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EPC has polarised Tamils and Muslims charge JVP

May 14 (ML) The JVP says that the eastern provincial polls have caused a further polarisation of the Tamil and Muslim communities in the area. JVP politburo member and parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the final slogan of the recently concluded eastern provincial polls was for the people to choose either a Muslim or Tamil chief minister for the province. "That was the only slogan forced upon the people. more..

Three ministers back a Tamil CM

May 14 (ML) Three government ministers have spoken in favour of the appointment of a Tamil as the chief minister of the Eastern Provincial Council. Minister S. M. Chandrasena spoke in favour of a Tamil appointee while Non Cabinet Minister for Power, Mahindananda Aluthgamage said his choice was Pillayan on a private television station’s talk show on Monday. Meanwhile, Non-Cabinet Minister for Justice, Dilan Perera too called for the appointment of a Tamil chief minister to more..

Sri Lanka's East turns into another Iraq and Afghanistan

May 14 (IL) After the recently concluded Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) elections that shut out the LTTE, a key stakeholder in the fight for the liberation of the Tamils for the last 32 years, the people in eastern Sri Lanka anticipate the deterioration of their territory along lines similar to Iraq and Afghanistan in the aftermath of the U.S.-led coalition's war on terror. more..

Lankan expats can counter LTTE false propaganda globally - President

May 14 (BL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa speaking to Sri Lanka Freedom Party supporters in London yesterday morning said that it is the due responsibility of all patriotic Sri Lankans to convey to the international community the real situation in Sri Lanka as the LTTE is carrying an international false propaganda campaign distorting the image of the nation. He emphasised that terrorism should be defeated irrespective of political agendas represented by each and every one. more..

Go to courts – Polls Chief to Opposition

May 14 (BL) At a meeting the Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake had with representatives of the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) yesterday, he confessed his incapability to declare the election results null and void, despite severe allegations of large-scale irregularities, including vote rigging, ballot box stuffing, impersonation and intimidation during Saturday’s Eastern Provincial Council Election. more..

Parliament goes online with trilingual website

May 14 (BL) Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka selected Sri Lanka Parliament as a potential organisation to showcase the benefits of the ICT, and implemented its first pilot project in 2004. This initiative undertook a system study to gather data for the ICT enablement and a website for Parliament. The English version of the site was implemented in 2006 and ICTA further extended its support to Parliament to develop the Sinhala and Tamil versions of the said website, more..

Privatisation on the cards for ailing Postal Dept?

May 14 (BL) Posts and Telecommunication Minister Mahinda Wijesekara said that the Postal Department is on the verge of collapse, and privatisation is on the cards if it is not streamlined quickly and made into a profit making venture. “The Postal Department had made enormous losses in the past seven years. The Postal Department has recorded a loss of 3000 million rupees last year alone according to the Treasury reports,” the Minister said. more..

Reflections on Theatre

May 14 (LG) A retrospect of Henry Jayasena’s plays was presented last Thursday at the Elphinstone. A pleasant change from the Lumbini where, as I recall, all but "Hunuwataye Katava" were first staged in the 1960s. Far more spacious and much better equipped though the Elphinstone is, the matinee show drew less than 400 people, most of them school boys. The actors, though, did their thing as if they were playing to a full house. more..

Who Is A Patriot?

May 14 (LG) The thought was kindled in my mind when I read, some time ago, an early pronouncement made by the Patriotic National Movement to the effect that Sri Lanka is not a multi-religious, multi-cultural nation, but a Sinhala Buddhist nation. This seemed to be endorsed in an anonymous letter I received more recently, telling me that "You Christians have destroyed this country." I have since received two more letters, anonymous of course, in the same vein and more..

Sri Lanka crisis and India’s options

May 14 (LG) In its own larger interests, India must help Sri Lanka more actively to free itself from LTTE extremism and terrorism. But there is a precondition for this: sincere devolution of power to the Tamils along federal or quasi-federal lines within a united Sri Lanka. There is an urgent need for India to define its Sri Lanka policy and delineate its options, because of India’s unique relationship with Sri Lanka. more..

The tsunami in Sri Lanka: A case study in US humanitarian missions

May 14 (wsws) Since the cyclone engulfed Burma on May 3, there has been an incessant campaign in the international media to push for foreign militaries, along with aid officials, to be allowed into the country. Article after article contrasts the paranoia, incompetence and callousness of the Burmese junta with the supposed willingness of the US and other major powers to generously provide humanitarian assistance. more..

Eastern provincial councial as a Mordus Vivendi

May 14 (MG) Eastern Provincial Councils election is over. The UPFA has emerged winners securing 20 out of 37 members. Opposition (UNP and SLMC) have rejected the outcome and threatened to take legal action and launch street demonstrations. JVP as usual taken the high moral ground and claim “We told you so”. Whatever the monitors or observers say the day of the election was marred by incidents of violence and anti-democratic actions. . more..

Charming Ceylon 1931

The National Problem: Towards a solution

May 14 (LG) Although, with the recent assassinations and beginning of the war, things looks gloomy, there are many positive developments I see in the present situation. We should build on these positive developments, and move towards a solution. Let me take one such development, the Supreme Court has deemed that the North-East merger was illegal. What then is the course to follow with regards the de-merger; there are demands that it should be re-merged and counter demands that it should remain so. more..

Ceylon an Honour, Sri Lanka a Shame

May 14 (LG) Ceylon gained Independence in 1948. At that time it had the highest living standard in Asia next only to the Philippines. Japan was devastated after the second world war. Slums then and even now are known as ‘Koreawa’, as Korea was a very backward country. Ceylon Rs. 3 was the value of a Sterling Pound. During the second world war, Great Britain obtained Foreign Aid from Ceylon. more..

CMC reports rapid increase in abductions

May 14 (LD) The Civil Monitoring Committee is reporting a rapid increase in the disappearance, abduction and extortion of Tamils. From April 18th to May 13th, the CMC has received complaints of 14 abductions. In latest such incidents, a youth who had been running a fruit stall in Colombo was seized by a group from his lodge on May 03rd. He has been identified as Selvadorai Kannan, a resident of Badulla. more..

LSSP wants East PC given all powers under 13th Amendment

May 14 (LD) Government-affiliate Lanka Sama Samaja Party has called for granting all powers under the 13th Constitutional Amendment to the Eastern Provincial Council. Secretary of the LSSP Wimalasiri de Mel says immediate steps should be taken towards that end in accordance with a report by the cabinet sub committee. He was speaking at a new briefing organized by the party yesterday (May 13th) that was also attended by Raja Collure and Vasudeva Nanayakkara. more..

Dilan wants 1 bonus seat given to a Tamil

May 14 (LD) Minister of Justice Dilan Perera wants one of the bonus seats the UPFA has won at the East PC polls given to a Tamil candidate to realistically represent the interests of the community in Trincomalee. In a letter to the party's General Secretary Susil Premajayantha, Mr. Perera says the 48 per cent of Tamils in the district are not properly represented at the provincial council. more..

Sri Lanka committed to holistic approach to human development -- President

May 14 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, addressing the Oxford Union yesterday, said that the thrust of the Government's development strategy was in empowering the rural economy of the country and pointed out that this has become a critical matter in view of the emerging world food crisis and challenges to the global environment. He also placed these initiatives in the wider context of constraints, especially the scourge of terrorism and the need to protect the citizenry of the country from this threat. more..

Govt. to implement National Action Plan on Human Rights

May 14 (GDI) Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told the UN Human Rights Council yesterday that the Government's ultimate aim was to implement a National Action Plan on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in Sri Lanka. The Minister, addressing the working group of the UNHCR during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) emphasized that the Government regarded safeguarding human rights of all Sri Lankans as a primary duty. more..

Lanka sends 20 tonnes of relief items to Myanmar

May 14 (GDI) The Government will dispatch 20 tones of relief assistance to Myanmar and urges the public to come to the aid of the people affected by the current tragedy in that country. Addressing a press conference, Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said Myanmar was hit by cyclone Nargis on May 2 which caused devastation in five provinces comprising 600 villages killing over 100,000 with around 49,000 missing. more..

15000 families to be provided with housing facilities

May 14 (GDI) The Government has taken steps to construct houses for 15,000 families under the 'Gama Neguma' housing programme at a cost of Rs. 750 million. "A total of 1000 houses will be constructed in Ampara district at a cost of Rs. 50 million in the initial instance", Minister of Housing and Common Amenities, Mrs. Ferial Ashraff said addressing the Jana Hamuwa held at 'Unagaslanda Ella' Jana Sevana housing project, Padiyatalawa. more..

The increase of food prices globally and the opportunity to develop the Eastern Province

May 14 (PISL) With the prices of food across the world increasing drastically in many markets in Asia, producing it has become a challenge for governments and Central Banks to manage the terms of trade deficits which is widening monthly. The phenomenon of the local currency depreciating in Sri Lanka is no exception to this problem. more..

SB claims UNP would have won EPC polls had he led campaign

May 14 (LNP) Had he been given a chance to lead the campaign for last Saturday s Eastern Provincial Council polls, the UNP would have recorded a landslide victory over the Government, UNP National Organiser S.B. Dissanayake said yesterday. `Allegations of intimidation of UNP activists during the campaign are on record. I know how to win elections under such threatening situations. But I was denied an opportunity. more..

Hurly-burly's done and the battle lost and won: What next?

May 14 (LNP) Dust has settled on the eastern front where a fierce political battle was fought the other day. The victor is cock-a-hoop and the vanquished licking its wounds vowing to make a comeback. And the sobering political reality is beginning to dawn on the government which lavished pre-election promises on the eastern people who were eager to rebuild their lives after a lapse of two decades. Promises, they say, are like babies: They are easy to make but hard to deliver! more..

PM says no more truce with Tamil rebels

May 14 (SAMN) Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake said here Tuesday the government would never enter into any more cease-fire agreements with the Tamil Tiger rebels. Wickramanayake said LTTE had exploited cease-fire agreements with the government in the past. "I will tell you one thing for sure. There will never be anymore cease-fire agreements in the future with the LTTE", the prime minister said. more..

No warranty for non-registered workers

May 14 (SAMN) The government has decided not to spend money on expatriating stranded migrant workers if they have not got themselves registered with the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLBFE) prior to their migration. SLBFE Chairman Kingsley Ranawaka said the Bureau would not spend a single cent in expatriating Sri Lankan migrant workers stranded in Kuwait or any other Middle East country unless they had got themselves registered before migration as more..

Training for new eastern MPs

May 14 (SAMN) A two-day training workshop is scheduled to be held for the recently elected members of the Eastern Provincial Council. Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon said all new MP’s would be invited for the training programme which would be conducted in both Sinhala and Tamil mediums. “The training programme will be conducted by the Training Unit of the Ministry with the help of translators,” he said. more..

Tamil Nation has lost her caring daughter

May 14 (Thenee) Tamil Democratic Congress unreservedly condemns the murder of a leading Tamil citizen Maheswary Velautham who was providing yeoman service for the needy in an extremely difficult situation in Sri Lanka. Beyond her political affiliation to the EPDP she had tirelessly worked to help many Tamils, ignoring all the violent barriers that prevented her from helping our fellow Tamil brethrens. more..

'Subsidies will not solve the issue'

May 14 (SAMN) The Government’s plan to provide essential commodities at a subsidised rate will not address the issues of the estate community even if it is implemented fully, Community Development and Social Inequity Eradication Minister and Leader, Upcountry People’s Front (UPF) P. Chandrasekaran said. The government had arranged to provide rice at a subsidised rate to the estate community a few months ago. more..

Minister launches new agricultural machine

May 14 (DN) Development in the agriculture sphere depends on the introduction of advanced and modern technologies to the local agriculture sector which in turn will lead to self sufficiency and boost the economy, Agriculture Development Minister Hema Kumara Nanayakkara said yesterday. He said the local agriculture sector will do better by employing indigenous technologies rather than opting for costly methods adopted by developed countries. more..

New system to increase passenger processing capacity at BIA

May 14 (DN) A Closed Circuit Television System (CCTV) presented by the Australian Government to the Immigration and Emigration Department is expected to enhance passenger processing capacity at the Bandaranaiake International Airport (BIA). According to Assistant Controller for Immigration and Emigration Parakrama Fernando, the CCTV system built according to the latest technology, would improve surveillance methods addressing a long felt need. more..

Polls Chief was informed of detailed UPFA plan to rig EPCE - Hakeem

May 14 (Island) Despite giving the Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake prior notice of a detailed UPFA plan to rig the Eastern Provincial Council Election (EPCE), no preventive action was taken, SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem said yesterday. He, told a news conference in Colombo that the Elections Commissioner merely sent some "Observation Officers", who were unable to stop UPFA candidates, including TMVP cadres and their goon squads, from stuffing the ballot boxes. more..

GMOA wants mechanism to deal with crisis situations

May 14 (Island) The Government Medical Officers Association has requested the Secretary to the Health Ministry Dr. Athula Kahadaliyanage to implement a transparent, effective and fair mechanism with the guidance of the Public Service Commission in order make the the health sector function smoothly in any crisis situation such as strikes, work-to-rule or picketing campaigns. more..

Six sentenced to death for daylight killing

May 14 (DM) The Colombo High Court, yesterday, imposed the death penalty on six persons who were found guilty of killing a man in broad daylight at Kolonnawa. High Court judge Ms. Deepali Wijesundara convicted Brian Anthony Samuel, Roger Christopher Samuel, Ralston Desmond Decker, Mohamed Arun alias Choppe, Charles Samuel Norti and Baabu of committing the murder of Kapila Perera, alias Fareed, on July 21, 1996 in Kolonnawa. more..

Minister inaugurates building project for Hindu College

May 14 (DM) The Ceylon Workers Congress general secretary Arumugam Thondaman has allocated funds for the development of a new building of Ratmalana Hindu College. The Minister was greeted by the students, teachers and principals and was honoured with a shawl after lighting the ceremonial oil lamp at the auspicious time. The minister unveiled the commemorative plaque to inaugurate development project after more..

Patil expresses concern over LTTE’s ‘air capability’

May 14 (Hindu) Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil has expressed concern over the reported air capability of the LTTE that could be a threat to the vital installations in South India. Stressing the need to synergise the efforts of all key partners for a safer and more efficient functioning of the installations in various sectors, he said the government would take all steps to protect the atomic energy installations and ports. more..

Sri Lankan election brings no change

May 14 (UPI) The electoral process is one method by which democratic societies provide for change to occur. The election in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province on May 10 provided an opportunity for the issue of a military or political solution to the country’s current crisis to be canvassed among the people. There were doubts about the possibility of the government winning the elections. About 80 percent of the eastern population is equally divided between the Tamil and Muslim communities. more..

Jets bomb Tamil Tiger training base, 11 rebels killed in fighting

May 14 (AP) Air force jets pounded a Tamil Tiger rebel training base deep in the jungles of northern Sri Lanka early Wednesday and troops killed 11 guerrillas in other fighting, the military said. The airstrike took place about 7:15 a.m. inside the separatist rebels' de facto state in the north. Separately, ground battles erupted Tuesday on the civil war's fronts of Jaffna, Vavuniya, Mannar and Welioya, Nanayakkara said. more..

Muslim ministers to resign if Pillayan appointed CM

May 14 (ML) All Muslim Ministers in government have decided to resign their portfolios if newly elected provincial Councilor M.L.M. Hizbullah is not appointed Chief Minister of the Eastern Province, The Morning Leader learns. Informed sources said several Muslim Ministers in Government including those who broke away from the Muslim Congress met yesterday and arrived at this decision. more..

LTTE offering 'lame excuses' for talks

May 14 (PTI) Sri Lanka has accused LTTE of not reciprocating to its efforts for a dialogue while seeking global support in defeating the rebel force. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, addressing the Oxford University Student Union at the institution on Tuesdaystressed that he did not believe in a military solution to the ethnic problem. "We have attempted talks with the LTTE on several occasions - thrice since my election as the President - but they have not reciprocated," he said. more..

Sri Lanka govt needs to act quickly to consolidate east: analysts

May 14 (AFP) The Sri Lankan government may be celebrating a key election victory in the ethnically-mixed east but it is still a long way from winning over the island's Tamil minority, analysts and observers say. The polls on Saturday saw voters in the east give President Mahinda Rajapakse's ruling coalition control over a new provincial council designed to give more autonomy to the area and address the root cause of civil war. more..

PC Poll: Winners & Losers

May 15 (LG) The UPFA has won the first ever elections to the Eastern Province Provincial Council amidst allegations by the UNP-SLMC of intimidation corruption and other familiar "facts". The election held previously was for the Northern and Eastern Provincial council and not for the Eastern Province Provincial council. However, it is not the first time that the UNP has come up with these charges and neither will it be the last occasion. more..

Karuna’s release imminent

May 15 (LG) The renegade leader Col Karuna was transferred to immigration detention on May 9, after serving a nine months sentence for entering the UK with a false diplomatic passport. Karuna faced the same fate like many other immigrants caught with possessing false documents to enter the country. British authorities came to know Karuna’s illegal entry when the surreptitious Asian Tribune web newspaper conspired with the government officials and politicians in Colombo to publish the details of his departure from the Colombo airport. more..

19 Fishermen missing in high seas for 2 weeks

May 15 (LG) Tension prevails in Rameswaram as the 19 fishermen who ventured into the seas about two weeks ago are still missing. The fishermen set off to the sea from Thangachimadam in four country boats on May 1. But 12 days have passed and they have not reached the shore. This has caused tension in the fishing hamlets around Rameswaram town. Relatives of missing fishermen suspect that either the sea Tigers might have abducted them or Lankan navy might have arrested them. more..

Why we were failed?

May 15 (LG) Tissa Attanayake, Gen. Secretary of the UNP speaking to the media said, this Govt. has no capacity to do anything legal and honest, whether it is administration, development or in the conduct of elections. It thrives only on murder, mayhem, corruption and malpractices. The Eastern Provincial Council elections bore all those hallmarks, he added. At the last Presidential elections it entered into a pact with the LTTE paying them billions of rupees betraying the country, and won. more..

Newly-formed NFF vows to be the 3rd political option

May 15 (LD) The newly formed National Freedom Front has accepted the challenge of being an alternative to the two main political parties in the country within the next decade. Its Chairman Wimal Weerawansa told the inaugural delegates' conference of the party that the JVP had failed to be the third option in the local political arena in the past 40 years. The NFF was ceremonially launched at the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies in Colombo at 9.30 am today (May 14th). more..

Prison guards 'violated FR'

May 15 (BBC) The Supreme Court in Sri Lanka on Wednesday ordered the state to pay Rs. 150,000 to a former prisoner who was severely assaulted in custody. The Supreme Court ruled that prison guards’ failure to protect Anthony Emmanuel Fernando was in violation of his Fundamental Rights (FR). Two members of the three-bench panel, Dr. Shirani Bandaranaike and Jagath Balapatabendi, ruled that prison authorities should take direct responsibility for the attack. more..

JNP 'alternative' to main parties

May 15 (BBC) The latest political party in Sri Lanka has vowed to find solutions to the island nation's political ills ‘within ten years’. Leader of the Jathika Nidahas Peramuna (JNP), Wimal Weerawansa, accused the major political parties of failing to find solutions to burning questions of Sri Lankan people. Addressing the inaugural representatives meeting in Colombo the leaders of the newly formed JNP accused the JVP of forgetting the basic foundations of the party. more..

'Reopen Kachativu agreement with Sri Lanka'

May 15 (ANI) National Secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI) D Raja on Wednesday reiterates the demand to reopen Kachativu agreement with Sri Lanka. Raja reiterated the demand while discussing the problems faced by fishermen in seawaters between India and Sri Lanka at a meeting jointly organised by states of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry Fishermen Federation in Chennai today. The fishermen complained that the number of attacks on them by naval forces of Sri Lanka has been increasing. more..