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Jurists say barred from Sri Lanka massacre inquest

Oct 5 (Reuters) The International Committee of Jurists (ICJ) said on Wednesday Sri Lanka had refused to allow it to send an observer to the inquest into the killing of 17 aid workers in the northeast of the country in August. The Geneva-based body, linking 60 leading lawy more..

Mavai Senathirajah urges government to honour Ceasefire Agreement on A-9 Road

Oct 1 (AT) Mavai Senathirajah urges government to honour Ceasefire Agreement on A-9 Road "It was clearly agreed according the Ceasefire Agreement signed in February 2002 that A-9 Road would be kept opened for non-military traffic of goods and passengers. Accordingly LTTE kept the road opened by adopting certain procedures in the road stretch under their control." said Mavai Senathirajah. more..

There’s good news and bad news

Oct 1 (AT) By placing the issue of Tiger terrorism front and centre before the two largest audiences available in international politics (UN General assembly, NAM summit) as well as in numerous bilateral meetings and multilateral forums, hammering home the truth of LTTE aggression and the quintessentially defensive character of Sri Lanka’s military response, reiterating his commitment to a multiethnic, multi religious, more..

Buying Time or Losing Time?

Oct 1 (AT) The ongoing national government drama, irrespective of its eventual outcome, is likely to be of some use to its two main actors, President Mahinda Rajapakse and Leader of Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe – as a time buying exercise. Mr. Rajapakse can use the Quest for a National Government to deflect international pressure to come up with a political solution to the ethnic problem while more..

Mystery surrounds the death of Sencholai victim Dayalini

Oct 1 (AT) Mystery surrounds the death of one of three survivors from LTTE’s Sencholai Military camp who was transferred to Vavuniya hospital and sent for further treatment to Kandy Hospital but re-transferred to Vavuniya hospital before she recovered from her injuries. Vavuniya District Judge M. Ilancheliyan ordered the Police to investigate why she was transferred back to Vavuniya before her recovery. more..

Sri Lanka sets new conditions for talks - reports

Oct 1 (TN) Sri Lanka’s government has imposed new conditions for talks with the Liberation Tigers, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, chief spokesman on defence matters told the Sunday Times. The paper says the conditions are: “a specific time frame should be provided by the LTTE to resume and conclude peace talks; the LTTE should give an assurance to the international community and Donor Co-chairs of the peace process that more..

JVP told not to interfere with SLFP-UNP talks

Oct 1 (TN) The main opposition UNP Saturday appealed to the JVP, a Marxist, Sinhala Nationalist party, not to interfere with the progress made by the two main political parties UNP and SLFP, main constituent of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA), in reaching a consensus in solving the ethnic crisis, sources said. more..

SLMM visits ambush site in LTTE controlled Pullumalai

Oct 1 (TN) Eleven cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were killed in an ambush carried out by the counter-insurgency Special Task Force (STF) personnel inside LTTE territory in Pullumalai in Batticaloa district around 5:30 a.m. Saturday, LTTE Military Spokesman Irasiah Ilanthirayan said. more..

Inter Parliamentary Union in a bid to unite government-opposition

Oct 1 (LeN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has officially invited Inter Parliamentary Union General Secretary Anders B. Johnson to mediate to forge a consensus between the government and the United National Party, weekend newspapers said quoting diplomatic sources. It is also reported that Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe had handed over the President's invitation to the IPU General Secretary at its Geneva headquarters last week. more..

Bill Clinton to play a role in Sri Lanka's peace process

Oct 1 (LeN) Former US President Bill Clinton has expressed willingness to play a role in Sri Lanka's peace process. President Clinton visited Sri Lanka on a number of occasions for relief efforts in the aftermath of the tsunami tragedy and is leading a worldwide social services crusade. He has set up the Bill Clinton Foundation for this purpose. more..

Sri Lanka peace negotiator hopes Tamil Tigers will return to peace talks in October

Oct 1 (AP) Sri Lanka's top peace negotiator said he hopes the Tamil Tigers will return to peace talks in October and recognize that they will not achieve their dream of independence through violence. Palitha Kohona, head of the government's peace secretariat, said a Norwegian envoy trying to facilitate resumed talks will visit Sri Lanka in the coming week to try to get agreement on dates and an agenda for the meeting. more..

We are hungry to win matches - Jayawardene

Oct 1 (CI) Sri Lanka could not have asked for a better scenario to be in when they begin their quest for the ICC Champions trophy, which begins in India next week. Since their last one-day international against India was washed out by rain on August 20, they have had no international engagements till their Champions trophy qualifying round opening match against Bangladesh on October 7. more..

New twist to Sri Lanka central banks' Goldquest probe

Oct 1 (LBO) In another twist to the continuing GoldQuest controversy, remaining officials of the anti-pyramiding unit, that probed the GoldQuest case have been transferred for better career prospects, and to complete other urgent work, senior central bank officials said. more..

Sri Lanka focus on qualifying matches

Oct 1 (CI) Cricket fans in India will see a vastly improved Sri Lanka in the upcoming Champions Trophy one-day tournament, Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, predicted. Sri Lanka's pride was severely dented when they toured India last October, losing 6-1 in a one-day series against the Indians. more..

Former RAW chief protests India’s ‘ambivalence’ over LTTE

Oct 1 (TN) India’s former spy chief has criticised Delhi for not engaging with the both the LTTE and Sri Lanka’s government to prevent the slide into conflict. "India's inability to fully comprehend the ground realities in Sri Lanka and, hamstrung by the past, its reluctance to do business with LTTE to help evolve an equitable settlement may prove to be a monumental foreign policy blunder,” more..

SLA ban on building materials to Vaharai stays- Basil Rajapakse

Oct 1 (TN) Basil Rajapakse, brother and Senior Advisor to Sri Lanka's President Mr Mahinda Rajapakse, informed a delegation of Batticaloa District TNA parliamentarians that no building materials can be transported into LTTE-held Vaharai area north of Batticaloa until further notice, during a meeting held at the office the Srilankan President Friday at 11.00 a.m., sources in Colombo said. more..

Sri Lanka is a land of beauty, tea and extremes

Oct 1 (COX) I doubt Sri Lanka ranks high on most people's lists of places to visit. If they know the country at all, it is probably for the destruction and loss of life in the 2004 tsunami, or perhaps the nearly continuous fighting with Tamil separatists. Either the news is worse than reality or, when we toured Sri Lanka in May 2004, there was a lull. more..

LTTE attempts to rebuild its Eastern sector

Oct 1 (PISL) The LTTE’s Eastern sector is crumbling. If the Karuna’a split compromised the LTTE hold in the province, recent security forces operations in Sampur gave the final blow. The LTTE strength in its Batticaloa - Ampara sector is estimated at not more than 800 fighting cadres and 1,200 LTTE border guards known as Ellai Padai. more..

Karuna calls for India's mediation, federal solution

Oct 1 (PISL) He was once the most trusted confidante of LTTE leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran. He led all his battles with the Security Forces. And now, Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, better known as Karuna, is his arch rival. He has strengthened his armed group and formed his own political party, Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP). more..

Govt. sets 3 conditions for talks

Oct 1 (LNP) Any future peace talks with the LTTE will hinge on its leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, agreeing in writing or verbally to three major conditions, a Government spokesman said last night. Defence Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told The Sunday Times that the three conditions were: 1. A specific time frame should be provided by the LTTE to resume and conclude peace talks. more..

All envoys summoned for briefing by President

Oct 1 (LNP) All Sri Lankan ambassadors, high commissioners and consuls overseas have been summoned to Colombo by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to hear the government`s policy on a number of vital issues, including the peace process and ongoing defensive military measures. Foreign Secretary H.M.G.S. Palihakkara told The Sunday Times that President Rajapaksa would be sharing his vision on development and the peace process with the diplomats. more..

Sarvodaya expects over a million at Anuradhapura tomorrow

Oct 1 (LNP) Sarvodaya expects over a million people from all parts of the country and overseas to attend a Universal Peace Meditation (Vishva Sama Samadhi), to be held between 3 pm and 6 pm tomorrow (Monday) at Anuradhapura`s historic Mahameuna Uyana. Sarvodaya said that others are expected to join the meditation via live TV coverage on the ITN network and Sarvodaya`s own web cast ( more..

Move to appoint political stooge as Audit Chief?

Oct 1 (LNP) Trade unions have threatened to take stern action unless the Government appoints without delay an independent and experienced person as the Auditor General, a post that has been vacant since August 11. Alleging there were underhand moves to bring in a political appointee as S.C. Mayadunne`s successor, the Sri Lanka Audit Examiners` Service Union and Audit Services Union said tough union action would be taken if the Government did not appoint a permanent head without delay. more..

IGP’s list rejected: Lanka loses UN jobs

Oct 1 (SAMN) An alleged dispute among senior police officers has put a road block on an opportunity given by the UN for 58 officers to join the peacekeeping force in East Timor. Initially, Police Chief Chandra Fernando had recommended 58 officers for the peacekeeping jobs, but the Defence Ministery had rejected the list after Senior DIG Victor Perera who is in charge of Police Human Resources questioned the eligibility of these officers. more..

More radiation victims

Oct 1 (SAMN) Another doctor of the Institute of Cardiology has undergone surgery for brain cancer, making him the fifth person from the same unit to be diagnosed with the disease. Newspaper reports earlier highlighted the cases of four ‘unrelated’ patients – a retired nurse, a minor staffer a senior radiographer and a consultant cardiologist, all suffering from various forms of cancer. more..

Rural youth steal the limelight

Oct 1 (SAMN) The best effort was in the girls under 21 400M from R.M.C. Subashini of Senanayake MV Madampe.In the heats she timed 56.67 secos (on Friday). In the finals yesterday, the lass broke her own record with a new time of 55.87 secs (In the girls under 17 100M heats). S. Anandagoda from Mahamaya Kandy equalled Damayanthi Dharsha’s time of 12.54 secs. If one went by last weekend’s Senior Nationals, the schools athletes showed a marked improvement. more..

Govt. priority to protect flora & fauna

Oct 1 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has called upon the public to rally round the Government towards its march to protect and conserve the environment to face the impending challenges in the millennium. In his message to mark the World Environment Day today, the President stressed that awareness programs on how to live in harmony with the environment to reduce environmental problems should be implemented at large. more..

Millionaires among power pirates

Oct 1 (SO) Power and Energy Minister W. D. J. Seneviratne said yesterday that action will be taken to nab power pirates who are on the increase and special squads, have been deployed for the purpose. “Power pirates are not only poor people, but also millionaires who own large scale factories and other industries,” he said. more..

If LTTE is not willing, will talk to Tamils: Keheliya

Oct 1 (NS) If the LTTE is not willing to come for peace negotiations, the government will forget them and discuss with the Tamil people and Tamil political parties represented in the parliament on a devolution framework, Government Defence Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said yesterday. “As a viable solution for the ethnic problem the government has complete faith in the success of the All Party Conference. more..

UNP reaching out to the JVP

Oct 1 (NS) At a time when some members of the two principal political parties are seeking to promote long overdue cooperation by moving towards establishing a framework for cooperation on the basis of a ‘Common National Agenda’, it appears that another group in the UNP are seeking to perpetuate confrontation by bringing forward a concept which should have been introduced by the UNP in 1978 with the new Constitution which they introduced that year. more..

CBK accuses President of land grab

Oct 1 (NS) Anura Bandaranaike had taken steps to gift parcels of the Bandaranaike property to people who had served the family. Accordingly, they were given plots of land in Horagolla, adjacent to the Colombo-Kandy road. One of the recipients had promptly re-sold his plot to a real estate company. Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Chief Minister of the Western Provincial Council, got to know about this. more..

New laws to stem child abuse in school vans

Oct 1 (NS) Increasing complaints on abuse of children in buses and school vans has prompted the Child Development and Women’s Empowerment Ministry to bring the matter to the attention of the Education Ministry and introduce new regulations to cover the school transport system. Minister of Child Development Sumedha Jayasena is to take this matter up with the Ministry of Education in order to exercise greater supervision of the school vans and buses. more..

Sri Lankan combatants seem unlikely to resume truce talks

Oct 1 (NYT) The entrenched ethnic conflict on the island nation of Sri Lanka has sunk into the vise grip of war once more, leaving a trail of fear and devastation that is no less chilling for its familiarity. A 2002 cease-fire between the government in Colombo and separatist Tamil rebels has been effectively ended by six weeks of armed confrontation, though neither side has declared the truce void. more..

Lending help to land of laughter and loss

Oct 1 (TI) Arriving in Sri Lanka for a 10-week internship, I found it hard to believe this island nation halfway around the world had been ravaged by a tsunami 16 months earlier. Yes, graves lined the south coast road on my six-hour ride to Hambantota for my first assignment. And there was a smattering of new housing developments built for tsunami victims. more..

LTTE commanders old, infirm: Karuna

Oct 1 (HT) The commanders of the LTTE are now "old and infirm" and that is why it suffered severe setbacks in the recent military operations, says Karuna, who had defected from the LTTE in March 2004 and formed his own group of Liberation Tigers called the Tamileela Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP). more..

India faulted for Sri Lanka mess by top ex-spy

Oct 1 (IANS) India's failure to play a more active role in bringing peace to Sri Lanka may prove to be "a monumental foreign policy blunder", warns J.K. Sinha, a former number two in the country's external intelligence agency. Sinha, who was with the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) until two years ago, says India was content to remain on the margins of the peace process, in part due to its misgivings vis-à-vis the LTTE, more..

Son disowns Premadasa's anti-India approach

Oct 1 (IANS) The politician-son of Ranasinghe Premadasa, the Sri Lankan president who ordered Indian troops out of the island in 1989 sparking a diplomatic row, says he is keen to develop excellent ties with New Delhi. In an interview before ending an 11-day visit to India, Sajith Preamadasa of the opposition UNP also credited President Mahinda Rajapakse of the SLFP with pursuing a military campaign against the Tamil Tigers that he said was seen widely as 'most efficient and prudent'. more..

Clashes with Sri Lankan navy kill 7 Tamil Tiger guerrillas, military says

Oct 1 (AP) Two separate battles with the Sri Lankan navy left seven Tamil Tiger rebels dead, the military said Sunday, as troops and guerrillas traded artillery fire across the military's northern defense line. Three rebels were killed Saturday evening on Kayts Island west of northern Sri Lanka's Jaffna peninsula after sailors were deployed there, an official at the Media Center for National Security said on condition of anonymity, citing policy. more..

Sri Lanka heading for snap polls by year's end: state paper

Oct 1 (AFP) Sri Lanka's president has asked his party to prepare for general elections before year's end if the main opposition fails to back his minority government, a state-run newspaper said. President Mahinda Rajapakse has summoned members of his Sri Lanka Freedom Party and asked them to get ready for elections, the Sunday Observer said, quoting unnamed sources close to the president. more..

Norwegian envoy resumes Sri Lanka peace bid

Oct 1 (AFP) Sri Lanka's peace broker Norway is set for a fresh attempt to end a seven-month deadlock in talks after the warring parties agreed to meet, diplomats said. Special envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer will begin meetings with political leaders on Monday during a four-day visit aimed at jump-starting stalled negotiations between the government and Tiger rebels, diplomats said on Sunday. more..

Lack of South Asian consensus ruined chances at UN: Dhanapala

Oct 1 (ZN) Sri Lanka`s chances of securing the United Nations Secretary General`s post were scuttled by a lack of South Asian consensus heightened by India fielding its candidate, Colombo`s contender who withdrew from the race for the top job has claimed. "The absence of a South Asian consensus was certainly a deficiency in my campaign," Jayanta Dhanapala told Sunday Island Newspaper, more..

Tamil abductions: suspect arrested

Oct 1 (BBC) The police chief in Sri Lanka has pledged not to bow down to pressure from the authorities to release a suspect on abduction of Tamil civilians. Inspector General of Police (IGP), Chandra Fernando, has told Civil Action Committee that he would conduct a thorough investigation on the matter. more..

Lanka garment major to invest $1 bn in India

Oct 2 (PTI) Sri Lanka's leading clothing exporter is planning to set up a production base in India with an investment of up to $1 billion. Brandix Lanka, the island's second biggest clothing manufacturer, has teamed up with a few foreign collaborators to expand into India and set up an apparel park in Andhra Pradesh. more..

Prabhakaran is stuck in his own mess

Oct 2 (AT) Political analysts and even the Karuna Group agree that by launching Eelam War IV Velupillai Prabhakaran has painted himself into a corner and does not know how to get out of it. Analysts are expecting him to hit out with his last available weapon: suicide bombers. One other option is to go to talks. But here too he is stymied. The Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) has laid down three conditions more..

Consensual Governance in Sri Lanka

Oct 2 (AT) Several problems have beset this country since the crossover of a group of MP’s from the then UNP government to the opposition, thus originating the SLFP by its leader the late S W R D Bandaranaike together with another stalwart leader late D A Rajapakse, the father of the present president. more..

‘I don’t blame all of Australia because of one man (Hair)'

Oct 2 (IE) Within striking distance of 700 Test wickets, spin icon Muttiah Muralitharan meets Editor-in-Chief of The Indian Express Shekhar Gupta on NDTV’s Walk The Talk programme at the Sri Lankan village he helped rebuild after the tsunami. He says he has no problems bowling with Darrell Hair as umpire and calls Bishan Bedi’s criticism of his action senseless. more..

Employment for 20,000 targeting four Economic Zones

Oct 2 (GDI) The government will set up four new Economic Zones next year generating over 20,000 employment opportunities in each said the Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion, Rohitha Bogollagama. He said that they have identified nearly 750 acres each in Matara, Hambantota, Chilaw and Mihintale areas for this project. more..

Special plans for goods shipment to North

Oct 2 (GDI) The Government has formulated special plans to enable all agents of trade establishments operating in the North unhindered transport of essential consumer goods and other items from Colombo to the North. Accordingly, arrangements have been made to provide sea transport facilities for any agent to ship whatever items from Colombo and Trincomalee to the people of the North. more..

Leader involved in spate of Colombo abductions arrested, pressure from top to release him

Oct 2 (LeN) As a leader of a Tamil armed group involved in a spate of killings, abductions and extortions is now in police custody, the government has got an opportunity to show its integrity to the world by prosecuting him, New Left Front leader Dr. Wickremabahu Karunaratne said. He made this comment at a media briefing held in Colombo this afternoon. more..

Yes, she is my own sister, I don't condemn prostitution -Somawansa

Oct 2 (LeN) JVP Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe has admitted that the woman (Amarasinghe Kankanamlage Kusuma Cooray) who is accused of running a brothel at Battaramulla is his own sister and said "I do not condemn the males and females who are engaged in that profession. This profession is better than becoming a minister and then a rouge to rob public money." more..