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Sri Lanka private sector calls for prudent reforms

July 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka's private sector has called on the government to implement politically difficult reforms and austerity measures to put the economy on a better footing. Anura Ekanayake, deputy vice chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, said the government should do reforms to correct the wrong policies that hinder growth in the private sector which accounts for a dominant share of economic activity. more..

Sri Lanka firm to lobby G8 on water

July 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Hayleys group has joined top global firms to lobby the eight leading industrial nations to make water availability a priority at an upcoming meeting in Japan next week, the company said. Hayleys is one of 19 companies that have signed the CEO Water Mandate, an initiative of the United Nations Global Compact launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in July 2007. Other signatories include the Coca-Cola Company, Levi Strauss & Co., Nestlé S.A., more..

Summary of the Cabinet decisions

July 4 (GDI) Cabinet granted approval to a memorandum submitted by the Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition, Nimal Siripala de Silva, to hand over the construction and repairing of 24 hospitals to the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (CECB) on trun-key basis for Rs. 102,350,000/= (with VAT). A programme is underway to take over 50 identified hospitals in the Estate Sector by the Government and attend to their existing shortcomings immediately more..

The hard-nosed realism of General Sarath Fonseka

July 4 (LG) Sri Lanka’s most successful Army Commander, serving under Sri Lanka’s militarily most successful Commander-in Chief and President, and most dedicated Defence Secretary, has held an important discussion with Colombo’s foreign correspondents on our most essential topic, the war. That General Fonseka is our most successful army commander may be hotly debated in the subjective and partisan Sri Lankan media, but not by top professionals overseas. more..

CEPA between India, Sri Lankan no threat to island nation

July 4 (PTI) A leading Sri Lankan trade body has allayed fears that Indians would take over the jobs on offer in the island nation following the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between India and Sri Lanka. Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) President Nawaz Rajabdeen said that signing the CEPA could be considered a graduation from the FTA with Sri Lanka standing to gain more than India. more..

SAARC : A waste of time, effort and money

July 4 (LG) The SAARC will hold its summit from July 29th to August 3rd in Colombo. It was originally to be held In Kandy, but due to security reasons it was later decided to hold it in Colombo. Ordinary Sri-Lankans are burdened with a sense of anxiety over this summit meeting, justifiably so because of so many reasons. Firstly because while the ordinary masses are asked to tighten their belts and are staggering in the face of the skyrocketing cost of living, the SAARC summit is to cost Sri-Lanka a whopping 3billion rupees. more..

'Unity in diversity is essential for peace in Sri Lanka'

July 4 (LG) Although I am the bishop of the JDCSI and primarily responsible to help with the spiritual life of the people, I also have a key role as a citizen of the community. In this, I have to be an example in the community not just for the Christians alone. Our needs are varied; social, educational, economical and many others. I have to be very conscious of my position and how I relate myself to the community and must always be in pursuit of justice and peace. more..

Sri Lanka frees 300 Indian trawlers

July 4 (IANS) Sri Lanka has released all the 300-odd Indian fishing trawlers the navy seized while allegedly poaching in the island's territorial waters, after hours of through investigation. Navy spokesman Commander D.K.P. Dassanayake said that the 300 trawlers were sailing towards Tamil Tigers-held Vidattaltivu area in north-western Mannar district when they were spotted and surrounded by the naval craft on routine patrol Wednesday afternoon. more..

Foreign Minister calls on President Musharraf

July 4 (APP) President Pervez Musharraf on Thursday urged the need to make SAARC into a more effective and viable mechanism for promotion of peace, development and progress of the region. He was talking to the Foreign Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Rohita Bogollagama, who called on him here on Thursday. The Foreign Minister is visiting Pakistan as a Special Envoy of the President of Sri Lanka to extend an invitation to more..

'Sri Lanka can manage trade deficit amid inflation'

July 4 (Reuters) Sri Lanka can manage its trade deficit this year despite a record fuel import bill due to improved foreign exchange inflow, but inflation would be a concern, the central bank governor said on Thursday. The island nation recorded a 5.6 percent rise in its trade deficit to $3.56 billion last year compared to 2006, and predicted a 11.5 percent increase to $3.97 billion in 2008 estimating the average fuel price to be $85 per barrel. more..

Rights group urges Sri Lanka to end forced detentions

July 4 (Reuters) Sri Lanka should end arbitrary detentions of displaced civilians and allow humanitarian agencies to access those people affected by protracted civil war, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Thursday. Separately, a visiting U.S. official expressed concerns over human rights issues and media conditions in the country. Fighting between Sri Lanka's military and Tamil Tiger rebels has entered a new, intensified phase since more..

New alliance may ease problems of Lankan govt

July 4 (Dawn) Eight years ago Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pilliyan was a Tamil Tiger guerilla fighting in the jungles of the east and the Marxist –cum-Nationalist JVP Propaganda secretary,Wimal Weerawanse was storming political platforms in Colombo crying out for the annihilation of the LTTE. The annihilation, in the totality promised by the government is yet to happen but what has occurred is that neither Sivanesaturai Chandrakanthan nor Wimal Weerawanse is in their respective organisations anymore. more..

Karuna returns to Sri Lanka

July 4 (BBC) Breakaway Tamil Tiger leader, Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna, released from a UK immigration detention centre has reached Sri Lanka. He was arrested last September on charges of entering the United Kingdom by using a diplomatic passport bearing the name of Kokila Gunawardene. Following a 9 months imprisonment he was detained in a immigration detention centre for the last two months. more..

Tamil Journalists meet President on safety concerns

July 4 (TC) Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLTMA) members met with President Mahinda Rajapakse today and handed over a letter seeking his intervention in relation to several matters of hardships faced by journalists, particularly Tamil journalists in Sri Lanka today, Jul 3. The full text of the letter is as follows: Firstly, we the SLTMA would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity, in spite of your very busy schedule, to meet with you. more..

Anura Disssanayake claims Rs.100 million from Editor of 'Dinamina' & Lake House

July 4 (LT) JVP Parliamentarian and its Political Bureau Member Anura Kumara Dissanayake, through his lawyer, has filed a case against Mahinda Abeysundara, Chief Editor, of 'Dinamina' Newspaper and The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited claiming for a sum of Rs.100,000,000/- by way of damages for causing damage to his reputation by a defamatory statements published in an article in 'Dinamina' newspaper. more..

UPFA and UNP hand over nominations

July 4 (AT) The United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance has handed in nominations for the Ratnapura district in the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council Election. The UPFA has nominated Mohan Saliya Ellawala as its team leader for the Ratnapura area. The opposition party, UNP also has handed over nominations for three districts on Thursday for the forthcoming provincial council election. The districts are Polonnaruwa, Kegalle and Ratnapura. more..

Sri Lankan Envoy Barred from Israeli-Occupied Territories

July 4 (AT) Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN and chairman of the UN's Special Committee on Israeli Practices, was barred once again from entering the occupied Palestinian territories, including the West Bank and Gaza. He said the Israeli authorities prevented him and his three-member committee "from seeing the reality." As a result, he said, the Special Committee had to rely on consultations with witnesses to the "human symptoms developing among many of Gaza's children." more..

PNF, Wimal's option, now a recognized political party

July 4 (LD) The Patriotic National Front (PNF), a party led by MP Piyasiri Wijenayake and considered by Wimal Weerawansa as an option for his National Freedom Front (NFF), has become a recognized political party. Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake today (June 03rd) accepted the registration of the PNF, a senior official at the Elections Secretariat told 'Lanka Dissent.' Mr. Wijenayake is Trade Unions Coordinating Secretary of the NFF. more..

SLFP stalwart Richard Pathirana dies

July 4 (LD) Richard Pathirana, a senior politician of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and former minister, passed away this afternoon (July 03rd). He had been serving as an advisor to President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the time of his death, aged 72 years. A father of three, Mr. Pathirana had been staying with his son at Uthuwankanda Road, Thalawatugoda. He was also the SLFP’s Galle district leader and a senior Vice President of the party. more..

Sri Lanka to focus on maritime security

July 4 (Hindu) Sri Lanka is contemplating setting up a national strategy for maritime security to address issues related to its strategic and commercial interests in the Indian Ocean. The suggestion has been mooted by a high-level committee appointed by Foreign Affairs Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. On receipt of a concept paper, Mr. Bogollagama has underlined the need for Sri Lanka to adopt a strategy for maritime security, given her geo-strategic location in the Indian Ocean. more..

Indians in Sri Lankan jails get hope for freedom

July 4 (IANS) Forty-three Indians languishing in Sri Lankan jails got renewed hope of freedom when they were granted consular access Thursday as Indian officials told them that prisoner exchange formalities between the two countries would be worked out soon, said a rights body here. M.V. Namboodiri, second secretary in India's external affairs ministry, and his colleague Thursday visited two jails at Welikada and Negambo and met the Indian prisoners there. more..

Pakistan, Lanka to ink deal for prisoners swap

July 4 (TP) Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has said that both Pakistan and Sri Lanka are working to sign an agreement for exchange of prisoners so that Pakistani prisoners can be repatriated to complete their remaining sentences. Addressing news conference along with Lankan High Commissioner, Bogollagama told journalists that there were some Pakistanis in the Sri Lanka jails, some of them were involved in the drug related cases. "We are working on the issue," he said. more..

Batting might sees India into final

July 4 (CI) For the second day in succession, a target of 309 was overhauled without much trouble. Each of India's batsmen played their part as India reached the final with a convincing six-wicket win over Sri Lanka. Muttiah Muralitharan was the only bowler to unsettle the batsmen but, with little support from the rest, India triumphed with 19 balls to spare. In contrast to their bowling effort, four of Sri Lanka's top six made significant contributions to help them post an imposing total. more..

Shy and mighty: At 39, there's still no stopping Sanath

July 4 (EI) Sanath Jayasuriya is 39 and not yet doing all those things that cricketers look down upon while playing. He is not putting on a tie and selling real estate, searching for coaching assignments, walking into commentary boxes or indeed playing county cricket. It’s funny how your view of the world changes once you stop playing. But Jayasuriya hasn’t stopped playing even though there are some in his country who believe he should. more..

'SAARC is the key to eliminate terrorism and extremism from the region'

July 4 (GDI) President Pervez Musharraf on Thursday urged member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) to enhance co-operation to eliminate terrorism and extremism in the region, sources from Pakistan said on Friday (04). President Musharraf Musharraf emphasized this when he met Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama at the President's Camp Office in Rawalpindi. more..

Tamil Tiger Mafia, a major threat to French society – French author Jérôme Pierrat

July 4 (GDI) Unveiling the underworld activities of the Tamils in France and their close links with the LTTE, French author Jerome Pierrat has said "Tamil mafia works in hand-in-glove with the Tamil Tigers in their campaign to extort money from unwilling Tamil citizens in France and the mafia gangs keep a percentage and pass on the ransom collection to Tamil Tigers". more..

SAARC nations to set up Development Fund

July 4 (GDI) A SAARC Development Fund is to be set up following agreemetn to be reached at the forthcoming South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Colombo on August 2 and 3. Leaders of the member countries will sign the agreement, SAARC Secretary General Sheel Kant Sharma said when he met Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed of the Bangladeshi caretaker Government on Wednesday, the private news agency UNB reported. more..

Sri Lanka tyre maker says rubber-oil price link a blessing

July 4 (LBO) Natural rubber prices are seen remaining strong, being the only commodity directly linked to the price of crude oil, according to the head of Sri Lanka's Loadstar, the world's largest manufacturer of solid tyres. Nihal Jinasena, who is also chairman of the Jinasena Group, said Loadstar is now getting into backward integration, having become part of a consortium growing rubber in the Moneragala district, in the southern dry zone. more..

'If suitable solutions are not given for the strike on the 10th a continuous strike would be launched'

July 4 (LT) If the government doesn't take necessary measures regarding the one day token strike carried out to demand an increase of Rs.5000/- for state and private sector employees, a continuous general strike would be launched with the support of all other trade unions says President of All Ceylon Trade Union Federation (ACTUF) Lal Kanthe. Mr. Lal kanthe said this addressing the 5th National Convention of the ACTUF held at Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium yesterday (3rd). more..

Pak ex-greats question Lanka`s commitment

July 4 (ZN) Pakistan, it seems, hasn’t taken well to being unceremoniously booted out of the Asia Cup following India’s thumping six-wicket victory over Sri Lanka on Thursday. Several Pakistan greats like Waqar Younis and Rameez Raja have come-down hard in the manner of Lanka’s abject surrender which brought curtains on home team’s campaign in Asia Cup. Infact, they are also questioning the Islanders’ intention to win the crucial encounter. more..

SAARC can do nothing to resolve Kashmir, says Lanka

July 4 (ZN) SAARC "can do nothing" to get the Kashmir issue resolved as it has no provision for dealing in bilateral matters, Sri Lanka, the current chair of the south Asian grouping, has said. Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohita Bogollagama, who is in Pakistan to invite Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani to attend next month's SAARC summit in Colombo, told a news conference that the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation's charter has no provision for resolving bilateral issues. more..

Southern coastal line restored

July 4 (SAMN) Train operations on the coastal railway line were back to normal from Thursday with railway authorities managing to renovate the damage caused by the derailment on the Thotagamuwa bridge within two days. According to the Transport Ministry, operations beyond Ambalangoda which were suspended after the fatal derailment, resumed Thursday morning, following a test run over the repaired track and bridge Wednesday evening. more..

Group of 39 seeks Govt. protection fleeing LTTE held areas

July 4 (GDI) Thirty nine civilians reached Government-controlled areas seeking protection yesterday (July 2). The group, comprising of 26 males and 13 females from Mullaitivu, had arrived in a boat to the Government security point in Pulmodai, defence sources said. Repeating the story of almost all civilians who arrive in Government controlled areas escaping terrorist intimidation, this group also has informed the Security Forces that they had been forced by the LTTE to carry out hard tasks more..

Three teams probing attack on journalist, political officer

July 4 (DN) Cabinet Spokesman Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said the Government has deployed three teams to probe the assault on the British High Commission's Political Officer Mahendra Ratnaweera and Sri Lanka Press Institute Project Coordinator Namal Perera by an unidentified group on Monday. "This is a well organised process launched by certain elements to discredit the Government. We have already deployed three teams to identify who are behind this scene. more..

Govt. denies allegations on GSP+ issue

July 4 (DN) Export Development and International Trade Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris accused interested parties of waging a malicious campaign to get Sri Lanka removed from the European Union GSP + concession amidst strong efforts by the Government to win them over. He said the EU headquarters in Brussels has been receiving hundreds of e-mails on a weekly basis soliciting Sri Lanka’s de-listing. This ‘expensive’ mail campaign is based on false allegations, he said. more..

Govt.,TMVP extend pact to NCP

July 4 (Island) The government and the breakaway LTTE faction now in control of the Eastern Provincial Council are extending their relationship to the neighbouring North Central Province. With the TMVP (Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal) accepting President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s invitation to contest the forthcoming PC election to the North Central Province, the group had paved the way for an unprecedented relationship, political sources said. more..

MPs want more comfort while people suffer

July 4 (Island) While the vast majority of people are struggling to make ends meet due to the spiraling cost of living, parliamentarians are being pampered with more comforts. Against the backdrop of a deteriorating economic crisis, fuelled by rapidly rising crude prices and soaring defence costs, the MPs seemed interested in acquiring additional facilities. With the government on a spending spree, some MPs living at the Madiwela Housing Complex had wanted to air condition their housing units and the Parliament had discussed the possibility, more..

Govt. getting ready to rig PC polls: UNP

July 4 (DM) The main opposition UNP which handed over its nomination papers for the upcoming Provincial Council elections, yesterday charged that the government had already planned to rig the polls using ‘state-sponsored violence’. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told journalists that 19 safe houses for armed groups had been set up at Egodapattuwa in Polonnaruwa bordering Batticaloa and this could be an attempt to intimidate opposition supporters like it did at the eastern Provincial Council election. more..

Cabraal statement “shocking” says Kotelawala

July 4 (DM) Ceylinco Consolidated Chairman Lalith Kotelawala yesterday expressed shock at the statement made by Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal at the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2008. In a media release issued with reference to the article published in the Daily Financial Times of July 3 under the headline “Sri Lanka Economy on a Shaky Platform” he has stated thus: “What a shocking statement by the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Mr. Ajith Nivard Cabraal. more..

Sri Lanka fighting kills 34

July 4 (AP) A wave of battles across Sri Lanka's embattled northern region has killed 32 ethnic Tamil rebels and two government soldiers, the military said Friday. Fighting has escalated on the Indian Ocean island in recent months, with the military stepping up ground assaults and air strikes on the guerrillas in line with a government pledge to capture rebel-held territory and crush the insurgents by the end of the year. more..

Govt. dodges call for action

July 4 (SAMN) The government Thursday dodged a barrage of questions from angry journalists as to why no action was being taken against Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, who has repeatedly warned them against exposing shortcomings in the conduct of military operations against the LTTE. Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa questioned, at Thursday’s Cabinet press briefing held in the Parliamentary Complex, as to why Gotabhaya's alleged comments that more..

Lanka-bound resin seized

July 4 (NIP) Seven persons were arrested at Naripaiyur in Ramanathapuram district on Thursday by ‘Q’ branch police who seized 46 cans containing resin, meant for smuggling to Sri Lanka. The team led by DSP Mahendran conducted a raid at Naripaiyur coast and spotted a van plying towards Sayalkudi in a suspicious manner. They intercepted the van and found 46 cans filled with resin, worth Rs 2.2 lakh. more..

Maximum price stipulated for chicken

July 4 (SAMN) The government Thursday stabilised the price of broiler chicken stipulating the maximum retail price of Rs.320 (per kilo) which will be effective for one year as a relief measure to consumers. Trade, Marketing Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Services Minister Bandula Gunawardhana said that the relevant agreement was signed by the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) and the All Island Poultry Association yesterday at the Ministry premises. more..

Political ethics force Deputy Speaker to resign

July 4 (LD) Gitanjana Gunawardena has resigned as Deputy Speaker of Sri Lanka Parliament. He has notified Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara of his decision according to government sources. Mr. Gunawardena, whose brother Dinesh Gunawardena is Chief Government Whip, has cited political ethics as the reason for the resignation.

Telegram campaign to ask president for media freedom

July 4 (LD) The Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association is launching a fresh campaign next week in which telegrams will be sent to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, urging him to end repression of the media. The SLWJA said it expects all political parties, trade unions, civil society organizations and individuals that value democracy, to join this effort. They will ask the president to mediate in ending the harassments, threats, attacks, abductions and murders of journalists. more..

19 illegal armed camps in Polonnaruwa - UNP

July 4 (LD) Nineteen illegal armed camps have been set up in Polonnaruwa with the intention of rigging votes at the upcoming North Central PC polls, said UNP General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake. Speaking at a media briefing at Cambridge Terrace yesterday (July 03rd), the UNP General Secretary said that violence has been unleashed even before nominations are handed in. more..

Rights body flays UK for releasing LTTE rebel leader

July 4 (PTI) A prominent human rights watchdog has criticised the British government for allowing Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan alias Colonel Karuna Amman, a former Tamil Tigers leader, to return to Sri Lanka as a free man. 45-year-old Karuna was released from a jail in London last month after serving three months for entering Britain on a forged visa and diplomatic passport. In a statement, Human Rights Watch (HRW) described him as "abusive former Tamil Tiger leader". more..

Committee appointed to resolve issues in Health Sector

July 5 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapasksa has appointed a committee headed by Lionel Fernando, Chairman, Salaray Anomalies Commission, to look into various issue that have arisen in the health sector including salary anomalies and submit recommendations for the resolution of the same. The committee also includes an Additional Secretary (representing the Secretary to the President), the Director General of the Management Services Department (representing the Secretary, Treasury), and more..

JVP Sabaragamuwa PC poll candidate allegedly assaulted by Minister

July 5 (LG) A JVP candidate for the up coming Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council election Anura Rajapaksa was allegedly assaulted by Minister (Non-Cabinet) Premalal Jayasekera on Thursday night, JVP sources said. The incident had occurred when Mr.Rajapaksa was pasting a poster at Nivithigala when Minister Jayasekera along with a group of men came in a van and dragged him into it and assaulted him inside the vehicle. more..

Oslo Mission – a gripping and relevant who-dun-it

July 5 (LG) One day in 1987 Gunnar Larsen, 36, a Norwegian gemmologist, flies out from Gademoen air port in Oslo to finalize one of his business assignments in Sri Lanka. After a long flight and an equally long road journey he arrives at Paradise Hotel in the Eastern coast at 1 p.m. He goes out for a walk on the beach, taking in the majestic beauty of the setting sun, around 6 p.m. By 6.15 p.m. he is a corpse lying on the lonely beach. more..