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Lankan president finds himself in a blind alley

June 26 (Dawn) Twenty years ago, President Mahinda Rajapakse who was sworn in as the fifth President of Sri Lanka on November 19, 2005, was one of the strongest advocates of human rights, known both locally as well as internationally for his pursuit of justice and media freedom. Once a prominent leader who actively protested against disappearances that took place in the country between 1988 and 1990, he now has to contend with the fact that more..

Sri Lanka military bombs 2 rebel centers; 28 killed in ground clashes

June 26 (AP) Sri Lanka's air force bombed two Tamil Tiger rebel positions in the restive north Thursday, a day after 26 rebels and two soldiers were killed in clashes, the military said. The casualties were the latest in the island's escalating civil war, marked by near-daily airstrikes, sea and ground battles, as well as frequent bombings. The United Nations estimates that 200 civilians have been killed in targeted bombings so far this year. more..

No Indian request to end war against Tigers: Sri Lanka

June 26 (IANS) Refuting allegations in sections of the political and media circles, Sri Lanka has said there was no request from India to stop the military campaign against the Tamil Tigers, a media report said Thursday. Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane said there was no truth in the allegations by the Sinhalese-Marxist JVP that the visit by an Indian delegation led by National Advisor M.K. Narayanan sought to pressure Colombo to stop the war against the LTTE and to go for peace talks. more..

Sri Lanka tsunami survivors revive livelihoods with ILO support

June 27 (LBO) The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Belgian government have helped tsunami survivors in eastern Sri Lanka rebuild their lives through self-employment schemes, a senior official said. The ILO's CB-TREE (community-based training for economic empowerment) methodology has helped restore livelihoods and revival of the local economy of the Amparai district, said Mahinda Madihahewa, secretary to the Ministry of Labour Relations and Manpower. more..

When servants of the people become oppressors

June 27 (GV) In the Republic of Sri Lanka, sovereignty is in the people and is inalienable. We elect a President, Members of Parliament, and Provincial Councilors etc using the powers vested with the people to exercise and enjoy that sovereignty through them. But what is happening today is the reverse. We elect a bunch of people into office and instead of being the servants of the people, which is what they rightfully should be; more..

Putting Indian Delegation's Visit in Perspect

June 27 (FI) The unpublicised two-day visit of a high power Indian delegation consisting of the National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon, and the Defence Secretary Vijaya Singh to Colombo a few days back has touched off a wide range of speculations among Sri Lankan politicians and media. The local establishment initially tried to play down the visit as a routine one, mainly to discuss issues connected with the forthcoming 15th SAARC summit meeting to be held in Colombo. more..

Men allegedly with the backing of police threaten petitioners to withdraw case

June 27 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that four members of a family received death threat by four men allegedly hired by police on 23 June 2008. It is reported that four men threaten the family members to withdraw the case which is currently pending under the Fundamental Rights jurisdiction at the Supreme Court, Negombo. Please intervene in this case and urge the authorities to immediately provide protection for them. more..

Summary of the Cabinet decisions

June 27 (GDI) Cabinet granted approval to a memorandum submitted by Minister of Mass Media and Information, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa to take over the 'Kirindi Oya' farm land adjoined to Jambugaswewa, Joolpallama in Tissamaharama Divisional Secretary's division of Hambantota to set up a "Tele City". In order to minimize the number of imported Tele dramas, film and commercial programmes for the amelioration of the field of Tele-drams and films in Sri Lanka, more..

Don't hold children and their futures to ranson, President tells unions

June 27 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa told representatives of teachers' trade unions today that while they have the right to union action, they should always keep in mind that children represent the future of the country and that nothing should be done to cause harm to them. In particular, he said that teachers should not act in such a way that the dignity of their profession is compromised because this could cause a lot of damange to the overall education system and more..

More UNP members to crossover?

June 27 (GDI) Minister of Mass Media and Information, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said that more UNP members would soon cross over to the Government. The minister said that the main opposition party (UNP) is struggling to overcome a serious internal political crisis and is issuing contradictory statements pertaining to the forthcoming Provincial Council elections as well as on their political stands. more..

Introduction of new strategies to promote ports

June 27 (GDI) Ministry of Ports and Aviation has taken measures to develop all the ports in the island including the Colombo Port to the level of other prominent ports in the world and, accordingly, new technology and management strategies will be introduced here too. The Minister of Ports and Aviation, Chamal Rajapaksa while on an observation tour of Dubai and other ports was shown the strategies and techniques that have to be applied to develop ports and more..

“Terror is sown to reap a harvest of misery”

June 27 (LG) It is with great pleasure that I address you today on the subject “The Role of International Agreements and Diplomacy in Promoting Sri Lankan Business”. I spent a considerable number of years either negotiating international agreements affecting trade and investment or interpreting them to ensure proper implementation. My earliest experience in this area was with regard to fisheries agreements. more..

Monkey business of Mano Ganesan

June 27 (LG) The excreta had hit the fan. “Holier than thou” human rights activist Mano Ganesan MP is in panic mode. His usual outrage against the “Violation of Human rights” carried out by the state is gone. Today Mano is pleading not to “Tarnish his Image” by saying Mano employs LTTE terrorist explosive experts in his office. Mano and his gang says that “they stand firmly against terrorism”. Why this champion of human rights had to go this low level? more..

Peace: Way Forward

June 27 (LG) For the overwhelming majority of people in Sri Lanka, the civil war has been a disaster. Those in the war zones of the North and East have been worst affected, suffering death, displacement, and destruction of their livelihoods. But the lives of many in other parts of the country have been devastated too. Numerous soldiers as well as civilians have been killed and maimed; their families have suffered bereavement and loss of breadwinners. more..

Ethnic Identity, Religious Fundamentalism and Muslim Women In Sri Lanka

June 27 (LG) An attempt is made in this paper to trace the development of ethnic consciousness and religious fundamentalism among Sri Lankan Muslims and the bearings of this development on Sri Lankan Muslim women. At the outset, I should clarify the use of the terms ethnic consciousness and fundamentalism. Both these terms are very popular and controversial in the current socio-political discourse. more..

4 UNP MPs officially call for Ranil's stepping down

June 27 (LD) A quartet of UNP MPs has officially challenged the leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe. They have proposed to a specially appointed committee that Rukman Senanayake should replace the incumbent leader, and that either Joseph Michael Perera or Gamini Jayawickrama Perera be appointed deputy leader. The four MPs - Ravindra Samaraweera, Lakshman Seneviratne, Jayalath Jayawardena and Johnston Fernando more..

‘Missing’ Umma surfaces at NFF hq.

June 27 (LD) The JVP Gampaha District parliamentarian, Anjan Umma joined the National Freedom Front this morning (June 26th), after she was reported ‘missing’ subsequent to her decision to function independently in Parliament. Mrs. Umma was cordially received by the NFF Chief Secretary, Nandana Gunatillake at the party headquarters, where she engaged in a discussion with its leaders. more..

Police beat up Bhikku demonstration

June 27 (LT) Police carried out a monstrous attack using tear gas and water cannons on the demonstration held by Inter University Bhikku Front demanding solutions for several difficulties Bhikkus confront within the universities. The protest demonstration was held demanding the re-opening of the Buddhasrawaka University in Anuradhapura which has been closed down by the government, release of undergraduate Bhikkus of the university who have been detained for 25 days, more..

Sri Lanka needs to do more on devolution, says India

June 27 (IANS) India has told Sri Lanka that it needs to do more on power sharing to end its dragging ethnic conflict, a senior official said Thursday. The official said while Colombo needed to be patted for deciding to implement the 13th amendment of the constitution that heralded the provincial system, it was not enough. The 13th amendment came about in the wake of the India-Sri Lanka accord of 1987 that sought to end Tamil separatism. more..

MK has lost ‘world Tamil leader’ status

June 27 (NIP) By barring Sri Lankan Tamil refugees from owning property in the State, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi has forfeited his status as the leader of the world Tamils, says P Chandrasekaran,a Sri Lankan minister for community development and leader of the Indian Origin Tamils. In a letter to Karunanidhi, the leader of the Up Country Peoples' Front (UPF) said the CM had done what was not attempted even by the West. more..

Indian interference

June 27 (LG) It is reported that a high powered delegation of the Indian Government had visited Sri Lanka and had the temerity to give our Government some pontifical and unsolicited advice that there is no military solution to the on-going conflict and that the Goverment should submit a viable devolution package “within a united Sri Lanka” to resolve the “ethnic crisis”. What, if any, these insolent Indians conceived as being the `devolution package’ which would cause more..

The killer electricity rates

June 27 (LG) The government has decided to grant a concession to places of religious worship and charitable institutions – a reduction of the surcharge of 30% for places of worship that consume less than 90 units of electricity. This is of no purpose. Hardly any place of worship will use less than 90 Units. It will always be much more. The consumption of electricity in places of religious worship will easily be from 250/500 to 750/1,500 Units or even more. more..

Refuge? No, refuse!

June 27 (LG) Tamilnadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi, while chairing the Conference of the District Collectors and Police Officials, has directed them to prevent the Sri Lankan refugees from buying assets in the State by obtaining fake documents. He has rightly instructed the police officials not to allow those who attempt to disturb the security and sovereignty of the country. The Sri Lankan Tamils, who land here as refugees, have a severe identification problem, which more..

UNP: accuse government will rig the forthcoming election too

June 27 (LG) P. Harrison, UNP M.P. said that the Govt. is again planning , or rather plotting to hold Provincial Council elections in the Sabaragamuwa and North Central provinces (NCP) and win , by repeating the same tricks and treachery it employed at the Eastern province and Wayambe. All independent election monitoring groups concluded that the Eastern Province elections was an absolute sham won by the Govt. by vote rigging, ballot box stuffing and intimidation. more..

'Psycho' gang of seven face jail

June 27 (HO) SEVEN members of a Sri Lankan gang headed by a thug nicknamed 'Psycho' are facing jail for a vicious Samurai sword attack on a rival. Arulmurugan Sebamalai, 23, was left with his hand hanging from his wrist by the 'East Ham Gang' from east London. On August 28 2006, he and other members of a Tamil group known as DMX were ambushed in Braemar Avenue, Wembley, as they travelled to play cricket, by a gang of up to 25 people. more..

Is China doing a Myanmar in Sri Lanka?

June 27 (OI) Is China doing a Myanmar in Sri Lanka by capitalising on the policy of President Mahinda Rajapaksa of diversifying Sri Lanka's geo-political options even while professing close friendship with India? That seems to have been one of the concerns of the government of India, which prompted a two-day visit to Sri Lanka by a team of senior advisers of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh consisting of Shri M.K.Narayanan, the National Security Adviser, Shri Shivsankar Menon, more..

National Freedom Front invites JVP parliamentarians

June 27 (AT) National Freedom Front, newly setup political party of Wimal Weerawansa could attract more JVP parliamentarians. Anjan Umma MP is the new member who obtained her membership in the party today morning at the NFF headquarters, Pelawatta. Wimal Weerawansa General Secretary of the NFF said he invites all JVP parliamentarians to join with the NFF to make a good political culture. At present 12 JVP parliamentarians are with Wimal’s group and more..

Sri Lanka prevail over spirited UAE

June 27 (CI) Sri Lanka secured their second big win in two days, this time over UAE, to progress to the second round of the Asia Cup with two points in the bag. Chasing 291, UAE looked like they would make a match of it as opener Amjad Ali hit a spectacular half-century but they hurtled to defeat after his departure, losing their last six wickets for 15 runs as Ajantha Mendis finished with career-best figures of 5-22. more..

LTTE rebels sourcing explosives from India

June 27 (UPI) Indian intelligence agencies said Sri Lanka's rebels are sourcing raw materials for explosives from two major Indian cities. According to a senior Intelligence Bureau official, armed guerrillas of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are sourcing raw materials for explosives and ammunition from Information Technology city Bangalore and industrial city Mumbai, previously called Bombay. more..

Sri Lankan community offers helping hand to fire victims

June 27 (TP) A Sri Lankan community organisation has come forward to support victims of the devastating fire that claimed the lives of five Sri Lankan workers a week ago. The Sri Lankan Coordinating Committee (SLCC) is now looking for permanent premises to accommodate the 32 Sri Lankans stranded following the fire. “Currently they are put up in a temporary accommodation in Abu Hamour, provided by a member of the Sri Lankan community. Efforts are on to find a permanent house for them,” more..

SriLankan airline launches ‘kids go free’ scheme

June 27 (GT) SRILANKAN Airlines has launched a new scheme under which children under 12 years can fly free with their parents if they opt for a holiday package. “Kids Go Free” package is available in July and August and it can be combined with side trips to an onward destination on normal tickets, a senior official of the airline said in Doha yesterday. “For instance, if a family wants to have a holiday in Kuala Lumpur or wants to see their parents in India, they can buy a separate ticket and do that as well,” more..

Chinese firm to supply 36MW generators in Jaffna

June 27 (TS) A team of Chinese engineers and workers arrived Wednesday at Kaankeasanththu’rai (KKS) harbour direct from China with six high-capacity generators, each capable of producing nearly 6MW, to supply electricity to Jaffna peninsula in accordance to the agreement entered between their firm named North Lanka Private Ltd and the Sri Lankan government, Sri Lanka Electricity Board (SLEB) officials in Chunnakam and Government Agent Jaffna said. more..

Internaly Displaced Persons in Puttlam launch new Political Front

June 27 (TC) “We lack road, water, and housing facilities. Our children are unable to attend school regularly as there is no proper transport service. We don’t have any facility and leading the same life even now as same as 18 years ago”. This is a cry of an Internally Displaced single mother from Jaffna, A. Shahula shared her agony while chewing betel. She is living with her two kids in Saltern 2 welfare camp in Puttlam. more..

Sri Lanka industries warned against polluting sea

June 27 (LBO) Sri Lankan businesses should be more careful of polluting the sea now that the Marine Pollution Prevention Authority (MPPA) is getting enhanced powers and ability to impose higher fines, a senior official said. MPPA chairman Ranjit Kularatne said new laws being promulgated will enable the organisation to make regulations in 22 areas, compared with only three areas in the existing Act. more..

Private sector salary hike next month

June 27 (GDI) The private sector has responded positively toward the Government's request for a salary hike for its employees, Minister of Labour Relations and Manpower, Athauda Seneviratne said. The Government requested private sector entrepreneurs to take necessary steps to increase the salaries of their employees from 15% to 30%. Some organizations have taken steps to increase salaries by 40%, the minister said. more..

Beruwela Fishery Harbour commissioned today

June 27 (GDI) The Beruwela Fishery Harbour which suffered sever damage in the tsunami of 2004, has now been reconstructed as a modern well-equipped facility with support from the People's Republic of China and will be ceremonially opened today (June 27) by His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The fisheries sector in Sri Lanka faced a crisis when the tsunami destroyed 10 of its fishing harbours. more..

Promoting reading, among children in Sri Lanka plantations

June 27 (TW) No one would dispute the fact that the plantation people are the most underdeveloped people, be it in education, economy or in politics. The disenfranchisement of this group of people in the 1948s which resulted in their political isolation deprived them of the enjoyment of their fundamental rights. For these and other historical reasons , ‘education’ has never been the part of the culture of these people. The same applies to their reading habits. more..

Sri Lanka government controlled media allegations denied

June 27 (TW) The Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) has refuted a news item published by a Sinhala daily on Thursday, June 26th that eight Tigers had been sent to Norway as journalists. The refutation was made at a hurriedly convened press conference chaired by Mr. Kumar Nadesan, the Chairman of SLPI. Associated with him were newspaper publishers, editors and representatives of the Free Media Movement (FMM), a media rights group. more..

Sri Lanka ready to 'go for gold'

June 27 (CNN) Sri Lanka's National Olympic Committee has finalized the list of its athletes who will represent the nation at the forthcoming Olympic Games to be held at the Chinese capital, Beijing, this year. The Sri Lankan team of three men and four women includes athletic sensation Susanthika Jayasinghe; javelin thrower Nadeeka Lakmali; badminton player Thilini Jayasinghe; shooter E.M. Senanayake; and boxer Anuruddha Ratnayake. more..

73,000 Lankan Tamil refugees have been given shelter in India

June 27 (LNP) Tamilnadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi, while chairing the Conference of the District Collectors and Police Officials, has directed them to prevent the Sri Lankan refugees from buying assets in the State by obtaining fake documents. He has rightly instructed the police officials not to allow those who attempt to disturb the security and sovereignty of the country. The Sri Lankan Tamils, who land here as refugees, have a severe identification problem, which more..

Defence Ministry orders clearing of all pavements

June 27 (LNP) The Ministry of Defence has directed the Highways authorities to clear all pavements of hawkers and unauthorized structures in towns bordering major highways by August 1. This is in view of substantiated fears that the LTTE could use such pavements and unauthorized structures to mount attacks, authoritative sources told The Island. Minister of Highways T. B. Ekanayake a study of LTTE attacks in major towns had revealed this. more..

President tells teachers to submit proposals

June 27 (LNP) President said yesterday a set of proposals through trade unions should be forwarded before the end of this month so that problems of salary anomalies faced by teachers could be solved. President Rajapaksa made these remarks while addressing a meeting of teacher and principal union representatives at Temple Trees. The President who focused on a set of proposals forwarded by the Salaries Commission, more..

Learn from those engineers

June 27 (LNP) This country has earned notoriety for enjoying champagne on a toddy income. Roads are chock-a-block with luxury vehicles and the latest edition of an SUV launched in the West today will find its way here next week. Nearly one half of Sri Lankans are proud owners of mobile phones, though most of them can easily do without those gadgets. They may grumble about rising coconut prices but bust millions of rupees on SMS voting collectively every night. more..

Senior lawyer suspended

June 27 (SAMN) The Supreme Court Thursday affirmed the Rule against Attorney-at-Law Elmore Perera (President of the Citizens’ Movement for Good Governance) in respect of contempt of court, and suspended him from practising as an Attorney-at-Law for seven years. The Supreme Court had already issued an interim order, suspending him from practising until the conclusion of the inquiry for purported contempt of Court. more..

Sri Lanka ranked 96th for corruption

June 27 (SAMN) Sri Lanka has been ranked 96th among 180 countries of the world on the worldwide Corruption Perception Index (CPI), prepared by independent international agency, Transparency International. However, corruption is much higher in Pakistan which occupies 140th place, a little below Iran, Libya and Nepal, which are ranked 133, 134 and 135 respectively. India has been ranked a lowly 74, two steps down since last year. more..

Domestic workers unprotected in Lebanon

June 27 (SAMN) Estimated at some 200,000 people - about five percent of Lebanon’s population - rights groups warn, migrant domestic workers, most of them women from the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Ethiopia, remain unprotected by labour laws and subject to a range of abuses by their employers. “Domestic workers represent a large segment of labourers who are not being recognized as such. Over a third of the domestic worker population is denied time off,” more..

Kumar R: war killed over 250,000 people

June 27 (SAMN) Though it is reported that the war in Sri Lanka had killed 80,000 people, recent estimates indicate that the number of persons who died due to the on going war is more than 250,000, Foundation for Co-Existence Chairman Kumar Rupesinghe said. He said of the 32 civil wars, 16 were solved through discussions, eight are at discussion level and of the other eight; two had come to be at comprise stages, but Sri Lanka belongs to the category of deadly conflict. more..

NFF can ensure country’s prosperity - MP Anjan Umma

June 27 (DN) Gampaha District JVP Parliamentarian Anjan Umma yesterday joined the National Freedom Front (NFF) in the presence of NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa. Anjan Umma said she decided to join the NFF for the prosperity and well-being of the country. She took the decision to join the NFF after several rounds of talks with the high committee of the NFF. Umma said the high powered committee answered the questions satisfactorily raised by her politically. more..

Rural solar electricity project soon

June 27 (DN) The Government will implement a rural solar energy electrification project to provide electricity to rural areas where the grid electricity will not be made available in the near future. The implementation of projects on energy security was one of the commitments made by the Heads of States during the 14th SAARC Summit held in year 2007. In order to fulfil this commitment the Indian Government in consultation with Power and Energy Ministry has pledged more..

CEB engineers forego duty-free car permits

June 27 (Island) The CEB Engineers’ Union has dropped its long standing demand for duty-free vehicle permits after Treasury Chief Dr. P. B. Jayasundera and President Mahinda Rajapaksa had explained the unprecedented financial crisis the government was facing due to the steep rise in crude oil prices in the world market. Well informed sources said the Union had accepted the President’s position that foreign reserves shouldn’t be squandered on non-essential purchases due to mounting pressure on the economy. more..