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Pillaiyan thanks Tamils for helping him to defeat for the first time Vanni Tigers democratically

May 13 (AT) Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan popularly known as Pillaiyan told Asian Tribune that he wanted to convey his thanks to the Tamils who are in fact 48 percent of the total population in the East, for helping him and his party to defeat the Vanni Tigers for the first time democratically. He added, I bow my head to the people in the East for helping us to grow democratically to this height. more..

TNDA backs Pillaiyan for CM

May 13 (AT) The chances of TMVP chief Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan became stronger with the unqualified support extended to him by the lone council member belonging to the Tamil National Democratic Alliance (TNDA) in addition to the six Tamil members elected on UPFA ticket. Rasaiyah Thurairatnam, National Organiser of the EPRLF (Vartharaja Group) who won a seat in the East Provincial Council on the TNDA list insisted that the Chief Minister for the East has to be a Tamil and no one else. more..

Ranil & Hakeem- Tale of strange bedfellows

May 13 (LG) Ranil Wickramasinghe came to power thanks to his stars. When his uncle JR Jayawardene, quite unwillingly handed over the leadership of UNP to Premadasa, Ranil was not considered even for the leadership battle. Gamini Dissanayake started a bitter campaign to secure the leadership of the UNP. That struggle almost broke UNP in to two. However the grand old party managed to hide the dust under the carpet to elect Premadasa as the leader. more..

Govt must seriously act to curb kidnaps and ransom demands

May 13 (LG) Chilling stories of broad daylight kidnaps and kappang (ransom) demands are one again on the increase in the government controlled areas in Sri Lanka. The government is still unable to take effective measures to deal with the terrible situation. Kidnaps, blackmails, threats, intimidations, disappearances, murders etc have become endemic culture in Sri Lanka. The situation has become dire since the present government came to power two and a half years ago. more..

Bridge under troubled waters

May 13 (SMH) The much-loved story of Ramayana, a famous epic of ancient India, is as timeless as history itself. It is a story of courage that embodies a moral code of ethics and culminates in the triumph of good over evil. In dance performances depicting Rama's life, the story tells of how the demon king, Ravana, uses trickery to kidnap Lord Rama's wife, Sita, and how Rama, with the help of his army of monkeys, builds a bridge of stones from India to Sri Lanka to rescue her. more..

Computer Center Enhances Priestly Ministry

May 13 (UCAN) Ashan Fernando is one of a new generation of seminarians who increasingly turn to a computer, not books, for information. The 15-year-old student at St. Joseph's Seminary in Kohuwala, on the southern outskirts of Colombo, is even less inclined now to search through library shelves for religious and social studies, math and English lessons, or Sinhalese words. more..

Bodies in the bag

May 13 (AHRC) Our first reply to Pachoris posed the following question: Is Sri Lanka as the AHRC says: a country with an exceptional collapse of the rule of law or not. The columnist has made no reference to this question and instead has said, this amounts to, "Koheda yanne, malle pol". The question was not Koheda yanne but Mokada wenne, meaning what is happening, which is what this whole discussion was about beginning with our letter relating to Sir Nigel Rodley. more..

Tamil detainees allege sexual abuse after transfer from Magazine Prison - MP

May 13 (TN) 68 Tamil detainees, hurriedly transferred from New Magazine prison in Colombo Saturday around 8:50 p.m. by the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) interrogators, were verbally abused, tortured and subjected to sexual abuse at the notorious Boosa Prison in Galle, according to complaints made by the parents to Tamil parliamentarian Chandrakanth Chandranehru. more..

GSP+ and the Human Rights Issue

May 13 (LG) Economic sanctions have been used for foreign policy objectives since the time of Ancient Greece. The idea that economic sanctions might be an alternative to the use of force received attention after the First World War, largely owing to President Woodrow Wilson's advocacy. Since World War II, Economic sanctions have been employed to promote democracy and human rights, to end civil war, to stop drug trafficking, to fight terrorism, to more..

The Crisis of our Agricultural Problems

May 13 (LG) After a long career (over 35 years) spent in activities closely related to agriculture (sugar industry, etc.,) working under adverse conditions in areas such as the Gal Oya Valley and Kantale and thereby having closely associated myself with the farming communities that were settled 'in them, I am one who always felt that as a rule farmers were generally given step motherly treatment. more..

IIEGP Antics - A penny for your thoughts!

May 13 (LG) The International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) was invited by the President to observe proceedings of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry appointed to investigate and inquire into alleged violations of human rights and to make suggestions. The country and the international community, particularly the latter, which is keenly interested in the outcome of this Presidential Inquiry, did not, more..

The father’s role and moral responsibility

May 13 (LG) May is a month when great attention is paid to the role of the family in shaping society. Perhaps May was chosen cause it is widely accepted that the month was named for Maia the Roman goddess of spring and growth . Her name seems to be related to a Latin word that means increase or growth and it is traditionally believed that ancient Romans associated her with fertility and held ceremonies in her honour on May 1 and again on May 15. more..

22 Muslims farmers attacked in Thoppigala and Vaharai area

May 13 (MG) Reports say, Muslims who resumed cultivating their lands in areas such as Thoppigala, Vaharai have been attacked by an unidentified group yesterday. Reports say that 22 Muslims farmers who had gone to tend to their cultivations have been affected resulting in one person Mr.Aliyar being critically injured while several others had sustained injuries. Agricultural Land in these areas belonging to Muslim had been recultivated after a long period due to more..

Minister Athaulla's Victory parade attacked

May 13 (MG) A pickup truck belonging to Minister Athaullah’s group was severely damaged due to being attacked at Kalmunai when they were parading the streets celebrating the UPFA’s victory in eastern province election. It is reported that Minister Athaulla’s supporters were insulting Mr. Hakeem and this has resulted in the supporters of the latter angrily attacking Minister Athaulla’s convoy while they were returning from Maruthamunai. more..

Police and Land powers for East PC

May 13 (LD) The newly-elected Eastern Provincial Council would be vested with wide powers, to ensure that people in the East will receive benefits that those in other parts of the country enjoy, now that it is a government controlled area. This was stated by Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva and SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena at a media briefing in Colombo yesterday (May 12th). more..

Maunagurusami as CM of East

May 13 (LD) The government is considering appointing a person other than its two top contenders as chief minister of the eastern province to prevent the contest between them from getting out of hand and worsen into a conflict between communities. The matter is under discussion at a meeting of leaders from UPFA affiliates presently being chaired by Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa. more..

President to address Oxford Union

May 13 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is due to address the Oxford Union tomorrow (13), on the invitation of the Oxford Union and the Sri Lanka Society of Oxford University. The topic of his address will be 'Strategy towards empowering the rural economy in Sri Lanka'. President Rajapaksa will be the first Sri Lankan Head of State and Sri Lankan statesman who has not previously held office in the Oxford Union to address it as a guest speaker. more..

Recorded increase in Tourist arrivals owing to promotional activities

May 13 (GDI) Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka from Middle Eastern countries has recorded a growth rate of 80.06 in the first quarter of the year said Sri Lanka Tourism's Managing Director Dilip Mudadeniya. Speaking to journalists at the recently concluded Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai, Mudadeniya said "We are only behind Thailand and Maldives where the growth in arrivals from the Middle East is concerned," and predicted that the figure would be reach a higher level in the future. more..

Salary hike for Judges

May 13 (GDI) Senior state counsel (SSC) serving on the Salary and Cadre Commission, N.Pulle informed court that it has been proposed to increase the salaries of judges by around 1/3 of their current salaries and which would be pensionable. The SSC submitted that representatives of the petitioners and the members of the Salaries and the Cadre Commission had discussions on December 17, 2007 and there was agreement to formulate a separate salary structure for the Judiciary, when more..

Polls free and fair -- Foreign Monitors

May 13 (GDI) Releasing their observation report on the polls yesterday the Association of Asian Election Authorities (AAEA) said that the elections were totally free and fair and that they had not encountered a single untoward incident during their monitoring process. The AAEA comprised 17 members from 10 Asian countries, with the team including eminent personalities in their respective countries including several elections commissioners in their ranks, more..

Eastern polls paves way for peaceful, pluralistic development -- SCOPP

May 13 (GDI) The Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) in a media realease welcomed the conclusion of the Eastern Provincial Election, which now makes it possible to establish an administrative structure capable of fulfilling the spirit of devolution as required in Sri Lanka. Excerpts of the media release are given below: For too long now devolution has been seen as leading to the emergence of a Provincial administration that is more..

Pakistan back in Commonwealth; appreciates Sri Lanka's support

May 13 (GDI) Pakistan has been re-admitted to the Councils of the Commonwealth with immediate effect, a decision following Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama's call at the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meeting in London yesterday, when he made the opening statement and strongly urged the nine member body to immediately lift Pakistan's suspension. more..

Anuradhapura and Trincomalee districts to be linked by new bridge

May 13 (GDI) Nationa Building and Estate Infrastructure Development Minister, S.M. Chandrasena, laid the foundation stone for a new bridge across the Yan Oya on Friday (9th), which will link the Anuradhapura and Trincomalee districts. The new bridge, to be built at a cost of Rs. 20 million is a long-felt need of the citizens living in Horowpothana in Anuradhapura district and Gomarankadawala, Morawewa and Pulmoddai in the Trincomalee district,

Letter to the Editor, ‘Sunday Leader’ from Professor Rajiva Wijesinha

May 13 (PISL) Last week the Peace Secretariat sent the following letter to the Sunday Leader as a reply to the article entitled 'Rajiva and Vaiko clash in Oslo' which appeared in the ‘Sunday Leader’ on May 4th. The reply has been published in the ‘Sunday Leader’ (May 11, 2008) but it is again reproduced here since it is important to note the sleight of hand employed by, not necessarily the ‘Leader’, but more..

'UNP did not print at least a handbill for the election'

May 13 (LNP) A group of UNP MPs say that the party lost the election not only because of the malpractices of the government coalition but also thanks to serious shortages in UNP election campaign. Pointing to the inefficiency of the party one UNP MP said to Lanka-e-News that the UNP did not issue at least a single propaganda handbill for the election. Another MP said that there was no adequate space in the province to paste the huge poster printed by the UNP. more..

Rice exports from Myanmar to go ahead

May 13 (SAMN) With India and Pakistan showing their reluctance to supply rice to Sri Lanka, cyclone hit Myanmar has agreed to go ahead with its contractual rice export obligations that will help the country meet its requirements. Myanmar had agreed to export one lakh metric tones of the food grain of rice. According to officials, the consignment of about 50,000 tons of rice from Myanmar has not been hampered by the cyclone. more..

Outstation schools prove their supremacy

May 13 (SAMN) Joseph Vaz College Wennappuwa and A. Ratnayake College Walala clinched the boys and girls overall title respectively at the Mobitel Relay Carnival organised by the Athletic Association of Sri Lanka in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Schools Athletic Association and concluded at the Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo Monday. Joseph Vaz College collected a total of 104 points to finish well ahead of their closest rivals Alighar National School which emerged runners up with a tally of 77 points. more..

Local and int’l polls monitors disagree

May 13 (SAMN) A striking disparity between reports issued by local and international elections monitors on the conduct of the recently concluded Eastern Provincial Council elections was observed Monday. In contrast to the 83 incidents of electoral violence recorded by monitors of People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), the seventeen international monitors, representing the Association of Asian Election Authorities (AAEA), stated that they had observed no cases of intimidation or electoral violence. more..

Plantation children to be taught English

May 13 (SAMN) The General Secretary of Ceylon Workers Congress and Minister of Youth Empowerment and Socio Economic Development Arumugan Thondaman has decided to develop the knowledge of English to inspire up country students through prajashakthi centres in estates. Saumyamoorthi Thondaman Memorial Foundation organized an international internet English programme to conduct weekend classes through 43 prajashakthi centres in all estates. more..

Appeal for funds to help cyclone-hit Myanmar

May 13 (DN) The Sri Lanka Myanmar Friendship Association has appealed for urgent funds from the public to help people of Myanmar affected by the recent cyclone which caused severe destruction to life and property. The Sri Lanka Myanmar Friendship Association said. On May 3 Cyclone Nargis a category 3 Storm, with 3.5M Waves and 190Km per hour winds struck the Southern part of Myanmar. more..

Disciplining three wheeler drivers

May 13 (DN) There is no doubt that the three-wheeler is a common man’s vehicle that serves the length and the breadth of the country. It goes into the most difficult areas of the country where public transport is simply not available, catering to the needs of the common people whose only hope is the three-wheeler in the times of need. Though the hiring charges of the three-wheeler have been on the increase due to increase of prices of fuel, more..

No vacuum left for new party to fill - JVP

May 13 (Island) JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake commenting on the formation of new party by the Wimal Weerawansa faction said it would become a party fanning the sentiments of Sinhala chauvinism. "There is no other vacuum in the polity to be filled at this stage. For a party to be successful itshould represent a certain social group. In Sri Lanka there are only three main political forces and all of them are represented well. more..

SPC commenced programmes to promote its drugs

May 13 (Island) The State Pharmaceutical Corporation has commenced several programmes to promote its dugs in hospitals. From the very beginning SPC has earned its reputation as the main stake holder in providing quality medical drugs at an affordable price to the state as well as to the private sector. This system should prevail for ever. In terms of the policy of Mahinda Chinthanaya. It was part of the commitment make drugs available at an affordable price and quality drugs" more..

Gold within a cow at Vadamarachchi

May 13 (DM) A veterinary surgeon in Vadamarachchi, in Jaffna had to carry out surgery on a cow to recover a gold chain from the animal. It had reportedly wondered into the house while the owner was away. The cow had swallowed the chain after making its way into the house and eating raw rice from a pot in which the chain had been hidden. On his return the owner found his chain missing and realised that the cow must have swallowed it. more..

Beyond the votes, a mother weeps

May 13 (DM) A 22-year-old man from Kattankudy in Batticaloa fearing a Pillaiyan led administration in the east, committed suicide hours after the election results were released on Sunday morning, The victim, Anthony Sivathurai (name changed to protect identity), who cast his vote together with his mother and elder brother on Saturday morning had threatened to commit suicide in the event of a UPFA victory, as he believed a Pillaiyan led administration would prove disastrous to the east. more..

Polls expose LTTE folly, says official

May 13 (AA) The outcome of a successful election in the eastern province of Sri Lanka will not only pave the way for implementing the devolution proposals but it is also a reminder to the LTTE that its adventurism has few takers, according to the Sri Lankan high commissioner to India. The envoy, Mr C.R. Jayasinghe, on Monday told this newspaper that the outcome of the election results is a "beacon light to the (embattled) North". more..

Fighting kills 17 rebels, 1 police officer

May 13 (AP) Military forces and Tamil Tiger rebels fought a series of battles across northern Sri Lanka that killed 17 rebels, the military said Tuesday. Meanwhile, a police officer was killed in a rebel attack in the east. The fighting took place Monday, mainly along the front lines surrounding the rebels' de facto state in the north. In the worst battles, five rebels were killed in a morning fight with troops in the Vavuniya district, while five others were killed in a clash hours later, more..

Sri Lanka gets Jap aid to modernise rural hospital

May 13 (LBO) Japan has given a grant of 3,103 million yen (about 3.2 billion rupees) to expand Sri Lanka's third largest hospital and import equipment for development projects, the finance ministry said Tuesday. It said in a statement that 1.8 billion yen would go to modernise the Anuradhapura teaching hospital, the main hospital in the north-central region. A new three-storied building with a floor area of 7,500 square metres will be built to house an more..

Sri Lanka taps Indian hand for cinemas

May 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka and India's Adlabs plan to enter into a joint venture to upgrade 30 local cinemas, an official said. A mission from the entertainment company will be in Sri Lanka shortly, Saman Weeraman, head of the State Film Corporation said. Adlabs plans to develop and modernize the cinemas with the help of their owners, he said. Adlabs is a top producer of Hindi movies and was founded in 1978 by top filmmaker Manmohan Shetty.

'Indo-Lanka ties strong and candid'

May 13 (PTI) India and Sri Lanka enjoy a "very candid and strong" relationship, the Foreign Minister of the island nation said, asserting that a maritime defence arrangement between the two countries to prevent arms smuggling by Tamil Tigers was "working well". Relations between New Delhi and Colombo are at a "very high point" both politically and economically, Rohitha Bogollagama said complementing the Indian leadership for responding to his country's needs. more..

Provincial elections could trigger widespread redevelopment

May 13 (IRIN) After provincial elections in Eastern region concluded on 10 May, some economic recovery and increased assistance from the humanitarian community is likely, according to UN and other officials. Much of the Eastern Province, which includes Batticaloa, Ampara and Trincomalee districts, was devastated by fighting in 2006-2007 between the LTTE and the government, with hundreds of thousands of people displaced and homes and livelihoods destroyed. more..

'Transforming to knowledge economy is key to prosperity'

May 14 (FI) It’s a pleasure to attend this event today on behalf of my government. I am honored to participate in the closing ceremony of the mentoring program in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. I also am pleased to help acknowledge the winners of the programming and drama competitions. Today we celebrate two important themes in academic life: excellence and mentoring. more..

JHU files FR against tsunami housing near Digawapi

May 14 (LD) The JHU filed a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court, seeking an injunction against the construction of a 500-unit tsunami-housing complex near the Digawapi sacred area. The Saudi-funded project is to be located in a 150-acre plot of land owned by the Hingurana Sugar Company. The petitioner, JHU leader Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thera, JHU Secretary Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera and Chief Incumbent of the Digawapi Vihara Ven. Nannapurawe Buddharakkhitha Thera, claims it would damage the Buddhist heritage in the area, more..

JVP on wrong footing - NFF

May 14 (BBC) The failure of JVP at the east provincial council election was due to choosing class struggle rather than going against imperialism, says a former senior leader of the party. The general secretary of the newly formed political party National Freedom Front, the Former politburo member of JVP, Nanadna Gunathilake told BBC Sandeshaya that doors of his new party are open for 'all patriots'. "It is a critical issue to contemplate on why people are keeping away from the JVP", he said. more..

Advisor to Tamil minister shot dead in northern Sri Lanka

May 14 (DPA) Unidentified gunmen shot dead Tuesday an advisor to a minority Tamil cabinet minister at her residence in northern Sri Lanka, police said. The advisor Maheshwari Velauthan, was at her residence in Karaveddi, Jaffna, and was shot by three men dressed in military type uniforms. Velauthan had served as a human rights activist as well as advisor to Minister Douglas Devananda, who heads the Tamil minority party - the EPDP. more..

Mahinda defends SL rights in Geneva

May 14 (BBC) The Sri Lankan government offered to discuss vital human rights issues relating to Sri Lanka. Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe on Tuesday was responding to questions raised by Denmark, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom, Canada and Germany in Geneva. Sri Lanka has been accused by human rights groups of holding responsibility for number of human rights violations including disappearances and extra judicial executions and was widely discussed in local and international media. more..

Q&A: Child soldiering driven by "Unequal Power Equation"

May 14 (IPS) The growing phenomenon of child soldiers -- long prevalent in African countries such as Uganda, Somalia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo -- is also taking root in Asia, specifically in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Burma (Myanmar) and the Philippines. The United Nations says that of the estimated 250,000 child soldiers worldwide, a sizeable proportion is in South and Southeast Asia. more..

Tropical Ceylon 1932

Basil is the Sun around which The Eastern P.C. will revolve

May 14 (TC) The controversial election to the Eastern Provincial Council is over but the controversy over the chief minister (CM)appointment is not over. Speculation whether the new CM will be Pillaiyan, M.L.A.M. Hizbullah or some other is somewhat absurd because in a sense the issue really does not matter. Regardless of who becomes de jure Eastern chief minister the de facto chief minister will be none other than national list MP Basil Rajapakse. more..

A fraud that pased off for democracy

May 14 (ML) The UNP called it daylight robbery, the JVP called it robbery and fraud, and the SLMC called it totally unacceptable. Even as allegations of massive election fraud took centre stage, the government made a Babylonian feast out of the marred election by celebrating a return to democracy in the east. For Mahinda Rajapakse, despite the allegations, the holding of such violence marred undemocratic elections in the east – more..