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WHO team arrive today to study rise in kidney diseases

May 7 (GDI) A team of specialist doctors from the World Health Organisation (WHO) will arrive today to find out the main cause for the increase in kidney diseases in certain areas in Wayamba, North Central, Uva and Sabaragamuwa Provinces, a Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry spokesman said. He said the team comprises of Sri Lankan born doctor Prof. Shanthi Mendis, Prof. Reggie Paulten of the USA and WHO Asian Regional Consultant Dr. Habib Faiyed. more..

Witness protection law suffers setback

May 7 (LD) The realization of proposed legislation towards the setting up of a separate authority for the protection of witnesses and victims of criminal acts has suffered a setback following the unexpected prorogation of Parliament. International human rights organizations have been urging the government to get the Witness Protection Draft Bill passed and implemented without delay. more..

Launch of Oluvil port project a symbol of Eastern resurgence - President

May 7 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, speaking after ceremonially inaugurating the Oluvil Port Project in the Ampara District, said that very soon the people in the North too will be able to savour the fruits of freedom now enjoyed by the rest of the country. Promising that the Government will not backtrack on its commitment to liberate innocent civilians from the clutches of terrorists and restore peace, more..

Hospital allegedly dumps patient on road

May 7 (LNP) An elderly homeless man who was admitted to the Panadura hospital by the police had allegedly been chucked out by hospital staff yesterday. The Panadura police, who found the feeble elderly man stranded on the road and suffering from some medical complications, had admitted him to the Panadura hospital two weeks ago. Police had however heard yesterday that the man had reportedly been moved back on to the road by the hospital authorities despite the wet weather. more..

Mawbima Lanka to announce how SL can become first-world country

May 7 (LNP) If consumers gave preference to locally manufactured products and services Sri Lanka could be a first-world country in four years time, Chairman of Mawbima Lanka Padanama told The Island yesterday. `The Mawbima Lanka Padanama (MLP) will today make public facts and figures on which we have made this declaration. A saving of about US $2 billion can be made and this will significantly reduce the budget deficit,` A. Wickramanayake said. more..

Disarm them all!

May 7 (LNP) The campaign to have the TMVP stripped of its arms before the May 10 Eastern PC polls, has got into Over Drive mode. Some civil society members have, we are told, even resorted to legal action to achieve that objective. They deserve public support as the intimidatory presence of any armed group needs to be obviated prior to any electoral exercise, if it is to be free and fair. But, is it only the TMVP that needs to be disarmed? more..

Only 48,749 polling cards undistributed

May 7 (SAMN) Dismissing the claims made by the UNP that over 100,000 polling cards had not been distributed in the East, the government Tuesday claimed that there were only 48,749 cards that had not been delivered. Minister Dallas Alahaperuma told a press conference held at the Parliamentary complex that the Post Master General had informed that this was the case in every election where 10% to 15% of polling cards were not distributed because of migration and change of address. more..

Gem pits breeding ground for mosquitoes

May 7 (SAMN) Open gem pits in Ratnapura and its surrounding areas have become breeding grounds for the chikungunya and dengue mosquitoes. Open gem pits are a common sight in areas such as Eheliyagoda and Kuruwita and have resulted in creating pools of stagnant water which in turn breed millions of mosquitoes during the rainy season. Informed sources said it was the responsibility of the National Gem and Jewellery Authority to ensure that the open gem pits are closed once gem-mining ceases. more..

Police raid pirate software dealers

May 7 (SAMN) Officers of the Colombo Crime Division with the assistance of representatives of the Business Software Alliance (BSA) conducted criminal raids against distributors of illegal business software in Colombo marking the beginning of greater focus and crackdown on business software piracy distribution and business software under-licensing in Sri Lanka. A total of 3 outlets at a leading shopping centre in Bambalapitiya were raided and more..

UNP tables list of TMVP camps

May 7 (SAMN) UNP General Secretary MP Tissa Attanayake Tuesday tabled in parliament a list of Pillayan camps and photographs of armed TMVP cadres operating in the East. Attanayake said the photographs of the armed Pillayan members were taken when he toured the East. The MP added that he personally saw many TMVP camps situated alongside army camps in the East and tabled a list of these camps and locations where they are situated. more..

Victory trend for UPFA in Eastern Poll

May 7 (DN) The Provincial Council Election in the Eastern Province slated to be held on May 10, is of both political and historical importance for Sri Lanka. Since the infamous election in 1988 and the subsequent dissolution of the Northeast Provincial Council under the leadership of Vardharaja Perumal in 1990, significant changes have taken place in the Eastern Province. Thus the 2008 PC elections for the East is a unique one as it is the first occasion such a poll is going to take place for more..

Food crisis and an attitude change

May 7 (DN) The web connects us all. The looming hunger is going to connect us all. The climate change definitely will connect us all whether we are in the North South or near the Equator. Climate change is going to trigger droughts and floods in unexpected places at unexpected times. This in turn will affect food production. Hence there will be food shortage for the poor, the down-trodden, those who are affected by wars. So what is the solution? more..

Nurses, docs blame each other over Ratnapura Hospital issue

May 7 (Island) The All Ceylon Nurses’ Union yesterday accused Health Ministry of failing to hold an inquiry into a dispute at Ratnapura General Hospital and thereby forcing doctors to extend their protest by closing five wards, including four surgical wards. The Union’s President S. B. Mediwatte yesterday said due to a minor matter between the doctor and the male nurse over treatment to a patient at the hospital, ward number six was closed for five days and four other surgical wards too were closed from Monday. more..

Being "a man in a hurry" is not a bad thing after all - Mahinda

May 7 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday that accusations of him being "a man in a hurry", were unfounded because the Eastern people are on the verge of voting at a Provincial Election for the first time in twenty years. Participating in an interaction with people in Kinniya from Temple Trees via satellite last night, Rajapaksa said that if he was in fact "a man in hurry" it was not a bad thing, because "the East had been cleared of the LTTE and more..

LRH case: Mother’s plea to put child on probation ignored

May 7 (DM) The mother involved in the Lady Ridgeway Hospital (LRH) tragedy had earlier requested the assistance from hospital officials to hand over the child to Probation and Childcare Services Department. However, hospital officials have not pursued this request and no follow-up action had been taken. “The mother was missing from the ward on April 12 and went to Anuradhapura and after we informed the police, the police brought her back to the ward. more..

All Govts. exploited state funds to win elections: Minister

May 7 (DM) Export Promotion Minister, Navin Dissanayake says that all governments since independence exploited state resources to win elections and Mahinda Rajapaksa government is not an exception. Mr. Dissanayake said his father the late Mahaweli Development Minister, Gamini Dissanayake dispatched hundreds of vehicles and employees of the Mahaweli Development Authority to Ratnapura to assist the UNP by-election campaign against late Mr. Nanda Ellawala. more..

Sri Lanka military says battles across north kill 35 rebels, 2 civilians

May 7 (AP) A series of battles between government forces and Tamil separatists across the embattled northern region killed 35 rebels while a blast blamed on rebels killed two civilians, the military said Wednesday. The latest infantry clashes continued throughout Tuesday along the front lines in the regions of Mannar, Welioya and Vavuniya bordering the rebels' de facto state in the north, more..

Voters lists 'most disturbing' items seized in Tamil raids, documents say

May 7 (G&M) Precisely how Elections Canada voters lists ended up in the offices of an alleged terrorist front group is a lingering mystery that Canadian officials say they will likely never solve. But privacy officials now say they are auditing federal practises with an eye to plugging such leaks. An RCMP affidavit revealed this week in Federal Court states that federal voters lists were among the "most disturbing" items seized in raids on more..

Rajapaksa challenges Prabhakaran to direct clash

May 7 (IANS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa Tuesday challenged the elusive leader of the LTTE Velupillai Prabhakaran to 'clash with him directly' and declared that his government would continue in its bid to flush rebels out of their stronghold in the north. 'I will challenge Prabhakaran to clash with me directly if possible without engaging in a killing spree of targeting innocent civilians, parliamentarians and ministers,' more..

Lanka's record undermines claim for a place in UN rights body

May 7 (PTI) Alleging that Sri Lanka's human rights record has worsened and the country has failed promises to improve, a coalition of over 20 NGOs on wednesday said these factors undermine its claim for a place on the UN Human Rights Council. The United Nations General Assembly is scheduled to hold elections on May 21 to replace the retiring members of the 47-member Council, the United Nations' leading human rights body. more..

LTTE forced Canadian Tamils to sign pre-payment forms

May 7 (IANS) Canadian police have seized documents showing Tamil Tigers leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran soliciting money from Tamils here for his armed struggle in Sri Lanka. The documents, seized by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in raids on the offices of the World Tamil Movement in Toronto and Montreal, show a 2002 letter by Prabhakaran, asking Tamils in Canada to send him 15 of the "100 crore" rupees he needs for his armed struggle. more..

Sri Lanka balances ties with US and Iran

May 7 (NIP) In the run-up to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s state visit to Sri Lanka last month, the Mahinda Rajapaksa government found itself in a cleft stick. The US had expressed concern over growing ties between Sri Lanka and Iran, particularly because of a report on a secret military dimension. While Sri Lanka needed Iran’s friendship to meet its energy needs, it could not develop relations with Iran at the expense of ties with the US, whose help more..

Unfair elections may alienate Muslims

May 8 (UPI) Those visiting the former battlegrounds of Sri Lanka's Eastern Province even for a short time would be impressed by the development that is changing the landscape. Most obvious is the reconstruction of the road network. The east appears to be a success story of the government's strategy of clearing out the LTTE, restoring normalcy and unleashing the forces of development that will improve the lives of the people. more..

'Enlistment of child soldiers continues'

May 8 (AN) The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka is calling attention back to the problem of child soldiers used in the civil war in the northern part of the island, and is attributing responsibility to both the LTTE and the special forces of the army. A report from the justice and peace commission of the diocese of Jaffna today denounces that many of the victims of the conflict are children: "most joined the militancy without the knowledge of the parents, and more..

Sri Lanka among top blue whale spots in the world

May 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka may be one of the easiest places to watch whales, allowing it to become a global top spot to watch blue and sperm whales, a researcher and an eco-tourism specialist have said. "I think Sri Lanka has enormous potential to be a whale destination," marine biologist Charles Anderson, who had been studying Indian Ocean whales for 24 years from the Maldives, told LBO after an observation tour in the South of Sri Lanka. more..

Eastern Province election: Warrant for nation building

May 8 (LG) Consequent to the Supreme Court ruling de-merging the "temporarily" merged North and East and the Government's decision to implement the 13th Amendment as a first step to resolve the national question, the Provincial Council elections in the Eastern Province have now been fixed for May 10. Detractors of the Government have criticized the decision to hold elections on several grounds. more..

Time to tame Anti-Sri Lankan powers

May 8 (LG) The provincial council elections in the Eastern Province are scheduled for 10th May. There are two main alliances in the battle for power. The UNP- SLMC alliance and the alliance of the SLFP, TMVP, JHU, MEP, EPDP and the Muslim parties other than the SLMC. There are number of issues that have been raised but basically it is a struggle between the national forces and the non national forces. more..

Bombings in the Vanni

May 8 (LG) “According to the media, aerial bombings take place almost daily over or near civilian dwellings and areas resulting in death of and injuries to civilians and destruction of civilian property and possessions,” the commission for justice and peace of the Catholic Diocese Jaffana said in a latest statement released on yesterday. According to the Statement received by the Sri Lanka Guardian, “Even the names and addresses of those injured or killed are released in the media and confirmed also by the Government medical authorities. more..

LTTE expands runway at Iranamadu

May 8 (LG) The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have been expanding their runway at Iranamadu during the past few weeks. Latest aerial surveillance images have shown the runway being expanded possibly to support larger aircraft. The tigers may be expanding the runway in the hope of acquiring larger aircraft than the existing Zlin 143s which do not require a well built runway to operate from. more..

CAFFE rejects Media Minister's allegation

May 8 (LD) The Campaign for Free and Fair Elections has rejected an allegation by Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa that the local poll monitoring body has UNP supporters as its members. In a letter to the minister today (May 07th), its consultant, attorney Nimalka Fernando says CAFFE has originally been formed to observe the Eastern PC polls, and that it will continue to monitor future elections as well. more..

Veiled terror & corruption now out in the open - LPW

May 8 (LD) Lanka Polls Watch says the veiled terror and corruption in the east has now come out in the open, with both the UNP and the JVP finding it difficult to carry on with their final campaign activities for the May 10th polls. The two parties are threatened especially by the armed Pillayan Group, which is having 12 camps in the east as exposed by the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections, LPW said in a statement. more..

Polls for northern PC 'very soon'

May 8 (BBC) President Mahinda Rajapaksa pledged to hold elections for the northern Provincial Council (PC) in the near future. Addressing an election rally in Oluvil, Ampara, the president said the security forces are moving forward to capture the north from the Tamil Tigers. He pledged to establish democracy in the north soon after capturing the region from the rebels. The elections for the eastern PC are to be held on 10 May. more..

'Mahinda - Pillian autocratic rule' - Ranil

May 8 (BBC) Prorogation of Parliament by the president could be termed as an attempt to rule the country with the help of Pillian, says opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe. Opposition leader Wickremasinghe said that the government is trying to prevent the exposure of its corruption in the guise of the prorogation during the provincial council elections. He accused the government of not discussing the prorogation while more..

Indian arms support not against Tamils

May 8 (BBC) A leading Tamil actor and Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhakam (DMDK) party president Vijayakanth says one should not think that the arms support by India to Sri Lanka is against Sri Lankan Tamils. During his maiden address to media persons in New Delhi, he was asked to comment about the reported arms supply to Srilankan government by India and was it not against the interest of Tamils. more..

Indiscriminate attacks by Human Rights Watch

May 8 (PISL) The latest Human Rights Watch report on Sri Lanka, issued as a submission to the UN Human Rights Council in connection with the Universal Periodic Review of Sri Lanka, repeats several canards that have been refuted in the past, with no response from HRW to the detailed rebuttal of their falsehoods. In particular it begins its offensive by claiming that ‘Sri Lanka security forces have conducted indiscriminate bombing and shelling resulting in civilian casualties’. more..

Lands confiscated by Tigers will be given back to Muslims - Pillaiyan

May 8 (AT) Sivanesathurai Chanthirakanthan alias Pilliayan, leader of the TMVP told the Asian Tribune that all communities-Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims were determined to work together. He assured everyone that if elected as Chief Minister he would work closely with everyone. "I will solve the issues relating to land which the Muslims are perturbed. I have already listened to the grievances of the Sinhalese from the Mangalagama village more..

Consul General Jaliya Wickramasuriya given rousing farewell in LA

May 8 (AT) A record gathering of Sri Lankans in LA agreed in unison that Consul General Jaliya Wickramasuriya had united them in no uncertain manner. Said one Angelino “he came, he saw and he conquered our hearts”. President of the Sri Lanka Foundation and respected community leader said it best “he revolutionized the concept of diplomacy. This man, plucked from the business world in Atlanta Georgia by the Sri Lankan President showed how a government office should be run”. more..

Eelam women can only wait

May 8 (NIP) THE 30-year-old ethnic war in the north and east of Sri Lanka (claimed as Tamil Eelam by the militants) has caused many fall outs. One of them is the problem of finding bridegrooms for young girls and not so young women in that part of the island nation. The May issue of ‘Eela Suthanthiran’, a monthly journal published in Chennai, highlights the problem of unmarried women in Eelam in an article titled, `the expectation of marriage and maternity by women in Eelam’. more..

Couple discovered importing drugs illegally from Sri Lanka

May 8 (ICW) A COUPLE were caught importing class C drugs when a neighbour’s son ripped open one of their illicit parcels, a court heard. Gareth Jones and Patricia Chubb made thousands of pounds from importing diazepam tablets in bulk from Sri Lanka to their home in the Rhondda and selling them on. Newport Crown Court heard the pair’s downfall came in May last year when a parcel containing thousands of the tablets was delivered to a neighbour’s house by more..

SRI LANKA: A mirror of the culture of repression

May 8 (AHRC) The AHRC has engaged in an exchange of statements with Rajiva Wijesinha, the General Secretary of the Secretariat for Co-ordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP), with the deliberate intent to expose the entrenched culture of repression within Sri Lanka. With every statement coming from SCOPP we see manifestations of the tactics and strategies that are used by those who lead the literary wing of this culture of repression. more..

Cautious welcome to the introduction of a law on witness protection

May 8 (AHRC) The absence of a witness protection law has been one of the serious defects in the control of crime as well as the elimination of gross human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. The machinery of criminal justice consists of an effective complaint receiving mechanism, an efficient and prompt investigation mechanism, a competent and honest prosecution mechanism and a judiciary committed to delivering justice at all costs. more..

Indian curreny stronger in Sri Lanka

May 8 (ET) Having eaten our fill at our villa, beach cafes and at places in Galle Fort that were highly rated by Madhur Jaffrey, we cast a rueful glance at the bills we had run up. That’s always the worst part of a holiday for an Indian, right? There’s that sinking feeling of having over spent, and we were no strangers to that thought! A half-day Nissan booking cost about Rs 8000 SL, which seemed like a large sum...U until we carried out the conversion. more..

Slain journalists remembered in Colombo

May 8 (TN) Movement Against Media Suppression (MAMS), a common front organization consisting of five major media organizations, held a memorial event Tuesday around 6:30 p.m. in front of Fort Railway Station, Colombo, in remembrance of the 14 slain journalists. The MAMS, in a leaflet gave the statistics, describing the state of media freedom in Sri Lanka where 14 journalists were killed in recent years, 8 journalists were subjected to abductions, 4 were imprisoned, more..

I want to bring all three communities together - Hakeem

May 8 (MG) SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem who is leading the UNP list in Trincomalee has been stressing in the campaign that he has sacrificed his parliamentary seat to take up the challenge of bringing all three communities in the East together. This has been the message he has been conveying in the campaign. Having being criticized by the government, the JVP and the JHU, he has defended himself stating that these types of charges surfacing out during elections. more..

Eastern Province election: Warrant for nation building

May 8 (MG) Consequent to the Supreme Court ruling de-merging the "temporarily" merged North and East and the Government's decision to implement the 13th Amendment as a first step to resolve the national question, the Provincial Council elections in the Eastern Province have now been fixed for May 10. Detractors of the Government have criticized the decision to hold elections on several grounds. more..

Support UPFA, Ulamas Muslim Party tells Muslims

May 8 (MG) The Sri Lanka Ulamas Muslim Party (SLUMP) has called upon all Muslims in the Eastern Province to support the UPFA in the interest of the region's future development and progress and welfare of its people. The Party made this appeal at a press conference in Kalmunai. A SLUMP press release said a large number of Ulamas from Kalmunai, Samanturai, Nintavur and Marudamunai attended the press conference. more..

Hakeem working on a personal agenda - Azwer

May 8 (MG) Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader Rauff Hakeem is working on a personal agenda and not for the benefit of the people of the East, Presidential Advisor and Media Ombudsman A. H. M. Azwer said. Hakeem always worked only for his sake and not for the prosperity of the Muslim community. He signed an MoU with the LTTE and a few days after the agreement, innocent Muslim civilians were killed and burnt by the LTTE', he said. more..

Ranil to take up GSP+ with EU

May 8 (LD) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is planning to meet with representatives of the European Union and secure a renewal of the GSP+ facility for the country that expires in June. Mr. Wickremesinghe says he will take up the responsibility after setting aside political differences for the betterment of the garments industry, despite the lackadaisical attitude of the president and his government. more..

Police barricade march by jobless graduates

May 8 (LD) Police anti-riot squads barricaded a Colombo road and prevented a group of protesting unemployed graduates from proceeding to the Presidential Secretariat yesterday. They first staged an agitation in front of the Fort Railway Station, where also the police had been in readiness with water cannons and bowzers. The protestors demanded the government to provide them employment based on their qualifications and called for an end to false promises. more..

Patient dies as result of crisis in Ratnapura hospital

May 8 (LD) The deepening crisis between doctors and nurses at the Ratnapura Base Hospital has claimed the life of a patient who had not been given the necessary medical attention. The patient, identified as Leelawathie (45) was transferred from the Kalawana Hospital to No. 16 Surgical Ward of the Ratnapura hospital. Doctors blamed the nursing staff for her death, noting that the medicine and the surgical equipment had been kept under lock in cabinets in the nurses' care. more..