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The Killing of T.M.V.P Leader Shanthan in Kaathaankudi

June 2 (TC) The morning of Thursday May 22nd saw a comic scene being enacted in Colombo. Devouring humble “kanji” (porridge) before his excellency President Mahinda Rajapakse was the “honourable” Mohamed Lebbe Alim Mohammed Hisbullah. The reputed party-hopper from Kaathaankudi was being sworn in as a minister of the eastern provincial council headed by Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan. more..

Strengthening the Provincial Council Process

June 2 (FI) Honored Governor, Chief Ministers, Ministers and Provincial Council Members, distinguished guests: It is an honor to be with you today, to attend this National Conference on Strengthening the Provincial Council Process, and to have the opportunity to meet with high level regional government representatives from across Sri Lanka. I would like to thank the Center for Policy Alternatives and the other organizers, sponsors, and more..

Contradictory positions on media freedon encourage impunity

June 2 (TC) The silencing of journalists by killing and intimidating them has become a major problem in Sri Lanka. The National Peace Council condemns the killing of Paranirupasingam Devakumar who is the ninth journalist to be killed in the past two years. We are appalled at the brutal manner of his death by waylaying him as he was traveling and hacking him to death. This killing comes soon after the brutal assault and torture of senior journalist Keith Noyahr in Colombo. more..

Fuel subsidy fraud bared in newspaper editorial

June 2 (LBO) An influential weekly has slammed Sri Lanka's practice of giving subsidies in the guise of helping the common man, and exposed the depth of the fraud involved in doling out diesel 'subsidies'. "The much touted diesel 'subsidy' that leaders of government from the president downwards have long trumpeted as an index of their concern for public transport users and the price sensitive haulage sector, means that petrol users, including poor three-wheeler drivers, carry the tab for the cross subsidy," more..

'Sri Lankan fuel users paying for state inefficiency'

June 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka needs to market price energy and consumers are now not only paying for the rise in international prices, but also for the high expenditure involved in operating the public sector, a think tank has said. Referring to official statements that the fuel import bill this year may be around 4.0 billion US dollars The Point Pedro Institute of Development, a think tank, says direct and indirect subsidies on fuel should be removed. more..

Sri Lanka hydro power capacity boosted by heavy rains

June 2 (LBO) Heavy monsoon type rain from Saturday is bringing much needed water to Sri Lanka's hydro power generation system though parts of the island are threatened by floods. Hydro complexes in the upper reaches of the Kelani River in particular had received more than 100 millimeters of rain yesterday, with some reservoirs already spilling, officials at the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) said. more..

Jeyaraj-appointees cheat out RDA

June 2 (LD) Sixty coordinating officers appointed by the late Highways Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle to the Road Development Authority have become spies to politicians today, 'Ravaya' has quoted RDA Chairman M.B.S. Fernando as saying. These officers draw salaries of between Rs. 40,000 and Rs. 100,000 although they do not contribute any service to the institution, he said. However, their appointment letters say the coordinating officers should monitor road maintenance projects and make recommendations to the RDA and the Highways Minister. more..

Private buses to be taken off road at next fuel price hike?

June 2 (LD) The Private Bus Owners Association is planning to take all buses off the road in the event of another fuel price hike in the near future. Its president Gamunu Wijeratne has told 'Ravaya' newspaper that they would not seek a fare hike in such an eventuality. Mr. Wijeratne has pointed that it was a grave mistake and injustice during the past four years to inconvenience commuters by passing on the entire burden to them. more..

'To make again the East a granary of Sri Lanka'

June 2 (AT) Speaking to Asian Tribune, the newly sworn in East Provincial Council Minister Dr. Thuraiappa Navaratnaraja, said that it was the greatest ambition of the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal to make East again the granary of Sri Lanka. He said that he has had discussion with the Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chanthirakanthan regarding the portfolios allocated to him and finalized to focus more attention in the agricultural promotion. more..

Mother of dead children is taken to mental unit

June 2 (TO) A Sri Lankan mother suspected of stabbing two of her children to death and critically wounding her baby girl was lonely and depressed by her life in Britain, her relatives said yesterday. Police last night detained Sasikala Navaneethan, 35, under the Mental Health Act over the deaths of her son, 5, and his sister, 4. Their six-month-old sister remains in a critical condition after all three children were stabbed at their home in Carshalton, South London, late on Friday night. more..

Family hopes for Tamil's release from Lankan jail

June 2 (TOI) Nagamuthu Thangavel was 42 when he boarded a flight for Colombo from Chennai. A car driver who was the sole breadwinner of his family, Thangavel was offered a lucrative job overseas by a group of Sri Lankan Tamils who were his neighbours. "Three Sri Lankans residing near our house noticed our pathetic condition and offered to help us by getting my father a driver's job in Sri Lanka," recalled his son Saravanan. more..

Racist-speak even after fifty years, an insult to Buddhism

June 2 (SLW) My simple scripture-based Sunday message (June2, 2008) He came not to be served but to serve appears to have caused some pains to Mr Halitosis. While congratulating the Editor of Sri Lanka Guardian for publishing his views though it was quite racially explosive and equally religiously bigoted, Mr Halitosis should have appreciated that Sri Lanka Guardian speaks for all the people of Sri Lanka; this includes the Christians too. more..

Sri Lankan journalists: An extinct and unprotected species

June 2 (IL) While the freedom of the press is a precious ingredient of a vibrant democracy, in most autocracies claiming to be democracies, journalists are casualties of the various conflicts they report on. Sri Lanka is among the worst in this regard showing utter hostility, to say the least, to members of the media who are prepared to speak out and stand up against unfairness. Free speech in Sri Lanka is the last bastion of democracy well on its way to extinction. more..

Move to kick Ranil upstairs

June 2 (LG) Political sources reveal that, after the defeat of the UNP in the last election in the East held in April, there is a strong move to remove Ranil Wickremesinghe as the head of the party. Senior Party member have met him shortly after he returned from Germany and suggested that the party should form a broad coalition of several opposition parties to make use of the unpopularity of the government and he should take up the position of leading this coalition, leaving the UNP to appoint a new leader. more..

LTTE arrests PULIDEVAN, Director LTTE Peace Secretariat for spying

June 2 (LG) Seevaratnam Pulidevan, the Director of LTTE peace secretariat in Killinochchi, has been arrested by the LTTE intelligent services, headed by Chief Pottu Amman. He has been accused of providing vital information to Government intelligent services regarding the movement and whereabouts of key figures of the LTTE hierarchy, according to Thamil Broadcasting Corporation, a leading media outlet based in London. more..

The mother of all debacles: 8 years since

June 2 (LG) EPS - Elephant pass, known for its impregnable defences comprising sophisticated chain linked and plexi glass, blended by natural defences fell to the offensive Tamil Tiger ceaseless waves III formations on the 21st of April 2000 exactly 8 years ago. EPS till 2000 remained as a permanent impregnable cork to the Tamil Tigers allowing SLA maintain supremacy over the thin neck of land. more..

Sugar instead of rice for IDPs

June 2 (BBC) Sri Lanka government has admitted that some war refugees were offered sugar as daily rations instead of rice. Minister in charge of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services, Risath Badiuddeen, told BBC Sandeshaya that sugar was offered to some Internally Displaced People (IDP) in Puttalam. “We immediately banned this practise as soon as we received information,” he added. more..

Sri Lanka Cricket officials 'intimidated'

June 2 (BBC) Officials at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) say many of the colleagues are considering their positions due to alleged intimidation and authoritarian behavior of chairman Arjuna Ranatunga. Disgruntled officials accuse Mr. Ranatunga of intentionally ignoring them and not convening team meetings to discuss important issues. Secretary of the SLC Interim Committee, K Mathivanan, is reportedly sidelined by the chairman and under pressure to resign, more..

PC senior positions 'illegal'

June 2 (BBC) Government authorities have informed the judiciary that four senior positions in Provincial Councils are against the country’s constitution. The Attorney General (AG) has informed the Appeals Court that there are no provisions in the constitution to appoint Leader of the House, Opposition Leader and two Chief Whips for both parties. The AG has made the statement as a petition calling the abolition of the said positions by JVP was taken for hearing. more..

Pragmatism or Hypocrisy?

June 2 (PISL) Some years back I was a member of what is termed the Dutch Third Chamber, a body of individuals supposed to help prepare policy guidelines for Development Assistance provide by the Netherlands. It is an interesting body, though it has no real influence, and earlier this year it had an anniversary celebration to which several former members were invited. I could not attend all the sessions, because in between there was a meeting of Asian and European Liberals in Brussels, but more..

Bomb blast in Sri Lanka targets rail commuters

June 2 (wsws) A bomb blast in a crowded train last Monday at the Dehiwela station in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo killed 9 commuters and injured around 80 others. The explosion, at around 5.30 p.m., deliberately targetted ordinary working people returning home after work. Whoever was responsible, the bombing was a criminal act aimed at inflaming communal tensions amid the country’s ongoing civil war. more..

Anandasangaree level charges against EPDP leader Douglas Devananda

June 2 (AT) The following is the first of a two-part letter Mr. V. Anandasangaree, President of the TULF, wrote to President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week. With all respect to you, I wish to lodge my strong protest against the setting up of a Special Task Force with Hon. Douglas Devananda as its Head, to administer the Northern Province. I have a right and also a sacred duty to my country to bring to your notice my protest. more..

President arrives in Rome

June 2 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived at the Da Vinci Airport, Italy a short while ago. He was met and received at the Airport by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Italy, Hemantha Warnakulasuriya and by officials of the Italian Government. The President is on a short visit to attend an FAO conference on world food security focusing on the challenges of climate change and bioenergy in Rome from June 3-5, 2008 upon the invitation of UN Secretary Genera, Ban Ki-Moon. more..

Muslim trader’s killing - Tense again in Kathankudy

June 2 (MG) Tension clouded after a Muslim tarder, father of three hacked to death yesterday noon by an armed military group operating in the area. Muslim Guardian reporters in Kathankudy say that Batticaloa police recovered the corpse of a Muslim vegetable trader from Kathankudi along Kalladi Shivanantha School Street Sunday around 1:30 p.m on information from the residents of the area. more..

119, Buddhism and being Sinhalese

June 2 (GV) Take it from me, being a responsible citizen in this country sucks, big time. Take last Saturday for example. There I was, driving along with my parents when I saw this lorry which was being driven about like the driver’s pants were on fire. Not only was he driving fast, he was driving all over the road. Being the responsible citizen I am, I decided to do the only viable thing. I got my gun out and shot him. more..

The heritage of the Bhikkhu in Sri Lankan politics

June 2 (LR) The history of Sri Lanka bears repeated evidence to the fact that whenever the occasion arose for monks to contribute their share, in whatever form or manner, for the protection of the country and the religion, they have unflinchingly raised to the need of the hour. Likewise it was customary for these kings of the past to consult the bhikkhus on all important occasions and problems. more..

Police severely torture a young man in custody

June 2 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a young man was arbitrarily arrested and tortured by the Kekirawa police while in their custody on 2 May 2008. The police also forced him into signing a statement, the contents of which were not revealed to him before they finally released him. When the victim's father filed a complaint against the policemen involved the police refused to take action. more..

Heavy rains cause floods, displaces over 100,000

June 2 (GDI) Heavy rains over the past few days have caused flooding and landslides has wreaked havoc in several parts of the country, leaving at least four people dead and displaced over 100,000 people. The Government yesterday allocated Rs 15 million as an initial sum for the flood affected. The Met Department issued a warning yesterday (June 2) that there was a risk of more landslides and floods as heavy rains would accompany the onset of the Southwest Monsoon. more..

'Demitarisation of Tigers precondition for conflict-resolution'

June 2 (GDI) Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva said in an interview that a negotiated settlement to Sri Lanka's conflict is still possible but not before the Tigers are "verifiably demilitarised and democratized.' Jayatilleka said that negotiated settlement is possible but not with the Tigers, and certainly not with Prabhakaran. more..

LTTE may have stolen 17,000 detonators from TN – Indian Police

June 2 (GDI) Tamil Nadu Police have detained 96 persons on suspicion that 17,000 detonators which have gone missing from a warehouse may have been moved by the LTTE terrorist organization. "We are serious about the theft and are probing the matter. We have already detained 96 persons in connection with the matter," DGP K P Jain said. Sounding a statewide alert focusing on coastal districts, the Tamil Nadu police stepped up search operations across the state following more..

Welcome to our school

June 2 (LG) It was one of those chance meetings when I sat next to a school principal on the early train to Colombo. He was also reading the early morning edition of of an English language newspaper, and from time to time we commented on items in the news. When he learnt that I was an educational consultant and advisor, an open invitation was offered to visit his school. In fact he would have been very disappointed had I refused and he stressed that my extensive educational experience and comments would be very valuable. more..

Right to be Human

June 2 (LG) Losing a seat at the high table of the UN Human Rights Council is one thing, but getting mentioned in the Security Council is another. The former is a product of diplomacy and bloc votes. It matters even more in the Security Council, where just five nations hold the key to 'global conscience' at any given time. Seldom do they agree on anything, and if they agree, it is on a well watered down version of whatever had hurt the collective conscience of the international community. more..

Tamil~Sinhala couple hope for peace in Lanka

June 2 (LG) War-torn Sri Lanka was once a nation of peace where the majority Sinhala, the minority Hindu Tamils and other smaller groups such as Muslims and Christians lived in perfect harmony. For over 150 years during British rule, people of different communities lived in peace with mutual understanding. The late S Thondaman, leader of the Ceylon Workers Congress and the late Appapillai Amritalingam, the founder of the moderate TULF, perhaps the first Tamil political outfit to take cudgels in the Tamil cause, were loved and admired by all communities. more..

Japan may export rice to Sri Lanka - official

June 2 (TF) Japan is considering a request from Sri Lanka to export up to 200,000 tonnes of its rice supplies to help Colombo ease acute food shortages, a Japanese foreign ministry official said Monday. 'We are considering their request,' said the official, who declined to be named. 'It is still unknown in what form we can provide foreign rice, for example, as grant in aid or by selling it at reasonable prices,' the official said. more..

Sri Lanka flash floods kill 9, displace thousands

June 2 (Reuters) Floods triggered by torrential rain have killed at least nine and forced thousands of people from their homes in Sri Lanka, with some taking shelter in schools and temples, officials said on Monday. Flooding, often fueled by monsoon rains, and ensuing mass displacement are common in Sri Lanka. "Nine people have been killed and a total of 83,433 people have been affected due to the heavy rains," more..

LTTE rejects Indian backed settlement

June 2 (LNP) The LTTE has denounced the government`s plan for devolution under which local government elections and the first election to the Eastern Provincial Council were held recently, emphasizing that Tamil sovereignty and right to self-determination were key issues for a negotiated settlement. Vowing to continue fighting for a separate state, LTTE political head B. Nadesan has told Tamilnet that the 13th Amendment providing for separate Provincial Councils in the East and North wouldn't be acceptable. more..

Clearing an unholy mess the holy way

June 2 (LNP) Soon politicians who currently have a fetish for visiting the Maha Nayake Theras every now and then with media teams in tow to make a grand show of their meetings with the prelates will think twice before doing so. They may even stop going to Kandy altogether lest they should have a chance encounter with the theras. For, the Maha Nayakes have, of late, begun telling them what they are loath to hear. more..

'Rivira Media' to end up with the Rajapaksa family

June 2 (LD) The hot topic in the media circles these days is the change of ownership of Rivira Media Corporation which publishes “Rivira”, “The Nation” and “Bottom Line” that is said to have gone under the Rajapaksa family. With the change of ownership, it is said the Rajapaksa brothers would henceforth decide its editorial policies. Nilanka Rajapaksa also claimed to be a relation of President Rajapaksa and domiciled in London, had earlier purchased a 49 pc stake of the stocks from more..

Wimal wants war despite high cost of living

June 2 (LD) Leader of the National Freedom Front Wimal Weerawansa says the people should simply ignore the burden of high cost of living and give a clear signal to the security forces that there is no turning back without saving the motherland. The Army Commander is leading his forces by example in a patriotic war to eliminate the Tigers, Mr. Weerawansa said in Colombo yesterday at a goods distribution for children of security forces personnel under the 'Manel Mal Movement.' more..

Thilanga Sumathipala as SLFP organizer for Kolonnawa?

June 2 (LD) Thilanga Sumathipala is tipped to become the SLFP organizer for the Kolonnawa electorate, according to sources at Temple Trees. Mr. Sumathipala is presently Managing Director of Sumathi Publications. He had rejected newspaper reports at the weekend that he was to be appointed organizer for Kotte. The selection of Mr. Sumathipala is part of moves by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has declared 2009 as a year of election, to replace inefficient organizers in Colombo district, more..

Leadership change in UNP likely

June 2 (SAMN) The main opposition UNP is believed to be mulling over a change of leadership consequent to the party’s defeat at last month’s Eastern Provincial Council. Well informed sources said two influential persons, including a party official, had discussed this possibility with UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and a few senior party men. The sources said the discussions had centred on an immediate leadership change to facilitate the formation of a grand alliance of opposition parties. more..

Rail fares go up 150 per cent

June 2 (SAMN) The Sri Lankan government on Sunday hiked train fares steeply up to 150 per cent to offset exorbitant running cost. Under the revised fares, the minimum fare for a 3rd Class ticket, earlier fixed at Sri Lankan Rs (SLR) 5 will now be SLR 10, while Second Class and First Class passengers will have to pay SLR 20 (and SLR 40 as the minimum fare, an official statement said. However, the concessions given for season tickets are expected to continue with discounts. more..

Mihin bungles with peoples money: UNP

June 2 (SAMN) Rs. 330 million belonging to the people has gone down the drain due to the mismanagement of Mihin Air, Kurunegala District UNP MP, Dayasiri Jayasekera said on Friday.He told a news conference in Colombo that Mihin Air established with public money had been abused by the President and his Ministers for their foreign jaunts. "Mihin Air took wing at the pleasure of the powers that be, without any regard to prudent business practices. more..

Number of disabled persons on the rise

June 2 (SAMN) The number of disabled persons in the country is on the rise given the increasing number of victims of bomb blasts, victims of war and accidents. In Sri Lanka about 10 percent of the population of the 20 million persons consists of people with some sort of disability. This number of disabled persons is said to be steadily increasing, stated the Secretariat for Persons with Disabilities. more..

Government takes immediate measures to provide relief for those affected by floods

June 2 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapakse has instructed relevant sources to provide speedy relief to those affected by floods. The President before leaving for the World food and Agricultural Organization's summit of Heads of State in Rome has given these instructions. Director of the Centre for Disaster Relief Services N.D.Hettiaratchchi says 34 thousand families or more than one hundred and fifty thousand families were affected by floods in many parts of the Island. more..

Housing projects in Ampara under ‘Negenahira Navodaya’

June 2 (DN) The Government to end shelter problems of the poor has implemented various housing projects in the Ampara District under the Negenahira Navodaya (Eastern Resurgence) and Gama Neguma national programme, National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) sources said. Plans are afoot to construct 2,000 housing units at a cost of Rs. 150 million in the Ampara district under the Negenahira Navodaya accelerated Eastern Development Programme, more..

Lightning awareness, Disaster mitigation for schools and public

June 2 (DN) Save the Children in Sri Lanka has initiated programmes to educate the schoolchildren and people on dangers and risks of lightning. District Manager, Southern Regional Office K.V.M. Bandara said Save the Children in Sri Lanka is holding these awareness programmes to be conducted at Grama Niladari division level in the Matara district. They will be held at Pananwela East, Denagama East and Ellewela East in the Hakmana Divisional Secretariat division, Horagala East, more..

Chikungunya rages in Ratnapura: Action against illegal miners

June 2 (DM) Health Minister, Nimal Siripala De Silva yesterday instructed political leaders, law enforcement and health authorities in Ratnapura to take drastic action against gem miners and others who contribute to spread water borne diseases.President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared an emergency situation following a sharp increase of chikungunya cases in the Ratnapura district. When more..

Prelate tells MPs to minimise use of vehicles

June 2 (DM) Mahanayake of the Malwatta Chapter, Most Venerable Tibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala Thera said it was time that Ministers and Members of Parliament curtail the use of vehicles as an example to face the present fuel crisis. The Venerable Thera made these comments when the Central Province Governor, Tikiri Kobbekaduwa called on him to pay his respects on the Ven. Mahanayake’s birthday. more..