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Warm Welcome for Minister Nimal Siripala

May 29 (GDI) Minister of Health Nimal Siripala de Silva on his return to the island after his appointment as the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday (28) was accorded a warm welcome by several senior Ministers. Minister de Silva claimed that the International Community has recognized Sri Lanka's role in the health sector and the country's exemplary dedication and hard work. more..

Expatriates back 'Eastern Development Drive'

May 29 (GDI) Donations worth Rs. 78 million bestowed by the Sri Lankan expatiate in supportive of the 'Eastern Development Drive' were handed over to the President by Minister Rohitha Bogollagama on Tuesday (27). The donations were collected by the Sri Lanka Missions and Honorary Consulates abroad. Donations received included Rs. 13 mn in cash and donations in-kind amounting to Rs. 65 mn. more..

Govt. jacks up taxes on petrol to Rs. 56.90

May 29 (LNP) The government has slapped a new tax on petrol imports as the country struggles to come to terms with the steep rise in fuel prices in the local market. The new tax has come into operation immediately after the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC) increased the prices of petrol and diesel to Rs. 157 and Rs. 110 respectively over the last weekend. more..

Heed that warning!

May 29 (LNP) This country never learns! Throughout history it has allowed its courtesy to be abused by foreign powers. The Portuguese, so goes a story, after landing here over five hundred years ago obtained the permission of the king at that time to acquire a block of land of the size of a cow s hide. Thereafter, they tore the hide into strips, tied them and demarcated an area sufficient for a fortress. more..

TMVP camp in Eravur to move

May 29 (SAMN) Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan agreed, Wednesday, to remove the TMVP camp in Pudukuduiruppu, a village in the border area between the Tamil and Muslim sectors in Eravur, as a measure towards restoring normalcy in the East.Mr. Chandrakanthan gave this assurance at a meeting with Muslim leaders, including UNP Eastern Provincial Councillor Dr. V. Ameerdeen and Minister Amir Ali in Eravur Wednesday. more..

US lauds Lanka' commitment to devolution

May 29 (SAMN) Acting Ambassador for United States James Moor said that the US Government commends the decision of the President and the APRC to pursue the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution as a first phase in the devolution of power in Sri Lanka. The Acting Ambassador said "Sri Lanka's minorities need to know that they can have a role in a united Sri Lanka where they can control many of their own affairs on a regional basis". more..

'Polls without 17th amendment futile'

May 29 (SAMN) To face another election without the implementation of the 17th Amendment is futile; SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem said Wednesday. He made these comments at the National Conference on Provincial Councils, organized by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), which saw the launch of a report entitled ‘Strengthening the Provincial Council System’, which was based on a series of workshops done by the organization in the provinces. more..

Project to cultivate herbs locally

May 29 (SAMN) Sri Lanka spends nearly Rs. 200 million to import 44 kinds of ayurvedic medicines from India every year. A recent survey conducted by the Indigenous Medicine Ministry has revealed that medicinal herbs required to prepare 37 kinds of these Ayurvedic medicines could be cultivated in the country. The target is to cultivate all kinds of medicinal plants in the country and to stop the import of ayurvedic medicines by the end of this year," more..

Sinister move to destabilise East -Keheliya

May 29 (DN) The Government's objective of offering a political solution and the restoration of democracy in the East has proved a success with the implementation of the 13th Amendment following the recent election held in the East despite certain political parties trying to create anarchy in the province. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said an attempt to implement the 13th Amendment towards a political solution failed 20 years ago due to the LTTE shadow over the then Provincial administration. more..

Lanka's Dilantha win twice in Shanghai

May 29 (DN) Sri Lanka's only international racing driver Dilantha Malagamuwa entered the history book on motor racing when he became the first driver to win the inaugural Aston Martin Asia Championship at the Shanghai F1 Circuit on Sunday. He went on to wing the first and the second in great style. This was first ever Aston Martin Asia Championship that came to the Asian region. His victory on Sunday brings great honour to Sri Lanka. more..

A gem of a discovery at H’tota port site

May 29 (Island) Engineers working on the Hambantota Port have stumbled on gem deposits. According to leading gem merchants, Hambantota was suspected of having gem deposits when blocks of land were sold to villagers about 20 years ago but that was far away from Mirijjavila, where the port construction work is underway. Gem mining experts, called for their views, have confirmed that valuable gems like more..

Legislation soon to protect Buddha Sasana

May 29 (Island) A draft Bill is to be presented in Parliament soon to protect the Buddha Sasana, Presidential Secretariat sources said yesterday. Legal advisor to the Ministry of Buddha Sasana, Presidents Counsel Manohara de Silva told The Island that the Buddha Sasana Act would make it compulsory for all Bhikkus, Sil Mathas, Vihares and Daham Pasals to be Registered. "It would be more of a code of ethics to streamline Buddhist education and the Sasana " more..

Weerawansa ordered to pay legal costs to Maj. Gen.

May 29 (DM) Jathika Nidahas Peramuna (JNP) leader Wimal Weerawansa was ordered to pay Rs. 15,000 in a case filed against him for allegedly defaming a retired Army Major General. Mr. Weerawansa was ordered to pay legal costs as he was not prepared for the trial which was scheduled for yesterday and had informed there was a change of lawyers. more..

Villagers fear to return despite assurances

May 29 (DM) Tamil families displaced due to the recent violence in Eravur are yet to return to their villages despite the assurances given by the police and local politicians after a curfew clamped down in the area was lifted yesterday. Currently, nearly 2000 persons have taken refuge at two welfare centres functioning at St. Joseph Church, Tannamunai and Mailamanveli School in the Eravur division. more..

LTTE attacks Navy detachment in Jaffna

May 29 (IANS) The Sri Lankan Army Thursday said that a pre-dawn attack by the Tamil Tiger rebels on a naval detachment in an islet in the northern Jaffna peninsula was repulsed by a joint army-navy counter operation. According to military spokesman, the Tamil Tigers came in a flotilla of eight small boats and mounted an attack on navy and army troops deployed at Chiraththivu islet, located between Kurunagar and Mandaitivu, more..

Top Sri Lanka official says freezing prices an economic crime

May 30 (LBO) A top official of a government body said freezing prices of government output was an 'economic crime' because the popular concept of 'government bearing the burden' had no factual basis. "Suppressing prices and freezing them is an economic crime," head of Sri Lanka Railways Lalithasiri Gunaruwan told reporters. "It is not raising prices that cause an economic crisis." more..

East Chief Minister in the process of taking over the administration of the East

May 30 (AT) The Chief Minister of the Eastern Province Sivanesathurai Chanthirakanthan has appointed secretaries and advisors to work closely with him to run the day to day affairs of the east provincial council. He said that the situation in the East has calmed down and normalcy is returning fast, though some political groups backed by the LTTE and other disgruntled elements who failed to achieve their objectives at the recent election are trying to disrupt normal life in the East. more..

An analysis of military operations

May 30 (LG) There should be no illusion that despite the flare of success in repelling a division strong security forces offensive at Muhamalai in April 2008, the LTTE is fighting a war of survival. The continuing ground and air operations of the security forces after Muhamalai debacle, and the progress they have made during this month in Mannar sector capturing Adampan and other outlying LTTE defences have further constricted the territory under active LTTE control in the Northern Province. more..

Rice from Myanmar to help offset high local prices

May 30 (IRIN) Sri Lanka expects a shipment of rice this week from cyclone-battered Myanmar will help offset the high retail price of the island's staple food. Some 8,000MT will be sold to consumers immediately through government-run stores, the Sri Lankan secretary of trade and consumer affairs, RMK Ratnayake, said. Ratnayake said the shipment was part of a 50,000MT consignment that Sri Lanka had ordered from Myanmar in March at US$400/MT. more..

Sri Lanka business chamber launches e-commerce portal

May 30 (LBO) The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said Thursday it had activated an electronic commerce web portal this week that would help Sri Lankan business to trade internationally. Trade Point Colombo, hosted by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, is the Local Gateway to the global Trade Point Network, it said. The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce was granted operational status as a fully operational trade point administrative centre and more..

Media minister contradicts MCNS chief

May 30 (LD) Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa says that state media personnel are free to join any association and express their views, political or otherwise. He was speaking at a press briefing at the Government Information Department today (May 29th). The Minister’s statement was in stark contrast to remarks by head of the Media Center for National Security Lakshman Hulugalle. more..

JHU calls for curb on Muslim extremism

May 30 (LD) Key government affiliate Jathika Hela Urumaya has called for immediate measures to curb Muslim extremism and to guarantee the safety of the pro-democratic Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim majority in the east. Secretary of the JHU Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera said in a statement today (May 29th) that the perpetrators of these extremist tactics should be given strong punishment. more..

Summary of the Cabinet decisions

May 30 (GDI) Cabinet approval was granted to a special memorandum submitted by President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Minister of Finance and Planning to prepare a complete report of the alternative measures that should be adopted for fuel management. The President has requested all ministers to put forward suggestions that could be practically implemented so that there ensues a reduction in the consumption of fuel and to look for new energy sources that Sri Lanka can go for. more..

Take to streets to protect media freedom, Ranil tells people

May 30 (LD) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has called for the protection of media freedom, describing it as an inalienable part of democracy. Media freedom has been seriously compromised in the country and journalists are in grave danger to their lives, he said at a function in Colombo today (May 29th) to remember his father, senior journalist Esmond Wickremesinghe. He noted that it was the prime responsibility of a government to safeguard democracy. more..

"Put Karuna on Trial" - AI

May 30 (BBC) Human rights group, Amnesty International (AI) say Sri Lankan government should investigate and prosecute Karuna for crimes committed by him against Sri Lankan citizens. Director General of the Amnesty International, Irene Khan in an interview with Sandesaya said it is an obligation by the Sri Lanka Government to investigate and prosecute Karuna if he returns back to the country. more..

Women protest war and CoL

May 30 (BBC) Women from across the country gathered in Colombo on Wednesday to protest the ever increasing cost of living and violence in the country. According to the protesters, nearly three decades of violence between the government and the LTTE have devastated the country making the poor poorer. "Our aim today is to ask both sides, the Government and the LTTE to look at the what has resulted from the war, and see that a solution cannot be found by killing one another. more..

Somawansa Amarasinghe visits Europe to reorganize JVP branches

May 30 (LT) JVP leader and Secretary for International Affairs Somawansa Amarasinghe will leave tonight on a visit to Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Britain to reorganize the JVP committees in those countries states an announcement released from the JVP. In addition to reorganizing the JVP committees in those countries he will meet Sri Lankans in those countries and will address several meetings of Sri Lankans’ organizations the party has announced. more..

Pakistan, Sri Lanka bilateral trade will be supplemented by FTA

May 30 (APP) The bilateral trade relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be supplemented under FTA between the two countries which have a great potential. It was stated by Muhammad Farooq Dadabhoy Vice President, Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in a meeting with the Sri-Lanka Trade Delegation at Federation House here, says FPCCI release on Thursday. more..

Lanka IOC year net turns to profit

May 30 (Reuters) Sri Lankan fuel retailer Lanka IOC on Thursday posted 2.34 billion rupee ($21.7 million) net profit for the financial year ended March 31, thanks to timely price rises. Lanka IOC, a unit of India's IOC, posted a 685.74 million rupee loss a year ago due to the company selling oil at less than the market price fixed by the government. "In calendar year 2007, the government of Sri Lanka has revised the price seven times. more..

'LTTE shells' killed six civilians' - police

May 30 (BBC) Artillery shells fired by the LTTE killed at least six civilians and injured another 20 in Jaffna, says Jaffna police. Police said during the fighting between the LTTE and the Security Forces early morning Thrusday artillery shells fell into the villages of Pasiur, Kolombuthurai and Gurunagar. Three houses were also destroyed, police added. A woman in Jaffna told Sandesaya that the villagers heard artillery firing overnight and felling the bombs in various places in Jaffna. more..

Interim Order against MOU

May 30 (BBC) Colombo District Court on Thursday issued a permanent interim order preventing the operations of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (Mahajana Wing). The enjoining order will be effective until the case is heard for a final judgement. The petition was filed by the former UNP MP Anura Bastian and Western Provincial Councillor Sunil Kumara Wijesinghe. more..

Minister of Science and Technology visits AIT

May 30 (AT) On 20 May, the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) welcomed Professor Tissa Witharana, Minister of Science and Technology, Government of Sri Lanka, who was accompanied by Professor J.B. Disanayaka, Ambassador Sri Lanka to Thailand and also an AIT trustee; and Professor Sirimali Fernando, Chairperson, National Science Foundation Sri Lanka. The visit of Minister Witharana to AIT was to explore possible collaboration between AIT and the Ministry of Science and Technology, Sri Lanka. more..

'500 post Tsunami houses not in Digavapiya'

May 30 (MG) "In 1994, an aggressive campaign to settle Muslims within the Deeghvapiya area was initiated by Mr. Ashraff and, accordingly, lands were distributed in a totally discriminatory manner among the Muslims and totally excluding Sinhalese and Tamils. They said that at present there were about 300 families settled under government patronage in an area now referred to and identified as “Ashraff Nagar”. more..

Jaffna: Retrospect and Prospect

May 30 (SLW) Most of what I reveal below has been lying concealed in my notes and diaries deposited in the Government Achieves. I have decided to focus on them out of my belief that they may throw some light as we grope through the darkness covering our arduous trek towards national reconciliation. Read between the lines with insight, they may perhaps point the way to peace and prosperity. I started my career in the then Ceylon Civil Service in 1957 as a Cadet in the Jaffna Kachcheri. more..

Anglo-Saxons, Abu Ghraib and Impunity

May 30 (PISL) Amidst the plethora of allegations launched against Sri Lanka recently with regard to Human Rights, clearly there are a few with regard to which some action is necessary. Whilst we can dismiss as ridiculous charges with regard to indiscriminate attacks on civilians in the course of military operations, or about complicity in the recruitment of child soldiers, it is clear that some questions remain as to abductions and extra-judicial killings. more..

Children Caught in the Conflict

May 30 (PISL) Children bear the deadliest effects of the conflict and carry its greatest burden. Why? The majority of the LTTE’scombatants are forcibly recruited children. The practice of child recruitment strongly characterizes the LTTE terrorism campaign from its inception in 1983, and perhaps even earlier than that in the latter part of the 1970s. Children recruited were and still are mostly Tamil boys and girls. more..

The story of Thambimuththus (SAMs)

May 30 (LG) Thambimuththu - Sam Thambimuththu was a Sri Lankan MP from the Batticaloa district. Like may other moderate Tamil Leaders he too fell victim to a Tamil Tiger assassin while on his way to the Canadian embassy at Gregory Place on the 19th June 1990. This is no biography of the late TULF parliamentarian, but his first name SAM, which in military acronym means Surface to Air Missile. more..

An Eye for an Eye, a Bomb for a Bomb

May 30 (GV) A bomb on a train in Dehiwela killed 9 civilians, including a pregnant woman. The Sri Lankan government blames the LTTE; they deny it. Three days earlier, a claymore attack on van deep in LTTE territory killed 16 civilians, including 5 children. The LTTE blames the Deep Penetration Unit of the Sri Lankan army; they deny it. In February, a bomb on a bus in Dambulla killed 20, while a bomb at the Colombo Fort railway station killed 12, more..

Decisive factor on winning or loosing fight against terrorism

May 30 (LR) The Sri Lankan nation has to decide on if we are going to fully defeat and eradicate terrorism from this emerald island or are we going to mere control terrorism and enter into another round of bargaining with terrorists. Now we have no doubt at all that our heroic military forces are well within the reach of defeating LTTE terrorists in their own den in Wanni jungle. more..

Quotes by Veluppillai Pirapakaran

May 30 (LG) 'Reflections of the Leader' is an important source for the research of Tamil patriotism in connection with the attempt among militant Ilattamils, i.e. Tamil speakers of the armed resistance on the island Ilam (= Sri Lanka), to achieve violently a state formation as protection and last refuge from the Lankan Government’s attacks. more..

SLMC dismayed over court order preventing permits for houses

May 30 (MG) SLMC and NUA Leader Ferial Ashroff expressed their dismay about the stay order issued by court restraining the authorities from granting permits or leasing any land or housing units from the controversial ‘Deeghavapiya’ Housing project in Ampara. Ferial Ashroff, the Minister of Housing & Construction, the 7th respondent of the petition and the wife Minister M.H.M. Ashroff, who initiated the project said that she will make a statement about this issue in two or three days. more..

Govt plans to construct another flyover in Nugegoda

May 30 (AT) Minister of Road Development T.B. Ekanayake says the construction of the flyover in Nugegoda will commence next month. The 300 meter bridge will contain four strips. It is the plan of the Ministry to conclude the construction work within 90 days. The British government is funding the project. Meanwhile the second phase of the Kelaniya flyover is now in progress. The construction work of the Panadura flyover is also to be completed within this year. more..

Education survives amid separatist war in Sri Lanka

May 30 (AT) This is an amazing story Asian Tribune laid its hand about the remarkable survival of education amid a separatist war going on in Sri Lanka between the government and the Tamil Tigers. Education has been the top priority of all Asians who are domiciled in the United States, and statistics clearly show how the children of Asian dissent match or most of the time surpass the Americans in the field of education and acquiring highly paid professional jobs in the U.S. entering the highest income bracket. more..

Teaching languages in schools

May 30 (AT) Teaching of Sinhalese language in Tamil Schools and Tamil in the Sinhala medium schools is a measure taken by the Ministry of Education to bridge communication gap that prevails for decade in the midst of students of Tamil and Sinhala ethnicity. After 1956, when the Official Language Act was introduced making Sinhala the official language of the country, the communication gap between the Tamil and the Sinhalese speaking people emerged and began to grow wider by leaps and bound. more..

UN Humanitarian Chief condemns targeting of civilians in attacks

May 30 (AT) United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes today condemned the continuing targeting of civilians in Sri Lanka. Since the beginning of the year, more than 200 civilian lives have been lost in bombings in Sri Lanka. Attacks have targeted mass transport facilities and busy public areas in both the immediate conflict areas and population centres. more..

Abducted child returned

May 30 (LG) The tears of joy were not only on the face of the family of Subasiraveen Ravindrakumar but also on a nation that was aghast at the abduction of the seven year old whose over 24 hour ordeal ended last evening after he was released near his house. However along with the joy one feels for the family there remains the fear in all of us if in fact our own children are ever safe at school. more..

Where have all the N.G.O's gone?

May 30 (LG) Sometime back, when an M.P. was killed, the Anti War Front headed by Dr. Kumar Rupasinghe (KR) brought the dead body to the Colombo Town hall premises, for display, apparently to enlighten the entire world about the 'barbaric killing'. Since then, thousands of innocent people have got killed, due to bomb explosions, details of which are too lengthy to be incorporated in a letter of this nature. more..

Poverty and development: The Sri Lankan dilemma

May 30 (LG) Sri Lanka has invested billions of rupees on social development and poverty alleviation. This investment has proved successful with respect to key indicators of social development such as low infant mortality, high life expectancy and high literacy rates for both men and women. Unfortunately, successive governments have not been able to achieve greater equity in development, and imbalances persist in rural areas, economically disadvantaged communities and among women and children. more..

Minister Bandula Gunawardena comes of age

May 30 (LG) President Mahinda Rajapakse has a large coterie of ministers to assist him in the governance of the country. No other country prides such an extended family of ministers or rather social acquaintances of the Head of State who enjoy ministerial and other privileges funded by the country’s exchequer. Not so long ago, fed up we were, we sent one of them to count crows on Crows’ Island and now we have come across another minister who has suddenly discovered that Sri Lanka is facing an economic crisis. more..

A move on Pooneryn? Assault from the sea?

May 30 (LG) Pooneryn defence complex until November 1993 overlooked the Jaffna/Kilaly lagoon and proved to be the nemesis for Tamil Tigers' free movement/logistics activities. It also proved to be a hindrance for Tamil Tiger radio traffic between Wanni mainland and the Jaffna peninsula which, barring the PALAY/KKS HSZ, was under complete control of the Tamil Tigers. This was the primary reason for Operation Thavalai (frog) to take place to overwhelm this isolated defence complex. more..