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Maunagurusamy declines to accept post in EPC - TMVP

May 20 (MG) Reports from TMVP high ranks and Batticaloa say that Mr. Maunagurusamy had declined to accept one of the two bonus seats offered to him by the rulimg UPFA. The TMVP said today that the party is contemplating on nominating its Trincomalee district candidate Ragu or Batticaloa district candidate Prasanthan to one of the two bonus seats awarded to the ruling UPFA since former Batticaloa Government Agent R. Maunagurusami had declined to be a member of the council. more..

FMM condemns web terrorism against Lanka Dissent

May 20 (AHRC) The Free Media Movement (FMM) registers its disquiet over the contents of a letter addressed to it by the Editor of the Lanka Dissent website, Indika Gamage on 16th May 2008. In it, Gamage alleges that the Lanka Dissent (LD) website ( is a recent victim of cyber-crime in the form of a hacking attempt that has disrupted its news and reporting services. The letter is now on its website here more..

Comments by Presidential Commission of Inquiry confirm IIGEP concerns

May 20 (AHRC) The BBC Sinhala Service today quoted the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Serious Violations of Human Rights (CoI) as stating that it could not recruit independent lawyers to assist the probe due to financial constraints. The report further stated that the two senior lawyers have volunteered to assist the CoI. The commission has to depend on the lawyers from the Attorney General's Department due to more..

Gods, giants and fabled monkey business

May 20 (Times) Palm leaves sprout from the pillars of the British Library's basement galleries. Cupolas pop up from amid a maze of palace walls. And as the visitor steps into the display space, he feels reality vanishing. He is at the start of a journey that will lead him into a more exotic place. The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic that tells the timehonoured tale of the battle between good and evil. more..

'SLA, Police complicit in white van abductions'

May 20 (TN) "I have received information that Sri Lanka Police personnel and Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers were involved in several white van abductions. Reluctance of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and other law enforcement officials to take timely steps to investigate these crimes is clear evidence of widespread violations of human rights and breakdown of law and order," said Deputy Minister for Vocational Training and Industrial Education, P. Rathakrishnan, more..

SLA re-imposes fishing ban along Northern coastal villages

May 20 (TN) Sri Lanka security forces stopped fishermen from going out to sea Monday after announcing earlier in the week that fishing ban that was instituted three days from Thursday to Saturday will be lifted. The sudden ban further worsenend woes of northern fishermen already reeling from the economic hardships. Fishermen were sent back from the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) checkpoints Monday when they went to present identities before venturing out to sea, more..

Hizbullah attacks journalists in Kathankudy

May 20 (MG) Speaking to Muslimguardian, Mr. Jaufer Khan, the President of Kathankudy Media Alliance said that the supporters of Mr. Hizbullah had attacked the journalists who were to cover a meeting called by Mr. Hizbullah at Telecom Building in Kathankudy yesterday around 1.30 p.m. Mr. Jaufer Khan further said that they came to know about the arrival of Mr. Hizbullah to Kathankudy to discuss the decision of accepting the Health Ministry of newly formed Eastern Provincial Council. more..

Continuous detention of journalist without charge

May 20 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) wishes to forward an updated appeal received from Amnesty International regarding the case of a journalist, was in danger of losing his eye sight due to the lack of medical treatment (See further AHRC-FUA-004-2008). According to the information received, he was given medical treatment on May 9 and later access to his lawyer. However, he has not yet brought before a court which breaches the Emegency Regulation. more..

Three Nobel Peace Laureates oppose Colombo’s bid for re-election

May 20 (AHRC) Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize from three continents called on UN members to reject Sri Lanka’s candidacy for the UN Human Rights Council, the NGO Coalition for an Effective Human Rights Council said today. Nobel laureates Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel of Argentina, and Jimmy Carter of the United States each published statements urging opposition to Sri Lanka because of its abusive human rights record. more..

Pillayan invited to Chief Ministers' Conference in May

May 20 (LD) The newly-inducted Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan has been invited to represent the Eastern Province at the annual meeting of the Chief Ministers' Conference later this month. Mr. Chandrakanthan is among the list of invitees for the two-day parley that begins on May 30th, Chief Minister of Uva Province Wijith Wijithamuni Soyza, who is hosting the event, told the media. more..

Mangala before SLFP disciplinary committee on May 23

May 20 (LD) Former strongman of the SLFP and ex-minister Mangala Samarweera has been summoned to appear before the party’s disciplinary committee on the charge of breach of discipline. Mr. Samaraweera, who is the leader of the SLFP Mahajana Wing, confirmed to ‘Lanka Dissent’ that he would face the DS on May 23rd. Membership of the DS comprises attorneys Champani Padmasekara, Sarath Weragama and Bonifus Silva.

Working Group on the UPR adopts Sri Lanka’s report

May 20 (GDI) The Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) adopted the report on Sri Lanka this afternoon after a week of patient negotiations. The report was introduced by Cameroon on behalf of the troika who commended Sri Lanka for its commitment and skill. Following the adoption of the 28 page report states have a period of two weeks to provide corrections and comments. They have to respond by the deadline of 2nd June. more..

Co-op cities in each village in East

May 20 (GDI) The Co-operative Development Ministry has taken steps to set up co-op cities in each village in the newly liberated areas in the East and accordingly, new co-op cities are being set up in Batticaloa, Ampara and Trincomalee districts. A total of one million rupees has been allocated to establish co-op cities in each village in the Province by the Ministry with twelve co-op cities to be set up in the Batticaloa district. more..

Use power economically -- CEB

May 20 (GDI) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has appealed to consumers to use electricity economically and has vowed to take stern action against local government bodies which do not switch-off the street lamps during the day. CEB sources said 65 per cent of the total power requirement of the country depends on diesel-power generation. Given that the price of a crude oil barrel in the world market is increasing rapidly the estimated cost for the electrical power generation will also go up by more..

'We are committed to developing Rights Council into a truly global forum'

May 20 (GDI) Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe, in a statement delivered at the adoption of the report of Sri Lanka yesterday (May 19) at the Universal Period Review on human rights in Geneva, reiterated the country’s commitment to the success of the UPR process as a whole and the development of the Human Rights Council into the truly global forum on human rights that it was formed to be. more..

The Murder trial of Gerald Perera - threat to life of an important witness

May 20 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission wrote today to the Sri Lankan authorities and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture regarding death threats to one of the witnesses in the Gerald Perera murder trial which is being heard before the Negombo High Court. Gerald Perera, a torture victim was summoned to give evidence in the High Court regarding six police officers in a trial under the Prevention of Torture Act, Act No 22 of 1994. more..

Asian NGOs call on UN member-states to reject Sri Lanka's Human Rights Council election bid

May 20 (AHRC) We, the undersigned 84 non-governmental organisations working on human rights in Asia, write to urge that your government not vote for Sri Lanka for membership in the United Nations Human Rights Council in the election taking place in the General Assembly on May 21, 2008, because of the country’s evident failure to meet the Council’s membership standards. more..

'Murder of Maheswary Velautham puts rights issues in perspective'

May 20 (GDI) Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka speaking at the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review, brought to the attention of the delegates the delicate situation in Sri Lanka which was tragically underscored by the brutal assassination of rights activist Maheswary Velautham. Dr. Jayatilleka was speaking at the adoption of the report of Sri Lanka, following its Universal Periodic Review and more..

UNP-SLMC bid to undermine EPC thwarted

May 20 (LNP) The UPFA constituent, All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC) said an attempt by the UNP-SLMC combine to pit M.L.A.M. Hisbullah against the government and the newly elected Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, the leader of the breakaway LTTE faction had been thwarted. ACMC leader Abdul Rishad Bathiudeen (Vanni District) had blocked an attempt to call a press conference on Sunday (18) to officially announce Hisbullah's decision to quit the UPFA, more..

MIA weeps for lawless Lanka

May 20 (LNP) British hip-hop artist Mathangi Arulpragasam, better known as MIA, lamented about how much she missed Sri Lanka where she was born and bred before the ethnic conflict forced their family to flee the country. On her way to perform at the Salt Lake City in the United States over the weekend, MIA expressed her frustration at not being able to do enough to help in the situation in Sri Lanka, US newspapers reported. more..

More Pakistani Aircraft Engineers being trained at SriLankan Airlines

May 20 (LNP) SriLankan Airlines reputation as a leading aviation training centre in South Asia continues to grow, with more Aircraft Engineers from Pakistan undergoing training at Katunayake. Six more Aircraft Engineers from Airblue , Pakistan s fast-growing private airline, are undergoing training in maintenance of Airbus A319, A320, and A321 aircraft, at SriLankan s Technical Training School. more..

Return of the Master Blaster

May 20 (LNP) Many of us thought that Sanath Jayasuriya's international career at the age of 38 was over after he was dropped from the side for Sri Lanka s tour of the West Indies in April after a string of poor scores in the Commonwealth Bank Series in Australia. But it took him just two hours to earn a recall to the national side. The selectors had already picked the side when he went to bat against Chennai Super Kings representing Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League tournament on Wednesday and more..

JVP to appoint new group leader for parliament

May 20 (AT) The politburo of the JVP will appoint a new group leader for their parliamentary affairs when the next parliamentary session begins. At present Wimal Weerawansa holds this post, but he formed his new party abandoning the JVP. The President Mahindha Rajapaksha prorogued the Parliament and the next session will commence on 6 June. A leading JVP strongman and the politburo member said they would have a new group leader on that day. more..

Hisbullah issue rocks the East

May 20 (AT) M.L.A.M. Hisbullah issue has begun to rock the east. It has taken a turn to the worse. Developments in the east points to a worse Muslim – Tamils flare-up soon, most probably by the coming Friday after the Jumma prayers, due to the fanning up of tension in the midst of the Muslim extremists. It is suspected that UNP is playing a role in the background by placing roadblocks and creating confusion in the midst of the Muslim community, thus preventing Hisbullah from taking the right decision. more..

Devotees throng A'pura

May 20 (SAMN) A large number of devotees have been flocking to the Atamasthana (eight places of worship) including the Sacred Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi at Mahamevuna Uyana in Anuradhapura from Sunday to participate in religious observances and rituals to mark Vesak. More than 5,000 observed Atasil at the Sri Maha Bodhi and Ruwanwelisaya. The national Vesak religious observances were held at Sri Naga Raja Maha Viharaya at Srawasthipura in Nachchaduwa Divisional Secretariat jurisdiction, Anuradhapura yesterday. more..

CIC to invest Rs. 750 m in East

May 20 (SAMN) One of the leading Sri Lankan agriculture companies, CIC Agribusiness will invest Rs 500 million for a major banana export project in the Eastern Province. This is expected to be a joint venture project with one of the leading Japanese fruit suppliers in the world. The banana cultivation would be spread over a 15,000 acre land close to Kantale River in the Eastern Province. “We are targeting the European and Middle Eastern markets, which have a big demand for bananas,” more..

Labour dispute ends, 70 reinstated

May 20 (SAMN) The Ministry of Labour Relations and Manpower ruled recently that Macson Mesh Industries Ltd reinstate 70 workers it had terminated in February this year over a labour dispute. However five workers who had been the nucleus of the union that instigated trade union action will not be employed until their case is heard by an arbitrator, the Ministry of Labour Relations and Manpower announced last week. more..

Lankan refugees in TN want more

May 20 (SAMN) R. Rajakumari’s is a three-member family that lives on Rs.3,000 a month in Erode. Within the income, the school teacher has a lot of things to take care of: monthly household expenses, her son’s education, house rent and also exigencies. In addition to the income, she gets a monthly, subsidised ration from the state government by virtue of her Sri Lankan Tamil refugee status. more..

South E. Asia's largest fishery harbour in Gampaha district

May 20 (DN) The largest fishery harbour in South East Asia will be constructed at Dikkowita in Gampaha district within two years. This will be funded by the Netherlands with aid of Euro 45 million, said Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Felix Perera. He made these remarks at the agreement signing ceremony. Perera said one of the main issues Sri Lanka is suffering is the lack of technology and with only outdated methods unable to get a good price for our fish. This will be solved. more..

National Democratic Institute launches GIS Political Mapping website

May 20 (DN) The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) launched a GIS Political Mapping website which is a mapping web utility that facilitates a detailed analysis of voter behaviour over a period of 15 years from 1990-2005. This website allows for the first time in Sri Lanka a comprehensive analysis of elections conducted through maps, charts and tables. more..

Paracetamol causes headache for Health Dept

May 20 (Island) All State-run and private hospitals are severely affected as a chronic shortage of essential drug paracetamol has emerged across the country. The doctors attached to both government and private hospitals have no alternative but to prescribe expensive brands the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) said. Multi-national pharmaceutical companies err gaining awindfall as the chronic shortage of paracetamol had emerged island-wide. more..

Lankan students in China are well and safe

May 20 (Island) Lankan Ambassador in China K. Amunugama, visited Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province with the first Secretary, Rohana Ambagolla to meet the Sri Lankan student community in the Sichuan University and Sichuan medical faculty to inquire about welfare of the students, a release issued by the Lankan Embassy in Beijing said. The Embassy officials took this opportunity to meet Sichuan University students as well as more..

UNPers seek Court order to dissolve CMC

May 20 (DM) UNP candidates who contested the Colombo Municipal Council under the ‘spectacle’ symbol at the 2006 municipal poll are seeking a writ application from Supreme Court to stop the functioning of Colombo Municipal Council which they say is functioning illegally. Former Deputy Mayor Asath Sally who was among the candidates said they would file the writ application immediately after the Vesak holidays. more..

False allegation by Lanka Dissent and FMM

May 20 (MoD) The attention of the Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law and Order, has been drawn to a statement issued by the Free Media Movement (FMM), and published in the media on May 19, which makes a serious allegation against this Ministry. Quoting a news item posted on the web site - www.lankadissent/allnews/2008 - and referring to a letter that the FMM had received from the Editor of "Lanka Dissent, the FMM repeats a totally false allegation made by "Lanka Dissent" to more..

Review: Human Rights Film: War & Waves

May 20 (Scoop) A story of Sri Lankan hardship will evoke the consciences of Aucklanders when it screens on the final night of the Human Rights Film Festival this Friday May 23. The short film, War & Waves, documents the struggle of Sri Lankan people following the devastating December 2004 tsunami and the recent reigniting of violence in northern Sri Lanka. The natural disaster killed 30,000 Sri Lankans, left half a million homeless, and four years later thousands are still waiting to be re-housed. more..

'Lankan consul did not document funds'

May 20 (DM) A Hungarian Red Cross director who was sacked, allegedly for uncovering earlier management failings at the organization, has claimed that the Sri Lankan consul had failed to provide documentation of funds provided as tsunami aid, a Hungarian media report said. The Hungarian Red Cross director, appointed to put the organisation in order, had only just been hired when she was summarily dismissed -- apparently because she was uncovering earlier management failings in the organisation. more..

Decade later, no light on Rajiv Gandhi killing conspiracy

May 20 (IANS) A decade after it began probing if there was a conspiracy behind the killing of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, an official body tasked with the responsibility is still in the dark. The multi-disciplinary monitoring agency (MDMA) was formed in 1998. It has been probing the alleged role of controversial self-styled godman Chandraswami and Sri Lanka's LTTE in the May 21, 1991 assassination in Tamil Nadu. more..

Sri Lanka's southern tourism industry fights hard times

May 20 (LBO) The tourism industry in southern of Sri Lanka, badly hit by recent unrest, is fighting back by highlighting its best attractions and drawing local visitors, but they also want authorities to lobby harder against foreign travel advisories. Hotelier are desperate to revive an industry that offers plenty of attractions for visitors but has been hit hard by image problems caused by escalating war between government forces and Tamil Tigers. more..

US Coast Guard helps launch group to fight for Indian Ocean port safety

May 20 (AP) Nine countries have launched a group to help fight terrorism and criminal activity in the Indian Ocean region by improving port and maritime safety, the U.S. Coast Guard said Tuesday. U.S. Coast Guard Activities Far East said in a statement that Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and his ministers inaugurated the South Asia Regional Port Security Cooperative, more..

Heavy fighting rages through North

May 20 (AFP) At least 12 Tamil Tiger rebels and three government soldiers have died in renewed clashes in northern Sri Lanka, the military said Tuesday. The fighting, which took place late Monday, was centered around the regions of Weli Oya, Janakapura, Andankulama and Kokkuthuduwal. Three policemen were also wounded when a grenade was thrown inside a police post in the northern district of Vavuniya on Tuesday, more..

Tamil ties that bind

May 20 (TS) In her first novel, Love Marriage, Vasugi Vani Ganeshananthan, a New York-based writer and freelance journalist, explores the ties that bind a large and scattered Tamil family not unlike her own. Ganeshananthan, 28, has been working on the novel for more than a decade. "I started writing it when I was 19 and a sophomore in college; the first few pages I actually wrote in class," says the U.S.-born author over coffee on Bloor St. Dark-haired, serious and fast-talking, more..

Former child soldier swaps camouflage for lounge suit

May 20 (TS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week made an ex-child soldier the powerful chief minister of Sri Lanka's Eastern province, causing journalists to rummage wildly for some background on the little-known breakaway rebel. Meanwhile, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, also known as Pillayan, swapped his flip-flops and camouflage uniform for leather shoes and a lounge suit before paying some more..

India backs Lanka in UN human rights review

May 20 (NIP) India fully backed Sri Lanka in the just-concluded UN human rights review in Geneva, enabling its troubled neighbour to get a “balanced” appraisal from the world body on Tuesday. The appraisal has raised hopes in Sri Lanka that it will be re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council by the General Assembly in New York on Wednesday. While most of the Western countries attacked Sri Lanka on its rights record, India mentioned only the positive aspects of the Sri Lankan situation. more..

Rights group tells UN to vote Sri Lanka off rights council

May 20 (AFP) UN members should reject Sri Lanka's re-election bid to the world body's Human Rights Council, a rights group said Tuesday as it accused Colombo of widespread abductions and "disappearances." Elections to the 47-member council, the UN's leading human rights body, will be held in New York on Wednesday, when candidate countries need an absolute majority -- or 97 votes from the UN's 192 nations -- to be elected. more..

Lankans pray for peace on Buddha purnima day

May 21 (PTI) Sri Lankans prayed for peace on the occasion of Buddha purnima, with heavily decorated lanterns and dancing lights in lakhs of homes providing the much-needed rejoice for people hit by years of ethnic conflict. It was days of preparation for Buddhist Sinhalas, who constitute about 70 per cent of the Sri Lankan population, to organise the elaborate Vesak celebrations on the festival, which was celebrated on Monday. more..

Sri Lanka keen to adopt Malaysian EPF model

May 21 (Bernama) After 50 years of establishing the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF), Sri Lanka is in the process of restructuring its social security scheme along the Malaysian model. It's Labour Relations and Manpower Minister Athauda Seneviratne said a six-member team visited Kuala Lumpur early this month to study Malaysia's EPF system and had submitted a report to his ministry. more..

Buddhist festival Vesak celebrated in Pakistan

May 21 (PD) The Vesak festival, which marks the day of advent and the death of Lord Buddha, was celebrated here on Monday, wherein Myanmar's ambassador was the chief guest. The function was celebrated at the residence of Sri Lankan High Commissioner, W B Dorakumbure, instead of the Buddhist Centre, which is inside the diplomatic enclave. It was a significant change of venue as the occasion is well known across the world as Islamabad Festival of Lights. more..

No Foreign Ministry funds to repatriate 20 youth from Kuwait

May 21 (LD) The Ministry Foreign Affairs says it cannot fund the repatriation of 20 youth who are stranded in Kuwait while illegally on their way to Iraq for employment. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hussein Bhaila in comments to ‘Lanka Dissent’ defended the decision by the Bureau of Foreign Employment against granting money for the Sri Lankans who hold only tourist visas. Their relatives will have to find the money for bringing the youth back home, he said. more..

Western missions lost: Govt. is with Asian countries - JHU

May 21 (LD) Western diplomatic missions in the island have miserably failed in their attempts to politically nullify Sri Lanka’s military achievements in the east, key government affiliate Jathika Hela Urumaya has claimed. The JHU’s policymaker and Environment Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka in an interview with ‘Lakbima’ newspaper said the government was going forward with Asian countries like China and Korea. more..

USAID assists war-hit dairy farmers in Lanka's East

May 21 (IANS) The USAID Tuesday inaugurated a milk chilling centre in Sri Lanka's Eastern Batticaloa where it has provided assistance to war-affected dairy farmers like constructing cattle sheds and training farmers in animal health and business planning. Michael E. Hess, assistant administrator for USAID's Bureau of Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance in Washington, inaugurated Tuesday a milk chilling centre at Vellaveli in Batticaloa, more..