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Lanka reeling back to the 70s

May 6 (SAMN) Sri Lanka is reliving the 1970s when rationing and the sudden skyrocketing of oil and commodity prices prevailed. “I think the repetition of the ‘70s has already happened. We are living there now”, LIRNEasia Chief Economist Dr. Harsha De Silva said. “The global scenario with the dollar falling and oil and commodity prices escalating is happening now. Even though it might lead to a rationing system the government will not admit or acknowledge it but more..

'New British HC building inspired by work of famous Lankan architect'

May 6 (DN) The Duke of Gloucester Prince Richard ceremonially opened the new British High Commission in Colombo yesterday. Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka and Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama were among the invitees. The High Commission is due to move into the new offices in mid June, this year. After the opening, the Duke of Gloucester said the new building which is inspired by the work of famous Sri Lankan Architect Geoffery Bawa will bring more..

Programme to mark World Asthma Day

May 6 (DN) The Health Ministry and the Respiratory Disease Specialist Doctors’ Association of Sri Lanka will launch special programme to mark the World Asthma Day on May 6 in compliance with this year’s theme ‘You Can Control Your Asthma.’ The programme will include islandwide public awareness about asthma and its management and directing the patients to paediatric treatment. Over 160,000 people are admitted to hospitals a year due to asthmatic symptoms that range from mild to life threatening conditions. more..

Cabinet calls for probe into blackouts

May 6 (Island) The Cabinet has called for a detailed investigation into islandwide power failures on April 13 and 28. Power and Energy Minister W. D. J. Seneviratne has been requested to appoint a committee to conduct a comprehensive investigation into power failures, the Power and Energy Ministry said. Minister Seneviratne told The Island that two damaging power breakdowns had occurred on April 13 and 28, the day the Iranian President arrived in Sri Lanka. more..

We are not against a Muslim being elected chief minister – Chandrakanthan

May 6 (Island) One of the two main UPFA candidates vying for the chief ministerial post at the forthcoming elections and leader of the TMVP Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan said, "Though we are trying to see that a Tamil candidate is elected chief minister, we are not against a Muslim being elected as chief minister." "We came to that conclusion and we agreed to contest within the same party. Having said this, more..

Excise officers make a rare detection of opium

May 6 (DM) The Excise Department Narcotics Branch made a rare detection of opium in Homagama yesterday, when a woman was nabbed in connection with the sale of opium in the area. A special Excise team raided a house in Panaluwa in Homagama last morning and arrested a woman possessing 5005mg of opium, worth Rs.1500, which had been kept for sale. The unit acted on a tip off and seized this rare drug, which had been detected locally for the first time in four years. more..

Govt to introduce safety and health Law

May 6 (DM) Around 8.2 million Sri Lankans are economically active and this is nearly 1/3 of the population of the country, Minister of Labour Relations and Manpower Athauda Seneviratne said. “These people constitute our labour force and they are the backbone of our economy and propel the country towards development. We should not forget the fact that every worker who leaves his or her home for work has the right to return home after work safely,” he said. more..

Sri Lanka opens T-bill market to foreigners

May 6 (Reuters) Sri Lanka opened up its Treasury bill market to foreign investors on Tuesday in a move aimed at broadening the government securities market, the central bank said. The move will allow foreign investors to buy more than $340 million worth of rupee bills this year, according to one central bank official. "With the objective of further widening and diversifying the government securities market and enhancing the competition in the Treasury bill market, more..

Myanmar Rice shipment to go ahead after Cyclone

May 6 (BN) Myanmar, reeling from a deadly cyclone that sparked emergency shipments of food aid, plans to fulfill commitments to export rice, according to a trade official from Sri Lanka, which is buying 50,000 tons of the grain. The cargo will arrive this month under an agreement signed in April, Trade and Consumer Services Minister Bandula Gunawardena said in a telephone interview today. more..

New fighting in northern Sri Lanka kills 16 rebels, 2 soldiers

May 6 (AP) Clashes broke out between government forces and ethnic Tamil separatists across northern Sri Lanka, killing 16 rebels and two soldiers, the military said Tuesday. In the worst of the fighting Monday, nine rebels were killed during a series of battles in the Vavuniya district, the military said in a statement. The military also accused the rebels of targeting a leading Buddhist monk in the north with a roadside bomb. more..

Sri Lankan drug lord held In Tamil Nadu - While playing Cricket

May 6 (NP) One of Sri Lanka's biggest drug lords has been finally arrested in Tamil Nadu after Indian authorities, who had been pursuing him for years, nabbed him while he was playing his favourite game - cricket. Indian official sources are describing the Narcotics Control Bureau's (NCB) arrest of K. Gunasekaran, 42, as a major development and say it is sure to hit the flow of heroin from Pakistan to Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka plans medical help to Myanmar

May 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka is planning to send a team of medical doctors and nurses to Myanmar, the foreign ministry said. Media reports said around 22,000 people are believed to have been killed by a cyclone that raged through the country last week. The government was also making a donation of 25,000 US dollars to Myanmar. Sri Lanka was planning to import 50,000 metric tonnes of rice from the country this year. more..

LPW concerned over increased poll-related violence

May 7 (LD) Lanka Polls Watch has expressed concern over the incidence of an increasing number of poll-related violence as the East PC polls are drawing closer. By May 06th, LPW reported receiving 63 incidents from the province since the day nominations were handed in, LPW said. It said in a statement that 28 of these incidents were from Batticaloa, followed by 16 from Ampara and 19 from Trincomalee. more..

Protest calls for disarming of Pillayan Group

May 7 (LD) The United National Party and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Mahajana Wing called for an immediate disarming of the Pillayan Group during a joint protest staged in front of the Elections Secretariat in Rajagiriya today (May 06th). The protestors denounced the Elections Commissioner and the IGP for their failure to disarm the paramilitaries and ensure a free and fair atmosphere for voters at the May 10th polls in the east. more..

Once again, LTTE with Qatar, Libya & Eritrea against Ethiopia & Sri Lanka

May 7 (LG) Funny how we never realize the inside international politics until some major event happens, like the Ethiopian closure of diplomatic ties with the Qatari royal government. A few months ago, no one knew (at least i didn't) if the Norway-LTTE-Eritrea link existed until Ethiopia told six Norwegian diplomats to leave the country. A brief research allowed us back then to see Eritrea's role and Norway's symapthy for separatist movements that isolated Norway's pro-LTTE policy from the rest of the European Union (EU). more..

'Military operations against the LTTE is not a war against Tamils'

May 7 (GDI) Chief Minister of Tamilnadu M. Karunanidhi, addressing the State Assembly of Tamilnadu recently announced a surprising turn-around in political convictions, stating 'Tamil Eelam is the dream of the LTTE and it will never be a reality'. Karunanidhi, in the course of his statement, recalled with grief the brutal assassination of his friend and TULF leader, Appapillai Amirthalingam. more..

Govt. urged to 'disarm Pillayan'

May 7 (BBC) Opposition parties in Sri Lanka have urged authorities to disarm Pillayan group before the elections in the east. The United National Party (UNP) and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Mahajana Wing protested in front of Election Commissioners office in Colombo. Accusing the government of unleashing violence against opposition parties, the UNP and SLFP (M) vowed to continue the protest until the elections are held on 10 May. more..

Cooray to promote Buddhist tourism

May 7 (BBC) Former minister B Sirisena Cooray was appointed in charge of a special project in promoting international tourism. Mr. Cooray is initially to assist the ministry in promoting Buddhist pilgrim travel to India, a press release issued by the Tourism ministry said. The role will later be extended to cover SAARC, South East and East Asia, it said. The appointment was made by minister Milinda Moragoda in consultation with President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Batticaloa Teachers protest demanding release of arrested collegues

May 7 (TN) Three hundred teacher trainees of Batticaloa Teacher training college boycotted the classes and staged a peaceful rally Tuesday morning demanding the release of five teacher trainees arrested by Waduwa police in Kalutura district on 27 April. The protestors demanding the release of the trainees detained by police for more than ten days carried placards with the slogans "Do not prevent Tamil teachers from visiting Colombo" more..

Arrest or disappearance hotline launched

May 7 (LD) A rapid response system by the Ministry of Human Rights will become operational on May 07th to deal with requests for information on persons in the custody of law enforcement authorities or have gone missing. Initially, it will be for an eight-month period, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said, at a meeting with senior government official today (May 06th) to discuss modalities for this facility. more..

LTTE leader arrested in Britain

May 7 (IANS) Arunachalam Chrishanthakumar, a London-based leader of the LTTE, was arrested by the British police Tuesday for the second time in less than a year for alleged fund-raising activities and procurement of war material. Also known as A.C. Shanthan, the 51-year-old man was first arrested in June 2007 under Britain's Terrorism Act before being released on bail in November. The police re-arrested him in Swindon, Wiltshire, in a pre-dawn raid Tuesday. more..

Universal Periodic Review of Sri Lanka

May 7 (HRW) Major hostilities between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE resumed in mid-2006 and in January 2008 the government formally withdrew from the ceasefire in place since 2002. Since then the fighting has claimed hundreds of civilians lives, and tens of thousands more have been displaced. Human Rights Watch has long documented serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law by both parties to the conflict. more..

Liberation Tigers at Thirty-Two: Whither the LTTE?

May 7 (TC) Thirty-two years ago, on May 5th 1976, around 40 - 50 Tamils met clandestinely at a secret location in the Jaffna peninsula and formed themselves into an organization called the LTTE. Umamaheswaran became its leader. Prabakharan was made military commander.A five member committee was appointed to control and co-ordinate the new movement. Both Umamaheswaran and Prabakharan were members of this committee. more..

India set up summit clash with Sri Lanka in women`s Asia Cup

May 7 (ZC) Rumeli Dhar shone both with the bat and ball as three-time champion India spanked Bangladesh by five wickets to set up a summit clash with Sri Lanka in the Women`s Asia Cup cricket tournament here on Monday. India overcame a minor hiccup to maintain its unbeaten run in the tournament while Sri Lanka prevailed over Pakistan by 45 runs for its third victory in four matches. The defeats left Bangladesh and Pakistan fight for the wooden spoon with two league matches remaining. more..

President suspends Parliament for one month amid corruption allegations

May 7 (AP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has suspended Parliament sessions for a month, an official said Tuesday - a move criticized by the opposition as an attempt to disrupt ongoing investigation into corruption allegations. A decree announcing the suspension would be issued early Wednesday, a government official said on condition of anonymity citing the sensitivity of the move. He did not give a reason for the suspension. more..

Watch Tower: Bringing peace in Sri Lanka

May 7 (CC) Sri Lanka's ethnic issue is going to dominate the political discourse in Tamil Nadu once again. Interestingly, this new phase comes at a time when the Rajapakse government has mounted a campaign to woo Indian tourists to the island, projecting the Ramayana related sites as the biggest attraction. Major Indian TV channels like Aaj Tak and Zee have been showing interview and research based programmes on Sri Lanka's Ramayana angle. more..

The North: Develop now and destroy later?

May 7 (IL) While Sri Lankan politicians and the people in the south enthusiastically celebrated the May Day 2008, the people in the North and East still yearned for permanent peace waiting to hear what the Sri Lankan leaders would say about the possibility of the government declaring a new truce with the Tamils. The promises were far from what they had expected and hoped for. The Eastern people were promised that they would receive peace and economic prosperity if they voted for the paramilitary 'TMVP group'. more..

No room for a Muslim Chief Minister with the UPFA

May 7 (ML) In May last year when the SLMC chief and the Secretary General had dinner with me on my invitation, out of Sri Lanka, the chief commented, referring to the strayed cow from Kattankudy that had come back to the fold at that time, ‘so and so is also now with us’. I replied immediately, "at the moment". The leader’s face was saddened and he didn’t proceed further. Today it is proved. more..

Govt admits Mihin losses 3500 million

May 7 (ML) Mihin Lanka has incurred a loss to the tune of Rs. 3,500 million so far Leader of the House Nimal Siripala said yesterday. He added that Sri Lanka was trying to lease two aircraft to Mihin Air. The lack of aircraft with the debt ridden controversial Mihin Air was raised in parliament yesterday (6), with Leader of the House, Nimal Siripala de Silva surprising the House by claiming that he had no knowledge about the matter and cryptically adding: “I can’t walk into the hanger to count the aircraft.” more..

Militarization and checkpoints

May 7 (ML) Mannar town and all outlying areas are heavily militarised. All passengers entering and exiting Mannar through the A30 Vavuniya-Mannar road, or through the A14 road from Medawachchiya (by train or by road) are subjected to intense checking and registration. Security forces personnel were present on the road leading to Mannar and several times, the vehicle we were travelling stopped and pulled aside to let military convoys pass through. more..

43 vehicles for six nation building ministers

May 7 (ML) The six Nation Building Ministers have 43 vehicles at their disposal and they were shared with their personal staff, Leader of the House, Nimal Siripala de Silva disclosed in parliament yesterday. In response to an oral query raised by JVP parliamentarian for Anuradhapura District, Ranaweera Pathirana, the Leader of the House stated that each of the ministers were using some eight vehicles and altogether, the ministers were using 43 vehicles. more..

Cut state expenditure to control cost of living – poll

May 7 (BL) As the rising cost of living becomes untenable, state expenditure continues to rise, LMD observes – and it reports on how the public views this state of affairs. “While Sri Lankans may be at loggerheads about how to solve the ethnic crisis, they all agree on one thing: whatever caste, creed or religion they belong to, the person on the street – 80 percent of those we spoke to, in fact – believe that the rate at which the cost of living is rising is unreasonable!” more..

‘Mysterious kidney disease’ perturbs health officials

May 7 (BL) Rapid increase of chronic kidney diseases, described by the Health Ministry as ‘mysterious kidney disease’ in the country has become the latest cause for concern to the Health Ministry. It has described the kidney disease spreading in some of the districts as ‘mysterious,’ because the nature of the causes found in the kidney diseases in Sri Lanka do not conform to the usual factors contributing to kidney diseases world wide, health ministry officials said. more..

Trade Unions to pressurise govt to implement EU conditions

May 7 (BL) The Trade Union Confederation (TUC) yesterday announced that they would pressurise the government to implement the EU conditions for the GSP plus duty free concessions and to prevent Sri Lanka from losing the GSP plus facility. Trade Union Federation President Saman Ratnapriya addressing a media briefing yesterday, said that more than 200,000 people employed in the textile industry would loose their jobs. more..

Mahinda triggers fresh crisis

May 7 (BL) In a move that would trigger a fresh crisis, President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday prorogued Parliament, and will resume sittings on June 5.The prorogation was with effect from midnight last night. Presidential advisors Basil Rajapaksa and Lalith Weeratunga confirmed to The Bottom Line that President Rajapaksa, under the powers vested in him, took the decision to prorogue Parliament. more..

Lankans bid adieu to outgoing officials

May 7 (GT) THE Sri Lankan Co-ordinating Committee (SLCC) Qatar hosted a farewell dinner on Friday for outgoing Sri Lankan ambassador S B Atugoda, his wife Ramya, first secretary A G Abeysekara and his wife Sujatha. The function, held at the embassy, was attended by SLCC members, embassy staff and special guests. The envoy and Abeysekara are leaving Qatar on completing their tenure of service. A minute’s silence was observed for all those who had sacrificed their lives in the ongoing ethnic conflict. more..

RCMP has 'definitive evidence' of group's links to Tamil Tiger

May 7 (NP) The RCMP has uncovered what it calls "definitive evidence" that money collected in Canada is bankrolling guerrilla violence in Sri Lanka, according to newly-unsealed police documents. Tuesday, Crown prosecutors handed defence lawyers hundreds of pages of documents and photos outlining the results of an RCMP investigation into alleged Tamil Tigers fundraising around Toronto. Included among the papers was a letter seized from the Toronto office of the World Tamil Movement. more..

Lankan team visits POF, HIT

May 7 (IN) A delegation of Sri Lankan Army led by Lieutenant General G.S.C Fonseka, commander of Sri Lankan Army Tuesday spent a busy day visiting various defence institutions. The delegation visited Pakistan Ordnance Factories Wah (POF), says an ISPR press release. Lieutenant General Syed Sabahat Hussain, chairman of Pakistan Ordnance Factory Board received the dignitaries. more..

Troops capture rebel bridge in north

May 7 (Xinhua) The military in Sri Lanka said on Tuesday that its troops gained control over a Tamil Tiger rebels' bridge in the north. Officials from the Ministry of Defence said the troops conducted an offensive operation against LTTE rebels and captured a bridge from the rebels following a fierce gun battle on Tuesday afternoon at Palampiddi in the Vavuniya district. The military said the LTTE "suffered heavy casualties," but did not mention its own casualties. more..

Uphold Democracy, Strengthen solidarity!

May 7 (LG) We appeal to the people of the East to exercise special caution and act with clear purpose on 10 May 2008 when the Provincial Council elections will be held. These elections are likely to have significant long term social and political consequences for the Tamil and Muslim communities living in the East. These consequences will bring about far reaching changes to the political future of this province, more than ever before. more..

Don’t help Lanka: Vaiko

May 7 (LG) MDMK general secretary Mr Vaiko on Monday dashed off a letter to the Prime Minister expressing his concern about a report saying that India will assist Sri Lanka financially with approximately Rs 400 crores as loan to buy arms to fight the LTTE. Quoting a media report stating that India is finalizing Rs 400 crores soft loan to Sri Lanka to buy arms, Mr Vaiko said that he was terribly shocked to hear the news and the same was against the assurance given by Mr Manmohan Singh to him more..

Ranil’s attempt to divide Muslims a grave crime – UPFA

May 7 (MG) Minister of Transport Dallas Alahapperuma yesterday said Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had committed a grave crime by trying to create religious disunity among the Sri Lankan Muslims when he said the President of Iran who visited the country wanted to oppose the Muslims of the south. He said there never was any sectarian disunity among the Sri Lankan Muslims and according to Buddhism there was an unpardonable grave sin more..

Prorogation; beginning of the end: Ranil

May 7 (MG) Commenting on the Prorogation of Parliament, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told this was the first step towards ending whatever is left of democracy in Sri Lanka. In the meantime, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told media that the Government wanted to prorogue parliament months earlier but delayed it because it had to table a few finance bills and this prorogation has nothing to do with Eastern PC poll. He said that there was no special reason behind the prorogation. more..

Uninformed Ranil arrives in suspended parliament for debate

May 7 (LD) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had arrived in Parliament around 10.30 this morning (May 07th) to participate in a scheduled debate, only to be told that the House has been prorogued. He found the doors to the Chamber bolted, and on inquiry was informed by the 'Arachchi' about of the suspension of sittings until June 05th. A visibly surprised Mr. Wickremesinghe told Parliament officials that he had not been officially informed about the prorogation. more..

House prorogation, a blow on democracy - JVP

May 7 (LD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had vowed in his 'Mahinda Chintana' to respect democracy and to attend parliament sessions once a week, has dealt a death blow to democracy by proroguing sittings of the House, JVP politburo member Anura Kumara Dissanayake has said. Speaking at a press briefing at Hotel Nippon today, he blamed the President for the intensified violence through state-sponsored terrorism in the run up to the Eastern Provincial Council elections. more..

Nishantha Gajanayake & 4 others indicted for abduction

May 7 (LD) Five including former Air Force Wing Commander Nishantha Gajanayake were indicted before the Colombo High Court yesterday (May 06th), on charges of abducting a Tamil businessman and his driver and demanding a ransom of Rs. six million. According to the magisterial inquiry, the main accused Gajanayake had been a wing commander of the Air Force at the time of the alleged crime, and had retired at the age of 40, on January 1, 2007. more..

Govt. worried over outcome of opinion poll in East

May 7 (LD) The government has become very much disturbed over the results of an opinion poll on the feelings of the eastern people with regard to the present regime and the forthcoming elections to the province. Six teams appointed by the president have conducted the survey, Presidential Secretariat sources said. Half of these teams had gone to the province three days after the announcement of the May 10th polls, while the others had carried out the survey only last week. more..

Civil Aviation Authority director board dissolved

May 7 (LD) The Board of Directors of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has been dissolved. The action by Ports and Civil Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa came following an order by the President, sources said. Its board comprised Air Vice Marshal P.H. Mendis as chairman and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, attorney Ananda Gunatilake, Prasad Suriyaarachchi, Nihal Jayawardena and T.A. Abeysekara as members. more..

Conductor beats disabled commuter to death

May 7 (LD) A physically handicapped commuter had died at the Colombo National Hospital after being brutally assaulted by a private bus conductor on May 05th, reports say. The commuter has asked the conductor to ring the bell for him, when the offended conductor had beaten the commuter unconscious, reports add. The victim, identified as G.G. Wijedasa, had died from a blocked blood vein between the left ear and the left eye, after being struck with an umbrella. more..

Media briefing in support of Wimal W. abruptly halted

May 7 (LD) A media conference held by a group of JVP local government representatives in support of the Wimal Weerawansa faction came to an abrupt halt after disagreement among its organizers. The briefing started this morning (May 07th) at the National Library Services Board auditorium in Colombo. It was attended by JVP provincial councilors Priyanjith Vitarana of Sabaragamuwa, Priyantha Bellana of the West, more..