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JMC election feared to be violence-filled - TNA

Jun 26 (TN) ”The first election related violence of the burning of Tamil dailies in Jaffna Thursday morning heralds similar violence to be faced in the Jaffna Municipal Council (JMC) election,” Mavai Senathirajah and Suresh Premachandran, Jaffna district parliamentarians, said to the media after submitting TNA nomination list Thursday to the election officer at Jaffna Secretariat. more..

Sri Lanka issue: TN CM calls for unity among State parties

Jun 26 (PTI) Lamenting the "differences" among political parties in Tamil Nadu over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Thursday called for "unity at least henceforth" to work for the Tamils not only in the island nation but all over the world. Mr. Karunanidhi was replying to a calling attention motion in the State Assembly on the fate of the European ship M V Captain Ali more..

President won't win peace, democracy, economy - Mangala

Jun 26 (CT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa may have won the war against the LTTE, but he won’t be able to win peace, democracy, economy and the international community, said SLFP Mahajana Wing leader Mangala Samaraweera. Speaking to the media at his party head office, Mr. Samaraweera said that after the Army won the war, the country’s rulers have an unfulfilled task of creating a prosperous nation. more..

Sri Lankan FM to visit China

Jun 26 (Xinhua) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama will pay an official visit to China from July 1 to 5 at the invitation of Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang made the announcement here Thursday at a regular press conference. Qin highlighted the traditional friendship between China and Sri Lanka, noting that the two had already forged a comprehensive and cooperative partnership. more..

Catholic churches get government cash grants

Jun 26 (UCAN) The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka has welcomed cash grants from the government to develop church facilities in the country. "The Church is thankful to the government for its donations to restore places of Catholic pilgrimage," said Bishop Anthony Leopold Raymond Peiris of Kurunegala. Two shrines have been awarded grants in his diocese. St. Anne's Shrine is to build a new hostel for priests and more..

Requiem Mass held for 'lost generation'

Jun 26 (UCAN) Physically and mentally battered Tamils recently attended a requiem Mass for the thousands who died in the 25-year civil war in the country. "We have lost a generation," said Rajan Seemanpillai, 69, a mourner at Jaffna cathedral. Five of his family members died in the war and he says he cannot even see surviving family members who are now in distant refugee camps. The memorial service in St Mary's cathedral in the northern city was held on June 20, more..

'Reactivation of press council, not to curb media'

Jun 26 (CT) Media minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena has stressed that the reactivation of the Press Council was not intended at curbing or censoring the media. Speaking to the media, he responded to a remark on the issue made by UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena. According to the minister, the Press Council has been reactivated on a proposal by UNP MPs to the parliamentary committee on public enterprises. more..

Lanka IOC to spend $30 million on outlets as civil war ends

Jun 26 (BN) Lanka IOC Plc, a unit of India’s largest oil refiner, plans to spend $30 million to double the number of its retail outlets and benefit from a revival in the South Asian island’s economy after the end of the civil war. The Indian Oil Corp. unit aims to add 35 to 40 fuel stations annually over four years to cater to an expected rise in diesel and gasoline demand after the government declared victory over rebels more..

Season of the Spirit Bear: Part 4

US to press for political reconciliation in Lanka

Jun 26 (PTI) Observing that a lot needs to be done in Sri Lanka, Obama Administration's point man for South Asia today said the US would continue to press for the "political reconciliation" with the ethnic Tamil community. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake said there has been an improvement in access to the internally displaced persons after the end of the war between the Tamil Tigers and Lankan security forces. more..

Sri Lankan media groups ask Govt not to re-establish powerful media council

Jun 26 (VOA) In Sri Lanka, media groups have asked the government to scrap moves to re-establish a media panel which could jail journalists. The reactivation of the Press Council is being seen as a means to control the media in a country where concerns have been voiced about intimidation and pressure on reporters critical of the government. The government's move to revive the powerful Press Council was announced by the media minister, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena. more..

Sri Lanka calls for defects correction in world financial system

Jun 26 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka on Thursday called on the international community to correct the defects of the existing world financial system in order to support sustainable economic development and international market stability. The statement came as G.L. Peris, minister of export development and international trade, was addressing the high-level UN meeting on the current world financial and economic crisis and its impact on development. more..

Cornish surfers off to Sri Lanka

Jun 26 (BBC) Around 40 surfers from Cornwall are heading to Sri Lanka for a special UK Pro Surf Tour Champion of Champions contest that starts on 1 July. Surfers will travel to Aragum Bay, renowned as one of the best point breaks in the world. The event coincides with a visit from Cornish-based charity 'Surf Relief' who are going to revisit projects they have set up in the local community. Surf Relief was formed in 2005 to help people affected by the Asian tsunami. more..

Beware of those who play a different tune now

Jun 26 (AT) In an interview with The Sunday Island last week, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that an influential section of print and electronic media which worked overtime against the government as it battled the LTTE during the past three years, had now switched sides. According to the Defence Secretary, those who now fill pages with stories and pictures of battlefield victories did precious little when the LTTE remained strong. more..

Sri Lanka Small Miracle – Sri Lanka Tourism’s new brand launched

Jun 26 (AT) Sri Lanka Tourism officially launched its new logo and tagline “Sri Lanka Small Miracle” today, ushering in a new era for Sri Lanka Tourism. The rebranding is an integral part of the repositioning strategy of Sri Lanka Tourism, and comes at an opportune time with the dawning of a new era of peace in Sri Lanka, where there are much expectations and opportunities in the tourism industry. more..

Michael Jackson, pop music legend, dead at 50

Jun 26 (CNN) Michael Jackson, the show-stopping singer whose best-selling albums -- including "Off the Wall," "Thriller" and "Bad" -- and electrifying stage presence made him one of the most popular artists of all time, died Thursday, CNN has confirmed. He was 50. He collapsed at his residence in the Holmby Hills section of Los Angeles, California, about noon Pacific time, suffering cardiac arrest, more..

Sinhalese, Tamils and Sri Lanka:Need for a paradigm shift

Jun 26 (LG) The war between the LTTE and the government of Sri Lanka is over. The pursuit of an independent Tamil Eelam- an illusion- initially floated by the democratic political leadership of the Tamils, thereafter passionately pursued by various militant-terrorist groups, including the LTTE and finally carried forward in a highly organized, but fatally flawed manner by the LTTE, has proved to be just what it was- just an illusion! more..

Assistant secretary of the state calls for resettlement, elections

Jun 26 (IL) Ambassador to the United States, Jaliya Wickramasuriya, assured a capacity Georgia State University library crowd Monday that his nation’s recent victory over the LTTE terrorists will ensure human rights and prosperity for all Sri Lankans, especially those harmed by a quarter century of conflict. Ambassador Robert Blake, new Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia and Central Asia told at the hearing of the Congressional Subcommittee on South Asia, more..

Once a Tiger spy, 18-yr-old seeks normal life

Jun 26 (TOI) In the deep war-ravaged Wanni jungles in the north, he was used to the full-throated cries of ‘Puligalin Thaagam, Tamil Eelath Thayagam’ (The Tigers thirst for Tamil Eelam homeland). Today, the battle cry has been pushed into the deep recesses of his scarred mind. At a rehabilitation camp in Ambepussa, 60km from Colombo, on a scenic terrain girdled by hills, he wakes up at 5.30am every day and sings the Sri Lankan national anthem in Sinhalese, more..

TNA harking back to colonial era

Jun 26 (AT) Newly appointed TNA MP Thomas William has urged the government to restore the status Tamils enjoyed under the British. His name too sounds more British than Sri Lankan. What exactly does William mean by the ‘status’ Tamils enjoyed in the pre-independence era? All we know is the Jaffna Tamil elite – and for that matter sections of the Sinhala elite too – enjoyed privileged positions during the colonial rule. more..

'We are not living in the Elara - Dutugemunu era'

Jun 26 (Island) Minister Rajitha Senaratne has been a consistent advocate of the devolution of power throughout his political career. A political activist since his university days, Senaratne, over a career spanning four decades, has been both on the political left as well as the political right. But what has never changed is his attitude towards the devolution of power. more..

Addiction to drugs: A major health problem in Sri Lanka

Jun 26 (LG) The United Nations, has declared " 1991 to 2000 as a decade against narcotic drug abuse." The official theme of the U.N was the need for, mobilising communities to prevent drug abuse. Politicians, Parents, Religious and Lay Leaders, the community must bond together to arrest this dangerous trend of increasing drug addiction by youth and school children. more..

Electronic Identification: SLFP breaks into ‘Electronic Age’

Jun 26 (GDI) Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) members will be issued with electronic party identity cards. The new electronic identification system was launched on Wednesday (23) at a ceremony held at Temple Trees and SLFP General Secretary Minister Maithripala Sirisena presented the first electronic identity card to incumbent SLFP leader President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

'Special Economic Centers to be set up in the North'

Jun 26 (GDI) 'Negenahira Udanaya’ and ‘Uthuru Vasanthaya’ underline northern agricultural, industrial and cultural Renaissance, and to fulfill such great aspirations, Special Economic Centers will be set up in the North to market their agricultural products, Minister Bandula Gunawardhana said. “The inflation ratio will be maintained as a single digit as it has been, and it’s a great economic victory for the government,” more..

Swine Flu on slow rise but under control

Jun 26 (GDI) “Another two more Swine Flu patients have been reported in Colombo. Both patients are from Australia, and with these two patients the total number of the affected in Sri Lanka has risen to ten,” Dr. Geetani Wickremasinghe said. “There’s no reason to be panic stricken. If identified soon they could be cured. Four of the patients were cured, but six are still receiving treatments at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Angoda,” more..

UK invests on Cement and Fertilizer industries

Jun 26 (GDI) Two British entrepreneurs expressed their interest in setting up their industrial ventures in Sri Lanka. AML Products, a UK based conglomerate, will invest money in partnership with Sterling Investments and Development Lanka Limited and D M L Holdings Limited. Board of Investment of Sri Lanka granted investment approval to both Sri Lankan companies to work to manufacture in collaboration with their British investor. more..

Rs. 36.4 million allocated for tsunami orphans

Jun 26 (GDI) An amount exceeding 36.4 million rupees have been spent on tsunami orphaned children who lost their parents or guardians, Chief Government Whip, Minister Dinesh Gunawardhana told parliament today. He said the 'Mahinda Chinthana' concept clearly mentioned that such a fund will be established. Accordingly, 689 tsunami orphans receive concessions from the fund, the Minister added. more..

BOI signals go ahead: Three garments project, supply chain and poly packaging set up

Jun 26 (GDI) The Board of Investment granted approval for three companies go ahead with their investments amounting Rs. 171 million. Apparels, supply chain and packaging are the core expertise of the prospective companies and BOI expects more job opportunities for unemployed youth from these projects. The agreements on behalf of the BOI were signed by BOI Chairman Dhammika Perera and more..

Not a pretty sight: the row over Sri Lanka's camp toilets

Jun 26 (AN) Ever since the final days of Sri Lanka's offensive against the Tamil Tigers sent hundreds of thousands of people fleeing, aid agencies have been struggling to cope with the needs of the displaced. Add to that the operational restrictions imposed by the authorities, and it has been a challenging environment to work in. Not helping matters is a standoff between the government and the NGO community that is manifesting itself in the local media. more..

New Zealand parliamentarian Honourable Locke is anything but honourable

Jun 26 (SLW) On June 16, the Honourable Keith Locke, Member of Parliament representing the Green Party rose from his bench and made a speech that was everything a South Island Kea (Nestor notabilis) would have uttered had it flown to Wanni or had conversations with the pro-LTTE Diaspora in New Zealand. He had certainly not made his research before reflecting whatever that was told to him obviously from the pro-LTTE Diaspora and more..

Season of the Spirit Bear: Part 5

Make use of Cuban technology to suppress dengue – The Presidednt

Jun 26 (LT) The President has instructed officials of the Ministry of Health and local government institutions to take immediate measures to get down the bacteria used in Cuba to suppress dengue spreading mosquitoes. As many local government councils did not have proper places to dump garbage the President instructed the relevant officials to take over the lands that are used at present to dump garbage. more..

“Let’s cultivate…” project eats up 159 billion

Jun 26 (LT) In the year 2008, the year “Api wawamu – Rata nagamu” (Let’s cultivate and build Motherland) project was implemented the government has spent Rs.159.34 billion to import food stuff. In 2007, when the project was introduced, only Rs.101.46 billion had been spent to import food. Accordingly in 2008 the year the government intended to fully implement the project Rs.57.87 billion more was spent which is an increase of 57%. more..

4 more LTTE submarines hidden in M'tivu seas

Jun 26 (CT) The military has received information about four more submarines of the LTTE hidden in the seas off Mullivaikkal in Mullaitivu, reports said. Tiger cadres who had surrendered to the Army from welfare camps in Vavuniya had revealed about the existence of these submarines. The Navy is planning to use its divers to search for these submarines. One LTTE submarine was found in Mullaitivu on information provided by an arrested Tiger cadre.

Environmental crisis - Root of the global economic downturn

Jun 26 (DN) According to these tired systems the chief indicate of development is the growth of the GDP. Engaging in unchanging industrial jobs, shifting away from labour intensive jobs, pending large amounts of time in physically non-taxing activities, constructing homes and establishments that far exceed actual requirements, building and using larger and larger vehicles, constructing wider and wider roads to run them on, more..

Season of the Spirit Bear: Part 6

Sri Lanka should strike oil soon

Jun 26 (DN) It is expected that Sri Lanka will strike oil in the near future as Cairn Lanka (Pvt) Limited is in the process of completing the detailed study to facilitate its efforts, a senior official from Cairn India said. “The support given by the Government in this endeavour is very encouraging. We received its fullest cooperation and we are happy with the progress,” he said. more..

Organic fertilizer to the fore

Jun 26 (DN) The Government is now in the process of promoting organic fertilizer for agriculture and plantation sectors to cut down chemical fertilizer imports by 25 percent in the next three years. This is an initiative taken by the Agricultural Development and Agrarian Services Ministry. Sri Lanka imports Rs 6 billion worth of chemical fertilizer to the country annually and the Government plans to curtail chemical imports by 25 percent in the next three years, more..

Irate nurses drop their uniforms: Protest a flop, says Ministry

Jun 26 (Island) Nurses attached to five government hospitals yesterday reported for duty in casuals to protest against the government’s failure to provide them with their annual uniform allowance on time. Anura Jayamanna, General Secretary of the ACNU yesterday said that nurses at the National Hospital, the Ragama Teaching Hospital, the Eye Hospital and Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children joined yesterday’s protest. more..

Samurdhi benefits politicians more than the poor

Jun 26 (Island) In Sri Lanka, while a small shock can push many to below the poverty line and those already poor below to extreme poverty, the social safety net programme designed to lift them up is actually a safety net for politicians, a recent conference of academics and economists highlighted. The Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies, Dr. Saman Kelegama said that a small shock to Sri Lanka’s economy, more..

AIADMK, MDMK stage walk out over Sri Lankan Tamil issue

Jun 26 (IANS) The opposition AIADMK and MDMK Friday staged a walk out from the Tamil Nadu assembly protesting the speaker’s decision to not allow them to speak on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. When AIADMK’s Jayakumar said the island nation had violated international war norms by killing around 50,000 people in the final assault phase of the ethnic war, Speaker R. Avudaiappan intervened and said the notice to discuss the issue was given to him only Thursday. more..

India agrees to send more de-mining teams to Northern SL

Jun 26 (AT) On a ‘request’ from Sri Lanka government, India has agreed to increase its de-mining teams by eight. “The Indian government earlier agreed to send four teams but now on the request made to them, they are trying to increase the number by 8”, said Basil Rajapaksa, Senior Advisor to President, who was here in Delhi along with his brother, defence secretary Gothbaya Rajapaksa and Lalith Weertunga, Secretary to the President for talks with more..

Dealing with media: Speaker regrets repeal of draconian laws

Jun 26 (Island) Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara yesterday said Parliamentarians’ decision to repeal laws necessary to take punitive action against misbehaving journalists had been one of the most foolish moves on their part. He said that their decision to relinquish parliamentary powers had been wrong and it had caused an erosion of the supreme powers of the House. more..

Time’s ripe for a more co-operative South Asia

Jun 26 (ANN) A matter for relief among those advocating a more cooperative and positively-oriented South Asia, is the relative absence of ‘India -bashing’ among volatile sections in Sri Lanka, despite India figuring prominently in Lankan affairs, in the wake of Sri Lanka’s recent military effort to crush the LTTE and the issues arising from it. This is a far cry from the mid eighties, for instance, when wanton criticism of India in Sri Lanka, reached a shrill crescendo. more..

Seylan to be bailed out by public institutions

Jun 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Seylan Bank will be bailed out with the help of money from state institutions while a bid from a private investor was rejected because it did not meet ownership limits, the Central Bank said. The Central Bank, which is the banking regulator, said in a stock exchange filing that Seylan will issue shares to raise 3.0 billion rupees with support from state institutions. more..

Police hunt for killer

Jun 26 (DM) Four police teams from Ehiliyagoda and Ratnapura were deployed by Ratnapura SSP Kithsiri Ganegama to arrest the person or the persons responsible for the brutal murder of Pumi Madhushika Jayasinghe (a Grade 10 student of Ellawala Maha Vidyalaya, Eheliyagoda) that sent a shock wave across the area last Wednesday. Pumi, the youngest in her family, was a bright student of Ellawala Maha Vidyalaya and a prefect of the school. more..

UNP foresees danger

Jun 26 (DM) The main opposition UNP said yesterday the newly passed Chief of Defence Staff Bill would deprive those from the civil service the opportunity of being appointed as Defence Secretary. UNP front-liner John Amaratunga told parliament that the Chief of Defence Staff post which already exists would be given legal status through this legislation. He said the person who held this post would be answerable to the Defence Secretary, and more..

SLIC scam: Vasu wants action against VIPs

Jun 26 (DM) Consequent to the landmark judgment to return the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) to the government, the petitioner in this case and presidential adviser Vasudeva Nanayakkara yesterday urged relevant state institutions to take legal action against those responsible for the controversial transaction. Mr. Nanayakkara’s attorneys Abdeen Associates in letters to the Deputy Inspector General, the CID, more..

FR filed to cancel oil hedging payments

Jun 26 (DM) A fundamental rights application was filed in the Supreme Court opposing the payments being made to five banks on the controversial petroleum hedging deals entered into by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC). The well-known public interest litigant Nihal Sri Ameresekere filed this application citing the CPC, Treasury Secretary Sumith Abeysinghe, Standard Chartered Bank, Citi Bank, Deutsche Bank, Commercial Bank and People’s bank, and more..

Sri Lanka new port cargo assured by Indian growth: official

Jun 26 (LBO) A contract to build a new container terminal in Sri Lanka's Colombo port, despite delays, will be awarded before the year-end, and the facility will be assured of cargo given Indian growth, a senior official said. Sri Lanka Ports Authority chairman Priyath Bandu Wickrama said that although India had begun expanding her own ports, Colombo's new port would still get enough cargo as only a small share of India's trade was still containerized. more..