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Defence ministry evicts poor families as part of war drive

Aug 1 (wsws) The Sri Lankan government has issued orders to evict more than 800 families from their homes in central Colombo, claiming the land belongs to the defence ministry. Confronted by bulldozers tearing down their houses on July 18, angry residents clashed with riot police and sought intervention by the Supreme Court, which issued a stay order until July 30. However, 45 houses have already been demolished and more..

FMM (saint), Army Commander (villain) & the Terrorists (brothers)

Aug 1 (LG) The Free Media Movement (FMM) has released a press statement mentioning their ‘dismay’ about two interviews the current Army Commander has given. They say in the statement, I quote, “If indeed Lt. Gen. Fonseka has made the remarks attributed to him, the FMM is of the view, that it is unbecoming conduct of a highest military officer. At a time when he is spearheading a war against Tiger rebels, it is unfortunate that he has chosen it fit to justify indirectly the recent attacks on journalists. more..

LTTE tests boundaries as Wanni becomes untenable

Aug 1 (LG) LTTE units in north Pooneryn, launched a barrage of artillery fire at Muhamalai Army FDL, which senior officers believe could be to test the Army's newly acquired Electronic Weapons Locating Systems. These systems were not used to return the random harassing fire of the LTTE today. Damages were caused to a few abandoned bunkers and minor injuries were received by two soldiers in the vicinity of the area. more..

The innocent on the brink of agony!

Aug 1 (LG) It is reported that people of Manthai East, Thunukkai, Mallavi and Manthai West in the Mullaithevu district have been displaced and have taken refuge at schools in Vanneri Kulam, Kariyalai-Nagapaduwan, Palawarayan Kattu, Jayapuram and Thiru Murukandy areas. Furthermore, 100's of displaced families have taken refugee under the trees in the jungles. One NGO has pointed out that the newly displaced 817 families have taken refuge under the trees. more..

Reign of Anomy - An essay on the ethnic conflict

Aug 1 (LG) To the memory of M. Shanmugan, Senior Superintendent of Police, and Dharmasiri de Zoysa, Public Health Inspector from Balapitiya. "The things that impelled me into exile are also the things that bind me to what was once home". (Adapted from A Sivanandan’s novel, When Memory Dies.) I write this personal statement on Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict with considerable misgiving. I am neither a trained historian nor a social scientist. more..

The view point of the South!

Aug 1 (LG) Colombo is determined to pursue the war, since it is committed to the standpoint that the ethnic problem can be resolved through war. It believes in a military solution. Apart from the government, even the intelligentsia in the south seems to be holding the same view. For that matter, let us view the views expressed by Rt.Rev.Oswald Gomis in his interview with the Vatican radio broadcast on his 75th birthday. more..

A qualitative-quantitative improvement in the Army

Aug 1 (LG) The Sri Lanka Army's ranks are swelling by the day as unprecedented numbers join the ranks and deserters start returning due to a general amnesty. Almost every month, a new battalion completes training and joins the battlefront. The Army, while ambushing enemy reinforcement and troop movements, has kept own troops and their movements to the front lines safe, by regularly airlifting troops from the bases, directly to the battle-field. more..

Victory –Is It Worth The Price?

Aug 1 (LG) The long protracted ethnic war has brought about such an amount of death in our country that one can hardly imagine: so many valuable lives lost — the, flower of the nation both in the South and the North, destruction of valuable property through bomb blasts, aerial bombings, land mine blasts and shootings, both on land and sea; thousands of widows and orphans, the maimed and the homeless; those who live in refugee camps for ten, more..

Need for a professional administrator as Treasury Head

Aug 1 (LG) Now that the Jayasundara episode is over with his resignation from the post of Secretary to the Treasury in the wake of a court indictment, it prompted me to pen these few thoughts on the folly of appointing political hand-picks for the post of Secretary, General Treasury and the Ministry of Finance, which used to be the pinnacle of public Service in this country in the past. more..

Public Admin rules out Friday holiday for SAARC

Aug 1 (LG) The Public Administration ministry has ruled out declaring a public holiday on Friday (Aug. 01) in view of the SAARC summit. A spokesman for the ministry said they were not even considering declaraing a holiday. However ministry sources said that unofficially the police have told workers in the high security zones to report to work before 8.30 a.m. or face the consequences of getting held up in traffic blocks. more..

Disgusted Businessmen complain publicly to Ranil

Aug 1 (LG) The Business community who met Leader of Opposition and UNP , Ranil Wickremesinghe at ‘Shalika Inn ‘ Hall , Kegalle on 25th July , openly complained that the present Govt.’s lopsided policies and fiscal bungling have brought them to the brink of total disaster. Their entire business future and hopes are fast crumbling before their own eyes, they added. more..

SAARC nations set to deal with terrorism severely

Aug 1 (GDI) Latest reports arriving from the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting of the eight SAARC nations currently held at the BMICH in Colombo indicate that 'terrorism' will be a main focus of this year's summit as several SAARC nations including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan have experienced some of the deadliest terrorists attack in the recent past. more..

'SAARC at the threshold of a new era'

Aug 1 (GDI) Foreign Ministers of the eight SAARC nations attending the 'Council of Ministers' meeting have accepted the draft Declaration of the Colombo Summit as well as the Colombo Statement on Food Security placed before the Council by the Standing Committee comprising of Foreign Secretaries. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama addressing the media after the meeting said that the Council will consider matters related to food security in the region more..

TN police busts LTTE's supply chain

Aug 1 (TOI) The Tamil Nadu Police on Wednesday arrested a man alleged to be part of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) top brass. The Sri Lankan man, identified only as Thambi Annan, is reported to have been the LTTE pointsperson for procuring major consignments including explosive substances for the LTTE. Following specific information given by the State Intelligence, Annan was arrested in Chennai on Wednesday. more..

Honours even despite Sehwag century

Aug 1 (CI) India started promisingly in their quest to exorcise the ghosts of the SSC Test before being thwarted by double-strikes from Ajantha Mendis and Chaminda Vaas. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir played India into a position of domination but, after a rain break that accounted for the middle session and 75 minutes, Sri Lanka struck gold, taking four wickets for 11, bringing the memories of the collapses in the first Test back to roost. more..

TN fishermen assaulted by Lankan navy

Aug 1 (ZN) About 80 fishermen from Tamil Nadu were allegedly assaulted by the Sri Lankan navy in the Palk Straits in the early hours on Thursday, officials in Rameswaram said. The incident occurred even as political parties in the state staged protests during the past few weeks, demanding that the Centre take up the recurring incidents with the island nation and provide adequate security to fishermen. more..

Indian PM to hand over SAARC baton to Sri Lanka

Aug 1 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh flies to Sri Lanka Friday to attend the 15th SAARC summit that will bring together leaders of eight countries from a region that is increasingly looking at democracy as the answer to its many problems. The visit will also be the first by a Congress prime minister to Colombo since the eventful days of July 1987 when Rajiv Gandhi went there to sign the India-Sri Lanka accord with then president J R Jayewardene in a bid to end Tamil separatism. more..

Indian ships didn’t come by force - Govt.

Aug 1 (LD) The Indian warships that are presently in the Sri Lankan waters for the security of the Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh during the SAARC summit had not arrived by force, Minister of Media, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. Speaking at a press briefing in Colombo yesterday (July 30th), the minister noted that their presence was in accordance with an agreement between the two countries. more..

Udaya Sri Kariyawasam, new head of IBSL

Aug 1 (LD) Former head of the Bank of Ceylon and the Ceylon Electricity Board, Udaya Sri Kariyawasam, has been appointed chairman of the Insurance Board of Sri Lanka (IBSL) with immediate effect. President Mahinda Rajapaksa had ordered the Finance Ministry a few days ago to replace IBSL chief Gamini Wickremasinghe, who also heads the Securities and Exchange Commission, with Mr. Kariyawasam. more..

2 Indian journalists briefly detained in Galle

Aug 1 (LD) Two Indian journalists who are in the country to cover the India-Sri Lanka Test series were briefly detained yesterday (July 30th) in Galle on security grounds, the Free Media Movement says. The FMM said in a statement that it was relieved that both of them were released without much delay. Indian Techvision cameraman Ali Ekram of RP TV was detained by police while doing a story on the Galle cricket stadium's backdrop, the Old Dutch Fort. more..

OIC accused in rape further remanded

Aug 1 (LD) Kalutara Chief Magistrate, H. Anura Seneviratne yesterday (July 30th) directed to further remand an OIC of a police station until August 06th for allegedly sexual harassing a 14-year old girl. HQI of the National Child Protection Authority, W.D.V. Wijesena presented a lengthy description of intimidatory phone calls by the main suspect, Harold Rex Janson, to witnesses in the case. more..

Child dies as mother of 4 attempts suicide

Aug 1 (LD) Unable to cope with financial pressures and a gambling husband, a mother of four had attempted to take the lives of her children and herself. She had jumped into a well with one child after attempting to strangle the others around 11.00 a.m. yesterday (July 30th), reports say. The mother, a resident of Dippitigoda in Wattala has forced one of her children to jump into the well and followed soon afterwards. more..

Tamil youth gunned down in Trinco

Aug 1 (LD) A Tamil youth was gunned down by an unknown gunman in Trincomalee yesterday afternoon. The victim of the murder at Wembuwa Colony, Thambalagamuwa around 4.20 pm has been identified as 29-year-old Arumugam Jayasankar. A resident of Potkerni, Thambalagamuwa, he was walking down the road, when the gunman in a motorcycle had struck. Meanwhile, 55-year-old Yusuf Mohamad Siddique was shot and injured at Mavadipalli in Samanturai around 8.30 pm on July 29th. more..

significance of SAARC summit for the LTTE

Aug 1 (TC) One can interpret the ceasefire offer of the LTTE as an expression of weakness in the face of the intense military operations, also it may be considered as a ploy to attract the international attention in the light of the forthcoming South Asian Association of Regional Corporation (SAARC) summit which is already in the limelight of the world politics for several reasons. more..

Washingtonians rally to lend support to historic temple

Aug 1 (AT) Led by the erudite Ven. Maharagama Dharmasiri thera, the Washington Buddhist Vihara is an inspirational mainspring for the Washingtonians bent on seeking solace from their daily chores. They gathered recently in large numbers to participate in their annual food festival to raise funds. It was a way of showing their gratitude to this haven of peace, the oldest Theravada Buddhist Vihara in USA. more..

Rain allowed us to regroup - Bayliss

Aug 1 (CI) The four-hour rain interruption after the lunch break gave Sri Lanka the opportunity to regroup after their bowlers were taken for 151 runs by Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir during the first session. On resumption, they picked up four quick wickets to reduce India from 167 for 0 to 214 for 4 at stumps. Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss admitted the interruption was most welcome. "The rain in some way helped us," he said. more..

The responsibility for July 1983

Aug 1 (PISL) The many accounts of the events of July 1983 that have appeared in the media over the last two weeks have also drawn many rather indignant responses. The thrust of these seems to be that, since the LTTE has committed many worse atrocities since then, it is unnecessarily indulgent to reminisce in sorrow about July 1983. more..

Korea too good for Sri Lanka

Aug 1 (Hindu) DPR Korea, the top-ranked team in the tournament, showed commendable passing and teamwork as it got the better of Sri Lanka 3-0 in a Group B match of the AFC Challenge Cup football tournament here on Thursday. The Koreans went into attack from the word go. Their strength lay in accurate passing and superb positional play. The first goal came as early as the 5th minute when Sri Lankan defender Madushka Pieris deflected a corner-kick into his own goal. more..

Sri Lankans experience partial solar eclipse today

Aug 1 (SLBC) Sri Lankans will experience a partial eclipse today. The Arthur C. Clark Centre says the eclipse will take place between 5.00 and 6.33 this evening reaching its peak at 5.47. During the partial eclipse 26 per cent of the sun will be covered by the moon. The centre advises people against observing the partial eclipse through the naked eye. This partial eclipse will be a fuller eclipse in country such as Canada, Russia, Mongolia and China.

Outsiders miss cultural differences when trying to help

Aug 1 (SH) Almost exactly eight months before Hurricane Katrina, Sri Lankans faced one of the worst natural disasters in modern history. About 30,000 Sri Lankans perished when a tsunami created by an undersea earthquake crashed ashore December 26, 2004. Tens of thousands more were injured or lost property. Yet today, nearly all say they have recovered from the trauma of the disaster. The answer to their recovery lies in their community, most say, more..

In Sri Lanka, family and friends help ease mental pain

Aug 1 (SH) Iresha Susanthi was playing on the beach with friends in the southern Sri Lankan village of Batheegama when the tsunami came in late 2004. She was 8 years old at the time, but said recently she remembers well the cries: "The sea is coming! The sea is coming!" Susanthi took off running with friends and made it up a nearby hill. The moment everything seemed safe she descended and ran home. She said it took another two days to find her mother's body. more..

In Sri Lanka, a holistic approach to recovery

Aug 1 (SH) It was morning when the water unexpectedly rose and rushed ashore, destroying nearly everything in its path. The human toll was inexplicable and fears of a mass mental health crisis were profound. Those are just some of the many similarities between the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. While the number of victims was much larger in Asia - more than 250,000 people were killed in the tsunami - the aftermath presented comparable challenges. more..

In Sri Lanka, harassment of journalists is commonplace

Aug 1 (SH) There was one moment for me in Sri Lanka, when I knew my job would be something beyond challenging. It was early in the morning on my first day. I was in Colombo, the administrative and economic capital of Sri Lanka. A 21-year-old in a raggedy Army uniform was pointing a Kalishnakov (AK-47) at me, telling me I would be unable to get past the checkpoint he was guarding unless I showed him my media credentials. more..

Sri Lanka starts small with bio-fuels

Aug 1 (LBO) Sri Lankan renewable energy experts have started experimenting with bio-fuel production as an alternative to expensive fossil fuels but are constrained by lack of funds and land for commercial production. A pilot project on bio diesel initiated in Nikaweratiya in the north western province will soon be converted to a community project, Rohitha Ananda, renewable energy project manager at Practical Action told LBO. more..

Katchatheevu row: Jayalalithaa threatens to move apex court

Aug 1 (IE) The storm in the Palk Strait is gathering strength again. Turning the heat on the DMK and the state Government, Opposition leader and AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa has threatened to move the Supreme Court to retrieve the Katchatheevu Islet from Sri Lanka. The killing of Tamil fishermen, allegedly by the Lankan Navy, on July 9 and 12 had set off a wave of protests in the coastal districts coupled with more..

Cutouts propelling Rajapaksa image questioned

Aug 1 (LD) Questions are being raised over the large SAARC cutouts on display in Colombo city that propel the image of the host country's president over the rest of the region's leaders. The prominent display of the picture of President Mahinda Rajapaksa while relegating other heads of state is a disregard of diplomatic decorum, a senior official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told 'Lanka Dissent.' more..

IFJ deplores Army chief's justification of attacks

Aug 1 (LD) The International Federation of Journalists says it deplores the recent statements by the commander of the Sri Lanka army, Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, which suggest a “blame the victim” attitude with regard to the spate of recent attacks on journalists. General Fonseka made these remarks in an interview published in the July 20th editions of the Sunday Observer newspaper and the Sinhala-language weekly Lakbima. more..

Athletes avoid Sports Medicine Unit

Aug 1 (LD) National athletes are reportedly avoiding the Sports Medicine Unit of the Sports Ministry after it became known that it had recommended a banned drug to female sprinter Pramila Priyadarshani. The Unit has suggested the same drug, bricanyl, to male sprinters Umanga Surendra and Chaminda Wijekoon, as well as to an under-15 cricketer, reports said. It has come to light that bricanyl contains the banned steroid terbutaline. more..

Sri Lanka to give expressway contract to Chinese firm

Aug 1 (LBO) The Sri Lankan government plans to award a Chinese firm the contract to build a long-delayed expressway linking the capital Colombo with the island's sole international airport north of the city. Government officials said Cabinet approval is to be sought this month to grant permission to the Chinese firm to recommence work on the Colombo - Katunayake highway. China's Exim Bank has already expressed willingness to give a loan of 250 million dollars to build the 25 kilometre expressway. more..

Singh to discuss SL issue with MR

Aug 1 (SAMN) Inidan Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who arrives in Sri Lanka today to attend the 15th SAARC summit will meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa this afternoon. The two leaders may again meet later in the evening, Indian news agencies reported. The two leaders are expected to discuss issues pertaining to the conflict in Sri Lanka. The visit will also be the first by a Congress prime minister to Colombo since the eventful days of July 1987 when Rajiv Gandhi came to sign more..

Govt denies WFP claims of starvation

Aug 1 (SAMN) The World Food Programme (WFP) has said that soaring food prices in Sri Lanka had left 30 per cent of families without food for days. In a statement issued from Yokohama, the United Nations WFP cited Sri Lanka as one of the worst affected countries due to spiralling cost of living where the cost of rice has doubled over the past year. Welcoming a recent Japanese grant of USD 7.7 million to purchase rice and canned tuna for the famished Sri Lankans, more..

Women urged to test for cancer

Aug 1 (SAMN) The Health Ministry urged all women to test themselves for breast cancer and get a Pap smear test performed on them in order to prevent breast and cervical cancers. Within this year, 65,000 have been screened for both these types of cancer at the ‘Well Women,’ clinics held islandwide A total of 7374 female cancer patients are reported in Sri Lanka every of which 1,925 suffer from cervical cancer while 1,846 suffer from breast cancer. more..

Karuna-President meet after SAARC

Aug 1 (SAMN) TMVP Leader Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Colonel Karuna Amman is expected to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees after the conclusion of the SAARC Summit in order to discuss his entry into politics. Karuna, who has to date not held discussions with the President, has requested for a meeting after the SAARC where he also hopes to brief President Rajapaksa on his party’s new structure. more..

Housing scheme for disabled expats

Aug 1 (DN) The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) and the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) will offer houses to those who become totally disabled while being employed abroad. A memorandum of understanding was signed by the Chairman of SLBFE Kingsly Ranawaka and NHDA Chairman M. Rafeed at the SLBFE Auditorium yesterday. Under this, a housing project has been scheduled to be commenced in due course aiming to hand them over to handicapped expats. more..

Tackling terrorism high on SAARC agenda

Aug 1 (DN) The SAARC Summit beginning in Colombo tomorrow will consider a regional framework for cooperation in tackling terrorism with a legal mechanism for effectively dealing with the menace, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said yesterday. In this regard, he referred to the proposed agreement for SAARC Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and said it would be effective in dealing with crime in the region. more..

NFF to recruit one million new members

Aug 1 (Island) NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa launched an ambitious programme to enroll one million new members to form a government within the next 10 years. The NFF will create a political organization with new doctrine acceptable to people of all walks of life he told Gampaha district NFF district committee meeting held at Gampaha Sanasa Building auditorium. JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe, Weerawansa said though he had been an enemy of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was now his friend. more..

Teachers' refusal to mark answer scripts

Aug 1 (Island) A student of Dharmaraja Maha Vidyalaya Kandy studying the forthcoming GCE A Level examination and his mother filed a Human Rights Application in the Supreme Court on Monday against a protest by teachers to refrain from marking answer scripts, according to a press release issued by the Ministry of Education said. Attorneys-at-law Udhitha Hewage, Gihan Gabadahe and David Karunaratne had supported the plaint in the Supreme Court. more..

Who went ahead with this project?

Aug 1 (DM) Work on the parliament’s controversial IT project funded by the UNDP has resumed and is nearing completion even though it was earlier suspended after the Auditor General pointed out glaring irregularities, the Daily Mirror learns. The project set up to modernize and upgrade the parliament information technology system at a cost of Rs.75 million ran into trouble after the AG pointed out that the initial estimate was exceeded by 300 per cent and more..

Duty free ban put off

Aug 1 (DM) The Customs yesterday deferred by a month its proposed ban on the sale of a wide range of high capacity electronic home appliances in the duty-free shops at the Katunayake Air Port, an official said. The ban was to come into effect today but has been now postponed to September 1. The decision to defer the new regulations till next month was taken following several requests made by individuals, shop owners and others. more..