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Wickremesinghe amongst the Liberals

May 27 (PISL) Last week saw what might be termed the most significant transformation in political thought in recent years. Under the able guidance of Sagarica Delgoda, head of the Friedrich Naumann Stiftung in Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe declared himself an adherent of the particularly liberal doctrine of individual freedom. He did this at an International Conference in Berlin to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Friedrich Naumann Stiftung for Freedom, the foundation associated with the German Liberal Party. more..

Now a ballet explores the virtues of King Ravana

May 27 (EI) The land where Ravana is believed to have ruled 3000 years ago, will soon be witness to a ballet that portrays the demon king in a perspective different to the one depicted in Valmiki's Ramayana. "I wanted to find out whether Ravana was really a 'demon' and whether everything that we blindly believe in the Ramayana about him is true. This is what led me to trace this legend with a new perspective," more..

Sri Lanka to pay fuel subsidies to bus operators

May 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka is developing a scheme to pay fuel subsidies to bus operators that may cost the exchequer 7.0 billion rupees a year, officials said, after a steep rise in diesel pushed up fares. Private operators have raised fares by 27.2 percent but state-run firms which receive a subsidy are raising fares by only 17.0 percent. About 2.0 billion rupees of the money would go to the state-run bus system, transport minister Dullas Alahapperuma said. more..

Jaffna and Fredericksburg: Part Two

May 27 (LG) The repeated failed offensives on the Jaffna Front are perhaps the clearest proof that the Sri Lankan military requires a new path to victory. Sri Lanka requires a multi-phased change in strategy if the civil war plaguing the nation is to be won. Certainly this new strategy should be partially based on standard strategic issues such as the concentration of enemy weapons, troops, and fortifications. more..

CM admits TMVP abductions

May 27 (BBC) Newly appointed Chief Minister of the Eastern Province has admitted that members of his organisation are responsible for the recent kidnappings in Eravur. Speaking to BBC Tamil Service, Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan known as Pillayan admitted that the person accused of abducting two Muslims in Eravur is a member of the TMVP. "The person who was involved in the abduction has been handed over to police," more..

'Conspiracy' to remove Somawansha

May 27 (BBC) There is a conspiracy to remove Somawansha Amarasinghe as the leader of the JVP says the breakaway group of the JVP. Secretary General of National Freedom Front (NFF) Nadana Gunatilake said the conspirators are planning to oust the JVP leader in the National Conference of JVP on Tuesday. He accused a JVP group "supported by the UNP" of JVP trying to capture power in the JVP. more..

Mangala says we need a saner government

May 27 (LD) “Its not the world market prices alone that has pushed the people into this misery. It is the Rajapaksa style of ignorant governance that aggravates the situation. The war is being used not only to scare the people to accept it, but also to make a fast living, both in pushing big time deals and in establishing a nepotistic authoritarian rule.” Says Mangala Samaraweera MP and Leader of the SLFP(M) more..

May 27: D-day for JVP

May 27 (LG) The JVP's fifth national convention would be a politically decisive event for their dissident propaganda secretary Wimal Weerawansa, as the charges levelled against him by the party's Central Committee would for the first time be read out to the party membership. Amidst efforts by Weerawansa's newly formed National Freedom Front (NFF) to sabotage the JVP's convention scheduled for Tuesday (27), more..

Sri Lanka gets new flour mill from Dubai's Al Ghurair

May 27 (LBO) The commissioning of a 56 million dollar Serendib flour mill by Dubai's Al Ghurair group in Colombo port on Monday ended a milling monopoly held by Singapore's Prima group. CEO Sathak Abdul Kadar said wheat flour from his mill will be on the market on June 2 with prices similar to Prima but of fortified with folic acid and iron. The company said its mill gives consumers a choice of flour in the market, more..

MAS, UNESCO educate kids on sustainable development

May 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka's MAS Holdings, a big apparel exporter, has partnered with UNESCO Bangkok to educate school children on sustainable development, a company statement said. The MAS 'Eco Go Beyond' programme, started in May 2006, provides 11,260 Sri Lankan students theoretical and practical knowledge of sustainable development. According to MAS, students from 30 schools have been selected for the programme. more..

Labour minister threatens mandated wage hike

May 27 (LBO) Labour minister threatened to mandate a private sector wage hike the same day the island's monetary authority said it was trying to contain 'second round' effects on inflation. The minister of labour, Athauda Seneviratne told our sister site that the government had decided the private sector should raise wages by 15 percent to 25 percent. He said the decision will be given legal effect through the publication in next week's government gazette notification. more..

Video surveillance cameras in private buses

May 27 (AT) Installation ofo surveillance cameras in private buses to detect un-disciplinary activities and financial frauds has commenced. Two such cameras were installed in two private buses plying between Colombo and Badulla. The cameras record all visual and audio information from the start to the end of the journey. President of the Inter-provincial Bus Owners’ Association, Ranjith Amarasinghe in whose buses the cameras were installed said more..

Sri Lanka to help three-wheeler taxis convert to gas

May 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka's will give state assistance to convert petrol driven three-wheeler taxis to liquefied petroleum gas which can slash running costs by 40 percent and clear up pollution, officials said. Over the weekend Sri Lanka's petrol prices were raised by 23 percent to 157 rupees a litre amidst a global commodity bubble, driven by massive money printing by the Federal Reserve and other major central banks that drove oil to record highs. more..

Alleged assault of a student by Deniyaya police

May 27 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a Sub Inspector attached to Deniyaya Police Station allegedly tortured a young student in the process of interrogating him on suspicion of carrying out a robbery on 28 April 2008. As the boy denied the charge the police threatened and demanded money from his parents. Having received an order from the police station, Janaka Pradeep Kumara, 14-year-old student, went with his father and mother to more..

'False news reporting is a gave crime'

May 27 (MG) Armed Islamic jihadist elements are on the rise in the East and were behind the recent communal clashes in the province, military sources claim. The above news item published is FULL OF FALSE AND IMPROPER news reporting. News verification at the very highest level and the best of informed sources has revealed that there is NO TRUTH to this news item. It is only a fabrication and written in the imagination of the writer/journalist more..

Please leave us alone; a voice from Muslim community

May 27 (MG) Two Muslim killed and 15 injured in Katthankudy were by TMVP cadre’s gunshot when they returned home from Kattankudy to Kangayanodai in Arayampathi at around 11.30am on 22nd May. This is causing tension as Muslim people in the area believe that it was done by the Karuna faction. The root case for the gun shot was Two TMVP cadres (among them area leader Santhan) were shot down by un identified persons (suspected LTTE) at Kattankudy more..

This bloody brutality must be ended

May 27 (SLW) There is an ongoing deadly ethnic strife in Sri Lanka. It has lasted too long and there is absolutely no end in sight. This is all due to the two major ethnic communities being unable to resolve their differences and even ignoring the human rights factor or consideration as a vehicle to bring hostilities to halt. If fundamental rights are at issue why should such a bloody, bitter war persist because such rights are inalienable? No community ought be denied its fundamental rights. more..

Reversal in NY and our foreign policy challenges

May 27 (LG) The road to Geneva lay through New York. Sri Lanka’s unsuccessful attempt at the UN General Assembly in New York, despite a tireless effort by Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam and his team, to gain re-election to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in the face of a ferocious INGO campaign, has given rise to much commentary. more..

Loss after loss: Time for the Govt to mend itself

May 27 (LG) The rejection of Sri Lanka’s application to membership in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is a clear expression of the international concern over the human rights and humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka and a definitive call for appropriate and tangible steps to improve human rights in the island. It is also an acknowledgement of the miserable failure on the part of Sri Lanka to discharge its international obligations in relation to human rights and more..

Can human rights be protected without violating human rights?

May 27 (LG) No state engaged in fighting wars of terror can escape accusations of violations of human rights. This is a universal fact common to all nations engaged in combating terrorism. These accusations stretch from ”Bloody Sunday” in England to the combating of Sikhs in India, to mention only a couple. The degree of violations may vary from time to time, place to place and nation to nation. more..

Explaining the peace process in Britain and Ireland

May 27 (PISL) En route to and from Geneva to attend the Universal Periodic Review of Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Secretary-General of the Peace Secretariat took the opportunity to engage with individuals and institutions in Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, to explain recent progress in the peace process. Immediately following the election of Boris Johnson as the new Mayor of London, more..

PNM is stooge of no one -Weerawansa

May 27 (LD) The Patriotic National Movement is the instrument of no one, irrespective of its inception being supported by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, PNM Secretary Wimal Weerawansa says. Mr. Weerawansa, who is also leader of the National Freedom Front, told the media in Colombo today (May 27th), "Persons in the calibre of Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekara, who is an intellectual and recognized by society, are united under the PNM to become stooges of no one." more..

Reduce cabinet & state's use to face fuel crisis - Wimal

May 27 (LD) Chairman of the National Freedom Front Wimal Weerawansa wants the cabinet reduced to between 20 and 25 members and a considerable cut effected in fuel consumed by the state sector as solutions to the prevailing fuel crisis in the country. Speaking to the media in Colombo yesterday (May 26th), he also said the state policy on vehicle importation needed to be reconsidered. more..

SC stays Digawapi tsunami housing project

May 27 (LD) The Supreme Court yesterday issued an injunction, restraining respondents from granting permits or leasing land or housing units from a tsunami housing located near Digawapi sacred area at Norochcholai. A bench comprising Justices Shirani Bandaranayake, Nimal Gamini Amaratunga and K. Sri Pavan granted interim relief until June 11th. The SC granted leave to proceed with the petition that cites alleged infringement of the fundamental rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion as well as more..

Hakeem accuses police over attacks against SLMC

May 27 (LD) Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauff Hakeem has accused the police of paying no attention to complaints of persistent violence against party supporters following the Eastern Provincial Council polls. Speaking to the media yesterday (May 26th), Mr. Hakeem said legal action would be initiated if the police continued to act partially and disregard attacks against the SLMC. more..

New laws to prevent crime using mobile phones

May 27 (LD) The government is planning to introduce new regulations to strictly control the issuance of mobile phone connections, Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickremanayake says. The decision was taken as it is believed that mobile phones had been used in recent terrorist attacks and other forms of crime, he said. The Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement that the decision was taken at a discussion yesterday with heads of state intelligence organizations in Colombo. more..

JVP to elect central committee members

May 27 (LD) The JVP is presently having members elected to its executive committee, after a ceremony to open the fifth national convention of the party at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium in Colombo. More than 5,000 party members and invitees attended the morning's inauguration. Anura Kumara Dissanayake delivered the welcome speech, after which the party's secretary Tilvyn Silva and leader Somawansa Amarasinghe addressed the gathering. more..

'I will not stop till terrorism is defeated'

May 27 (GDI) "I will not stop till terrorism is defeated," said President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Sri Lankan media commenting on the bomb blast by the LTTE on a train at Dehiwela yesterday (26). The President said: "My Government and I are committed to defeating terrorism. No one should have expectations that there will be a let up in the battle against terrorism because of the frenzied attacks by the LTTE. I will leave no room for terrorism in this country." more..

People's Bank continues to show strong performance

May 27 (GDI) People's Bank continued to record a strong performance for the sixth successive year, it's contribution to the Government of Sri Lanka in the form of taxes and levies having increased by 48% to reach Rs.6.2 billion compared to Rs 4.2 billion in 2006. The Bank's capital funds now amount to Rs13.2 billion up from Rs 10.3 billion in 2006. Total deposits have reached Rs 301 bn while total assets reached Rs 381 showing a growth of 11%, more..

Pluralism and inclusiveness were not 'new' for Buddhism - Ambassador Nakandala

May 27 (GDI) "The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Kathmandu has embarked on a unique initiative to seek alternative avenues to rediscover the common heritage of pluralism in South Asia," said the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the Nepali Court, Sumith Nakandala while welcoming the academic gathering that participated at the Nepal-Sri Lanka Cultural, Social and Economic Forum (NSCSEF) on May 25. more..

Dehiwela Disaster

May 27 (LNP) At least nine people were killed and more than 70 injured when a bomb exploded inside a packed Panadura-bound train at the Dehiwela railway station last evening. Among the victims returning home after work were six females, including a pregnant woman and three males. The explosion took place minutes after the train that started from Colombo Fort had just moved a few yards from the Dehiwela railway station. more..

UNP to protest against fuel price hike

May 27 (LNP) The UNP yesterday said it would hold a series of propaganda rallies across the country to protest against the increase in fuel prices. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told The Island that the people were reeling under the unbearable cost of living but some opposition parties, including the JVP, were maintaining silence. The JVP was a partner of the UPFA during the Presidential election campaign and as a result was responsible for more..

Pillaiyan, Hisbullah and communal boobytraps

May 27 (LNP) Tension has dissipated and the Eastern Province is limping back to normal. However, much needs to be done, if a repetition of the unfortunate events that led to the recent eruption of violence which cost a few lives is to be avoided. A hartal was on in Eravur against the disappearance of two Muslim civilians at the time of going to press and all political and religious leaders must make an urgent intervention to prevent it from getting out of hand. more..

‘Saradiel, Mahathala Hatana’ win award

May 27 (SAMN) Two popular teledramas sponsored by Sri Lanka’s pioneer herbal based personal care manufacturer Swadeshi have won accolades for ITN, in the form of a special Merit Award at the Raigam Tele Awards. ‘Utuvan Kande Saradiel’, the epic teledrama about the daring folk hero of the 19th century and ‘Mahathala Hatana’, a teleseries focusing on the Matale uprising against the repressive rule of the British are the two teledramas that brought honour to ITN. more..

Trishaws, school vans jack up charges

May 27 (SAMN) The fuel price increases effective from earlier this week had badly hit lower and middle income families. To make matters worse three wheelers and school vans too have increased their fares substantially, most of residents in Colombo and the outskirts said. Frank Nissanka, a very senior three wheel driver in Maligawatte, said that he was forced to increase the charges between rupees 20 and 100, depending on the distance. more..

NFF offer to help tackle fuel crisis

May 27 (SAMN) The newly formed National Freedom Front Monday offered the government a four-point programme to face and arrest the growing oil crisis. "The oil crisis is not something unique to Sri Lanka, but a phenomenon common to the entire world. The difference is that our government just keeps increasing the price of fuel while other nations think and enact sensible programmes to arrest the growing crisis. more..

Southern Catholic Bishops to meet LTTE

May 27 (SAMN) Several Catholic Bishops from the south are scheduled to leave for Kilinochchi shortly to take up the issue of declaring the precincts of the Madhu shrine as a war-free zone with the LTTE leadership. The issue arose after the statue was shifted to Tenwanpiddy in Kilinochchi. The Bishops are expected to request the LTTE to respond positively to a proposal made by the Bishop of Mannar Rev. Rayappu Joseph that the Madhu Shrine and its precints be treated as a war-free zone. more..

'Democracy in Jaffna Govt's aim'

May 27 (DN) The Government's aim is to bring democracy and permanent peace to the people of Jaffna fed up with LTTE terrorism, Social Services and Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda said. "The people in Jaffna are tired of LTTE terrorism since they have faced and experienced Tiger brutality for a long period," Minister Devananda told the Daily News. Devananda was in Jaffna to participate in the `Re-awakening Jaffna' programme (Yali Pubudamu Yapanaya) at the Alfred Duraiappa Stadium. more..

SAARC Village coming up in Nawalapitiya

May 27 (DN) A Model village with 100 houses is being constructed at Mahawilawatta estate, Ulapane, Nawalapitiya to mark the 15th SAARC Summit to be held in Sri Lanka this year. The National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) will construct the SAARC village under the guidance of Housing and Common Amenities Minister Ferial Ashraff on Power and Energy Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage's request. more..

CEPA will turn SL into next Indian province - NFF

May 27 (Island) Leader of the National Freedom Front Wimal Weerawansa addresses the press conference. He is flanked by NFF leaders from left: MP Jayantha Samaraweera, General Secretary of the NFF, MP Nandana Gunatilake, Cultural Affairs Secretary of NFF Senarath Silva. The National Freedom Front yesterday at its first ever press conference fired the first salvo against the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and Sri Lanka. more..

A passage to Sri Lanka – in 1818

May 27 (HM) A WOMAN'S memoirs of her days as a passenger on an historic ship will be on display in an exhibition. The original diary of a widow who sailed as a passenger with her two young children from Sri Lanka back to Britain on board HMS Trincomalee in 1818 will go on show at Hartlepool's Maritime Experience. The diary of Eliza Bunt has been researched by Mary Hope Monnery, a distant relative of Eliza Bunt, and transcribed and explained separately in a fascinating book. more..

'Decisions taken for political advantages can result, in many misfortunes'

May 27 (Island) Hasty decisions taken to achieve temporary political advantages in the Eastern Province can bring in many misfortunes for the Tamil and Muslim populations. Mindful of this situation the minority Tamil organizations and the Muslim political leadership will have to meet and discuss matters on a priority basis, said Leader of the Up country People's Front and Minister of Community Development and Social Inequity Eradication, P. Chandiresekaran more..

Dehiwela blast: Recalling the horror…

May 27 (DM) Railways General Manager Lalithasiri Gunaruwan who visited the scene of the blast at the Dehiwela railway station yesterday said despite security arrangements being beefed up by the military or the police the general public had to be extra vigilant about their surroundings. Mr. Gunaruwan said although security checks were being carried out by the security forces and the police at railway stations a 100% security guarantee was impossible. more..

Trial by media – wither journalistic ethics

May 27 (AT) Trial by media seems to have become the rule rather than the exception in Sri Lankan journalism these days. There is no question that the press in a democratic society has the right to criticize governments, individuals or organizations on political, social or economic issues or terrorist-related activities. But do the media have the right to make one-sided, unsubstantiated charges of corruption, embezzlement or sexual misconduct against a clearly identified individual, giving that person no chance to defend himself? more..

Kudos to US Ambassador; Rotten Tomatoes to Bruce Fein

May 27 (AT) I was happy to read that yesterday the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, the Robert Blake, has asked the leader of the LTTE, Velupillai Prabhakaran, to give up his demand for a separate Tamil state. He said he thinks that “95% of them (Tamils) support a solution within the framework of a united Sri Lanka.” Mr. Blake said giving up the idea of a separate state would give Prabhakaran "lots of credibility to respond to lots of skepticism here in the South (Sri Lanka) that the LTTE would never negotiate with the government." more..

Rajapaksa assures full security for SAARC summit

May 27 (PTI) In the backdrop of the spurt in attacks by the LTTE, Sri Lanka has said it will take all necessary security measures during the SAARC summit here from July 27 that is scheduled to be attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The assurance was given to SAARC Secretary General Sheel Kanta Sarma who called on Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday evening. more..

Muslims in Sri Lanka’s east protest abductions

May 27 (KT) Tension prevailed for the third day in Sri Lanka’s east after four Muslims were abducted allegedly by members of the paramilitary-cum-political group TMVP or the Tamil People’s Liberation Tigers. Police said two of the abductees were released but the Muslims in Eravur, an eastern town in the Batticaloa district, said two more had been abducted while in the nearby Akkaraipattu, a Muslim was shot at by a motorcycle gunman. more..

Bandula praises UNP’s monthly fuel price revision

May 27 (DM) A global oil pricing formula involving the revision of prices from month to month would have lessened the impact of the fuel price hike Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardane said yesterday. Maintaining the global oil pricing formula introduced during the time of the former government would have lessened the impact of the oil and food crisis on Sri Lankans, Minister Gunawardane said. more..

Sri Lanka to raise minimum wage

May 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka employers grouping, unions and the government are in discussions to raise minimum wages in the country, an official said Tuesday. Deputy director general of the Employers' Federation of Ceylon Kanishka Weerasinghe said discussions have started with the department of labour and other stakeholders for around three dozen types of trades. "A proposed increased in wages will be in respect minimum wages," Seneviratne said. more..

Sri Lanka may double rail fares: officials

May 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka railways will almost double rail fares to reduce losses and its dependence on government handouts as fuel prices continue to move up, officials said. From Monday fares of privately owned buses were raised by 27.2 percent and state-run buses by 17.0 percent. Rail fares were last raised in 2005, but bus fares have been raised a number of times in between. The railways were now charging 50 cents per passenger kilometre compared to almost one rupee for buses. more..