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Six abandoned Lankan tanker crewmen go home

Jun 19 (TS) After languishing on board an abandoned oil tanker for more than six months, six Sri Lankan nationals finally left for home yesterday. Two of their countrymen will follow them later once their former employer engaged someone to oversee the vessel, which is docked at Port Klang. The ships Iranian owner Jalil Machkenechi handed over their air tickets and salary through his local representative more..

Private bus owners set example

Jun 19 (LP) Private bus owners yesterday agreed to refrain from increasing the bus fare by 3.87 percent in line with the bus fare revision policy of the Transport Ministry. The existing bus fare should have been increased by 1st of July based on the bus fare revision policy of the Transport Ministry formulated in 2002 in consultation with private bus owners and other stakeholders. This decision was taken at a meeting held with the Transport Minister Dullas Allahapperuma last meeting. more..

Sri Lanka repays US$125mn in foreign loans

Jun 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka has repaid 125 million US dollars from a dollar loan arranged by Standard Chartered Bank last year, as lenders exercised an option, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said.The Standard Chartered arranged a 150 million US dollar loan on June 13 last year, under 'club deal' priced at 250 basis points above the London Interbank Offered Rate. more..

Kotalawela bail refused, investigators break in to Cicilia’s cubicle

Jun 19 (LP) The Mount Lavinia Chief Magistrate Harsha Sethunga, refused the bail applications for the suspects including the Chairman of Golden Key Credit Card Company. The Chairman and several Directors were remanded in connection with the alleged Golden Key Credit Card fraud till July 16. The Judge reserved the order in respect of Chairman Lalith Kotalawela for July 16, as his bail application is pending before the Colombo High Court. more..

Journalists barred from covering government meeting in Jaffna

Jun 19 (TN) North Ceylon Journalists’ Association (NCJA), in its media report Thursday, accused government authorities in Jaffna for barring journalists from attending a high level government meeting held Thursday by President Mahinda Rajapakse’s brother, Basil Rajapakse. Jaffna Government Agent, when contacted by journalists seeking permission to cover the meeting, had said that journalists cannot be allowed to attend the meeting for security reasons, more..

'Persuade Lanka to allow unloading of aid ship'

Jun 19 (DNA) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today asked external affairs minister SM Krishna to prevail upon Sri Lanka to allow the unloading of a ship carrying relief material sent by overseas Tamil diaspora for displaced people in the island nation. The vessel, the MV Captain Ali, which set sail from Britain on April 20, is currently anchored outside Chennai port after it was turned away by the Lankan Navy on June 9, after it was detained for several days. more..

War refugees face continuing hardships

Jun 19 (Ekklesia) Tearfund and other relief and development agencies are warning that the condition of Sri Lankans living in refugee camps will remain a major challenge for months to come. The assessment comes in the aftermath of a bloody war in which the United Nations estimates that around 300,000 people have been displaced. Tearfund, which draws support especially from the evangelical Christian constituency, says it has been able to send £400,000 more..

Sri Lanka rubber price at record high on short supply

Jun 19 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rubber prices reached a record high level of $1.87 per kg, the government said on Friday, which analysts say was due to short supply as heavy rains hindered latex collection. "Rubber prices reach(ed) a record high in the local market," the government said, quoting the Department of Rubber Development. "The rubber price has increased to 215 rupees ($1.87) per kg in the local market." more..

Canadian Tamils outraged over email from Sri Lanka

Jun 19 (IANS) An email by a Sri Lanka-based Sinhala to offer his services for a fee to Tamils to find their missing relatives has outraged the community in Canada. Thousands of Tamil Canadian families are desperately looking for their relatives who have either died in the recent conflict or become IDPs. In his email two days ago to Tamil Canadians, L. Jude Perera of Consultant IDP Services in Koswatte asked them to register with him for $25 for "professional services" to help find their missing kin. more..

President says : NCP people didn't flee

Jun 19 (MoD) The people in the North Central Province didn't flee in fear of LTTE terrorists leaving their villages and property. Buddhist priests protected the shrines from LTTE attacks. If not for them we would have to start our war against the LTTE from another location such as Kurunegala, Matale or Negombo, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday. The President was addressing priests and religious dignitaries in more..

Sri Lanka war risk insurance rating lowered

Jun 19 (LBO) International underwriters in London have lowered the war risk rating for Sri Lanka following the defeat by government forces of Tamil Tigers, paving the way for reducing insurance premiums on sea and air cargo. The London market's Joint Cargo Committee (JCC) has lowered the risk rating from 3.4 to 3.0, in effect changing the status from ‘severe’ to ‘high’, the government information department said. more..

Swine flu cases in Sri Lanka rise to four

Jun 19 (LP) The number of Swine flu cases reported in Sri Lanka has climbed up to 04 as 02 more children were admitted to hospital with the infection. The children who were admitted to the IDH hospital in Angoda were confirmed positive of the H1N1 virus yesterday (18). The recently identified two patients are also relations of the previously identified patients who arrived in the island from Australia recently more..

Sri Lanka's postwar resettlement stalls

Jun 20 (CSM) One month after its decisive victory over the Tamil Tiger rebels, Sri Lanka continues to grapple with the aftereffects of war. Among the thorniest is the fate of 280,000 displaced Tamil civilians who are living inside barbed wire in vast tent cities, unable to return home. Legal-rights advocates have challenged their detention, which Sri Lanka calls a necessary security measure while an unknown number of rebel suspects are still in the camps. more..

Croydon man who bought supplies for Tamil Tigers terrorist organisation jailed

Jun 20 (CG) A man who bought equipment for a banned terrorist organisation that could have been used to make a bomb has been jailed for two years. Arunachalam Chrishanthakumar, aka AC Shanthan, purchased electronic and computer equipment for members of the LTTE. The 52-year-old from Norbury was found guilty of charges relating to conspiracy to receive and receiving property that could be used for terrorism, at Kingston Crown Court on April 17. more..

Fishing restrictions lifted from Mullaitivu to Mannar

Jun 20 (GDI) The Government has decided to ease restrictions previously imposed on fishing activities off the Northern coast from Mullaitivu to Narchchikudah, Mannar with immediate effect, Senior Advisor to the President and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Resettlement, Development and Security in the Northern Province, Basil Rajapaksa announced at a meeting with the fishing community at more..

Shirani’s story: Recovering from a double disaster

Jun 20 (IFRC) The Sri Lankan village of Sallitheevu in Vaharai, Northern Batticaloa, has been affected by a double tragedy in the past few years - devastated not only by the armed conflict but also by the tsunami that destroyed the east coast of the country on Boxing Day 2004. Sivaskaran Shirani, 27, is one of the many affected by both disasters. She has four children - two boys aged 11 and five, and two girls aged ten and eight. more..

New vocational training center to Ramanathapuram Welfare Centers

Jun 20 (GDI) A new Vocational Training Center was opened today (19) at the Welfare Centers in Ramanathanpuram in Settikulam enabling the youth at these centers to follow job oriented vocational training course, Minister of Vocational and Technical Training, Piyasena Gamage told Six hundred and thirty two youth were enrolled to this vocational training exercise today. more..

Uva Provincial Council: Thousands of voters line up to get new NICs

Jun 20 (GDI) The Ministry of Internal Administration has been conducting a mobile service to issue National Identity Cards (NIC) in the Badulla district. This is prior to Uva Provincial Council elections, and, the number of applications submitted within the first two days simply exceeded 1000, said Internal Administration Ministry Media Secretary Asoka Piyarathna. more..

The tragedy of refugees in Sri Lanka, hidden from the eyes of the world

Jun 20 (AN) “Small children are suffering malnutrition and a lack of medicines. There are young girls who are pregnant, between 17 and 19 years of age, in need of care… the government has no capacity at all to handle this massive problem, no news so far has come out in the news papers in Sri Lanka, the rest of the nation is kept in dark regarding the situation of the refugees”. This is how a social worker recently describes the situation for the IDP held in more..

Aid gets into Sri Lanka camps, few people get out-UN

Jun 20 ((Reuters) Humanitarian aid is getting into Sri Lanka's war displacement camps, but very few of the 280,000 people they house are being allowed out, the top United Nations aid official said on Friday. U.N. emergency relief coordinator John Holmes said survivors of the brutal civil war that Colombo declared over in May needed to be permitted to resume normal lives in order to ease tensions in the country's northeast. more..

UNP 'not allowed' to visit Jaffna

Jun 20 (BBC) The main opposition in Sri Lanka says the party is considering legal action as authorities yet to allow them to visit Jaffna and Vavuniya despite forthcoming local elections. The UNP says it is yet to get clearance from Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to visit the north despite repeated requests. Election commissioner has called elections for Jaffna Municipal Council and Vavuniya Urban Council. more..

Sri Lanka and Maldives agree on intelligence sharing

Jun 20 (GDI) Sri Lanka and the Maldives have reached agreement to share intelligence and exchange information on the flow of funds that may be linked to terrorist activities. This understanding emerged following discussions between Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama and the visiting Maldivian President, Mohamed Nasheed in Colombo today (June 19). more..

The cataract of errors

Jun 20 (GV) It is a much analysed fact that the Tamils of Sri Lanka under the guidance of its leadership have missed many historically defined opportunities, in laying the foundation towards creating a decent future for their political aspirations and self determination. The 50 – 50 representation in Parliament instead of a federal constitution, a claim that seemed rightfully unreasonable to the Sinhalese; the vote in favour of the Citizenship Act of 1948 that more..

"Govt. following ‘Demo’- crazy traditions and power- crazy ambitions"

Jun 20 (LG) UNP M.P. Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena regretted that the people who patiently endured all the burdens and hardships imposed on them by the Government during the war hoping that the Govt. would after the war think of them unselfishly, and alleviate their burdens have been most dismally let down. The Govt. after the war is not thinking of the people, rather it is now thinking only of enlarging its already oversized Jumbo Cabinet of Ministers at people’s expense , more..

Blessed are the Peacemakers

Jun 20 (SLW) That was Barak Obama at his brilliant best addressing the Muslim world from a podium in Cairo. His words of wisdom plus his charisma maxima combined together to make anyone listening to be all ears and frozen till the speech was over. There is little doubt he meant what he said and I am sure the world wishes him well and prays that the appropriate action will follow to bring peace among any warring factions, more..

Can we end this cycle of hatred?

Jun 20 (SLW) I am amazed at the mobilization of young people from the Tamil Diaspora around the world to protest against the Sri Lankan government’s purported human rights violations. When often the younger generation of immigrants forgets the old country to a future in the new one, it is incredibly positive that the Diaspora feels so passionate about this difficult conflict on behalf of their community. more..

Farming and fishing folk return to villages in parts of north-west Sri Lanka

Jun 20 (UNHCR) The coastal village of Arippu in north-western Sri Lanka has been deserted for years, but people are coming back from nearby towns with the help of UNHCR now the long war with the rebel LTTE seems to be over. The villagers of Arippu, located in Mannar district, had fled their homes over the years to escape from fighting between the LTTE and government forces. more..

Pro-Tiger diaspora in a post-Prabhakaran scenario

Jun 20 (DBS) A noteworthy feature of the LTTE has been the special manner in which it glorifies death and pays homage to dead tiger fighters. Fallen LTTE members were eulogized as martyrs and referred to as “Maaveerar” or Great heroes. The departed tigers were buried in cemeteries known as “Maaveerar Mayaanangal” (great hero cemeteries) and memorials called “Maaveerar Thuyilum Illangal” (sleeping abodes of great heroes) were constructed. more..

Dilshan powers Sri Lanka to final

Jun 20 (CI) It will be an all-Asia final at the ICC World Twenty20 after Sri Lanka maintained their unbeaten record by crushing West Indies by 57 runs at The Oval. Tillakaratne Dilshan added another instalment to his breathtaking tournament with an unbeaten 96, the highest score of the event, as his team-mates struggled for momentum. Angelo Mathews then stunned West Indies with three wickets in the opening over more..

Sad tale of Canadian Tamil Congress

Jun 20 (SLW) Note from the Sri Lanka Watch Editors in reference to the reactions of David Poopalapillai to a feature in Hindustan Times given below following their observations. Making money on the miseries of others cannot be tolerated and this self-styled so-called consultant for IDP services a certain L Jude Perera calls to question the integrity of this man especially involving a registration fee of $25. more..

The FP, TULF and the LTTE

Jun 20 (SLW) This speech was editorially quoted in the Suthanthiran, a paper owned by Mr. Chelvanayakam. Such a speech which apparently had the blessings of the Tamil leadership was a foretaste of things to come. In the succeeding years we were taught unquestioning compliance with political authority. If the F.P. or its successor, the T.U.L.F., announced a three day hartal, we had to comply and stay at home; there was no question of discussion. more..

Dreams of Anoja

Jun 20 (SLW) Growing up in Ceylon in the 1960s was difficult. We were growing up in a socialist experiment administered by Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike who was influenced by the leading left-leaning politicians of the time, Dr. N.M Perera and Colvin R de Silva. The power behind the throne was Felix Dias Bandaranaike. In true planned economy form the consumption of rice was restricted to three days a week, sugar and milk powder were hard to come by. more..

Ranatunga slams BCCI over IPL scheduling

Jun 20 (CI) Arjuna Ranatunga, the former Sri Lankan captain, has said the BCCI "sacrificed national interest" and hurt India's chances at the ICC World Twenty20 by giving the IPL more importance. His comments come soon after India coach Gary Kirsten blamed the fatigue caused by the IPL and the minor injuries picked up during the tournament for the team's lacklustre showing at the World Twenty20. more..

Gayle and Dilshan's one-man show

Jun 20 (CI) The second semi-final between Sri Lanka and West Indies had several statistical highlights. Here are the important numbers from the game. Chris Gayle became the first batsman to carry his bat through an innings in a Twenty20 international, scoring an unbeaten 63 in his team's miserable total of 101. Gayle's 63 constituted 62.37% of West Indies' total, which is the highest in a complete innings. more..

Sri Lanka standby loan still not ready for board approval: IMF official

Jun 20 (LBO) An IMF loan for Sri Lanka is still not ready for approval for its executive board, an official said, though the country is rapidly emerging from a balance of payments crisis. IMF spokesperson Caroline Atkinson said Friday "whenever there is final agreement, then a program would go to the Executive Board." Last month Atkinson said she expected the loan of at least 1.9 billion US dollars to be approved within "weeks". more..

The fourth M

Jun 20 (CI) It really speaks volumes for the quality of Tillakaratne Dilshan's performances that today's masterclass was arguably the most frill-free innings he has produced thus far in the tournament. The scoop shot barely needed to be unfurled - the closest he got was the over-the-shoulder dispatching of a Jerome Taylor full-toss - because his touch was so magisterial that regulation cricket shots were all he needed. more..

Sri Lanka fined for slow over-rate

Jun 20 (AFP) Sri Lanka have been fined for a slow over-rate during its 57-run win over West Indies in the World Twenty20 semi-final at The Oval, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said. Australian match referee Alan Hurst acted after Kumar Sangakkara's side was ruled to be one over short of its target at the end of the West Indies innings when time allowances were taken into consideration. more..

Top NGOs face peril despite country returning to ‘normalcy’

Jun 20 (AT) Despite the end of war against LTTE and the return to ‘the normalcy’ in Colombo, some civil society outfits in Colombo continue to be on the rough ride facing peril. The Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) and Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) are two such institutions reportedly facing uncertainty. Initially no less than five national level NGOs & INGOs were under ‘pressure’-CPA, more..

Communal riots in SL

Jun 20 (AT) Communal riots occur all over the world where ever perceptions of majorities and minorities are exploited by interested parties, not excluding the west. They are less likely to occur where there are homogenous societies. UK had its Notting Hill Gate riots; the USA has black v white riots especially in the south. India has its riots annually/regularly mainly in the searing hot summer. These racial riots justifiably bring condemnation on more..

Tamil detainees still held in terrible conditions

Jun 20 (wsws) Despite legal challenges by detainees and expressions of concern by UN and international aid agencies, the Sri Lankan government is continuing to hold nearly 300,000 Tamil civilians indefinitely in huge internment camps. Not only are the detainees denied their basic legal and democratic rights, but now face growing dangers of disease. Only a handful of elderly people and young children have been released from the camps, more..

The LTTE: India's Prodigal Son

Jun 20 (SLW) Against this background, if we view LTTE's relationship with India, its somersaults and ultimate collision, a certain clarity emerges. The LTTE's sense of greatness, and the feeling that they were the bearers of the torch of Tamil nationalism, made them feel that they had the moral right to leadership. This was enhanced by the fact that they believed they had sacrificed the most to build a basis for the armed struggle. more..

Obstacles to IDP welfare gradually being overcome – John Holmes

Jun 20 (GDI) Humanitarian aid is getting into Sri Lanka's war displacement camps, and the SL government has been allowing out civilians into their former homes. Last week some villagers were taken back to their former homes in a sort of ‘go-and-see’ tour and many decided to return back to their villages. Aid vehicles carrying food, health and other supplies are now gaining access to the camps more..

Normalcy returns to schools in Vavuniya

Jun 20 (GDI) SL government ordered the reopening of 34 schools in Vavuniya with immediate effect, Vavuniya Zonal Education Director, Ranjani Oswald said. The Director further explained that these schools were used as temporary shelters for civilians who fled from the North during the war. Day-to-day educational activities are already undertaken, and there’s a good turn up of students and teachers as well,” more..

Crooks coax hundreds into a banned pyramid scheme

Jun 20 (GDI) A pyramid selling scheme that has been spreading through the Kurunegala district has been detected by Sri Lanka police. The police arrested a financial racketeer who is in prowl promising with the lure of near-instant wealth. The police said "high-pressure" sales tactics were employed to coax hundreds of people to sign up for a get-rich-quick project. “This is a scam and it’s completely prohibited under civil law,” more..

TV Lanka to transmit programmes to Vavuniya

Jun 20 (GDI) The TV Lanka Television station has made all the necessary arrangements to telecast their prorgammes including a considerable amount of Tamil programmes in Vavuniya, Managing Partner of the ‘Television and Radio Networks’. The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) has granted the telecasting rights for the company while allocating a frequency to transmit its programmes to the region, more..

SL Navy categorically rejects allegations of assault on Tamil Nadu fishermen

Jun 20 (GDI) SL Navy has been paying its attention on recent news reports appeared in the media alleging that the Government of Sri Lanka intends on constructing a watch tower and a military base on the Katchatheevu Island. And, apart from such false allegations, concerned media reports went on to say that SL harassed Tamil Nadu fishermen. The Government of Sri Lanka categorically denies about media reports and more..

Govt declares a National Food Week from June 22 – 28

Jun 20 (GDI) With right support and technological know-how, smallholder farmers can double or triple their yields. However, a dangerous mix of the global economic slowdown combined with increasing food prices push many people into hunger and poverty, Agricultural Ministry said in a statement. The statement further said that SL Government has declared a National Food Week from June 22 to June 28 for the year 2009. more..

Uthuru Wasanthaya- a gateway to development

Jun 20 (LG) Basil Rajapaksa, MP and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force for the Development of the North, whilst speaking at a meeting of the Task Force at the Vavuniya Divisional Secretariat on June (15) said that the progress of the ‘Uthuru Wasanthaya’ programme was being discussed that while offering a political solution to the people of the North who have been liberated from the grip of terrorism, more..

What next?

Jun 20 (LG) The wiping out of the LTTE by the armed forces resembles a giant tree being chopped off like nipping a tender bud. It is a historical event for Sri Lanka bearing an utmost significance and such historical events occur only once or twice in a century. The individuals who provided the leadership for such a major event inevitably become major personalities themselves. When Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected as the president of this country I thought a more..

A birthday wish and tribute

Jun 20 (LG) Destiny of a country will be determined by those who rule. Sri Lanka is fortunate that we have a leader who has a backbone to ward off external threats and pressures. The fact that our beloved leader loves the country dearly is also our greatest endowment. He has proved over the past three years in no uncertain terms that his beloved Motherland comes first. President Rajapaksa has paid his debt to the nation. more..