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JVP 'intimidated' parliamentarian

June 21 (BBC) A political ally of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s is accused of intimidating a parliamentarian who has designed to resign from the party. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) is accused by Gampaha district MP, Anjan Umma, of preventing her from attending parliamentary sessions. It is a violation of parliamentary privileges to prevent an MP from attending the sessions. more..

Colombo - Mix of the Old and the New

June 21 (BS) Colombo is the largest city in the island nation. It is also the main port of Sri Lanka as well as its capital. This in turn has resulted in it becoming the commercial and financial center of Sri Lanka. These factors have transformed Colombo into a bustling metropolis which very attractively blends the old and the new. The lazy charm of a bygone era in combination with the verve and vivaciousness of a modern city stands out prominently in the eyes of the tourist. more..

Captivating Sri Lanka

June 21 (BS) The innumerable interests offered by Sri Lanka to its tourists give it a somewhat of a paradise status! The scenic beauty of Sri Lanka is so pristine that it never fails to captivate, no matter how many times you may have visited the island nation before. Just imagine a holiday amidst tropical beaches, culture, monuments, and ancient cities. Could anyone ask for anything else to relax their tired muscles and over worked minds? more..

Manjula Selvarajah: Defending Tamil Canadians

June 21 (NP) The non-profit “World Tamil Movement” is the first ever domestic group to be targeted by Canada's Minister of Safety. The Tamil community is shaken, but it is the general populace who should take notice. Tamils in Canada are concerned that this statement was made without regard for the full implications for the community here and their loved ones in Sri Lanka, and without a sound understanding of the conflict. more..

Vasu will contest only as CM nominee

June 21 (SAMN) Colombo Municipal Council’s opposition leader Vasudeva Nanayakara said Friday he would contest the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council on the UPFA ticket only if he is made the Chief Ministerial candidate as proposed by the Socialist Alliance which supports the government He is also expected to lead the Ratnapura District list of the UPFA if he contests. more..

PC polls will disrupt GCE A/L exam: UNP

June 21 (SAMN) The main Opposition UNP charged in Parliament Friday the Provincial Council election scheduled for August this year would disrupt the GCE A/L Examination. The party called on the government to hold the election after the exam. UNP MP for Moneragala District, Ranjith Maddumabandara speaking at the debate on University of Vocational Training Bill in the House yesterday said the A/L examination was to be held in two phases this year thus putting the students into great difficulty. more..

Workshop on Nanotechnology

June 21 (SAMN) Technological innovation vital for wealth generation, said University of Surrey Advanced Technology Institute Director Professor Ravi Silva. He was addressing a workshop on Exploring Opportunities in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology organised by the Postgraduate Institute of Science (PGIS), University of Peradeniya and the Institute of Engineers, Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation. more..

New Chief Govt. Whip fully committed

June 21 (SAMN) Chief Government Whip Minister Dinesh Gunawardena Friday said he will be fully committed to uphold Parliament traditions and fulfil expectations of Parliamentarians. The Minister assuming duties as the new Chief Government Whip in his office said President Mahinda Rajapaksa proposed his name to the post of Chief Government Whip which was unanimously endorsed. “I am fully dedicated to take up the responsibility of this post by safeguarding Parliament traditions. more..

Dulles freezes Rs 6 billion SLTB fund pending audit

June 21 (Island) "Had I turned a blind eye to what he called the mega rip-off, the account would have been zero in few years," he said, emphasizing that the retiring workers would have to go empty handed. He placed the number of workers likely to be affected at 1,600. The National List MP, said that his colleague Lasantha Alagiyawanne, in charge of the road passenger transport portfolio felt that immediate action was needed to tackle the problem. more..

Tigers lose more ground on Mannar front

June 21 (Island) The army made further progress on the Mannar front over the weekend as the LTTE continued to retreat in the face of stepped-up attacks. Army headquarters said that troops evicted LTTE cadres from a heavily fortified bunker line about 500 meters south of Adampan Tank Sunday morning. "Defenders abandoned their position after a brief fight," a senior army spokesman said. Troops recovered two two LTTE bodies (female) and two T 56 assault rifles. more..

Police directed to probe threats against journalists

June 21 (DN) Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena has requested Prime Minister to direct the IGP to launch immediate investigations into the alleged death threats made against 27 journalists by getting necessary information regarding them from members of the Diplomatic Corps through the Foreign Affairs Ministry. He said that this request is made in addition to the discussion on the matter he had with the Prime Minister in Parliament recently. more..

Compensation for Lankans killed in Doha

June 21 (DN) The five Sri Lankan expatriate workers who were killed in yesterday's fire at a apartment in Doha, Qatar will be compensated by the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE). A SLBFE spokesman said these employees are entitled to compensation as they have been registered with the SLBFE before leaving the country. Another 37 Sri Lankans whose belongings were destroyed by the fire were yesterday lodged in a nearby hotel by the Sri Lankan embassy in Qatar, more..

'Maintain food prices at affordable levels'

June 22 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has directed the relevant authorities to take immediate initiatives to maintain prices of essential commodities at affordable prices for the ordinary masses, as a matter of top priority. The President have these instructions at the Food Security and Cost of Living Control Sub Committee meeting held at Temples Trees Yesterday (20). The President also stressed the need to maintain buffer stocks of essential food commodities. more..

Donors contribute to a Water Project in Ampara

June 22 (GDI) A water distribution project for the Ampara Districts of the Eastern Province is to get underway with the assistance of USAID and the international relief organization AmeriCares. A Memorandum of Understanding with regard to the project was signed between the two organizations on June 17. The completed project will serve an estimated 2,400 inhabitants in the Arugam Bay area by distributing clean and safe drinking water directly to the people. more..

Qatar drafts law to protect rights of migrant workers

June 22 (GDI) Qatar's advisory council has approved a draft law that seeks to protect the rights of migrant domestic workers and improve their working conditions, Gulf Times Daily newspaper reported on Tuesday. The 26-article law will be submitted to Qatar's ruler Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani for final approval, the newspaper reported after an Advisory Council meeting on Monday. "The council is like a parliament but cannot legislate. more..

'Minor parties to blame for Constitutional Council impasse'

June 22 (GDI) Minor parties are solely responsible for not appointing a member to represent the Constitutional Council and thereby for not establishing the assembly, said Minister of Minister of Constitutional Affairs and National Integration, D.E.W. Gunasekara. Minister Gunesekara said that the President, Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader had named their representatives for the next tenure of the assembly at the end of the first three year term of the body on March 22, 2005. more..

It’s the war that is stupid!

June 22 (TC) It would be stupid to lose sight of any war, but the bigger folly is not to realize that war itself is stupid. War is not a public good; it never was. It may have been a necessary evil in times past, but nothing less than avoidable madness at the present time. It creates more problems than it solves, and wherever it is being waged it is causing public misery while producing private or corporate gain. more..

Rise in the need for liberation in Sri Lanka

June 22 (FI) The specific meaning of the term ‘liberation’ depends on the causes that led to its need and the prevailing conditions that make the victim/victims feel there is no early redemption. However, it has an imprecise and insincere meaning when it is used merely as a handy tool in politics. Even recognized political parties are playing the ‘liberation’ card in the same way as ‘democracy’ while indulging in actions that undermine its values. more..

LTTE front group claims responsibility for Sri Lankan bombings

June 22 (wsws) The Ellalan Force, a front organisation of the separatist LTTE, has claimed responsibility for a series of bomb attacks on buses and trains in southern Sri Lanka in recent weeks. These blasts have killed 34 innocent civilians and injured hundreds, including in Colombo. The pro-LTTE Tamilnet published a report on June 10 quoting a statement issued by the Ellalan Force, more..

The cries of the Northern fishermen

June 22 (LG) "Sorry! We are unable to give details of the sources of the following quotations, not even the places or the names of the fishing societies, for fear of reprisals, even fatal ones," the Justice and Peace organisation based in Jaffna says in a statement. According to the Statement, “we are unable to state even how and where we obtained the following statements.” However we give our assurance that the grievances are really true and expressed by those concerned. more..

The life and untimely death of my sister, Maheswary Velautham

June 22 (LG) Maheswary Acca was born on 17th July 1953. Our father was a bus driver attached to the Ceylon Transport Board (CTB) and our mother was a teacher at Karaveddy Saraswathy Vidyalaya. We were ten children in our family, seven sisters and three brothers. As the first seven children were daughters, my parents kept trying for further children until they had a boy, the eighth, which was me. Maheswary (Mahes) Acca was the third in our family. more..

Auto dealer offers free car with Chrysler

June 22 (LBO) A Sri Lankan car dealer is taking a buy-one-get-one-free strategy to sell off luxury vehicles, borrowing a strategy used by fast moving consumer goods makers to sell soap, cosmetics and cereal. In Sri Lanka inflation is at the highest level in its history touching 30 percent and interest rates are over 20 percent, with fuel prices also rising to dizzy heights. "Unbelievable Offer: "Free" Tata Xeta Car worth Rs. 1,740,000/- with each new Jeep 4x4 & Chrysler Grand Voyager from Dimo's," more..

Sri Lanka government urged to respect media rights

June 22 (LBO) Twenty nine media organisations around the world have urged the United Nations to put pressure on the Sri Lankan government to protect journalists in the island. The organisations affiliated to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said in a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that journalists in Sri Lanka had been receiving threats and had been abused by the authorities. more..

366 trade unions to join strike on July 10

June 22 (LD) Three hundred and sixty six trade unions in the state and public sectors will stage a massive work stoppage on July 10th in a continuing campaign to press for a pay hike and several other demands, Chairman of the National Trade Union Centre K.D. Lal Kantha says. The first stage of the fight for demands of workers was held on June 01st and poster campaigns and protest rallies are taking it forward, he said. more..

OPA divided over probes against professional misconduct

June 22 (LD) A decision by the Organization of Professional Associations (OPA) to investigate reported involvement of its members in questionable privatizations of state enterprises is facing sabotage from its own ranks, ‘Ravaya’ says. The alleged offenders, who are members of OPA affiliates, are attempting to disable the committee of inquiry that has been tasked with probing professionals who have acted in breach of accepted ethics and the OPA constitution, more..

Delays in unloading oil shipment led to fuel price hike?

June 22 (LD) Unprecedented increases in fuel prices have been prompted by inefficient administration that has led to an undue delay in unloading oil shipments and the state having to pay Rs. 100 million as damages to shipping companies during a four month period, ‘Irida Lanka’ has reported. Six oil tankers, two ships carrying 50,000 metric tonnes of refined diesel and five vessels with 135,000 MT of crude had brought supplies to more..

A Black Tiger and the LTTE Handler arrested in Colombo

June 22 (AT) The Special Police Team arrested on 20th September Sstanisloas Kowananan, a dangerous Black Tiger terrorist operative in Wellawatte, Colombo. He is said to be from Trincomalee. The Special Police team also recovered C4 high power explosives nine and half kilos, one and half kilos of steel balls, detonators, batteries and chargers. These ingredients, the devil-mixed, were used for the manufacture of all types of bombs, more..

Winds of Change?

June 22 (AT) A great deal of interest has been caused by what the media has termed an ‘unannounced visit’ by a high level Indian delegation to Sri Lanka. Consisting of Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon, Defence Secretary Vijay Singh and National Security Advisor, MK Narayanan the team reached Colombo on Friday and will be here for two days. Though the purpose is said to be to discuss bilateral issues and the SAARC Summit, the dominant belief is that there is more to it that meets the eye. more..

Diminishing Returns

June 22 (AT) The civil war in Sri Lanka is becoming bloodier by the day. The casualties are now in the hundreds per encounter as the Sri Lankan armed forces are creeping up to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam stronghold in what is known as the Wanni area south of the Jaffna peninsula. Large casualties among security forces are to be expected given that the LTTE cadres are now conducting trench warfare where the attacking force will have to buy its way with blood. more..

India against military solution to Sri Lanka's conflict

June 22 (IANS) A high-powered Indian delegation led by National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan, which held talks with President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo Saturday, has expressed hope that Sri Lanka would find a political solution and eschew military solutions to the island nation's protracted ethnic conflict, a top official here said. Accompanying Narayanan at the meeting with Rajapaksa were Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh. more..

“India got the oil tanks, but Tamils - nothing”

June 22 (TW) Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentary group leader R. Sampanthan, who on Saturday met the visiting Indian top officials at India House in Colombo, told the delegation that “Tamils believed all these years that they were the natural allies of India, but it is not so today.” Even the human rights violations against Tamils, abductions and genocides are largely ignored by India. “We feel very sad about this,” he said. more..

Jaffna Parliamentarian R. M. Emaam appeals to negotiate for Peace

June 22 (TW) Full Text of Speech delivered by R. M.Emaam MP in Sri Lanka Parliament on Jun 5, 2008: Hon. Presiding Member, with your permission, I wish to express my views on the present situation in the country. I always listen to the customary speech of the Hon. Prime Minister during the extension of the Emergency. His speech indicates that there is no room for peace. Once in this house, an ex-Finance Minister, the Hon. Ronnie de Mel, said that peace on knees is better than war on feet. more..

Politico Vs. Celebrity: The ordeal of Anarkali Akarsha

June 22 (SL) High-handedness and abuse of power - traits that come as naturally to today's ruling politicos as a breath of fresh air - were on full display last Tuesday as ruling party Western Provincial Councillor Duminda Silva followed his ex-girlfriend around Colombo, not only trying to abduct her and threatening to kill her if she refused to go along, but also to marry her by force. What is ironic is that had this been any other damsel in distress, Silva would have succeeded. more..

Govt's fight on the international front and UNP's internal battles

June 22 (SL) At a time when political intensity is building yet again as the country prepares for polls in two provinces, heightening the tension last week was the sudden visit of a high-powered Indian delegation last Friday morning which also gave rise to further speculation something was brewing in the political and military fronts. The three powerful Indian bureaucrats, Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon, Defence Secretary Sri Vijay Singh and National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan arrived on Friday around 11.30 am by a special flight and were flown to the capital, Colombo by VIP chopper. more..

Basil’s tough talk and MR’s damage control

June 22 (SL) The provincial councils of the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provinces were dissolved by the government after closely studying the results of several surveys. Many in government believe that unlike the eastern provincial poll, the outcome of these two PC elections would play a very decisive role in stabilising the government. As President Mahinda Rajapakse has realised the importance of the elections, he has decided to play the main role in the campaign for the two PCs. more..

Borrowing spree continues

June 22 (SL) Amidst unstable economic conditions and warnings from credit rating agencies that the country was overly dependent on debt, the Government of Sri Lanka is continuing with its borrowing spree. The Central Bank recently announced that the country had raised US$ 150 million through a syndicate loan arranged by Standard Chartered Bank. The bank was awarded the deal on March 7. In April, Fitch Ratings downgraded Sri Lanka's sovereign ratings by a notch to B+ due to more..

A little good news for the UNP

June 22 (LB) Imtiyaz Bakeer Markar last week participated at a meeting of the UNP working committee after a long spell. Imtiyaz had left active politics and cut his ties with the UNP some time ago but he was appointed a member of the working committee again after he accepted Ranil Wickremesinghe’s invitation. Imtiyaz had distanced himself from the UNP because of a deep disappointment with the party leadership. It was at his recent book launch that Ranil said Imtiyaz should be an engine in the UNP. more..


June 22 (LB) Outspoken UNP MP Lakshman Seneviratne, who defended Ranil Wickremesinghe’s leadership on two previous occasions when MPs wanted to oust him from the party leadership, is now spearheading a ‘revolt’ and agitating for reforms in the party. Excerpts of an interview with Seneviratne: Ln: News reports said some MPs are rebelling against Ranil. Your name was implicated. What is the truth? LS: Rebelling is a wrong word. more..

Salary hike not on the cards

June 22 (LB) The deadlock over a salary dispute between the National Salaries Commission and Teacher Union Federations is expected to bring this year’s marking of Advanced Level and Ordinary Level answer scripts to a complete standstill, as teachers have threatened to resort to further trade union action. Joseph Stalin, Chairman of the Ceylon Teachers Union and chief organizer of the Trade Unions Federation stressed that all union members have agreed to stop correcting answer scripts, if their demand for a pay hike is not met. more..

Tigers dig for tough fight in Mullaitivu

June 22 (LB) The LTTE is digging deep for a protracted battle in the jungles of Mullaitivu, a terrain once thought to be impregnable. The 59 Division operating ahead of their original defence lines in Janakapura and Ethawetunu wewa continued to inch further into the Tiger hinterland triggering fierce battles north of Janakapura, last week, but, military officials anticipate a heavier resistance as troops move past Thanimurukku. From there onwards lies a vast paddy field, a flat open terrain where approaching troops and armour are visible to a distance. more..

Sri Lanka in drive to arrest thousands of army deserters

June 22 (LNP) Sri Lanka`s military has launched a campaign to track down and arrest up to 12,000 army deserters who failed to take advantage of a government amnesty, a spokesman said on Sunday. `About 5,000 responded to the general amnesty we had from May 2 to the 30th,` Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said. `We are now trying to get at 11,000 to 12,000 deserters who did not respond to the amnesty.` more..

Tiger bomb squad nabbed by CID

June 22 (LNP) The Special Bureau of the CID arrested six LTTE suspects, including a bomb expert and an ex-employee attached to the Colombo office of a popular Tamil MP who regularly espouses the cause of human rights violations, disappearances and abductions in Sri Lanka. The suspects, assigned by the LTTE to explode bombs targeting innocent civilians were arrested at Wattala, the defence sources told the Sunday Observer. more..

PM targeted for assassination at drama festival on Friday?

June 22 (LNP) Police are investigating a possible assassination attempt on Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake at Friday's annual state drama awards ceremony at the BMICH after the arrest of an undercover LTTE operative who had an invitation to the event. The former Director of the National Film Corporation (NFC) has received the invitation to the event from the Cultural Affairs Ministry. more..

Govt. to spend billions for SAARC

June 22 (SAMN) While the masses tighten their belts, staggering in the face of the skyrocketing cost of living, the forthcoming SAARC summit is set to cost Sri Lanka at least a whopping Rs. 3 billion, informed sources said. According to the initial estimates drawn up Friday, the summit, which was shifted from Kandy to Colombo due to security and infrastructure related issues, will cost the country a staggering Rs. 2,889,180, 332. more..

SL an illegal firearm haven

June 22 (SAMN) Nearly 35,000 illegal firearms are in circulation in Sri Lanka, disclosed South Asian Small Arms Network (Sri Lanka) (SASA Net) Chairman Kingsley Rodrigo, said, pointing out that the situation was exacerbating the prevailing insecurity in the country. He said a majority of those who hold the illegal firearms were the youth. It is estimated that more than 1,000 civilians die annually due to incidents related to illegal firearms. more..

Power crisis over CEB chief

June 22 (SAMN) The ongoing work-to-rule campaign by Ceylon Electricity Board engineers is causing power interruptions for several hours in many areas but Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne vowed Saturday he would not yield to their demands. Power supplies were interrupted in the Puttalam district, Horowupotana, Trincomalee, Peradeniya, Kandy, Minuwangoda, Maho, Mihintale and other areas for four to five hours Saturday. more..

GSP+ loss will cost public as well

June 22 (SAMN) Sri Lankan industries, outside the garments sector, say the loss of the European Union’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP+) duty free export scheme will dearly cost the public as well as businesses. As it is, public funds have already been invested to build export capacity to use the GSP+. The industries using the scheme have also increased, linking the trade scheme with incomes and jobs of thousands. more..

Storm in a tea cup - Tissa Attanayake

June 22 (SO) The UNP was in a turmoil during the course of the week with a barrage of criticisms from its own stalwarts who were attacking UNP Leader and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe for his poor performance in the recent hustings. While the party’s ‘young blood’ holding critical views about the leadership, the senior UNP politicians endorsed Wickremesinghe as still the ideal person for leadership as the UNP was facing a dearth of politicians who can win the confidence of the majority and the international community. more..

Dazzling dragonflies

June 22 (SO) The Marsh Dancer gracefully does a double twist as it lands on a fern leaf and out of the corner of our eyes, we see the bright orange Spin-tufted Skimmer resting near the bark of a tree. Sauntering down the trail leading to the 'Maha Devi Temple', we spot an Asian Pintail encircling its prey with sheer dexterity and we were breathless to observe the Blue Ringtail damselfly attracting its mate. more..

Lankan turns out unique clay water filter

June 22 (SO) Water is a precious commodity and it is used for a variety of purposes mostly to quench thirst, but just think of the consequences if a person drinks unhygienic water? He will be prone to many water borne diseases in addition to kidney ailments. According to estimates most poor people don’t have access to clean drinking water which makes them more prone to disease and this situation will aggravate in the coming years with water becoming a scarce commodity. more..