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Rajapaksa’s actions speak louder than words for sceptical Tamils

July 3 (Times) When President Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka declared victory over the Tamil Tigers in May, he reached out to the Tamil minority that the defeated rebels had claimed to represent over 26 years of civil war. Speaking in Tamil, as well as his native Sinhalese, he told Parliament in Colombo that the war against the Tigers was not a war against the Tamil people, and declared that everyone in Sri Lanka should live with equal rights. more..

Seek commonalities: Rajapaksa

July 3 (Hindu) For the first time since a section of the Tamil groups in Sri Lanka took to arms 30 years ago to fight for their rights, representatives of all political parties came together here on Thursday at the inaugural meeting of the newly constituted All-Parties Committee (APC) for Development and Reconciliation chaired by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Representatives of the opposition UNP, pro-LTTE TNA and the break-away LTTE political party TMVP participated. more..

Tamil refugees may end up in permanent camps, say aid workers

July 3 (Times) Sri Lankan authorities appear to be building permanent camps to house many of the 300,000 refugees from the last phase of the war with the Tamil Tiger rebels, despite promising to resettle 80 per cent of them by the end of the year. Aid workers have told The Times that permanent buildings are being erected at the Manik Farm site where the UN says that 230,000 of the refugees are being held after the Tigers’ defeat in May. more..

Sri Lanka - camps, media…genocide?

July 3 (OD) What kind of violence has the Sri Lankan state been committing against its Tamil civilian population as the island‘s civil war ended; on what scale and with what intentions? Martin Shaw explores the difficult terrain where war, atrocity and genocide meet. The civil war in Sri Lanka is receding from the international headlines, as crises in Iran and celebrity deaths occupy the media's limited space and attention-span. more..

New tourism minister sees no issue with 13th Amendment

July 3 (CT) The newly appointed tourism minister Nandana Gunatilake, from the NFF, says he sees no issue with regard to the 13th amendment to the constitution. As this amendment is already part of the constitution, it could be made applicable to the north as well, after discussing any changes if necessary, he has told ‘Ravaya.’ more..

Dengue: Precautions urged

July 3 (GDI) The Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition has the requested the public to be alert on mosquito breeding grounds and the dengue epidemic these days. The number of dengue patients reported from the country during last month was 5357, ministry sources warned. The most affected districts have received occasional showers during the past weeks creating an ideal environment for dengue mosquitoes. more..

Safer childbirth - a success story

July 3 (GDI) Sri Lanka’s remarkable decline in maternal deaths is an commendable fact that could be emulated over the South Asian Region. Regardless of the 30-year-old civil war, Sri Lanka’s emergence as a success story in safer childbirth has been commended by diverse groups of medical professionals. Presenters at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) South Asia Day conference will portray Sri Lanka as a model for cost-effective healthcare. more..

Rs. 869m to promote fishing industry in the North

July 3 (GDI) The Government will invest Rs. 869 million to re-engage the fishermen of North who were denied fishing opportunities due to terrorist activities, Minister of Fisheries Felix Perera said at a press conference held in Ja-ela. This investment will be placed in line with the 180 day accelerated program launched by the Government under the Uthuru Wasanthaya master development drive of the North. more..

RAW the cricket, in Sri Lanka

July 3 (LG) The Jain Commission Report for the Indian government has substantiated that the Indian Intelligence organization, Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) has taken it as its moral enterprise to destabilize her neighbors and also has been responsible for creating circumstances leading to violence within the domestic domain of the South Asian countries. India’s dream of becoming super power over a night has blessed her insomnia to more..

Colombo to Chennai Rs. 12500/- But Colombo to Jaffna Rs.22000/-

July 3 (LeN) Writing to the Acting Director General, Chief Executive Director of Civil Aviation, UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena has drawn the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) attention to the high cost of air fares to and from Jaffna. In a letter dated July 01 and acknowledged by the CAA on the same day, Dr. Jayawardena says, “Private airlines currently charge Rs. 22,000 for an air ticket to and from Jaffna. more..

Govt lies; no Cuban solutions for dengue forthcoming! – ‘Lanka Irida’

July 3 (LT) Despite reports appearing in the media stating that the Ministry of Health had carried out discussions to bring down BTI (Bacillus Thurengenesis Israelensis) from Cuba, according to ministry sources such discussions have not taken place reveals ‘Lanka Irida’ weekend newspaper. When Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse was the Prime Minister in 2005 a report on process to destroy mosquito larvae had been requested from Cuban Government. more..

Ganethanna triple murder and rape case-suspect killed

July 3 (LP) The suspect K.D. Rajith Manoj 30 years in the tripe murder of the same family mother Malkanthi Weerasinghe father B .N .Samarasekara and young daughter Inoka Sandamali in Ganethanna Horana failed to appear before courts when the case was called up in Panadura Courts on a charge of rape. The Magistrate MS. Malini Gunaratne ordered warrant and production of the suspect involved in the rape case more..

UNHCR supports Govt. with first IDPs return to Ampara

July 3 (LP) The UNHCR and partners are supporting the Government with the return process in Ampara today, marking the first Government-organized return movement in the district in seven years. In addition to accompanying today’s process, the agency is distributing emergency shelter kits that can be used as a temporary measure. Shelter agencies will carry out shelter assistance for the returnees whose homes have been completely destroyed, more..

Putting the cart before the horse

July 3 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa seems to be finding victory more problematic than war. On the one hand, he is under pressure to fully implement the 13th Amendment (13-A) in keeping with the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord and, on the other, he has had to quell a mutiny onboard of sorts and make some coalition allies averse to his devolution project fall in line. President Rajapaksa is in an unenviable position. more..

Rare show of unity

July 3 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday urged all political parties to join hands and work as a team shedding differences, in forging national reconciliation and driving the nation towards rapid development. President Rajapaksa made these observations addressing the inaugural session of the Presidential Committee on Development and Reconciliation at the Presidential Secretariat which was represented by 18 major national political parties in the country. more..

Ceylon Tea Museum - Hantane

July 3 (DN) The Museum, located in Hantane, Kandy has a fascinating collection of age-old machinery, and the like. It traces the 130-years history from the first tea plant brought to Sri Lanka by the Englishman, James Tylor. The Tea Museum,with an attractive wooden interior has a library too. Today visitors can see the machinery as good as new and they could also purchase some of the finest Ceylon teas that are in the market. more..

President unfolds an array of lessons at Ananda College

July 3 (GDI) "Before one becomes a leader, one must become a professional. Before becoming a professional,one must become a good citizen. Part of your life belongs to this nation.If you are to pay tribute to those who were ready to lay their lives for this nation,then I ask that you prepare yourselves to giving a small part of your lives to this country", observed President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Ananda College, Colombo this morning. more..

Over 20,000 qualify for Varsities

July 3 (DN) According to the cut off marks issued yesterday by the UGC 20,270 students have qualified for university admission for the academic year 2008/2009, Higher Education Minister Prof. Wiswa Warnapala said. Based on the results of 2009 Advanced Level Examination, these students have been selected to follow 68 courses of study. When compared to last year the UGC has taken steps to increase the total intake by 620 students for this academic year. more..

Solar power for rural Madulla

July 3 (DN) The Indian Government would consider the request of the Power and Energy Minister to extend the solar power extension project. Indian Deputy High Commissioner Vikram Misri gave an assurance after commissioning the Solar Electrification project granted by the Indian Government at the Galgamuwa Kanista Vidyalaya in Madulla on Tuesday. Deputy High Commissioner Misri gave the assurance after the Sustainable Energy Authority Chairman more..

Kalu Ganga goes under hammer among gem miners

July 3 (CT) A kilometre stretch of Kalu Ganga in the Kahangamuwa area was auctioned today by the National Gem and Jewelry Authority among gem miners. This is the first time that a river has gone under the hammer, with this instance; the price was set at Rs. 36 million. To protest this auction, small scale gem dealers staged a demonstration yesterday in front of Ratnapura town’s clock tower and the Gem Authority office there. more..

Public Services & Police Commission powers go to ministry secretaries

July 3 (CT) The cabinet has decided to vest the powers of the presently inactive Public Services and Police Commissions on secretaries of respective ministries until their reactivation. These ministry secretaries have been given advice on how to carry out such functions. All staff grade appointments and promotions are to be made in accordance with the service Constitution, and the National Salaries and Cadres Commission will more..

Ban Ki Moon wants progress in Sri Lanka's ex-child soldiers

July 3 (CT) Ban Ki Moon, secretary general of the United Nations, has asked the Sri Lankan government to ensure that children released by armed groups have access to care, protection and reintegration programmes. A report by the UN chief has also called for the building on the progress achieved to date with the support of the world body and other parties. more..

Taxation, fiscal and macroeconomic issues causes for concern

July 3 (Island) A senior economist said the ad hoc changes to taxation is an impediment to growth and despite some gains in achieving economic stability after the war, fiscal and macroeconomic issues are still causes for concern. "Ad hoc policies on taxation have accumulated over the years. Sri Lanka has 25 taxes administered by the central government while there are about 20 other taxes that come under provincial councils. more..

Attempt to extort money from minister, MP, Governor: Gang busted

July 3 (Island) The police shot dead the leader of a notorious extortion gang on Wednesday night in Maligawatta. He was identified as Sandun Lasitha Kumara. Kumara had led a gang of extortionists targeting politicians and businessmen, particularly in Colombo and its suburbs. A senior police official told The Island that the police had opened fire when the suspect had resisted arrest. more..

Opposing MPs in amicable discussions

July 3 (Island) Two government ministers, three UNP parliamentarians and one JVP MP engaged in out-of-character discussions yesterday at the Sri Lanka Economic Summit, amicably sharing their views on their hopes for Sri Lanka’s future. Minister of Justice Milinda Moragoda said politicians should put aside partisan politics and come together to address national issues. "Most of us entered parliament with a great deal of idealism but sooner or later the system trapped us. more..

Sri Lanka's disregard for public opinion

July 3 (UPI) India’s Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram has expressed displeasure at steps taken by the Sri Lankan government to rehabilitate internally displaced Sri Lankan Tamils. Addressing the media in his constituency of Sivakasi in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu recently, he said, “I am not happy over the steps taken so far by Sri Lanka to rehabilitate the Tamils who have become refugees in their own country. The efforts are not enough." more..

Fuel hike to cover up losses due to corruption - UNP

July 3 (LT) UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that the government had been forced to increase fuel prices to cover up losses incurred due to waste and corruption. He said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s jumbo-sized Cabinet was a heavy burden on the taxpayer. Recalling the sacrifices made by the people in support of the war effort throughout the past three years, he accused the government of being blind to the hardships experienced by the masses.

LTTE’s grand plan emerges with discovery of weapons

July 3 (DM) Although the Sri Lanka Security Forces completely defeated the LTTE more than a month ago, more and more weapons including sophisticated weapons hidden by Tamil Tigers still continue to be unearthed by the troops in many areas in the recently liberated Wanni as well as the east. In the recent past, the security forces have recovered weapons that were not even with the Sri Lanka armed forces. more..

Will Madhu feast be celebrated this year?

July 3 (Island) The Bishop of Mannar Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph yesterday told The Island that he would meet Vanni Security Forces Commander Major General Jagath Jayasuriya on Tuesday (June 7) to discuss the possibility of celebrating this year’s feast of Our Lady of Madhu in August. He said though the government had said that the annual flag hoisting ceremony would take place on August 6 ahead of the feast scheduled for August 15, more..

A Tamil Obama

July 3 (DM) A Sri Lankan Obama in the form of a Tamil President is possible if Tamil Nadu keeps its mouth shut’. This statement has all the bearings of a declaration by a moderately nationalist party here in Sri Lanka. The core argument is that India or rather Tamil Nadu politicians should mind their own business without meddling in Sri Lanka’s affairs for all in Sri Lanka to live peacefully. more..

President to attend NAM summit

July 3 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will attend the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit which is to be held in Egypt next week, government sources told the Daily Mirror yesterday. The President is expected to leave the country on July 14 to attend the summit scheduled to be held from July 11 to 16. Meanwhile government sources said the President may even seek a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the summit. more..

Indian delegation to visit IDP camps

July 3 (DM) A delegation from India plans to visit the Internally Displaced Persons in the North on an invitation from the Sri Lanka government, sources from the Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Socio Economic Development told Daily Mirror yesterday. However, the exact dates of the visit are yet to be confirmed. The main priority concerning the team would be visiting the IDP camps and looking into their welfare and development. more..

Britain revises Sri Lanka travel warning

July 3 (LBO) Britain has eased a travel advisory to Sri Lanka's east but has warned of rising ant-British rhetoric amid an upsurge of nationalism and possible detentions of people of ethnic Tamil origin. Britain continued advice against all travel to the north of the country but tagged most parts of the East with the "all but essential travel" label following the crushing of Tamil Tiger separatists in May. more..

Injured Murali out of first Test

July 3 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan has been ruled out of the first Test against Pakistan in Galle starting on Saturday due to a minor knee injury. The offspinner hurt his patella tendon while training on the eve of the game and has been advised rest. The selectors have called up left-arm spinner Rangana Herath and offspinner Suraj Mohamed as replacements. more..

The collapse of the ethno-nationalist project of the LTTE

July 3 (IDM) We received this interesting comment on the recent brutal crushing of the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. It highlights the responsibilities firstly of the Sri Lankan ruling elite and its imperialist backers, but also of the leaders of the labour movement in failing to offer an alternative in the past, and of the LTTE leaders, who organised their war from a purely nationalist point of view, offering nothing concrete to the workers and peasants. more..

'Sri Lanka favours GM food'

July 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka is not opposed to genetically modified (GM) food and is likely to allow their use with certain restrictions, a government minister has said. Hemakumara Nanayakkara, Minister of agricultural development, said the government was consulting foreign experts on allowing GM food imports and cultivation of GM crops. He was responding to a question on the government's stand on GM crops at an economic summit more..

Sangakkara upbeat ahead of first Test as captain

July 3 (CI) These are exciting days in the life of Kumar Sangakkara. Last week his wife gave birth to twins, and during that nervous period ("unbelievable feeling, overjoyed"), he was also aware he had a Test match starting on July 4, his first as captain. Having led Sri Lanka to the World Twenty20 final is all right, but he knows leading in Tests is the real deal. That he qualifies for his new role is beyond doubt. more..

'Lanka ignored warning of Tamil separatism in 1970'

July 3 (EB) Sri Lanka’s terrorist problem, that claimed 100,000 lives, including 1,500 Indian soldiers, could have been nipped in the bud three decades ago, if only Colombo had heeded a warning by a Tamil police officer in 1970, writes Gen Cyril Ranatunga, a former Army Commander and Defence Secretary. In his just released book From Peace to War, Insurgency to Terrorism Ranatunga says that in a letter dated November 16, 1970, more..

China pledges to enhance relations with Sri Lanka

July 3 (Xinhua) China would work with Sri Lanka to promote the comprehensive and cooperative partnership to a new height, said Vice Premier Li Keqiang here on Friday. "We attach great importance to the traditional friendship with Sri Lanka," Li told visiting Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. Hailing the China-Sri Lanka good-neighborly friendship, Li said the two nations had enjoyed smooth development of cooperation since forging diplomatic ties in 1957. more..

Sri Lanka's battle with dengue

July 3 (IPS) Sri Lankan health authorities have had to combat an upsurge in cases of the lethal Dengue flu in the island nation this year. They have used mass man-power, public awareness campaigns and even threatened incarceration to stem the spread of the killer disease that has touched epidemic levels in the past six months. But it won't be easy to stop the disease from spreading. The viral flu has so far infected over 14,000 people and more..

Rajiv wanted Prabha killed at IPKF meeting

July 3 (DM) Shocking revelations, such as IPKF Commander Harirat Singh defying orders given by the late Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to shoot LTTE Leader Prabhakaran when he came to an IPKF camp in 1987 and how a plot to assassinate President J. R. Jayewardene was averted, were incorporated in the book ‘From peace of war insurgency and terrorism’ written by Former Army Commander General Cyril Ranatunga, more..

Animosity of Tamils will not help India’s maritime ambitions

July 4 (TN) Dominating the Indian Ocean, the shores of which are shared by 47 countries, has been the long-cherished dream of India ever since its independence. As China entering into a competition, the Indian Ocean is fast emerging as the new hotspot of Sino-Indian rivalry, says an article appeared Wednesday in Pakistan Observer. India’s security concerns as well as its needs to assert as a world power may be justifiable, more..

Sri Lanka ship fuel supplier gets tanker

July 4 (LBO) Lanka Maritime Services, a Sri Lankan supplier of ship fuel, said it has acquired an 8,800 DWT double-hull tanker to supply bunkers to ships calling at Colombo port. The tanker will support the firm's present fleet of bunker barges operating in the port and help increase sales, company officials said. The company decided to expand its floating storage after facing problems in berthing its tankers at the port's bunkering terminal. more..

Several new faces likely in series opener

July 4 (CI) Over the last four months, both sides have fought mental battles to rid all memories of the horrific Lahore attack; putting the past behind you and moving on is often easier said than done, though, and it will be a deeply emotional moment whenthey take the field for the first Test. They've played against each other, of course, most recently in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 less than a fortnight ago. more..

Tamils' transit to Australia, 'land of freedom'

July 4 (BT) Among the 100,000 refugees in Malaysia, many Sri Lankans are ready to risk all on a clandestine voyage into the Indian Ocean, writes Tom Allard in Kuala Lumpur. Rameshwaren, a young Tamil asylum seeker, speaks quietly, with a painful melancholy that belies his years. "I feel castrated," he says, casting his eyes up from the floor. "All of this is unbearable. I am on the edge of a mental breakdown." more..

Hatton Bank targets Sri Lanka North, infrastructure as war ends

July 4 (BN) Hatton National Bank Ltd., Sri Lanka’s second-biggest non-state lender by assets, plans to add branches and finance rebuilding in the island’s north and east following an end to three decades of civil war. Hatton aims to open three new branches next year in the northern Wanni region, where the military fought its final battles against the LTTE, Chief Executive Officer Rajendra Theagarajah said in a phone interview from Colombo yesterday. more..

Alahapperuma orders SLFP women’s wing and trade union wing to vacate premises

July 4 (LNW) SLFP Treasurer, Minister Dullas Alahapperuma has issued notice on the party’s women’s wing and the trade union wing to move out of the respective building with immediate effect, sources from the SLFP headquarters said. Alahapperuma it is learnt has informed officials at the party headquarters to find alternative office spaces for the members of the women’s wing and the trade union wing. more..

Playing Mendis won't be tough - Younis

July 4 (CI) Younis Khan, the Pakistan captain, has expressed confidence in his batsmen's ability to tackle the wiles of spinner Ajantha Mendis in the three-Test series starting at Galle on Saturday. Younis said his batsmen's familiarisation with Mendis is only not because the two teams have played each other often in the past year or so, but also because Pakistanis are used to playing spin at home. more..

An absence of edginess

July 4 (CI) Think Sri Lanka, and you think ‘Cricket as Party’. Maybe the party-goers are too cool to feel excited about a Test match one day before the actual event. Maybe one has experienced the other extreme too often, the hysterical anticipation when India play. The fact is, it doesn’t seem there is a Test match starting tomorrow in Galle. Perhaps Sri Lankans are too laid back, but that intangible edginess that exists a day before a Test is not there. more..

Humanitarian operation a model for the world: Rajapaksa

July 4 (Hindu) President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday said that through the planning and strategies that defeated the LTTE, the island nation had endowed the world with the true art of humanitarian operations, even as the Defence Ministry announced that some of the curbs on transport of cargo into the Northern Province were being lifted. He said when the troops were making their battle plans they also had to make political plans to win the attention and confidence of the public. more..