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Sri Lanka confirm participation in Canada T20

Sep 7 (PTI) Sri Lanka will be participating in a four-day Twenty20 tournament, involving Pakistan, West Indies and hosts Canada that gets underway at Toronto next month. "Sri Lanka will be participating in the quadrangular T20 competition involving Pakistan, West Indies and Canada as hosts from October 10-13," a top Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC) official said today. The final decision came after a two hour meeting of the SLC board members here, more..

Prejudice, Phobia and Parochial Politics Hindering Progress

Sep 7 (FI) Recent responses to some comments and suggestions concerning the resolution of Sri Lanka’s protracted ethnic conflict by those seeking a political settlement have highlighted the forces opposed to changing the present political order. The Sinhala nationalists have now come up with crafty reasons for keeping the unitary structure in its present form. They do not want any change that undermines the dominant role of the ethnic Sinhalese in governing the entire island. more..

Sponsor arrested for maid's alleged murder

Sep 7 (AN) The Aziziyah District police have arrested the Saudi sponsor and his wife for the alleged murder of a Sri Lankan housemaid. The maid was found dead near her apartment prior to the police investigation. The Saudi sponsor and his wife reportedly staged-managed the crime to indicate that Kamalawathie Menike Wijetunge, 45, had committed suicide outside the apartment where she was working. more..

Mendis to persuade players to tour

Sep 7 (SL) Sri Lanka Cricket chief executive officer Duleep Mendis has been entrusted with the task of persuading Sri Lanka's cricketers to tour England next year. The England and Wales Cricket Board announced in July this year Sri Lanka would play two Tests and three one-day internationals in April and May 2009. But Sri Lanka's players have refused to tour as the dates clash with the second edition of the Indian Premier League. more..

SLFP, JVP at loggerheads over MP

Sep 7 (LB) The SLFP and the JVP are once again at loggerheads over the appointment of JVP members to Parliament on the UPFA National List. The Government is ready to inform the JVP that the UPFA is unable to appoint a JVP member to the seat vacated by Wasantha Samarasinghe who resigned from Parliament to contest the recently concluded provincial council election in the North Central Province on the JVP ticket. more..

President changes law on retirement age limit

Sep 7 (LB) The president will hereafter be able to extend the retirement age of any public official for whom the law says he is "appointing authority" - including the attorney general, says Lalith Weeratunga, secretary to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Last month, Rajapaksa issued an Extraordinary Gazette amending the rules of the Public and Judicial Officers (Retirement) Ordinance to state that: more..

Weird war casualties

Sep 7 (LB) The UNP significantly is going pro war. Ranil Wickremesinghe the UNP leader said so in a statement last week, and this was a significant departure from previous UNP policy. But the UNP rebels are now singing a different tune and seem to be saying yet again, Ranil did the wrong thing at the wrong time. Jayalath Jayewardene for instance, said at a party pow-wow that the army lost as much as 80 soldiers in fierce fighting on Wednesday alone — more..

Landscaping for peace

Sep 7 (LB) We tugged on a rope and a bell clanged. A horrendous, garish red gate - with a ghastly geometric design - slid open dramatically to reveal a manicured lawn and flowing stream. Shady trees flirted with the sun to make patterns on the ground. Flowering plants and multi-coloured foliage mingled happily with boulders while fish quietly built nests in the water. “This gate represents my drinking, partying past,” smiles Aravinda Fernando. more..

LTTE likely to carryout a series of morale boosting assassinations

Sep 7 (AT) While most Sri Lankans buoyed by the continuous victories in the battlefield are not paying attention, the LTTE is likely to carryout a series of morale boosting assassinations to wipe-out the Southern leadership and thereby regain the upper-hand in this fight to the finish. This devastating strategy may include a number of high profile assassinations between now and 26th November – LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran’s 54th birthday – Heroes Day, more..

Fundamental rights case against Deeghavapi housing project

Sep 7 (AT) A Fundamental Rights Case (SC/FR Application No. 178/2008) will be taken up on 9th September 2008 in the Supreme Court in terms of Article 17 and 126 of The Constitution against the fraudulent allocation of houses for 500 villagers in the Deeghavapi Sacred Area on the pretext of allocating houses for Tsunami victims in the Ampare District. In this case the Petition has been filed by Leader of JHU Ven.Ellawela Medhananda Thero & Viharadhipathi, more..


Sep 7 (AT) The Army had reiterated that its Northern operations are on track despite the recent ‘setbacks’ on the Vanni front. In the last week the Tiger resistance seems to have stiffened; that and the inclement weather seem to have slowed down the momentum of the Lankan offensive. Whether the LTTE’s resistance is strong and durable enough to create a situation of stalemate on the Northern Front or whether these are the last attempts of a dying Tiger (as the government would have us believe) remains to be seen. more..

The Catholic Cloak – Universal or parochial?

Sep 7 (AT) The Catholic hierarchy in Sri Lanka has disowned the plea sent to the UN Secretary General by a Catholic priest from Wanni by the name of James Pathinathan. The Bishop of Mannar and the Bishop of Jaffna have dissociated themselves with the missive claiming that it contained the ‘personal views’ of the priest and not those of the Catholics per se. Whatever it may be, the reality is that a representation to the UN Secretary General has been made with the idea of prompting foreign intervention in some form, more..

Refining crude oil into crude debt at the CPC

Sep 7 (SL) The public's immediate concern with the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) is the exorbitant cost of petrol, diesel and kerosene, that could change quickly with descending oil prices - and the burden of importing more petrol and diesel from abroad if Sri Lanka's refining capacity does not catch up with the local growth in demand for oil over the coming years. It is for this reason that several successive governments have looked at a variety of options for increasing Sri Lanka's refining capacity, more..

President's war and UNP's many battles

Sep 7 (SL) Even as the security forces and the LTTE were locked in fierce battles in the Wanni last week with heavy casualties suffered on both sides, President Rajapakse was well aware of the political importance of taking Killinochchi before the year's end. While government websites gave huge figures of LTTE cadre dead and the Defence Ministry said forces had killed 54 rebels with 12 army personnel reported dead or missing, more..

The supernatural treatment that bowled over Lasith Malinga

Sep 7 (SL) He thought the matches were over. He was almost forced to get off the field. But bowling sensation Lasith Malinga tried to live - to live on as the legend he was. But the injury on his leg took him off the cricketing field, shut off the laughter, cheer and applause. And he suffered in silence. Meanwhile the Cricket Board was getting this cricketer with a fearsome reputation all the treatment necessary to get him off more..

‘UNP does not require Judases’

Sep 7 (SL) The UNP does not require Judases who stay within and cause destruction to the party and soon, the party will take appropriate moves to chase such parasites from the party fold, says senior UNP Parliamentarian, John Amaratunga. In an interview with The Sunday Leader, Amaratunga said that the party skirting the issue of the war contributed to its recent electoral defeat but claimed there were widespread election malpractices that contributed to the defeat in a big way. more..

Road hard, but victory certain – Defence Secretary

Sep 7 (GDI) Defence Secretary Gotabhata Rajapaksa, while acknowledging battlefield losses last week, insisted that the humanitarian mission to liberate the people trapped in LTTE held areas continued to move forward faster than envisaged. He also said that the President is moving as per advice from the service commanders: “To fight the war correctly, it is necessary to get an analysis of the situation confronting the forces and more..

LTTE's fund-raising and propaganda capacity must be curbed -- Foreign Secretary

Sep 7 (GDI) Dr. Palitha Kohona, Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said "at a time Sri Lanka is engaged in the arduous task of putting an end to terrorism in the north of the country, it was vital to also end the capacity of the LTTE and its front organizations to raise funds and engage in propaganda in Western countries". Dr. Kohona made these observations when he met with Ambassador Xavier Demoulin, Actg. Secretary General of the Belgian Foreign Ministry, more..

Tigers preparing for final battle

Sep 7 (SAMN) The Tigers have told the Wanni population to get ready for the final battle and called in reserves to bolster cadre strength, according to minutes of a meeting between UN officials and International/National Non Government Organisation (INGO/NGO) representatives in Habarana recently. "LTTE is engaged in self defence training and reactivation of ex-combatants, including letters sent to families in the Wanni to join the ‘final battle.’ more..

Sangha take on the judiciary

Sep 7 (SAMN) The clash between the Maha Sangha and the Judiciary is expected to take a turn for the worse, with the Maha Sangha planning many protests, including an islandwide ‘sabda pooja’ (noisy ritual) against the judicial action to remand Venerable Pannala Pagngnaloka thera on the sound pollution issue. Chief Justice Sarath N Silva Friday rapped a contingent of Buddhist monks over disrespect for the judiciary and refused bail for Pagngnaloka thera as a punishment. more..

NOW -- detention beyond one year

Sep 7 (SAMN) President has amended the Emergency Regulations to allow suspects to be detained up to one-and-a-half years without charge. In an Extraordinary Gazette issued without publicity last month, Rajapaksa has changed the Emergency Regulations of August 2005 which states that no person shall be detained for a period exceeding one year. The regulation now states that a suspect may, upon the expiration of one year, be detained for a further period of six months “if it appears that the release of such person would be detrimental to the interests of national security”. more..

Internatioal Cricket to reach Batticaloa

Sep 7 (SAMN) The reawakening programme of the Eastern Province, initiated by the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government is expected to culminate with the setting up of an international cricket stadium in Batticaloa. While sports in the east will be given a facelift, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) will also pump in development funds to the tune of US$ 75 million, to develop the east. more..

De-mining under way - civilians to be resettled in Jaffna HSZ

Sep 7 (SO) The de-mining process is currently in progress in the areas that have been identified to re-settle civilians within the High Security Zone (HSZ) in the Valikamam north region in the Jaffna Peninsula, said a spokesperson for the special committee dealing with the grievances of residents who were evacuated from the High Security Zone in 1987. The High Security Zone in Valikamam north is the largest and highly sensitive region covering vital military installations such as more..

Polythene-free environment: Call to local bodies

Sep 7 (SO) The Ministry of Environment has appealed to Local Government institutions to help its action plan on creating a polythene free environment by placing separate dust bins for degradable and non degradable refuse at key places in their main towns. Environment Minister Champika Ranawaka told the Sunday Observer that the program was initially launched in Colombo, Mt. Lavinia and Kandy. more..

300 Jaffna students in Colombo for Sports Festival 2008

Sep 7 (SO) Three-hundred students along with their teachers have arrived in Colombo from Jaffna to take part in the National Inter-School Sports Festival-2008. The students from fifteen boys and girls schools from Jaffna arrived by ship from Kankesanthurai to Trincomalee and later they travelled by a special train from Vavuniya to Colombo arranged by the Ministry of Social Services, the sources said. more..

'Family bandyism in sports to end'

Sep 7 (SO) Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge, in an interview with the ‘Sunday Observer’ spelt out a wide ranging action plan to uplift the lot of sportsmen like focusing on rural youth; and as much creating better incentives. He also outlined action to eliminate monopolies in sports bodies which have become virtual family affairs. On the running of cricket which is a core issue relating to malpractices by previous regimes, the minister said he would take tough action against errant officials. more..

Govt. to tap state banks to upgrade oil refinery

Sep 7 (NS) The government has sought a loan of US$450 million from the People’s Bank and the Bank of Ceylon to fund the proposed expansion of the Sapugaskanda oil refinery, which is 30% of the total US$ 1.5 billion needed for the project. Some officials expressed fears that this would add more strain to the two state banks while adding to the debt burden of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. more..

General elections – To be or not to be?

Sep 7 (NS) The dust has now settled on the provincial council elections in the North Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces and even the new ministers of the respective regions have been sworn in. The question now is what’s next on the cards, in the always busy political calendar of this country? At first glance, considering the comfortable margin of victory for the ruling UPFA at the provincial polls, conducting a general election would appear to be the logical course of action for President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Indo-Lankan mountaineering expedition flagged off

Sep 7 (NS) To enhance cooperation with the Sri Lankan Army and keeping with its tradition of scaling new heights over newer regions, the Indian Army today set on a mountaineering expedition to Mount Stok Kangri in Leh region in Jammu and Kashmir with the neighbouring island nation. Deputy Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen S.P.S. Dhillon flagged off the first ever Indo-Sri Lankan joint mountaineering expedition marking a new chapter in the mushrooming Army to Army relations, more..

'Monks not above law'

Sep 7 (NS) Maha Nayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter Ven. Udugama Buddharakkitha Thera yesterday said that Buddhist monks are not above the law of the land and they should respect the courts of law like everyone else. He made this comment regarding the controversy surrounding the Buddhist monks who were asked to leave the Supreme Court premises for not respecting the traditions of the court during an opening ceremony to teach Samaneras English in Kandy. more..

MPs resignation turns spotlight on forgotten sneak entry cases

Sep 7 (Island) Close on the heels of JVP MP Anuruddha Polgampola quitting his seat over a charge of human smuggling, G. H. Buddadasa, Chairman of Kaduwela Pradeshiya Sabha has called for punitive action against two ministers of the UPFA-run Western Provincial Council under investigation over a similar charge. Both are SLFP members. "I expect SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena to act now," he told The Sunday Island. more..

Another pot on the boil

Sep 7 (Island) Against the backdrop of Supreme Court remanding Venerable Pannala Pragnaloka Thera of the Welikadawatte temple, Rajagiriya for failing to answer notice to appear before court, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has publicly acknowledged the government’s dilemma in handling the contentious issue. Rajapaksa reiterated his commitment to the independence of the judiciary while emphasizing the importance of a cohesive relationship among the executive, legislature and judiciary. more..

Govt. in major drive to accelerate economic activity in the East

Sep 7 (Island) The Government has launched a major drive to help the people of the Eastern Province, especially those of the Batticaloa district, with the assistance of commercial banks so that economic activity could be accelerated, Presidential Secretariat sources said yesterday. The Government Agent for Batticaloa, Mrs. R. Ketheeswaran said a meeting was held at the Batticaloa kachcheri last week to create awareness amongst the people on more..

'LTTE’s military strength should be weakened to implement political solution'

Sep 7 (Island) Professor G.L. Peiris, Minister of Export Development and International Trade said in London last week that a political solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka cannot be implemented without weakening the military capabilities of the LTTE. "The Government policy with regard to the political process and the military thrust is that military action is necessary in order to bring about a situation that is conducive for the implementation of a political proposal", he noted. more..

Polls defeat deepens UNP crisis

Sep 7 (ST) It was one of the stormiest sessions where the protagonists roared against each other with anger and candour. With two more elections lost, this time for Provincial Councils in the North Central and Sabaragamuwa, a perceived Government victory in the ongoing separatist war projected as imminent, what does the country's oldest political party in Opposition do? Can it go beyond its own internal crisis for a change in leadership, or more..

Defining moments in Eelam War IV

Sep 7 (ST) The most decisive phase of Eelam War IV began this week. The Security Forces and Tiger guerrillas fought some of the bitterest battles on Monday and Tuesday. Guns have fallen silent since then. Both sides are reviewing their options. The worst fighting was in the western flank of the Wanni. Troops that had re-captured vast chunks of territory further north and east of Mannar in the past many months and weeks (see map on this page) are now on the doorsteps of guerrilla strongholds. more..

UN says it can’t advise LTTE on trapped civilians

Sep 7 (ST) United Nations agencies in Sri Lanka have said they are unable to advise civilians to vacate LTTE-controlled areas despite a government request to this effect. Heavy fighting in the Wanni has forced thousands of civilians to move deeper into guerrilla-dominated areas. “UN officials are in the area only to ensure humanitarian assistance to those in need,” UN spokesperson Gordon Weiss told The Sunday Times more..

JHU sounds out new Act to beat loudspeaker rule

Sep 7 (ST) The JHU, a political party led by Buddhist monks, has announced that it will push for a new Act that would give religious organisations greater flexibility under the law on the subject of noise pollution. Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Patali Champika Ranawaka, told The Sunday Times yesterday that work on the drafting of the new Act would begin as soon as an ongoing case pending in the Supreme Court regarding sound pollution was concluded. more..

Sri Lanka's educational reality show Pathbreakers season to start

Sep 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka's educational reality series, Pathbreakers by ETV has planned its second season named 'Aspirations Conquest' with a tie up with Aspirations Education centre, the organizers said. The Pathbreakers-Aspirations Conquest will allow school-going children an opportunity to showcase their abilities and prove themselves in a competitive environment. It will be an occasion to apply what they learn in classrooms within a whole new, stimulating context, more..

BBC apologise for error

Sep 7 (BBC) The office of the Ministry of Export Development and International Trade say the BBC had misquoted the minister G. L. Peiris in an article published on the 5th of September. In a letter written to the Editor of the BBC Sinhala Service by the private secretary to the minister it say, “It has been brought to my notice that your website posted on Friday, 5th September 08, contains the following caption; “Minister admits rights violations”. more..

Karunanidhi appeals to PM on fishermen attack issue

Sep 7 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Sunday appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up with Sri Lanka, the issue of attacks on fishermen of the state and request them to instruct their Navy to exercise restraint and refrain from firing at them. "In spite of assurances given by the government of India, fishermen of the state feel insecure and are reluctant to carry out fishing in more..

Sri Lanka cricket body poll in two months

Sep 7 (IANS) Sri Lanka's cricket governing body, which has been administered by an interim committees and hit by many controversies over the past three years, is set to face an election in two months, a media report here said Sunday. "Elections will be held to the Cricket Board in about two months time," the state-run Sunday Observer newspaper has quoted Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge as saying. more..

Sri Lankan air force attacks rebel camps

Sep 7 (AP) Sri Lanka's air force launched attacks on two Tamil separatist camps in the embattled north Sunday, and infantry clashes elsewhere in the region killed eight rebels and three soldiers, the military said. Helicopter gunships attacked a Sea Tigers camp in Kavitaramunai in the rebel stronghold of Pooneryn before dawn, said air force spokesman Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara. The Sea Tigers are the rebels' naval wing. more..

Sri Lanka steels for bloodier battles as monsoon rains set in

Sep 7 (AFP) Sri Lankan troops have moved closer to dismantling the Tamil Tigers' de facto state after months of heavy clashes, but the battles ahead could be even bloodier, officials and analysts say. Monsoon rains expected to intensify in the coming weeks could bog down tanks and make artillery less effective in soggy terrain, forcing both sides to engage in close combat, according to military experts. more..

Sri Lanka army hits rebels, but victory won't end war

Sep 7 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's advance into Tamil rebels' heartland has unleashed the bloodiest combat in a decade and opened a new phase of the 25-year-old conflict, but conventional military success won't mean an end to war. Over the past three weeks, the army has thrust into territory held by the separatist guerrillas and are within artillery range of Kilinochchi, the LTTE administrative headquarters and symbolic prize for the government. more..

Pakistan may play ODI series against Lanka

Sep 8 (ANI) Pakistan is reportedly considering playing a bilateral One-day International series against Sri Lanka later this month. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) sources told The News that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has expressed an interest in hosting Pakistan for a five-match ODI series later this month. The Sri Lanka tour option has now emerged as the most realistic chance of Pakistani cricketers getting some top-class cricketing action following the postponement of the ICC Champions Trophy. more..

Malaysia Charms Sri Lankan Tourists

Sep 8 (Bernama) Taking advantage of easy air accessibility and close proximity, Malaysia is stepping up efforts to woo more Sri Lankan tourists to its shores. An estimated 31,000 Sri Lankan tourists visited Malaysia last year, but optimistic Malaysian tourism promoters say the figure could multiply in the future, as more visitors from the island are keen to land in Kuala Lumpur (KL). more..

'Indians played me well but were cautious'

Sep 8 (PTI) Ajantha Mendis reckons MS Dhoni and his boys, by and large, read him well in the just-concluded ODI series but the Sri Lankan mystery spinner claims he at least managed to straitjacket the aggressive Indian batsmen. "It should be like that. Talented batsmen learn quickly and correct their mistakes," said Mendis, admitting that the Indians found him relatively east to read in the ODI series after fumbling in the Tests. more..

Who is telling or not telling the truth?

Sep 8 (LG) The Sri Lankan and international media reported that an LTTE commander identified as Lt Col Neelawannan was killed by the army in a battle in the north. The only source for the death is from the government media centre. The news was based on the traditional intercepted communication of the LTTE by the state security forces. The death is yet to be acknowledged by the LTTE. The LTTE and its front media are maintaining dumbfounded silence on the story. more..

Colombo: Change its face, not its name

Sep 8 (LG) Of late a few letters from Sri Lankans spread throughout the world have appeared in the state controlled and servile, privately owned press calling for the renaming of Colombo as 'Kholomba. In recent times, Madras, Calcutta and Bombay have undergone renaming in their native tongues. So, why not Colombo in the Sinhala language, the language of 70 per cent of the people, it has been argued. more..