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US aid to boost Sri Lanka Fishing Industry

June 14 (AT) The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Thursday, marked the completion of the first of its large-scale tsunami reconstruction activities: the revitalization of Hikkaduwa fishing harbor, the source of livelihoods for 4000 families in this tsunami-affected area. The project is a key element of USAID’s Sri Lanka Tsunami Reconstruction Program and was developed in partnership with the Ceylon Fishery Harbors Corporation under the aegis of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. more..

More foreign students at OSC

June 14 (AT) Overseas School of Colombo (OSC) which caters more for foreign students had their graduation ceremony recently and out of the 25 students from 15 different countries. These 15 overseas students included, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Canada, India, Italy, Germany, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, South Africa, Switzerland, UK and USA. The balance 10 graduated were from Sri Lanka. more..

LTTE organizing sports festival in London to glorify suicide cadres and raise funds

June 14 (AT) News reaching Asian Tribune from sources in London reveals that the LTTE, a proscribed Terrorist Organization in the United kingdom through their front organizations, the British Tamil Forum (BTF) and Tamil Youth Organisation (TYO) have organized yet another sports events to glorify suicide cadres and to raise funds under the guise of a "Sports Competition" in London. more..

SLFP No More – Ranil

June 14 (LG) Opposition Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, told a News conference, yesterday (11Jun), that the original SLFP is extinct. Now, it is the ‘Johnnycomelatelies’, the discards of other parties who are ruling the roost, while seniors of the Party are sadly sidelined. The UNP will always champion the cause of the media freedom and people’s freedom of expression which form the bedrock of Democracy and UNP will not relax or relent in its campaign against Govt.’s attempts to stifle those rights, he added. more..

Vanni expels Australian Tiger activists for misappropriating Tiger funds

June 14 (LG) Leading Tiger activists in Melbourne and Sydney who had stuck their necks out for Velupillai Prabhakaran have been expelled on charges of misappropriating funds collected from the Tamil diaspora in Australia, according to Tamil website Theni. The three activists who have been warned and thrown out are Arooran Vinayagamoorthy, Sivaraj Jadevan of Melbourne and S. Rajeevan of Sydney. more..

The Rajapakse Presidency (Part V)

June 14 (LG) In his 2006 Budget Speech President Mahinda Rajapakse mentioned an encounter he had with some members of the public. ‘Do not worry about the economy; we will put up with any hardship; finish the war’ – that was the message the citizens conveyed to him, claimed Rajapakse. The sentiments certainly reflected the dominant public mood in the South; hopes of a quick victory and a genuine willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of that victory ran high in those early months of the war. more..

The moment of truth for India on LTTE

June 14 (LG) India’s policy towards the internationally proclaimed terrorist organisation, the LTTE now requires to be sharply defined before it is too late. Now is the moment of truth for clarity and transparency. Otherwise one more neighbour will float into the US sphere of influence. At present there is confusion in India’s approach to Sri Lanka because of a hidden compulsion of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. more..

Sri Lanka will strengthen human rights while fighting terrorism

June 14 (GDI) Sri Lanka reiterated its commitment to strengthen human rights even as it deals with the world’s most ruthless terrorist organization, the LTTE in the Final Statement of the Sri Lankan delegation on the occasion of the adoption of the Universal Periodic Review of Sri Lanka by the United Nations Human Rights Council yesterday (June 13). The statement followed introductory comments by the Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights, read by the Secretary, on the Report of the UPR Process. more..

Ranil calls for street protests to ensure people-mandated Parliament

June 14 (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..

Review of Sri Lanka under the Universal Periodic Review

June 14 (AI) Themes raised by member states participating in the review of Sri Lanka under the UPR dialogue included concerns related to the lack of protection of civilians caught in the internal conflict; enforced disappearances, unlawful/extrajudicial killings; torture and other forms of ill treatment, threats to freedom of expression, the need to strengthen national human rights institutions, attacks on dissent and ongoing impunity for human rights violations. more..

Fitch concerned over Sri Lanka's high foreign borrowing

June 14 (Reuters) Fitch Ratings is concerned over Sri Lanka's increasing foreign commercial borrowings, the rating agency said on Thursday. Sri Lanka launched a five-year $500 million bond in October, its first sovereign bond, with a yield of 8.25 percent. The government has also announced it plans to borrow $150 million from Standard Chartered Bank on a 3-year maturity at 3-months LIBOR plus 259 basis points per year, which is expected to be extended to up to $250 million through a syndicated loan. more..

Indian seizures show LTTE's game to fight long war

June 14 (IANS) Large quantities of explosives and other war material meant for Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers are being seized in Tamil Nadu in south India, indicating the guerrillas' game to wage a long war. Security agencies from the central and Tamil Nadu governments are regularly confiscating from the coastal belt ammunition and dual use goods that officials say are destined for the LTTE. more..

Sri Lanka poised for vehicle emission test run

June 14 (LBO) Laugfs Eco Sri, a unit of Sri Lanka's Laugfs gas distributor, plans to launch a sample testing centre next month to test vehicle exhaust emissions ahead of the imposition of new emission standards. The government has said vehicles that do not meet proposed exhaust emission standards will not be given revenue licences when testing become mandatory for owners to get the annual licenses. more..

Toronto man held in Sri Lanka after electronics, chemicals seized

June 14 (NP) A Toronto man has been arrested in Sri Lanka after police seized an array of electronics, including heat-seeking devices, that were shipped from Canada. Kajan Irampamoorthy, 20, is being held in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo and questioned about whether the materials were destined for the Tamil Tigers guerrillas. Irampamoorthy, a permanent resident of Canada, was taken into custody more than two weeks ago, more..

Sri Lanka raises $150 mln in loans for infrastructure

June 14 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank said it had raised $150 million through a syndicated loan to finance state infrastructure projects in 2008, a day after Fitch Ratings expressed concerns with the country's increasing borrowings. The loan will be provided by a consortium of major international banks and will contain a 'greenshoe option', the central bank said in a statement late on Thursday. more..

Sri Lanka gov´t donates 1,000 tents to China´s quake-hit areas

June 14 (Xinhua) Assistant Foreign Minister He Yafei, on behalf of the Chinese Government, received a shipment here on Friday of 1,000 tents from Sri Lanka, according to the Foreign Ministry. This was the second shipment of quake relief aid from Sri Lanka. The tents will be delivered to Tianshui in China's northwest Gansu Province in mid-June, the ministry said. more..

Bomb attacks on civilians in Sri Lanka must stop

June 14 (IL) The killing of innocent people is war against humanity and the criminals should be punished with an iron-fist with no mercy. Punishing the perpetrators of these crimes would emphasize that the use of this tactic to attain their goal, is not acceptable. Dividing the people along ethnic lines in Colombo or in the suburbs, or arresting innocent Tamil-speaking people in the South will add fuel to the already burning fire. more..

Sri Lankan cricket stars to woo Indian tourists

June 15 (IANS) Sri Lanka's all-time cricket stars will kick off a campaign in Mumbai Sunday to woo Indian tourists to the island nation during an upcoming Test and one-day series. Dileep Mudadeniya, managing director of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), said the likes of former caption Arjuna Ranatunga, Arvinda de Silva, incumbent skipper Mahela Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan and Kumar Sangakkara would be accompanying top tourism board officials to Mumbai for the purpose. more..

How many more LTTE carnages for action to be taken?

June 14 (LG) The deaths of over 20 innocent people in a crowded bus in Moratuwa followed hours later by another in Kandy certainly opens up opportunity for all those being paid to cry foul and lay the blame upon the Government and not the LTTE. But all those who cry foul over the loss of civilian life hardly put the blame on the LTTE and their atrocities, but prefer instead to pin the blame upon the Government because it is not willing to give a freehand to the LTTE. more..

Eyesore of Kurunegala city

June 14 (LG) Kurunegala has been transformed into a modern city, thanks to the tireless efforts of the incumbent Mayor. His ambition of reaching near perfection is thwarted by some vested elements in not allowing to widen the D. B. Welegedera Veediya, which was formerly known as Main Street and Bazaar Street. This prominent street, which is only about 350 meters from the Puttalam road junction to the Dambulla road, is in shambles and motorists need more than 15 minutes to cross this small stretch. more..

War and Targeting of Civilians

June 14 (LG) The recent attacks on innocent civilians travelling in public transport has brought the war nearer home. All three of the recent bus/train targets in Dehiwala, Katubedde and Polgolla and the fourth on the rail track at Dehiwala were obviously by the LTTE, even though the Ellalan Force (which also had a murky and secret past history of terrorism) has claimed responsibility. This is not the first time that the LTTE has targeted civilians. more..

LTTE sympathiser held; goods seized from boat

June 14 (PTI) A suspected LTTE sympathiser was taken into custody and goods, including batteries and medicines, were seized from a high speed boat in the sea off Devipattinam here, police said on Saturday. The 'Q' branch of the police dealing with militant activities seized Rs 10 lakh worth of batteries, army uniforms, medicines and gloves from the boat around mid-night, the sources said. more..

Attempt to expel Chandrika from SLFP?

June 14 (LD) Government Minister Janaka Bandara Tennekoon is reportedly preparing to move a proposal before the SLFP’s Central Committee for the expulsion of former President Chandrika Kumaratunga as Senior Patron of the party. Minister Tennekoon has told Sunetra Athugalpura of ‘Lakbima’ newspaper that it was a breach of discipline when the ex-president, as patron of the party, had attended an opposing political party function and criticized the government. more..

Dilan Perera to resign as Justice Minister

June 14 (LD) Dilan Perera has reportedly decided to resign as Justice Minister and continue only in his Ports portfolio. According to Justice Ministry sources, Mr. Perera will carry out his decision upon his return from an overseas visit. This is reportedly the result of his long-standing differences with Justice Secretary Suhada Gamlath, who has the backing of senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa. more..

Dissolution of 2 PCs challenged in court

June 14 (LD) The dissolution of the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councils has been challenged by the UNP in the Supreme Court. A.A.Wijesinghe and Ranbandara Abeysinghe, the respective former opposition leaders, filed separate petitions yesterday (June 13th), claiming that the dissolutions were unlawful and amounted to a breach of the voting rights and independence of the people of the two provinces. more..

Poson to be celebrated under the theme of ‘non violence’

June 14 (GDI) The Poson festival for this year is to be celebrated from tomorrow (15) until the 21st of this month, in a grand scale to mark the advent of Arahat Mahinda Thera on Poson Poya Day with the message of Buddhism. The main festival will be held in Raja Rata, centred round the Mihintale sacred area, Atamasthanaya and the Tantirimale Raja Maha Viharaya on the theme of non violence. more..

Hawks and hypocrisy in the Rajapaksa administration

June 14 (GV) When President Mahinda Rajapaksa met with some editors and senior journalists recently, he was asked about the attack on the Associate Editor of the Nation. His reply was,” You know me, I didn’t care about what is written against me but other people are not like that.” One can conclude that his comments are a dead give away on who he thinks was behind the attack on Mr. Noyhar. more..

Who is afraid of NGOs?

June 14 (GV) When governments have wanted to make peace with the LTTE, they have not been shy to mobilize the support of NGOs dealing with issues of peace and human rights. During the last two peace processes with the LTTE (1994-1995 and 2002 -2003) advocacy and policy related NGOs worked closely with the regimes in power to provide intellectual support to these processes. more..

No investigation into alleged torture of a journalist after one year

June 14 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information regarding the case of a journalist, Mr. Senaka Ekanayake, who was brutally tortured by the Kalpitiya police on 24 March 2007. Since the incident took place, the authorities, including the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka have not investigated his case. Further to our previous appeal, Mr. Senaka Ekanayake was tortured and subsequently falsely charged by the Kalpitiya police on 24 March 2007. more..

Lanka Bell goes for Rs. 3b optic cable

June 14 (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..

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

June 14 (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, more..

Govt. to investigate 18-year-old massacre

June 14 (SAMN) The government said Friday it will launch a probe into a massacre of some 400 policemen by the rebel Tamil Tigers 18 years ago, due to an appeal made by affected family members. The Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) said in a statement that a probe would soon commence on the massacre of 401 policemen in the Eastern Province on June 11, 1990. "The unarmed policemen were massacred by the LTTE in the Batticaloa, Ampara and Trincomalee areas," more..

Most women HIV victims affected overseas

June 14 (SAMN) Statistics reveal 40 per cent of women infected with HIV had contracted the disease overseas, Healthcare and Nutrition Minister and the Chairman of the Executive Board of the WHO Nimal Siripala de Silva said in New York. He said against this background, the National STD/AIDS Control Programme and the National HIV/AIDS Prevention Project working closely with the Foreign Employment Bureau have developed extensive programmes for pre-departure migrants, families of migrant workers, re-migrants and employment agencies. more..

PC dissolution: PAFFREL blasts Govt.

June 14 (SAMN) An independent election monitoring group yesterday expressed displeasure at the government’s decision to dissolve the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councils. PAFFREL chief Kingsley Rodrigo said the decision might be used by armed groups fighting against the state to rationalise their struggle. “If the Provincial Councils could be so easily dissolved mid-term according to the whims of the ruling party instead of providing minority more..

Drug companies plundering the people

June 14 (SAMN) A health rights movement charged Friday that transnational drug companies were plundering the people and making huge profits while the health Ministry was not taking effective steps to address the crisis. Professor Senaka Bibile Commemorative Association in a letter to Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said there was a severe shortage of drugs in public hospitals and other state healthcare institutions while the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) was in debt to the tune of Rs. 1.3 billion. more..

World Bank endorsed USD 900 million for SL

June 14 (DN) The World Bank has endorsed a lending package of US$900 million under the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for Sri Lanka for the period July 2008 to June 2011. The envisaged lending package for the Sri Lanka CAS was endorsed by the World Bank’s Executive Directors at a meeting held in June. The lending package was endorsed in with three objectives. The first is to expand economic opportunities in lagging regions to achieve more balanced growth by more..

Cost cutting programme at Premier’s Office

June 14 (DN) The Prime Minister’s Office has launched a programme to cut down the fuel, electricity and water costs, to be implemented on the instruction of Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka. Some of the salient feature are: 1. Vehicles will be used only for essential needs. 2. A single vehicle will be deployed to fulfil several purposes. The Prime Minister’s Secretary, Mahinda Bandusena has raised awareness among more..

Railway electrification could save 70% of present cost

June 14 (DN) An electrified train could be operated by less than 70% of the present operational cost of the diesel engines, Dr. Thilak Siyambalapitiya disclosed at the launch of the book the Air, Maritime and Rail Transportation in Sri Lanka by the Engineers Institute of Engineers of Sri Lanka (IESL), Colombo, recently. Dr. Siyambalapitiya during his presentation on Railway Electrification in Sri Lanka at the book launch pointed out more..

Rs.440 million to be spent on provincial elections – Ravi K

June 14 (Island) At a time when people are being strangled by the unbearable cost of living, the government is preparing to spend Rs 440 million on holding two provincial elections before its due date, the UNP said yesterday. Colombo District UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said that elections to the Sabaragamuwa and North Central Provincial Councils are due only next August, but the government was unnecessarily wasting tax payers’ money which could be used to feed the millions who are going hungry. more..

Police see stars in Kandy Kovil

June 14 (Island) Mystery surrounds the detection of 1,500 chromium-plated star symbols which indicate the rank of policemen in the possession of an Indian national working in a Kovil in Kandy. The stars are worn on either shoulder of a policeman’s uniform and the number denotes his rank. A Sub Inspector of Police wears one star on each shoulder of the uniform, an Inspector two, a Chief Inspector three, A Superintendent wears one star with a crown while a Senior Superintendent of Police wears two stars with a crown. more..

Govt. rejects EU request to travel to East?

June 14 (DM) The government has reportedly rejected a request made by a delegation from the European Union three member states to travel to the Eastern Province, as the delegation had refused to meet the newly appointed Eastern Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan. Informed sources said the delegation from Sweden, Netherlands and Spain was scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka from June 17 to 22 to discuss human rights issues with government leaders and others. more..

Brothel owner surrenders

June 14 (DM) A suspect alleged to have run a brothel at Wellawatte surrendered to the Mount Lavinia Court yesterday (12). Mount Lavinia Additional Magistrate, Ms. Dharshika Wimalasiri, enlarged on bail the suspect Wasantha Rajapakse, who is said to be coordinating secretary to a politician, on a bond of Rs 50,000 in cash and with two sureties for Rs 500, 000 each. He was further restrained from leaving the country. more..

Sri Lanka returns orphaned baby elephants to the wild

June 14 (AFP) Sri Lanka on Saturday released eight orphaned baby elephants into the jungle after rescuing them from near certain death, wildlife officials said. The eight baby jumbos were freed from the Elephant Transit Home where they had been cared for inside the sprawling Udawalawe wildlife sanctuary. The jumbos arrived by truck and were let loose in the jungle to integrate with an estimated 400 wild elephants at Udawalawe park. more..

UN rights forum urges Sri Lanka to probe killings

June 14 (Reuters) The United Nations Human Rights Council called on Sri Lanka on Friday to investigate allegations of killings and disappearances and prosecute those responsible, including members of government security forces. Western countries and activists also raised concerns about Sri Lanka's refusal to allow international human rights monitors into the country, which is embroiled in a 25-year-old civil war. more..

Dozens killed in fresh fighting across Sri Lanka: military

June 14 (AFP) At least 13 Tamil Tiger rebels and sixgovernment troops have been killed in fresh fighting across Sri Lanka's embattled northern region, the defence ministry said on Saturday. Friday's fighting, which was centred around the Mannar, Weli Oya, Vavuniya and Jaffna regions, also wounded 27 combatants on both sides, the military said. The LTTE made no comment on the government's statement. more..

Last TULF Leader Standing: Sangaree at Seventy Five

June 15 (TC) Eighteen Members were elected to Parliament from the TULF in 1977. This was an election of historic importance where the TULF contested on a separatist platform saying a victory at the polls was a mandate for Tamil Eelam. Three decades and more have passed since then. Thirteen of the eighteen MP’s elected in 1977 are not among the living now. Of the remaining ex – MP’s three have retired from politics. They are K.P.Ratnam , C. Rajadurai and P. Soosaithasan. more..

Sri Lanka strives to strengthen Human Rights whilst dealing with Terrorism

June 15 (FI) This had been preceded first by the statement of the Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights, read by the Secretary, introducing the Report of the UPR Process. Then followed statements by nine countries, many of which commended Sri Lanka for its efforts to safeguard all human rights despite the difficulties posed by terrorist threats. Unfortunately there was no time for other countries, including those from the SAARC Region, which had put themselves down to speak. more..

Three Sri Lankans honoured by Cuba

June 15 (LG) The ambassador of Cuba to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Enna Viant Valdés, hosted a unique award presentation ceremony in a gesture of warmth and friendship to thank Cuba's Sri Lankan friends on 10th June 2008 at the Galadari Hotel Colombo. On this occasion, the Cuban Government paid tribute to distinguished Sri Lankans drawn from various spheres. The Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) in Havana awarded diplomas to distinguished Sri Lankans, who had given “long-standing friendship and support” to Cuba. more..

But then there was Che... A personal perspective

June 15 (LG) The Argentine was already dead when I was introduced to him. I was not quite eleven. My father walked into the guest room of my aunt and uncle’s "bungalow" at the University of Peradeniya, where we were on holiday, and tossed The Ceylon Observer onto my bed, where I was still in my flannel pyjamas. The paper was opened to the full page article my father had written on the man after his death; a large black and white photograph in the middle, more..

It's the war, stupid

June 15 (LG) Sri Lanka has a bizarre intelligentsia. Some don’t really mind the LTTE. Others do but that’s because they also mind any Tamil who speaks his or her mind. Still others mind the LTTE but think that they aren’t the country’s main problem. There are very few whose threat perception of the LTTE is of the correct dimensions, but are also sensitive to the need for a more enlightened consciousness and drastically improved inter-ethnic relations. more..