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More time to quiz Tigers suspects

May 1 (BBC) Detectives have been granted extra time to quiz three men arrested as part of an investigation into the Tamil Tigers. Officers can now hold the men until next Tuesday. They are being held as part of a long-term investigation into the Sri Lankan-based group. Two of the men, aged 39 and 46, were arrested in raids in Powys, Wales and a third, aged 33, in south-west London. All three are being held on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism. more..

Lanka looks for 'psychological victory' over LTTE in East: poll

May 1 (PTI) The Sri Lankan government is hoping to secure a "psychological victory" over the LTTE by holding successful Provincial Council polls in the East, which was fully liberated from the Tamil Tigers in July 2007. The campaign has reached fever-pitch ahead of the key May 10 polls in the region's three districts -- Batticaloa, Ampara and Trincomalee -- which have over 10 lakh eligible voters. more..

11 May Day rallies, but no processions by main parties

May 1 (LD) Eleven rallies have been organized by political parties and trade unions in several parts of the island today (May 01st) to mark International Labour Day. This year will be without any processions by the government and main opposition parties in view of the insecure situation in the country and their giving priority to the forthcoming polls for the Eastern Provincial Council. more..

Sri Lanka cited on journalist murder 'Impunity Index'

May 2 (AFP) India, the Philippines, Mexico and Colombia -- all democracies -- were cited Wednesday among 13 countries with the poorest records of prosecuting murders of journalists, in a list released by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The CPJ noted that while Iraq, Sierra Leone and Somalia, all four mired in conflict, were the worst offenders, most of the others were "established, peacetime democracies." more..

'JVP won't allow Indian intervention'

May 2 (LD) The JVP would not allow India to intimidate Sri Lanka by acting as 'elder brother' of the region, party leader Somawansa Amarasinghe has said. The JVP is committed to rally the public against any intervention by New Delhi, as it had done in the past, he told the party's well-attended May Day rally in Colombo today (May 01st). more..

Sri Lanka gets Dutch aid to build big fisheries harbour

May 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka has signed a deal with the Netherlands government to get eight billion rupees in aid to build a fisheries harbour to accommodate deep sea trawlers and develop the island's fishing industry. The port will be built in Dikowita on the western coast. The new port will be Sri Lanka's largest fisheries harbour with the capacity to dock 340 multi-day 65-foot trawlers and 150 smaller fishing boats. more..

Church seeks security guarantee before reinstalling Madhu statue

May 2 (UCAN) The Catholic Church is mulling whether to return the revered statue of Our Lady of Madhu after the Sri Lankan Defense Ministry announced plans to designate a "security zone" around the Madhu shrine. According to Father Surenthiran Ravel Leenus, secretary at the bishop's house of Mannar diocese, declaration of a two-kilometer peace zone around the shrine and the safe return of displaced local people are conditions that must be fulfilled before more..

Media and the LTTE

May 2 (LG) The world attention is`A0drawn to Sri Lanka due to the latest developments in its fight against terrorism. Sri Lanka appears to be a lone fighter struggling hard to`A0 free itself from the` A0 web of terrorism spun around it by the LTTE and its sympathisers. A war without any declaration of war, is the best description that could be given to the situation in Sri Lanka. more..

All things are mind made

May 2 (LG) Seeing the helplessness of an old man struggling to get on his feet to go on his round of begging, his only means of sustenance; hearing the groans and moans of a man suffering from a deadly disease that had made a wreck of his body and mind, seeing a dead body being carried for its disposal, the procession of mourners wailing and weeping, Prince Siddhartha realised these were the realities of life with suffering at the beginning, suffering in the middle and suffering at the end. more..

The Beginning of the Problem

May 2 (LG) The so called national question cannot be solved unless the problem is formulated consistently taking into consideration the historical facts, which are however not independent of theory contrary to the opinion of some who think that facts are sacrosanct. What is required is a consistent whole comprising the question, concepts, theories and other facts. Without formulating the problem in a consistent manner as described above neither a solution nor national integration is possible. more..

War tops May Day

May 2 (BBC) The government and the main opposition of Sri Lanka celebrated the International Workers day away from the capital. President Mahinda Rajapaksa heading the government rally in the eastern province where provincial elections are due to be held on the 10th of May. President Rajapaksa told crowds at the Mahaweli esplanade in Dehiattakandiya that the eastern region would never be an LTTE controlled area again. more..

May Day held in Sri Lanka

May 2 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapakse appeals for the support of the entire working population to extend their strength to the country’s leader to develop the nation as a unitary state defeating terrorism. He said the government has great confidence in the labor community. The President pointed out that the present government is a government of the labor population. more..

Editorials: JVP in crisis

May 2 (Hindu) Serious divisions erupted in early April within Sri Lanka’s ‘party-with-a-difference,’ the JVP. Its high profile propaganda secretary, Wimal Weerawansa, revolted against the leadership on the floor of Parliament and announced the formation of an 11-member independent group. The rift had little to do with ideology or programme: it revolved round Mr. Weerawansa’s perceived personal closeness to President Rajapaksa and his powerful brother and Senior Advisor, Basil Rajapaksa. more..

War-torn Sri Lanka is the last sick man of the region

May 2 (GU) Time is running out for the great south Asian boast. By the end of this year, according to a new year prediction by Sri Lanka's army chief, Lieutenant-General Sarath Fonseka, his guerrilla opponents - the Tamil Tigers - would be "extinct". They and their demands for a homeland for the Tamil minority would vanish from the field, and after 25 years of war the island and its Sinhalese majority could enjoy peace again. more..

1.5 kg heroin seized from Lankan Tamil

May 2 (TOI) Heroin seizures in the state continued for the third consecutive day on Thursday as the 'Q' Branch of the state police and Narcotics Control Bureau seized 1.5 kg heroin worth Rs 1.5 crore in the international market from a Sri Lankan Tamil in Ramanathapuram. The team arrested Niranjan, a Sri Lankan Tamil and his associate Velamayil, a resident of Ramanathapuram, on charges of attempt to smuggle the contraband to Sri Lanka. more..

IMF welcomes Sri Lanka monetary and fiscal tightening

May 2 (LBO) The International Monetary Fund says it backs moves by Sri Lanka's central bank to tighten monetary policy as well as 'economically correct but politically difficult' decisions by the island to reduce fuel and food subsidies. The head of IMF's Asia Department David Burton says a recent IMF working paper on external shocks was consistent with IMF's 2007 Article IV report which held the view that domestic policies play an important role in inflation, just like other countries. more..

Army beating on LTTE's backdoor

May 2 (SLW) The Sri Lanka Army razed to ground the LTTE's 19 (one nine) Base, a strong point northeast of Giant's Tank successfully today. Troops from the 59 Division operating in Weli Oya were again targeted by a heavy barrage of artillery fire. Shells fell close to civilian settlements at Janakapura and Kiriibbanwewa again today. A civilian injured in an artillery fire at Yaya 11 Padavi Sripura yesterday was admitted to Padaviya Hospital last afternoon. more..

State earnings from new car buyers

May 2 (LG) It is in the public interest to disclose the massive earnings by the Treasury on new cars purchased by the fortunate few. Perhaps our envy should turn to gratitude to those buyers who are fleeced by the Treasury. The rates of the State dues to be paid is legislated in percentages. Looking at these percentages they look quite reasonable. It is in the implementation by the various authorities that the rates became massive when expressed as percentages on the CIF rupee value of the car. more..

Public Investment and Development

May 2 (LG) If there is anything in common among developed countries, it is the high level of investment in Research and Development (R & D). In this country, politicians go around the country and tell the people that they are in the business of development but never mention how other countries have achieved a higher level of development. This may be due to sheer ignorance on the part of some political leaders. In the case of others, it may be due to utter dishonesty. more..

Destruction of the Tamil Community in Sri Lanka

May 2 (LG) The Tamil community in Sri Lanka is in the process of being destroyed ‘in whole and in part’ by the state and its armed forces through discrimination, colonization and violence against individuals and the community itself. Under the pretext of counter-insurgency and anti-terrorism, measures are being used to eliminate an entire people. The UN must immediately set up a human rights monitoring mission in Sri Lanka and more..

'Let us try protect the rights of the working class'

May 2 (LG) “As the struggle, the working class engaged in democratically rising for their rights on that eventful day in Chicago, was a struggle for justice, the workers from all over the world rose on behalf of that struggle,” Douglas Devananda, Secretary General of the EPDP and Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare said in his May Day massage. “The workers on that day had to pay with their blood when demanded for a wage to suit their labour. more..

Iran-Sri Lanka strategic relations

May 2 (LG) Common borders, faith and culture are enabling factors that facilitate inter-state ties. These are, however, neither necessary nor sufficient elements. Relations between a Muslim Pakistan and a communist China, a multi-ethnic Sri Lanka and a Muslim Iran, a Hindu India and a Christian Russia underscore this point. Two factors that determine the potential and progress of inter-state relations are ‘compulsions’ and ‘conditions’. more..

President appoints special committee to bring normalcy into northern province administration

May 2 (AT) The Cabinet at its weekly meeting held on Wednesday, approved a proposal submitted by President Mahinda Rajapakse for the appointment of a special working committee for the Northern Province to look into all aspects of the implementation of resettlement, rehabilitation and rebuilding of the Northern Province. This is the first step in speedily bringing the Northern Province to a normal administrative level reverting to a full civilian administration. more..

TNA members blitz telephone lines campaigning for UNP

May 2 (AT) TNA's about face in defying the orders of Prabhakaran not to participate in the Provincial Council elections became apparent as they took to the telephone lines canvassing for the UNP and Hakeem. TNA members were asking people to vote for the UNP and not the TMVP. The fork-tongued twist of the TNA surprised many voters who said they received telephone calls from TNA Members of parliament requesting them not to vote for any Tamil candidates from the TMVP more..

Working class struggle to prevent bombings - Bala Tampoe

May 2 (LD) Secretary of the Ceylon Mercantile Union Bala Tampoe has called for a struggle by the working class to demand the LTTE and the government to immediate halt their bombing attacks. He said the country was facing Tiger terrorism as well as state terrorism of Mahinda Rajapaksa, and added that the LTTE's bomb attacks as well as the government's aerial bombing of the north should end. more..

Pillayan rejects LTTE's homeland concept

May 2 (LD) TMVP's chief ministerial candidate for the east Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan has rejected the LTTE's homeland concept. The party is openly challenging the worst terrorist in the world from this stand, Mr. Chandrakanthan told today's issue of the state-owned Sinhala daily 'Dinamina.' He said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was honest in his intention to resolve the ethnic issue and to make the 13th Amendment into law. more..

Dialogue is only way out of war - Thondaman

May 2 (LD) Leader of the Ceylon Workers Congress and Minister Arumugam Thondaman has said that the country's national conflict could never be resolved militarily, and that the only way out was through negotiation. He was addressing the party's May Day rally in Hatton yesterday (May 01st). Mr. Thondaman said, "If estate workers remain with the CWC for three years continually, they will be made owners of the estates where they are employed. more..

Lanka Polls Watch to launch extensive dialogue on East PC polls

May 2 (LD) Lanka Polls Watch, a collective of free citizens and stands to promote peace, democracy and development in the, intends to launch an extensive dialogue in society in relation to the polls for the Eastern Provincial Council. LPW concedes that if this election is not held in a free and fair manner, it will further aggravate the ethnic issue, which is a clear portrayal of the complexity of the conflict the country is faced with. more..

EU asks Ranil for detailed report on Pillayan Group

May 2 (LD) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has been asked by the European Union to furnish a detailed report about the Pillayan Group. Speaking at an election rally in Trincomalee on April 29th, Mr. Wickremesinghe said he would hold lengthy discussions on the matter with the EU next month. The Pillayan Group also came up at the recent meeting of the International Democratic Union in Australia, and it was decided to refer the matter to the Inter Parliamentary Union, he said. more..

5 arrested for alleged abuse of policewoman

May 2 (LD) Five men, one of them said to be a soldier, have been arrested for reportedly abusing and disrupting the duties of a woman Sub Inspector attached to the Kataragama Police. The SI had been on her beat at the town yesterday (May 01st), when the suspects in civics had accosted her, an official of the Kataragama Police told 'Lanka Dissent.' They were due to be produced before courts. more..

Rupavahini launches new channel, 'Udayan'

May 2 (GDI) A special Rupavahini channel, Udayan was launched yesterday to coincide with the Eastern elections. The new channel will cater especially to the people in the North and East. The new channel is expected to raise awareness on the security and development initiatives launched by the Government to ensure peace and restoration of democracy in the country and correct the misinformation and malicious pandering more..

The East will demonstrate its gratitude to the Govt -- President

May 2 (GDI) The people of the East will hand over a resounding victory to the Government at the May 10 Provincial Council Election and thus give a further boost to to continue the momentum of the Eastern Resurgence programme, President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared yesterday, addressing the historic May Day rally in Dehiattakandiy, the first ever May Day celebration in the East by a major political party since independence. more..

Crudities from the Asian Human Rights Commission

May 2 (PISL) Basil Fernando of the Asian Human Rights Commission has finally gone over the top in attacking the Head of the Peace Secretariat in scatological terms, though clothed in impeccable literary references as befits a former scholar. He is upset that I am amused by much, but doubtless he intends everyone to be amused by this latest effusion, which suggests the direction in which he is taking the poor Asian Human Commission. more..

Extortion filling Tiger coffers - US State Department

May 2 (LNP) The LTTE continued to finance itself with contributions from the Tamil Diaspora in North America, Europe, and Australia, by imposing local `taxes` on businesses operating in the areas it dominates and reportedly by extortion operations in Government-controlled areas, the US State Department said yesterday. The Department`s just-released Country Report on Terrorism said the LTTE also used Tamil charitable organizations as fronts for its fundraising. more..

Six major attacks attributed to Piliyandala bomber

May 2 (LNP) Police investigating the recent Piliyandala bomb blast, which claimed the lives of 26 civilians and wounded over 60, believe that Wasanthan, arrested in connection with the blast, had been involved in six major attacks, including the assassination of Deputy Army Chief of Staff Major General Parami Kulatunga. According to investigators, the suspect had also been involved in the Mount Lavinia bus attack, more..

Preventing terror strikes, Sri Lankan way

May 2 (LNP) In battling terrorism, the police act in the same way as the health authorities engaged in eradication of dengue. They let the grass grow under their feet and swing into action only after disaster strikes. We are, as we have been saying in these columns umpteen times, a nation dependent on the benefit of hindsight. But, even the lessons learnt from disasters are forgotten in no time. more..

US slams LTTE, Govt.

May 2 (SAMN) The United States while accusing the LTTE of targeting civilians has also accused the government of using anti-LTTE paramilitaries to terrorise those suspected of having ties with the Tamil Tigers. The US State Department in its annual 2007 terrorism report released on Wednesday said Iran – Sri Lanka’s latest ally -- remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism with elements of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) directly involved in the planning and supporting of terrorist acts. more..

Burmese rice stocks further delayed

May 2 (SAMN) The government’s efforts to stabilise volatile rice prices have suffered a severe setback with the further delay in the import of 50,000 tonnes of rice from Myanmar. Well informed sources said Thursday the first stock of rice wouldn’t reach the market for at least another week. A senior government official claimed the departure of a vessel carrying 8,000 tonnes of rice had been delayed due to cyclonic weather. more..

First monitoring group due Sunday

May 2 (SAMN) Election Monitors from the Association of Asian Election Authorities are due to arrive on Sunday to oversee the Eastern Provincial Council Elections. According to a media release by Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake time constraints have prevented some of the monitoring bodies from being present. The release states: "The Commissioner of Elections invited the United Nations, Commonwealth, European Union and Association of Asian Election Authorities to observe more..

‘Armed groups not using guns for polls’

May 2 (SAMN) Armed groups contesting the forthcoming Eastern Provincial Council polls have not been seen using their guns to do the talking, an independent election monitoring group said Thursday. The Peoples Action Front for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) chief Kingsley Rodrigo said except for two killings there had been no complaints of major pre-election violence in the run up to the polls. more..

15,000 new patients seek treatment at Maharagama Cancer Hospital annually

May 2 (DN) A total of 15,000 new cancer patients seek treatment from the Maharagama Cancer Hospital annually. Out of this 60 per cent are females. Around 100 children with cancer seek treatment from the hospital annually and 700 cancer patients seek treatment from different clinics of this hospital daily. The Maharagama Cancer Hospital has 850 in-house patients, sources said. more..

Dialog, IWS launch first mobile satellite navigation system

May 2 (DN) Dialog Telekom PLC in partnership with IWS Geographical Information Systems (Private) Limited (IWS GIS) launched the country's first ever Mobile Navigation System. Dialog SatNav a fully featured GPS based mobile navigation system incorporates a digital street directory of Colombo which includes Class A, B, C and D roads in the Colombo Municipal Council area and suburbs. more..

Pavithra elected to CYMC chair

May 2 (Island) Sri Lanka’s Youth Affairs Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi was elected chairperson of the Commonwealth Youth Ministers Conference for the next four years at the conclusion of the group’s seventh meeting on Wednesday (29). A total of 161 delegates, including officials from the Commonwealth Secretariat representing 41 countries, participated in the meeting held at the Cinnamon Grand in Colombo. more..

More Russian schols for the needy

May 2 (Island) The Russian government will offer more scholarships to Sri Lanka’s needy. A team of academics of People’s Friendship University (Patrice Lumumba University) led by Vice Rector Prof. Denisenko and Prof. Sokolov (head of the international affairs of the university) held a meeting with Higher Education Minister Prof. Wiswa Warnapala and conveyed the message the, Higher Education Ministry said. more..

Ex Chief-of-Staff defends his views

May 2 (DM) Former Army Chief-of-Staff Janaka Perera responding to an Army Headquarters circular barring him and Colonel Jayavi Fernando (Retd.) from entering any military base or camp said the statements made against him by Army Headquarters were malicious and defamatory. At one time Jaffna security forces Commander Major General Perera said as an ex-senior military officer he had been invited many times to attend army functions but he had not done so but had only visited an army officers mess on two occasions. more..

Ranil blasts ungrateful Premadasa beneficiaries

May 2 (DM) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday accused those benefited from the development projects initiated by former President Ranasinghe Premadasa for forgetting him. Speaking at a function held at Hulftsdorp in Colombo to commemorate the late President, Mr. Wickremesinghe said that there were no advertising supplements in yesterday’s newspapers, invoking blessings and transferring merits to the late leader who built more than 200 garment factories and more..

Fighting in northern Sri Lanka kills 29 rebels, 1 soldier

May 2 (AP) A fresh wave of fighting across northern Sri Lanka killed 29 ethnic Tamil rebels and one government soldier, the military said Friday. The new battles erupted throughout the day Thursday along the front lines in the Vavuniya, Mannar, Jaffna and Welioya regions, the military said. In the worst fighting, six Tamil Tiger rebels were killed when the army raided and destroyed three bunkers in Vavuniya, the military said. more..

Mystery tugs show up on TN coast

May 2 (NT) Two mysterious tugs purportedly owned by Sri Lanka's Tamil rebels washed ashore at Muthupettai in Tamilnadu's Tiruvarur district. The tugs sparked suspicion that LTTE rebels may be active along the coastline. According to reports, two barges had been drifting in the sea since last night at Pachaikadu near Muthupettai, a place which is often frequented by the fishing community for their livelihood. more..

Govt running out of time to fix economy: study

May 2 (LBO) The Sri Lankan government is running out of time to fix the economy, with inflation out of control and other economic fundamentals steadily deteriorating, a new research paper on the economy says. With the regime of President Mahinda Rajapakse nearing its half term (by November 2008) and the parliamentary election only two years away, "time is running out to put the economic house in order," it says. more..

Survey finds broad support for larger India role in Sri Lanka

May 2 (NIP) Cutting across ethnic lines, there is significant support in Sri Lanka for a greater Indian role on the island, both in the political and economic spheres, a survey by the Colombo-based Centre for Policy Alternatives reveals. Conducted in March in all but the war-torn northern province, the survey found majority support from all communities except the Sinhalese for Indian participation in peace negotiations with the LTTE. more..