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New 'TMVP camp' in the east

Aug 19 (BBC) Police officials in eastern Sri Lanka have expressed concern over a government-affiliated militant group opening a camp in Tambalagamuwa. An armed group claiming themselves to be from Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) has taken over a deserted building Thambalagamuwa on Sunday 17 August. Journalist RG Dharmadasa who visited the area on Monday says he noticed that the group has written TMVP in Tamil and in English on the front walls. more..

Are the Sri Lankan Tamils of recent Indian origin Tamils or some other ethnic group?

Aug 19 (AT) The TNA Leader Mr R Sampanthan has said in an interview the 'Nation' newspaper on Sunday that Sri Lanka is a multilingual, multiethnic, plural society, comprising of the Sinhalese people, the Tamil people, the Muslim people and others, and that there was a need to nurture the linguistic and cultural identity of all these peoples. He says the Indo - Lanka Accord of 1987 recognised this, and more..

Confusion over insurance policy for Lankan maids

Aug 19 (KT) Even as the Sri Lankan government's landmark insurance policy aimed at protecting the rights of housemaids took effect in the UAE on Sunday, several recruitment agents approached the Sri Lankan consulate in Dubai on Monday and expressed concern over its implementation. Consulate officials, on the other hand, have promised to look into the matter and "iron out" any issues. more..

Mendis not a permanent threat - Dhoni

Aug 19 (CI) Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian captain, has said that Ajantha Mendis was an unusual bowler in comparison to Muttiah Muralitharan, but it's only a matter of time before batsmen are able to pick his variations easily. Mendis continued to trouble the Indians after picking up 3 for 21 off nine overs in Sri Lanka's easy eight-wicket win in the first one-dayer in Dambulla. Muralitharan too chipped in with three wickets to skittle India out for a paltry 146. more..

'Katchativu' starring Jayalalitha, Nedumaran

Aug 19 (AT) India is duty-bound to take action against the Tamil Nadu publication Kumudam for violating the immigration laws of a friendly country and SAARC member state by getting its reporter Pushkin Rajkumar to enter Katchativu islet on the sly and escape before being detected. An official of an important Sri Lankan state agency expressed this view when the Asian Tribune contacted him. more..

What is the future of Sri Lanka?

Aug 19 (TC) This is the full text of a speech delivered on Aug 17th 2008 at a seminar organized by the Canadians for peace in Toronto.It was chaired by Mr. Ratnam Ganesh: Chairman Sir, Mr. John Argue of AI, Ladies and Gentlemen: Good evening. Thank you, Canadians for Peace and sponsors for the kind invitation to speak this evening. When the invitation came from Chelian, I recalled the advice of one of my old batch mates who had been my room-mate when we were undergraduates. more..

Should Sri Lanka have lower taxes or more government?

Aug 19 (LBO) "One out of five people between 18 and 60 works for the government. One out of 20 Sri Lankans works for the government. To serve 20 people we have one government servant. We have increased their salaries and strengthened government in order to serve you." This is a translated excerpt of a speech by President Mahinda Rajapaksa as reported in the Lankadeepa, Jan 22, 2008, p. 5 (The speech was made before the Provincial Council Elections, so actual numbers may be higher now) more..

Jaffna College Dinner: I am ashamed

Aug 19 (LG) Dear Ms Sharma: A few days ago I read your feature on the dinner anniversary of the Jaffna College Alumni Association of Colombo. I was grief-stricken by what I read. I am a Hindu and when I studied at Jaffna College Mr K A Selliah was the principal. We had teachers who studied under the great principal, Rev John Bicknell. We learnt a lot about the greatness of Mr Bicknell and his educational ideals not just for Jaffna College alone. more..

Governing the East like North

Aug 19 (LG) As the election campaign in the Sabaragamuwa and the North Central provinces hots up and nears its climax so has the rhetoric. The main plank of the government's campaign has been the pledge to rid the north of LTTE control by military victory on the lines achieved in the east. This promise is being backed by government reports of further military advances into the LTTE strongholds of the Vanni region in the north. more..

Winning the Battle and Winning the War

Aug 19 (LG) The Sri Lankan Government leaders need to be congratulated for taking the 'advice' of M K Narayanan, the National Security Advisor (NSA) of neighbouring India, in the sense in which it was meant. In the past, the Government and polity in Colombo had not always looked up at such observations in a positive and pragmatic light, often imputing motives when none possibly existed. more..

People of my village know that terrorism has only a military solution

Aug 19 (LG) I come from a village not far away from Kandy. In that village there are the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim families. In the School I went to there were Tamil and Muslim students. They were my friends. They did not have the Mano Ganesan, or Kumar David mentality. We did not see any difference in each other. Some Tamil students came from the Estates around my village, and others were the children of the Restaurant keepers, Saloon owners or more..

Retrieve Katchativu - WTC’s Madurai Resolution

Aug 19 (LG) Ulaga Tamilar Peramaipuu – the World Tamil Confederation held the World Tamil Writers Conference last Saturday at Madurai, in Tamil Nadu. The Conference was held to commemorate the sixth year completion of WTC. P. Nedumaran, President of the WTC presided. Sri Lankan parliamentarians from the TNA Mavai Senathirajah, Sivajilingham, well known Tamil Poet Kasi Anandan and several prominent Tamil activists from Tamil Nadu and from the Tamil Diaspora participated in the conference. more..

Jaffna Public put to work fortifying with fallen palmyrah

Aug 19 (TW) In the recent weeks several transformers in Jaffna peninsula are getting fortified with Palmyra logs, according to a report in Thinakkural, a Tamil daily published from Colombo. Palmyrah trees are being felled on a large scale for the fortifying purposes by Sri Lanka Army and general public is being put to ‘work’, to build the fortifications, the newspaper said. New security arrangements around transformers were introduced in Jaffna recently, more..

Grassroots health and hygiene in Sri Lanka

Aug 19 (TW) As a volunteer health promoter in her hometown, Lalitha Ranjini cares for the families she knows most about—her own and those in her village. "Working with Medical Teams International changed my life," says this 33-year-old wife and mother of two. “You name any village activity or gathering and the community leaders come searching for me to be involved,” she says. more..

Toronto non-profit raised millions for Tamil Tigers

Aug 19 (NP) A Toronto non-profit group wired more than $3-million to overseas bank accounts, some of them linked to the Tamil Tigers, before it was shut down by the government in June for alleged terrorist financing, says an RCMP report released yesterday. The report, marked "Secret" but unsealed by order of a Federal Court judge, provides the first detailed look at the banking activities of the World Tamil Movement (WTM), a Toronto-based group accused of bankrolling Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers guerrillas. more..

Teenager 'subjected to racist tirade' before his throat was slashed

Aug 19 (TI) The friends of a 17-year-old boy stabbed to death in a London street at the weekend have described how his attacker launched into a drunken racist rant moments before lashing out. Nilanthan Murddi died after his throat was slashed during the attack, which happened in Croydon, south London, in the early hours of Saturday. The teenager, who was of Sri Lankan Tamil origin, had been chatting with a small group of friends when a minicab pulled up beside them at some traffic lights. more..

Hurry Up and Go Slowly

Aug 19 (GV) When we were being initiated to English under the Free Education Scheme, our teacher used to ask us to, “Hurry up and go slowly.” This command made us laugh, for by then we knew enough English to see the seeming paradox. Sixty years later, I do not laugh at the words any more. I see their wisdom particularly in relation to the resolution of our ethnic conflict. They seem to indicate the way to put an end to this cancerous problem. more..

Acid thrower remains free

Aug 19 (AHRC) In our statement, SRI LANKA: Permanent loss of sight in one eye due to cruel and inhuman treatment, we earlier reported the permanent loss of use of one eye by a young man, Asantha Aravindra due to acid being thrown in his face by a truck driver while Aravindra was already in the custody of the police. The name of the acid thrower is Vithanage Chandrasiri who is also known as Chandrasiri Mudalali. more..

A one-man system – the debate of written and unwritten constitutions

Aug 19 (AHRC) At the last Human Rights Council session a spokesman for Sri Lanka suggested to the United Kingdom that it may consider holding a referendum for having a written constitution. One wonders whether the suggestion was based on the experience of having written constitutions in Sri Lanka, which the spokesman thought to be worthy of emulation in other parts of the world. It may therefore be useful to discuss the experience of written constitutions in Sri Lanka. more..

Special Interview given to Virakesari by the Secretary General of the Govt Peace Secretariat

Aug 19 (PISL) Professor Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary General of the Peace Secretariat who is also the Secretary to the Ministry of Human Rights, said he was at a loss to understand why anybody should allege that his Secretariat was a War Secretariat when, in fact, they did not resort to violence or celebrate violence. He made this observation in a Special Interview he gave to Kesari. more..

India need to fix opening problem

Aug 19 (CI) Injuries to Sachin Tendulkar, during the third Test, and Virender Sehwag, during training on the eve of the five-ODI series, have given India a major headache ahead of the remaining four matches - that of finding a solid opening combination. Tendulkar's 13,245 runs and 38 centuries as opener is beyond compare, while Sehwag's ability to provide explosive starts and tackle Sri Lanka's spinners was paramount. more..

Special arrangements to enable cultivation in Jaffna HSZ

Aug 19 (GDI) The Government has made arrangements for the farmers who own paddy lands in the Ariyalai East High Security Zone (HSZ) to commence their cultivation activities. Earlier public access was restricted in the area due to security concerns. The security forces have confirmed that the present security situation is satisfactory and the farmers can be allowed to engage in cultivation. more..

President goes one-on-one with with general public live via TV tonight

Aug 19 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will appear live on another "Janapathi Janahamuwa" ("Meet the President") programme on Television at 9.30 pm tonight (19). The programme will be telecasted via Rupavahini, Independent Television Network (ITN) and other private TV channels. The live programme will also be broadcast on SLBC, Lakhanda and other radio stations. more..

Migrant labour to shift to European and other developed countries

Aug 19 (GDI) The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment plans to direct migrant job seekers to countries in the European Union, Canada, Australia, South Korea and Japan where there is a need for semi-skilled and skilled workers, sources said. At present although Sri Lanka receives the highest amount of foreign remittances, amounting to Rs. $2.5 billion, from migrant workers employed in Middle Eastern countries, there more..

Sri Lanka pilots among first to fly Airbus A380: Emirates

Aug 19 (LBO) Dubai-based Emirates said two of its pilots from Sri Lanka were among the first to fly the new Airbus A380 super jumbo aircraft. Suren Ratwatte has flown the prototype aircraft registered as F-WWDD out of Airbus Industries home airfield in Toulouse France on June 18, while Suhail Hashim flew the same aircraft the following day. The pilots had joined Emirates in 1989. "The A380 is the world's largest commercial aircraft, and more..

Sri Lanka dentists, vets cost more to produce than doctors

Aug 19 (LBO) The cost of producing a dentist in Sri Lanka is 60 percent higher than that of producing a medical doctor, while a veterinarian costs 30 percent more, government data showed. Sri Lanka's university system, which is funded by taxes from the people, spent 1.3 million on producing a doctor, 1.6 million on a vet and 2.1 million on a dentist, information released to reporters by mass media minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene showed. more..

Berty uses state vehicles with fake number plates unabated for his campaign

Aug 19 (LT) UPFA chief ministerial candidate at the North Central PC election Berty Premalal Disssanayake uses state vehicles with fake number plates for his election campaign. This has been reported by the media and the UNP and the JVP too have made complaints regarding this. However, no steps have been taken to stop this illegal action. 'Lankatruth' too has published several news items together with photographs which could be used as evidence to prove the allegations. more..

Air Force crippling LTTE with precise, effective air strikes

Aug 19 (LNP) Sitting in the upper level of the Air Force Headquarters he has a bird`s eye view of Colombo to observe what is happening in the City. Air Marshal Roshan Goonetileke has a clear view on what he had done during the past two years and also to be done in the near future considered to be the final stage of the war. He very clearly rejected pro-LTTE media allegations that civilians get affected by air raids of the SLAF saying that they are extremely cautious about the civilian presence around the targets they are selecting. more..

Colombo instructs Mullaiththeevu, Ki`linochchi GAs to work from Vavuniyaa

Aug 19 (LNP) Government Agents of Mullaiththeevu and Ki`linochchi districts are reported to have been `advised` by the Colombo Public Administration and the Sri Lankan Home Affairs Ministry to work from Vavuniyaa due to `tense situation` in the two districts, informed sources told TamilNet. Meanwhile heads of Sri Lankan forces stationed in Vavuniyaa have advised international non-governmental organizations and UN agencies to avoid visiting Vanni region where fighting is expected to intensify in the coming days, more..

ES warns it will cancel ballot papers

Aug 19 (SAMN) The Elections Secretariat (ES) Monday warned that all ballot papers will be cancelled and a fresh election held if any malpractice takes place in any polling booth at the North Central and Sabarabamuwa provinces during the August 23 polls. According to the ES sources, the Elections Commissioner is empowered to hold a fresh election for the polling booth in question after a paper advertisement is published under the Provincial Councils Elections Act. more..

APRC not informed of JHU decision

Aug 19 (SAMN) Chairman of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) Prof. Tissa Vitharana Monday, expressing bafflement on the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) decision to boycott APRC meetings said nothing has been officially communicated to him by the JHU in this regard. “Nevertheless, the JHU has communicated that they have appointed another member to participate in the APRC meetings in place of their representative Udaya Gammanpila,” said Prof. Vitharana. more..

Casinos, night clubs to be relocated

Aug 19 (SAMN) The government has decided to relocate casinos and night clubs close to schools by November this year, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. Addressing the closing ceremony of the Kandy Esala Perahera festival at the President’s House in Kandy on Sunday, the President said steps have also been taken to strengthen existing laws preventing the admission of minors into night clubs. more..

Hooligans attack CWC convention

Aug 19 (SAMN) The Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) party convention held at Yatiyantota came under attack by an unidentified gang, a party official said. He said the attack took place around 11 p.m. on Sunday. The official said the gang stoned buses in which party supporters were travelling, injuring eight passengers and damaging four buses. Before the attack a police inspector had ordered the party supporters to move out the buses which were parked at Vincent Perera Grounds in Yatiyantota. more..

No reversal in Northern liberation - President

Aug 19 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa asserted that after the lapse of a prolonged period of absolute tolerance and patience and failed negotiations with the LTTE, his Government eventually responded in the language best understood by the terrorists with the strong resolve of not turning back until the very last terrorist is captured. more..

Budget Shop redevelopment plan to SC

Aug 19 (DN) Trade, Marketing Development, Co-operatives and Consumer Services Minister Bandula Gunawardana will submit the Cabinet approved development proposal to the Supreme Court on August 20 following the determination given by the Supreme Court aiming to set up the trade and trade development complex to replace the budget shop at Rajagiriya. The Budget Shop was closed down due to unfair trading and security reasons. more..

INGOs agree to prevent equipment falling into LTTE hands

Aug 19 (Island) International Non-Govermental Organisations carrying out humanitarian assistance in the Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi districts, where the Military is on the offensive, have agreed to secure all equipment in their possession to prevent it falling into the hands of the LTTE. "If not they agreed to bring all these equipment into government controlled areas after the government warned that stern action would be taken against INGOs which more..

Deputy Director says 85 per cent school principals bribe takers

Aug 19 (Island) "About 85 per cent of the school principals of national schools, central colleges and popular maha vidyalayas have been accused of taking bribes and misusing government funds. Most of these school principals are reported to have taken undue donations from parents to admit their children to grade one classes," W. M. Balasooriya, Deputy Director of Education, Bingiriya said more..

'Govt. trying to hoodwink A/L paper markings'

Aug 19 (DM) The Sri Lanka Teachers Union, Sri Lanka Tamil Teachers Union and several other teacher associations yesterday alleged that the government is trying to hoodwink the children and the teachers stating that there is a pool of teachers available for the evalution of GCE A/L answer papers by engaging unqualified teachers. Secretary, Sri Lanka Teachers Union Joseph Stalin told a news conference yesterday that there is no pool of teachers as the government had publicly claimed. more..

India grants scholarships for Sri Lanka teachers

Aug 19 (DM) Indian High Commissioner Alok Prasad will hand over scholarships to 40 English teachers under the Presidential Initiative ‘English as a Life Skill’ at the Indian Cultural Centre today where they would be entitled for a three month English training at an Indian university. The 40 scholarship holders were selected from nine provinces, each province being represented by four holders, with the exception of the Western and Central provinces which were represented by six. more..

JVP to unite all against poll violence

Aug 19 (LD) The public, regardless of political differences, should line up and protect democracy, says the JVP Chief Ministerial candidate for the North Central Province at the upcoming polls, Wasantha Samarasinghe. Speaking at a media briefing in Koswatta, Nawala today (August 19th) he said that the government, frantic by the notion of imminent defeat, is planning to rig votes at the August 23rd election. more..

Attacks against JVP continue

Aug 19 (LD) UPFA supporters had assaulted JVP supporters in two separate incidents in Kegalle and Rambukkana, said party MP Gamini Ratnayake. A group of JVP supporters engaged in campaigning activities in front of the Kegalle Hospital for the final JVP rally tomorrow was attacked around 1.00 this morning, he said. A group of UPFA supporters who arrived in several vehicles assaulted the JVP supporters and damaged more..

Arrest Mervyn, govt.’s last chance - JVP

Aug 19 (LD) The Present regime has been given a last chance to prove its adherence to democracy by obeying the court order for the arrest of Minister Mervyn Silva and others suspects in the assault of a Sirasa TV media crew, said JVP chief ministerial candidate Wasantha Samarasinghe. Speaking at a media briefing in Koswatta, Nawala today, Mr. Samarasinghe said he has learnt that Minister Silva would attend the final rally of the UPFA at Anuradhapura tomorrow. more..

Police spokesperson singles out FMM convenor for undue criticism

Aug 19 (FMM) Our attention has been drawn to a letter written by the Police Media Spokesperson, Mr. Ranjith Gunasekera, addressed to the Chairman and News Director of Sirasa News, dated 11th August 2008. SSP Gunasekera’s main complaint is that he has been subject to disrepute by the reportage of the views of media organisations’ expressed during public protests against Minister Silva’s conduct, in which it has been contended that SSP Gunasekera had no basic conception or understanding of democracy. more..

Scarborough woman given passport after 2-year battle

Aug 19 (SEN) A Scarborough woman has won her two-year battle for a British passport. Christine Cook, 59, of Trafalgar Road, was born to British parents in Sri Lanka but, despite living in England for more than 50 years, had been refused a passport. It was then that the Evening News stepped in – with the result that a delighted Mrs Cook finally got the chance for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to see the Graceland home of Elvis Presley. more..

Sri Lankan military says 21 rebels killed

Aug 19 (AP) Scattered battles between the government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels across Sri Lanka's embattled northern region killed 21 rebels, the military said Tuesday. The newly reported fighting took place Monday along the front lines separating government controlled-territory and the rebels' de facto state in the north. In the worst fighting, soldiers killed 11 guerrillas in three separate clashes in the rebel stronghold of Kilinochchi, the military said. more..

Tamil Tigers tacitly admit losing ground to govt

Aug 19 (AFP) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels Tuesday tacitly admitted that they were losing ground in the face of a major military offensive by warning that thousands of civilians in the north were at risk. In their first public acknowledgement that government forces were moving deeper into areas previously held by them, the Tigers said civilians have had to move several times because of the military onslaught. more..

Susanthika in 200m semis

Aug 19 (LD) Sri Lankan medal hopeful Susanthika Jayasinghe advanced to the semi-finals of the women's 200 m event at the Beijing Olympics today (Aug. 19th). Susanthika clocked 22.94 seconds to be placed third in the second heat of the second round, after Bahrain's Al Gassra Roqaya (22.76 sec) and Hurtis Houairi Muriel of France (22.89 sec). more..

‘Sri Lanka orders probe into allegations by maid’

Aug 20 (AT) The Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has ordered a probe into allegations by a housemaid who claims that she received no legal assistance from the Sri Lankan embassy in Kuwait, Sri Lankan newspapers reported. Chandani Dissanayake was recently repatriated after spending almost eight months at the Al-Razi hospital where she was undergoing treatment after being allegedly pushed from the sixth floor of the house by her employer’s brother, more..

Tamil leader calls for calm

Aug 20 (CG) A Tamil leader close to the family of murdered schoolboy Nilanthan Murddi has called for calm among the Tamil community. Patrick Ratnaraja, a systems analyst and former Conservative candidate for Broad Green said: “The Tamil community stands shocked that such deaths are also occurring here with hundreds of young people falling victims to the unfortunate civil war in Sri Lanka. more..

Tens of thousands at risk in Sri Lanka as fighting escalates

Aug 20 (AI) The Sri Lankan military and the opposing LTTE are putting tens of thousands of displaced civilians at risk as fighting continues in the Wanni area of northern Sri Lanka. A major concern, as the situation worsens, is that there is little reliable information available from the ground, as journalists are restricted from reporting in the area. Both sides consistently contradict each other. more..