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Health Minister vows to keep TUs out of Nursing colleges

June 27 (Island) Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said he will not allow trade unionism in nurses’ training colleges. At a ceremony at the Maharagama National Youth Services Council, where letters of appointment were distributed to 1,953 newly passed out nurses, he said his Ministry has an ambitious plan to train 15,000 nurses within the next few years since there was a big demand for them overseas. more..

MR has no mandate for federal solution: JVP

June 27 (DM) The JVP yesterday stressed President Mahinda Rajapaksa did not get a mandate from the people to implement a federal solution but to safeguard the unitary status of the country. JVP Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe also slammed India for what he described as ‘its invasive dictatorial foreign policy’ and urged the government to reveal the contents and outcome of talks it held with the high level Indian delegation which visited the country last week. more..

SLPI seeks legal advice over state media allegations

June 27 (DM) The Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) is seeking legal advice as to what action could be taken if the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (Lake House) did not take immediate action to correct a news item hugely damaging to the institute which appeared in a state owned daily yesterday. SLPI Director General Ranga Kalansooriya said the news item had damaged the reputation of SLPI as an independent body in the field of journalism in the country. more..

President Rajapakse’s War Against the Press

June 27 (AS) Journalists become the target of the Sri Lankan government. Top ministers in the administration of Sri Lankan President Rajapakse over recent months have personally been involved in a growing number of violent incidents against members of the press, including the use of thugs to attempt to beat them up, and issuing threats against any journalists who don’t see things the government’s way. more..

War as pretext: A reply - Subjective-Objective perceptions

June 28 (ML) Tisaranee Gunasekara (TG) complains that the Rajapakse Administration is using war as a pretext to cover its crimes, misdeeds and sins of commission and omission. TG cites delays in printing text books, malnutrition of people, the shortage of cancer drugs at the Maharagama hospital, the blunder of creating a budget airline and finally the threat of losing GSP+ to the garment industry as examples of government's failure. more..

Sri Lanka Cricket pays off debts with TV rights proceeds

June 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka Cricket, the island's richest sporting body, said it has paid off its debts with proceeds from the sale of television rights for the forthcoming tour in the island by India. Sri Lanka Cricket's main source of funding today is the sale of television rights to home internationals. " . . all financial liabilities with banks, including pending overdrafts over 600 million rupees have been settled more..

Sri Lanka offshore sand deposits draw foreign interest

June 28 (LBO) Foreign investors are interested in mining sea sand off Sri Lanka's western coast to be used in the construction industry which is facing shortages of the material, government officials said. But the high cost of the offshore sand mining and potential conflicts with fisher communities are deterrent factors, they said. The best sea sand deposits are found between the coastal towns of Kalutara, south of the capital Colombo, and Kalpitiya, to its north. more..

Sangakkara, Muralitharan win Castrol awards

June 28 (LBO) Sri Lankan cricketers Kumar Sangakkara and Muttiah Muralitharan won the Castrol Asian Batsman and Bowler award in test cricket at a function held in Karachi Friday. India's Sourav Ganguly became the first recipient of the Castrol Asian Cricketer of the Year Award, a company statement said. "Ganguly has had a series of successful innings since his return to the Indian cricket team during the South African tour of 2006-07," it said. more..

Sri Lanka indifferent to torture charges

June 28 (UPI) June 26 was the U.N. Day in Support of Victims of Torture. As far as Sri Lanka is concerned, the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights did nothing to commemorate this day. Instead the statements from the spokesman for the ministry manifested the usual lack of political will to deal with the issue of torture. The familiar attitude of the Sri Lankan government was expressed by the spokesman in the following words: “With regard to torture, it is well known that it exists all over the world.” more..

IOM trains law enforcement officers on counter-trafficking

June 28 (AT) The International Organization for Migration (IOM) organized a series of training workshops on counter-trafficking for law enforcement officers under a project funded by the USAID to strengthen national efforts in addressing trafficking issues. To date over 300 law enforcement officers have been trained in identifying, tracking and prosecuting cases of trafficking in Sri Lanka during workshops held in Colombo, Kalutara, Galle, Anuradhapura, Badulla, Ampara and Kurunegala. more..

NFF decided to hold public rallies in Sri Lanka

June 28 (AT) National Freedom Front [NFF] plans to hold a series of public rallies to educate masses on the prevailing challenges of Sri Lanka. Its spokesman said that these rallies would not criticize the JVP or its activities, but educate the public on present challenges, which are before the country. Leaders of the NFF Wimal Weerawansa, Nandana Gunathilaka and other leading members of the Party will address these rallies. more..

On the population statistics – a clarification by Washington S.L.Embassy

June 28 (AT) Counselor for Information of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington confirms the accuracy of the statistics used by Ambassador Bernard Goonatilake in his interview with WCCATV13. According to the statement of the Counselor Information, “The comments elicited from Asian Tribune readers to the article titled, 'LTTE demand for 30% landmass for 6% of a population is utterly impracticable - Ambassador Bernard Goonetilleke,' published on June 19, 2008, more..

Appoint a commission to investigate into the killings of 37 MPs

June 28 (AT) Pressure is mounting on the Government of Sri Lanka to appoint a commission to investigate into the killings of 37 elected members of Parliament of Sri Lanka, starting from the murder of Alfred Duraiyappah on 27 July 1975, up to that of the slaying of Minister Jeayaraj Fernandopulle on 06 April 2008, in a bomb blast in Welliweriya. Alfred Duaraiyappah, who was a Member of Sri Lanka Parliament and Mayor of Jaffna was the first MP to be killed by the suspected LTTE. more..

The Eastern Province gets going (or does it?)

June 28 (LG) Sri Lankans have become used to the idea of elections every year, so the polls for the Eastern Provincial Council should have been just another routine exercise. Yet this was not the case in early May. These elections were being held for a provincial council that had not been constituted for more than a decade, in a province that had experienced large-scale fighting, destruction of neighbourhoods and public buildings, mass displacement and human-rights violations. more..

Another Eastern Insurgency?

June 28 (LG) LTTE is preparing for a long insurgency campaign in the Eastern Province again. Details of this plan have emerged with a recent speech given by the LTTE's 'Special Commander' to the East, Keerthi. Random sporadic attacks have also increased. Keerthi, in his address had claimed they were waiting for an opportunity to launch a massive attack on military installations and targets of opportunity in the East. more..

The Ladder

June 28 (LG) The prevailing ethnic war has caused immense miseries and social problems to the Tamil people. Apart from the physical discomforts and the monetary losses, the catastrophe in the breakdown of their social life and the psychological effects among the people has led to depressions, delusions, hopelessness and aggressiveness. Serious mental disorders are evident not only among the adults but also among the children. more..

Too long a state of misery for Sri Lankans

June 28 (LG) Sri Lanka’s post-independent gravitation towards anarchy, increasing in its intensity after every election is a saga of implausible political short-sightedness. This has been further blinded by racist and religious bigotry outpouring from an unacceptable concept seized by wily politicians on the false presumption that this country must only belong to the Sinhala Buddhist and none other. more..

“The path towards a political solution is now open”

June 28 (LG) Douglas Devananda, Secretary General of the EPDP and Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare and also Chairman of Special Task Committee for the Northern Province urged support from the visiting Indian delegation who paid a friendly visit to this country recently for treading the path now open for a political solution to the ethnic crisis. The Minister stated, “We have begun from where it needs to begin with”. more..

Testing the waters for a General Election

June 28 (LG) Without any public indication that the Government was going to hold elections for the seven provincial councils other than the Northern Provincial council and the council in the East for which election was held on May 10, the People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) chairman Kingsley Rodrigo urged that the elections for all provincial councils be held simultaneously. more..

Education anarchy

June 28 (LG) Education is too precious to be left in the hands of politicians. The mess created decades ago continues to go from bad to worse. Many articles on mishandled educational policies have appeared in all dailies since independence, but the attitude of all Ministers of Education and their bureaucrats has been all along a "you have your say we will have our way". My son is studying in the Tamil medium at a Government School in Colombo. more..

Tear gas and water canons turned on Bhikku procession

June 28 (LG) A demonstration demanding the re-opening of the Buddhasrawaka University in Anuradhapura that was closed down by the government came to grief near the President’s House when it was attacked by the police at Kollupitiya. The demonstration in protest had commenced from the Viharamahadevi Park and was winding its way towards the President’s House when it was met with tear gas and water cannons. more..

Can Poverty be the cause of Terrorism?

June 28 (PISL) I like being an optimist given that most of my life has been in the world of business. But my gurus have always said it’s good to stop and take stock of the reality. Go to the details behind the numbers and understand the insights. Sri Lanka has been grappling with the issue of poverty for decades. Successive governments have been focusing on the top line where Sri Lanka has a pretty picture to boast. more..

India tour helps SLC clear debts

June 28 (CI) India's upcoming tour of Sri Lanka in July and August has enabled Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to get out of its present financial crisis. SLC had an overdraft of US$ 6,038,647 (650 million Sri Lankan rupees) with its banks last month, but with Ten Sports, the official television broadcaster of SLC paying 50% of the full amount of US$ 15.2 million for India's tour, SLC made an announcement today that they were been able to overcome their financial liabilities. more..

Police looking for political background of trade unions

June 28 (LT) The police have begun a new operation to find out the political background of trade unions. The Cinnamon Gardens Police has already sent letters to trade unions in the state sector through the heads of relevant institutions asking to send the political lineage of the trade unions. According to the letter, in addition to information regarding the trade union, personal information of its office bearers too should be made available to the police. more..

'JVP not ready to make light of the agreements arrived between Indian officials & Rajapakse government'

June 28 (LT) The JVP would never make light of the agreements arrived between three of the top state officials in India M.K. Narayan, Senior Defense Advisor to the Prime Minister, Sivashankar Menon, Foreign Secretary and Vijaya Singhe, Defense Secretary and the Rajapakse government says JVP Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe. more..

TMVP 'killed' EPDP member

June 28 (BBC) Two partners in Mahinda Rajapaksa administration have accused each other over killings and abductions in the eastern Sri Lankan district of Batticaloa. Media spokesman for Ealam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP), Nelson Edirisinghe, accused police of not taking actions to save their cadres being abducted by a rival party. The decomposed body of EPDP member Kalimuttu Gunaseelan, 29, was found by Valachchenai police on Friday. more..

Govt. owes Rs. 53,150 m to BoC - Ravaya

June 28 (LD) As the revenue of the state has decreased with the rising cost of commodity goods and the massive defence expenses, the overdraft of the two Bank of Ceylon accounts of the Treasury has increased to Rs. 53,150 million on June 19th 2008, ‘Ravaya’ reports. Noting that during the tenures of every past regime, the overdrafts of these two accounts had not exceeded Rs. 25,000 million, Treasury sources say that the current amount is twice as much, it adds. more..

Govt. banks GPS facility for mobile phones

June 28 (LD) The government has extended its tentacles of social repression, purportedly for national security, to mobile phones, by prohibiting the Global Positioning System (GPS) facility, 'Ravaya' reports. According to this ban, the import and sale of GPS-enabled mobile phones will not be allowed, and the facility will be deactivated in phones already having it. According to an executive officer of a mobile service provider, they have deactivated the GPS following a directive by the Defence Ministry. more..

President condemns police attack on protesting monks

June 28 (LD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has strongly condemned a police anti-riot squad crackdown on protesting monks in Colombo yesterday (June 26th). President Rajapaksa said that as soon as he read the news in today's newspapers, he had called the IGP and directed him to ensure that no such incidents take place in the future. The president was speaking at the opening of the reconstructed Beruwela Fisheries Harbour that was damaged in the 2004 tsunami. more..

Pressure from Norway-India for negotiations

June 28 (LD) A two-day meeting of global mediators near the Norwegian capital Oslo that ended on June 26th has planned their future course of action for mediation in Sri Lanka's national conflict, JVP-supported 'Lanka' newspaper reports. Titled "100 global mediators meet in Oslo: Indian defence envoys call for an end to war", the article said Norwegian Ministers Jonas Gahr Støre and Erik Solheim co-chaired the talks. more..

FMM wants Media Minister to apologize to SLPI

June 28 (LD) The Free Media Movement expresses its serious concern that state controlled media has leveled dangerous allegations against the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) without verifying the story from SLPI. State controlled Sinhala language newspaper 'Dinamina', considered one of the mouthpieces of the government, said in a lead story that "the police intelligence has received information saying that a group of members connected to LTTE were sent to Norway through more..

Usefulness of SAARC and Indian Visas for Sri Lankans

June 28 (TW) For sometime many Lankans have questioned the validity of the SAARC grouping. The Press has highlighted these concerns with little response from the Government. The time has come for us to seriously ask ourselves as to what good has SAARC done so far in terms of invigorating trade, freeing of travel restrictions to enable the different peoples of the region to visit each other? Has trade improved within the region in the past few years of the existence of SAARC? more..

Death toll from Doha fire tragedy climbs to six

June 28 (TP) The death toll from last week's fire tragedy in the Al Asmakh area of Doha rose to six yesterday with one of the injured succumbing to his injuries. Dulan Salika Rathnasiri, who was in a critical condition at the Trauma Intensive Care Unit of Hamad Hospital, passed away at 9am, Sri Lankan Coordinating Committee (SLCC) President Lenny Cramer informed The Peninsula. The fire, in a two-storey building on Al Maymoun street, had claimed five lives on June 19. more..

TN fishermen may take up arms: CPI

June 28 (TS) Even while DMK leader Mr M Karunanidhi and MDMK leader Mr Vaiko are vying with each other to capitalise on the growing anger in Tamil Nadu against Sri Lankan navy's attacks on State fishermen, the CPI yesterday went a step further and warned that fishermen would be forced to take up arms if the Sri Lankan navy continued its attacks on them. Mr Pandian alleged that the Sri Lankan navy was deliberately shooting at Tamil Nadu fishermen and killing them. more..

Pastor attacked in Sri Lanka

June 28 (CSW) A Christian pastor was attacked yesterday by three men in Ampara, Eastern Province, Sri Lanka, while returning home from a church group meeting in Uhana. He is currently receiving treatment for his injuries in hospital. The pastor, the Reverend Fernando from the Methodist Church in Ampara, was accosted by the three men at 4.40pm on 23 June. The men asked him to accompany them to a house, claiming that there were people there who wished to become Christians. more..

Sri Lanka says fighting kills 45

June 28 (Reuters) Sri Lankan troops killed 43 Tamil Tiger rebels in the island's far north while two soldiers died, the military said on Friday, as the country's 25-year-old civil war escalates. "Troops killed 43 LTTE terrorists and injured 42 in Thursday's fighting in Vavuniya, Mannar, Welioya. Two soldiers died and five were injured from the fighting," said a military spokesman at the Media centre for National Security. more..

Sri Lanka reports heavy Tiger casualties

June 28 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan military claimed to have driven off LTTE cadres from Andankulama general area in the Mannar district “with heavy casualties” even as the Air Force announced that it destroyed two more Tiger “facilities” in the north. The Defence Ministry claimed that troops intensified attacks at the remaining LTTE flanks positioned at the Mannar defences. On Sunday, the military said it had captured a strategic point of the LTTE in Mannar. more..

Hurdles to probe into LTTE-linked cases

June 28 (Hindu) Investigations into many smuggling cases involving the LTTE have hit a roadblock, according to police officers. Though the police busted the smuggling activities, following leads provided by the intelligence wing, and arrested the accused, impediments to gathering vital details from Sri Lanka have brought the investigations to a halt. The police have recovered the properties, but are unable to gather information as to where and to whom the goods were intended, and who was behind the smuggling. more..

India, Sri Lanka set up a security group

June 28 (UPI) India has set up a mechanism with Sri Lanka to establish contact on the security situation and other bilateral issues. India and Sri Lanka have formed an informal mechanism to remain in regular touch on the security situation in the island nation as well as on bilateral issues, a foreign ministry official said Friday. He said the three-member Indian group in the mechanism includes National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Defense Secretary Vijay Singh. more..

Sri Lanka illicit small arms threat to business: survey

June 28 (LBO) The proliferation of illicit small arms in Sri Lanka not only fuels crime but has indirect costs on business as well as the environment, a new survey says. It said 9mm pistols were sold in the underworld for 15,000 rupees and T-56 automatic assault rifles for 50,000 – 75,000 rupees while ammunition is also easily available, according to information from criminals and prisoners. more..

MR deplores police attack on monks

June 28 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa Friday instructed Police Chief Victor Perera to ensure that the police do not use any kind of force to disperse street protests by monks or students. “I am deeply sorry for what happened. I did not know about it until this morning. Riot police squads should be called only to control riots. They should not have used riot police squads to control a demonstration by Buddhist monks. University students and bhikku students have the right to sort out their issues through dialogue. more..

PC Polls: parties yet to finalise lists

June 28 (SAMN) Though nominations for the forthcoming elections to the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provinces commenced at 8.00 a.m. Friday, the two major parties, the UPFA and the UNP, are yet to hand in their papers. Political sources said their nomination lists were not finalised as yet. General Secretary of the UPFA, Minister Susil Premajayantha said though the SLFP had completed its lists of candidates, the UPFA would finalise the lists in consultation with the LSSP, CP, MEP and more..

Over 900 HIV positive cases in SL

June 28 (SAMN) At least 973 persons have been reported as HIV positive up to March this year according to Dr. K.M.A. Ariyaratne of the National Aids Campaign, who said that 268 were confirmed as AIDS patients at diagnosis, while 31 children had acquired the virus through mother to child transmission. At the end of 2007, Sri Lanka had 4000 adults (above the age of 15) living with HIV AIDS and 177 AIDS related deaths have been reported this year . more..

Health TUs to go ahead with strike

June 28 (SAMN) The discussion between the health sector trade unions and the health Ministry held last afternoon ended in a stalemate with 40 trade unions representing 65,000 health employees threatening to go ahead with their scheduled token strike on July 10 as planned. President of the HSTUA Saman Rathnapriya said Ministry officials failed to give a satisfactory solution to their key demands of granting a transport allowance and more..

We must counter LTTE misinformation campaign abroad - Mahanayaka Theras

June 28 (DN) It is of paramount importance for our ambassadors to counter the LTTE’s misinformation campaign launched internationally and to enlighten the international community on the true situation in the country, said Asgiriya and Malwatte Prelates when the Ambassador-Designate to U.S.A. Jaliya Wickremasuriya called on them to receive their blessings. “Certain ambassadors have still failed to convince the international community of the nitty-gritty of the ethnic conflict”, the prelates stressed. more..

All should help agri drive

June 28 (DN) ‘Api Wawamu, Rata Nagamu’, the National Food Drive has been very successfully implemented in the East and has helped revive the agriculture sector. Two decades of conflict has dealt a severe blow to the agricultural sector in the Eastern Province, said Eastern Provincial Council Agriculture Minister, Thuruiappa Nawaratneraja at the Third Session of the Presidential Task Force for the national operation on indigenous food production. more..

Bethlehem Catholics seek return of ‘Our Lady of Madhu statue’ to shrine

June 28 (Island) The Catholic Community in Bethlehem said yesterday that it was ‘deeply concerned’ about the LTTE’s shifting of the highly venerated statue of our Lady of Madhu and appealed to the leaders of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka "to persuade LTTE" to return the statue to its original shrine. "It is with great sorrow that we learn of this venerated statue of our Lady if Madhu being used as a shield by the radical group called the LTTE in Sri Lanka," more..

Senior UNPers say no need for change

June 28 (Island) A group of UNP seniors has told party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe that there was no need for changing the party leadership. The request forwarded to party’s reform committee by four MPs that the leadership should be changed was neither just nor timely, they said. A change in leadership when the country was in a crisis was very dangerous and, if allowed, such a move would pave the way for a split in the party, they have said. more..

Govt. will recapture North says President

June 28 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said there were people who supported terrorism unknowingly, some supported willfully and there was another section of people who supported terrorism maliciously. Addressing a People’s Rally which was held after the opening of the newly constructed Fisheries Harbour at Beruwala, President Rajapaksa said the government did not prosecute a war against the Tamils but saved them from the jackboot of the LTTE. more..

Judiciary should win the confidence of the masses: CJ

June 28 (DM) Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva yesterday said the Judiciary could function properly only if it won the confidence of the common man irrespective of racial, religious or language barriers. Addressing a gathering after the ceremonial opening of the new Labour Tribunal Building at the Kaduwela Magistrates Court, Mr. Silva said since taking up office he initiated a series of programmes aimed at achieving these goals. more..