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Senior U.S. human rights official visits Sri Lanka

May 25 (AT) U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Erica Barks-Ruggles visited Colombo May 22-24 as part of the U.S. Government’s regular, ongoing consultations with the Sri Lankan Government. During her visit, Ms. Barks-Ruggles met with several senior Government of Sri Lanka officials, including Attorney General C. R. De Silva, Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona, more..

Eastern Chief Ministership to be rotated within the three communities

May 25 (AT) Eastern Provincial Council Chief Ministership is to be rotated amongst the three community leaders elected recently at the provincial council election. Just after the elections to the Provincial Council, UPFA which emerged victorious with 18+ 2 bonus = 20 seats out of the total of 37, appointed Chanthirakanthan Sivanesathurai, the Tamil candidate from the TMVP as Chief Minister of the East. more..

Nationwide ICT student talent quiz by UCSC and Dialog

May 25 (AT) ICT is no longer a mere buzz word as it represents an integral part of today’s world and the expanding technological sphere and therefore educating students on ICT will not only be a tremendous help to them individually but to the whole country in terms of increasing general ICT knowledge among future generations, said Nushad Perera, Group Chief Marketing Officer, Dialog Telekom. more..

The logic of attrition warfare in the Sri Lankan Civil War

May 25 (LG) The Sri Lankan public's unwillingness to back a large scale engagement on account of the heavier losses any such battle is expected to result in greatly hampers their military's capacity to defeat the LTTE. A major offensive needs to begin as quickly as possible and the citizens of Sri Lanka need to reconsider their situation. This offensive would, naturally, include the mine clearing tactics that was talked about in the previous article. more..

Repititions of history, the American and Sri Lankan Civil Wars

May 25 (LG) It is a difficult thing to see the suffering of war, even if it does not compare to the hardships of those actually living through it. What’s worse though is knowing how peace can be restored and seeing those in power making the mistakes of others in history. Nearly 150 years ago, Northingtons, Nowlins, Simmonses, Harrises, Baileys, and a score more families whose descendent now writes this article fought, killed, suffered and died across the American South. more..

Sri Lanka jacks up fuel prices

May 25 (LBO) After dragging their feet for months Sri Lanka's state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) jacked up diesel prices by an unprecedented 50 percent and petrol by 23 percent, while a unit of Indian Oil Corporation said it would follow suit. Standard auto diesel was raised by 30 rupees to 110 rupees a litre while 90-octane petrol was also raised by 30 rupees to 157 rupees. Super diesel would go up by 40 rupees to 125.30 rupees and 95-octane petrol by 40 rupees to 170 rupees. more..

Jihadists on the warpath

May 25 (LB) Armed Islamic jihadist elements are on the rise in the East and were behind the recent communal clashes in the province, military sources claim. An armed group which was active during the first two years of the peace process is raising its head and is actively engaged in militant activities, according to military officials. Police and the Special Task Force were deployed in Kattankudy after tit-for-tat killings by the TMVP and Muslim militants on Thursday. more..

Loaded birthday wishes?

May 25 (LB) Afatigued Tissa Attanayake was fast asleep on the morning of May 17 - and was hoping to sleep till noon - when his mobile phone started trilling annoyingly. Determined that nothing would disturb his rest, he ignored the sound. The phone rang off but started up again, continuing so insistently that Tissa was forced to pick up. “Happy birthday Tissa,” said a cheerful voice. It was Mahinda Rajapaksa at the other end of the line. more..

Is there intelligent and meaningful life outside the UN Rights Council?

May 25 (LB) We are of course talking about the fate of Sri Lanka after failing to retain her seat in the Council. Let’s repeat the question with a little elaboration: is there or can there be life outside the UN Human Rights Council? The answer is simple: OF COURSE NOT! Sri Lanka is a failed state. Sri Lankans are in any case a miserable lot; they eat rice and not bread for cryin’ out loud! more..

Spiralling into an abyss of mass scale human rights violations

May 25 (LB) Once - not long ago -apey anduwe apey Mahinda Rajapaksa had stood on street corners in withering sunshine, waving placards and hollering about human rights. During those dismal days of UNP rule, Mahinda Rajapaksa delivered scathing speeches in parliament and penned distraught letters to international organisations and multilateral agencies, drawing attention to the country’s sliding human rights record. more..

Death of Balraj and its implications

May 25 (IL) The media have branded the death of the LTTE's senior commander, Balasegaram Kandiah alias Balraj, a blow to the LTTE, while Sri Lankan military and government officials applaud the death as a victory for Sri Lanka's territorial integrity and sovereignty. Tamils, meanwhile, have been in a state of mourning for three days, since Wednesday, May 21. Despite the Sri Lankan air force's continued efforts to disturb the gatherings by civilians and LTTE cadres, more..

Economic travails and Sri Lanka's ouster from the UN Human Rights Council

May 25 (SL) While the people already weighed down by a very high cost of living were put on notice by the government that more price hikes will be inevitable in the coming weeks as the economy continues to falter, Sri Lanka suffered a body blow in the international arena last week over her human rights record with the ouster from the UN Human Rights Council signaling tougher days ahead. more..

Railway's locomotive dilemma

May 25 (SL) The recent closing of a Transport Ministry tender for 15 rail locomotives has brought back the ghosts of the last such tender. Out of 10 French locomotives imported in 2000 at a cost of Rs 1.9 billion, seven of them were non functional and had to be scrapped due to various electrical and mechanical problems stemming from the fact that they were not suited to the Sri Lankan railway system. more..

How the wives upset the Wimal-Nandana launch party

May 25 (SL) JVP defector Wimal Weerawansa marking the first step of his new political career criticised the JVP in an effort to justify his defection and dilute the impact of party moves to make public the charge sheet issued against him. Weerawansa was even critical of the JVP's founder leader, the late Rohana Wijeweera. He said that one could not be engaged in politics by growing a beard and wearing a beret cap. more..

As people struggle under CoL MPs to get another bonanza

May 25 (SL) Wages and salaries, both in the public and private sectors have not kept pace with the rise in inflation. Yet, the members of the legislature have been one sector that has recorded a positive growth in salaries. While the masses are left to fend for themselves under the dire conditions experienced at present, the government members and legislators are once again gearing to increase their salaries. more..

Murali turns his hand to defence

May 25 (TN) With his trademark bloodshot eyes and viper-like stare, Muttiah Muralitharan insisted that he is being serious when he says he is not interested in taking wickets. The Sri Lankan spinner is Test cricket’s leading wicket-taker with 735 scalps, has 464 wickets in the one-day internationals and, given the fact that wickets are the only way to apply the brakes in the shortest format of Twenty20, more..

US raps Lanka for allowing assaults on media persons

May 25 (NIP) The United States on Saturday rapped the Sri Lankan government for allowing goons to assault media persons with impunity. Coming close on the heels of the brutal assault on and the abduction of Keith Noyahr, Associate Editor and Defence Correspondent of 'The Nation weekly by an unidentified gang, the US statement said some of the independent voices in the Sri Lankan media were paying "too high a price for speaking out." more..

Existence of Muslims in the East

May 25 (MG) This article is mainly focussed on the prevailing situation of Muslim community in the East especially in the Batticaloa District after the instalment of Pillayan regime by the Govt. of Sri Lanka. Northern and Eastern provinces in Sri Lankan have witnessed much debacles and destruction in its long way to find a political solution for its perennial ethnic issue for which the LTTE have been waging an armed struggle which lasts for more than 30 years. more..

Mahinda sticks to the Tiger he can handle

May 25 (LG) The politics of the bourgeoisie of underdeveloped countries in this monopoly capitalist period reflect the primitive nature of the class itself; so explained Trotsky of the role of the national bourgeoisie in his famous thesis - the Permanent Revolution. The things that take place here are good examples. Mahinda started by launching a venomous attack on Tamil speaking people, both Tamils and Muslims. more..

Are we colonials or republicans?

May 25 (LG) May 22, 36 years ago was a 'historic day' like many other 'historic days' that have since then gone by. Propaganda blasts were sounded on available sources on that day. Sri Lanka in its 2500 odd years of history and after 467 years of colonial rule was for the first time becoming a free, independent, democratic and sovereign republic, it was blasted. 'This is historic. It is real power to the people,' the corpulent Marxist with a gravel voice, Dr. Colvin R. de Silva who was the Constitutional Affairs Minister to Sirima Bandaranaike roared. more..

Housing project for Estate Workers

May 25 (GDI) Richard De Silva, Senior Manager of the Housing Development Authority (Colombo District) told that a scheme has been launched to provide housing for Sinhala and Tamil estate workers under which work has already started to construct housing units for workers in Salawa, Avissawalla. Accordingly 20 workers will benefit from this scheme. The beneficiaries will be granted interest free loans of Rs. 200,000 and a grant of Rs. 150,000 each for this purpose, he said. more..

World Bank pledges $ 10 m to rebuild schools in Eastern Province

May 25 (GDI) The World Bank will provide US$ 10 million in July to reconstruct and renovate school buildings damaged in the Eastern Province. Education Minister Susil Premajayantha told the Sunday Observer yesterday that he had already directed Education Ministry officials to carry out a survey on damaged schools in the Province. It has been reported that a few schools and parts of some school buildings in the Trincomalee, Ampara and Batticaloa districts were destroyed due to more..

Sustainable Energy Authority promotes energy conservation and efficiency programme

May 25 (GDI) The Sustainable Energy Authority (SLSEA), which comes under the Ministry of Power and Energy, has implemented a program to increase energy efficiency and energy conservation to meet the energy crisis, SLSEA Chairman, Ananda Gunasekera said. The domestic use of CFL bulbs and using alternative energy sources for thermal application and generating electricity in the industrial sector enormously help to save the energy generated by hydro and fuel power stations, he observed. more..

Condemned, by our own crimes…...

May 25 (AT) On May 22, Sri Lanka lost her seat at the UN Human Rights Council. Ironically, in the next 24 hours, Sri Lanka busied herself with proving her critics right. Senior journalist Keith Noyahr, Deputy Editor of The Nation, was abducted as he returned home; after brutally assaulting him his captors dumped him near his house the next day. In Kattankudy, Batticaloa, three civilians were killed and several more injured when armed TMVP members fired indiscriminately at the townspeople, more..

Another bomb found in Kandy

May 25 (AT) Another deadly bomb found in Kandy a short while ago. Police personnel of Wattegama police station have found a time bomb placed near an electric transformer at Madawala Junction this morning (May 25). According the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS), the bomb has been discovered by the police around 9.20 am today on the information provided by a vigilant civilian. The army bomb disposal team has defused the bomb. more..

JVP to protest inflation without disrupting security forces

May 25 (LD) The Politburo of the JVP is to campaign for concessions to the working class in the face of escalating cost of living. As a war is ongoing in the north, this agitation will be held in such a manner that it will not disrupt the security forces, JVP MP K.D. Lal Kantha told ‘Lanka Dissent.’ He warned that if the government disregarded their request, they would go one step further and launch a massive strike action. more..

CoI on extrajudicial killings to the gallows?

May 25 (LD) The government is reportedly engaged in a media campaign to nullify the Presidential Commission of Inquiry that is investigating extrajudicial killings in Mutur and Trincomalee. In a related articles, ‘Irida Divaina’ reported that classified defence information has been leaked to outsiders through certain foreign diplomats, and ‘Irida Lankadeepa’ said the legitimacy of the CoI has come into question following its having obtained funds from overseas sources. more..

Manik Sandrasagara no more

May 25 (SAMN) Manik Sandrasagra, a well-known film director and producer, died last week in Singapore.He had gone to Singapore for a medical check up for a heart condition and had died during an operation last Sunday. He was cremated in Singapore and the ashes were flown back to Sri Lanka. Sandrasagra directed the films 'Kalu Diya Dahara’, 'Seetha Devi', ‘Colomba Sanniya', 'Rampage' and 'Reincarnation'. more..

EU may revive anti-SL resolution

May 25 (SAMN) Emboldened by Sri Lanka’s defeat at UN Human Rights Council elections, some European Union members are expected to try and push through an anti-Sri Lanka resolution which they had previously contemplated but abandoned for want of support. Scandinavian members of the EU along with Germany which had been gunning for Sri Lanka because of its human rights record had been toying with the idea of an anti-Sri Lanka resolution last year. more..

US mulls military support to Lanka

May 25 (SAMN) The US is considering lifting the arms embargo on Sri Lanka following the recent release of child soldiers by the TMVP. US Ambassador Robert O. Blake said there was a possibility of resuming military assistance to the government to defend the LTTE. The US suspended air and maritime surveillance assistance to Sri Lanka last year citing two reasons - recruitment of child soldiers by the TMVP and human rights violations. more..

SL in line for $100m food-crisis loan

May 25 (SAMN) Sri Lanka is in line for an almost interest-free loan of up to US$100 million, following an appeal to a World Bank-led emergency fund set up to tackle the global food crisis. News of the possible loan was announced by World Bank regional vice-president, South Asia, Praful Patel, when he met a small group of journalists at a press briefing in Colombo on Friday. “Sri Lanka has made a request,” he said. more..

Tourism drive in Eastern province

May 25 (SO) The Sri Lanka Tourism Authority will develop tourism in the Eastern province. Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism Authority Renton de Alwis told a media briefing last week at Beruwela that tourism in the Eastern province will be developed following its liberation. The Eastern province which has the finest tourist resorts in the country will be developed shortly. He said investors have already revived a resort hotel at Pasikuddah to be converted into an up market Eco-friendly resort. more..

New VC of University Grants Commission

May 25 (SO) Prof M. T. M. Jiffry, Senior Professor of Physiology and Founder Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura recently assumed duties as the Vice Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) of Sri Lanka. Prof. Jiffry who has been in the University service from 1974, first qualified in dental surgery and specialised in the field of Neuro-Physiology from the University of Bristol, UK. more..

In search of Solitude

May 25 (SO) I knew hard times were ahead when Nish said there was only one slab of chocolate left to be shared among the six of us. “One?” when I asked aghast he nodded to confirm there was no doubt about it. “How many more hours to go?” I then asked Soundaraja, the tracker. He raised three fingers. None of my five climbing companions groaned. None grimaced. We had no energy to lift even an eyebrow. more..

Clearing the road from Elephant Pass

May 25 (SO) In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Observer, Film Producer and Director Chandran Rutnam, expresses his views on his latest production, “The Road from Elephant Pass” from Nihal De Silva’s Gratien Award winning novel. He considers the human relationships that transcends synthetic barriers of ethnicity, class, and creed as the core of the film. Here is an excerpt from the interview: more..

Engineers breathe fire over car bonanza

May 25 (NS) The crisis over the government’s decision to issue car permits to only a limited number of professionals is set to explode this week, with furious engineers geared up to issue a stern warning to the authorities on Tuesday. Some 3,000 engineers, representing some 14 leading institutions in the country, will launch a non-cooperation action with their respective chairmen and ministry officials, including the minister in charge, beginning Wednesday. more..

The art of coarse leadership

May 25 (NS) The time has come for the main opposition UNP to go into a period of introspection, after their defeat at the May 10 Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) elections. It is essential for a large, people based political party such as the UNP to overcome obstacles, tighten loose ends and set the party in the right direction, if it endeavors to be in the service of the masses and go forward as a responsible political entity ready to take over the reins at any given time. more..

VAT fraud court case continues despite absence of eight accused

May 25 (NS) The trial of the biggest, most complex and most controversial Value Added Tax (VAT) fraud case, which deprived the public fund of Rs. 3.5 billion in revenue, has been continuing for the last five months, despite the absence of eight accused persons. The trial commenced before Colombo High Court Judge Sunil Rajapaksa on January 24. During the last five months, prosecution led evidence of two main witnesses. more..

Sri Lanka’s exit from UNHRC: A well-deserved slap

May 25 (NS) The international community should be applauded for having given Sri Lanka the resounding slap it deserves for its continuing disregard of human rights. The abduction and assault of a senior and respected journalist in the country, Defence Columnist and Associate Editor of The Nation, Keith Noyahr, appears to have been the Sri Lankan response to being voted out of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). more..

Were Noyahr’s abductors trying to get a lead on his `sources’?

May 25 (Island) As Thursday’s abduction and torture of Keith Noyahr, Associate Editor of The Nation, drew widespread condemnation, Sunday Island inquiries revealed his tormentors had been taken him to Dompe and then brought him back to his Dehiwela residence after Rivira Media Corporation triggered a frantic search for him. Well informed sources said the gang would have been after the identity of Noyahr’s ‘sources.’ more..

'Government leaders failed to recognise role of scientific development'

May 25 (Island) Sri Lanka government leaders have failed to recognize the key role of scientific development with the Treasury allocating only a microscopic amount (1.3%) of the GDP for scientific development, said Science and Technology Minister Tissa Vitarana at a media briefing in connection with the 40th Anniversary of the National Science Foundation (NSF), which provides support for assisting scientific research and development. more..

TRC delays cost Sri Lanka Telecom million dollars

May 25 (Island) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) is purchasing a 75% stake in a Pan-European prepaid telecom organization at a price of US$ 1 million on account of "inordinate delays" at the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) to obtain a wi-max license, SLT has said in a Stock Exchange filing. The company said that the SLT board decided to acquire 75% of Sky Network (Pvt) Limited, to carry on operations in Sri Lanka, "in order to secure access to their wireless broadband frequency." more..

More gravy being heaped on politicans’ plates

May 25 (Island) Against the backdrop of rapidly deteriorating economic conditions primarily due to sharp increase in defence costs, a staggering fuel import bill and corruption, the government has decided that spouses of dead ministers and MPs would be entitled to vehicles imported on duty free permits. Treasury Chief Dr. P. B. Jayasundera recently said country’s annual oil bill was USD 2 billion and further price escalation in the world market would have catastrophic impact on the national economy. more..

A walk through Popham’s watte

May 25 (ST) Ask for the Popham Arboretum and most people in Dambulla will shrug their shoulders. But ask for ‘Suddage Watte’ and they will direct you to the man-made jungle just two km from the town on the Kandalama Road. An arboretum (Ruk Gomuwa) is a place where trees are grown for study and display as a tree garden, without allowing unnecessary undergrowth. more..

Tough visa rule for INGO staff

May 25 (ST) The Government has introduced tough new conditions on the issue of fresh visas for foreign staff of International nongovernmental organizations (INGOs). A new circular setting out the guidelines has been issued by Dr U. Vidanapathirana, Secretary to the Ministry of Internal Administration. According to Government sources, it is aimed at bringing discipline into hundreds of NGOs that flooded the country in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami disaster. more..

The huff, puff and the bluff

May 25 (ST) The intriguing political drama that unfolded behind-the-scenes over the appointment of a Chief Minister for Eastern Province still remains a lesser known factor. It came after President Mahinda Rajapaksa swore in Sivanesathurai Chanthirakanthan, better known by his nom de guerre Pillayan, as Chief Minister (CM) of the Eastern Province. That was at the auspicious hour of 6.05 p.m. on Friday May 16. more..

War on media takes ugly turn

May 25 (ST) Just two weeks ago, more than 130 journalists from 60 countries, from Afghanistan to Venezuela, gathered in the Indonesian island resort of Bali to examine dilemmas confronting them. I was invited to make a presentation on reporting conflict in Sri Lanka. Little did I realise that some of the observations I made would become relevant within days. Some excerpts, I believe, would be appropriate. more..

7 rebels, 2 soldiers killed in latest fighting

May 25 (AP) A new round of fighting killed seven Tamil Tiger rebels and two Sri Lankan soldiers in the island's restive north, the military said Sunday. The clashes on Saturday were along the fronts in the areas of Mannar, Vavuniya and Welioya, the military said in a statement. Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not immediately be reached for comment and it was not possible to get independent conformation of the claim. more..

Prabhakaran must give up demand for separate Tamil state: US

May 25 (PTI) The US has asked LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran to give up demand for a separate Tamil state saying the community wanted a solution to the over two-decade-old ethnic conflict within a "united" Sri Lanka. "...I think it would be very useful for Prabhakaran to give up this idea of seeking an independent Tamil state and agreeing to negotiate with a united Sri Lanka," more..

Muslims abducted 'by TMVP'

May 26 (BBC) Opposition politicians in eastern Sri Lanka accused Chief Minister’s party of abducting Muslim youths. SLMC regional politician Abu Haneefa told BBC Sandeshaya that he received a call about 0200 am SLT claiming that two youth were abducted in Eravur. Mr. Haneefa, deputy chairman of Eravur Pradhesheeya Sabha, said he visited the sawmill where the abduction has happened with SLMC senior leader, Basir Segudawood. more..