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UN turns down LTTE ceasefire plea

Aug 9 (LNP) The United Nations has turned down the LTTE request for the declaration of an immediate ceasefire, Government Defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said yesterday. The LTTE had made the request to the UN on Thursday (7) and the UN had informed the Government of Sri Lanka about the request. Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona was informed by the UN that the LTTE had made the request on an urgent basis stating that the government armed forces were attacking the Tamil people of the Kilinochchi District from two fronts, he said. more..

Let Madhu be a no conflict zone!

Aug 9 (LNP) Bishop of Mannar Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph has said the August feast of the sacred Madhu Shrine will not take place this year. The absence of complete normalcy in the area, inability to meet the spiritual and material needs of pilgrims for want of time and the failure on the part of both the government and the LTTE to agree to the proposed no conflict zone at Madhu have been cited as the reasons for his decision against holding the annual feast. more..

No lectures at Arts Faculty until public apology

Aug 9 (DN) Colombo University Arts Faculty lecturers yesterday decided to suspend lectures, tutorial discussions and other academic activities until the students collectively extend a public apology following the incidents of violence and assault at the university premises last Wednesday. Several student counsellors and Marshals sustained serious injuries and were admitted to the Colombo National Hospital when they were trying to stop a student unrest that erupted following an anonymous email on Wednesday. more..

China to increase scholarships to Lanka

Aug 9 (DN) Chinese President Hu Jintao on Thursday agreed to increase the number of scholarships to Sri Lanka. The Chinese President also reiterated his support to Sri Lanka’s efforts to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity during bilateral talks with President Mahinda Rajapaksa. President Rajapaksa also conveyed his condolences over the loss of lives following the recent earthquake in China and thanked China for the assistance during the tsunami tragedy. more..

Champika does not believe in ‘stone age’

Aug 9 (Island) Environmental and Natural Resources Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka yesterday said he did not agree with the derogatively used term ‘stone age’ because in his opinion the people of that time were more practical in their approach to the conservation aspect and in protecting the fauna and flora. He was addressing a press conference in connection with the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, which falls today (9), more..

South Indian ports spending $2.5bn to compete with colombo

Aug 9 (Island) Colombo port, which handles 70 per cent of total transshipment cargo from India, had better watch out! Competition from south Indian ports is round the corner. Ports in south India, both on the west and east coasts, are planning to invest up to $2.5 billion, or about 250 billion Sri Lankan rupees, in the next two to three years in a bid to become a hub for container traffic. In short, they are gearing up to compete with Colombo. more..

Police ordered to arrest suspects

Aug 9 (DM) A Colombo Magistrate yesterday ordered the police to arrest all suspects involved in the alleged assault on Sirasa photo journalists and the grabbing of their camera equipment in Kelaniya recently. Colombo Additional Magistrate Manjula Thilakarane made the order after the Peliyagoda Police told court that they had recorded statements from the complainant Waruna Sampath and several other eye witnesses to the incident that more..

Call for a political solution now fades away

Aug 9 (DM) The President of the TULF, Veerasingham Anandasangaree on July 28 has called on the leader of the LTTE, Velupillai Pirabaharan to declare a permanent ceasefire with the Sri Lankan Government surrendering his organization’s arms in the wake of the SAARC summit. Also President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his recent visit to the southern Indian city of Thiruppathi told journalists that his Government was looking forward to peace talks with the LTTE provided they lay down arms. more..

Sri Lanka's air force bombs rebel base

Aug 9 (AP) Sri Lanka's air force bombed and destroyed a Tamil Tiger rebel base in the country's embattled north on Saturday, while infantry clashes in the same region killed 31 rebels and four soldiers, the military said. The military has increasingly used airstrikes to try to weaken the rebels as part of an ongoing campaign to drive the guerrilla's from their de facto state in the north. more..

Sangakkara ton gives SL the lead

Aug 9 (CI) Anil Kumble provided the pressure and Harbhajan Singh the breakthroughs as India pulled Sri Lanka back in the middle session after Kumar Sangakkara and Chaminda Vaas had threatened to run away with the game. Sangakkara, though slow in the middle session, stuck around, making sure Sri Lanka didn't completely squander the advantage. If India didn't have a slight upper hand by tea, it was down to the inconsistent umpiring when it came to reviews. more..

Public can’t put up with Mervyn until divine punishment - JHU

Aug 9 (LD) The patience of the public as a society is tested to the limit by Minister Mervyn’s Silva’s continuous harassment against media institutions and journalists, says the Jathika Hela Urumaya. In a press release signed by the party propaganda secretary, Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe, the JHU condemns the conduct of Minister Silva and urges the President and the government to take action against him without further delay. more..

Mervin Silva and god's punishment?

Aug 10 (LG) Dr.Mervin de Silva, Labour Minister and his followers are famous for attacks against the mediamen. He claims to be the decendant of the legendary King Dutugamuna. He learnt a bitter lesson when he threatened a media institution once. It was expected that legal action would be taken following that incident. But, it did not happen. His attacks against the media continue. more..

My plea to the LTTE leadership

Aug 10 (TC) I am not a politician nor do I belong to any political/militant organisation. I was deeply disturbed and disappointed with the strategy of the LTTE and wrote the following article (see the link below) about two and a half years ago. In this article, I: Pointed out that the LTTE had optimally achieved its military objectives with the signing of the Norwegian mediated Cease Fire Agreement (CFA). more..

Lankan Tamils viewed with suspicion even in Tamilnadu!

Aug 10 (TC) Tamils are facing heavy losses and looming economic crisis. They have also been displaced from their lands and they are living as refugees in refugee camps. In this situation, they are in distress and they say in despair that they cannot move about freely since they are viewed with suspicion. There is an impact psychologically. Tamil people like to live peacefully but unfortunately, most of them have been arrested and detained on suspicion. more..

God save the people!

Aug 10 (LG) It is unfortunate that people have to wait for gods to punish people who commit atrocities in the country. Even ministers of the government share the view that the offenders have to be punished by god. It is perturbing that legal actions are not taken against a minister, who committed trespass into a government media institution, committed atrocities and it was telecast through government television channels. more..

Countering the International witch-hunt

Aug 10 (LG) As we advance into the 21st century, in an intensely complex international and domestic environment, the challenges confronting the Foreign Service today are complex and daunting. The country will quite rightly demand more of our foreign service. We are being required to produce results and to generate returns for the investment that the country makes on us, especially in the key policy areas. more..

Karuna Meets Party officials in Batticaloa

Aug 10 (LG) The leader of the TMVP, Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Col. Karuna Amman visited Batticaloa this morning, August 9 and conferred with senior party officials for over four hours. Among those present were the Chief Minister of the East Province, Shivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan and the newly appointed Mayor to Batticaloa. TMVP stalwart S. Padmini also attended the meeting. more..

Ethnic Problem was the making of the British Colonial Rulers, and the Tamil Politicians

Aug 10 (LG) A.J.N.Selladurai's article, " Devolution of power is all that is required", which appeared in the Sri Lanka Guardian on 6 August,2008, need no reply as it is only a reflection of his mental hatred and bias against the Sinhala Buddhists majority. But Sinhala being accused for all ills in Sri Lanka, it would be interesting to examine why the Sinhala, because they are the majority is blamed for what they were not responsible. more..

When Kadirgamar was killed, the Indian Prime Minister was moved to tears

Aug 10 (LG) When I think of the death of Lakshman Kadirgamar, my mind goes back to the bullets that brought to an end the life of Mahathma Gandhi. Pandit Nehru in a broken voice had this to say: "The light has gone out of our lives, there is darkness everywhere. For the light that shone in this country was no ordinary light. more..

'Human Rights' tourism a global witch hunt

Aug 9 (AT) Third World's new scourge, 'Benevolent' Foreign Intervention, was the subject of a seminar organized by the Board of Management of Global Sri Lankans under the theme, "International Witch Hunt" at the BMICH, Colombo yesterday. Participants expressed the possibility that this year may prove to be the fateful Year of Foreign Intervention since ominous portents of feared intrusions are appearing on the radar screen, according to the 'Global Sri Lankans.' more..

Washington Chatter: Who is better for Sri Lanka: McCain or Obama?

Aug 10 (AT) John McCain and Barrack Obama have provided an advanced preview of their foreign policy if elected president. The chatter in Washington among many Sri Lankans I met went like this: McCain seems bent on continuing the Bush doctrine of loathing the terrorists unashamedly, while Obama is more inclined to pander to the die-hard human rightists. A former US ambassador in Sri Lanka told me: McCain would be very good for Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka Govt to open up A-32 Road

Aug 10 (AT) One of the main objectives of the present liberation operation in the North is to find an alternate land route for the people of the Jaffna Peninsula to travel down to the South and other parts of the country. Government spokesman expressed optimism that the LTTE controlled Pooneryn in Kilinochchi district is expected to fall soon and A 32 Road will be opened up for the people of the Jaffna peninsula to travel up and down to the country’s South. more..

How Tamil Tigers increased their Influence in U.S. under Professional Sri Lankan diplomats in Washington

Aug 10 (AT) “Unlike standard diplomacy, which might be described as the ways in which government leaders communicate with each other at the highest level, public diplomacy focuses on the way in which a country, acting deliberately or inadvertently, through both officials and private individuals and institutions, communicates with citizens in other societies. more..

A bleak assessment on post PC elections

Aug 10 (FI) The SAARC came with a thundering bang and left with a hollow whimper. It’s back to usual business that’s provincial council elections with a national impact. It’s about who would catch a windfall, to come out smiling. Political windfalls don’t come by ever so often to a political leader, however calculating and cunning he or she could be. Or however fortunate he or she could be. They often come when the Opposition lacks political will and a defined role, as a responsible Opposition. more..

Sri Lanka activist seeks removal of Central Bank member: report

Aug 10 (LBO) An activist who went to court against a privatization deal has sought the removal of a member of the rate setting committee of Sri Lanka's central bank who was faulted in a court ruling, a media report said. The Sunday Island newspaper said lawyers to left-leaning politician Vasudeva Nanayakkara had written to the Central Bank asking it to remove Treasury Secretary P B Jayasundera from the monetary authority. more..

SLPA changes rule for notorious minister

Aug 10 (LD) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority has changed its tender procedure to appease a government minister, who is notorious for attacks on journalists, and his supporters to earn millions, ‘Ravaya’ reports. In this illegal act, the SLPA has not mentioned the Customs estimated value of 65 items of tender no: 313 that go under the hammer on August 16th, the newspaper says. It was no secret that the group of thugs of this minister was interfering with SLPA’s auctions. more..

5 garment factories in Rs. 310 m VAT fraud

Aug 10 (LD) Five garments factories have defrauded more than Rs. 310 million in VAT repayments, OIC of the Police Commercial Crime Division Perumal Vishwanathan has claimed. Giving evidence on August 07th before the commission that probes VAT frauds, he has said that this was in addition to the earlier exposed Rs. 4,000 million swindle by 20 companies. Mr. Vishwanathan has said that KIL Apparel, Randunu Garments, Fashion Garments, DTN Garments and Supreme Garments have been paid back the Rs. 310 m through 16 cheques. more..

Patali calls for struggle on Dutugemunu’s footsteps

Aug 10 (LD) Warning of an imminent destruction of the Sinhala civilization, policymaker of the JHU Patali Champika Ranawaka has called for a struggle on the footsteps of King Dutugemunu to safeguard Buddhism. Mr. Ranawaka, who is also Minister of Environment, was delivering the keynote lecture at a seminar on ‘Way to build nation: path of reds or path of Buddha?’ in Colombo on August 05th. more..

Railway TUs question pact with India

Aug 10 (LD) Railway trade unions are warning of a major struggle to get an agreement signed with an Indian company on the coastal railway track clarified to the public. Secretary of the Railway Workers Trade Union Sumathipala Manawadu said their request to Transport Minister Dallas Alahapperuma for an opportunity to discuss this pact still remained unanswered. Alleging that this agreement had been signed in the secret, Mr. Manawadu has told the media that more..

Our athletes in high spirits - President Rajapaksa

Aug 10 (BBC) President Mahinda Rajapaksa speaking to ‘Sandeshaya’ said that it was his duty to encourage the Sri Lankan athletes participating in the Olympics. “Participation is more important than wining medals” said president Rajapaksa to Elmo Fernando in an interview from Beijing. Commenting on the Olympic contingent President Rajapaksa said that he met them and wished them all the best on behalf of the entire nation. more..

The SAARC run around and the extravagance

Aug 10 (SL) The dust may have settled on another SAARC Summit but under the debris lies the shattered image of a government desperate to put on dog for the region’s leaders. The relentless bad news that like scud missiles keep pounding the government on matters of SAARC security, transport and expenditure has perhaps had little impact on President Mahinda Rajapakse who lives in a world of his own creative mind, having now left the country to enjoy a bit of smog filled Beijing during the Olympics. more..

Govt’s internal battles and India’s push for 13th Amendment plus plus

Aug 10 (SL) As the region’s most unprofitable Talk Show drew to a close last week only painful memories of traffic jams, chaotic security and transport arrangements — such as India’s Security Advisor M.K.Narayanan walking to his hotel, Nepal’s Prime Minister Koirala falling over on the bumpy red carpet, and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh having to leave without his personal Sri Lankan security officer, remained. more..

Mervyn’s land grab in Kelaniya

Aug 10 (SL) Apart from intimidating the media and making an ass of himself on public highways, in his latest foray Minister Mervyn Silva has started to instill fear among government officials, as he muscles through his cabinet colleagues to fulfill his aspirations of becoming a landed proprietor. In his latest act of intimidation, it has been revealed that Silva has started a project of acquiring land belonging to the SLLRDC in the Kelaniya area more..

New wave of displacements in the Wanni

Aug 10 (SL) As government troops knock on the district boundaries of Kilinochchi, after securing Vellankulam on the northwestern coast two weeks back, thousands of civilians who fled the fighting towards Kilinochchi now remain dependent on supplies transported by the UN and other humanitarian agencies. According to UN figures, as much as 57,000 may have fled the fighting in Mantai West and East, more..

Budget Shop sacrifices land for Trade Tower

Aug 10 (LB) Shop owners of the Budget Shop in Rajagiriya alleged that Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardane is hoping to privatise the Budget Shop due to sheer envy, as he miserably failed to promote his concept of “economic centres.’ Shop owners called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to stall the minister’s decision as 46 Budget shops were established in Rajagiriya under the Mahinda Chinthanaya to provide essential items to the public at budget prices. more..

Achievements yes, but what about image?

Aug 10 (LB) The depths to which politics had sunk, was not confirmed by the Mervyn Silva affair last week - - of which papers have said enough, though more is going to be said we are sure. What this newspaper highlighted by way of exposure a few weeks ago in the article titled DESHAMONEY seemed to have finally been noticed by the powers-that-be. Minister D M Jayaratne told the government parliamentary group that it was an absolute disgrace that various people were given Deshamanya, Deshashakthi and other awards with a similar ring to them more..

Weerawila airport has no international sanction

Aug 10 (LB) Sri Lanka’s second international airport which is to be constructed in the south at a cost of Rs.13.5 billion, with the public funds, has not secured International Air Transport Association (IATA) permission. Sunday Lakbimanews also learnt that the plan for the new airport was forwarded for a Environment Impact Assessment, which has been turned down (negatived) by the Sri Lanka Central Environmental Authority. more..

Fishermen not for Katchatheevu retrieval

Aug 10 (NIP) The fishing community in Rameswaram has expressed concern over the recent attacks on fishermen and has said that if Katchatheevu is retrieved from Sri Lanka, it will create more problems for fishermen than it seeks to solve. All political parties have been demanding the retrieval of the island. They have stressed that there was no other option except to take back this arid island to end the attack on Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy. more..

Madhu shrine should not be made a trump card - Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph

Aug 10 (SO) At a time when the LTTE is facing a historic defeat while getting cornered into their last stronghold in Wanni and the people are fleeing from the uncleared areas in large numbers seeking liberation, the Bishop of Mannar says that the LTTE is not the sole representative of the Tamils and they should be held responsible for the destruction unleashed during the last 25 years. more..

'Environment Conservation Levies will check pollution'

Aug 10 (SO) He said Sri Lanka has an international obligation to incorporate the polluter pays principle in line with the Declaration to ensure a cleaner environment for all. Principle 16 of the Declaration states that the polluter has to pay a penalty for disregarding the right of people to live in a healthy environment. “The Environment Conservation Levies were proposed in the 2007 Budget but more..

No waste disposal in public, private places from September 1

Aug 10 (SO) The Government will ban the disposal of waste in public or private places from September 1. The rules and regulations in this connection were circulated last week among all local government institutions by the Solid Waste Management Division of the Western Provincial Council (WPC). Accordingly, every Municipal Council should place biodegradable and non-biodegradable containers in suitable places to enable the public to get rid of their daily collection of waste. more..

Fish production exceeds pre-tsunami average

Aug 10 (SO) Fish production last year exceeded the pre-tsunami average in 2004, said Secretary to the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, G. Piyasena. The annual fish production recorded a 10 per cent growth of 29,100 MT compared to 2003. Fish exports recorded a growth of 18 per cent last year, he said. He said that the government launched infrastructure development activities such as construction and expansion of fishery harbours, anchorages, more..

Access to newly displaced "critical"

Aug 10 (IRIN) Access to thousands of civilians who have fled fighting between government forces and the Tamil Tigers in the northwestern Mannar District between June and July was critical to prevent further hardship, according to UN officials. About 12,000 familes have fled the fighting and moved farther north, closer to the town of Kilinochchi, under the control of the Tigers 300km north of Colombo, Gordon Weiss, UN spokesman in Sri Lanka, told IRIN. more..

No LTTE infiltration in Tiruchi Range: DIG

Aug 10 (Hindu) There is no infiltration of the banned LTTE in Tiruchi Range, which comprises five districts including coastal district of Pudukottai, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Tiruchi Range Sandeep Rai Rathore said here on Thursday. All the seven Sri Lankan Tamil refugee camps in Tiruchi Range were being regularly checked and patrolling was on in the coastal areas in Pudukottai district along with the Coastal Security Group, he told the media. more..

Review system is a blessing for bowlers - Bayliss

Aug 10 (CI) Trevor Bayliss, Sri Lanka's coach, has said the review system has been effective in giving the bowlers some respite in a batsman-dominated game, but cautioned that the system itself needed to be examined before it is used on a regular basis. Speaking at the end of the second day's play at the P Saravanamuttu Stadium today, Bayliss said: "Everyone says the game is a batsman's game. I think the review system might be a little bit of a comeback for the bowlers. more..

NGOs told to declare assets in the Wanni

Aug 10 (NS) The Disaster Management Ministry has directed all NGOs and INGOs operating in the Wanni and other uncleared areas to submit details of their movable and immovable assets in the region. This directive has been made in order to determine as to what action the government should take to prevent them from going into LTTE hands. It has been reported that at least 40 SUVs belonging to Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) had gone missing in the Wanni region recently and believed to be in the hands of the LTTE. more..

A/L paper marking to be disrupted?

Aug 10 (NS) The majority of principals and teachers have abstained from applying for A/L paper marking and there is a strong possibility that the sessions would be disrupted, the Principals’ and Teachers’ Trade Union Alliance (PTTUA) has warned. “August 8 was the final day for applying for paper marking. Examination Commissioner Anura Edirisinghe kept on postponing the deadline for applying,” said PTTUA Convenor Joseph Stelyn. more..

SAARC The aftermath

Aug 10 (NS) After every major function, be it wedding, dinner party or regional summit in this case, there comes a time to step back from the chaos of weeks of preparation, sit back and recap. Frenzied preparations, road repairs, creating instant gardens and the demolition of all things unsightly took up the government’s time. So keen was the government to make sure the summit went off without a hitch that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs even instructed that SAARC delegates were not to be taken to the BMICH until the Rahu or inauspicious time had passed on August 2. more..

Twists and turns of Dissanayake saga

Aug 10 (NS) The United National Party’s National Organiser, S.B. Dissanayake is not a man who can be kept away from the headlines for long. This week, he was back on the front pages as the United Nations Panel on International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) recommended that his civic rights be restored, an announcement that has caused a ripple in political circles. Dissanayake is an ambitious man. He is also an outspoken man, more..

'Terrorism must be eradicated before having talks'

Aug 10 (Xinhua) The government is steadfast in eliminating terrorism before having talks with Tamil Tiger rebels, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake said on Saturday. Addressing an election rally at Medirigiriya in the North Central Province, Wickramanayake said "terrorism must be eliminated before anything. Only after that we could talk of talks." Wickramanayake said government troops currently engaging LTTE in the north have sent the rebels reeling. more..