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SL govt stands firm on proposed UN Human Rights Council session

May 12 (GDI) “Several European countries are lobbying to move a motion against Sri Lanka at a special UN Human Rights Council session, and Sri Lanka government is aware of such undesirable developments that inject fresh blood into a terror organization condemned the world over,” Minister of Human Rights and Disaster Management Mahinda Samarasingha said today (11) at a press conference held in Colombo. more..

Middle East trade unionists in agreement with SL counterparts

May 12 (GDI) Breaking the tight grip on migrant workers of recruiting agencies and recruiting countries, trade unions from Bahrain, Jordan and Kuwait have signed an agreement with Sri Lankan counterparts for the welfare of migrant workers. The new agreement grants all internationally recognized labor rights to Sri Lankan workers, with unions in receiving countries ensuring implementation. more..

Mind over muscle: Why change now?

May 12 (DW) Though the entire country supporting a quick resolution of the hostage crisis is paranoid, particularly around a 'delay in finishing this war', the Sri Lanka Army and Military Planners has maintained remarkable cool. No Army in the history of warfare has been subject to this much pressure and maintained such cool against all odds. What can be characterized as a remarkable success is the Army's choice to use its brains in this final phase of operations rather than muscle or brute force. more..

Dedication vital for nation's progress-President

May 12 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa urged all state employees to work with dedication like the gallant soldiers to prevent any type of division in the state machinery adding that unity shall help to simplify all tasks before the nation. The President made this observation while addressing the Nightingale commemoration ceremony held at Temple Trees yesterday (11). more..

“Machan” picked up for distribution in seven countries

May 12 (leN) Uberto Pasolini’s “Machan” been picked up for distribution in seven European territories, including Germany, France, Switzerland, Canada, Belgium, Norway and Sweden. The movie began its commercial run in Germany on 8th May, 2009 in seven cinemas. That was the film’s second European release following its theatrical release in Italy last September. After its run in Germany, “Machan” will commercially run in France, being distributed by UGC. more..

Child soldiers of TVMP arrested

May 12 (LT) Four child soldiers forcefully recruited to the armed wing of TMVP and given a military training were arrested at Kanthankudy on the 10th. All four child soldiers are below 18 years of age. Three TMVP leaders who had been detaining the children in a TMVP camp too have been taken into custody said an officer of the Kanthankudy Police. The Police further state the four children were abducted by the members of TMVP, tortured and given armed training after forcefully recruiting them to their armed wing. more..

10 branches of ‘Eelam’ bank in Vanni

May 12 (LT) The Elam bank of the tiger terrorist organization had ten branches in Batticaloa, Sampoor and Vanni area reveal police investigations. Police investigations carried out earlier had revealed that there were three branches at Kokkadicholai, two at Sampoor area in Tricomalee and five branches in Vanni area. When military operations commenced the banks gradually closed down but what happened to millions of rupees deposited in the bank is a mystery now. more..

UPFA group proposes land, monetary & police powers to PCs

May 12 (LT) A group appointed by UPFA government to present proposals for the meaningful implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution has finalized their proposal and will be submitting them to President Mahind Rajapakse. The committee consisting of Ministers Tissa Vitarana, Dilan Perera, D.E.W. Gunasekara, Rajitha Senaratne, Douglas Devananda, Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, more..

Sri Lanka greatly values economic relations with EU - Anura Yapa

May 12 (LNP) There are many opportunities for an expansion of bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and the European Union said Minister Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, at the European Union Summit which was held last week in Colombo. Sri Lanka greatly values her economic relations with the European Union which has been, since our independence, one of our leading trading partners, Minister said. more..

Victory has many fathers

May 12 (LNP) Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has told a TV channel in India that his ill-fated peace process led to a change of heart on the part of the international community as regards Sri Lanka`s security and helped the country secure international cooperation on military training and intelligence gathering. When he was Prime Minister, he used to boast that he had put in place an international safety net through his peace effort. more..

The doublespeak of the International Community

May 12 (PISL) Many years ago George Orwell wrote a book called 1984, in which he prefigured Mr Prabhakaran, a dominant figure who presided over a well of human misery. As we hear more from the Sri Lankans who have now escaped his clutches, as we see pictures of the luxury he and his family enjoyed, as we shudder at the injuries caused to the fleeing by bullets and landmines, we are reminded of the destruction and human misery imposed by those who seek and achieve absolute power. more..

A miasma of suspicion

May 12 (PISL) I have been astonished recently by the unwillingness of those who call themselves the International Community to assist properly the Sri Lankans who have recently sought refuge from the Tigers. They seem determined to keep them in tiny tents, as opposed to the relatively decent houses that were originally designed by Government. Even more worryingly, they go on and on about how toilets cannot be built to anything more than basic specifications, which means they turn disgusting very quickly. more..

Sabaragamuwa governor passes away

May 12 (CT) Governor of Sabaragamuwa Province Mohan Saliya Ellawala (61) passed away at a private hospital in Colombo, Sri Lanka this afternoon (May 12) following a brief illness. Mr. Ellawala had entered active politics in 1974. Earlier in his career, he had served as an MP, a minister, and as chief minister and chairman of Sabaragamuwa Province. Mr. Ellawala had been sworn in as Sabaragamuwa governor on 02 October, 2008.

President waging war successfully - CJ

May 12 (CT) The war against the LTTE is progressing successfully and is nearing its end, chief justice Sarath N. Silva has observed. "The Eelam four war began after LTTE terrorists closed the Mavilaru sluices and bombed part of it. As a result, around 30,000 Sinhala, Muslims and Tamil farmers lost their means of obtaining water." The CJ was speaking at the unveiling of a memorial for war heroes built by a group of Sinhalese and Muslims at Biyagama more..

Court order against removal of Lakshman Yapa

May 12 (CT) Sri Lanka court today (May 12) issued an enjoining order preventing the UNP from removing Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena from parliament. The court was considering a petition filed by the minister. Mr. Abeywardena who was elected to parliament on the UNP ticket, crossed over to government some years ago. He is presently non-cabinet minister of media and SLFP organizer for Hakmana.

Objections by CM halts Kegalle road project

May 12 (CT) A ceremony to lay the foundation for a Rs. 800 million alternative road in the Kegalle town had to be abandoned following objections by Sabaragamuwa chief minister Mahipala Herath. He was said to be against the new road, as it would result in the removal of a business place run by him in a land owned by the Kegalle Urban Council. It is a project that has been planned on the instructions of president Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Special unit to monitor foreigners

May 12 (CT) The Department of Immigration and Emigration has set up a special unit to monitor all foreign nationals in Sri Lanka. This unit can be reached on telephone no: 0115-329380 for the public to furnish information or lodge complaints about suspicious foreigners, said the department. The move comes after heightened activity and propaganda against Sri Lanka by foreigners visiting the island, said controller of immigration and emigration P.B. Abeykoon. more..

6 martial arts banned from schools

May 12 (CT) The future of six martial arts events at school level will be decided at a meeting convened by Education Minister Susil Premajayantha on May 25. Wushu, karate, Taekwondo, judo, boxing and wresting have been banned at schools following two deaths. Early this month, a student of D.S. Senanayake College, Colombo, Sri Lanka died due to injuries he had suffered in a Wushu game. more..

2 mysterious murders

May 12 (CT) A trader of coconut oil has been found murdered in Mutwal, Colombo, Sri Lanka. The man has been identified as 32-year-old Kamalesan Yogeswaran. A group claiming to be from the Army had shot him, reports say. However, the Army has denied any involvement in the killing. Meanwhile, a watcher of a coconut plantation has been killed in Sirambiadi, Puttalam. more..

59 Div cross over LTTE built earth bund at Wadduvakal

May 12 (MoD) The 59 Division troops led by overlooking Div Commander, Brigadier Prasanna Silva have stepped-up into the on-going hostage rescue operation, with initial advances made by 6 SLLI and 12 SLLI infantrymen crossing the LTTE constructed earth bund cum ditch North of the Wadduvakal causeway, early this morning. The initial forward military thrust was followed by the induction of Special Forces resulting in a rapid wipe-out of the remaining terrorist resistance in the area. more..

Palestinians say 'Hands off Sri Lanka'

May 12 (MoD) "Hands off Sri Lanka" say the Palestinians in unison angered and dismayed by the sinister manipulations and arm bending tactics of some self centered politicians of the West against Sri Lanka, one of the friendliest nations of Palestine. Palestinians, are fully aware of the struggle of Sri Lanka against the terrorist group called the LTTE who are trying to divide this small island nation on ethnic grounds. more..

59 division capture Wadduvakal bridge

Vesak in Jaffna

45 London LTTE men arrested for blocking streets and assault on the Police

May 12 (MoD) London's Metropolitan Police arrested 45 LTTE terrorist protestors when they moved from parliamentary square and blocked roads leading to the parliament, Monday (May 11). The arrests came after the London LTTE members blocked traffic in the area for several hours and the police tried to move them off the road. They defied the police announcement through loudspeakers that their move was illegal. more..

BBC - What they do not wish to see

May 12 (MoD) These are deliberate campaigns to extend the suffering of the civilian hostages while throwing a life line to an internationally banned terrorist outfit and its notorious leaders who are most wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity, said a defence official referring to a BBC news report, Sunday (May 10), carrying a pro-LTTE propaganda piece claiming the "death of 378 people" and "1,122 civilian casualties". more..

U.S. provides additional $6 million in short-term relief to IDPs

May 12 (USE) The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), has donated $6 million (Rs 720.5 million) for non-food aid assistance to provide short-term, life-saving interventions for IDPs in northern Sri Lanka. This is in addition to USAID’s recent announcement of a $15 million (Rs 1.8 billion) donation of food aid to the U.N. World Food Program. more..

Health sector achievements: Sri Lanka second to none –President

May 12 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa asserted that it was his firm belief that the nation was on the correct path, and would cross the threshold to victory, not only in defeating terrorism but in other spheres as well, in spite of efforts by some international elements backed by a few locals with vested interests, to portray the country as a failed state. “We are a nation which has a healthy foundation historically, more..

'We cannot work with daggers drawn'

May 12 (DN) "We cannot work with daggers drawn. The trade unions, professional associations, Ministry of Health, Universities and the SLMA, should sit down and discuss ways to resolve differences." said SLMA President Prof. Rezvi Sheriff in his message to the April issue of the SLMA news letter to be out next week. The message goes on: We can see team effort in action in the conflict zones. There are many players giving needed physical, nutritional, medical, health, social and emotional support. more..

Court allows action against Harry J

May 12 (Island) The Commercial High Court of Colombo yesterday permitted three shareholders of the Stassen Group to proceed with their action against Harry Jayawardena, Managing Director of Stassen, for denying the rights of minority shareholders. The three shareholders, the late Dr. V. P. Vittachchi, R. K. Obeysekera and Zaki Alif had filed the action against Harry Jayawardena. more..

'Shock waves of falsehood from Al-Jazeera'

May 12 (DN) Muslim religious leaders yesterday criticized the controversial Arabic News Channel, Al-Jazeera stating that the channel was sending shock waves of falsehood on air about the situation of Tamil civilians and how they are treated and cared for by the Government of Sri Lanka and its Security Forces. The leader of Muslim Thelological Council, Mowlavi Mubarak Abdul Majid said they regret that the station of Al-Jazeera has transmitted news more..

Ranil is our presidential candidate – SB

May 12 (Island) National Organiser, UNP and opposition leader, Central Provincial Council S. B. Dissanayake told a media conference in Kandy that the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe would be the party’s contestant at the forthcoming Presidential Election. Dissanayake said that the government would go for a presidential election ahead of a Parliamentary Election and the presidential polls would be held on February 22 next year. more..

Resettlement of IDPs phase II postponed

May 12 (Island) Minister of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Rishard A. Badhuideen yesterday said that the Government had postponed the second phase of the resettlement of IDPs in Silavathurai scheduled for yesterday. The Minister said that 2,100 persons (520 families) were to be resettled in their former places of residence under the ‘Uthuru Vasanthaya’ programme. This was because the Government wanted to give the utmost priority to addressing problems faced by the increasing number of IDPs more..

Medical Council questions viability of Rajarata degree

May 12 (DM) The Sri Lanka Medical Council has informed President Mahinda Rajapaksa that they have a problem in recognising the medical degree awarded by the Rajarata Medical Faculty as it lacks the human and physical resources needed to train the students. The Council’s registrar Dr. N.J. Nonis said that there were no proper facilities at the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital to provide clinical training to the 526 medical students of Rajarata University. more..

'Official negligence had created problems'

May 12 (DM) In response to media reports that the CT scanner at the Colombo National Hospital has gone out of commission, Healthcare and nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva on Monday (11) conducted an inspection in the company of officers concerned, a ministry press release said. However, the scanner had been found working smoothly while a number of connected problems had been revealed. more..

SC gives green light to scrutinise GK asset list

May 12 (DM) The Attorney General yesterday submitted before the Supreme Court an interim list of land and properties of the Golden Key Credit Card Company, its Directors, Chief Executive, its owners and agents and of subsidiary companies and their Directors. Attorney Mohan Peries told court that out of 112 directors, 36 had made their declaration of assets and the value of those assets were to be matched to verify the actual values. more..

Janashakthi Insurance licence suspended for three weeks

May 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Insurance Board said it has suspended Janashakthi Insurance's licence for three weeks from Tuesday and prohibited it from issuing new insurance policies. The suspension is in respect of Janashakthi's Long Term Insurance Business and General Insurance Business. "In terms of Section 18 (2) of the Regulation of Insurance Industry Act, Janashakthi Insurance is required to fulfill its obligations for insurance policies already issued," more..

Sri Lanka No 2 in software piracy in Asia: study

May 12 (LBO) Software piracy in the Asia-Pacific region continued to grow last year with Sri Lanka the second worst offender, a study said Tuesday, AFP news agency reported. The piracy was driven by the rapid growth in computer sales and the availability of bootleg programmes online. AFP said the annual survey by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and industry research firm IDC showed that in 2008, an average of 61 percent of the region's software were unlicensed. more..

Expressway march called spontaneous

May 12 (NP) When Tamil protesters occupied the Gardiner Expressway in a dramatic action on Sunday night, they were following no leader and no predetermined plan. In fact, according to activists, no one is in charge of the protests that have wreaked intermittent traffic havoc on Toronto for weeks. Instead, the protesters come out piecemeal, drawn by events in their homeland. They turned out in the thousands on the weekend after more..

Sri Lanka submits seabed claim to UN

May 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka formally presented its claim for sovereignty over an extended continental shelf around the island under international law to the United Nations last Friday, government officials said. The claim will be considered at the 24th session of the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to be held in New York from August 10 to September 11 this year. more..

Trócaire partner staff member killed

May 12 (Trocaire) A staff member of one of Trócaire’s main partners in conflict-affected northern Sri Lanka has been killed in the conflict there, that the UN this week condemned as a “bloodbath”. “Raj” Anthonipillai Uthayaraj, 26, was killed in Mullivaikal in the "No Fire" zone where civilians are seeking safety from fighting between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels. “This is dreadful news for Raj’s family, most importantly, but also for us in the Caritas family,” more..

Australia calls for temporary ceasefire

May 12 (AAP) Australia is calling for a temporary ceasefire in Sri Lanka to allow civilians to escape deadly fighting in the north of the country. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith made the call after acknowledging changed circumstances in the country, where rebels have been fighting for a separate Tamil homeland since 1983. It came as hundreds of Tamils and their supporters have gathered outside Parliament House in Canberra to protest more..

Leading Sri Lanka Tamil politician claims 'Genocide' by military

May 12 (VoA) Tamil Tiger rebels say Sri Lanka's military has renewed shelling Tuesday of the only remaining combat zone. The top government doctor in the rebel-controlled territory says at least 45 patients died when a mortar hit the admissions ward of the only remaining medical facility there. The military has repeatedly denied using heavy artillery to try to protect tens of thousands of civilians trapped with the rebels. more..

China-funded port project in Sri Lanka "commercial activity," FM spokesman

May 12 (Xinhua) China said Tuesday the Hambantota port project in Sri Lanka was a normal commercial activity. "Any attempt to distort the facts would be invalid," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told reporters. He was commenting on a report by the Times of London, which reported on May 2 that China was building a port in south Sri Lanka "as a refueling and docking station for its navy." more..

Three European Ministers at war footing against Sri Lanka in a media stakeout outside the UN Security Council

May 12 (AT) In a joint press encounter held yesterday on Sri Lanka, Foreign Ministers of United Kingdom and , France and also the Federal Minister of European and International Affairs of Austria were in New York to answer questions on Sri Lanka. David Miliband, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the UK in his opening address at the Media stakeout after being rebuffed when more..

War survivors battle with new lives

May 12 (AFP) It's called a "welfare village," but the heavily armed guards who surround the tented camp seem more concerned with containment than protection. Only those needing medical treatment and their immediate families may leave the compound where 60,000 men, women and children displaced by the Sri Lankan conflict share 7,000 white tents pitched on muddy, newly bulldozed land. No one can have visitors and the facility is open only for those on conducted tours. more..

Doctor says 49 killed in Sri Lanka hospital attack

May 12 (AP) A mortar shell struck the only functioning medical facility in Sri Lanka's northern war zone Tuesday morning, killing 49 patients and bystanders and wounding more than 50 others, a government health official said. It was the second time this month that the facility was hit. The attack came after a weekend of heavy shelling that killed hundreds of civilians trapped in the war zone. more..

Sri Lanka brushes off criticism, guns for Tigers

May 12 (Reuters) Sri Lankan troops broke through Tamil Tiger defences on Tuesday and the government brushed off Western criticism of civilian deaths as a rebel-orchestrated bid for a last-minute reprieve. The rebels, cornered in a coastal strip where they have held tens of thousands of civilians, for a third day accused the military of shelling the 2.5 square km (1 sq mile) no-fire zone, this time killing 45 people. more..

'LTTE trying to cover up failure to prevent exodus'

May 12 (MoD) LTTE spin doctors in a last ditch bid to force international intervention yesterday claimed that over 3,200 civilians had been killed in an artillery barrage directed at no fire zone on the Mullaitivu coast over the weekend and on Monday. Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa refuting the LTTE propaganda pieces said that this accusation was made to cover up death and injuries to several hundred civilians in more..

Tamils on the run in a war zone

May 12 (NP) Just 17 days old, the girl was fast asleep in the slender arms of her mother, whose hip was bandaged where the bullet had struck. Born in a bunker in the heart of Sri Lanka's northern war zone, to a lullaby of shelling and gunfire, she escaped last week in a fishing boat with her mother. Now they are IDPs, internally displaced persons. They are exhausted and frightened but relieved to have reached safety after a year on the run in rebel territory. more..

IOM pilot project aims to reintegrate former LTTE combatants

May 13 (IOM) IOM has launched a USAID-funded pilot project in the eastern district of Batticaloa to help reintegrate demobilized former LTTE Tamil Tiger rebels into civilian life. The Information, Counselling and Referral Services (ICRS) project aims to reintegrate up to 1,000 former members of the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikel (TMVP), an armed Tamil group led by Col. Karuna Amman, which split from the LTTE in 2007. more..