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Minister Abdul Risath Bathiyutheen on the importance of Tamils and Muslim communities stay united

May 24 (AT) Minister Abdul Risath Bathiyutheen, President of the All Ceylon Muslim Congress has condemned the recent upsurge of violence in Kathankudy in the Eastern Sri Lanka. In his statement he said that the pressing need at present is urgent need for the Tamils and Muslims to co-exist as two brotherly communities. This is the pragmatic need of the hour, he sad. more..

Tamil Tigers in Paris commemorate Balraj

May 24 (AT) The LTTE put up posters urging the Tamil community to defy the ban on LTTE activities and participate in the meeting to commemorate the late military leader self styled ‘Brigadier’ Balraj. While the LTTE activists pasted posters in Tamil owned shops at La Chapelle in the French Capital, the police did not take any action as the traders were too scared to lodge complaints with the police. more..

'Prabhakaran' is worth seeing

May 24 (LG) Having seen Thushara Peiris' Prabhakaran I felt that it is a film worth seeing, and even writing about. Though the adoption of the name Prabhakaran seemed a mere advertising gimmick before my viewing of it, it now reveals itself to me as a well-thought-out choice of a title that gives an ironical twist to the usual connotations of that name, which are due to its association with the leader of the most ruthless terror outfit in the world. more..

Democratising the East: Challenges Ahead

May 24 (LG) The appointment of Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, the leader of the TMVP – the political wing of the LTTE breakaway faction founded by ‘Colonel’ Karuna – as the first ever Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) on May 16, 2008, following the successful completion of the EPC Election held on May 10, marks the fulfilment of the Government’s well publicised commitment of establishing a democratic setup in the de-merged Eastern Province (EP). more..

Sri Lanka self learning project wins Swedish award

May 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's digital self learning initiative, 'Shilpa Sayura', emerged winners in the education category of the Stockholm Challenge 2008 in in Sweden, the state ICT Agency (ICTA) said. The Stockholm Challenge is a biannual award made since 1994 which is now owned by the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm. The Shilpa Sayura Project also won the i4d award at the eINDIA 2007 Conference last year. more..

Sri Lanka to apply for EU GSP+; industry warned not to depend on concessions

May 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's government said it was pressing ahead with applying for trade concessions from the European Union in October but warned industrialists not to depend on trade concessions. A government statement said Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa met members of the Joint Apparel Associations Forum, an apparel industry body Thursday to brief them of government efforts to extend the GSP+ trade benefits. more..

East CM & Minister Hizbullah call for restraint

May 24 (LD) East Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan and provincial minister M.L.A.M. Hizbullah called for restraint in addresses to more than 10,000 people after Friday Prayers near Kattankudi Mosque in Batticaloa this afternoon (May 23rd). Expressing regret over yesterday's incidents, the CM noted that unity was imperative among Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities for the true realization of democracy's triumph over terrorism. more..

Jaffna: Retrospect and Prospect

May 24 (GV) Most of what I reveal below has been lying concealed in my notes and diaries deposited in the Government Achieves. I have decided to focus on them out of my belief that they may throw some light as we grope through the darkness covering our arduous trek towards national reconciliation. Read between the lines with insight, they may perhaps point the way to peace and prosperity. more..

Pilliyan’s Visit to Dalada Maligawa and crocodile tears of looters of Jaffna library

May 24 (LR) One of the very first functions of Chief Minister of Eastern province was to visit Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy. This happened to be a historic occasion in Sri Lanka history. Sri Dalada Maligawa was attacked by LTTE terrorists in 1995 killing many devotees and severely damaging the sacred place. Dalada Maligawa is the most sacred place of whole Buddhist world where tooth relic of the Buddha is placed. more..

Christians, Buddhists help Myanmar cyclone survivors, recalling Tsunami horror

May 24 (UCAN) Christians and Buddhists in Sri Lanka are collecting relief aid for Myanmar cyclone victims, mindful of how people around the world helped after the December 2004 tsunami devastated this island's coast. Father Sritharan Sylvester, head of social services for Trincomalee-Batticaloa diocese, said Christians who themselves faced a natural disaster are donating money and food supplies for the survivors of the May 2 cyclone. more..

Police refused to take action on rape of girls

May 24 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learned that a mother, whose two teenage daughters had been raped, one remains missing after having been forcibly abducted, was refused by the police to have her complaints recorded at the police station. The policemen on duty also did not take action in pursuing the perpetrators as they escape taking one victim with them. more..

Custodial death of young man

May 24 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the suspicious death of a young man in the Gampaha Police Station on 7 April 2008 after arrest. The police reported that he had committed suicide and when his relatives asked for an investigation no response has received. According to the information received, at 6:30pm on 4 April 2008, Sureen Kinson left his house to meet a friend named Jude, but did not return home that night. more..

UN: Sri Lanka's defeat a victory for Human Rights Council

May 24 (AHRC) UN member states enforced the standards they established for the new Human Rights Council by not re-electing Sri Lanka to the body today. Domestic and international human rights advocates who had opposed Sri Lanka’s re-election to the council said the vote was a victory for human rights standards and for victims of abuse in Sri Lanka. Fifteen seats on the 47-member council were filled in the election during the UN General Assembly, more..

Interview with Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, on BBC

May 24 (PISL) Presenter: Here with us now is Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP). Welcome and thanks very much for your time indeed. Well is there a peace process? – or are you now redundant? Prof. Wijesinha: No I think it is very important at the moment. Or rather, there is no point talking of a peace process, there has got to be a political solution. more..

Overcoming created tensions to work together for peace

May 24 (PISL) The Peace Secretariat is deeply concerned about yesterday’s incidents at Kattankudy, in which several of our citizens lost their lives. We extend our condolences to the families of the bereaved and hope that feelings of anguish will not fall prey to sectarian and divisive forces striving to upset the progress towards democratic pluralism made in the Eastern Province. The recently concluded Provincial Council Election in the East was a watershed in the contemporary political history of this country. more..

'Can Govt.`s image be tarnished when it is lowest already'

May 24 (SLW) Speaking to the Media today (21 May) at the UNP media unit, Lakshman Kirella UNP M.P. referred to a carefully orchestrated vilifying campaign by the Govt. and its Media to denigrate the UNP and its leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe. The Dinamina, the ITN and the Rupavahini have today carried headlines news that Leader of Opposition is on a tour of Europe to tarnish the image of Sri Lanka. more..

The Selling of Bruce Fein - by Stephen Long

May 24 (MB) I have enjoyed articles written by Bruce Fein for several years. They appear with regularity in the Washington Times, and I usually agree with his opinions on most issues – including global warming, the ineptitude of George W. Bush, the hopeless war in Iraq, and others. I've admired and appreciated his frank and honest style, his insider points of view, his astute perceptions, and his complex analysis on a variety of subjects. more..

Removal from UNHRC is a signal

May 24 (LG) Prevention of Sri Lanka from the UNHRC is a message signaling the state to behave itself. This is from the international community. This was to come for some time now and it has finally come. This is not any conspiracy but a signal. Sri Lanka may blame the UN for partiality and double standards between the Sri Lankan situation and the US allied activity in Afghan and Iraq. US allied actions are between two or more nations. more..

Maheswary Velayutham: A Unique Tamil Woman

May 24 (LG) When one examines the acts of the LTTE leader, there is no doubting his evil mindset and callous ability to order, and have the murder of innocents, carried out. The delusions of the LTTE leadership are well known; it will not tolerate any individual who does not support its philosophies, and has no understanding of civilised dialogue with which to communicate with those who oppose them. more..

The Tragedy at the C.E.B.

May 24 (LG) As a person who had served more than half his lifetime as an engineer at the C.E.B. and the Department of Government Electrical Undertakings, I feel saddened at the tragic situation currently prevailing in the C.E.B. and the consequent adverse impact in the Power sector. One of the reasons for the C.E.B. moving along like a rudderless boat without any sense of direction is the lack of a suitably qualified person to steer the boat. more..

Dethroned for violations or...?

May 24 (LG) Sri Lanka has lost its seat in the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) due mainly to a disrespecting of the world system, arrogance, complete lack of counter propaganda against LTTE and bungling and rantings by a group of theoreticians and technocrats. International norms dealing with torture, disappearances, and political killings have emerged due mainly to the atrocities committed elsewhere. more..

Breaking through Minefields in the Sri Lankan Civil War

May 24 (LG) The Sri Lankan Civil War has been raging for decades with tens of thousands of people killed on each side. Ethnic Tamil separatists have been fighting for a racially exclusive country in the North and East of the island. Developments since 2004 have seen the Liberation Ligers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE lose almost all of their territory in the East of the island, while minor losses have been suffered on the Western coast as well. more..

Rs. 3007m for Hambantota Port project missing

May 24 (LD) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority has issued a cheque amounting to five times of the estimated compensation for the land acquired for the Hambantota Port development project, 'Ravaya' says. The cheque, number 250749, for Rs. 3,007 million, was issued on April 10th 2008 for land compensation. The cheque, which is under the voucher number EG/00/113, has been credited to the management of the Hambantota People's Bank. more..

One day service for replacing NICs suspended

May 24 (LD) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake yesterday (May 23rd) directed the Commissioner of the Department of Registration of Persons to suspend the one day service of replacing misplaced National Identity Cards (NIC) with immediate effect. Noting that retaining a NIC is an offence under the section 22 of the Registration of Persons Act No. 32 of 1968, the PM instructed more..

Classified defence info. revealed through foreign ambassadors

May 24 (LD) Certain foreign ambassadors in Sri Lanka have disclosed sensitive defence information, the ‘Irida Divaina’ reports. Classified defence information given to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) has been revealed to certain outsiders by several foreign ambassadors in Sri Lanka, charge senior Attorneys-at-Law, Gomin Dayasiri and S.L. Gunasekera. Certain classified defence information is given to the CoI regarding the massacres reported in Muttur and Trincomalee. more..

Legal crisis regarding CoI on Muttur massacre

May 24 (LD) A grave legal crisis has occurred regarding the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) that is probing into the massacre of 17 aid workers in Muttur, the ‘Irida Lankadeepa’ reports. According to the report by the newspaper’s journalist, Ranjith Ananda Jayasinghe, the crisis was triggered with the allegation that the CoI, which is headed by a former Supreme Court judge, has obtained financial aid from several powerful countries. more..

Dissolve CoI – Wimal Weerawansa

May 24 (LD) In a statement, President of the National Freedom Front (NFF), Wimal Weerawansa requested President Mahinda Rajapaksa to dissolve the Udalagama Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on Human Rights, alleging that the Commission has clearly joined hands with forces that are working against the country to disparage it. The NFF is distressed to note that a statement of the CoI states that by obtaining funds from the United States, Canada and the European Union, it was necessary to meet with their needs, he added. more..

Eravur tense over TMVP violence

May 24 (LD) Basheer Segudawood of the SLMC said that tension has erupted in Eravur in Batticaloa after two party activists were abducted and detained by a group of the Pillayan Faction. Confirming the incident, he said that two youths named Saleem and Sinnathambi have been abducted. Though security forces have informed me that these two youths have been handed over to the Batticaloa police, it is not confirmed whether they have been freed yet, he added. more..

More Lankans should vie for hospitality jobs in UAE

May 24 (KT) The Sri Lankan Ambassador to the UAE, Mohammed Nabavi Junaid, yesterday said more Sri Lankan migrant workers should vie for skilled jobs in the hospitality and hotel industry in the UAE, rather than opting to work in factories or households. In an interview with Khaleej Times, Junaid, who is nearing the end of his three-year tenure in the country this month, said, “If our workers could get a better share of the hospitality and the health sector, we would be really pleased. more..

Hisbullah meets Pillaiyan over Kattankudy violence

May 24 (LNP) Eastern Provincial Council Minister M. L. A. M. Hisbullah flew to Batticaloa yesterday morning from Colombo to meet Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakantha (Pillaiyan) at his office in the aftermath of Thursday s violence in Kattankudy where five killings took place. Hisbullah was sworn in as a Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday forenoon at the Presidential Secretariat. more..

Freedom of Suppression

May 24 (LNP) It is with shock and dismay that we note the abduction of Deputy Editor and defence columnist of The Nation newspaper Keith Noyahr on Thursday night. Injured at the hands of his abductors who descended on him opposite his house, he is now receiving treatment in hospital. With that assault, the Sri Lanka media has suffered another body blow. The knee-jerk reaction of the government was to deploy a special police team to investigate the incident and give wide publicity to that move so as to let the whole world know something was being done. more..

Govt. faces foreign aid cut says UNP

May 24 (SAMN) The main opposition UNP ?Friday warned that by failing to secure a slot in the United Nations Human Rights Council Sri Lanka also risked having its foreign aid cut off or curtailed. UNP MP Jayalath Jayawardane told a news conference that if the continuing trend of human rights violations was not arrested immediately, Sri Lanka could even end up losing its membership in the Commonwealth Association. more..

SLTnet upgraded to superior bandwidth

May 24 (SAMN) Sri Lanka Telecom, the nation’s communications powerhouse announced its latest upgrade of SLTnet, the largest Internet service provider in Sri Lanka. SLTnet caters to the needs of the wider community of Sri Lankans, be it residential or corporate in nature being the unchallenged, dominant player with a share of 60% of the Internet market. With the recent upgrade SLTnet added more capacity (STM4 link) to its International Internet backbone. more..

Nimal wants climate concerns addressed

May 24 (SAMN) Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva who headed the Sri Lanka delegation to the 61st World Health Assembly, urged the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the world community to initiate action to address the serious health consequences that will result from climate change. On behalf of the people of Sri Lanka, the Minister expressed deep sorrow and grief at the recent unfortunate tragedies that struck two Asian countries, Myanmar and China. more..

Non-academics complain

May 24 (SAMN) The non-academics serving in government schools complain that they had been ignored for years and problems related to their service had never been addressed by successive governments. "We have to serve under the dictatorial administrations of principals. The principals had been empowered to discontinue our service at their will and none of our grievances had been forwarded to the respective authorities to obtain a redress," more..

President deplores Opposition attempts to block GSP Plus

May 24 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said he was dismayed that some political leaders are damaging Sri Lanka’s case by irresponsible behaviour at a time when the Government is working hard to get GSP+ benefits for the country. President Rajapaksa made this statement at a meeting with representatives of the JAAF (Joint Apparel Associations Federation) on Thursday, to brief them about the work being done by the Government to secure for the country an extension of GSP+ benefits more..

Don't limit industrial exhibitions only to Colombo - Minister

May 24 (DN) Industrial exhibitions should not only be limited to Colombo but should be taken to villages. Steps should also be taken to uplift small and medium scale industrialists in the village, Industrial Development Minister Kumar Welgama said. The Minister was speaking as the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony of the machinery exhibition 2008 at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike International Convention Hall. more..

Teachers win demand over admission of their children to grade one

May 24 (Island) The Education Ministry has agreed to the demand of teacher unionists that five percent of student intake for the Grade One classes should be allotted for the children of teachers, union sources said yesterday. "The proposed circular for admission of students to grade one class earlier had neglected the children of teachers. We demanded that teachers’ children should be admitted to the schools they teach in. more..

Drug addiction, peddling down by 9 percent

May 24 (Island) Drug addiction and drug peddling decreased by 9 percent in 2007 compared to the previous year. A total of 43,280 arrests by the authorities were made during the year Director National Dangerous Drugs Control Board K. Gamage told The Island yesterday (23). The highest percentage of drug related arrests 90%, were from the Western Province. The Southern and Central Provinces recorded 3.7 percent each and Sabaragamuwa 1. percent. more..

Noyahr’s nightmare

May 24 (DM) Shock and horror gripped not only the media but the entire country yesterday with the abduction and barbaric assault on the ‘The Nation’ newspaper’s Associate Editor Keith Noyahr amidst growing demands for a full probe to find out who was behind this savage seven-hour torture of one of Sri Lanka’s highest-ranking and widely respected journalist. Mr. Noyahr, a former deputy editor of the Daily Mirror, was abducted late on Thursday night while more..

School rugby players to appear in court for assaulting team-mate

May 24 (DM) Almost the entire first fifteen rugby squad of St. Benedict’s College Kotahena, including its captain, has been released on bail to appear in court next week after they were arrested by police on a complaint made by a team member over an alleged case of assault. The player is alleged to have been assaulted by his team-mates and was admitted to hospital with bloody injuries and his statement was recorded by the Kotahena police who produced the suspects in court. more..

Sri Lanka needs 'political offensive' for peace, reconciliation: scholar

May 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka should commemorate the 25th anniversary of the July 1983 riots and put forward its best offer to the Tamil people as part of a political offensive to end the war and find peace and reconciliation, a US scholar said. William Grassie, a senior Fulbright Fellow, said the commemoration will be "healing" and "helpful" for Sri Lanka to show its commitment to ensure equal protection for all its citizens under the law. more..

Sri Lanka Nestle returns condensed milk plant

May 24 (LBO) The Sri Lanka unit of Nestle has handed back a condensed milk plant to state-run Milk Industries Lanka Co Ltd (MILCO) after upgrading and running the plant for 28 years as a public-private partnership, the company said. The factory in Polonnaruwa was officially handed over at a ceremony on May 23, Nestle said in a statement. Nestle had a lease running till 2010 but had vacated the premises early. more..

Boat Show Sri Lanka 2008

May 24 (BTI) Sri Lanka proudly presents the first ever Boat show to be held during the month of June 2008. Boat Building Technology Improvement Institute Lanka (BTI), as organizers, supported by GTZ, planning to held the Boat Show Sri Lanka from the 8th to 10th of June 2008, promising to set sails for the horizons of an ever developing industry. Boat Show will attract all stake holders in the industry including the service providers. more..

Fighting kills 8 combatants in northern Sri Lanka

May 24 (AP) Scattered battles killed seven Tamil Tiger separatist rebels and one government soldier along Sri Lanka's northern front lines, the military said Saturday. Separately, the guerrillas said 16 civilians were killed Friday in a roadside bomb attack carried out by government forces deep inside Tamil Tiger territory. Army troops launched two separate attacks along the front lines in the Jaffna peninsula and destroyed 13 rebel bunkers Friday, more..

High tea production in Lanka to give boost to exports

May 24 (PTI) Sri Lanka has registered a 29 per cent increase in its tea output to around 112 million kgs in the first four months of 2008 that is expected to give a boost to its exports, which are slated to cross one billion dollars in value terms this year. Sri Lanka's tea exports is likely to grow by 15 per cent for 2008 against the landmark one billion dollar export mark on top of high output due to favourable weather conditions this year, according to experts. more..

RPT-Bangladesh rescues Sri Lankan fishermen

May 24 (Reuters) A Bangladeshi fishing vessel has rescued five Sri Lankan fishermen who had been drifting for weeks in the Bay of Bengal, police said on Saturday. The Sri Lankans were rescued while they were drifting aimlessly in the sea aboard a damaged fishing boat. "After treatment they are doing well now," police inspector A. Mohiuddin told Reuters. They will be repatriated to Sri Lanka through the foreign ministry, the police officer said without giving details. more..

'Sri Lanka has framework to curtail human rights violations'

May 24 (IANS) A US human rights official has said that although Sri Lanka has the "necessary institutional framework in place” to deal with the widely-criticised human rights violations, it “needs to empower its institutions” so that they can be effective. "Sri Lanka has the necessary institutional framework in place, but it needs to empower its institutions to carry out their work effectively. Human rights protection needs to be applied in fact, not just in law," more..

A vigilant bus conductor averted a bomb explosion

May 24 (AT) A vigilant bus conductor averted today evening a bomb explosion which would have caused death to dozens of bus passengers. According to reports, the conductor of the public transport bus recovered the bomb parcel when the bus stopped at Parakandeniya. It is said that he detected a deserted parcel under the bus seat, took it out, left it in a playground and informed the police of the suspicious parcel. more..

Brigadier Balraj: Brave LTTE Commander who led from the front

May 25 (TC) Kandiah Balasegaran alias “Brigadier Balraj” the Deputy military chief of the LTTE died of a heart attack at Puthukkudiyiruppu in the Mullaitheevu district on May 20th. In a condolence message issued by him, LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabakharan says “The man who was at the center of many of our Himalayan victories, the heroic military leader, who trained,guided and fought with our fighting formations and conventional brigades is with us no more.” more..