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Our tourism appeal has diminished, Aitken Spence Director

June 11 (BL) “Tourism as an industry is growing rapidly worldwide and travellers as well as vacationers have many options,” Gehan Perera asserts, but exclaims that Sri Lankan officials are yet to recognise the value of tourism. In the June issue of LMD, the widely read business journal’s Consulting Editor Yamini Sequeira speaks to Perera about the status of tourism in Sri Lanka. He says that it is a challenging time for this sector, but more..

JHU’s mantra to solve energy crisis

June 11 (BL) The Minister of Environment, Paatali Champika Ranawaka said that every government since 1991 was responsible for the mismanagement of energy sources by neglecting the power generation plan for the last 15 years. “Every government from the UNP government in 1991 to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government today, has ignored the power generation plan for the last 15 years. This has led to the serious power crisis today,” said Ranawaka. more..

Lankan embassy seeks info on dead man

June 11 (GT) THE Sri Lankan embassy has issued an appeal for information about one of its nationals who died recently in hospital. Officials say Sivalingam Vairamuthu, in his 40s, passed away on May 6 after admitting himself for treatment. Inquiries to deportation authorities have so far failed to reveal the man’s sponsor. If anyone knows Vairamuthu, they are kindly requested to contact the Sri Lankan embassy. more..

Rizana’s Lawyer Doubts Translator’s Credentials

June 11 (AN) The lawyer defending Rizana Nafeek, a 20-year-old Sri Lankan maid who was found guilty and sentenced to death on a charge of murdering an infant in her care, questioned yesterday the validity of the translation of the Tamil-speaking woman’s statements to police. Kateb Al-Shammary questioned whether these statements were translated by someone qualified to do accurate Tamil-to-Arabic translations of Nafeek’s statements made after she was arrested on May 22, 2005, more..

Muslim Council urges Rajapaksa to disarm armed group in Batticaloa

June 11 (MG) The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, the apex body of about 120 Muslim organizations has appealed to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to take immediate steps to disarm the illegal armed group operating in the eastern province. "We make this urgent appeal as Muslim people in the province live in fear of their lives and properties due to the presence of the armed group," said in an urgent letter to Mr. Rajapaksa by the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka. more..

SLMC signs MoU with WPF

June 11 (MG) The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and Western People’s Front (WPF) are to sign an MoU to work towards ensuring harmony between the Muslims and Tamils and to contest future elections together under one banner. This comes in the backdrop of communal violence that had broken out in the East. The two parties agreed to sign an MoU when the representatives of the two parties met at the residence of SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem recently. more..

Protect Muslim youth from taking up arms – MLF

June 11 (MG) Muslims in the eastern province will be forced to take up arms if groups other than the security forces carry arms in the area, the Muslim Liberation Front said yesterday. Muslim Liberation Front yesterday warned that if the Government failed to take immediate steps to protect Muslims in the East who are under constant threat of the TMVP cadres, Muslim youth would be compelled to take up arms. more..

Civil society organisations condemn all acts of violence against civilians

June 11 (MG) As members of Sri Lankan civil society, we are shocked by the continuing disrespect for human life that has increasingly become a part of our everyday lives throughout the island. We vehemently condemn all acts of violence, especially those that target unarmed civilians. The first week of June alone witnessed several bomb attacks on public transport and public thoroughfares that have resulted in the death of 32 persons, including children. more..

How ‘traitors’ become US Presidents: A lesson for Sri Lanka

June 11 (LG) Sri Lankan politicians, of late, have descended to a low level of behaviour. The 1978 "Bahubootha Vyawastava" and the associated changes in the election laws made this misfortune possible. Under the new system of politics of corruption and criminality, no respectable or "educated" person will think of contesting an election. One can try to understand this sad political mud pit using what villagers (and my dead parents) used to say—we are facing in this country an "Abuddassa Kalayak" (un-Buddhist era) or more..

Devananda: Our People are beginning to derive the benefits of the Provincial Council system

June 11 (LG) Douglas Devananda, Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare, stated that it is only now the people of Jaffna have begun to derive the benefits of the Provincial Council System, established, especially for the well-being of the people of the North/East. And on behalf of the Tamil Speaking People he expressed his heartiest thanks to His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapakse for the steps taken by the President in this regard. more..

Mangala blames war for high cost of living

June 11 (LD) Leader of the SLFP Mahajana Wing Mangala Samaraweera has decisively attributed the unbearable cost of living to the war that is being waged at the cost of the lives of heroic soldiers and national resources, to cover up inabilities of the Rajapaksa family rule. Addressing the media in Colombo today (June 11th), he said that rather than the high fuel prices, rampant corruption and wastage have had an adverse impact on the economy. more..

JHU calls for patience until war ends

June 11 (LD) The Jathika Hela Urumaya has admitted to the high prices of fuel and consumer goods, but called for public patience until the conclusion of the war against terrorism. Speaking to the media in Colombo yesterday (June 10th), JHU leader Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thera said protests, demonstrations, pickets and bullock cart rides as resorted to by political parties would not make any impact on the increasing cost of living. more..

APRC suspends deliberations until inclusion of TMVP

June 11 (LD) The All Party Representative Committee has suspended its deliberations pending the inclusion of the TMVP in the process, APRC Chairman Prof. Tissa Vitarana has said. He noted it was the government's stance that the party of East Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan should be part of the APRC, as it is now in the democratic mainstream and is being represented at local government level. more..

UK Parliamentarians meet President in London

June 11 (GDI) A cross party group of British parliamentarians called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa last afternoon (June 10). The President, briefing the MPs on the current situation in Sri Lanka, made particular reference to the government’s firm commitment to address the grievances of all communities through a political process whilst rooting out terrorism. He also briefed them on the developments in the Eastern Province including more..

Navy thwarts LTTE attack at Erukkalampiddi in Mannar Island

June 11 (GDI) The Sri Lanka Navy successfully repulsed an LTTE pre-dawn attack on its outpost at Erukkalampiddi in the Mannar Island launched today, according to defence sources. A group LTTE terrorists had come in 6 boats and launched the attack around 2.15 am but the sailors have defended their post effectively causing the terrorists to withdraw with their casualties. According to available information, 4 terrorists including their leader Sirimaran have died in the battle. more..

'Opposition Leader's Statement in India despicable'

June 11 (GDI) Defence Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella addressing the media today said that all political parties should put aside their differences and unite in order to resolve the national question. He further stated that the humanitarian mission to liberate the people currently trapped in the Wanni and the parallel war against terrorism has now reached a critical stage and that it should be seen as a national liberation struggle which all citizens should support in whatever way they can. more..

Why Colombo worries about an Obama Presidency?

June 11 (LNP) What the Tamil Americans expect from the Government of the United States. The above is a Power Point Presentation distributed throughout America by the LTTE activists in America aiming at the American Presidential candidate s selection campaign. This was prepared by a group called TAAF or Tamil Americans and Friends. Through this power point presentation what the LTTE activists in America attempt is to create an ideology about their problem to the presidential candidates at the forthcoming American presidential election. more..

Colombo loses its appeal

June 11 (LNP) In an international survey released yesterday, Colombo was cited as one amongst the less appealing destinations. According to the Quality of Living Global City Rankings 2008 covering some 215 cities, Auckland was named as the city with the best quality of living in the Asia Pacific region while Dhaka is the city with the region`s worst quality of living. European cities dominate the worldwide rankings having more..

CoI crisis deepens, Nesiah dropped

June 11 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa Tuesday instructed Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) member Devanesan Nesiah to step down from the Commission. Dr. Nesiah was appointed by the President to the eight-member Commission set up to inquire into fifteen cases of serious human rights violations which occurred during the past few years. CoI Chairman Nissanka Udalagama confirmed Dr. Nesiah was advised by the Presidential Secretariat to step down. more..

Cancellation of Visas: Trinity dismayed

June 11 (SAMN) The Board of Governors of Trinity College, Kandy remain dismayed over the abrupt cancellation of the visas of the Principal,. Rod Gilbert, and his wife with effect from May 15 and the failure on the part of the authorities to furnish any credible reasons, said Bishop of Kurunegala Kumara Ilangasinghe who is also the Chairman of Governors. An appeal by us dated May 3, 2008, to the Controller General of Immigration and Emigration has elicited no response he said, more..

Close to 1000 HIV positive case in SL

June 11 (SAMN) The Health Ministry said Tuesday Sri Lanka 957 people have been identified as having AIDS, though 5,000 HIV cases had been reported in a population of 20 million. A ministry spokesman said that Minister de Silva had emphasised the dire need for voluntary counselling and screening of HIV suspected persons. Minister de Silva had also pointed out that the ongoing conflict situation in the country had facilitated the spread of HIV infection because more..

WDJ: We won’t privatise CEB

June 11 (SAMN) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) would be vested with sole authority to generate transmit and distribute electricity under the purview of Public Utility Commission, Power Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne said. Although he as Minister has been empowered to privatise the CEB in accordance with Electricity Board Act No 28 of 2002, the government would never privatise the CEB, he said, adding that the CEB would be streamlined and made more public-oriented. more..

LTTE plot to infiltrate VIP functions posing as civilians bared - PM

June 11 (DN) A terrorist plot to assassinate VIPs in the South by infiltrating public functions attended by them has been uncovered by State intelligence sleuths, said Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka. The terrorist plan was to get their cadres to attend such functions unarmed as normal civilians and assassinate VIPs attending them after grabbing weapons from the Security Forces personnel detailed to cover such events. more..

India assures support to strengthen local agriculture

June 11 (DN) India has agreed provide high quality seeds to Sri Lanka for cultivation purposes. This was after the Sri Lankan side requested the Indian Agriculture Minister Shri Sharad Pawar for expertise in methods to enhance agricultural productivity and raise food production and noted that providing high quality seeds could make a visible and tangible impact in the agricultural sector. more..

Schools closed to thwart trade union action

June 11 (Island) The government yesterday declared today and tomorrow school holidays to thwart a two day sick note campaign by teachers in protest against the government’s delay in rectifying their salary anomalies. The Ministry reduced two days from the August vacation to make up for the reduction in school days. Education Minister Susil Premajayanth told a press conference yesterday that students were unsafe when teachers and principals were not in the schools. more..

Doctors serving in North and East complain of attacks

June 11 (Island) The doctors serving in the North and East, especially in Batticaloa district, have informed the GMOA that they were being attacked by some unknown groups. In Batticoloa district an ambulance was attacked and the driver and an attendant sustained serious injuries. The GMOA has decided to withdraw the services of doctors in the North and East unless the Health authorities take appropriate action to provide security to doctors, more..

Teenage girl pounds alleged rapists

June 11 (DM) A 16-year-old school girl in Katupotta used a pestle (molegaha) to defend herself when three men attempted to rape her, police said. Katupotta Inspector Lakdas Abeygunasekera said the men sustained injuries and were admitted to hospital. The attackers had forcibly entered the house and accosted the girl while she was alone but the teenager realizing the danger she was in grabbed a pestle from the kitchen and bravely defended her self. more..

Minister slams CMC administration

June 11 (DM) Urban Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardane yesterday slammed the Colombo Municipal Council for being inefficient, unproductive and uncooperative. The minister told the Daily Mirror the present administration of the CMC had failed miserably in executing its duties within the municipality in several aspects. “They do not respond to proposals or suggestions submitted by the government.” Mr. Gunawardane said more..

‘Tooled up’ Tamil gangs

June 11 (YLG) Gangs of violent men from Sri Lanka are "constantly tooled up" and "ready to go", according to police. There have been a number of violent clashes involving groups of Tamil men in Croydon and other parts of south London in recent years. They culminated in the murder of 28-year-old Prabaskaran Kannan in Tooting last year. He was chased by a group of four men from Croydon who stabbed and slashed their terrified victim 31 times outside a fried chicken takeaway shop. more..

Sri Lanka May tourist arrivals up 18.4 pct vs yr ago

June 11 (Reuters) The number of tourists arriving in Sri Lanka in May rose 18.4 percent from a year earlier, despite security concerns stemming from the country's civil war, officials said on Wednesday. Arrivals rose to 31,140 from 26,307 a year before, the island's state tourist authority said. Arrivals in the January-May period rose 1.2 percent to 196,403 from 193,981 a year earlier. more..

Rajapaksa calls for end to funding of Tamil Rebels

June 11 (BN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the U.K.'s ban on the LTTE should be supported by stopping groups funding the rebels "under the guise" of charities and cultural and social clubs. Aiding the LTTE through organizations outside Sri Lanka continues to fuel the 25-year-old conflict, Rajapaksa said at a meeting yesterday with David Cameron, leader of the U.K.'s opposition Conservative Party, during a visit to London. more..

Sri Lanka says naval battle kills five rebels, 3 sailors

June 11 (AP) Several rebel boats launched a pre-dawn attack on a Sri Lankan navy outpost Wednesday, sparking a battle that killed five Tamil Tiger fighters and three sailors, the military said. The rebel attack took place about 2:15 a.m. at a base off the coast of Mannar, near the front lines of the raging civil war that has engulfed northern Sri Lanka, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said. more..

Buddha's birthday and the price of rice

June 12 (AN) The global food crisis was bound to rear its ugly head sooner or later in Sri Lanka. The first indication of this was the unwelcome news that the World Food Programme (WFP) and other United Nations agencies were cutting their food aid to displaced people in Sri Lanka as a result of the rising food prices. We felt it at Muslim Aid because we ran a school feeding programme with WFP in the south which has stalled because WFP has ended its operations there. more..

Sri Lanka focuses on education to combat child labour

June 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka will mark the World Day Against Child Labour this year on June 12 Thursday with activities to raise awareness about this year's theme that education is the right response to child labour, the International Labour Organisation said. "Sri Lanka enjoys one of the Asia-Pacific region's highest literacy and numeracy rates," Tine Staermose, director ILO Sri Lanka was quoted as saying in a statement. more..

300 kilos of explosives recovered from Nuwera Eliya

June 12 (AT) A large haul of TNT explosives were recovered today morning around, concealed in a tea estate in Mahagastota located in Nuwera Eliya. According to a report, this was for the first time; the police have recovered such a huge amount of explosives from upcountry. On information received from general public, the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) of the Sri Lanka Police, recovered TNT explosives weighing 300 kilos, more..

Attempts to destabilize the GOSL: Patriotism with a twist

June 12 (AT) With the steady forward march of our Combined Forces into terrorist territory and with systematic victories through which such territories are being taken over as “government controlled areas in the North”, there is one segment of our society that is becoming uneasy. They are now seen to be banding together - be they the opposition UNP, human rights activists in Sri Lanka and overseas, more..

Jaliya plans to obtain international support to ...

June 12 (AT) Sri Lankan Ambassador [designate] for USA, Jaliya Wickramasooriya says he will build Sri Lanka’s image among the American Community when he resumes his office effective from 1st July. At present most of international elements make false allegations against the government of Sri Lanka and its activities. Due to this most Sri Lankan expatriates have different ideas about Sri Lanka, said Mr.Wickramasooriya at a special interview. more..

2 struggles under Rajapaksa regime - Ranil

June 12 (LD) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has spoken of two different struggles being waged under the incumbent administration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. According to Mr. Wickremesinghe, the first struggle is by the people to have three square meals a day, while the second is by President Rajapaksa, his family and government to remain in power amidst increasing public discontentment. more..

JVP's socialist women protest excessive COL

June 12 (LD) Urging the government to bring down the excessive commodity prices, the Socialist Women's Association of the JVP held an agitation in front of the Colombo Fort Railway Station this afternoon (June 11th). National Organizer of the Association Priyanka Kotelawala and party MP for Matale Sujatha Alahakoon led the protest, in which demonstrators carried models of gas cylinders and other commodities. more..

Thuggery rules down Palmyrah Avenue

June 12 (LG) Palmyrah Avenue is one of the highly residential by-lanes off Galle Road, in Kollupitiya. Its residents from all communities are united and it is a wonderful place to reside in. Of late, residents are highly inconvenienced due to the parking of over 25 passenger cars, and as many commercial vans on a daily basis, haphazardly in every available space down this bylane, thus more..

Hidden agenda behind Mervyn’s liquor ban

June 12 (LG) Mervyn (aka Vermin) Silva is in the news again for banning liquor in his electorate for a few extra days during the Vesak week. Congratulations Vermin! Your goons and henchmen made good money during the days there was a ban on liquor as they sold a lot of kassipu and arrack at exorbitant rates. Only the foolish masses and poor maha sangha will believe that it was an excellent piece of work initiated by Vermin to uplift society. more..

So what after the LTTE is eliminated?

June 12 (LG) This is a question that has been in the minds of most people — especially the thousands of Tamils who have been displaced from their homes in the north-east and those whose homes have been occupied by the army for over 10 years. Autonomy for the Tamil minority has been promised, but like a thousand broken promises, will they be implemented? Will the Tamils be allowed to have all they need to fulfill their aspirations? more..

Buddhists, Catholics condemn attacks targeting civilians

June 12 (UCAN) Buddhist, Catholic and NGO leaders have condemned recent bombing attacks targeting civilians in and around the capital.Nine bomb blasts on buses and trains since early April have killed 84 people and injured nearly 400. In the latest attack, on June 6, a claymore mine reportedly exploded next to a bus in front of a Buddhist temple in Moratuwa, 20 kilometers south of Colombo. That attack killed 22 civilians and wounded more than 50. more..

UN Expert Group deplores disappearances

June 12 (BBC) The Government of Sri Lanka needs to stamp out a recent wave of disappearances, a United Nations Expert Group said on Wednesday. The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances said it has formally communicated to the authorities its concerns. "In the past two months alone, the Working Group has sent 22 urgent actions to the Government. Out of those cases, 18 disappearances took place in May. more..

Rare Sri Lankan idol recovered

June 12 (BBC) Police Officials from Tamilnadu say a rare idol of lord Muruga from Sri Lanka has been seized from an individual in the Namakkal district. The statue is from the Katharagama in the south of Sri Lanka as confirmed by the police. The police also say that Archaeological experts have confirmed the idol to be 300 years old and made of 'panchalogam' (a combination of five metals viz., gold, silver, copper, zinc and lead) and is priceless. more..

Sri Lanka 'concerned' over UN statement on attacks

June 12 (IANS) Sri Lanka Wednesday 'called in' the acting UN resident coordinator here to the Foreign Office and 'expressed serious concerns' over a recent statement of UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Sir John Holmes on a series of bomb attacks targeting civilians, blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels. Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona expressed Sri Lanka's concern for not identifying perpetrators for the bomb attack on civilians. more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa deserves Nobel Peace Prize

June 12 (AT) Mahinda Rajapaksa is a visionary with absolute commitment to the democratic rights and the well being of the people of Sri Lanka. He is determined to work relentlessly to ensure that the people of Sri Lanka – Sinhala, Tamil, Malay and Burgher – live as equal citizens enjoying democratic rights and freedoms in a peaceful and prosperous nation. more..

Ranil calls for street protests to ensure people-mandated Parliament

June 13 (LD) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has called for street protests to ensure the election of a people-mandated Parliament and to safeguard media freedom for the sake of democracy. The government had given several deadlines to end the war with the latest being to capture the North by the Sinhala New Year, but failed to honour any of these promises, he said. more..

IFJ asks govt. to uphold responsibility for behaviour SLBC head

June 13 (LD) The International Federation of Journalists says in a statement that it is alarmed that senior officials associated with state institutions in Sri Lanka continue to issue extreme threats against independent journalists in the country. According to the Free Media Movement (FMM), an IFJ affiliate, the chairman of the State-run SLBC, Hudson Samarasinghe, publicly threatened and sought to incite violence against respected journalists’ leader Poddala Jayantha, more..

Govt. fumes over our protests - JVP

June 13 (LD) The JVP says that the party's protests to urge for an end to the government’s anti-democratic activities and to fulfill its responsibilities by the public have sent the government into a rage. Instead of turning over a new leaf and moving along a correct path, the government has chosen to hit out its hardest at the JVP, which gives leadership to the voice of the people, a statement issued by the JVP Politburo says. more..