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Sri Lanka media watchdog slams govt, Tamil Tigers

May 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Free Media Movement (FMM) has said media freedom in the island remains under threat by both parties to the internal conflict, the government and the Tamil Tigers. In a World Press freedom day statement, the media watchdog urged an immediately halt to all threats, harassment, abductions and attacks against media practitioners and outlets currently being perpetrated by all parties to the conflict. more..

100-strong delegation from Sri Lanka to participate at Arabian Travel Market

May 3 (AME) Heading a team of over 100 travel trade professionals including public and private sector officials, HE Mustafa will be meeting key officials from the regions travel trade industry to underline Sri Lanka's potential as a tourist destination; address a press conference to announce new promotions, as well as new routes to the island nation; chair a strategic meeting of key stakeholders involved in the promotion of the destination worldwide; more..

14 die in new Sri Lanka fighting

May 3 (AP) Scattered gunbattles and a roadside bomb blast in Sri Lanka's embattled north killed 11 Tamil Tiger rebels and three government soldiers, the military said Saturday. Sporadic fighting in northern Mannar district killed 10 rebels and two soldiers Friday. Fifteen insurgents and four troops were also wounded, said a defense ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of government regulations. more..

Pakistan to export 10,000 tonne cement to Lanka

May 3 (BS) Rising cement demand from India and China and high construction activity in Sri Lanka have led to a rise in cement prices in the island nation, as a result the country is planning to import 10,000 metric tonne of cement from Pakistan to meet its requirements. An agreement has been signed with a company in Pakistan to import 10,000 metric tonne of cement to the island country. more..

Envoy urges Malaysians to explore Sri Lanka for infrastructure projects

May 3 (Bernama) With Sri Lanka hungry for foreign investments to fix its economy, Malaysian investors could well take advantage of the booming infrastructure sector and focus their investments to the island, says Malaysian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Rosli Ismail. He said several Malaysian companies had made successful foray into the country and the time was ripe for more investors to enter the South Asian market. more..

Sri Lanka sets up political council for war-torn North

May 3 (NIP) In a significant concession to the ethnic minorities, the government on Friday set up a multi-party political council to advice on the administration of development and rehabilitation projects in the war-torn Northern Province, which includes Jaffna and the districts under the control of the Tamil Tiger rebels. The high-powered three-man council, called the Special Task Force (STF), would be headed by the cabinet minister for social services, Douglas Devananda. more..

Peace in Northern Ireland - Lessons for Sri Lanka?

May 4 (GV) There appears to be renewed interest in Northern Ireland (NI) and the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) within policy circles here. The GFA is certainly unique because it fundamentally reconstituted the state and politics in NI. Republican and unionists expectations on a number of issues were diametrically opposed to each other, but major concessions were made on both sides in order to reach agreement. more..

Mithali steers India to 29-run win over Lanka

May 4 (PTI) Skipper Mithali Raj played a captain's knock by smashing a superb 54 to steer India to a 29-run win against Sri Lanka in the Women's Cricket Asia Tournament in Dambulla on Saturday. Mithali's 63-ball knock, aided by nine boundaries, and a valuable contribution by Priyanka Roy (44) helped India post 227 for 8 in 50 overs after electing to bat. In reply, Sri Lankan eves, who looked in good touch as they reached 132-3 in 37 overs, could not finish the job for their team and more..

Tigers engage in positional warfare, guerrilla attacks and terrorism

May 4 (TC) The Chimera in Greek mythology was a fire - breathing monster with a lion’s head,goat’s body and a serpent’s tail. According to the mythical tale, the hero Bellerophon killed it with the help of the winged horse Pegasus. Nowadays the word chimera is used at times when referring to a thing of hybrid character. Chimerical is the adjective derived from the noun chimera. more..

Remarks by Mano Ganesan MP Bogowantalawa May day rally

May 4 (FI) Today the plantation workers vote and elect their own representatives. Beginning from the bottom, there are hundreds of local and provincial councilors. There are ten parliamentarians of recent Indian descent. Except me, nine are ministers. Therefore the under development of the plantation community is cannot be because of any inadequate political representation. The prime fault is not in the political system but in those persons, who have been elected from the plantations over and over again, more..

Report on fact finding visit to Jaffna - February 2008

May 4 (FI) A team from 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..

‘India should restrict itself on Sri Lanka’

May 4 (LG) Janata Party has said that India should not play any direct role in Sri Lankan affairs till the Island Government hand over LTTE leaders wanted in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case to New Delhi. ‘If at all India had to intervene in Sri Lankan affairs, the island government must capture LTTE leader V Prabakaran and its intelligence chief Pottu Amman to face trial in the Rajiv Gandhi Assassination case,’ party president Subramanian Swamy told more..

No Priyanka-Nalini meeting took place: Vellore women Jail official

May 4 (LG) Controversy broke out over Priyanka Gandhi's reported meeting with Nalini Murugan, who is serving a life-term for her role in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi at the Vellore prison, with the jail Superintendent saying that no such meeting took place. The denial came by way of superintendent Rajasoundari's written reply to city lawyer D Rajkumar's query under the Right To Information Act (RTI) seeking details of the meeting. more..

JVP MP Chandrashekar flatly denies any link with LTTE

May 4 (AT) Ramalingam Chandrashekar, JVP National list Member of Parliament and the Deputy Chairman of Committees, told the Asian Tribune that the "JVP flatly deny any association with one Kumar Gunaratnam, the alleged mysterious underworld figure from Australia running the JVP." He denied that Gunaratnam forged secret links between the JVP and LTTE. He added that this was well woven disinformation campaign against the JVP. more..

Swedish Citizens Abhor LTTE Terrorism Depicted at Multi-Ethnic Demonstration

May 4 (AT) A Multi-Ethnic demonstration against the brutal terrorist activities of LTTE in Sri Lanka was held at Stora Torget, Uppsala on Saturday 3rd May 2008. This demonstration took place near the Uppsala University. The demonstration was a public protest by the Sri Lankans living in Sweden to express their growing discontent with the LTTE extortion, which claims to be for improving the living standards of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka. more..

Folly in the East

May 4 (AT) The first ever election to the Eastern Provincial Council will be held in less than a week. Given the demographics and the political balance, a clear winner with a workable majority is unlikely to emerge, if the election is free and fair. Still, whatever the outcome of the election, the campaign must not result in a further deterioration of inter-ethnic relations in this fractious district; it must not cause greater erosion in minority confidence in the Lankan state; more..

State assets mobilized in Govt. election campaign

May 4 (LB) The security forces and other state assets have been mobilized in the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance election campaign in the eastern provincial council election. The police elections secretariat had received complaints that 5,000 home guards have been mobilized to support UPFA candidates. However, some home guards have reportedly declined to carry out the UPFA election campaign. more..

A friendly President

May 4 (LB) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Sri Lanka on Monday evening to be greeted warmly by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Katunayaka. Rajapaksa escorted his Iranian counterpart in his own car to the Janadhipathi Mandeeraya. The translator travelled in the vehicle and the two Presidents exchanged cordial discussion thru him. Around two hours before he arrived, most parts of Sri Lanka experienced a power failure. more..

'We don’t know who shelled the shrine'

May 4 (LB) Mannar Bishop Reverend Dr. Rayappu Joseph denies claims that the Madhu church had been handed over to the clergy. “Not yet,” he says. He appeals to the security forces to vacate the church environs and requests the government to declare areas surrounding the holy shrine a zone of peace. He spoke to LAKBIMAnEWS staffer Ranga Jayasuriya about the aftermath of the military capture of Madhu. more..

State-owned regional radio for UPFA election campaign

May 4 (LB) The eastern province is set to go the polls on Saturday amidst recurring allegations that the ruling UPFA is misusing power and public property during the campaign. Election observers have already warned of potential vote rigging and electoral violence. Postal voting ended on Thursday. SLMC Secretary General Hassen Ali said that the state-owned regional Tamil language radio station in the east ‘Uthayam FM’ was being used for the UPFA election campaign. more..

BoC dumps a billion rupees on ailing Mihin

May 4 (SL) Astounding evidence has surfaced, implicating several high ranking officials at the Bank of Ceylon (BoC) in what can only be described as a scam to keep the desperately bankruptcy-bordering Mihin Lanka afloat. Documents in the possession of The Sunday Leader prove not only that the bank kept doling out money by the hundreds of millions to what is effectively an asset-less shell company, but also that moves were made at the highest level by the bank to more..

Stage set for no holds barred battle in the east

May 4 (SL) For a government that has showcased the east both locally and internationally as its prime trophy in two and a half years of putting the country through a deadly war and economic ruin, the up coming eastern polls is crucial. Having pegged the east as an indicator of his political success and the May 10 hustings as a barometer of his government's democratic intent, President Mahinda Rajapakse has placed all his eggs in the Pillayan basket. more..

Cash strapped, CPC turns to the robber barons

May 4 (SL) US$500 million, it would seem, is the magic number for breeding controversy in the Rajapakse government. Newspaper reports in January 2008 confirmed that the CPC has negotiated a supplier's credit of US$ 500 million of diesel which invariably requires a GoSL guarantee from dubious international oil giant - Trafigura. This credit line for purchasing diesel fuel coincides with the rejection by cabinet of another funding offer, more..

Fall, rise, and fall of the JVP

May 4 (SL) While the two factions of the JVP toil away to point the blame for the party's split on either the government or the UNP, the opinion of the party's grassroots supporters appears to be that it was the duplicitous nature of their own leaders that brought about the once impregnable party's downfall. Since Rohana Wijeweera and most members of his central committee were captured and executed following the discovery of Wijeweera's luxury Ulapane hiding spot in November 1989, more..

S.B. Dissanayake to parliament on National List?

May 4 (LD) The United National Party is considering the possibility of bringing its National Organizer of S.B. Dissanayake to Parliament as an appointed MP, several weekend newspapers reported. These reports indicated that several party seniors have called for Mr. Dissanayake's appointment to fill the vacancy created following the resignation of UNP parliamentarian Basheer Segudawood to contest the East PC polls. more..

CJ dares international court

May 4 (LD) Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva has reportedly declared that he was neither afraid of nor prepared to act according to the whims of the international law. The CJ made the remark in open court when he took up a fundamental rights petition filed by a lawyer from Vavuniya, T. Gananadaran, on April 21st, 'Ravaya' newspaper in its May 04th issue reported. more..

'East polls won't solve ethnic issue'

May 4 (LD) SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem says that it would be a folly to consider the polls for the Eastern Provincial Council as a tool to facilitate the resolution of the ethnic conflict. The comment by Mr. Hakeem, who is the SLMC's chief ministerial candidate at the election, came in an interview to 'Lanka Dissent.' He said, "This government has no solution to the ethnic conflict. The country may suffer serious repercussions by this journey which is solely aimed at war." more..

The sacred city

May 4 (SH) Anuradhapura, in the northern province of Sri Lanka, is on the Golden Triangle Anuradhapura- Sigiriya-Kandy of the Buddhist circuit. As you get off the bus in the descript bus-station you might wonder whether this was the place, which was one of the capitals of Sri Lanka for centuries with a reputation for excellent planning for an urban centre in ancient times. To remain capital of a nation for over one thousand of years is an achievement few cities in the world could boast of. more..

Sri Lanka leaf plate maker entices tourist industry

May 4 (LBO) A Sri Lankan entrepreneur is adding value to throw-away plant leaf matter by making bio-degradable plates and dishes which are starting to be used by the leisure industry. A.U.S.K. Chandrasiri makes disposable plates, dishes, lunch boxes and cups from teak, banana, palm leaf and areca nut leaf sheaths known locally as the Kolapatha, replacing environmentally harmful plastic, polythene and Styrofoam containers. more..

Salute to Snowy

May 4 (LG) The place is Weli Oya and the date March 14. Terrorists are engaging with government troops and a soldier has been injured. Two Army units set out in search of the attackers, and an LTTE cadre is killed. The Army officers decide to enlist the support of their tracker dogs, and the next day Army dogs “Snowy” and “Bonny” are sent to the battlefront in the company of their handlers. The dogs are given stray items of clothing left behind by the rebels. more..

Water’on Rupavahini

May 4 (LG) Oscar nominated Deepa Metha's ‘Water’ will be screened Saturday, May 10 at 10 pm on Rupavahini. Internationally acclaimed direction by the Indian born Canadian director Mrs. Mehta features Sri Lankan child actress Sarala Kariyawasam in a lead role along with Indian actors John Abraham, Lisa Ray and Seema Biswas. The film also stars a number of other well known Sri Lankan stars including Iranganie Serasinghe, Buddhi Wickrama, Rinsly Weerarathne and Hemantha Gamage. more..

Repeating Old Errors in Muhamalai and in the East

May 4 (LG) Muhamalai, an avoidable mistake with horrendous consequences, represents the quintessence of Rajapakse rule. Muhamalai is a logical outcome for an administration with a penchant for forgetting the past and for living in an imagined reality. Muhamalai is symbolic of the place Sri Lanka is headed to, if the regime persists in refusing to learn from its past errors. more..

The great betrayal at Attanagalla

May 4 (LG) Udugan-ella, located a short distance away from the historic Rajamaha Viharaya at Attanagalla, is now under a coconut cultivation. Though much neglected presently, the cultivation appears to have seen better days. The scars caused by the land reform are clearly visible. Even more so are those inflicted by the conversion of the land to a Janawasa, as it is claimed, one of the Utopian enterprises which failed miserably. more..

Contending Nationalisms and Sri Lanka’s Poisoned Freedom

May 4 (LG) This invocation of the spirit of nationalism which appears in Tagore’s The Home and the World rings true to life for those of us who witnessed the Tamil struggle from within. The destructive impact of nationalism, its brutalising intoxication and unscrupulous use of the impressionable young were witnessed with alarm by Tagore in his contact with the Swadeshi Movement of the first decade of the 20th Century. more..

Quebec Tamil group used as front for Tigers: report

May 4 (NP) Sri Lanka's terrorist Tamil Tigers control the Montreal-based World Tamil Movement as one of their "foreign branches," in charge of raising funds for the war effort and spreading propaganda, according to documents seized by the RCMP. In a 184-page affidavit unsealed by the Federal Court yesterday, RCMP Corporal Shirley Davermann details how the LTTE give instructions to Tamil activists in Canada, and how money is collected in Canada for the Tiger cause. more..

Protests island wide by JVP against govt.

May 4 (LD) The politburo of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna is to stage a series of protests across the island against the government. To be launched after the May 10th East PC polls, the campaign aims to pressurize the present regime over various issues, politburo member Vijitha Herath told 'Lanka Dissent.' One of them is to call for the rejection of the federal solution, and to safeguard Sri Lanka's sovereignty, territorial integrity and national security. more..

2,000 Sri Lankan soldiers killed last year Army chief

May 4 (LNP) Over two thousand Sri Lankan Army (SLA) soldiers were killed and four thousand wounded in the battles of 2007, the commander of the SLA, Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka told a conference at Army Headquarters last week, the Sunday Times reported. He claimed over five thousand Tamil Tigers were also killed last year. Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan government has forbidden military officials from giving interviews and launched a hunt for those leaking details to the media. more..

Mihin Air grounded until further notice

May 4 (LNP) The troubled budget carrier Mihin Lanka has been forced to suspend operations indefinitely, from the beginning of this month, for want of aircraft, as exclusively reported in The Sunday Times last week in a story titled Mihin Air craftless? Several attempts over the past few days to reach Mihin s head of operations Athula Dissanayake for comment have failed. Mr Dissanayake had left a message to say he could not talk because he was out of the country, but more..

Multi-million rupee development projects for East

May 4 (LNP) Following liberation from Tiger clutches: The government has implemented multi-million rupee development projects in the Eastern province following the liberation of the Eastern province from LTTE clutches. Infrastructure facilities such as highways and road development, the health sector and sanitation facilities will also be developed. Rs. 17,000 million was allocated for economic and infrastructure development activities in the Eastern province. more..

Helicopter for Mervyn

May 4 (LNP) We do not know whether Minister Mervyn Silva, we decline to call him doctor, broke a leg or fractured a toe in a recent accident near the Sandagalatenne bridge on the Dehiattakandiya Aralaganwila Road. Reports differ on this score as they do on whether he was on his way to campaign in the Eastern Province or to organize his party s May Day rally in the area. more..

Govt. to initiate fresh peace moves

May 4 (LNP) The government is likely to initiate fresh peace moves soon and is expected to give the green light to the Norwegian facilitators to commence peace moves between Wanni and Colombo once the election for the Eastern Provincial Council concludes. According to government sources, Norwegian Special Envoy Jon Hansen Bauer is to visit Sri Lanka shortly to work out the necessary modalities between the government and the LTTE. more..

Poll cards undelivered, rigging feared

May 4 (SAMN) More than 170,000 poll cards of a total of 982,721 – around 20 per cent of the total voting strength in the Eastern Province - still remain with the postal department undelivered despite the official period for distribution of poll cards ending on Friday. While the main opposition UNP said it feared the undelivered poll cards might be used to rig the elections in a massive way, Post Master General said the poll cards were being stored safely in the post offices in respective areas. more..

Divaina Editor Merril needs help

May 4 (SAMN) Editor of Divaina Merril Perera has been suffering from Lumbar Spine HNPs for more than two years. As the pain caused by the ailment became unbearable, he underwent surgery in Colombo in November, 2007. The pain in Perera’s calf muscles has eased to some extent. However, the pain experienced in the thighs persists. This condition is extremely painful and has made life miserable for him. more..

CEB warns of more blackouts

May 4 (SAMN) The Ceylon Electricity Board’s Engineers Union (CEBEU) warned of more blackouts in the future if the government fails to resolve their problems soon. CEBEU President J. Meegoda asserted that the engineers working at the CEB were frustrated with CEB Chairman Udaya Kariyawasam. “The Chairman does not allow the engineers to make independent decisions and as a result they are not taking any decisions regarding engineering matters,” he noted. more..

JHU calls for action against Bishop

May 4 (SAMN) The JHU Saturday called on the Catholic Convention to take action against Mannar Bishop Rayappu Joseph for allegedly making pro-LTTE statements. JHU Spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasingha said Archbishop Oswald Gomis was responsible for the prevailing state of affairs today as he had failed to take any action against the Mannar Bishop, who he said had once even requested a separate Catholic Convention for the Eelam. more..

The East: Seeing is believing!

May 4 (SO) The UPFA, which liberated the people of the East from the two decade-long sufferings under the LTTE terror, will record a significant victory at Provincial Council polls on May 10, Minister of Education and General Secretary of the UPFA Susil Premajayantha said. In an interview with the ‘Sunday Observer’ Minister Premajayantha dismissing allegations levelled by the Opposition that the State resources are being abused by the government in the more..

Ceylon cinnamon a money spinner

May 4 (SO) The medicinal value of Sri Lanka’s cinnamon has widened the market opportunities in the international market, said senior research officer ITI K. R. Dayananda. True cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnmaomum Zeylinicum) produced only in Sri Lanka has a greater opportunity in this emerging market. However, there are two challenges which have to be addressed immediately. more..

Submarine cable power project can offset Rs. 30 b fuel bill

May 4 (SO) The 500MW submarine cable power project connecting Madurai and Anuradhapura through the Palk Straits should be a top priority in opting for a low cost environment friendly energy source, said Dr. Nishantha Nanayakkara. He said with the commissioning of the submarine cable power project the country can offset the fuel bill on costly thermal power and save Rs. 30 billion annually and make the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) a profit making institution. more..

Filching office items; public servants beware

May 4 (SO) The investigating unit of the Ministry of Public Administration will be reactivated to crack down on errant public servants who pilfer office items in their workplaces. This was decided on by the Public Administration Ministry following numerous complaints from public institutions that employees remove stationery items including blank photocopy paper, carbon paper, pencils, pens, file covers and valuable computer spare parts from their workplaces for personal use. more..

Gajanayake INDICTED

May 4 (NS) The Attorney General has indicted Wing Commander Nishantha Gajanayake, who was in the midst of the controversy involving abductions of wealthy businessmen and extortions during the latter part of 2006. Three other security personnel have also been indicted along with Gajanayake for carrying out the abductions and extortions. The High Court of Colombo will serve the indictments when the accused are summoned to courts shortly. more..