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Temples, Churches fear electricity bill hike will leave them in the dark

June 20 (UCAN) Churches and temples face the choice of using candles or paying high electricity bills after the government decided to drop a subsidy for religious venues at the same time it increased electric rates. Buddhist monks and Christian clergy say they do not know what will happen now that their electricity bills have tripled and even quintupled starting in April, after the government stopped offering a subsidy to religious institutions including religious-run charities. more..

The pitfalls and u-turns of party politics

June 20 (GV) President Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as the 5th Executive President of Sri Lanka on November 19th, 2005. Soon after the event, the main architects of Rajapaksa’s victory Mangala Samaraweera and Wimal Weerawansa along with SLFP stalwarts like Maithripala Sirirsena and Nimal Siripala De Silva held a press briefing to declare his election as a victory for the people and a defeat against the forces of separatism. more..

Sri Lanka gem show expects Asian influx

June 20 (LBO) Organizers of FACETS 2008, Sri Lanka's annual gem and jewellery exhibition, are expecting an influx of participants from East Asia for the expo that is now in its 18th year. The Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association said representatives from Hong Kong, Thailand, Myanmar and Singapore are billed to participate in the fair. A trade delegation from Egypt would also arrive. more..

Anti Christian Rally planned by Buddhist extremists

June 20 (LG) Buddhist extremists have invited residents of Middeniya, a town in Hambanthota district, southern Sri Lanka, to attend a huge anti-Christian rally this Sunday (June 22), where they have promised to “expose the great [Christian] conspiracy.” Over the past week extremists have erected anti-Christian banners and posters and held four meetings inviting people to Sunday’s rally. more..

Harassment at SLAF checkpoint

June 20 (LG) In Sri Lanka and many other democracies only the Parliament has the authority to make law. Under stress of fighting LTTE terrorism, some security forces personnel also seem to think that they have the authority to make law. The latest episode took place at around midnight on Tuesday (17th) at the Air force checkpoint opposite the CEB near Lake House. more..

Meditation: The key to being mindful

June 20 (LG) The human being comprises mind and body. Modern medical science is now according an important place to the mind, but over 2, 500 years ago the Buddha emphasized the invaluable role of the mind. In fact, the opening lines of the Dhammapada, a collection of important sayings of the Buddha, state that the mind is the forerunner of all states of being, mind is supreme, mind made are they. more..

Vasudeva & Sannasgala to vie for Sabaragamuwa chief minister

June 20 (LD) The United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance has decided to nominate opposition leader of the Colombo Municipal Council Vasudeva Nanayakkara as its leading candidate for Ratnapura District at the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council polls, while the UNP choice is popular tutor Upul Shantha Sannasgala, ‘Lanka Dissent reliably learns. more..

FMM calls for release of Tissanayagam & 2 others

June 20 (LD) Senior journalist J. S. Tissanayagam, who was a regular columnist for The Sunday Times and the Editor of completed 100 days in detention on 15th June 2008, says the Free Media Movement in a statement. He was detained on 6th March 2008 by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) of the Sri Lanka Police. He is detained under powers granted by Emergency Regulations currently in force, and has been given no specific and legally valid reasons for his detention at the time or since. more..

2 UNP petitions against PC dissolutions rejected

June 20 (LD) The Supreme Court today (June 20th), rejected two petitions filed by the United National Party against the dissolution of the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councils. A bench comprising Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva and justices Shirani Thilakewardena and K.Sri Pavan ruled the respective governors are empowered by the constitution to dissolve the provincial councils. more..

Award winning SLRC artistes boycott chairman's felicitation

June 20 (LD) Artistes of Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation, who received awards at the 13th Sumathi Tele Awards, have boycotted a felicitation given by the chairman of the state-owned television station. SLRC was adjudged best television channel of the year and won most of the awards on offer at this festival held on June 14th. The award-winners have stayed away from chairman Dr. Ariyaratne Athugala's felicitation to more..

Millions of euros pumped to LTTE from Italy

June 20 (LNP) Italian investigators who have arrested 33 LTTE activists said the alleged terrorists were collecting more than 3.5 million British Pounds worth of money to be deposited in Swiss Banks to bankroll a war in Sri Lanka. Eight people were arrested in Naples, seven in Palermo, three in Genoa and the rest between Biella, Rome, Bologna, Mantova, Reggio Emilia where the money was raked up by the Tamil Tigers through illegal activities of extortion and drug sales, Police said. more..

Dog given a human funeral

June 20 (LNP) A six-year-old German Shepherd named Bingo, belonging to a doctor at the Mahamodera Hospital, living in Labuduwa, was buried with full Buddhist rites on Poson Poya Day. The doctor, his wife and son loved the dog so much they were almost in tears when the Buddhist clergy performed the final rites which included Pansakula and Mathakawasthara Puja. Three popular Buddhist monks of the area were invited to the Doctor s residence to perform the last rites on the dead dog before it was buried. more..

Shame on Royal supporters

June 20 (LNP) Last Saturday, rugby fans witnessed a great game of Rugby during the first leg of the famous Brabdy Shield match the social event of the season. Thirty lads played their hearts out and gave the spectators, and loyal alumni their money`s worth. Trinity with their typical fabulous brand of running and passing, and Royal with its gutsy forwards won everyone`s hearts on the field. more..

Bill Gates to visit Sri Lanka next year

June 20 (LNP) Bill Gates, Chairman Microsoft Corporation during a 20 minute interview I had with him in Indonesia has assured that he would visit Sri Lanka next year, said Prof Tissa Vitharana, Minister of Science and Technology, addressing the launch of INFOTEL the biggest Information Communication Technology (ICT) event in Sri Lanka that is scheduled to be held on 30th October at the BMICH. more..

Country is not facing a ‘massive economic crisis’

June 20 (GDI) Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, Deputy Minister of Finance, said that contrary to claims made by certain quarters, there is not massive economic crisis in the country. "While it is true that Sri Lanka has certain challenges before her in view of certain trends that have emerged globally and also within the country, we have still managed to maintain an economical growth rate of 6.5-7.0% continuously for three years and more..

Possible takeover of IOC by the Govt.

June 20 (GDI) Minister of Petroleum & Petroleum Resources Development, A. H. M. Fowzie said that he has informed in a written notice to the Indian Oil Company (IOC) of a possible takeover of filling station operated by the company. Speaking at the Parliament Minister Fowzie said that as the IOC was selling diesel at a higher price than the price at the Government owned filling stations the public has tended to tank at Government own filling stations causing a huge increase of the loss experienced by the Government. more..

Govt. spent Rs. 120 million to compensate Mavil Aru farmers

June 20 (GDI) The Government has paid Rs.120 million in compensation for the farmers who lost paddy cultivating lands due to the LTTE’s action to close the Mavil Aru Anicut which supplied water for over 7000 acres of cultivable lands in the Eastern Province, Minister of Agriculture Hemakumara Nanayakkara told in Parliament yesterday (19). The families engaged in cultivation were severely affected due to this inhuman act of the LTTE terrorists. more..

Ranil calls for interim Constitution

June 20 (SAMN) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, stressed the need for a new Constitution and called for the setting up of an interim constitution until a new one is drafted. Wickremesinghe attending a ceremony to commemorate the 97th birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake, in Colombo Thursday, said a political solution to the national issue should be an integral part of the Constitution in order to bring peace to the nation and more..

Nearly 400 disabled monthly

June 20 (SAMN) The Health Ministry Thursday revealed that on an average 400 persons are disabled per month due to injuries sustained in bomb blasts, war confrontation and diabetes. Road traffic accidents were another factor, it said pointing out that there was only one rehabilitation hospital located in Ragama to look into the needs of the disabled. The hospital is to be upgraded into to a state of the art Hospital of Prosthetic and Orthotics. more..

Action against Lankans in porn videos

June 20 (SAMN) Women and Child Bureau (WCB) is filing legal action against Sri Lankans appearing in pornographic videos and pictures on the internet violating the Indecent Publication Act of 1983 Article No. 23. On information provided by anonymous sources, the WCB was conducting investigations into the people posing for illegal video and pictures for internet websites, CI, Buddhika Balachandran of the WCB said. more..

Chikungunya: Windfall for doctors

June 20 (SAMN) Though the Chikungunya epidemic that devastated Ratnapura district with over 10,000 reported cases brought misery and pain to many, it had been a windfall for private medical practitioners, a ministry spokesman said Thursday. “A survey conducted by the Ministry of Health for the sharp increase of Chikungunya has revealed the Epidemiologist Unit has not taken action to prevent the spread of the disease and more..

Government moots new fuel policy

June 20 (DN) Chief Government Whip Minister Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday told Parliament that the Government is formulating a new policy on fuel and petroleum products. The Minister responding to an oral question raised by UNP Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake said most countries have formulated “fuel policies” to face to the present oil crisis. The proposed policy will also lay emphasis on restricting the import of vehicles which have higher engine capacities. more..

Baby sold for Rs.8,000

June 20 (DN) Kalmunai Police on Wednesday arrested a 40-year-old mother who had sold her three-day old baby for Rs.8,000. Two other women involved in the transaction were also taken into custody. She has sought admission to hospital on the pretext of having a cyst in her abdomen. Doctors who subjected her to an ultrasound scan realised it was actually a baby. She delivered the baby following a caesarian operation. more..

Cracking another LTTE cell in Colombo

June 20 (DM) Police last week arrested a top level LTTE team, who were directly involved in the recent bomb blasts in Colombo and its suburbs. These suspects were tracked down due to an alert politician, who helped the authorities arrest a group of Sinhala terrorists on an earlier occasion. The JVP Provincial Council member for Wattala, Eraj Krishantha de Alwis never thought that he would have to rent out one of his houses to members of the world’s most ruthless terrorist organization to more..

Youth hit by mysterious illness

June 20 (DM) Some 40 youngsters who had gone for training at the Rantambe Youth Corp Camp had fallen ill mysteriously causing alarm yesterday. Most of the victims who were admitted to the Meegahakivula Hospital, after they started collapsing when they were preparing to leave the camp last morning suffered from stomach aches and coughs. Some of the victims said they drank water from a well as the camp taps went dry on Wednesday, but more..

PIU finds CEB chairman unfit for post

June 20 (Island) The agitation campaign of Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union appeared to have at least partly paid off, when in a confidential report, the Presidential Investigation Unit had stated that the CEB Chairman Udayasiri Kariyawasam was not fit to head any Government institution. According to well informed sources, the CEB Engineers Union has had access to the confidential report sent to President Mahinda Rajapaksa by the Director of the Presidential Investigation Unit, former Senior DIG Thilak Iddamalgoda, more..

Devananda takes up cause of Northerners

June 20 (Island) Chairman of the Northern Special Task Force (NSTF), Minister Douglas Devananda has requested the Government to give special consideration for the people of the North since their problems are quite different to that of the people of other areas. He has sought an increase in the provision of dry rations to the displaced and to those who lost their livelihood. more..

Tigers represent Tamils: Prez kin

June 20 (AA) Basil Rajapakse, the influential brother of President Mahinda Rajapakse, on Thursday admitted that the LTTE represented a ‘fair number of Tamils’ but ruled out any quick truce with the rebels. "They (Tigers) represent the Tamil people but they are not the only ones. That has been proved. But this does not mean they do not have the strength or that they do not represent the Tamils. They do represent a fair number of the Tamil people. more..

Fighting on northern fronts kills 26 rebels, 3 soldiers

June 20 (AP) Fighting between the government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels along the northern front lines killed 26 rebels and three government soldiers, the military said Friday. The newly reported fighting took place in Vavuniya, Mannar, Welioya and Jaffna regions bordering the rebels' de facto state in the north Thursday, said a defense ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to government regulation. more..

Sri Lanka asks Lanka IOC to sell diesel at loss

June 20 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's government has told Indian Oil Corp's local arm to cut its diesel prices to bring them into line with those of state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corp (CPC), a state official said on Friday. Lanka IOC LIOC.CM sells its diesel at 130 rupees ($1.2) a litre, 20 rupees more than CPC, but this has pushed up losses at CPC by 400 million rupees a month as drivers have flocked to its cheaper pumps, increasing its sales by 20 million litres. more..

Top Indian delegation in Colombo to meet Rajapaksa

June 20 (IANS) A high-powered Indian delegation headed by National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan arrived here Friday, with Indian and Sri Lankan sources giving different accounts of their mission. Accompanying Narayanan were Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh. The three officials between them virtually determine India's policy vis-a-vis Sri Lanka. more..

Poaching Indian fishermen major security threat: Sri Lanka navy

June 20 (IANS) The Sri Lankan Navy has described Indian fishing trawlers poaching in the country's northern territorial waters as "the number one security threat" in protecting the islets from the LTTE. Quoting the commander, Northern Naval Area, Rear Admiral Tisara Samarasinghe, state-run Daily News reported that hundreds of Indian fishing trawlers, intruding into the waters of Delft, Nainativu and Analaitivu, had made these islands vulnerable to LTTE infiltration. more..

Sri Lanka's team among finalists for Microsoft Imagine Cup '08

June 21 (LBO) An environmental short film by a team from Sri Lanka made it to the top six in Microsoft's Imagine Cup competition finals, which would be held in July in Paris this year, the firm's local office said. Sri Lanka's ‘Team Gènès|pictures’was able to qualify for the finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2008, to be held from 3-8 of July in Paris, France. "With Microsoft Imagine Cup we have set in place a tradition of thinking out of the box," more..

Sri Lanka private sector credit slows, spike in state credit

June 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka's private sector credit had slowed to 15.1 percent by April 2008 following tight monetary policy, though state credit had spiked in that month, but inflation would slow after July, the Central Bank said. Till August 2007, credit to private sector has been growing at a rate of 25 to 26 percent, but it fell to 15.1 percent in April. "The recent surveys on the distribution of credit indicate that the deceleration has mostly arisen from less productive areas such as consumption, more..

Emirates to give new flight feathers to 16,000 staff

June 21 (LBO) Dubai-based Emirates says its 16,000 staff would be given new uniforms which can cope with different ground conditions in its network which stretches across 60 countries from Hong Kong to London and Sao Paulo. "The Emirates uniform has been the same since 1997, with a few tweaks here and there," Terry Daly, from Emirates, service delivery said in a statement. more..

History behind the visit of Mahinda Thera

June 21 (LG) Our attention is drawn to the Archaeological evidence of the Advent of Arahath Mahinda Thera to Sri Lanka in the 3rd Century B.C. This is confirmed by our ancient chronicles like Dipvaransa, Mahanwamsa and Samantha Pasadika. The advent of Arahath Mahinda Thera to Sri Lanka is Archaeologically evident in the Two Rock Inscriptions. The one from Mihintale and the other from Rajagala in the district of Ampara in the eastern province of Sri Lanka. more..

Bruce Fein in Toronto on Sri Lankan mission

June 21 (LG) Saying he's not a lobbyist for the Tamil Tigers, U.S. attorney Bruce Fein is in Toronto on a mission to bring three high-ranking Sri Lankan officials to face U.S. justice. The Washington Times columnist, a functionary in the Ronald Reagan administration, also seeks to get the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam off his country's list of terrorist groups and for Tamils around the world to vote on creating a Tamil state in Sri Lanka. more..

Jack in the Box politics of CBK

June 21 (LG) CBK is back. From Europe they say, where exactly, I am not sure. Probably she is coming from France the time. Last time she returned from London and had a big brawl with a duty free liquor shop salesman at the airport named after her father. This time there were no reports of non-payments of bills at the airport. Perhaps a sponsor has footed the bills or what? True to her good character, she came to tell us lotus eaters to look at our own misery. more..

Preserve the Core and Stimulate Progress

June 21 (LG) In the book titled Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, James Collins and Jerry Porras have examined eighteen exceptional and long lasting companies and compared each with one of its closest, but less successful competitors, in order to discover just what has given the edge over its rivals. The comparison includes Hewlett-Packard vs. Texas Instruments, Boeing vs. McDonnell Douglas, Ford vs. GM and 3M vs. Norton. more..

'A liberation struggle draws its strength from the determination of its people'

June 21 (LG) In the current government policy makers include extremists like Champika Ranawaka and JHU. Tamil struggle is aimed at changing this mindset. Our experience shows this change cannot be created by us. That is why we are now seeking nationhood to preserve our lives and livelihood. However, we are not pessimists; if a Sinhala leadership offers us a just solution we are willing to consider it. more..

An open letter from a person in the LTTE controlled area

June 21 (LG) Dear Sinhalese: I understand that you are upset by us. Indeed, it appears that you are quite upset, even angry. Today, it is the "barbarism of LTTE terrorism", yesterday it was the Federal party, before that it was the "favouritism of the British". It appears that Tamils, who could achieve equality and who, therefore, could live, upset you. Indeed, every few years you seem to become upset by us. more..

Ninety two lawyers from Kandy complain ...

June 21 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received a copy of a petition written by 92 lawyers practicing in Kandy complaining of a serious obstacle to their practice. Furthermore, the right of litigants to select the lawyers of their choice has been interfered with due to a small group of lawyers who engage in touting their services in front of the main gate of the Kandy Court Complex. more..

Shares up 1.1 pct on peace talk speculation

June 21 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares rose 1.11 percent to a one-week high on Friday, posting their first rise in 10 sessions as investors speculated on a resumption of peace talks between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels. The central bank held interest rates steady on Friday for a 16th straight month, saying it was successfully reining in growth in money supply despite double-digit inflation. more..

Blackouts in Sri Lanka as power engineers work-to-rule

June 21 (LBO) Parts of Sri Lanka blacked out Friday night as engineers at Sri Lanka's power utility worked-to-rule, demanding the ouster of the state-run organization's chairman, even as negotiations began with senior government officials. The CEBEU had discussions with Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa's brother Basil and senior minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and with power minister John Seneviratne later in the day, a union official said. more..

Sri Lanka- Netherlands Trade on the Rise

June 21 (AT) The Netherlands-Sri Lanka Business Council met recently to discuss ways to strengthen trade and economic ties between the two countries. The volume of trade has increased from $199 million in 2006 to $226 million in 2007, with the balance of trade in favour of Sri Lanka, with more Sri Lankan exports going to the Netherlands. The annual meeting of the Council took place at the 'Gallery Art Korner' in The Hague where more..

A Tiger by the tail

June 21 (MT) I first visited Sri Lanka sixteen years ago. On the morning of arrival, I was slumbering in my room at the colonial Galle Face hotel in Colombo, looking forward to a fortnight exploring the island Marco Polo described as 'the finest in the world', when I was roused by the loudest bang I’ve ever heard in my life. A sprint to the window revealed a plume of smoke rising from the other side of the road: a member of the LTTE with a large bomb in a rucksack had driven his more..

Who can fulfil Prabakaran’s Dream?

June 21 (AT) Martin Luther King had a dream………it was to see people of all countries, races, and religions living together in harmony. He was assassinated before he could “see” that dream. But he is fondly remembered globally for that dream lives on in many of us. Velupillai Prabakaran too has a dream…it is to see a Tamil Eelam. It has been over 25 years & he still continues to have that dream ….there is of course a difference… more..

Prabhakaran’s son credited with new devastating chemical bomb

June 21 (AT) Charles Anthony is proven to be a psychopathic megalomaniac like his father Velupillai Prabhakaran and the senior leaders of the LTTE worry about the meteoritic rise of the son. According to intelligence reports Charles Anthony has developed a new chemical weapon capable of such a shock wave that could kill, permanently damage vision and hearing and also make women barren. more..

Why Indian Delegation in Colombo Now?

June 21 (LG) A high-powered Indian delegation headed by National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan arrived here Friday morning. Accompanying Narayanan were Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh. The three officials between them virtually determine India's policy vis-a-vis Sri Lanka, starting with the 'ethnic issue' but not confined to it. The three arrived by a special aircraft from New Delhi around 11.30 a.m. on a two-day visit, more..

Dissolving PCs 'constitutional'

June 21 (BBC) The Supreme Court in Sri Lanka has ruled that the government’s decision to dissolve the Provincial Councils (PCs) were according to the constitution. The Governors of Sabaragamuwa and North Central provinces dissolved the two PCs months before their full terms ended. The opposition parties, United National Party (UNP) and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) have filed petitions against the government’s decision. more..