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New Bill soon to ensure maximum productivity of lands

June 22 (SO) A new Agrarian Services Bill will be introduced shortly, aiming at maximum productivity of lands and the welfare of farmers and the landlords. Agriculture Development and Agrarian Services Minister Maithripala Sirisena said that the cultivation drive of the Government Api Vavamu Rata Nagamu project envisages the maximum productivity of lands. He said that 23 essential food items which are imported at a cost of one hundred billion rupees can be cultivated successfully in Sri Lanka. more..

Baiz at it again, threatens CEB workers

June 22 (NS) A Deputy Minister is alleged to have threatened Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) workers attached to the Puttalam office yesterday over the telephone, using abusive language over a power failure in the area. Most areas in Puttalam suffered from an electricity disruption last morning and, due to the work to rule campaign by engineers attached to the CEB, it had taken more time than usual to restore power to the areas. more..

Umma to do a wettu?

June 22 (NS) After severing her connections with the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) last Tuesday (17), Gampaha District Parliamentarian Anjan Umma is very likely to join the Wimal Weerawansa-led National Freedom Front (NFF) in the coming weeks. “Anjan Umma contacted us through one of our MPs and has requested to meet us next week and we believe that she would join us,” said NFF Leader Weerawansa. more..

After Ranil?

June 22 (NS) The country’s major opposition party, the United National Party (UNP) is at it again. After yet another election defeat-at the Eastern Provincial Council polls-there are calls for its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to step down. It is a now familiar scenario with a predictable outcome: Wickremesinghe wriggles out of a tight corner, appoints a committee to tide over the issue and lives to fight another day-until he loses the next election! more..

NFF will govern nation by 2018-Wimal

June 22 (NS) The National Freedom Front (NFF) Leader MP Wimal Weerawansa recently came up with a plan to set up an All Party Defense Committee to ensure public safety. In an already highly militarised environment, many aspects of the programme including strengthening the existing civil defense committee and the establishment of a civil intelligence wing have sparked off controversy. more..

Ranil digs in his heels, chairs 5-member nomination committee

June 22 (Island) Signalling that he wouldn’t give in to increasing internal pressure to step down, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Friday appointed a five-member nomination board under his headship to select candidates to contest forthcoming elections to North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provinces. Nominations will open on June 27 and close on July 4. Party sources said Wickremesinghe had accommodated party Chairman Rukman Senanayake, General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, National organiser S. B. Dissanayake and D. M. Swaminathan in the committee. more..

Police accuse UNP MP of "hit and run’’

June 22 (Island) Police said Dr. Jayalath Jayawardene Friday morning ignored police signal to stop his Mercedes Benz on the Battaramulla main road. "He was driving a black Mercedes Benz without number plates. When police blocked his vehicle after a brief chase, he identified himself as an MP and drove away," a police official said. According to him, the Benz had knocked the hand of the Sub Inspector who stopped the vehicle as it sped off. more..

SriLankan captain’s blunder causes embarrassment

June 22 (Island) The one-time senior manager in charge of flight operations of SriLankan Airlines has come under fire for a faux pas, which caused a lot of embarrassment, when he flew President Mahinda Rajapakse for the mini Commonwealth Summit in London recently. The captain had opened the cockpit window on the left side when the aircraft touched down at Heathrow and hurriedly put out the Sri Lankan flag with the Presidential ensign, but the flag had apparently slipped and fallen on to the tarmac, more..

Navy denies TamilNet report on death of 15 naval recruits

June 22 (Island) Navy headquarters yesterday denied a TamilNet report posted on June 20 which claimed the deaths of 15 recruits in the Delft Island. "An absolute lie," Commander D. K. P. Dassanayake told The Sunday Island, dismissing the assertion that Delft was being used as a training facility. The report headlined ‘Mysterious death of 15 young SLN recruits in Delft’ was definitely part of their propaganda, he said. more..

Indian heavyweights here for what?

June 22 (ST) A high-powered three-member delegation from India arrived in Colombo on Friday in a special Air Force flight. It comprised National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh. If the visit was largely secretive, so were the wide ranging issues they discussed with both President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother, Defence Secretary, Lt. Col. (retd.) Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. more..

Teachers divided on union action

June 22 (ST) The Ceylon Teachers’ Union, which has broken away from an alliance of other teacher unions on the issue of salary anomalies, has asked its members to refrain from doing any extra duties outside their core classroom duties until the salary anomalies are completely rectified. The trade union action means that teachers will refuse to be involved in all school support services and other duties. more..

School lifts suspension order on minister’s son

June 22 (ST) A school drama centering on the alleged misconduct of a student of Royal College, Colombo, has come to an abrupt close. The school has withdrawn a suspension order on Ramith Rambukwella, son of Cabinet minister and defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella, which had banned the student from taking part in school extra-curricular activities for one month. This decision follows a visit to the Royal College principal’s office by Upali Keppetipola, who has described himself as an adviser to the Minister. more..

Speculation rife over visit of high-level Indian delegation

June 22 (ST) A high-level Indian delegation was here to thrash out issues that are of relevance to both countries and the visit is not directed at addressing any single issue, The Sunday Times learns. There has been no official public comment from either side about the unannounced two-day visit which began on Friday but there has been speculation that it was related to the country’s national issue. more..

Killings, abductions mar Batticaloa

June 23 (BBC) Four people, including two police offices were found dead in Batticaloa on Sunday, police said. A police constable and a junior officer of Special Task Force (STF) were killed in a claymore explosion at Kaludawala in the Kaluwanchikudi police division. A civilian has sustained injuries at the incident. Nine policemen were killed in Batticaloa since the completion of the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) elections, in May. more..

UN urged to protect Lanka press

June 23 (BBC) Media watchdogs all over the world have urged United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, to persuade Sri Lanka government to withdraw statements threatening media freedom. Thirty one media press freedom organisations representing Twenty one countries have informed Mr. Moon of the 'alarming situation' is Sri Lanka with regard to the freedom of expression. The recent statements by the Defence Ministry and Sri Lanka army commander, Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka, the letter says, have put journalists in 'grave danger'. more..

Sri Lanka tea board to tighten laws on exports

June 23 (LBO) The Sri Lanka Tea Board is seeking new laws to tighten quality control on exports and prevent shipments of what are considered teas below a certain minimum standard, a senior official said. Sri Lanka Tea Board chairman Lalith Hettiarachchi said national legislation was required to enforce the ISO 3720 standard on tea exports. Major tea producing countries last month agreed to stick to ISO 3720 as a minimum quality level to prevent oversupply from depressing prices, more..

Sri Lanka power engineers say talks successful

June 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's power engineers are to formally decide on ending their work-to-rule campaign Monday following successful talks with President Mahinda Rajapakse yesterday, an official said. The Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union (CEBEU) started trade union action last week, seeking the removal of chairman Udayasri Kariyawasam and duty-slashed car concessions. more..

Mass Demonstration held in Toronto against LTTE

June 23 (LG) Hundreds of Sri Lankan Canadians gathered in Toronto today to say thanks to Canadian Government’s decision to ban World Tamil Movement (WTM), a front organization of LTTE in Canada. This demonstration reflects the anger Sri Lanka Canadians had for a long time towards illegal fund raising activities of LTTE in Canada. According to a report issued by Human Rights Watch, LTTE front organizations such as WTM use intimidation and threats to collect money from Sri Lankan Canadians for its war in Sri Lanka. more..

May the memory light up your heart

June 23 (LG) Mervyn de Silva, once Editor of the Daily News died four years ago, Sunday. Do we, the aging few who have survived the years have tears for him or exult in the memory of the company of an exceptional man we recall with a chuckle. It is a bit of both and emotions in between. I knew him in the late forties at Royal College as one of the very few boys who had a fine sensibility, acquired naturally for good English writing. In that sense he was teacher's pet. more..

The characteristics of a true Buddhist

June 23 (LG) The population of Sri Lanka is nearly twenty million. A majority of this number reckons Buddhism as their religious belief. Time is opportune now to scrutinize as to why they identify themselves as Buddhists. In our birth certificates there is a blank to be filled where we have to insert the name of our religion. In our parents’ birth certificates if this blank is filled by inserting the word “Buddhist” the same is repeated in our birth certificate too. more..

Sri Lankan Maid in Middle East

June 23 (LG) I see you upset. What’s the matter? Mother’s Day is your day. It has passed, but they didn’t honor you. Shame on them for their short-sightedness. The holiday is for them only because of their genetic supremacy which obsesses them and decays their minds. You’re standing alone on the balcony. Why? Did they impose deadly isolation on you? This holiday is for you. You left your family and children and came to land of cedars and trifles to make a living. more..

Ranil and Chandrika declare war on the Security Forces

June 23 (LG) The global war on terrorism has taken an unexpected turn. In Iraq, for instance, the light of optimism is breaking through the clouds of pessimism that darkened the skies of President George Bush. The London Economist, which is no friend of Bush or his war in Iraq, wrote under the heading, Iraq starts to fix itself: “The people are still suffering monstrously, but Iraq is doing far better that it was a few months ago.” more..

Probe on massacre of policemen - justice or mudslinging?

June 23 (LG) News reports last week said that the Rajapakse government has indicated its intention of probing the massacre of hundreds of policemen (estimates varying from 400 to 700), in the Eastern Province in 1990. The announcement is said to have been made by the Media Centre for National Security. However what the many 'official' information sources of the government - Defence Ministry web site, Government Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella and other spokesmen say, often differ. more..

WPF will never support terrorism – Mano Ganeshan

June 23 (LD) In a letter to the IGP, leader of the Western Peoples Front, Mano Ganeshan has stressed that his party would never support any act of terrorism. The letter says that a man, recently arrested by the police, Nadaraja Sivaraja, came to the WPF office as a party member, and never a wage from the party. It was later learnt that Sivaraja, who was reportedly abducted by a group in a white-coloured van, was being detained by the police, the letter adds. more..

'Let’s not allow PNM to be subdued by communalism' – Ven. Dhambara Amila Thero

June 23 (LT) Ven. Dhambara Amila Thero, Senior lecturer and eminent archeologist is a Member of the National Executive Committee of the Patriotic National Movement (PNM), its Publishing Secretary and Member of the Committee of Pioneers of Manel Mal Movement (MMM). This is a translation of an interview Ven. Dhambara Amila Thero had with ‘Lanka Irida Sangrahaya.’ more..

'The path followed by Mahinda is the same undemocratic path followed by JR'

June 23 (LT) By not appointing the Constitutional Council, dissolving provincial councils for their petit interests and suppressing the media Mahinda Rajapakse government is trudging on the same undemocratic path JR took said Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Member of the Political Bureau of the JVP. Making the keynote address at the ceremony held to celebrate National Student Heroes’ Day organized by Socialist Students’ Union at more..

The LTTE TV Tharishanam goes off the air from today onwards

June 23 (AT) Tharishanam TV (Revelation) another Tamil pay channel of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam operating from London, to go off the air from today ownwards. The LTTE's international propaganda arm is expected to suffer a severe blow when Tharisanam TV is ultimately closed down - thus ending LTTE’s TV and other broadcast activities in Europe completely, except for the IBC Tamil radio broadcast from London. more..

LTTE to train Muslim youths in the East: Thamilenthi in Amparai for groundwork

June 23 (AT) What is S. Thamilenthi, the Head of the LTTE Financial Division doing in Amparai? This is a million dollar question. Asian Tribune learnt that he has been seen moving around in group, in some Muslim villages in the Amparai district. Also along with him people has seen Kalairupan, Head of LTTE Pistol Unit from Vanni. According to report reaching Asian Tribune increased activities of LTTE cadres reported in Muthur. more..

Hayley’s group building a wind-power farm from strong gusts of Indian Ocean

June 23 (AT) In its continued effort to produce “green energy” non dependent on fossilized imported oil, Sri Lanka’s Hayley’s Group is currently building a wind power farm on the Western coast of Sri Lanka, the company has announced. The company’s energy sector Chief, Mervyn de Silva said, "A 10 MW wind power plant is being built at Nirmalapura at Kalpitiya in Puttlam District now to augment Hayley’s already existing green energy power generating plants like the Hydropower stations." more..

TNA’s charge against India

June 23 (Hindu) At least 15 LTTE cadres, two soldiers and two police personnel were killed in fighting in the north and the east in the last 24 hours, the military claimed on Sunday. The Defence Ministry said the “counter-terror offensives aimed at liberating” Wanni continued as troops moved further ahead, crushing “terror defences” in the Jaffna, Vavuniya, Welioya and Mannar battlefronts. more..

UPFA Nomination lists for PC election by next week

June 23 (GDI) Final Nomination lists of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) for the upcoming election in the Sabaragamuwa and the North Central provinces will be announced by the end of next week, UPFA Secretary, Susil Premajayantha said. According to the Secretary, the UPFA will give nominations to all members of the previous Sabaragamuwa and North Central Provincial Councils. more..

Gama Neguma to develop rural projects

June 23 (GDI) The Ministry of Nation Building and Infrastructure Development has allocated an impressive quota of funds under the Jathika Saviya and Gama Neguma for 2008 national programs for District Secretaries to initiate 9,243 projects to develop 14,000 villages. Ministry sources reveal that the projects will be implemented for rural livelihood development, social development and infrastructure development in selected villages. more..

Tamil gang members convicted in sword crime

June 23 (LNP) Seven members of a Sri Lankan Tamil gang led by a heinous criminal named Psycho who by using a Samurai type sword left another Tamil man s profusely bleeding hand hanging from his wrist, were convicted by a criminal court of the Old Bailey. Judge Richard Hawkins QC said sentencing will be done July 18 after deliberations to decide whether the gang members are so dangerous to be locked up indefinitely. more..

Lankan heart surgeons on par with best in world

June 23 (LNP) World renowned US Cardiac Surgeon Dr. Jeremy R. Torstveit identified Sri Lanka as being on par with best in the world when it came to open heart surgery on children. The two time Nobel Peace prize nominee on his 25th visit to the country attributed the success to selfless dedication and commitment by both local doctors and authorities. Dr. Torstveit said the children s heart surgery has progressed beyond anything I could have imagined since my first visit to Sri Lanka in 1991. more..

When a visit assumes invasion proportions

June 23 (LNP) Friday`s visit by a high-powered Indian delegation has caused imagination of many to run riot in diplomatic, political and media circles. It is being given different interpretations. Some observers have claimed India has sent a strong message to the Sri Lanka government that no military solution should be attempted for the conflict and human rights violations must cease forthwith. more..

Kingswood clinch Singer Shield

June 23 (LNP) Kingswood College, Kandy crowned themselves with glory when they regained the Schools Singer Shield after a lapse of two years when they beat Trinity College by 12 points (1 goal, 1 try) to 5 (1 try) in the final match of the Schools Singer Shield Division One Segment A rugby tournament played at the Bogambara stadium in Kandy yesterday before a large crowd. At half time Kingswoodians led 12-0. more..

LTTE air raid plans uncovered

June 23 (SAMN) An LTTE plan to launch air raids in Colombo by bringing in dismantled aircraft and assembling them in Yatiyantota in the Kegalle area has been uncovered by police. SSP Yatiyantota Wilfred Mahanayake made this disclosure at a workshop to educate the estate sector in the area on security. He also noted the air force had noticed some mysterious aircraft flying in the area before and asked people to report any such activity to the police. more..

SL child slaves for world fashion store

June 23 (SAMN) A BBC programme to be aired today exposes how Sri Lankan children, some as young as 11 years, at a Tamil Nadu refugee camp were being used to stitch clothes for a huge fashion store in Britain. Primark has already sacked three of its suppliers last week after an investigation for the BBC's Panorama and The Observer uncovered children labouring in Indian refugee camps to produce some of its cheapest garments. more..

Demoralising send-off for cricketers

June 23 (SAMN) Sri Lanka’s cricketers left for the Asia Cup in Pakistan Sunday as a disappointed and demoralised bunch as they were afforded a lukewarm farewell last morning at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) headquarters where only three top SLC officials turned up to bid them good bye. Though the Sri Lanka cricketers are usually given a morale boosting huge farewell before an overseas tour, only SLC Chief executive Duleep Mendis and more..

SL in World’s 100 Ultimate Escapes

June 23 (SAMN) A Sri Lankan owned Boutique Hotel chain has placed the country on the world map of Luxury Travel. Spanning more than 40 countries on six continents, the international luxury world’s “100 Ultimate Escapes” have been selected with River House, Balapitiya making the list of Robb Report Luxury Resorts, a special annual publication from the editors of Robb Report magazine. more..

The ‘War’ Moves South

June 23 (LG) Bristling with ironies, and not entirely untouched by the surrealistic was the front page picture in the Island showing a group of deserters from the Raja Rata Rifles walking nonchalantly to the Anuradhapura railway station to take the first train out of town. Posting for the photograph and grinning triumphantly, they looked as if they had just beaten the Yaalpanam gunners at an artillery tournament and brought the trophy home. more..

Fisherman seriously injured in firing

June 23 (LG) Three weeks after the shooting incident that killed Santhiyahu of Rameswaram island, another fisherman from Tamil Nadu was seriously injured when a group of fishermen was fired at, allegedly by the Sri Lankan navy, on Saturday. Four fisherman from Victoria Nagar near Thankachimadam ventured into sea on Saturday morning. Led by Andran (25), they started spreading their nets near the International Maritime Boundary Line more..

Remember Quebec? The Tamils are no different

June 23 (LG) I read your latest announcement about 'Terrorism" and the ban on the World Tamil Movement, a 20 years old cultural organization on Monday. I am surprised to see that the Tories are bringing Canada to what feels like dictatorship. While US Democratic candidates Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton are showing maturity and expressing a willingness to reconsider their "list of terrorists", you are encouraging state terrorism and rewarding human right violations. more..

Jobs for disabled

June 23 (DN) Social Services and Social Welfare Deputy Minister Lionel Premasiri will implement a special programme to seek the contribution of disabled persons to the country’s development activities, Ministry spokesman Supun Ratnayake said. Ratnayake said that under the first phase of this programme, jobs would be provided to around 1,000 disabled persons in various private companies. A large number of private companies have already agreed to provide jobs for the disabled. more..

Students nabbed for robberies in A'pura

June 23 (DN) The Anuradhapura District Crime Branch on Saturday arrested six A/L students who have been involved in the robbery of 16 shops in Anuradhapura. According to Police spokesman, SSP Ranjith Gunasekera, a special police team has made this arrest on a tip off and the students are now being questioned. Police recovered more than 30 mobile phones, SIM cards, three wheeler parts on information provided by these students during interrogations. more..

Fort suicide cadre’s hideout sealed, manager arrested

June 23 (Island) Police investigating a recent LTTE suicide attack on police near the Presidential Secretariat have located the guest house where the suicide cadre had allegedly stayed. "We sealed the guest house over the weekend," Police spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekera told The Island yesterday, revealing investigators had recovered a photocopy of the National Identity Card (NIC) of the suicide cadre from the manager. more..

Herath: Police Intelligence informed of appointment

June 23 (Island) Police probing a possible assassination attempt on the PM 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, said the suspect had been a director of the National Film Corporation during Vijitha Herath’s tenure as the Cultural Affairs Minister in 2004-2005 period. Herath told The Island yesterday that the appointment was made after seeking clearance from Police Intelligence but they had never responded to the query. more..

Former DIG declines to contest election

June 23 (DM) Former Senior DIG, Sirisena Herath had declined to accept the request by UNP to contest the forthcoming elections to the North Central or Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councils. The UNP had earlier decided to field him as a candidate for the election, representing the Anuradhapura District. Informed sources said yesterday Mr. Herath had refused to accept the party’s request since he was not made the chief ministerial candidate for either council. more..

President tells CEB Chairman to step down: Unions

June 23 (DM) In response to the demand put forward by the Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union, President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday directed CEB Chairman Udayasiri Kariyawasam to handover his resignation with immediate effect. The President conveyed his decision to representatives of more than 14 CEB Unions including the Engineers Union when they met the President for discussions. more..

India seeks refuge in Sri Lanka

June 23 (TV) Threatened by the expanding influence of China in its backyard, India has sought to bolster the sale of miltary hardware to Sri Lanka. India is apparently concerned with the growing reliance of Sri Lanka on Pakistan and China for its military requirements. Several aspects of China's military development have surprised US analysts, including the pace and scope of its strategic forces modernization. China's military expansion is already such as to alter regional military balances. more..