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North Lanka would be liberated from LTTE soon: Rajapaksa

May 2 (PTI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said the LTTE domination in the northern part of the country would end soon and asked the people to vote for the government-backed alliance in the forthcoming Provincial Council elections in the eastern region. "The security forces are advancing step by step in the northern theatre too. Soon the people there too would be liberated," Rajapaksa said in his May Day rally on Thursday at Dehiattakandiya in Ampara district more..

Colombo port expansion project gets ADB green light

May 3 (LBO) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Friday it has reached agreement with the Sri Lankan government on a 300 million dollar loan to go ahead with a long-delayed project to expand Colombo port. Although the new south port project was approved by ADB early last year, changes in government bidding requirements for the operator of the first container terminal put the project on hold, an ADB statement said. more..

Sri Lankan tea prices ease, crops on the rise

May 3 (LBO) Sri Lankan tea prices have begun to decline with the end of the western quality season and increasing crops, brokers said. "The market is coming down because of high crops and because seasonal quality is over," said a broker. "Now the Colombo market is very attractive, almost in line with Mombasa." Brokers said the decline in prices was seasonal with more crops coming in at this time of the year. more..

Sri Lankan ship yards invests to upgrade facilities

May 3 (LBO) Colombo Dockyard, Sri Lanka's sole listed ship builder, said it plans to invest 473 million rupees this year to upgrade yard infrastructure to meet growing demand for ship building and repair work. The yard, a subsidiary of Japan's Onomichi Dockyard Co., which provides management. and technical expertise, anticipates it will be get more business with India's trade boom and expansion of its fleet as well as the growth of offshore oil exploration and drilling. more..

Govt. pressurizes independent media - Ranil

May 3 (LD) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe says the government is trying to prevent criticism against it by exerting pressure on the independent media by accusing them of treason and intimidating them with death threats. He was delivering an oration at the 15th death commemoration of Lalith Athulathmudali at the BMICH on April 28th. Mr. Wickremesinghe said, "Our law provides for freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. more..

Summary of Cabinet Decisions -- May 2, 2008

May 3 (GDI) Cabinet granted approval to a memorandum submitted by the Minister of Irrigation and Water Management, Chamal Rajapakse for the awarding of Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project contract to FARAB Co of Iran. The Uma Oya Multipurpose Project, one of the priority items in the water and power sectors in the Mahinda Chintanaya 10 Year Development Framework, is now at the stage of commencement. more..

Sri Lanka's Achievements magnificient - Prof.G.L.Peiris

May 3 (GDI) Addressing the Media this afternoon (2) in Colombo, Minister of Export Development and International Trade, Prof. G.L. Peiris stated that he was able to participate honourably at the Twelth Ministerial Meeting of the UNCTAD, held in Ghana recently primarily because of the role played by Dr.Gamini Corea in many of the proceedings connected with that UN organization. more..

Call to evaluate Sri Lanka's violent past

May 3 (UPI) This week brought the welcome news that a group within JVP, which refers to itself as the moderate wing of the party, has called for a self-evaluation by the party of its past, particularly its involvement in violence in the 1980s. At that period the JVP openly advocated the assassination of state officers, opponents of their party and dissidents within the party itself. This took place within a framework of severe repression unleashed by the authoritarian regime of J.R. Jayewardene. more..

Lanka a 'press freedom predator'

May 3 (BBC) Sri Lanka is among major “predators” of press freedom in the world, an international media watchdog said. Defence Secreatry Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran are among the major "predators" of press freedom, Paris based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said. “Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse often voices virulent attacks on the press, contributing to the appalling climate that prevails there,” the RSF statement said. more..

Authority for witness protection

May 3 (BBC) Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has expressed the view that the proposed Witness Protection Authority (WPA) be allowed to function as an independent body. Supreme Court Judge Shirani Thilakawardene made the observations as a new draft on establishing the WPA was taken for deliberations. The government in Sri Lanka has proposed to take measures to protect witnesses of human rights abuses that includes establishing a new Authority. more..

Break Wanni-Colombo logjam

May 3 (CC) Two developments in the Sri Lankan theatre need to make Delhi and other world capitals, particularly Washington and London, sit up and end the dichotomy that has characterised their reaction to and relations with Colombo. Firstly, senior Lanka Minister Jeyraj Fernandopulle, the only Roman Catholic in the Rajapakse government was assassinated on April 6, just outside Colombo. more..

Task Force 'powerful' than IC

May 3 (BBC) The Task Force appointed by Sri Lanka President for north is more powerful than an Interim Council, its chairman said. Social Affairs Minister and the head of the Task Force, Douglas Devananda, told BBC Sandeshaya that he was given ‘unlimited powers’ to develop the north. “My limit is sky and my sky is the president,” the minister said. The Task Force is comprised of Presidential Advisor and president’s brother, Basil Rajapaksa, and Resettlement Minister, Risath Badiurdeen. more..

Tamil community to honour murdered priest at memorial service tonight

May 3 (NZH) Auckland's Sri Lankan Tamil community is reeling from shock at news of the killing of Catholic priest Father M.X. Karunaratnam in their home country last week. This evening, the community will gather at Elim Church in Botany, where most funerals of the Mangatepopo Gorge drowning victims were held, for a memorial service in honour of the man fondly known to the community as Father Kili. more..

Guinness records holder to make Tamil film in 12 days

May 3 (IANS) With 53 Guinness world records already under his belt, Toronto-based Suresh Joachim has now set his sights on Bollywood. Next month, he will land in India to create yet another record - making a full-length film in just 12 days. 'Yes, a two-hour film in 12 days because the current Guinness record is held by 'The Fastest Forward', which was made by Russ Malkin and John Gore in just 13 days in 1990," Joachim, the second highest Guinness record holder, told IANS. more..

LTTE-held town in our hands: Army

May 3 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan military on Friday claimed to have “gained total control” over the LTTE-administered Karukkakulama town area, located North West of Parappakandal in Mannar. The Defence Ministry said troops advanced into the town after “concentrated armour and artillery shell attacks at LTTE”. “Army infantrymen made swift incursions into the LTTE strongpoint and captured 1.6km of land stretch.” more..

45 Sri Lankan fishermen arrested in Indian waters

May 3 (Hindu) Forty five fishermen of Sri Lanka, who came in fishing trawlers, were apprehended by Coast Guard for entering the Exclusive Economic Zone of Indian waters. Commandant K. Janardhanan, Commanding Officer, Coast Guard Station, Mandapam, told The Hindu that a Coast Guard ship on routine offshore patrol found a flotilla of trawlers moving 116 nautical miles off Chennai on April 27. more..

What should a genuine peace secretariat do? A reply to the Peace secretariat

May 3 (AHRC) The following is a reply to the statement by Rajiva Wijesinha of the Peace Secretariat entitled ‘Crudities from the Asian Human Rights Commission.’ Not to be diverted from the issue let us reiterate that the discussion in our initial statement was regarding Justice P.N. Bagwati’s letter and the interpretation given to it by the peace chief. By now the matter is already settled as the group of eminent persons themselves more..

Young urban Catholics help set up youth group on battlefront

May 3 (UCAN) Padaviya village, a spread-out settlement in North Central Province, lies along the Sri Lankan Army's frontline with Tamil rebels. As such it does not appear an ideal place to call home, and for the dozen or so Catholic youths and their families who live here among 30,000 Buddhists, life can be doubly intimidating. Rukmal Ratnayake, 20, spoke of the difficulties faced by youth in this unstable area. more..

NPC: Universal values provide basis for dialogue

May 3 (FI) The human and economic costs of war are taking an ever increasing toll on Sri Lankan society. The battles at Muhamalai in the north in which several hundreds of combatants either died or were injured serves as a reminder of the costs of war and further costs that lie ahead. A deplorable feature has been remains the deliberate targeting of civilians. The bus bombing of a passenger bus in Piliyandala near Colombo so far from the scene of battle is more..

Women’s Asia Cup: Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 96 runs in opener

May 3 (DT) Opener Dedunu Silva scored 76 off 109 balls to take Sri Lanka to a convincing 96-run win over Pakistan in the opening match of the Women’s Asia Cup in Dambulla on Friday. Her half-century stands with Chamari Polgampola and Shashikala Siriwardene allowed Sri Lanka to set Pakistan a target of 226. In reply, Pakistan crawled to 129 for 8 in 50 overs. Silva hit 12 fours in her innings and more..

Sri Lanka to get toll highway to central hills

May 3 (LBO) The highway from the Sri Lankan capital Colombo to hill country town of Kandy will be developed into a toll expressway at a cost of 30 billion by a Malaysian contractor, a senior government official said Friday. "We have an offer from Malaysia, a consultancy firm, and they have prepared their proposal to build a road from Colombo to Ambepussa without any cost to the Sri Lankan Government," more..

Sri Lanka: On warpath into next year & beyond

May 3 (AN) Time is running out for the great South Asian boast. By the end of this year, according to a New Year prediction by Sri Lanka’s army chief, Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka, his guerrilla opponents — the Tamil Tigers — would be “extinct”. They and their demands for a homeland for the Tamil minority would vanish from the field, and after 25 years of war the island and its Sinhalese majority could enjoy peace again. more..

Human rights abuses in Sri Lanka flourish under veil of secrecy

May 3 (AI) Ensuring respect for human rights around the world very often relies on impartial and rigorous media coverage – without exposure and public scrutiny abuses can flourish under a veil of secrecy and denial. The importance of the media in conflict situations cannot be overstated, without reports, pictures and film of the fighting and the violence, no-one knows enough to put the pressure on the participants to ensure human rights are respected. more..

Jaffna; its un-enviable struggle to normalcy

May 3 (LG) A fact finding mission by the Centre for Policy Alternatives and INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre visited Jaffna from 18-21st February 2008 to meet with colleagues and partners in the peninsula and to obtain a firsthand impression of the situation there. The team spoke to local civil society actors, community leaders, IDPs, and members of international humanitarian agencies in Jaffna Town and outside. more..

‘There are no terrorists without victims!’

May 3 (LG) My Daughter the Terrorist is a film made by Norwegian director Beate Arnestad about two young women suicide bombers of the LTTE. Recently the film was screened at the Full Frame documentary film festival in Durham, North Carolina. TamilNet, the pro-LTTE website, heavily publicized the fact that the film was being screened at a prominent film festival in the US and they published an interview with director Arnestad. more..

Naming and Shaming

May 3 (LG) Naming and shaming is considered to be a-useful method available to the public to express their disapproval of public figures, business leaders and others in positions of power and authority who have failed to maintain reasonable standards of integrity. Sadly, naming and shaming does not work in Sri Lanka. Investigative journalists have risked their lives and livelihood over and over again in exposing hundreds of cases of corruption but more..

The “Independence” of the SLMC Since the NE PC Election

May 3 (LG) Muslim Congress contested in the NE PC elections immediately after their registration as a political party. Although Ashroff claimed that the Muslims had been made slaves to the Tamils by signing the Indo-Lanka Accord he made it a reality by contesting and officiating in the NE Provincial Council. Had the SLMC not contested in the NE Provincial council elections in 1987, the Indo-Lanka pact would have lost its credibility. more..

TELO in serious crisis

May 3 (LG) Serious internal conflict has developed within the pro-LTTE outfit Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO). Many senior members of TELO which is a registered political party in Sri Lanka are keeping away from the party activities due to serious discontents and are working against the party line with the independent Tamil democratic groups. According to reliable sources, ‘four important members of TELO and their supporters are keeping away because more..

Mind your language 'Sahodaraya' Nishantha when you talk of a Muslim National Politician

May 3 (MG) The JHU spokesperson Mr. NisanthanSri Warnasinghe has once again shown his mood of opportunitism talking about the Muslims and the SLMC to “Lanka dissent” [2008-04-29 7.30pm] an electronic web news publication which has demonstrated many times, as being critical of the HE. Mahinda Rajapaksa government. JHU spokesman Nishantha’s accusation that the SLMC is unleashing Muslim terrorism in East is nothing but baseless. more..

Hakeem says they won’t bow down to violence

May 3 (MG) SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem who is leading the UNP-SLMC campaign for the Provincial Council election in Trincomalee in a hard hitting speech said the alliance would not bow down to those who resorted to violence as a means of winning the election. Addressing a public rally on Thursday in Erathankandi, Mr. Hakeem said the alliance would respond to violence by democratic politics. “This is what the Sinhalese in the East expect from us,” he said. more..

Religious leaders gather to support religious Council

May 3 (MG) The inaugural conference of Inter-religious Council of Sri Lanka-Religions for Peace was held at the Governor's Auditorium in Kandy on April 28 and on April 30 in Trincomalee. The Conference in Kandy attracted the Mahanayakas of the Malwatte Chapter and Anunayakas from the Asgiriya Chapter along with Most Rev. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera, Kotugoda Dhammawasa Thera and many prelates from the area. more..

A genuinely Tri-lingual Sri Lanka would be amazing to behold

May 3 (AT) Dr. Chula Rajapakse, domiciled in New Zealand, reminiscing after a recent visit to Sri Lanka states "As a student at Royal College in the late fifties and early sixties I learnt Sinhalese, English, Sanskrit, Pali and Latin. The latter three have not been of any earthly use to me for nearly half a century there after. I often lament how much more meaningful it would have been for me to have been afforded the opportunity to learn Tamil. more..

Pillaiyan says participation of UNP after having discussions with them indicated polls were not rigged

May 3 (AT) Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) leader who is popularly kanown as Pillaiyan said that the very participation of the United national Party of the Opposition indicates that a fair poll will be held for the Provincial Council in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. “Before handing over the nomination papers a UNP leader had discussions with us,” Pillaiyan said. more..

Conspiracy to dismiss Army Commander – JVP

May 3 (LD) The JVP publication ‘Irida Lanka’ today (May 03rd) reveals that a secret conspiracy to cut short current SLA operations and dismiss the Army commander, Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka is underway. The news report titled as ‘Conspiracy to sack Army commander’, also says that an officer responsible for the defeat at Mulativu is also involved. The news report is as follows: more..

IIGEP’s David Savage held discussion with LTTE - Divaina

May 3 (LD) The ‘Divaina’ says that a member of the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) has held secret discussions with the LTTE. In today’s publication, Keerthi Warnakulasooriya’s news report titled as ‘IIGEP member holds discussions with LTTE’, is as follows: The government has received information that the IIGEP member, David Savage has held a secret discussion with LTTE representative from France and an ex-priest Emanuel in a restaurant in Geneva. more..

Printing of 20m textbooks halted

May 3 (LD) The ‘Ravaya’ publication of May 03rd reports that the process of printing over two million school text books are facing a standstill after the Education Ministry has failed to pay the printers. The news report titled ‘Printing of 20m textbooks halted is as follows: The Vishwalekha Printers in Ratmalana were assigned to print 68 types of school text books for the year 2008. more..

Infant hurled from 6th floor of hospital

May 3 (LD) A shocking tragedy was reported from the Lady Ridgeway Hospital yesterday (May 02nd) where a 1 ½ month old baby warded at the hospital was thrown from the 6th floor, reports say. The baby had died after falling onto the balcony of the second floor, reports add. The baby’s mother has thrown the baby, after secretly taking it from the premature birth care unit, reports say. The mother has been arrested by the police on suspicion. more..

We are not forming a proletariat party – Nandana Gunatillake

May 3 (LD) Mentioning that the new party formed by the dissident JVP MPs and himself is not a party based on proletariats, MP Nandana Gunatillake added that it was not a carbon copy of the JVP. Speaking to ‘Lanka Dissent’, he said that the new political movement will however, follow the original strategies of the JVP, formed by Rohana Wijeweera. The party’s doors will be open to anyone who is patriotic and progressive regardless of class, opening up opportunity for open dialogue, MP Gunatillake added. more..

Retd. Maj. Gen. Janaka Perera replies

May 3 (LG) I wish to respond to a special circular issued by the Army Head quarters to all military camps and bases country wide instructing them not to allow me and Col.Jayavi Fernando (Retd) who is a much decorated soldier, to enter their premises and instructing army officers and other ranks not to have links with us and also instructing them to inform their families and those others not to support any of our activities, alleging that more..

Lanka worried over UN cover for LTTE assassins

May 3 (LNP) Security forces are investigating the possibility of the LTTE using cover of the United Nations and various other international organizations to facilitate its covert operations. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama Wednesday night expressed serious concern over the arrest of an armed UNDP worker at a joint army-police check point south of Vavuniya earlier in the day. The Minister said the issue would be raised with the relevant agencies. more..

JVP to oppose new APRC proposals

May 3 (SAMN) The JVP Friday insisted it would strongly oppose any All Party Representative Committee (APRC) proposals for a final solution to the ethnic conflict if the proposals were based on a mixture of Unitary and Federal models. JVP MP Vijitha Herath alleged that APRC chairman Tissa Vitarana and some others who went on a trip to Northern Ireland recently had subsequently decided on such a structure for a final solution. more..

More rights for disabled people

May 3 (SAMN) Sri Lanka Friday welcomed the entry into force of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPD). The Convention will have a legally binding effect from today. The instrument of ratification was deposited by Ecuador on April 3 which triggered the process of entry into force of this important international human rights instrument. Sri Lanka is a signatory to this Convention having signed the instrument in March 2007. more..

Milk to malnourished children in Wanni

May 3 (SAMN) The health ministry is to provide therapeutic milk to children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in hospitals in the Wanni through the UNICEF on the recommendation made by the Consultative Committee on Humanitarian Assistance (CCHA), subcommittee on health. “For all moderately malnourished children, the Regional Director of Health Services would provide children with Thriposha in clinics, under the supplementary feeding programme,” more..

SL highway development gone haywire

May 3 (SAMN) Sri Lanka spends Rs. 200 million on road development each month—the highest in the region—with the bulk of this spent on wages, leaving very little to be spent on materials and maintenance on machinery and vehicles the Secretary of the Ministry of Highways and Road Development said Friday. Secretary Sirisena Amarasekera said that the Road Development Authority (RDA) had 10,000 employees in its payroll, while the National Highways Authority (NHA) of India had about 700. more..

Ranil's anti-media statements condemned

May 3 (DN) Cabinet Spokesman Media and Information Anura Priyadarshana Yapa strongly condemned the recent criticism made by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe about the media and said as politicians they had no right to issue such statements about the media. Minister Yapa expressed his regret on the matter and said it has cast doubts on the Opposition Leader specially at a time when an election is being conducted in the Eastern Province. more..

Sacred relics to be displayed during Vesak

May 3 (DN) The relics of Arhats Sariputta and Moggallana Maha Theras will be kept for public display and veneration at the Kalutara Bodhi premises for the first time after 53 years to mark the Vesak Full Moon Day from May 19-20. Ven. Banagala Upatissa Nayaka Thera said these relics are for the first time taken out of Maligakanda Agrashravaka Maha Viharaya for Kalutara after they were received from India in 1955. more..

Ambulance driver relates tale of rescuing 13 civilians from LTTE

May 3 (DM) A heroic ambulance driver who fearlessly stayed back in Mutur while doctors and health officials fled the area recounts the story of how he rescued 13 civilians from LTTE clutches after his ambulance was ambushed and fired upon on August 2, 2006. The harsh sunlight danced on the dusty red crosses, adorning the sides of the beat-up ambulances as the two drivers, Upananda and Arjuna were trying carefully to manoeuvre their vehicles over a road strewn with sharp edged boulders. more..

UNP challenges selection of presiding officers

May 3 (DM) The main opposition UNP yesterday charged there was a plan to appoint handpicked officials from government ministries as senior presiding officers for polling stations in the East. UNP election monitoring unit head Themiya Hurrulle told Daily Mirror some 20 officials from various ministries were to be handpicked to serve as presiding officers for the May 10 Eastern Provincial elections. more..

‘Pilisaru’ to make Sri Lanka's garbage disappear by 2012

May 3 (Island) Garbage is a massive problem for households not only within city limits but outside. Previous governments could not resolve the problem. As a result, massive garbage dumps such as the Bloemendhal road eyesore, are causing several social, economic and health problems. However, the present government has taken a fresh and novel step to combat the problem and the 2008 budget has allocated approximately 5 billion rupees for garbage management. more..

Bunkers to protect school children

May 3 (Island) Following constant shelling by the LTTE on villages in Padaviya and Welioya, the authorities have started to construct bunkers in school premises in these two areas for children. Artillery and mortar attacks from LTTE held areas on government held villages is the latest phenomenon noticed in the North during the last three days, military sources said. The Army said it was helping school authorities to construct bunkers to safeguard school children from attacks during school hours. more..