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Sri Lanka-India series to see start of umpires' review system

June 17 (AFP) An experimental rule allowing players to seek a second opinion on umpiring decisions will be put on trial during India's upcoming series in Sri Lanka, officials said on Monday. The rule says a batsman or fielding captain may request the review of any decision taken by on-field umpires by referring it to the third official monitoring television replays. Each team will be allowed three unsuccessful review requests per innings. more..

Sri Lanka regulator drafts corporate governance code for finance firms

June 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Central Bank said it has prepared a draft code of corporate governance for registered finance companies, based on the directions issued to licensed banks, that will come into effect from January 2009. It said in a statement that the draft took into consideration the views expressed by the Finance Houses Association of Sri Lanka and registered finance companies on a previous draft. more..

Sri Lanka professionals call for policy reform in agriculture

June 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka must have a clear cut agriculture policy, especially for paddy, without resorting to short term solutions, if the country is to tackle the approaching food security issues, agriculture professionals said. "We have been having ad hoc approaches to food security and food policy," said Nimal Ranaweera, a former additional secretary of the ministry of agriculture. more..

"Letter to the Editor - The Sunday Leader"

June 17 (PISL) "The following is a letter sent to the Editor of The Sunday Leader, in response to misleading statements in the political column of June 15th. The misleading seems deliberate, because a letter clarifying the position was sent the previous week, but was not printed. That brief letter follows this one, along with the full text of the statement which Mr Wickramatunga has misinterpreted in order to fulfil his familiar purpose of suggesting dissent where there is none." more..

Wounded tigers

June 17 (DH) It is common knowledge that a wounded tiger is the most ferocious. The Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers may not admit yet that they are wounded in the ongoing battle with the armed forces in the Vanni regions which are under their control. But the increasing ferocity and the sickening regularity with which they target civilians in Colombo since January this year show their desperation and their contempt for the opinion of major nations which have already branded them as terrorists. more..

Local committees step in with flood relief

June 17 (IRIN) "The water just kept coming and coming," M Emmalin, 80, said, standing in the ruins of her two-room house. "For three days the stream was rising; first the water came over the sides, then through the door and rose all the way, almost to the rafters," she said, describing what she called the worst floods of her life. "Then suddenly there was a huge noise and the house collapsed." more..

Do not crticise war: President

June 17 (BBC) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has asked media heads in Sri Lanka not to criticise government military activities. Editor in Chief of Sunday Lakbima News, Rajpal Abeynayake, told BBC Sandeshaya that Mr. Rajapaksa made the request at a meeting held in Temple Trees on Friday. The meeting was attended by newspaper editors and owners of media institutions. Editors were told not to be critical on arms procurements and promotions in the armed forces. more..

Sri Lanka launches effort to tackle malnutrition

June 17 (UNICEF) The Sri Lankan Government, backed by UNICEF, recently launched National Nutrition Month at a ceremony in the country’s capital. The initiative is intended to find ways to improve Sri Lanka’s stubborn under-nutrition statistics. Sri Lanka’s overall health indicators are on track to achieve the international developmental benchmarks known as the Millennium Development Goals. more..

Dinesh Gunawardena appointed Chief Govt. Whip

June 17 (LD) Minister of Urban Development Dinesh Gunawardena has been appointed the Chief Government Whip. The appointment, proposed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, came at a meeting of the Government Parliamentary Group today (June 16th). Mr.Gunawardena, who is leader of the government affiliate Mahajana Eksath Peramuna, succeeds Mr. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, who died in April.

Sri Lanka vows SAARC summit will go ahead

June 17 (AFP) Sri Lanka's foreign minister insisted Monday the island would be able to host the next SAARC summit despite a surge in deadly rebel attacks. The eight-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is is due to hold its 15th annual summit in Colombo on August 2-3. "We will do everything possible to ensure the correct level of security," Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said more..

Place an Arms Embargo on Sri Lanka

June 17 (TW) This is time for western democracies to act. Those who gave an international safety net to the Sri Lankan government should now throw at least a lifeline to the Tamil minority. We do not expect the United States of America (USA) or the European Union (EU) to send troops to protect the Tamil minority as they did in Kosovo. All we ask is, “please put an arms embargo on Sri Lanka” on an emergency basis. more..

Sri Lanka in media group list of 'oppressive' countries for journalists

June 17 (AFP) The International Press Institute has highlighted the oppressive conditions for media in a number of countries, including Zimbabwe and Russia, officials said. The IPI board "unanimously" voted to keep Ethiopia, Nepal, Russia, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Zimbabwe on its "watch list" of countries where press freedom has significantly deteriorated, said a statement. more..

Impact of the Batticaloa Conflict and the situation of Muslims

June 17 (GV) The Kattankudi Jamiyyathul Ulama had requested all the newly elected Muslim members of the Eastern Provincial Council to boycott its inaugural session to highlight the demand of strengthening security of the Muslim community in the east. Ethnic violence has flared in the east between the Tamil and Muslim communities since the EPC polls were conducted and tense situation prevails in the east more..

Devotees hope damaged Madhu marian shrine will reopen for feasts

June 17 (UCAN) As the traditional months of pilgrimage to this country's most popular Catholic shrine approach, devotees are hoping the military will clear out and the shrine can be readied in time. The jungle shrine of Our Lady of Madhu, in a northern area government troops retook from rebel forces in April, has received much media attention of late. A TV documentary showed damage to the shrine and tanks in its compound. more..

'India shouldn’t meddle in our policies’

June 17 (TT) Hours after the LTTE called for greater Indian participation in resolving ethnic conflict, Sri Lankan foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama tells TIMES NOW that India should not meddle in its internal policies. Bogollagama, who is in New Delhi, to appraise India of the latest victories by the Sri Lankan forces against the separatist LTTE and also to invite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the upcoming SAARC summit in Colombo, knows India’s ability to counter LTTE very well. more..

'I won't let Sachi overtake Lara'

June 17 (TT) With India's tour of Sri Lanka looming large, it's Lankan Spin wizard Muthiah Muralitharan who takes on Sachin Tendulkar. Speaking exclusively to TIMES NOW's Harini Rana, Murali said that he won't let the master blaster overtake Brian Lara's record of being the top Test run getter. Sachin Tendulkar is just 171 runs short from achieving this feat. more..

'LTTE rebels confined to the north'

June 17 (DNA) Visiting Sri Lankan foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama was upbeat about the restoration of democracy in the eastern province and said the same experiment would eventually be replicated in the north, home of LTTE leader Prabhakaran. Asked whether the defence forces were now within striking distance of LTTE suprmo Prabhakaran, as reports from Colombo suggested, Bogollagama said, the tigers were confined to two and a half districts of the north more..

Ranatunga fears for the well-being of game

June 17 (PTI) Arjuna Ranatunga is rated as one of the finest cricket captains of all time and now, wearing an administrator's hat, the Sri Lankan is worried about the well-being of the game in the era of Twenty20 razzmatazz. "It needs only eleven mucks to win Twenty20 games. Even in ODI cricket you need seven to eight intelligent players and a captain while in T20 you need only power-hitters. You don't even need a good captain," more..

WB and GSP+

June 17 (LG) The World Bank’s decision to provide Sri Lanka with USD 900 million over the period 2008-2011 would come as a morale booster to the government. Sri Lanka’s inability to retain its seat in the UN Human Rights Council despite intense lobbying by the government has been generally seen as a vote of no confidence on account of the deteriorating human rights situation in the country. more..

Locked in Carnage

June 17 (LG) As the LTTE suffered mounting reverses on the war front in the North, the rebels were inevitably driven to escalate their terrorist attacks on civilians in other parts of the country in an effort to create some pressure on Colombo, and advertise their failing cause to the world. As many as 292 civilians have so far been killed in the Island nation since January 1, 2008, most of them outside the theatre of war in the North in about 26 explosions of varied natures. more..

Tigers: Neither down nor out

June 17 (LG) Never before in the ongoing 30-year-long war have the Sri Lankan Security Forces (SLSF) been better placed to defeat the LTTE. This has come about by a combination of proactive political, diplomatic and military measures. The war has been categorised in four phases: Eelam War (EW) One (1983-87), EW Two (1990-95), EW Three (1996-2002) and EW Four (2005 onwards). The turning point of the war was the split in the LTTE in March 2004, when more..

Sri Lanka – The Island that evolution left behind

June 17 (AT) The most powerful nation in the world is showing that its racist roots have withered - A young coloured immigrant with an Islamic background is poised to take the chair as the most powerful man on earth… Even if Barak Obama loses the US presidential election, his very nomination from the worlds’ oldest political party (The US Democrats) signals that the American nation is rising from its petty racial and religious differences, and more..

Work on Norochchole Power Plant accelerated

June 17 (MG) The Government has taken steps to expedite construction work on the Norochchole Coal- Power Project, which is expected to add another 300 Mega Watts to the national grid in two years and there after another 600 MW by the year 2014 at the second phase, Minister of Power and Energy, W.D.J. Seneviratne said. Accordingly the the first phase is expected to be completed and power generation commenced by the year 2010. more..

The Sri Lankan conflict: A multi-polar approach

June 17 (LG) Narrow interpretations of cultural identity and models of conflict resolution built on ethnic dualism contribute to ethnic polarization and inhibit sustainable peace. To improve both the analysis and processes of conflict resolution, it is necessary to move beyond the bipolar ethnic model and explore the multi-polar nature of conflicts. The conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the secessionist LTTE is commonly identified as a primordial ethnic conflict between the Sinhala majority and the Tamil minority. more..

Monthly allocations to ministries slashed by 50%

June 17 (GDI) Monthly monetary allocations to all Ministries will be reduced by 50% as an austerity drive but the budgetary allocations for the year 2008 will remain intact, Media Minister Laxman Yapa Abeyawardena told the media in Colombo yesterday (16). This decision was prompted by the economical constraints experienced by the country with the soaring fuel prices in the world market and with the increase of food prices, he said. more..

President sends greetings to Asia Pacific solidarity meeting in Cuba

June 17 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, extending greetings and wishing all success to the 4th Asia-Pacific Solidarity Meeting with Cuba that began in Havana with the participation of delegations from 20 countries, highlighted the fact that friendship with Cuba is deeply rooted in the Sri Lankan people regardless ethnic, religious and political differences, Prenasa Latina information agency reported. more..

House in uproar over witness protection draft bill

June 17 (LD) Parliament was in uproar today when the draft bill on Assistance and Protection to Victims of Crime and Witnesses was taken up for debate. UNP's Dayasiri Jayasekara objected to the draft bill, saying that the opposition was yet to receive its court-amended revisions. This particular draft bill was moved forward for debate from June 19th, in place of the Electricity Reforms draft bill. more..

JVP sabotages heroic soldiers - JHU

June 17 (LD) The Jathika Hela Urumaya, a government affiliate, has accused the JVP of staging anti-government protests to sabotage decisive efforts by the security forces to eliminate terrorism. JHU spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said this in comments to 'Lanka Dissent.' He said, "The entire nation should rally round the heroic soldiers who are sacrificing their lives to wipe out terrorism." more..

Darker clouds ahead: Govt.

June 17 (LNP) Predicting a bleak future for Sri Lanka, the government yesterday said the people would be called upon to face more hardship with the escalation in fighting between the security forces and the LTTE. Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana told the media that not only Sri Lanka but the entire world was struggling to come to terms with the soaring world market prices of fuel. more..

Strike demanding Rs. 5000 pay hike all round on July 10

June 17 (LNP) The JVP-led National Trade Union Center yesterday announced that it would stage a one-day strike on July 10 demanding a Rs 5,000 salary increase for each employee in public, private and estate sectors. `The Government can prevent this only by granting the demand. No other action or suppression will stop us,` Chairman of the NTUC, MP K. D. Lalkantha told a press conference at the more..

Judges salary revision from next budget

June 17 (LNP) A salary revision for the Judges would be effected at the next budget, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga informed the Supreme Court, yesterday. Secretary to the President Weeratunga who was present before Court at the hearing of the rights application filed by Judges, however submitted that several allowances paid to the judges such as personal allowance, fuel allowance, and allowances for the drivers, would be increased immediately. more..

Change in UNP leadership?

June 17 (SAMN) The UNP Working Committee (WC) said Monday it had appointed a committee comprising party seniors to look into the demands of some MPs who are said to be revolting against the party leadership. The committee comprises parliamentarians John Amaratunga, Joseph Michael Perera, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera and Amara Piyasili Ratnayake. UNP front-liners criticised the party hierarchy at the WC meeting and said the party had suffered a series of election defeats under the present leadership. more..

Mahela, Sangakkara on www

June 17 (SAMN) Mahela Jayawardena the Captain of Sri Lanka’s Cricket Team launched his own website last week while Sri Lanka Cricket Team Vice Captain Kumar Sangakkara signed for his website with Cryptodyne. The website takes one to the world of Mahela as to when he began his career, statistics, tour diaries, awards, photos, video galleries and more. There is also a section where Mahela gives advice on Cricket about more..

Woman trying to bring pistol into court

June 17 (SAMN) An elderly woman who attempted to smuggle in a 0.22 mm pistol into the Western Province Civil Appellate High Court of Colombo was arrested by the Judges Security Division Monday. According to the officer In Charge of JSD SI Ranchagoda the woman was identified as Maya Dharmadasa and was revealed to be a litigant. She had attempted to take the pistol inside the Civil Appellate High Court where more..

UNP(D) will never return to the UNP

June 17 (SAMN) Fuelling speculations that the UNP (D) group would ultimately join the SLFP, the group’s front liner, Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that it has no intention of registering as a political party or to return to the main fold even after an eventual change of leadership in the UNP. Fielding questions at the media briefing at the Information Department, Yapa said the group would continue to support the government in its war efforts and development drive. more..

Judges’ salary revision from next budget

June 17 (DN) A salary revision for the Judges would be effected at the next budget, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga informed the Supreme Court, yesterday. Secretary to the President Weeratunga who was present before Court at the hearing of the rights application filed by Judges, however submitted that several allowances paid to the judges such as personal allowance, fuel allowance, and allowances for the drivers, would be increased immediately. more..

'No organised campaign against media'

June 17 (DN) There is no organised campaign against the media by the Government and the Government has no hesitation to mediate on issues related to the media personnel, Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana said. Minister Abeywardana highlighted the restrictions on media coverage imposed at the convention of SLFP(M) party and strongly condemned the incident which occurred while the participation of Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who criticises the Government on media freedom was a participant. more..

Hospitals run short of doctors

June 17 (Island) The failure to implement the Annual Transfer Scheme of doctors attached to State-run hospitals has created an acute shortage of doctors in hospitals in Ratnapura, Asissawella, Embilipitiya and Polonnaruwa, the GMOA said yesterday. The Avissawella hospital health services are paralyzed as only 60 doctors have been serving the hospital in which 150 are required. more..

They too want to import vehicles on concessionary terms

June 17 (Island) The Engineers Union of the Water Supply and Drainage Board has send the following press release against the exclusion of engineers in Government Boards and Corporations from the facility of import of a motor vehicle on concessionary terms: This is to inform the general and duty conscious public of Sri Lanka that we, the Engineers' Union of NWSDB, have been resorting to the "Work to Rule" action since 13.06.2008, as a mark of protest against more..

Court prevents group from summoning PNM meetings

June 17 (DM) The Colombo District Court yesterday issued an enjoining order preventing Ven. Dambara Amila Thera and a group of executive committee members of the Patriotic National Movement from summoning meetings and conducting news conferences under the name banner of the movement. Colombo District Judge Sisira Ratnayake issued the order following a case filed by Dr. Gunadasa Amerasekara of the PNM. more..

'Though none go with me, still I will fight'

June 17 (DM) Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said he was prepared to launch a Gandhi or Martin Luther King style protest alone against the government, which was violating the rights of the people. “I will do this alone if no one joins me,” he said stating that many have become afraid to come out against the government in the wake of various harassments subjected upon them. more..

Sri Lanka fighting kills 15 combatants

June 17 (AP) Battles across Sri Lanka's volatile north killed 14 ethnic Tamil rebels and one government soldier, the military said Tuesday. In the worst fighting Monday, soldiers killed six rebels in the Mannar region bordering the rebels' de facto state, a Defense Ministry official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. One soldier was wounded in the confrontation, he said. more..

Finnish President hopes for peace in Sri Lanka

June 17 (IN) The President of Finland recently expressed her desire for Finland to continue assisting Sri Lanka, according to reports in the Asian Tribune. Tarja Halonen expressed her desire to see a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Sri Lanka to Ambassador Jayasooriya. The Sri Lankan ambassador to Sweden, R.P. Jayasooriya is also the ambassador to Finland. On 5th June, Jayasooriya presented his credentials to the Finnish President at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki. more..

Canada brands Tamil group as terrorist front for Tigers

June 17 (TS) The controversial World Tamil Movement has been added to Canada's list of terrorist organizations, the latest move in an ongoing investigation that links the group to Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers. The group's assets have been frozen and could be seized by Canada's attorney general, said Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, who announced the decision at a Toronto news conference yesterday. more..

Massacre aid group quits Sri Lanka, wants inquiry

June 17 (Reuters) An aid agency that lost 17 local tsunami aid workers in a massacre in Sri Lanka two years ago said on Tuesday it had no confidence in the government investigation and had quit the island in protest. Action Contre la Faim (ACF) -- also known as Action against Hunger -- said it wanted an international inquiry into the murders, which took place in the northeastern town of Muttur after days of fighting in August 2006 more..

Shares at a new 4-month on war, economy

June 18 (Reuters) Shares fell 0.19 percent on Tuesday, an eighth successive fall that took a market worried about a worsening civil war and tough economic conditions to its lowest close since early February. The Colombo All-Share index CSE fell 4.54 points to 2,440.37, and has now fallen 9.3 percent from an 11-month high hit during trade on April 23. "The negative sentiments hurts the market," said Harsha Fernando, CEO of SC securities. more..

Lanka asks ministers to limit foreign trips

June 18 (IANS) Sri Lanka Tuesday asked its ministers to curtail foreign trips and slashed the monthly monetary allocations to all the ministries by 50 percent. According to a statement from the government information department, Media Minister Laxman Yapa Abeyawardena said the 'monthly monetary allocations to all ministries will be reduced by 50 percent as an austerity drive but the budgetary allocations for the year 2008 will remain intact'. more..

S.B. as UNP's Chief Minister candidate?

June 18 (LD) The United National Party is inquiring into the possibility of fielding the party's National Organizer S.B. Dissanayake as its chief ministerial candidate for Sabaragamuwa at the forthcoming provincial council election. According to UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was due to meet with his legal advisors later today (June 17th) to discuss this matter. more..

Tamils angry to see group on terrorist list

June 18 (CP) Many in Canada's Tamil community are angry with Ottawa's move to label one of its organizations a terrorist group. Stockwell Day, the minister of public safety, says the World Tamil Movement, which collected money that ended up in the hands of the Tamil Tigers, is now on a list of terrorist groups. The group, which also had its assets frozen, is designated for helping terrorist activity and for acting on behalf of the terrorist group. more..

'Innocent Sri Lankans are pleased with Canada'

June 18 (NP) The people of Sri Lanka would like to thank the government of Canada for its courageous decision to expose the World Tamil Movement (WTM) as a terrorist front for the LTTE. The WTM is the first non profit organization to be placed on Canada’s terror list. Though it has long been known that LTTE front groups have been operating in Canada and several other countries and funding the LTTE terror machine, more..