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UNP plans to bring down CPC

June 24 (DM) The main opposition UNP was planning to bring down the Central Provincial Council by the end of this year, CP Opposition Leader, W. L. Aluvihare told Daily Mirror yesterday. He said the party would force the government to dissolve the provincial Council by the end of this year. Mr. Aluvihare said the party would also look forward to defeat the budget in November this year. According to Mr. Aluvihare both the ruling UPFA and the opposition have 29 seats each at the council. more..

Tissainayagam further detained

June 24 (DM) Senior journalist J.S. Tissainayagam was further detained yesterday while his counsel insisted that the detention by the TID beyond 90 days was illegal. Colombo Chief Magistrate Nishantha Hapuarachchi reserved the order for June 30 and ordered the TID to produce Mr. Tissainyagama and the other suspects Vetrivel Jesikheren and Malarmadi Vadivel on that date. more..

Food to North direct from S. India

June 24 (Island) In a bid to overcome the shortage of food and offset the prevailing high prices in the North the Government has decided to import food direct to the North from South India. The high cost of transporting food to the North from Colombo has been one of the main causes for the prevailing high prices in the North. Chairman of the Northern Special Task Force Minister Douglas Devananda said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had given him permission to import food items from South India at a meeting yesterday. more..

Rajitha’s help sought to develop the East

June 24 (Island) Chief Minister of the Eastern Province Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan has sought the assistance of Construction Minister Rajitha Senaratne to reconstruct a number of facilities in Batticaloa destroyed during the war. He met the Minister at the Engineering Services Ministry last week and urged him to focus attention on the less developed Batticaloa district as a large number of buildings, including schools, places of worship, government departments, roads and bridges have been devastated. more..

Sri Lanka tea board discourages new cultivations

June 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tea board is not encouraging the expansion of tea cultivation in an effort to prevent over-supply from depressing prices and has warned the industry against being carried away by current high prices. Sri Lanka Tea Board chairman Lalith Hettiarachchi said that although tea prices were now at high levels there was concern that the growth in consumption was not keeping pace with the expansion in production. more..

U.S. Helps Sri Lankan Fishing

June 24 (VoA) The United States Agency for International Development has completed the first of its large-scale tsunami reconstruction activities in Sri Lanka – the revitalization of Hikkaduwa fishing harbor. The harbor provides jobs for four-thousand families in this area, hit hard by the December 2004 tsunami. The project is a key element of USAID’s Sri Lanka Tsunami Reconstruction Program and was developed in partnership with the Ceylon Fishery Harbors Corporation under the aegis of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. more..

The current state of Human Rights in Sri Lanka

June 24 (PISL) A recent article by the Asian Human Rights Commission had some characteristic critiques of the requests for assistance in strengthening Human Rights in Sri Lanka made in our submissions during the Universal Periodic Review. Having heard from Basil Fernando, in a moving private missive, about the fears he entertains, and recognizing that he had some justification for those fears in the experiences he underwent in the seventies and eighties, more..

Hopes and fears mark India's Sri Lanka predicament

June 24 (IANS) India is pushing hard for a broader devolution process in Sri Lanka as it grapples with the strategic and diplomatic challenges arising out of the island's brutal and see-sawing armed conflict. Indian policy makers are of the opinion that Sri Lanka needs to go beyond the 13th amendment to the constitution that devolves powers to provincial councils so as to give the minorities a credible say in governance. more..

Government and UNICEF to tackle nutrition crisis

June 24 (IRIN) For more than 20 years Sri Lanka has been grappling with high rates of under-nutrition among children younger than five, according to health experts. "For a country that has a very good health and educational system, the child nutrition levels are quite paradoxical to the overall situation," Phillippe Duamelle, the country representative for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), told IRIN. more..

Sorting the mess of Sri Lanka’s Education system

June 25 (AT) There have been of late many commentaries on the subject of Sri Lanka’s education. It is admittedly in a disastrous state of affairs made pitiable by the manner in which all its stakeholders seem to shirk their responsibility. An education system that was envied at one time is today wondering what went wrong. Teachers prefer to become “sick” thinking their anomalies will be resolved…. more..

Deepening Political Crisis in Sri Lanka

June 25 (LG) The theme “Deepening Political Crisis in Sri Lanka”, may be an under-statement. The current situation in Sri Lanka is in reality more than just a political crisis. It is a military crisis (that has already caused nearly 70,000 deaths), a crisis of governance (with fairness and equity), a crisis of confidence between the different ethnic groups – all of which threaten the very existence a united and integrated Sri Lanka. more..

Ministerial Committee on media begins sittings

June 25 (GDI) The Ministerial Committee appointed to inquire into problems faced by media personnel when carrying out their duties commenced its activities at the office at BMICH today (24). The committee comprises six Ministers and is vested with full powers to resolve issues pertaining to journalists. Minister Sarath Amunugama speaking at the inauguration of the Committee's activities said that this move was taken to ensure goodwill between the Government and the journalists. more..

20 escape LTTE clutches, seek protection of security forces

June 25 (GDI) Another group of 20 civilians fleeing LTTE controlled areas in Mullaithivu and Malayanwadu have reached the Government controlled area in Kokilai seeking the protection of the security forces today (24). The group comprised of 14 males and 6 females. Three of the females are said to be children. The escapees have informed the security forces that the continuous harassments and the intimidation of the LTTE terrorists compelled them to leave their homes. more..

'Northern Council' with LTTE urged

June 25 (BBC) The high powered delegation that visited Sri Lanka recently urged the government re-start talks with the LTTE, a left-wing party leader says. The General Secretary of the Nawa Nawa Samaja Party (NSSP), Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne, told BBC Sandeshaya that the ‘global capitalism’ is impatient as the government’s war strategy did not bare fruit. The stalemate of the war against the Tamil Tigers in the northern front proves that the LTTE has a mass following among Sri Lanka’s Tamil population, he claims. more..

Mutalif murder suspects acquitted

June 25 (BBC) The judiciary in Sri Lanka has acquitted four suspects arrested on suspicion of helping the murder of a senior Sri Lanka Army (SLA) officer. The Colombo magistrate ordered the police to release four suspects remanded in custody for helping the murder of Major Thuvan Nizam Muthalif. In a report to the magistrate, the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of the police informed that the Attorney General has ruled there was no sufficient evidence to charge the suspects. more..

Panel admits media suspicions

June 25 (BBC) The new ministerial committee appointed to look into threats to media has admitted journalists are suspicious of the intentions of the panel. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has appointed a committee to look into maters pertaining to media freedom in Sri Lanka. Ministers Dalas Alahapperuma, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene, Rajitha Senaratne, Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Rohitha Abeygunawardene and Faizer Mustapha are the members of the ministerial committee. more..

Indian “Trio” Visit and the Colombo SAARC Summit

June 25 (TC) The sudden visit to Sri Lanka last week by a high level three – member delegation from India lasted around 36 hours. The unanticipated mission has brought in its wake a flurry of speculative news items about its aims and objectives. With both sides remaining tight - lipped about disclosing details about the visit the official communiqués have been quite uninformative. It has been the lot of scribes to garner bits and pieces of what transpired from diverse sources and more..

Allrounder Jayasuriya leads Sri Lankan campaign

June 25 (CI) Bangladesh's convincing 96-run win over UAE in their tournament opener will boost their confidence, but over the last year both teams have been desperately searching for success since excellent World Cup campaigns. Sri Lanka reached the final of that tournament, but their form has slumped considerably over the last year - they've lost 12 out of 22 games, while three of their eight wins were against Bangladesh at home. more..

JVP names its chief ministerial candidates

June 25 (LD) The JVP has named its chief ministerial candidates at forthcoming polls for the North Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces. Party MP Wasantha Samarasinghe is the nominee for the NCP, while the national organizer of its Socialist Students Union Chameera Koswatte will contest as the chief candidate for Sabaragamuwa. Mr. Samarasinghe, who is an appointed parliamentarian from the UPFA ticket, is also chairman of the Inter Company Employees Union. more..

Sri Lanka oil strike some years off: official

June 25 (LBO) An offshore oil strike in Sri Lanka is still some years off with opportunities for local business to support a petroleum industry even further away, during the development phase, a senior official said. The country lacks a clear vision for the petroleum sector and private industry should get more involved in the search for oil and provide policy inputs to the government, more..

AI issues update on Journalist detained by Sri Lankan authorities

June 25 (TW) Amnesty International (AI) in an appeal is, calling for detained Sri Lanka Journalist Tissainayagam’s immediate and unconditional release, unless he is charged with a recognizably criminal offense before an independent court. AI is also calling on the authorities to ensure Tissainayagam is not tortured or ill-treated, and that he is allowed unrestricted access to his family, a lawyer of his choice, an independent court and any specialist medical treatment he may require. more..

Eco-tourism saves sri lanka’s elephants

June 25 (AB) Eco-tourism in Sri Lanka is thriving according to the SLTPB as is evident from a series of sustainable tourism projects in the island nation. A case in point is Sri Lanka’s elephant orphanage at Pinnawela which is breeding elephants in captivity in a sprawling 25-acre coconut plantation. “The elephant population in Sri Lanka was being decimated to near extinction by the natural loss of their habitat, the hunting due to the lucrative ivory trade and lack of proper management,” more..

Bodies of fire victims sent to Sri Lanka

June 25 (GT) BODIES of three Sri Lankans who were burnt to death in a fire last Wednesday were flown home last night. Five of the nine occupants of a room were perished in the fire that destroyed everything in their dwelling. Two others had been admitted to the hospital with severe burns while two others escaped by jumping off the window. The mortal remains of Thushitha Ananda Abeywickrama of Ambilipitiya; Roshan Thushitha Kumara of Akurassa and Niula Lakshman Ekanayaka alias Nimal from Chilaw were more..

Lanka to set up religious "peace zones": Rajapaksa

June 25 (PTI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday said the government would set up "peace zones" around sacred places in the country to enable the devotees to perform religious ceremonies without fear. The government would seek to establish 'peace zones' in various parts of the country, the President said after symbolically handing over funds to religious dignitaries of 42 Buddhist Temples, Tamil Kovils, Churches and Mosques at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday. more..

Lankan IOC slashes diesel price after takeover warning

June 25 (IANS) The Lanka Indian Oil Corporation Tuesday decided to bring down the price of diesel by 10 Sri Lankan rupees. Petroleum Minister A.H.M. Fowzie last week warned of takeover of all 153 LIOC outlets if the company did not bring down its diesel price on par with the state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC). 'In view of the advice from the petroleum minister, the Lanka IOC drops the selling price of diesel by Rs.10 per litre to Rs.120 per litre more..

Karunanidhi, Vaiko protest attacks on Indian fishermen

June 25 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressing concern over the Sri Lankan navy repeatedly opening fire on Indian fishermen in the waters between the two countries. A copy of his letter was given to the media here by the chief minister's office. In his letter, Karunanidhi urged the union government to ensure that the 'rights and privileges of the Indian fishermen to carry on their normal occupation of fishing in more..

Govt in the eye of a political storm

June 25 (ML) Last week was a busy one. Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama opened batting by telling the Indian government to keep out of our country’s internal affairs. Not long after, Leader of the House, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told the Lanka Guardian in an interview that the APRC process — which is all the government has to show for its desire for a ‘negotiated settlement’ to the ethnic conflict — was fictitious, and that "it should be changed to conform to the Mahinda Chinthana policy. more..

Vaiko wants Indian PM to boycott SAARC summit

June 25 (ML) Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must boycott the August SAARC summit in Colombo and the Indian government must stop providing military assistance to Sri Lanka, General Secretary, MDMK, insisted in a letter he sent to the Premier on Monday. Noting the recent hush visit to Colombo by a top level delegation led by India’s National Security Advisor, M.K. Narayanan on June 20, more..

TMVP accuses EPDP of extortion

June 25 (ML) The TMVP yesterday accused the armed cadres of the EPDP of stopping civilian vehicles forcibly and compelling them to buy the party newspapers in Batticaloa. TMVP spokesperson Azath Moulana told The Morning Leader that the EPDP cadres forcibly sold the Thinamurasu newspaper published by the EPDP to civilians in several areas of Batticaloa. "This has been going on for several days in the area. Even a person who earns Rs. 200 a day is forced to pay Rs. 20 for the newspaper," he said. more..

UNP warns of kerosene price hike

June 25 (ML) The UNP yesterday warned that the kerosene prices would be jacked up by the government shortly. UNP Spokesperson Gayantha Karunathilake yesterday said that the government’s decision to urge the Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC) to resume kerosene oil distribution was to jack up the prices of locally manufactured kerosene. “It was crystal clear as to why the government has urged the LIOC to resume kerosene oil distribution. more..

Mahinda vows to woo Ranil

June 25 (BL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has vowed to work closely with Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe in sorting out the country’s burning issues. The President made this vow after a religious delegation that met him at his official residence in Fort yesterday, appealed for unity between the ruling party and the main opposition. The local chapter of the World Conference on Religion and Peace that met President Rajapaksa insisted that the series of abductions taking place in the country had a negative impact on more..

BOI Chief Dhammika continues his play in stock market

June 25 (BL) Investor-turned top official, Dhammika Perera, continues to move the Colombo Stock Market, when he yesterday picked up further shares in manufactured-export-rich Hayleys Ltd., increasing his stake to over 11% at a cost of slightly over Rs. 1 billion. His growing thirst for Hayleys shares prompted analysts to speculate of a possible shakeup was midst a company of his, Vallibel Power, also stirring investor interest. more..

OIC, Piliyandala, challenges transfer order

June 25 (BL) Chief Inspector of Police, W.K. Lionel, who claims that he arrested the main suspects of Piliyandala bomb blast, came before Supreme Court yesterday, challenging his transfer from Piliyandala to the Police Headquarters Colombo. Lionel’s legal representatives charged that the transfer was a punishment transfer and requested the court to declare it null and void and direct the respondents to restore him as OIC Piliyandala. more..

Wimal hits back: Launches a book criticising JVP

June 25 (BL) Former Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) strongman and activist Wimal Weerawansa yesterday launched a book criticising his previous party and his reasons for leaving the leftists. The book, titled Naththa Venuwata Aththa, contains Weerawansa’s reasons for leaving the JVP. Present National Freedom Front (NFF) Chairman Weerawansa criticised the JVP at the ceremony held yesterday evening at the Mahaweli Centre. more..

Sri Lanka's forgotten displaced

June 25 (RW) When Mohamed Lateef got married and took over a rice farm, he was looking forward to settling down to a quiet life of farming and raising his family. But just a few months later his dream was shattered. In 1990 the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam forcibly evicted Lateef and 70,000 other Muslims from their homes in northern Sri Lanka, and confiscated most of their possessions. Without knowing where they were headed, these desperate people moved south. more..

Afghanistan accepts invitation for SAARC in Colombo

June 25 (GDI) Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rohitha Bogollagama called on President of the Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai yesterday (24). The discussions between the two parties focused on the need for SAARC to resolutely address the contemporary challenges facing the South Asian region. Towards this end the energy crisis, the rising food prices and the suppression of terrorism were identified as requiring a special focus during the forthcoming SAARC Summit in Colombo. more..

"LTTE must lay down arms, prior to negotiation" – President emphasises

June 25 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa reiterated that the LTTE terrorists should lay down arms if they expect to negotiate with the Government for a political solution to the crisis. "The Government would not hesitate to work with the LTTE if the Tigers were ready to lay down arms," President said. President made these remarks at a discussion held with the religious dignitaries at the President's House yesterday (24). more..

Sri Lanka team named for Beijing Olympics

June 25 (LD) The National Olympic committee has finalized a list of its athletes who would be taking part in the Beijing Olympics this year, reports say. The Sri Lankan team of three men and four women includes Susanthika Jayasinghe, Nadeeka Lakmali, Thilini Jayasinghe, E.M. Senanayake, and Anuruddha Jayasinghe. In addition, the NOC has included Mayumi Raheem and Daniel Lee for the controversial swimming events, reports say. more..

'Nathan could have been apprehended earlier if request for a report on him was not ignored'

June 25 (LT) A report on Kanagasabe Devadasan alias Nathan, the former member of the Board of Directors of National Film Corporation, who has been arrested for suspected terrorist activities, was requested from National Intelligence Services through the Chairman of National Film Corporation but so far it has not been received says Information Secretary of the JVP Vijithe Herath. more..

Troops capture several areas in Mannar

June 25 (LNP) The troops operating in the Mannar front yesterday captured several key locations in the North and North East of Adampan securing Mavilkandal, Minnanirachchan and Marattikannaddi areas, Military sources told the Daily News. At least 10 LTTE cadres were killed in the battle that errupted from early hours of yesterday. Troops captured the Mavilkandal 2.4 Kilometres North of Adampan on the Mannar-Pooneryn road while capturing 700 metres long heavily fortified LTTE defence line in the West of Mavilkandal. more..

Rambukkana Police under scrutiny

June 25 (LNP) The Rambukkana Police is under the scrutiny of the Attorney General s Department and the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) following the revelation of negligence on its part in a case of abduction and rape of a 15-year-old school girl. The police allegedly turned a blind eye to a series of complaints against the suspect by the victim s family since March, 2006 and no action was taken by the Rambukkana Police until the NCPA intervened recently on behalf of the victim to pressure the local police to act. more..

Time for Tamil Nadu to Act

June 25 (LNP) The negative approaches of the International Community towards the Tamil cause in Sri Lanka and towards the Tamil diaspora are allegedly more due to the Indian attitude than due to pressure from the Colombo government. How to expect the IC to back the masses facing genocide, when their brethren in India are not voicing for them? Voicing is not merely holding rallies and making speeches. They will not be counted in an international forum. more..

RAM Ratings cautions government on current economic condition in Sri Lanka

June 25 (LNP) Rating Agency Malaysia Berhad (RAM), Malaysia`s premier credit rating agency yesterday highlighted that Sri Lanka should concentrate more in gaining a political stability which will lead to economic development. RAM's Group Chief Economist Yeah Kim Leng conducting a media workshop for journalists stated that high double-digit inflation would remain a major threat but the anticipated widening of budget deficit and more..

UNP rift deepens, rebels seek change

June 25 (SAMN) A rift within the UNP continued to deepen Tuesday with a group of UNP MPs demanding ‘drastic changes’ to the party constitution ensuring more powers for National Organiser S.B. Dissanayake, Party Chairman Rukman Senanayake and MP Sajith Premadasa. The rebel MPs Dr. Jayalath Jayawardane, Johnston Fernando, Lakshman Senveratne and Ravindra Samaraweera were involved in talks with the committee appointed by the Working Committee to look into the political crisis brewing within the party. more..

78% Lankans say no to shooting

June 25 (SAMN) A majority of Sri Lankans are opposed to the use of firearms but there is much work to be done towards formulating a National Action Plan for a coherent framework to overcome armed crimes and armed violence, a survey released Tuesday said. The National Commission Against Proliferation of Illicit Small Arms (NCAPISA) in a survey on the prevalence of illicit small arms in Sri Lanka said a whopping 78 per cent of the population have expressed an aversion to firearms. more..

Asia Vision award for SLRC

June 25 (SAMN) The Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation wins the Asia Vision Award for the Best News Item of the Month of April surpassing 17 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Asia Vision is the daily news exchange of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU). The award was presented for international handling of breaking news events in the month of April. The major news event was the Welivariya bomb blast that killed Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle. more..

EC wants 2007 electoral lists displayed

June 25 (SAMN) The Commissioner of Elections Dayananda Dissanayake has instructed the Chief Returning Officers (Government Agents) of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kegalle and Ratnapura to display the electoral lists of 2007 for reference of those eligible for postal voting at the forthcoming elections to North-Central and Sabaragamuwa Provinces. PC elections would be held according to the Electoral list for 2007 and that separate lists were on display for members of the security forces and the Police. more..

EPDP Eravur leader arrested in connection with abduction

June 25 (GDI) Clarifying reports that claimed that an EPDP leader of Eravur was in Police custody, the OIC of the Eravur Police alleged that he was detained in connection with the abduction of a businessman. OIC S.B. Rathanayake said that a businessman named Devadas Suresh (31) has been abducted and later assaulted at the Eravur EPDP office. Police investigating the complaint made by family members of Mr. Suresh has taken the suspected into custody for questioning, the OIC added. more..

Minister threatens legal action

June 25 (DN) Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunawardene yesterday said he would go before the Supreme Court to protect consumers if gas companies continue to increase LP gas prices based on the formula recommended by the Court. Commenting on the request for a gas price revision in July, the Minister said legal action was necessary since only the Supreme Court could amend the gas price formula stipulated by it last year following an action filed by gas companies. more..

Jobs in Korea: Battaramulla bogus agency busted

June 25 (DN) A foreign employment agency which managed a lucrative business duping unsuspecting job seekers with the promise of job opportunities in Korea was busted by Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) sleuths yesterday. The raid was carried out on the instructions of SLBFE Chairman Kingsley Ranawaka. According to Ranawaka, the SLBFE has a monopoly on employment opportunities in Korea and private manpower agents have no authority to send migrant workers to that country. more..