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Sri Lanka Fonterra unit to double yoghurt production

May 15 (LBO) Fonterra Brands Lanka is investing 1.2 billion rupees to double yoghurt output and boost local raw milk supplies to cushion against volatile international prices, an official said. "The Sri Lankan yoghurt market has experienced double digit growth in the past five years and consumers now eat more than 12,000 metric tonnes of yoghurt annually," Fonterra managing director Achyut Reddy said Tuesday. more..

Is Sri Lanka a Feudal Democracy?

May 15 (AT) If one examines political developments since 1970, they smack of a form of raw feudalism, perhaps a modernized form of feudalism which one may describe by an oxymoronic term, democratic feudalism. The power and influence of the Executive Presidency today is very reminiscent of the power and influence of Sri Lanka’s Kings of past. One’s rise and fall is at the Presidents pleasure or displeasure as the case might be. more..

Quo Vadis, Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province?

May 15 (AT) A few more months will usher in the 21st anniversary of the signing of the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord. That agreement, akin to a shotgun marriage forced on Sri Lanka by India, and signed by President J.R. Jayewardene in his capacity as the Executive President of Sri Lanka, entailed the hasty amalgamation of the Northern and the Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. The Indo-Lanka Peace Accord is reminiscent of the equally famous, or as some may argue, the equally infamous, agreements of 1957 and 1965, between more..

Sri Lanka Fonterra unit to double yoghurt production

May 15 (LBO) Fonterra Brands Lanka is investing 1.2 billion rupees to double yoghurt output and boost local raw milk supplies to cushion against volatile international prices, an official said. "The Sri Lankan yoghurt market has experienced double digit growth in the past five years and consumers now eat more than 12,000 metric tonnes of yoghurt annually," Fonterra managing director Achyut Reddy said Tuesday. more..

Sri Lanka software piracy second highest in Asia: industry group

May 15 (AFP) Software piracy increased last year in the Asia-Pacific region, boosted by China's growing use of personal computers, an industry group said on Wednesday. The Asia-Pacific's average PC software piracy rate in 2007 increased to 59 percent of the software in use in the region from 55 percent the previous year, said the Business Software Alliance (BSA), which works to fight piracy. more..

To Tamils in the North: Why didn't you vote?!

May 15 (GV) Amidst the bombs, the war, the white vans, and the checkpoints, I look back with fond memories of the ceasefire. It brought four glorious years of peace and prosperity, and also did what the naysayers said could never happen—it split the LTTE in two. Karuna, the LTTE’s fiercest combat commander, and an incessant thorn in our side during the ill-fated Jayasikurui operation, decided he wanted out. more..

Police officer reportedly rapes a woman while conducting inquiry

May 15 (AHRC) On March 9, 2008, at about 11:30am, a police officer attached to the Hakmana Police Station came to Ms. X's house (name withheld for security reasons) to inquire about the complaint she had made earlier regarding a land dispute with her neighbours. The officer entered her house and sat in the hall to take down details of the dispute. She told the officer that as a result of the land dispute her neighbours had damaged her plantation and had thrown stones at her house causing the tiles on her roof to break. more..

UK missed chance to charge Sri Lankan rights abuser

May 15 (AHRC) 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. In spite of strong efforts by the Metropolitan Police, on May 9 the United Kingdom government announced that the Crown Prosecution Service found there was "insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction for any criminal offences in the UK" more..

Priest remembered for promoting inculturation, defending Catholic schools

May 15 (UCAN) Priests and laypeople paid their last respects to a Catholic priest, historian and prolific Church writer who tried to defend Catholic schools against a government takeover in the 1960s. Speaking at the funeral service for Father Welgama Lekam Appuhamilage Don Peter, Archbishop Oswald Gomis of Colombo said the late priest was a patriot who strived for a "Lankan Church look" and was held in high esteem among intellectuals. more..

Murdered humanist and the LTTE madness

May 15 (SLW) Maheswary Valayutham was murdered by the LTTE on 13th May 2008, when she went to see her ailing mother in Jaffna. She was a well known and was an involved person in the socio-political activities in Sri Lanka. She identified herself with the EPDP - a party that is most hated by the LTTE. Despite her involvement with the EPDP, she took the courageous stand to help the Tamils of all walks of life. more..

In memory of Maheswary Velautham

May 15 (FI) The Peace Secretariat profoundly regrets the murder of Ms Maheswary Velautham during a visit to Jaffna to see her sick mother. Given the plethora of deaths this country suffers from, the Secretariat has not been accustomed to issuing statements of sympathy and sorrow for individual cases. We regret the lives of known and unknown, of civilian and military, and even the lives of our fellow citizens who have been conscripted or deluded into fighting intransigently for a terrorist movement. more..

Appointment of Pillayan - pre-planed by the Government: Hakeem

May 15 (MG) The SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem said that the appointment of Pillayan as the Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council was the plan of the Government well before the East elections, and accused Muslim Ministers saying that they took this long to understand this fact. Mr. Hakeem further said that Muslim religious leaders such as Ulamas were used by the Government to carry on their propagandas and to attack the SLMC and its leadership during the elections period. more..

Collapse of the unholy alliance of Ranil and Rauf

May 15 (LG) Rauf Hakeem, the leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, is a man in a hurry, switching erratically from one side to another, gambling for high stakes. He didn’t resign from Parliament and go to Mecca, after tying up with Ranil Wickremesinghe, to lose the election in the east. Nor did he cross over to Wickremesinghe’s camp on the eve of the last budget to lose his ministerial portfolio. more..

Democracy :–JVP Style!

May 15 (LG) The JVP through the impossible demands made on the Chandrika government and the Rajapaksa government, made it quite clear that it was not interested in being a part of the government for any length of time. It has a history of always trying to impose its will and get its way through blackmail at times. Its idea of a coalition was limited to winning an election and the principal of majority decision making as propounded now to Wimal Weerawansa, was not evident in its relationship within the perspective coalitions. more..

LTTE conscripts children who failed O/Ls - Military spokesman

May 15 (MoD) Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara today revealed that the LTTE terrorist have started to conscript children in Mulaithiuvu and Kilinochchi districts who had failed in last GCE Ordinary Level examinations in 2007. Citing the military intelligence sources, he said that the terror outfit has banned all the children in the areas still under its domination from sitting the examination for the second time. more..

PNM leaders want Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera to convene National Steering Committee!

May 15 (LT) The Members of Steering Committee of Patriotic National Movement (PNM), Members of its National Executive Committee, all members of District Committees of PNM headed by Ven. Dhambara Amila Thero have requested Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera, President of PNM to convene the National Steering Committee of the PNM and to hold its National Convention to resolve the conflicting situation that exists within the organization. more..

Pilleyan should be the chief Minister of Eastern PC! – Dullas

May 15 (LT) SLFP Assistant Secretary Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said Pilleyan was the most suitable person to be the chief minister of the Eastern provincial council as TMVP has emerged with the highest number of seats at the election. Minister Alahapperuma said there was no change in their earlier stance that the party which obtains the highest number of seats will be entitled to nominate the Chief Minister. more..

2 civilians injured in shooting between STF & CDF

May 15 (LD) Two civilians have been injured in crossfire in a shootout between the police Special Task Force and the Civil Defence Force in Panama in a dispute over a road accident in which a STF commando was injured. According to the Potuvil Police, a trishaw carrying four persons, including three CDF personnel, had been involved in the mishap on the Potuvil-Panama road. The injured commando, identified as Indika, was admitted to the Panama Hospital. more..

Consider Sinhala councilors' view in deciding east CM

May 15 (LD) The president and the government should seek the opinion of the Sinhala councilors in deciding a chief minister for the Eastern Provincial Council, the Jathika Hela Urumaya has said. The JHU strongly opposes the appointment of a CM according to the wishes of only the Tamil and Muslim representatives, party spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said. He was responding to questions posed by 'Lanka Dissent' regarding the dispute over assigning a person to the top position in the east. more..

NFF's 'crown' symbol opposed

May 15 (LD) Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake has been asked not to allow the use of 'a crown' as the symbol of a political party. 'The National Movement for the Protection of Sri Lankan Heritages' has made the request in a letter to the EC. The movement says that it has no reservations about the political objectives of the newly-registered National Freedom Front, but that it vehemently opposes the party's using 'a crown' as its symbol. more..

Bail forfeited for main suspect in attack on cultural festival

May 15 (LD) The Colombo Chief Magistrate has issued a warrant for the immediate arrest of the main suspect in an attack on a Sinhala-Tamil Cultural Festival in Colombo more than four years ago. Chief Magistrate Nishantha Hapuarachchi also forfeited the cash and surety bails granted to the suspect. The orders came after his guarantor informed the Chief Magistrate that the suspect could not be produced before the court as he had secretly left for England to pursue higher education. more..

UPFA rejects Hizbullah's claim of having majority

May 15 (LD) General Secretary of the UPFA Susil Premajayantha has rejected a claim by M.L.A.M. Hizbullah that his group commands a majority of seats in the east based on ethnicity. Mr. Premajayantha told 'Lanka Dissent' that half of the eight Muslims elected to the provincial council are from the party of A.L.M. Athaulla. The UPFA's 18 seats at the PC are distributed ethnically as eight Muslims, Six Tamils and four Sinhalese. more..

President meets Muslim ministers to discuss East CM

May 15 (LD) Soon after returning from a visit to London, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has summoned a meeting of Muslims ministers in his government for a crisis meeting to discuss the post of chief minister of the Eastern Province. The discussion was to start at 4.30 pm at Temple Trees, to be attended by the UPFA's East PC election campaign team as well. more..

Construction to begin on Colombo-Katunayake expressway within 60 days

May 15 (GDI) Work on the Colombo-Katunayake expressway is due to get underway soon after the Road Development Authority (RDA) signed an agreement to commence construction with the China Metallurgical Construction Group. Construction is to commence within 60 days. The world renowned Chinese Company will be engaged in funding, planning, designing and constructing the 25.6 km long expressway which is being built at a cost of US$ 310 million and scheduled to be commissioned in 2012.

2007 A/L cut-off marks this month - UGC

May 15 (GDI) The UGC said that the cut-off marks for entering the universities of the 2007 Advance Level will be issued before the end of the month. The Department of Examination submitted a Compact Disk containing results of the General Certificate of Education Advance Level (G.C.E. A/L) examination earlier this week. The UGS has taken a step forward this year, offering admission to Sinhala and Muslim students to the University of Jaffna.

Eastern election a feather in the cap of president Rajapaksa

May 15 (LNP) Calling the relatively violence free Eastern Provincial Council elections a feather in the cap of Mahinda Rajapaksa government The Hindu newspaper said the United National Party-Sri lanka and Muslim Congress together were able to poll only 42 percent of the votes and their contention that large scale rigging took place has no legs to stand on. The following is the text of the editorial: more..

Don't divide the East!

May 15 (LNP) Victory can at times be more problematic than defeat. The government, having bagged the Eastern Province, is said to be in a quandary over the appointment of the Chief Minister. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the appointing authority, sounds confident that he can settle the dispute amicably, as he has told this newspaper. Unfortunately, sinister attempts are being made to give an ethnic twist to an otherwise political issue. more..

17th Amendment: implementation sought

May 15 (SAMN) The UNP-SLMC alliance is contemplating obtaining a court ruling to implement the 17th Amendment to the Constitution in full to ensure free and fair elections in the future. SLMC Deputy General Secretary Nizam Kariapper told a media conference yesterday that all democratic political parties would find it difficult to contest elections in the future in the absence of the Independent Elections, Public Service and Police Commissions that should be set up under the 17th Amendment. more..

Law to apply on Karuna: Govt

May 15 (SAMN) The law of the land will be applied to former TMVP Leader Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman if he returns to Sri Lanka, Senior Minister and Government Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. Minister said that information relating to the extradition of Karuna from Britain has been heard so far only through media reports, but if he does actually returns to the country the law of the land will take effect. more..

Citizens' help for climate conservation

May 15 (SAMN) The assistance of Senior Citizens will be obtained for environmental conservation and natural resources management under a programme drawn up by the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry on a concept of Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka. The initial batch of 123 Senior Citizens enroled for this programme will receive their Identity Cards and other documents from Minister Ranawaka at a ceremony at the more..

People wary of alleged sale temple land

May 15 (SAMN) A chief incumbent of a temple in the Mt. Lavina area is alleged to have sold a land belonging to the temple under the Temporalities Ordinance. Mt. Lavinia Magistrate Harsha Sethunga ordered the Mt. Lavinia police to arrest the Buddhist monk concerned and to produce him in court. The Mt. Lavinia police told court that the members of the Dayaka Sabha made a complaint to the police that the Chief Incumbent of the temple illegally sold a land belonging to the temple. more..

Integrated development plan for Adam's Peak

May 15 (DN) Plans are afoot to develop the Adam's Peak sacred area together with several other temples in the Nallathanni area on par with other sacred places under the Adam's Peak Development Project according to Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. He said that Adam's Peak was the only religious place honoured equally by Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus in Sri Lanka. more..

Govt. formally enters cement trade

May 15 (DN) The Government yesterday made a direct entry into the cement trade by undertaking the task of importing cement after five years aimed at meeting the current demand despite an artificial shortage created by errant traders through hoarding. The first consignment of cement which arrived from Pakistan yesterday was released to the market through the Building Materials Corporation Ltd (BMCL). more..

Amendments to EPF Act to benefit members

May 15 (Island) Nearly 2.1 million EPF members are to benefit from Amendments to the EPF Act No. 15 of 1958, which will be presented in Parliament next month, Presidential Secretariat sources said yesterday. Among the benefits are the release of 30 per cent or up to as much as a year’s contribution of the member’s deposits for major surgery, and accidents, and the release of 30 percent of the deposit as a pre-retirement benefit for housing purposes. more..

Poacher shot dead, another arrested at Gal Oya National Sanctuary

May 15 (Island) A poacher was shot dead and another arrested in a confrontation between Wildlife officers and poachers at the Gal Oya National Sanctuary. The man arrested had three weapons, the Natural Resources Ministry said yesterday. Recently "The Island" reported that Environment and Natural Resources Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka took measures to strengthen the capacity of wildlife officers especially in vulnerable areas. more..

President at Oxford seeks global help to crush Tigers

May 15 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has accused the LTTE of not reciprocating his efforts for a dialogue and sought global support to defeat the rebel outfit. Addressing the Oxford University Student Union at the university on Tuesday, President Rajapaksa said 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 President - but the LTTE has not reciprocated,” he said. more..

Six underage would be housemaids nabbed by NCPA

May 15 (DM) Six underage girls, posing off as housemaids looking for employment in the Middle East, were nabbed by the National Child Protection Authority and two were produced in the courts yesterday, NCPA Chairman Jagath Wellawatta told the Daily Mirror. The victims between the ages of 13-17 are all residents of Kinniya, Trincomalee. Three were apprehended when they arrived for registration at a Foreign Employment Bureau (FEB), training centre, while more..

Kerala learning inspires Sri Lanka

May 15 (NIP) Kerala's IT@School project will go to Sri Lanka soon provided the State Government gives it the green signal. At the Global Education Technology Summit 2008-Asia Conference which is getting underway in Kuala Lumpur, Sri Lankan Minister for Education, A D Susil Premayajantha, has invited the IT@School team to advise them on implementing a project on the lines of Kerala. more..

No right to be there

May 15 (GU) It would seem self-evident that a country which tortures and kidnaps its own people has no place on the world's leading human rights body. Apparently not: Sri Lanka, despite repeated criticism for its human rights record, is running for re-election to the UN human rights council, with a vote to be held in New York on May 21. Governments owe it to Sri Lankan human rights victims - and more..

Election victory complicates problems for Lanka’s ruling party

May 15 (Dawn) Winning the eastern provincial council elections which was held last Sunday has only enhanced the problems of the UPFA government. The victory, which election monitors cry foul and which was secured with the help of the gun toting TMVP, the party consisting of a group of former LTTE rebels, is now turning into what looks like a long lasting headache for the government. more..

Fresh battles across contested north kills 21 rebels, 4 soldiers

May 15 (AP) Government forces and Tamil separatists fought separate battles across Sri Lanka's northern region that killed 21 rebels and four soldiers, the military said Thursday. The fighting took place throughout Wednesday, mainly along the front lines surrounding the rebels' de facto state in the north. In the worst battles, soldiers killed 13 rebels in the Vavuniya district, just south of rebel-held territory, and lost two soldiers, he said. more..

LTTE banned for another year in India

May 15 (AT) The LTTE will be banned for another one year until May 14, 2009, the Indian government announced. Ever since the LTTE had been banned in India in 1992, the proscription has been extended every year. India decided to ban the outfit initially following a LTTE suicide bomber killed former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. An array of Tamil Nadu politicians, some who are partners of India’s ruling coalition has been bringing pressure on the Central government to drop the proscription of the terrorist group. more..

Digitally restored Gamperaliya at the Cannes this weekend

May 16 (CP) A digitally restored version of Dr. Lester James Peiris’ ‘Gamperaliya’ – The Change in the Village – is to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival in France on Sunday May 18. The Sinhala cinematic creation from the doyen of local cinema, Gamperaliya stars Punya Heendeniya, Henry Jayasena, Wickrema Bogoda, Trilicia Gunawardena among others. The much loved and viewed creation was specially restored using modern technology for its exhibition at the Cannes Film Festival. more..

Sri Lankans to help the Burmese

May 16 (AN) Sri Lanka’s government is planning to ship 20 tonnes of relief assistance to cyclone-devastated Myanmar and is urging its population to make a contribution by donating food and clothes. Likewise the Venerable Madhuluwawe Sobitha Thero has urged everyone to drop off donations at Buddhist temples during Vesak celebrations which begin next Tuesday. Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywadena yesterday spoke about the “close friendship” between the two countries. more..

Will it be the Beginning of Hope or Hopelessness?

May 16 (LG) The Eastern Province election is by any criteria a landmark in the political evolution in the country. The Government of Mahinda Rajapakse has achieved what no other Administration had the courage to do or been able to do. The silver lining is that the country will remain intact which in itself is a major victory for the Government coalition, even if the UFPA alone has missed out gaining majority in the Council of the Eastern Province. more..

Sri Lanka gives nod to Denmark contractor to build port

May 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka has approved the award of a 46 million euro contract for a Denmark based firm to build a port in the eastern coast of the island, a senior minister said. The cabinet of ministers had given the go ahead for MT Hojgaard to build a port in the coastal town of Oluvil, information minister Anura Yapa said after this week's cabinet meeting. The project is funded by the government of Denmark. In rupee terms the contract is valued at 7.74 billion. more..

Sri Lanka's finance firm eyes rural market, mulls Jaffna branch

May 16 (LBO) Bartleet Finance, part of Sri Lanka's Bartleet group, is considering setting up a branch in northern Jaffna and expanding in rural areas where officials say there is much potential. Managing director Susantha Fernando said the firm faced difficulties this year because of soaring interest rates but believes rates have now stabilised. The firm's main business is deposit taking, hire purchase, leasing, real estate development, and import-export finance. more.. defeat Tamilnet in popularity

May 16 (LR) The winning or loosing of a war is not solely determined by the gun power of the battlefield. It is moral support for person behind those weapons that matters most. It is not only those individuals in the battlefield, but the will power and aspiration of the whole nation that build up the necessary momentum to defeat the enemy. When Mahinda Rajapaksa government was elected by the common people of the country, the arm forces of the Sri Lankan government had been fighting against LTTE terrorism for over two decades. more..

SC holds prison officers to have committed torture on Tony Fernando

May 16 (AHRC) This week the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, by a majority judgement of two out of a bench of three, held that several prison officers had violated the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Michael Anthony (Tony) Emmanuel Fernando who was severely tortured while he was in prison custody. The bench consisted of Dr. Shirani Bandaranaike, Jagath Balapatabendi and Nimal Gamini Amaratunga. more..

The LTTE Threat: Rest of 2008 and Beyond

May 16 (AT) This year, both Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam [LTTE] and the Government of Sri Lanka entered a new phase of the conflict in Sri Lanka that stretched more than three decades costing lives of around 70,000 people. During the period, the lasting damage the conflict did to the fabric of the Sri Lankan society is massive and not easily recoverable. The war devastated the country and consumed much needed resources for the development process. more..