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CoI denies 'western influence'

May 26 (BBC) The Commission of Inquiry (CoI) investigating serious human rights violations has denied reports that its investigations are “influenced” by western powers. Leader of the National Freedom Front (NFF), Wimal Weerawansa, MP, has reportedly urged president to dissolve the CoI as it has obtained funds from foreign donors. Several Sinhala newspapers have also questioned the impartiality of the CoI. more..

Bus fares rice by 27 percent

May 26 (BBC) The Sri Lanka government and the private bus owners have agreed to raise the fares by 27.2 percent. In a meeting held with Transport minister Dallas Alahapperuma and private bus owners association, it has also agreed to raise the minimum bus fare from Tuesday. The meeting was held after the state-owned oil corporation raised prices for petroleum products by at least twenty-five per cent on Saturday. more..

Brassware makers look for new markets

May 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka's traditional brass ornaments have added beauty and elegance to households in the island for centuries. Lighting a traditional oil lamp is a key event at any auspicious occasion in Sri Lanka. Considered a symbol of prosperity and good luck, they often trim a bride's dowry in some villages in the deep south of the island. Villagers of Angulmaduwa in Beliatta in the Hambantota district have been producing hand crafted traditional brassware for generations. more..

'Batticaloa situation is under control for the time being'

May 26 (AT) Situation in Batticaloa has been brought under control after the release of the two Muslims who were abducted yesterday afternoon by the boys of TMVP, said Minister M.L.A.M Hisbullah. He said that subsequently those two Muslims were released yesterday at the Eravur Police station. In the meantime, Azad Mowlana spokesperson of the TMVP said that things are under control in Eravur, but no movements in the streets were visible as if though an unofficial curfew has been imposed by the police. more..

Maheswary Velayutham remembered in Canada

May 26 (AT) Glowing tribute was paid to the memory of the assassinated Human Rights Activist Maheswary Velayutham in Toronto. The memorial meeting was held at 31 Glen Watford in Scarborough, Canada on May 24. The meeting was organized by the Canadian Democratic Tamil Cultural Association. The meeting was attended by a large gathering, including Maheswary’s relatives. Maheswary Velayutham was killed at her home in Karaveddy while caring for her ailing mother on her death bed, more..

The moderates must come together to defeat the extremists

May 26 (LG) Sri Lankan diplomacy in the United Kingdom has met with unprecedented success over the last year or so. This is chiefly the result of the hard work done by the Sri Lankan diplomatic team. Unlike those before them, these officers have not given way to the loudest or the most aggressive voice or used extremism to fight extremism, as taught by the great teacher that "hatred shall not cease with hatred." more..

House of terror

May 26 (LG) Blood splattered on the floor, seven bodies of Tamil Tigers lay in a house in Konanakunte, Bangalore. Six confederates consumed cyanide and one shot himself on August 21, 1991. It was said to be a major crackdown against LTTE after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi on May 21, 1991. Eighteen years have passed since then. In the meantime, LTTE continues its ‘fight for liberation.’ more..

Jaffna and Fredericksburg: Part One

May 26 (LG) The Sri Lankan Army took a heavy beating on April 23rd, in the latest of a series of thwarted assaults on the LTTE defenses on the Jaffna Peninsula. Casualties have been difficult to pin down on either side and reports from individuals and groups with military contacts can only give a range of casualties. What is clear is that this was a larger battle than most in recent history and that the LTTE came out on top, while more..

Hashan Tillakaratne to head umpires association

May 26 (CI) Hashan Tillakaratne, the former Sri Lankan batsman, has been elected uncontested as the president of the 225-member Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers Sri Lanka (ACUSSL), at their 64th annual general meeting held at the Royal College auditorium in Colombo yesterday. Tillakaratne, 40, is only the second Sri Lankan Test player to be appointed to the post more..

President Bush’s argument backs Lanka’s right to fight terror

May 26 (LG) When I was listening the other day to President George Bush’s speech delivered at the Knesset, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the birth of Israel, it occurred to me that I had heard somewhere else before the salient issues he was expounding and stressing. Then it dawned on me that I had heard Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake focusing on the identical issues that President Bush was placing on the international agenda. more..

'PNM cannot be left to be subjugated by a ‘hashish’ ring!'

May 26 (LT) Patriotic National Movement (PNM) would not be allowed to be deviated from its inceptive targets or to be subjugated by a ‘hashish’ ring and the National Convention would be convened soon to take measures to elevate the organization to its original status said Ven.Dhambara Amila Thero, Senior lecturer and eminent archeologist, a Member of the National Executive Committee of the PNM and its Publishing Secretary. more..

Recognize the real threat that manifests from the increase in fuel prices and rally to defeat it! – JVP

May 26 (LT) A broad people’s power should be built to win over the necessary relief for people to exist at present and change the ravaging economic system to create a better country states the JVP n a press release issue on the increase of fuel prices. People should recognize the real threat that manifests from the increase in fuel prices and rally to defeat it states in the statement issued by the Political Bureau of the JVP. more..

Sri Lanka probing links between 2 diffused bombs

May 26 (Xinhua) The police said Sunday that they are probing possible links between two bus bombs diffused at two different locations near the capital Colombo on Saturday. The first bomb was found at Ganemulla, about 38 km north of Colombo at 5:15 p.m. local time on a bus bound to the capital. The conductor of the bus has seen the unattended parcel thrown out of the bus to a nearby Buddhist temple premises. more..

DPU attack victims laid to rest in Ki'linochchi

May 26 (TN) The bodies of 16 civilians including 5 children, three girls and two boys, killed Friday afternoon in LTTE controlled Vanni during the claymore attack by the Deep Penetration Unit (DPU) of Sri Lanka Army (SLA) were laid to rest Saturday afternoon 5:20 p.m. in Baarathypuram General Cemetery. SLA stepped up DPU attacks in LTTE controlled Vanni as the region was observing a national mourning day following the demise of LTTE's Senior Commander Brigadier Balraj, more..

Is this the article that led to the brutal attack on Keith Noyahr?

May 26 (NS) To be able to get optimum results from any organisation, the cardinal principle is to keep the majority of the members happy by running the institution on the basis of equal opportunity for all. The Army has successfully wrested control of the east, but no one should get complacent, as the work is yet unfinished. There is a gigantic task ahead to be accomplished in the north and the Wanni. It is in this backdrop that the promotion criteria adopted by Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka must be viewed. more..

Tamil of Sri Lankan origin is second richest man in Malaysia

May 26 (IANS) A Tamil of Sri Lankan origin is the second richest man in Malaysia, while a businessman of Indian origin occupies the 16th place in the list of 40 wealthiest in the Southeast Asian country published by the Forbes magazine. T. Ananda Krishnan, 70, whose family originates from Jaffna, runs the telecom firm Maxis, with a net worth of $7.2 billion. In the list, he is behind Robert Kuok, 84, who has diverse business interests and a fortune worth $10 billion. more..

Muthur Muslims protest against ban on fishing

May 26 (MG) A large number of Muslim civilians more than 10,000 are participating in a protest march in Muthur town in the Trincomalee district, demanding the immediate removal of ban on fishing at muthur, which continues for the 17th day, sources said. The protest march in Muthur town was commenced this morning at 9.30 from Akkaraichenai Jummah Mosque and planned to reach the, Muthur where a petition was to be handed over. more..

And Finally......Independent, his bull ah?

May 26 (MG) Finally, M.L.M. Hisbullah took his oaths as the Minister of Health & Information Technology of the EPC, before President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He was at the centre of a controversy, after being denied the Chief Minister’s (CM) slot in the EPC. The claim made by almost all the Muslim ministers was that President Rajapaksa had promised the highest slot in the EPC to a Muslim, if they (Muslims contesting under the UPFA banner) return a majority of members to the Council. more..

MMM's name not used to reserve hall for inaugural meeting of PFF! – Wimal Weerawansa

May 26 (LT) The media reports that the hall of International studies in BMICH complex for the inaugural meeting of the People’s Freedom Front (PFF) was reserved using the name of Manel Mal Movement (MMM) are false says President of PFF Wimal Weerawansa. The reservation was done using the name of one of the members of his party added Mr. Weerawansa. He said this at a media meeting held in Colombo today. more..

All conspirators are out of the party now! – Vijithe Herath

May 26 (LT) The conspirators who were in the party are no longer in the party says Member of the Political Bureau of the JVP Parliamentarian Vijitha Herath. He said this answering a question by ‘Lankatruth’ regarding a statement made by Mr. Nandana Gunatilleke in a media meeting today stating that there was a conspiracy in the JVP to remove its present leader Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe from the leadership at the National Convention of the JVP to be held on the 27th. more..

The Plight of the Tamils in Sri Lanka

May 26 (LG) The minority groups on the basis of religion, race and language have been unjustly oppressed by the Sinhala Buddhist Majority in this country since Sri Lanka obtained its independence from the British. Many political attempts have been made by minority communities (Tamils and Muslims) to place before the Governments of UNP and the SLFP that were in power from time to time concerning their grievances for well over 40 years, more..

Et Tu Tutu: You Too

May 26 (LG) It was reported by the Media on last week that Jimmy Carter, former US President, Emeritus Archbishop of Cape Town and Adolfo Perez Esquivel of Argentina had "called on the United Nations to reject Sri Lanka’s candidacy for the UN Human Rights Council. The stand that Carter and Esquivel have taken is hardly worth comment in view of the human rights violations at Guantánamo Bay internment centre, and more..

Under Pillayan

May 26 (LG) Independent of the circumstances in which he became Chief Minister, the elevation of TMVP leader Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan Eastern Province would have made news for its own reason. His gun-totting past would have dotted pen-sketches of the man and his metamorphosis into a mainstream politician wanting/willing (?) to lay down arms, would have made compelling and competitive media profiles. more..

JVP holds 5th national convention tomorrow

May 26 (LD) The JVP will appoint new party office-bearers at its fifth national convention at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium tomorrow (May 27th). After the convention's inauguration, the central committee will elect new officials, with Wimal Weerawansa most likely to lose his Propaganda Secretary and Parliamentary Group Leader positions. A top official of Cyprus's ruling party AKEL is among the distinguished invitees to the occasion. more..

Train fare hike unavoidable - Dallas

May 26 (LD) Transport Minister Dallas Alahapperuma says train fares too, will have to be increased following the hike in diesel prices. He said the rate of the increase would be decided after considering the hike in bus fares. According to the Transport Minister, the Railway Department consumes 30 million litres of diesel every year. It incurs an annual loss of Rs. 7,500 million, he said, adding that with the new diesel price, the margin will go up to Rs. 8,400 million. more..

CEB unions vow to resist privatization

May 26 (LD) Trade unions affiliated to the Ceylon Electricity Board have vowed to resist government attempts to privatize the debt-ridden state-owned commercial enterprise. Spokesman for the United Trade Union Front of the CEB Ranjan Jayalal yesterday (May 26th) claimed the government was trying to pave the way for privatization through an Act of Parliament which would be tabled in the House on June 6th. more..

23 Lankan Tamil refugees rescued

May 26 (PTI) Naval personnel rescued 23 Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees, including eight women and seven children, stranded on the third and fourth sanddunes in the sea near Dhanushkodi, and brought them here on Monday, officals said. The refugees, belonging to eight families,had paid Rs.8,000 per head as ferry charges and were from Mannar and Vavuniya. Officials said the refugees were stranded for 17 hours on more..

Healing service ends in tragedy

May 26 (LD) Negombo police have launched an investigation into the death of a 21 year old youth who was given a dose of water from 13 king coconuts mixed with milk as treatment for diabetes by a priest who claims he is able to cure people by the power of prayer. The youth who died is a resident of Kimbulapitiya and the son of a fireworks factory owner. The father of the victim had complained to police that his son had died after falling unconscious inside a church in the area, after more..

3,000 fall sick due to unidentified fever in Manampitiya

May 26 (LD) An outbreak of an unidentified fever in Manampitiya has left between 2,500 and 3,000 people sick in the past one-and-a-half months. Of them, around 500 patients in serious condition had to be given in-house treatment, Chief Medical Officer of the Manampitiya Hospital Dr. M.M.R. Jayasinghe said. According to him, the symptoms of this ailment are similar to chikungunya and leptospyrosis, commonly known as rat fever. more..

Health Minister unanimously elected Chairperson of WHO

May 26 (GDI) Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition Nimal Siripala de Silva has been unanimously appointed the Chairperson of the World Health Organization (WHO) by its 193 strong member body, a spokesperson for the Ministry told Minister De Silva has earlier held positions of Committee Member and Vice Chairperson from 1988-2000, and Executive Member, South Asian Region, in 2005. more..

Senior U.S. official commend recent efforts by the Govt. to address HR

May 26 (GDI) U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Erica Barks-Ruggles visiting Colombo from May 22-24 as part of the U.S. Government's regular, ongoing consultations with the Sri Lankan Government, commended recent efforts by Sri Lanka to address some concerns of the U.S. and others on human rights. Ms. Barks-Ruggles held a meeting with government officials, law enforcement authorities and civil society leaders in the country and more..

Jaffna 'Reawakening Carnival' attracts large crowds despite LTTE boycott call

May 26 (GDI) Large crowds thronged to the Duraiappa Stadium in Jaffna over the last three days for the "Jaffna-reawakening" carnival, despite a call by the LTTE to boycott the event. The LTTE's clandestine radio station is reported to have aired repeated calls to boycott the event, but more than 100,000 people have turned a deaf ear on these pleas and attended the carnival, it is reported. more..

Moves to promote greater vigilance in public transport

May 26 (GDI) The National Transport Commission (NTC) in conjunction with the Police call for enhanced vigilance by all bus crew at the launching of a special awareness programme for both Private and Government transport sectors. This call comes in the context of the ever increasing threat posed to public transport from terrorist attacks. Two such tragedies were averted on Saturday (24) thanks to the vigilance of civilians and bus crews. more..

Ageing Sapugaskanda refinery contributes to Lanka's misery

May 26 (LNP) The Ceylon Petroleum Common Service Union yesterday revealed that severe limitations at Sri Lanka's only refinery at Sapugaskanda had contributed to the rapid deterioration of the petroleum sector. Union spokesman D. J. Rajakaruna said had previous governments upgraded the facility the country would have been in a better position to meet the unprecedented increase in the price of crude oil. cent. more..

Drowning in oil

May 26 (LNP) It never rains but it pours. There doesn t seem to be an end in sight to the woes of the public. They have received another solar plexus punch. Diesel, petrol and kerosene prices have shot up incredibly. This time around, the increase in diesel and petrol prices has been a whopping sum of thirty rupees each per litre. Kerosene price, too, has gone up by ten rupees per litre. more..

Thank God he's alive!

May 26 (LNP) Let us first whisper a prayer of thanksgiving that Keith Noyahr, the associate editor of The Nation newspaper, did not suffer the same fate as Richard de Zoysa and many others who are less remembered by a country that is notorious for its short memory. Whoever took Noyahr from outside his house and nearly killed him obviously wanted to deliver a message, loud and clear: don t mess around with our business doing so is at your own peril. more..

Dengue and Chikungunya rage on

May 26 (SAMN) Over 185 cases of Dengue has been reported this year in the Colombo city with 42 in Colombo East including Kirulapone, the Colombo Municipal Council Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said Sunday. He said legal notices have been issued on 114 mosquito breeding places in the city including residences and other establishments, including those owned by the private sector and the government. more..

Salary hike for private sector?

May 26 (SAMN) The government plans to grant a 15-25 per cent salary hike to the private sector following a discussion with the Wages Control Board officials, Labour relations and Manpower Minister Athauda Seneviratne said Sunday. The Minister had a discussion with the Wages Control Board officials on the instruction of president Mahinda Rajapaksa to increase the private sector salaries in the face of the soaring Cost of Living. more..

Tension grips Eravur

May 26 (SAMN) Tension gripped Eravur in the Batticaloa district Sunday, after the abduction of two more Muslims triggered tit-for-tat clashes between the communities that led to the total disruption of activities in the areas. However, the two Muslim youths abducted around 2 p.m. Sunday at Iyankerny, Eravur when they were returning home after work were released after a few hours. more..

Sand barriers in Chilaw lagoon to be removed

May 26 (DN) The Government in planning to form an aircraft fleet to conduct raids on unauthorised fishing trawlers in Sri Lanka's territorial waters, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Felix Perera, said. "There will be no room for unauthorised foreign vessels to enter Sri Lanka's territorial waters hereafter," Minister Perera stressed. Minister Perera was addressing a gathering after launching the Outer Suction Dredger for removal of sand barriers in the Chilaw lagoon delta and sea. more..

Bishop: Condemnation not enough

May 26 (SAMN) Welcoming the government’s criticism of the abduction and assault on Keith Noyahr, Associate Editor of The Nation, the Bishop of Colombo Rt. Rev. Duleep de Chickera said a mere condemnation was not enough. He said the attack on the Defence columnist was yet another deliberate and vicious attempt to intimidate the Media and must be condemned outright. more..

Census Dept. classifies GN divisions by poverty

May 26 (DN) The Government of Sri Lanka places strong emphasis on poverty alleviation as part of its overarching goal of national development. Internationally, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aim to reduce extreme poverty by half by 2015. In this worldwide concern to reduce poverty, the role of poverty statistics cannot be overemphasized. A major problem at present is to effectively reach the poor to address their right to access basic services. more..

Railways chief: Train and bus fares should be compatible

May 26 (Island) As the latest fuel price increase came into effect on Sunday, the Railways Department called for an immediate and substantial increase in train fares to offset massive losses which would have a detrimental impact on the national economy. Railways General Manager Dr. T. Lalithasiri Gunaruwan said the department had been running at a staggering loss even before the latest price increase. more..

Computers at Exam Dept not fit to handle GCE (A/L)

May 26 (Island) Commissioner General of Examinations Anura Edirisinghe yesterday said the computer system at his department would have to be replaced before the next GCE (A/L) examination. It was outdated and could no longer be used to handle such a task, he said. "The current computer system was intalled 11 years ago," he said,"we have used the system for thousands of exams during a decade. But, more..

Brutal assault: Police struggle for clues

May 26 (DM) Police said yesterday they had still not found any clue relating to the abduction and brutal assault of the Nation’s Associate Editor, Keith Noyahr on Thursday. Police Media Spokesman, Ranjith Gunasekera said they had recorded a short statement from Mr. Noyahr on Saturday who is warded at the National Hospital, but a full statement would be recorded when the journalist was medically fit to give it. more..

Bharathi, MR’s Co-ordinator

May 26 (DM) TMVP Ampara political head, Bharathi, a controversial figure who was a close ally of Karuna Amman during the initial stages of the TMVP split, has been appointed as a coordinator for President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the district. The appointment documents were handed over at the Presidential Secretariat on Saturday evening by the Presidential Secretary, Lalith Weeratunga, Kumaraswamy Pushpakumar alias Bharathi told the Daily Mirror. more..

Central bank says inflation would be higher than target

May 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank said inflation would be higher than targeted in 2008, as the monetary authority found it difficult to counter pressures from rising commodity prices, especially oil. "In the circumstances there is a strong likelihood of the actual 2008 inflation being significantly higher than the previous estimates..," the Central Bank said in its May monetary policy review. more..

Air force bomb rebel point, ground fighting kill 22

May 26 (AP) Air force helicopters Monday bombed a Tamil Tiger rebel position in northern Sri Lanka, a day after ground clashes around the rebel stronghold killed 21 insurgents and a soldier, military said. A military statement said that the air force targeted a rebel point in Andankulam village of northern Mannar district to back up the infantry operations. It did not identify the rebel location nor release details of damages. more..

Business as Usual Despite Rights Record

May 26 (IPS) Is Sri Lanka's bloody ethnic conflict and dismal human rights record an issue for international corporations and multinationals doing business in the country? Business leaders and rights activists are divided on this. The economy, despite the conflict, is recording an average growth of over five percent per annum. Last year it was 6.2 percent, a figure which the World Bank commended last week. more..

Bomb on train in Dehiwala kills 7

May 26 (AP) A bomb ripped through a compartment of a packed passenger train during evening rush hour Monday, killing seven people and wounding 62 others near the Sri Lankan capital. Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara blamed Tamil separatists for the bombing. Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan did not respond to calls seeking comment, but the rebels routinely deny such attacks. Television footage showed the blast ripped off part of the train compartment's roof and windows were shattered. more..