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Sri Lanka fuel prices frozen despite Rs7bn loss at state refiner

May 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka is keeping retail fuel prices at current levels despite crude oil prices soaring to new highs and mounting losses at the state oil retailer, Petroleum minister A H M Fowzie said. The state-owned oil refiner Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) had run up losses amounting to seven billion rupees (around 700 million dollars) on fuel subsidies since January 2008 when retail prices were last raised, Fowzie told a news conference. more..

Getting off with the wrong bag – CSD replies SCOPP

May 10 (LD) We of the Centre for Social Democracy (CSD) take pleasure in responding to a posting in the official website of the “Secretariat for Co-ordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP)” in Sri Lanka on 08th May, 2008 captioned “CAFFE Anyone? The link between Opposition Politicians and Human Rights Activists” under its Secretary General (SG), Prof Rajiva Wijesinha’s signature. more..

New Dictionary of Sri Lankan English

May 10 (LD) He speaks English with a crystal clear accent, typically uncommon for a native speaker. The British-born Michael Meyler has been an English language teacher in Sri Lanka for 23 years; first posted at Colombo International School and then at British Council, Colombo since 1995. Over the period of 23 years, Michael has not been just another Britisher teaching his native language. more..

Appreciation: Prof. “Tawney” Rajaratnam was respected and loved by all

May 10 (AT) One of my cherished memories of the days as an under-graduate at Peradeniya was meeting Tawney Rajaratnam sub-warden of Arunachalam Hall. Tawney and our warden Prof. D E Hettiarachchi would often join us at a game of table tennis whenever we took a breather from our studies. 'Tawney' Selvaratnam Rajaratnam, born on 10 May 1928, more..

Armed group releases underage recruits as vital election nears

May 10 (IRIN) The Karuna faction, the Tamil Tiger breakaway group, which has been transforming itself from an armed military group into a political party, released 39 underage recruits in April 2008. The group, officially known as the TMVP, released 28 children on 24 April after 11 were let go on 11 April. The TMVP was formed by the former eastern military commander of the LTTE, Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan, alias Karuna, after he broke away from the Tigers in April 2004. more..

CAFFE move towards all inclusive membership is a welcome move

May 10 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission congratulates the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE) for taking up a pluralistic approach in incorporating members to engage in election monitoring thereby standing above the partition political approach that has been the curse of Sri Lankan politics. Election monitoring must be done on the basis of norms and standards of free and fair elections and on that basis alone. more..

Minister Devananda Initiates Programs to Uplift Living Standards in Killinochchi and Mullaittivu

May 10 (AT) Minster Douglas Devananda, Chairman of Presidential Special Task Committee, appointed for resettlement, Rehabilitation and Developmental activities in the Northern Province, is in the process of collecting information for commencing accelerated development work for the upliftment of living conditions of the people of Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Mannar Districts. more..

'Splintered leadership of Ranil-Rauff coalition would not lead the people of East'

May 10 (AT) Speaking to ‘Asian Tribune’ Basil Rajapakse MP said that it is very clear that Ranil-Rauff coalition who are splintered and incapable of keeping their own members in the fold, could not be expected to lead people of the East. Defeat is staring them in the face because the people know that UPFA has freed them from the clutches of the ruthless LTTE terrorists. He said that the election campaign went on very well as the awareness level of the people reached a high level. more..

Gajaman Nona

May 10 (LG) Isabella Dona Cornelia was a famous Ceylonese poet now forgotten today in schools by students, and teachers too. Born in 1746 when Ceylon came under Portuguese influence in names and speech. Although born in a Sinhala village, she adopted Portuguese women’s fashion attired in long puffed sleeves with pleated blouse, and long filled and pleated skirts. This dress suited her perfectly as she had an enchanting figure. more..

Devolution of power to territorial entities in Sri Lanka - an overview

May 10 (LG) Offering the LTTE increased autonomy in the 1995 Proposals as an incentive was like offering a bigger dowry to a man who was not interested in marriage! I am thankful for this invitation to make a brief presentation on the subject of devolution of power for your deliberations at the Synod of the clergy of the Diocese of Colombo of the Church of Sri Lanka. There has been a significant revival of interest in this subject in recent days, more..

No Space to Political Opponents in the East- EROS

May 10 (LG) “We urge the Government of Sri Lanka to investigate the Grenade attack on the house of our candidate Mariyathas Arokianathan, 36 contesting in Eastern Province Council (EPC) election, at Punnaichoalai in Batticaloa district, injuring our contestant’s wife, mother and brother besides causing severe damage to the walls and windows,” Nesan Shankar Raji Senior Leader & Spokesperson for & on behalf of the EROS said in a statement. more..

JVP – UNP: accuse government will rig the election in the east

May 10 (LG) The Eastern Provincial Council election is taking place for the first time today after 20 years of the introduction of the 13th amendment to the constitution which for the first time devolved powers to provinces to a greater extent. According to sources in the East, the people there are living under considerable pressure and fear. Leading political parties are contesting the election and this has paved the way for vibrant democracy to develop in the east. more..

Is president Rajapaksa a terrorist?

May 10 (LG) President Mahinda Rajapakse stands out as the only president in Sri Lanka who has to face an avalanche of acrimony hatred, demonisation and insult. He is blamed for every trouble that occurs in our strife-torn island for some of which he is not responsible at all. The J.V.P in their May Day rally referred to Mahinda Rajapakse as the terrorist in the south while Vellupillai Prabakaran was the terrorist in the north. more..

Human Rights Watch attacks to the UK Government over Karuna Case

May 10 (LG) The British government’s failure to file criminal charges against a former Tamil Tiger leader for grave human rights abuses in Sri Lanka is a tragic missed opportunity to bring a notorious rights abuser to justice, Human Rights Watch said today, the Human Rights Watch said in a statement short while ago. The Organisation said further in his statement. more..

Sinking of A 520/MV Invincible

May 10 (LG) As per the reports received so far it has been confirmed that a SLN logistic support ship was sunk at about 0230 on Saturday 10 May 2008. As per preliminary reports the ship was at anchorage and was being loaded with explosives to be carried to KKS from Trincomalee. The pattern of operations suggests that the tactics adopted may have been similar to the one that was followed during the sinking of a fast attack aircraft on 22nd Mar 2008. more..

What Happening in the eastern polls, Mutur

May 10 (MG) Mutur FM operated for election backed by a Minster made a special announcement requesting the public to caste the vote for UPFA as the announcement of the mosque federation. But the mosque federation denied and denounced the Muter FM. Consequently today the 10th May 2008 9.15 am the secretary of Jammiathul ulama Moulavi Nizar assaulted and abused by a gang came in a black Pajero. It is reported that former MP Thideer Thowfeek also one in the group. more..

Eastern polls would be decisive to entire Sri Lankan Nation! – JVP

May 10 (LT) The Eastern Provincial Council election held on the instigation of certain western countries and India is important not only to the people in the Eastern Province but it is decisive to the future of the whole Nation says the JVP in a press release. The JVP in its announcement states the government decided to hold the election for Eastern PC at a time when more..

Thugs of 2 ministers arrested for attempted vote rigging

May 10 (LD) Police Special Task Force commandos arrested Minister Mervyn Silva's son Malaka Silva and coordinating secretary identified as 'Kudu Lal' at a polling station at Dehiattakandiya in Digamadulla district today (May 10th). The two, accompanied by several persons, had tried to rig votes at the Bambarawana Central College polling centre, Consultant for the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections Shiral Laktilake told 'Lanka Dissent. more..

35 state plantations in crisis without funds

May 10 (LD) Thirty-five state-owned plantations are facing a serious financial crisis after the government had refused to grant the funds requested for their maintenance, 'Ravaya' reports. Managed under the Public Estate Management and Development Ministry, these estates belonging to the Janatha Estate Development Board, the State Plantation Corporation and the Elkaduwa Plantation Company had sought Rs. 600 million from the Treasury. more..

Pillayan controls outer-B'caloa - CAFFE

May 10 (LD) The Pillayan-led TMVP has practically seized control of Batticaloa in areas outside the municipality and was engaged in large-scale vote rigging, the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections says. The group had threatened voters and snatched official poll cards of several voters at Kiliveddi and was forcibly bringing voters to polling centres in Pattirippu, CAFFE said. The local poll monitor said the law enforcement authorities have not taken any measure to prevent these incidents. more..

President Rajapaksa condemns LTTE's barbaric attack

May 10 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa condemned the barbaric act of the LTTE of exploding a bomb targeting innocent civilians at a cafe in Ampara town. He said he was confident that the people of the East would not be intimidated by this low degrading act of the Tigers and the political parties supporting the outfit, at a time the people were about to enjoy the fruits of democracy by electing a true leader to guide their destinies. more..

SLC's coaching wing moves to R. Premadasa Stadium

May 10 (LNP) The coaching wing of Sri Lanka Cricket was moved to R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium and the new premises of SLC was declared opened, by the Chairman of the Interim Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket Arjuna Ranatunga, yesterday. This means the entire coaching staff of SLC will be housed at the R. Premadasa Stadium, instead of Maitland Place, the home of Sri Lankan cricket. more..

Six dead during nurses’ strike

May 10 (SAMN) Following the deaths of two adults and a child reported earlier from the Ratnapura General Hospital three more deaths of infants was reported from the same hospital during the nurses’ strike action on Wednesday and Thursday, a Health Ministry spokesman said Friday. A preliminary inquiry had revealed that all three deaths which occurred in the labour room were due to the non availability of essential drugs and equipment as more..

President can prorogue House any time

May 10 (SAMN) While noting that it is a right of the President to prorogue Parliament at any time, the government Friday lamented over not having a ‘strong’ opposition leader in the country. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva addressing media in Colombo said Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is only providing jokes to the country. “His newest joke is that President Mahinda Rajapaksa prorogued parliament without informing him. more..

Video documentary on Jaffna library

May 10 (SAMN) A video documentary on the Jaffna library that was burnt by political thugs during the 1981 District Development Council (DDC) elections has been produced by a group of Sri Lankan Tamils living in Europe. Puthinam website said that the DVDs of the documentary in English French and Tamil are to be distributed around the world on May 31, coinciding with the 27th anniversary of the destruction of the library. more..

All eyes on East today

May 10 (SAMN) The keenly contested first ever election in the de-merged and the recently liberated Eastern province will be held today. Authorities said all arrangements are in place for a free and fair election with a 20,000 strong contingent of security personnel and 15,000 polls officers to man the election. Voting will take place in 1,070 polling centres spanning three districts, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara with the number of eligible voters totalling 982,721. more..

CMEV: 25 complaints, 18 major offenses on EPC elections day

May 10 (TN) Centre of Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) in an update issued at 2:30 p.m. in Sri Lanka said it had registered 18 major offenses such as murder, attempted murder, assault, threat and intimidation, impersonation and ballot stuffing. Of the major offences, 13 were reported from Batticaloa, 03 from Ampaa'rai and 02 from Trincomalee district. The CMEV has urged the Sri Lankan Election Commissioner to annul the poll in the stations it had identified. more..

EP polls unveils Tamils as partners in governance

May 10 (DN) The Eastern Provincial Council elections to be held today will make the Tamil-speaking community of Sri Lanka true partners in the country’s governance for the first time in history, the Government said yesterday. Addressing the final pre-election media briefing of the UPFA, Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said the historic poll will also mark the demise of the LTTE and Prabhakaran’s dream of an Eelam. more..

Free fertiliser programme for Eastern Province

May 10 (DN) Western Provincial Council member Duminda Silva said yesterday that the Free fertiliser distribution programme for farmers, initiated in the Uhana electorate of the Eastern Province, would be spread to other areas of the East in the near future. According to Duminda Silva the distribution of free fertiliser to farmers, was initiated in line with “Mahinda Chinthana” to uplift the rural farming community of the East, who more..

UNP will win 19 seats at free, fair EPC election - Attanayake

May 10 (Island) Nineteen out of the 35 seats at stake in today’s Eastern Provincial Council Election will be won by the UNP-SLMC alliance, provided the government permits a free and fair poll to be held, UNP General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake said. Attanayake said that they expect to win seven seats from Ampara and six each from Trincomalee and Batticaloa. more..

House appointed Scholarship Board a white elephant

May 10 (Island) A Scholarship Board, set up seven years ago through an Act of Parliament, has failed to meet its objectives for want of a proper evaluation. Well informed sources said the Scholarship Board set up during the previous UNF administration had offered only three scholarships so far. Mrs. Priyanee Wijesekera during her tenure as the Secretary General of Parliament had functioned as the Secretary to the Scholarship Board, the sources said. more..

Baby trade: Mother, two others in Court

May 10 (DM) A mother of two who allegedly sold her three-day old baby girl for Rs. 12,000 and wanted her returned after experiencing a breast engorgement was arrested yesterday, Matara Police said. “The mother gave birth to the child early this month at the Matara General Hospital but had allegedly sold the baby soon after being discharged,” Deputy Director Dr. Gunasekara told Daily Mirror. more..

Govt. rice ration unfit for human consumption

May 10 (DM) The flood-stricken people in the Ratnapura District are perturbed that the rice ration issued to them by the government was not fit for human consumption. The Public Health Inspectors of the Ratnapura Municipal Council who carried out raids on several cooperative stalls had destroyed 267 kilos of red rice unfit for human consumption. They have examined another stock of red rice at the stores of Elapatha and forwarded samples to the Government Analyst for report. more..

Police seize 25 colour dhotis meant for Lanka

May 10 (CO) Police seized twenty five colour dhotis, meant for being smuggled to Sri Lanka and arrested four persons in this connection at Susaiyappar Pattinam coastal hamlet, here Friday. Police sources said during a routine surveillance along the coast, a police team found four persons loading a consignment in a fishing trawler. The team immediately rounded up the gang and seized the consignment containing 25 colour dhotis meant for Sri Lanka. more..

Maiden provincial poll for Sri Lanka's war-ravaged East

May 10 (IANS) Amid sweeping security arrangements, Sri Lanka's war-hit eastern province comprising Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Amparai districts will elect a provincial council Saturday, barely a year after the military seized the former Tamil Tiger strongholds. A total of 982,721 registered voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to pick 37 members from among 1,342 candidates from 18 political parties and 73 independent groups. more..

Tamil rebels sink navy ship on east coast; new ground fighting kills 26

May 10 (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels bombed and sank a navy cargo ship off eastern Sri Lanka early Saturday with no casualties reported, and infantry clashes in the embattled north killed 24 rebels and two soldiers, the military said. The attack on the ship took place just hours before residents of eastern Sri Lanka began voting in a critical provincial election in a formerly rebel-held region. more..

Rights group unhappy that Britain did not charge former rebel for alleged abuses

May 10 (AP) Amnesty International complained that Britain released a former Sri Lankan rebel leader without prosecuting him for alleged war abuses including killings, abductions and using child soldiers. Despite six months of investigation Britain failed to find sufficient evidence to charge former Tamil Tiger leader Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, the London-based human rights group said in a statement received in Sri Lanka Saturday after being issued Friday. more..

Voters in eastern Sri Lanka worry about future

May 10 (AP) A climate of fear hung over elections in Sri Lanka's tumultuous east Saturday following a series of attacks blamed on the rebels and accusations of intimidation against a breakaway rebel group backing the ruling party. The government promised the provincial elections would herald a "new dawn" for the embattled region, which was under rebel control for 13 years, was badly hit by the 2004 tsunami and then suffered through a wide-ranging war more..

Sri Lankan vote tests a peacemaking strategy

May 10 (CSM) For the first time in 20 years, elections will be held Saturday in Sri Lanka's battle-scarred eastern province. Designed to establish a civilian administration – the Eastern Provincial Council – in an area formerly held by rebels, and to bring greater devolution to Tamil-minority areas, the vote suggests that the government is seeking a political as well as a military solution to Sri Lanka's chronic conflict. more..

India's Sri Lanka power project runs into Tamil storm

May 10 (IANS) An Indian project that seeks to provide electricity to Sri Lanka's war-hit east has run into rough weather amid allegations that it will displace Tamils who have lived in the area for generations. Indian arguments that the coal-based plant is meant to benefit locals in Trincomalee are having no effect on rights activists and the thousands who fled the region after fighting between the Tamil Tigers and the military. more..

Sri Lanka holds crucial vote in war-torn east

May 10 (AP) Residents in Sri Lanka's war-ravaged east voted for the first time in two decades on Saturday in an election the government hopes will endorse its war to defeat Tamil Tiger rebels. Voting began hours after a "Black Tiger" rebel suicide squad sank a naval ship in the eastern port of Trincomalee. On Friday, a bomb exploded in a crowded cafe also in the eastern Sri Lanka, killing 12 people an injuring 29. more..

Sri Lanka: Armed resistance or terrorism?

May 11 (DV) When the state is involved in demolishing peace in the country there then is a serious problem. Furthermore, when the state forces are caught planting bombs and claymore mines then it calls for serious action. Sadly, that is the state of affairs in Sri Lanka. State terror is a reality. That is something that the international community has chosen to ignore. When a state is hell-bent on ‘secret’ ethnic cleansing, head-hunting human rights activists, more..

Gov't denies claims of unfair election in east

May 11 (Xinhua) The government on Saturday denied claims by election watch dogs and the main opposition party that the Eastern Provincial Council election held for the first time in 20 years was not free and fair. "Except for a few incidents, the election was free and fair," Anura Yapa, the government spokesman and the Minister of Media said. Susil Premajayantha said that a few incidents were not big enough to alter the final outcome of the election. more..

People & Events: From The TMVP's Diary

May 11 (LG) TMVP handed over its political proposals in three languages to the Chairman of APRC minister Thissa Witharana on May of last year at his residence in No 408, Galle Road Colombo 3. The Secretary of the Party, S. Padmini and the Head of TMVP Peace Secretariat, Mr. K. Mahesh handed over the political proposals of TMVP in three languages to the chairman of APRC minister Thissa Witharana. more..

Election propaganda : Searching “Manape”

May 11 (LG) A loud song (preferred by the masses) disturbs the neighbourhood through a public address system when Saku has just put her baby to sleep. The sound system is so badly handled due to technical defects that the song becomes a mere jargon. The song suddenly stopped for a speech by a candidate at forthcoming election for his "manape" (preferential vote) at least. Election campaigning at all times of the day has posed a common problem to both city dwellers as well as those living in suburbs. more..

The 'Kattandiya' and the 'Thakkadiya'

May 11 (LG) Until recently I had little or no regard for kattandiyas and their craft. I had come to have such a sad opinion of our local necromamcers after having witnessed many a performance by a number of their ghoulish group. I had come to the conclusion that their vocation was nothing but a lot of mumbo - jumbo mixed with a generous portion of hocus - pocus and that it held not a shred of credibility or truth. more..

Ireland and Sri Lanka: an analogy

May 11 (LG) An analogy may help to explain the issues - the case of Ceylon/ Sri Lanka. I assume Geoff Bell and Socialist Outlook are in favour of the right of the Tamils to secede from the Sinhalese-dominated Sri Lankan state and set up their own state. But how did things in Ceylon/ Sri Lanka turn out like this? Look at the history. Some of the Tamils were a favoured minority under British rule. more..

2 LTTE militants held, explosives seized

May 11 (TT) The coastal security wing of the Tamil Nadu police has seized explosives shipment meant for the LTTE and arrested two suspected militants off the coast of Rameswaram, 600 km from here. Additional director-general of police (coastal security) Jagan Sheshadri said, “During our operations since last night we came across a boat off the Rameswaram coast in the Palk Bay containing chemicals and detonators. Two suspected militants were arrested”. more..

60 p.c. turnout in eastern poll

May 11 (Hindu) About 60 per cent of the nearly 10 lakh voters exercised their franchise in the first-ever election to the Sri Lanka Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) on Saturday. The much awaited election passed off without any major incidence of violence amid unprecedented security measures and charges of large-scale irregularities. This correspondent who drove down from Batticaloa to Trincomalee saw little enthusiasm among voters. more..

Sri Lanka to award offshore oil blocks by end-May

May 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka is to award its first offshore oil exploration contract before the end of May, petroleum minister A H M Fowzie said. The ministry was preparing a paper on bids received for offshore exploration and its recommendation to submit to the cabinet of ministers for approval next week, he told a news conference Friday. "We will award the contract before the end of May." more..