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'Old man' Jayasuriya making no plans for retirement

June 28 (Reuters) Swashbuckling Sri Lankan batsman Sanath Jayasuriya celebrates his 39th birthday on Sunday with no retirement plans in sight. Sri Lanka's highest test scorer and the second most capped player in one-day internationals, Jayasuriya demonstrated he had lost none of his flair by smashing 72 against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup on Wednesday. "I don't think about my future plans," he told reporters. "As long as I am fit I will keep on going." more..

Soldiers capture Tamil rebel-held village, fighting kills 43

June 28 (AP) Government troops captured a Tamil Tiger rebel-held village in war-ravaged northern Sri Lanka on Saturday while infantry clashes across the region killed 40 rebels and three soldiers, the military said. Fighting has escalated in the Indian Ocean island in recent months as government forces try to fulfill a pledge to crush the insurgents by the end of the year. In the latest fighting, army troops took control of Parappakadattan village in Mannar district on Saturday, more..

Sri Lanka's national carrier slaps fuel surcharge

June 28 (AFP) Sri Lanka's national carrier, Sri Lankan Airlines, will re-introduce a fuel surcharge to cover rising jet fuel costs, the airline said Saturday. "Sri Lankan Airlines has re-introduced the fuel surcharge for travel and ticketing effective July 1," the airline said. It said flights between Sri Lanka and Southeast Asian countries will cost 50 dollars more while fares to the United States and Canada will increase by 160 dollars. more..

India Seeks Clarification about Ongoing War in Sri Lanka

June 29 (TC) The Bible relates the tale of how three wise men of the east travelled more than two thousand years ago to Bethlehem and paid homage to the infant Jesus with gifts such as gold, frankincense and myrrh. In a replay with a twist “three wise men“ of India boarded an Indian Air Force plane in New Delhi and paid a 36 hour visit to Sri Lanka. The Indian wise men who arrived in Colombo were not seers or sages but experienced, senior bureaucrats from the upper echelons of Indian officialdom. more..

Politicians among illicit small arms: survey

June 29 (LD) A survey carried out by the NCAPISA reveal that criminal gangs, army deserters and politicians were the most likely categories to possess illegal firearms. Proliferation of illicit small arms has led to increased crime that has indirect costs on the economy and the environment, the survey says. The survey carried out with information from criminals and prisoners says a 09 mm pistols can be bought in the underworld for Rs. 15,000 while more..

JHU to refrain from North Central & Sabaragamuwa PC elections

June 29 (LD) The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) has decided not to contest the North Central and the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council elections. The decision follows extensive discussions at the JHU Central Committee, says, Party General Secretray, Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera. The JHU is based on their position of not accepting the Provincial Council system and also because these PC's are not as important as East PC polls, the Thero said. more..

IUBF lodges complaint with HRC

June 29 (LD) Claiming their Fundamental Rights were violated after being tear gassed and water cannoned by police during a protest march in Colombo, monks of the Inter-University Bhikku Federation (IUBF), lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) yesterday (June 27th). Citing the Defence Secretary and the IGP as respondents, the IUBF requested the HRC to conduct an unbiased inquiry into the incident, convener of the IUBF, Ven. Namaloya Ananda Thera said. more..

NTUC rejects President’s invitation for talks

June 29 (LD) The National Trade Union Centre (NTUC), which consists of nearly 366 trade unions in the island outside the North have rejected President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s invitation for discussions on the government's economic plan and the problems of the workers, said NTUC Chairman and JVP MP, K.D. Lal Kantha. The President has personally invited parliamentarians, Wasantha Samarasinghe and Ramalingam Chandrasekaran, who represent the private sector trade unions and more..

Depleted Pakistan face severe test

June 29 (CI) On current form, Sri Lanka are the clear favourites in this Super Four match: their win against Bangladesh in the group game has already given them a two-point cushion, while Pakistan have to recover from a disappointing loss to India, which was made worse by the rib cartilage injury to Umar Gul, ruling him out of the tournament. There are also clear indications of a rift between the Pakistan selectors and the captain, with Shoaib Malik appearing to blame the selection committee after the loss to India. more..

Sri Lanka to open embassy in Kabul in 2009

June 29 (MG) Sri Lanka is hoping to open an embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2009. This was conveyed to the Afghan Foreign Minister by his Sri Lankan counterpart this week. Rohitha Bogollagama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, who paid a visit to Kabul this week, officially invited President Hamid Karzai to participate at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit. more..

Seeds of Unrest

June 29 (AT) Tentative efforts to prevent it having failed, the JVP led General Strike is set to go ahead as planned. Though its demands are wage related, the primary purpose of the strike is indubitably political; it is a flexing of muscles by the JVP, a test of strength and a message of warning. The JVP, correctly, blames President Rajapakse for the split in its ranks and the strike is a warning to the government not to interfere any further in its internal affairs (or to aid the breakaways too blatantly). more..

Surviving the game of politics – inspiration from an unexpected source

June 29 (AT) “Archimedes, got into the bath tub,” said my science teacher at the secondary school, while explaining the fate of objects, when they were submerged in a liquid, and then burst into a hysterical laughter, without completing the sentence. She blushed profusely and left very little to imagination. She completed what she started, however - but only on the board: “ran without anything on him, shouting ‘Eureka’, in the street of a Greek town.” more..

All set for another world record!

June 29 (ToI) The Sri Lankan Tamil, who has already broken 53 world records and who claims to have the honour of being Canada's no.1 record breaker, says he wishes to break more records. And it is this wish of his that has now brought him to town. Suresh now wishes to make a Tamil feature film in the shortest possible time to add another feather to his cap. Says Suresh," The shortest time ever taken to make a feature length film from scripting to screening is 13 days. more..

Wimal's act of hara-kiri and JVP's march to July 10

June 29 (SL) IN a desperate attempt to salvage his dwindling popularity, JVP defector Wimal Weerawansa has haphazardly patched together a series of internal JVP documents in order to resurrect his image, and end the nightmares that have plagued the former propaganda secretary since his defection. Titled Nettha Venuvata Atta (truth in place of the lie), Weerawansa has compiled the "tell all" book, according to him, to reveal the truth behind the split. more..

Petty politicking, a down-sliding economy and India's concern

June 29 (SL) While the UNP struggled with another internal crisis that threatened to leave the party disunited in the run up to the provincial polls in Sabaragamuwa and the North Central Province, the government was to last week receive a reality check on war and peace from India, prompting President Mahinda Rajapakse to take a fresh look at the option of working on a national agenda with the opposition. more..

Janaka throws the gauntlet in Rajarata

June 29 (SL) A confident Janaka Perera, UNP's chief ministerial candidate for the North Central Province (NCP), claims that he is a reluctant politician, but one who is willing to serve his country in any way he is called upon to do. In an interview with The Sunday Leader, Gen. Janaka Perera said that he considers the opportunity to run for political office to be an extension of the service he rendered, first as a military officer, and then as a diplomat. more..

Mihin pondering the 'new deal'

June 29 (SL) The Sunday Leader has learnt that a scandalous agreement was signed last week at the Aviation Ministry premises in the presence of Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapakse, to look at the prospect of selling off Mihin Lanka's landing rights to a Malaysian company, Mindflow Technologies. The MoU has all the hallmarks of a textbook Chinthana 'deal.' Under the contract, Mihin Lanka would once again wet lease aircraft for payment, this time to Mindflow. more..

CEB Chairman found corrupt, appointed again

June 29 (LB) Why was Udayasiri Kariyawasam former chairman of the CEB appointed as the chairman in the first place, amidst overwhelming accusations of corruption levelled against him at his former workplace, the Bank of Ceylon remains a mystery. The former Chairman of the CEB who initially held the chairmanship at the Bank of Ceylon was subjected to investigation by the PIU on a petition filed by the employees of BoC. more..

Dharmadasa, Mendis signed multi million $ Taj TV deal without authority?

June 29 (LB) An independent committee has been appointed by the Minister of Sports to conduct a detailed inquiry to find out if Jayantha Dharmadasa the former chief of the Sri Lanka Cricket interim committee, and its current CEO Duleep Mendis entered into two multi million dollar TV rights agreements with Taj TV without legal authority. The information about these two TV rights ‘deals’ reached the ears of the Minister of Sports Mr Gamini Lokuge toward the end of 2007. more..

The UNP is shaken — but soldiers on...

June 29 (LB) The UNP’s periodic agitation on the government affairs seems always to be undercut by the UNP’s own weakness when these agitations are seen to be gathering steam. For example, the UNP was agitating for ‘’full disclosure’’ regarding the alleged moves by the Indian delegation here in Sri Lanka last week “to influence the course of the war against the LTTE.” However, before this agitation could gather steam, the UNP was embroiled in more issues of an internal nature. more..

Unholy alliance?

June 29 (LB) Political parties were busy last week compiling nomination lists for the North Central and Sabaragamuwa provincial council elections. The UNP nominations board met on June 21 - Rukman Senanayake, Tissa Attanayake, S B Dissanayake, Ravi Karunanayake, John Amaratunga, Chandrani Bandara, Lakshman Kiriella and Dunesh Gankanda participated at the discussion. Two visitors were introduced to the board by Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

Troops to take over Mannar Rice Bowl

June 29 (LNP) Troops in the Wanni front are on the verge of taking over the entire Mannar Rice Bowl, ground sources said. The area under the Sri Lanka Army control is approximately 100 square kilometres, which is mainly paddy fields. The 58 division, led by Brig. Shavindra Silva, captured the entire Parappakadaththan area yesterday, lying 3 - 4 kilometres north of the Giant Tank, Military Spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said. more..

Exploiting our potential

June 29 (LNP) It is now common knowledge in Sri Lanka that the Maldivian Republic has become a preferred holiday destination particularly in Europe and an industry that is relatively new in that country has today given the Maldivian people the highest per capital income in South Asia. The fact that a small country, that once used to pay tribute to the British Crown with gifts to the Governor-General of what was then Ceylon, had progressed dynamically during the contemporary period on the more..

Royal win but Trinity regain Bradby Shield

June 29 (LNP) Trinity were lucky enough to regain the Bradby Shield thanks to their good performance in the First Leg. It was a different story at the Bogambara Stadium in Kandy yesterday where Royal playing excellent running rugby beat Trinity by 8 points (1 try and 1 penalty) to nil in the 64th Bradby Shield in front of a packed stadium. At the short breather the scores were deadlocked at nil-all. more..

Govt. moves to thwart TU ultimatum

June 29 (SAMN) The government has initiated moves to thwart the July 10 general strike based on a demand for a Rs. 5,000 wage hike and has inivted several trade union representatives for a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees today. However, the meeting is to be snubbed by almost all JVP backed trade unions, including the National Trade Union Centre (NTUC) the initiator of the strike, which comprises some 366 trade unions and the Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU). more..

Conflict essentially a problem of ours - R. Sampanthan

June 29 (SO) Q: You have met the high level Indian delegation which came to Colombo last week. What was the outcome of the meeting? A: We basically exchanged views about the present situation in Sri Lanka. They emphasized a political solution to the conflict instead of a military one. They said they want to contribute their best efforts to a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Q: You were advocating an Indian intervention to solve the national problem throughout but more..

Food Security: Where do we stand?

June 29 (SO) Professor P. R. D. Silva who is the Professor and Head of the Department of Agricultural Engineering, University of Peradeniya, in an exclusive interview with Sunday Observer explains the challenges the country faces against the backdrop of global warming, climatic changes and its consequences. He emphasized that Asia will be adversely affected by climate change and therefore Asians should prepare to ensure food security. more..

Second language a must for public servants

June 29 (SO) All new recruits of the public service must pass the second language efficiency test within five years for job confirmation. Constitutional Affairs and National Integration Minister Dew Gunasekera said that under the bilingulisation of the public service policy adopted last year, public servants must have a working knowledge of Sinhala and Tamil. He said that the task of bilingulisation of the public service is expected to be completed within five years. more..

Cheaper CFLs for four million consumers

June 29 (SO) Four million electricity consumers will receive high quality Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) at reasonable rates from the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) before November this year. The bulbs will be distributed in keeping with the National Energy Conservation Program (NECP) under the supervision of the Sustainable Energy Authority. CFL bulbs will be distributed through the CEB area offices and the outlets which will be approved by the Sustainable Energy Authority. more..

Lanka calls for int’l support

June 29 (NS) The Sri Lankan Government last week urged the international community to recognise that democracies could not take extra constitutional measures and that political solutions to conflicts required discussion, debate and compromise before consensus was reached. Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States Bernard Goonetilleke outlined this position on behalf of the Sri Lankan Government in his commentary published in The Washington Times last week. more..

Ranil’s last battle?

June 29 (NS) Even before proper nominations have been accepted for the elections to the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councils, the polls have been enveloped in controversy, indicating the significance of this tussle in the context of the larger political landscape of the country. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, being victorious at the recently concluded Eastern Provincial Council Poll, is keen on establishing the domino effect, more..

India to look after its own security

June 29 (NS) Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka later next month, has decided to rely on his very own specialised Indian security for protection during his stay in the island. Highly-placed sources said that the highly-trained Indian Black Cats would provide the necessary protection to the Indian Premier during his visit here to participate at the forthcoming SAARC Summit. more..

Jaffna University to enjoy its very own swimming pool

June 29 (NS) The Tharunyata Hetak organisation led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son Namal Rajapaksa has taken steps to provide a fully-fledged swimming pool for the Jaffna University. Tharunyata Hetak Chairman Namal Rajapaksa handed over the cheque to fund stage one of the project to Army Commander Sarath Fonseka recently at Temple Trees, who in turn handed it over to Jaffna GA K. Ganesh and Acting Director of the Physical Training Section of the University, K. Ganeshanathan. more..

Phone call from VVIP unnerved Sannasgala

June 29 (Island) UNP activist Upul Shantha Sannasgala’s abrupt decision not to contest the Sabaragamuwa Province as the UNP’s chief ministerial candidate has revealed the existence of a mole in the highest circles of the main opposition party. Well informed sources said an angry Sannasgala had quit the race after a confidential discussion he had with the UNP nomination board was leaked to the top SLFP leadership immediately after he had left Siri Kotha. more..

Pillaiyan to join NFF ?

June 29 (Island) The breakaway JVP faction led by Wimal Weerawansa is seeking an unprecedented political alliance with t he Tamil Makkal Vidutalai Pulikal. The National Freedom Front leader Wimal Weerawansa yesterday met Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesturai Chandrakanthan, better known as Pillaiyan, at the NFF headquarters to discuss a range of political issues and agreed to cooperate with each other. more..

Lanka's orphaned baby elephants switch to the wild side

June 29 (Island) After years of being bottle-fed on formula milk, the chubby baby jumbos appear reluctant to leave, but mahouts heave-ho them onto trucks for a journey to the wild side of life. The eight orphaned baby elephants are offered milk and snacks of coconut palms to walk the ramp and get on the truck. A dozen keepers push the hesitant babies onboard. It is time to leave the Elephant Transit Home. more..

Rohitha’s sister-in-law to be Sri Lanka HC in Singapore

June 29 (Island) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama’s sister-in-law, Jayathri Ranjani Samarakone, has been named Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner-designate to Singapore. The former SriLankan airlines employee is expected to receive the blessings of the High Posts Committee headed by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake which recently received the proposal. Recently the foreign minister promoted his brother-in-law, Palitha Ganegoda, to the post of the Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi. more..

Wimal-Pillayan alliance: A crown for the boat

June 29 (ST) If the JVP is flexing its muscles to become an even more vibrant if not virulent opposition, its breakaway faction, now the National Freedom Front (NFF) took the first step yesterday for a new alliance. It wants to team up with the nation's only paramilitary-cum-political party, the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP or Tamil People's Liberation Front). On Thursday, the JVP-backed Buddhist monks of the IUSF tried to march towards "Temple Trees" to hand over a petition to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

JVP rejects President’s call

June 29 (ST) The JVP yesterday rejected a call from President Mahinda Rajapaksa for talks today to avert a general strike planned by its trade unions. “We are willing to take part in talks only to discuss the demands we have put forward,” JVP parliamentarian K.D. Lalkantha told The Sunday Times last night. Mr. Lal Kkantha is the Chairman of the National Trade Union Centre of the JVP which has planned a one-day general strike in the state sector on July 10. more..

Fast-flying Rohitha soars above budget

June 29 (ST) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama yesterday took off on yet another foreign journey with an entourage, while Ministry sources were complaining of him already having exhausted his budgetary allocations for travel for the year in the first six months. They said there was now an urgent necessity to obtain additional funding for future travel and this would have to be done through a supplementary vote in parliament. more..

The fall of Lanka's Foreign Service

June 29 (ST) Sri Lanka's Foreign Service has been highly politicized with the Cabinet of Ministers usurping the powers of the Public Service Commission (PSC) and making appointments in violation of the Constitution and the accepted norms, the Transparency International Sri Lanka has charged. "At present a series of (Foreign Service) appointments are being made by the cabinet on the recommendation of the Foreign Minister, etc. more..

Sri Lanka to motivate youth in policy reform

June 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka is planning to recognize youth involved community development, in a bid to encourage young people to come forward and contribute to policy reform, an official said. The Young Community Leaders (YCL) award scheme is organized by Sri Lanka's Banadaranaike Institute for International Studies (BCIS). The YCL awards which will be held in September is a joint project by BCIS, the ministry of youth affairs, more..

Sri Lanka urges for the continuation of GSP facilities to the new EU presidency

June 29 (AT) Sri Lanka has presented a very compelling case and has requested European Union for the continuation of Generalized System of Preferences facilities for another three years, from 2009 to 2012. Sri Lanka has taken up the issue with France, which will be taking over from 1st July, the rotating EU Presidency for the next six months from Slovenia, the present holder. more..

94 persons missing since January

June 29 (SAMN) A monitoring activity by a deputy minister has revealed that some 94 persons, all of them ethnic Tamil, are reported missing during the period January 2008 to date. According to Deputy Minister of Vocational Training, P. Radhakrishnan, a total of 147 were reported missing while 38 have returned home subsequently. Some 15 are believed to be detained, he said. The Deputy Minister who also took up the case of the Sea Street jewellery shop owners being extorted thereby more..

SL inflation highest in the region

June 29 (SAMN) Sri Lanka has the highest annual inflation in the region (Asia) with April figures touching 25 percent. Vietnam at 21.4 percent is the closest to such high inflation, an international bank said. HSBC’s Global Research in a report titled ‘Sri Lanka Inflation: How high will it go?’ said ‘even by its own history, inflation in Sri Lanka is on the high side.’ Quoting the New Colombo Consumers’ Price Index, the analysis notes that the country has a history of high inflation, more..

Pilot project to harness wind power

June 29 (SAMN) Cabinet approval has been granted to initiate a pilot project to generate electricity using wind power as an alternative energy source to overcome the problem of the high cost of electricity generation using oil. Posts Minister Mahinda Wijesekara announced that the new project was set to commence in about three months, after the relevant agreements were signed with the Singaporean company which is providing the necessary financial support for the project. more..

Sri Lankans take to beauty culture with changing lifestyles

June 29 (LBO) More people are mastering hair dressing and beauty culture because of increasing opportunities both in Sri Lanka and overseas, practitioners and students say. In the past people didn’t consider it as a serious profession because of the low demand and the inability to get qualified. Now however, hair and beauty salons are mushrooming all over the island as people spend a little extra to look good. more..

Sinhalese call for a separate New Year

June 29 (NIP) The Tamil Nadu Government’s decision to change the Tamil New Year on the grounds that the day observed as the New Year is not rooted in indigenous culture, has made some people think on similar lines in Sri Lanka also. Following CM M Karunanidhi’s diktat to Tamils to observe the local harvest festival Thai Pongal (January 14) as their New Year and not the Sankritised Chittirai Thirunal (April 13/14), a Sri Lankan writer has called upon Sinhalese Buddhists to more..

War without end

June 29 (GU) Hard not to laugh, for a brief second, when you're told about Claymore landmines. I am being told of them by a helpful young Sri Lankan near a military checkpoint, who is making a fairly compelling case not to be stupid by waiting till dark and dancing off around the guns and into the jungle. But I'm quietly laughing because I have just learned that the Claymore - shaped like a fat, convex, olive-green laptop with little legs to bury in the ground - has embossed writing on the business end. more..

Govt. move to quash Chandrika’s civic rights?

June 29 (LD) The Mahinda Rajapaksa regime is moving to quash the civic rights of the ruling Sri Lanka Party’s Senior Patron and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, ‘Lanka Dissent’ learns through reliable sources. After retirement as head of state, Mrs. Kumaratunga spent most of her time overseas and kept away from politics, before coming into the limelight once again as a result of her controversial speech at the first delegates’ conference of the SLFP Mahajana Wing on June 12th. more..