nine Tests here since July 2000. Both Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have spoken of the fact that having fewer Test venues in the country gives Sri Lanka an advantage, as they know the conditions better. Six wins from 12 matches in Galle, with just two defeats, sums up that confidence. more..

Sri Lanka to send fewer maids to Arab countries, cites abuse

July 31 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will cut the number of maids it sends to the Middle East, a labour official said, citing increased complaints of abuse by women migrant workers. "We want to reduce the number of women migrant workers mainly because of complaints we received from those in Middle East countries," Kingsley Ranawaka, the chairman of Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment told Reuters. more..

Neelan Tiruchelvam and the challenge before Sri Lanka

July 31 (TC) Neelan Tiruchelvam is continuing to tremendously sway hearts and minds in Sri Lanka and the very widely attended ninth lecture delivered in his memory on July 27th at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo, by Prof. Gowher Rizvi, Director, Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, was ample proof of this. more..

CPI asks PM Singh to take up Katchateevu issue with Rajapakse during SAARC

July 31 (AT) Katchateevu is back in the political discourse of Tamil Nadu. Communist Party of India is the latest to join the striding demand for a reopening of the 1983 pact that recognized the mostly uninhabited island as a part of Sri Lanka. While a section of the Tamil Nadu parties are never really reconciled to the pact, the recent firing incidents the Indian fishermen had been subjected to, and more..

Iran to expedite development projects in Sri Lanka

July 31 (AT) Iran to expedite the implementations of all development projects it has undertaken in Sri Lanka. Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian President assured that projects Iran has undertaken in Sri Lanka would be speedily concluded, as a manifestation of Iran's goodwill towards President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Government and the people of Sri Lanka. This assurance was given to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Rohitha Bogollagama, when more..

Amirthalingham remembered in Canada

July 31 (AT) Mr. A. Amithalingam, the great Tamil leader and former opposition leader in Sri Lankan parliament, who was brutally murdered by LTTE, was remembered by the Tamil Community in Toronto. This commemoration meeting was organized by the Canadian Branch of the Tamil United Liberation Front, in Toronto, Canada on 27 July,where all Tamil political parties were in attendance. Mrs. Rajakulasuriyar lit the lamp and inaugurated the function. Mr. M. Nadarajah of TULF chaired the function. more..

Sri Lanka’s "Envelope Journalism"

July 31 (AT) "In many developing countries, so-called "envelope journalism" (accepting financial benefits for certain action or inaction), is the corruption which destroys the image of our profession, deepening cynicism about the media and making us part of the problem, not the solution" - Christopher Warren (President of International Federation of Journalists.) The developed world replaces "envelopes" with trips, gifts or privileged access. more..

Govt has taken positive steps to look after media personnel

July 31 (AT) Media minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa inaugurated the IV SAARC Journalist Summit of the South Asian Free Media Association –SAFMA in Colombo on Wednesday. Around 130 local and foreign Journalists attended the media summit and highlighted grievances on media men in the Asian region and said most of Journalists were killed and harassed by the paramilitary forces and separatists. more..