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Can people eat Mahinda's Kurakkan shawl? - Ranil

June 13 (LD) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe claims certain political parties prioritized petty personal gains and paid no heed to his call in December for a change in government, and the country is now suffering from the repercussions. Speaking to the media in Colombo today (June 13th), he inquired from the President as to whether the country's hungry people could eat his Kurakkan-coloured shawl now. more..

Attempt for court order against PNM seminar fails

June 13 (LD) A group with the Patriotic National Movement's Propaganda and Publication Secretary Ven. Dambara Amila Thera is to hold a public seminar under the theme ‘responsibility of the national movement in the face of foreign involvement’ starting at 2.00 pm on June 16th at the Maharagama Youth Centre auditorium. Meanwhile, The PNM and its Chairman Gunadasa Amarasekera have reportedly attempted to obtain a court order against this event. more..

4 schoolboys drown in Hendala sea

June 13 (LD) Four schoolboys, who went sea bathing in the Preethipura seas of Wattala drowned yesterday (June 12th). The victims were students of a school in Colombo, Wattala Police said. Although one boy was hospitalized after being rescued by area residents, he too died this morning, police added. Residents say that with these four deaths, a total of 10 persons had died this month while sea-bathing in the Preethipura area. more..

Freedom, democracy in grave danger - Chandrika

June 13 (LD) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has said that the entire Sri Lankan society was today facing new and grave challenges, while certain communities are encountered with issues inherent to them. Freedom, democracy and democratic institutions as well as traditions that the country had enjoyed for a long period in post-independence Sri Lanka are endangered today, she said, adding that it was unacceptable if the government said that it could not stop this trend. more..

Failed family regime hides behind veil of war - Mangala

June 13 (LD) Leader of the SLFP Mahajana Wing Mangala Samaraweera has accused the incumbent regime of hiding behind a veil of war to cover up the waste, corruption and inabilities of the family administration of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Noting that the ceasefire had ensured the war being restricted to the north and the east, Mr. Samaraweera said that the entire country was today engulfed by a fear psychosis due to strings of bombings and aerial attacks by the LTTE. more..

6 proposals by SLFP (M) to solve burning issues

June 13 (LD) The Sri Lanka Freedom Party Mahajana Wing, at its inaugural delegates' conference in Colombo today, unanimously adopted political proposals on six key issues in order to resolve the burning problems of the country. The first proposal deals with inflation, in which the SLFP (M) calls for a minimum Rs. 5,000 salary increase for every public and private sector employee to meet high cost of living. more..

27 journalists in govt. hit list - UNP spokesman

June 13 (LD) A government hit list containing the names of 27 journalists has been leaked to foreign diplomatic missions in the country, UNP's free media spokesman Dayasiri Jayasekara has claimed. Mr. Jayasekara said he would not reveal the names of the targeted journalists in consideration of their safety. He said the Prime Minister could be believed after he had promised media rights groups to guarantee the safety of media workers, more..

Life, Liberty and Property

June 13 (LG) From very ancient times most political philosophers have accepted life, liberty and property as fundamental rights of man. Some considered them to be the very foundation of the capitalist system. It is my intention to explore the concept of property in this short article while casting a passing glance at life and liberty in Sri Lanka. The right to life begins at conception in the mother's womb. more..

The 13th amendment ‘farce’

June 13 (LG) The All Parties Representative Committee (ARPC) recommendation regarding the full implementation of the Provincial Council system, that was introduced through the 13th amendment to the constitution in 1987 as the solution to the ethnic problem has to be considered in depth. Otherwise all studies done and efforts made after 1987 to find a solution to the ethnic problem and advances made towards that will be of no avail and we will be pushed back to square one. more..

Ranil holds two-day pooja in India worshipping Hindu Gods

June 13 (LG) Ranil Wickremesinghe’s intense concentration on religious activity in India has gained some notoriety in the Indian media. An Indian publication, Asian Age, reported: “On Saturday (7/6) and Sunday (8/6), Mr Wickremesinghe prayed at the Lord Krishna temple at Guruvayur before emplaning for Chennai. Though a Buddhist by birth, the Sinhala leader is a frequent worshipper at many Hindu temples in India.” more..

'Unfavorable impression of Sri Lanka abroad created due to extra legal activities of the state'

June 13 (LG) My only aim is to forewarn the innocent civilians travelling from the north to keep away from trouble when the government and the LTTE have taken their fights to the civilians of both south and Wanni. The killings and abductions in Colombo are outcome of this reality. I welcome the response from Presidential secretariat if it means that there will not be anymore white van abductions in Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka calls on EU to list TRO and other LTTE front organizations

June 13 (LG) Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona on Wednesday called upon the European Union to list the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) and other LTTE front organizations, which have been clearly identified, including by the US government, as raising funds for the LTTE. He said a request to this effect has recently been made by the Sri Lankan Government to the European Union. He made this appeal at the Sri Lanka – EU discussion on “The Fight Against Terrorism”, in Colombo following the Sri Lanka – EC Joint Commission meeting. more..

Government closes public schools to break up teachers’ protest

June 13 (wsws) In an extraordinary move in the name of “security”, the Sri Lankan government closed down all the country’s 9,714 public sector schools on Wednesday and Thursday in order to sabotage a sick-note industrial campaign by teachers. The teachers’ unions had called the limited protest as a means of avoiding another strike over the demand for a pay increase of about 5,000 rupees ($US45) per month—a demand that has been outstanding since 1997. more..

'A simple change of govt cannot solve crisis confronted by the country'

June 13 (LT) The present crises confronted by the country cannot be solved with a simple change of government says General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. A situation has arisen where people have been burdened with immense hardships said Mr. Silva adding that UNP, the malefactor of the crises, expects to create a change of government by riding bullock carts and tooting horns. more..

Sri Lanka Addresses High-Level UN Meeting on HIV/AIDS

June 13 (AT) The UN General Assembly held a High-level Meeting on 10 – 11 June 2008 to review progress achieved in realizing the 2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the 2006 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS. The meeting was attended by several Heads of State and Government, over 60 ministers as well as senior officials, representatives of international organizations and civil society. more..

Attempted sexual favors and torture by some excise officers

June 13 (AT) In addition to the spate of human rights abuses by the police and several unaccounted custodial deaths, now comes a human rights abuse by some officers of the Panadura Excise Station. The abuse has been seriously compounded due to in addition to the torture of the victim, these officers have allegedly attempted forcing sexual favors on the wife of the victim on the pretext of seeking her cooperation ‘allowing a settlement in her husband’s case. more..

Thailand and Sri Lanka to enhance mutual ties

June 13 (AT) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama called yesterday on Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, at Government House in Bangkok. The meeting was held in a warm and friendly atmosphere. The Sri Lanka Foreign Minister is making an official visit to Thailand with a view to promote and strengthen the bilateral relationship which is founded on ancient cultural and religious links and today encompasses regional cooperation such as more..

No Talks with Tamil Tigers before they agree to disarm – President

June 13 (AT) No talks with the Tamil Tigers until the organization agreed to disarm, said Mahinda Rajapakse, President of Sri Lanka. "When they are weak they call on the international community to arrange a ceasefire. During this period they train and rearm and then fight back. This time if they want to talk, they should disarm first," he said. Sri Lanka President pointed out that even if the Tigers were to meet his preconditions it seems unlikely that he would ever be able to conclude a peace deal with Velupillai Prabhakaran. more..

No negotiations unless there’s a clear roadmap to peace – SCOPP

June 13 (GDI) Secretary General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP), Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, responding to a statement made by the LTTE’s ‘Peace’ Secretariat chief, Seewaratnam Puleedevan that he wishes to meet with Norwegian peace-brokers, said that the team headed by Norway's Special Peace Envoy John Hansen Bauer, would, for now, not be allowed to visit the Wanni. more..

'Terrorist are trying to create ethnic disharmony'

June 13 (GDI) The LTTE is trying to create panic among the Sri Lankan civil society and the continuous disruptive attacks targeting innocent civilians are aimed at achieving there narrow gains, said Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare, leader of the EPDP, Douglas Devananda. He also stressed that the people of the south must understand these plots of the terrorists and act accordingly without been trapped in the snare that the terrorist are working on. more..

Dr. Liam Fox calls for international help to develop SL

June 13 (GDI) British Shadow Defence Secretary Dr. Liam Fox has urged the international community to contribute to Sri Lanka's development activities especially as the Government has been able to liberate the East from the clutches of terrorism and restore democracy in that province. He emphasized this at the Sri Lanka theme night hosted by the Carlton Club, an affiliate of the Conservative Party in the UK. more..

Two prisoners shot dead by LTTE gunmen

June 13 (GDI) Two prisoners while being taken to the Courts were shot dead by LTTE gunmen this morning, Defence sources from Jaffna revealed. The suspected LTTE gunmen had interrupted the Prison Department bus carrying the prisoners and forced the driver to stop the bus where they fired at the bus latter killing the two prisoners. The attack took place around 9.15 a.m. today (13). more..

Railways to be boosted by 18 new 'Power Sets'

June 13 (GDI) Within the next 18 months 35 new 'Power Sets' will be added to the Railway transportation system, said Minister of Transportation, Dullas Alahapperuma. With the addition of these new 'Power Sets' the total number of 'Power Set' trains on track will be increased to 64. Upgrading the railway system with these new 'Power Sets' will greatly contribute to avert the passenger rush in trains plying from Aluthgama to Polgahawela and on the 'Kelaniweli' track. more..

Govt. hold positive discussions on GSP+ with EU

June 13 (GDI) The Government held positive discussion with the European Union (EU) delegation on issues pertaining to GSP + privileges. During the bilateral discussions the EU delegation highlighted certain concerns and the Government explained in detail what steps have been taken in connection with those concerns. Providing of preferential access for Sri Lanka's exports to the EU market through GSP+ scheme has benefited hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans, it was pointed out. more..

Govt will not suppress media – Anura Priyadharshana Yapa

June 13 (GDI) Information and Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said yesterday that the Government has no intention whatsoever of suppressing journalists, dismissing claims made by certain quarters to this effect. He dismissed the claim made by UNP Parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekera that the Government has threatened 27 journalists and other such charges as “totally fabricated stories created by the UNP to cover up its internal crisis." more..

Summary of the Cabinet decisions

June 13 (GDI) Cabinet granted approval to a memorandum submitted by the Minister of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana, to allocate a sum of Rs. 1,200,000.00 under the annual budget estimates to provide a monthly grant of Rs. 100,000.00 with effect from January 2009 for maintenance and promotional activities of the Folk Heritage Center in Dambana. The Folk Heritage Center although maintained with great difficulty for a number of years with more..

Lanka Bell goes for Rs. 3b optic cable

June 13 (LNP) Rs. 3 billion investment by Lanka Bell to link Sri Lanka to the world`s largest private undersea fibre optic cable system will bring unrestricted broadband access to the local telecommunications sector. This will elevate the country`s leading CDMA operator to a major enterprise solutions provider, the company said yesterday. Announcing that the Sri Lanka link to the `Falcon` segment of the FLAG Telecom cable has now gone live, more..

Local geniuses make it to world top 6 in Paris

June 13 (LNP) Once again, the Sri Lankan flag flies high at the Imagine Cup 2008, as Lankan Team G n s|pictures , made it through to the final six teams at the worldwide competition! The Imagine Cup 2008, to be held from the 3rd 8th of July in Paris, France, challenges these students to share their perspective on this year s theme Imagine a world where technology enables a sustainable environment via the use of digital media. more..

Threat to cripple harbour, railways, CPC, CEB if Power Bill taken up

June 13 (LNP) Trade Unions yesterday threatened to cripple the harbour, railway, petroleum and electricity services if the government decides to go ahead with the Electricity Bill in Parliament once again. The earlier plan to introduce the Bill on June 17 was postponed. `Our strict action would certainly cause immense hardships to the public but the Government should be held responsible, Harbour, Railway, Petroleum and Electricity more..

EU call for disarming paramilitaries: What about LTTE?

June 13 (LNP) A visiting European Union delegation has reassured Sri Lanka that the process of GSP Plus renewal will be fair and impartial. President Mahinda Rajapaksa may heave a sigh of relief at a time when the whole caboodle of local and foreign organisations is trying to have that vital concession for Sri Lanka`s garment industry scrapped or used to undermine the country`s sovereignty and give a turbo boost to more..

Lokuge slams swimming officials

June 13 (LNP) Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge slammed the officials of the Interim Committee of Sri Lanka Aquatic Sports Union when he said that the controversy over Sri Lanka s participants at the upcoming Olympics could have been avoided had they acted more prudently. Lokuge had previously said that preference would be given to those athletes residing in Sri Lanka in wild card scenarios, but yesterday he told The Island that the swimming officials were to be blamed for the controversy. more..

Army poised to capture Tiger leader

June 13 (SAMN) Sri Lanka's military is poised to capture the leader of the Tamil Tigers and is surging towards his jungle hideout, the defence ministry said on Thursday. Government forces are just 21 kilometres away from achieving their "final goal" of capturing rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, the ministry said, quoting army chief Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka. He said security forces were attacking Mullaitivu, more..

CBK, Ranil and Mangala call for alliance

June 13 (SAMN) Former president, Chandrika Kumaratunga, addressing the SLFP (M) Group’s inaugural convention Thursday said the nation should be spared from being rapidly drawn into extremism and authoritarianism, and that it could be done by all sections getting together. She said it would take a massive alliance, comprising all political parties that respect democracy, freedom of expression and human rights, to overcome the present political, social, economic and military crisis within the country. more..

Ban on illegal sand mining in Jaffna

June 13 (SAMN) A special discussion was held at Social Services and Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda's office headed by the Minister to look into complaints he received concerning the unprecedented soaring of sand prices in Jaffna peninsula. Immediate solutions were found for problems concerning sand mining and its distribution. Accordingly, sand mining carried out from 9.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. was changed from 5.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. extending the period allowed for mining sand. more..

Wimal Abeysundara no more

June 13 (SAMN) Eminent Sinhala poet, lyricist and literary critic Kalakeerthi Pundit Wimal Abeysundara passed away after a brief illness in the early hours of Thursday (12). He was 87 years old. He was born at Wellaboda, Welitota in the Galle District on September 17, 1921. A prolific writer, he had authored more than 100 books during the past seven decades and won a number of literary awards. His works have been translated to many foreign languages - English, Chinese, Malaysian and Yugoslavian. more..

Subsidy for three-wheeler drivers

June 13 (DN) The Government is planing to provide a subsidy to three-wheeler drivers for conversion of their three-wheelers from petrol to gas enabling them to save 40 per cent of cost which they spend on fuel. A Transport Ministry spokesman told the Daily News that two proposals have already been presented to the Transport Ministry by two private companies for the conversion of three-wheelers from petrel to gas. more..

Nearly 35% of land in Ratnapura mosquito breeding grounds

June 13 (DN) An abundance of mosquito breeding grounds in nearly 35 per cent of the land mass in the Ratnapura district had been the root cause for the spread of the Chikungunya epidemic in the region in recent times, investigations have revealed. Urgent action taken by health authorities has helped to contain the Chikungunya virus which spread in epidemic proportions in the Ratnapura District, said the Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry yesterday. more..

A/L Exam answer script marking| Exams Dept. faces crisis

June 13 (Island) Only a mere 600 teachers have so far applied to mark the forthcoming Advanced Level Examination answer scripts while the need is for 12,000 sending the Department of Examinations into a deep crisis. The closing date for receiving applications for marking is June 20, just a week away. The All Ceylon United Teachers Union, Education Professionals Union and the Ceylon Teachers Union struck work on Wednesday and Thursday this week sending more..

Machado is interfering in internal problems – NFF

June 13 (Island) The European Union (EU) Head of Delegation to Sri Lanka Joao Aqular Machado, instead of negotiating the GSP-Plus issue has deliberately intervened in Sri Lanka’s internal problems, National Freedom Front MP Piyasiri Wijenayaka told a media conference at the Mahaweli Kendriya yesterday. He said that the National Freedom Front, the breakaway group of the JVP, would not trust the EU delegate because he had spoken in favour of the UNP and disarming of the TMVP in the liberated Eastern province. more..

SB, Sajith to the fore at upcoming PC polls

June 13 (DM) UNP National Organizer S.B.Dissanayake and Hambantota District MP Sajith Premadasa are expected to spearhead the party's campaign for the upcoming Sabaragamuwa and North Central Provincial Council elections, political sources said yesterday. The UNP had taken this decision following a survey conducted by a team of retired public servants loyal to the party, which had revealed that both Mr. Dissanayake and Mr. Premadasa were very popular among the voters. more..

JVP to form socialist alliance

June 13 (DM) The JVP said yesterday it would form a broad socialist alliance bringing all socialist and nationalist forces together. Party General Secretary Tilvin Silva, at a public lecture held at the Maharagama Youth Centre last evening announced this amidst cheering from the audience. He said such an alliance was essential to introduce a socialist economy and social reform where all would have equal opportunities. more..

Sri Lanka to get US$900mn from World Bank for regional growth

June 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka could get 900 million US dollars from the World Bank over the next three years to build infrastructure in lagging regions, improve health, education and safety nets, the multilateral lender said. The World Bank's executive directors had endorsed a country assistance strategy (CAS) covering the period from July 2008 to June 2011, which is aligned to the current administration's Mahinda Chinthana 10-year economic framework. more..

Sri Lanka govt muzzled media during EU visit: rights group

June 13 (LBO) The Sri Lankan government pressured independent newspapers not to publish critical stories during a visit by a European Union delegation to the island earlier this week, a media rights group said. During their talks with the government which is trying to renew EU trade concessions, the EU delegation raised concerns about alleged human rights violations by government forces, including attacks on journalists. more..

Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up 18.5-pct in May

June 13 (LBO) Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka rose a steep 18.5 percent in May against a sharp fall last year but cumulative figures were little changed amidst bad publicity from an internal conflict, the latest official data showed. The number of arrivals increased by 1.2 percent to 196,403 for the first five months of the year, according to statistics issued by the tourist authority. more..

Sri Lankan rebels say 27 child soldiers released

June 13 (AFP) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers said Friday they had released 27 more child soldiers, and contested a United Nations estimate that over 1,000 under-age fighters were still in rebel ranks. The LTTE, who are fighting for an independent state and control much of the north of Sri Lanka, said they were also working to demob the 30 or so children still with them. According to Unicef, there are 1,410 outstanding cases of child recruitment by the rebels at the end of April 2008. more..

Fighting in Sri Lanka's north and east kills 11 rebels, 4 soldiers

June 13 (AP) A wave of battles broke out between government forces and Tamil Tiger separatists in Sri Lanka's north and east, killing 11 rebels and four soldiers, the military said Friday. Fighting erupted Friday in northern Vavuniya district when insurgents fired at a group of soldiers, killing two of them, the military said in a statement. Several other clashes took place Thursday, with most centered along the front lines more..

Shares fall to 4-mth low on security woes

June 13 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares fell 0.19 percent to their lowest close in four months on Friday, with a bomb threat in Colombo hampering the market and unsettling investors already worried about the intensifying civil war. Hussain Ghani, assistant director at Asia Securities, said a bomb threat at a building near the stock exchange increased negative sentiment in the market, which has now fallen for six days in a row. more..

Lankan army threatening to catch LTTE chief

June 13 (NIP) The Sri Lankan army now wants to do what the IPKF could not 20 years ago, namely, storm the LTTE’s nerve centre in the Mullaitivu jungles in north-eastern Sri Lanka, and neutralize the rebel chieftain, Velupillai Prabhakaran. Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka told the Sinhalese language daily Dinamina that four divisions and a special task force were poised to storm the defenses of the LTTE in Mullaitivu; and that Prabhakaran’s HQ code-named “Base One Four” was just 21 km away. more..

Stop Tamil Tigers raising money in UK, says President Rajapaksa

June 13 (Time) Britain stands accused of applying double standards to its counter-terrorism policy because a banned Tamil militant group is being allowed to raise money among expatriates in London. President Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka said that supporters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were able to raise millions of pounds each year from the Tamil community in Britain, some of whom were coerced into donating the money. more..

World divided over Lanka rights

June 14 (BBC) Newly appointed secretary to the ministry of Human Rights Rajiva Wijesinghe urged outside organisations and foreign nations to stop ‘finger wagging’ against the government of Sri Lanka over human rights violations. The Secretary was the leader of the government delegation at the final hearing of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations in Geneva. Delegates representing different nations and organisations presented their assessment of Sri Lanka’s human rights record. more..