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Sri Lanka provincial poll to test support for military campaign

Aug 22 (DPA) Sri Lanka is set for a crucial provincial election in two of its nine provinces where the government is to test its support for the military campaign against Tamil rebels in the northern part of the country, reported dpa. Some 2.1 million voters will vote in the North-Central province, 180 kilometres north-east of the capital, and in Sabaragamuwa province, 100 kilometres south-east of the Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka troops in striking distance of rebel capital

Aug 22 (Reuters) Sri Lankan troops on Friday captured two Tamil Tiger-held towns, placing the separatist rebels' de facto capital within artillery distance, the military said. It said it captured Tunukkai town, a major logistics area for the LTTE, and Uyilankalum in the northern district of Mullaitivu. "With the capture of these areas, we can take forward our heavy weapons like artillery into range of Kilinochchi," more..

Vanni shortages persist, Government Agents say

Aug 23 (TW) The internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Vanni continue to face hardships and challenges to overcome due to numerous restrictions in place in Vanni for essential goods, according to the Secretariat of Government Agents (GA) of Mullaithivu and Kilinochchi. The GAs’ concerns are published in a news report in today’s Thinakkural, a Tamil daily published from Colombo. More than a hundred thousand people are displaced in Vanni. more..

‘Collective Punishment’ of Tamils

Aug 23 (TW) When Human Rights are grossly violated or crimes against humanity are perpetrated, civilised countries, valuing human life, take punitive action against the offending state. But when genocide is carried out, the UN is bound to act based on the 1948 UN convention on Genocide. This happened in Bosnia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Sudan. Radovan Karadzic,the Bosnian President during 1992-1993 war, fought to take Sarajevo and link it to Serbia. more..

Sri Lanka to close polling stations if there is violence: monitor

Aug 23 (LBO) A Sri Lankan elections watchdog says it has been assured by the elections commissioner that polling stations where violence or irregularities take place at Saturday's provincial council polls would be closed. The People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) chairman Kingsley Rodrigo told a news conference he had got the assurance at a meeting with elections commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake. more..

Sri Lanka to host South Asia economic summit on Aug 28

Aug 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka will host a South Asian Economic Summit (SAEA) from August 28, where civil society, academics, private sector and state representatives can debate economic issues, a Colombo-based think thank said. "The SAES will provide a forum for the other stakeholders in the region – civil society, academia, the private sector and government representatives – to deliberate upon key economic issues affecting South Asia," more..

Explain absence of police protection - UNP

Aug 23 (LD) The UNP has sought an explanation from the government to the deprivation of police protection for opposition parties at tomorrow's (Aug. 23rd) provincial polls. Moving an adjournment motion in the House today, party MP Ravi Karunanayake also asked the present regime to immediately restore law and order and to arrest perpetrators of violence. He noted the government had dissolved the North Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces with around 15 month remaining in their terms, more..

Sajin Vaas to coordinate A'pura at polls

Aug 23 (LD) The President has sent his coordinating secretary Sajin Vaas Gunawardena to Anuradhapura to supervise and report on the ruling UPFA's arrangements for tomorrow's election, according to sources at Temple Trees. In addition, secretary of the Office of the Leader of the House attorney Sumith Wijesinghe has been dispatched to coordinate party activities in Ratnapura. Former JVP parliamentarian Siripala Amarasinghe will be in charge of Kegalle district, the sources said. more..

Pak exporters prepare for SAARC trade fair in Colombo

Aug 23 (APP) A high level delegation of the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) and leading exporters will participate in the 3-day 8th SAARC Chambers of Commerce & Industry trade fair being held in Colombo from August 28. FPCCI president Tanvir Ahmad Sheikh told APP on Friday that leading Pakistani exporters will establish their stalls at the fair to attract foreign investors. more..

Twin Citians plotting hospital in Sri Lanka

Aug 23 (CBJ) A St. Paul businessman who emigrated from Sri Lanka decades ago is developing a $125 million health care facility in his home country with the help of several Twin Cities professionals. Tariq Rauf, managing director of St. Paul-based Silvermere International Group of Cos., wants to build a 180-bed hospital in Colombo, Sri Lanka, that would serve that region and be a destination for health care tourists. more..

Top-order batsmen hold the key

Aug 23 (CI) After two low-scoring games in Dambulla, the teams move to three straight day-night contests at the Premadasa, and the statistics suggest what happens in the rest of the series could lie in the starts given by the top-order batsmen. In 60 day-night games, Nos 1-3 average 35.78 per wicket, that figure falling to 29.84 for the next three in the line-up. Sanath Jayasuriya is the leading run-getter at the Premadasa - his 2212 is only 252 short of the record for most at a single stadium more..

Sri Lanka: boost for cashew cultivation

Aug 23 (FP) The Government is planning to increase the fertiliser subsidy to promote cashew plantation by encouraging more farmers to produce quality cashew nuts which has a big high demand in the international market. “The proposals are being obtained from cashew cultivators and project officers to formulate a proper mechanism to increase the fertiliser subsidy given to cashew farmers”, Supplementary Plantation Crops Development Minister R.M. Dharmadasa Banda told the Daily News. more..

Campus closed as student killed

Aug 23 (BBC) Educational activities of all the faculties of the Eastern University have been suspended until further notice after a student was shot dead on Thursday night. Pasan Samarasinghe, 27, a final year student at the Commerce Faculty in Wantharamulla, Batticaloa, was shot dead in mysterious circumstances at the hostel compound. There was a intermittent power shortage at the time of the incident, residents said. more..

Sri Lanka lacks new athletics talent?

Aug 23 (BBC) Sri Lanka’s only hope at the Beijing Olympics, Susanthika Jayasinghe, failed to qualify for the women’s 200m finals. The bronze medal winner at the 2000 Sydney Olympics who finished with 22.28 seconds only managed to reach 200m semi-finals in Beijing. She was the seventh, recording 22.94 seconds, at the semi-finals held on 20 August. It is expected that Beijing is Jayasinghe’s last Olympic tournament as her many contemporaries including Damayanthi Darsha, more..

PAFFREL, CaFFE differ over violence

Aug 23 (BBC) The ‘independent’ election monitors in Sri Lanka have expressed completely different predictions over Saturday’s Provincial Council (PC) elections. PAFFREL, told journalists in Colombo that the police have taken steps to assure free and fair elections for the North Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces. PAFFREL chairman, Kingsley Rodrigo, said 21,000 policemen and army have been deployed to provide security for the polls to be held on 23 August. more..

‘Mendis’ trajectory dangerous’

Aug 23 (DNA) With a mixed bag of googlies, off-breaks, flippers, top-spinners and leg-breaks up his sleeve, Ajantha Mendis has taken the world by surprise and Indian Test captain Anil Kumble is no exception to agree that the Sri Lankan bowling sensation indeed has an outstanding talent pool. In a media conference in Mumbai, Kumble said that though the spin bowler can be read by many batsmen, his unpredictable trajectory calls for trouble. more..

Foreign Minister inaugurates Sri Lanka - German Business Council in Frankfurt

Aug 23 (AT) The Sri Lanka – German Business Council was established on the initiative of the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Frankfurt and it was inaugurated by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama on 21st August, at the Marriot Hotel in Frankfurt, Germany. The Business Council has been established to bring together Sri Lankan and German businessmen engaged in trade between the two countries. more..

Defense and Devolution

Aug 23 (GV) Just as it did at the moment of decolonization and independence, the visible post-war moment provides a rare historic opportunity for nation building and the construction of national identity. We missed the first chance, but must not miss the second. In his nationally televised dialogue with audiences in several areas on Tuesday August 19th, President Rajapakse, speaking in Sinhala to largely Sinhala rural crowds, pledged to hold elections to more..

'Do not allow anybody to pillage your right of franchise'

Aug 23 (LG) Do not allow anybody to pillage your right of franchise or plunder your vote, urged Tissa Attanayake, the Gen. Secretary of the UNP. Every voter has the liberty and right to exercise one’s franchise according to one’s wishes and with freedom, irrespective of what party one belongs, emphasized Tissa Attanayake. This Govt. which is beleaguered and bankrupt, is stooping to the lowest levels and more..

President striving to be a Mugabe

Aug 23 (LG) Ranjan Ramanayake, the popular actor and UNP Chief Ministerial candidate for the Sabaragamuwa PC elections to be held on 23 Aug. said , that the President is trying to hold on to power like Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe , and win elections by a reign of terror. Even Dictators like Mussolini and Hitler had to meet the waterloo, he warned. He explained how President Rajapakse and his Govt. are moving heaven and earth to protect Ministers like Mervyn Silva despite more..

The SAARC Summit & The Myth Of Sri Lanka’ National Isolation

Aug 23 (LG) Sri Lanka is the Chairman of SAARC, the world’s most populous region. The importance of SAARC today is also evidenced by the presence of powerful observer states, ranging from the USA to China and Iran. The successful holding of SAARC under the chairmanship of President Rajapakse is no small deal when one recalls that under President Premadasa – and I would say, due to no fault of his— more..


Aug 23 (LG) We are shocked to hear that various and urgent moves are being made to have the celebration of the August feast of Madhu held there almost a fortnight hence. The entire neighbourhood of the shrine comprising many villages is blood stained and deserted and is still fresh with the stench of death and desolation. There was a claymore detonated, almost within the shrine area killing 17 persons and injuring many more, victims including school children, teachers and elders. more..

Defense & Devolution

Aug 23 (LG) Just as it did at the moment of decolonization and independence, the visible post-war moment provides a rare historic opportunity for nation building and the construction of national identity. We missed the first chance, but must not miss the second. In his nationally televised dialogue with audiences in several areas on Tuesday, President Rajapakse, pledged to hold elections to the Northern Provincial Council within a year of its liberation just as he had held election to the Eastern Provincial Council. more..

NGO intellectuals serving as “hurrah boys” to Jaffna-centric agenda (Part III)

Aug 23 (LG) The cynical use of Tamil civilians by the Tamil leadership to serve their political ends is a stark fact of the dark side of the Jaffna political culture. The Sansoni Commission report on the riots of 1977 documents how Appapillai Amirthalingam, the leader of the Tamil United Liberation Front, who was projected as a “moderate”, had secret links with the Tamil Tigers in provoking the riots. more..

Dr Raja Johnpulle and wife turned away at A'pura polling booth

Aug 23 (LG) UNP activist Dr. Raja Johnpulle and his wife Jenny John Pulle whose house was set on fire by UPFA mobs on Wednesday in Anuradhapura town was turned away at the polling booth today morning on the grounds they were not in possession of a valid identity card. Their NIC had been destroyed in the fire. Dr. John Pulle told Timesonline that he had voted at the same booth located in the town for the last 30 years and soory that he was not able to vote this time. more..

40 percent turnout so far admist minor incidents

Aug 23 (LG) Over 40 percent of voters in the North Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces voted in the first four and a half hours as several minor elections related incidents were reported according to elections monitors and officials. Armed TMVP cadres have allegedly chased off Muslims who had come in to cast their votes at the Palliyagodella Muslim Junior College polling booth according to the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV). more..

Tunukkai falls. Mallavi is next

Aug 23 (DW) As predicted, Tunukkai fell to the Army without major incidents today. The LTTE was unable to resist mesmerizing attacks from all directions by small SLA units that infiltrated the area days ago. By last evening, LTTE began to withdraw from the Town area. After six abortive bids to defend Tunukkai the main defeat to the Tigers came as expected at Kalvilan. Remaining Charles Anthony, Imran Pandian, Kutti Sri and Intelligence units retreated further east to the town of Mallavi, which will become the next major battle very soon. more..

'Prabhakaran spoiled our opportunity to get freedom'

~Aug 23 (LG) Colonel Karuna Amman, former special commander of LTTE and the founder of TMVP, is one of the most discussed names in Sri Lankan politics currently. Once the right hand of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, he broke away from the outfit in 2004 alleging that they were ignoring the eastern Tamil people. Later he floated TMVP. more..

Japanese parliamentary delegation here

Aug 23 (GDI) Japanese Parliamentary delegation arrived in the island yesterday (22). The four member delegation is led by Hosei Norota, Member of the House of Representatives. The other members were Chairman of Japan-Sri Lanka Parliamentarians' Friendship Association, former Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and former Minister of Defence. The purpose of the visit is to promote and deepen bilateral relations between the two countries and the people, more..

Official election results first on

Aug 23 (GDI) The Department of Government Information has made all necessary arrangements to post the official results of the elections for the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councils on the Official Government News Portal,, courtesy the Computer Department of the University of Colombo, immediately after they are released by the Commissioner of Elections, Mr. Dayananda Dissanayake. more..

Voters turned away due to lack of valid identification

Aug 23 (MG) As the voting to elect members to the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councils continues, elections monitors report incidents of confusion arising over the identity of voters at various polling booths. According to the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) several voters had been turned away for turning up with just a photograph signed by their respective Gramaniladhari instead of a valid document of identification. more..

Election laws, constitutional provisions and voter rights violated

Aug 23 (Caffe) At the CaFFE Press Conference held today Friday the 22nd of August 2008 Dr. Nimalka Fernando stated that the authority of the Election Commissioner and Election law has been undermined due to the in action of law enforcement officers. She elaborated that circulars concerning elections that had been given to the police had not been adhered too by the police, hence the implementation of law has failed and a lawless situation has developed. more..

Not a people's election but a political party's election

Aug 23 (Caffe) Speaking at the CaFFE press conference media spokesman for CaFFE Keerthi Tennakoon stated that the intimidation, violence and retaliation has been the key characteristics of this North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial elections since the handing in of nominations. He further stated that CaFFE has received a total of 265 complaints since the beginning of this election. more..

PAFFREL fears polls may be marred

Aug 23 (SAMN) The People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) said Friday that if the police continued to act irresponsibly as in the past few days, a free and fair poll could not be expected in the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provinces. “The violence that broke out in the past few days makes me wonder whether even an election could be held, let alone a free and fair election,” PAFFREL Chief Kingsley Rodrigo said more..

Deserters in A’pura violence says Govt.

Aug 23 (SAMN) The government said Friday army deserters were involved in violence in the Anuradhapura district, and they would be brought to book according to law after the election. Leader of the House, Nimal Siripala de Silva told Parliament during a debate on the election violence that the UNP made yet another political blunder by picking up politically immature persons as its chief ministerial candidates. more..

Project to alleviate flooding a head-ach

Aug 23 (SAMN) People who were expecting living conditions to be alleviated through the Lunawa Environment Improvement Community Development Project (LEICDP) begun in the Dehiwala and Moratuwa Municipal Councils area, have found themselves facing worse situations, five- years down the line. The objectives of the project were according to the LEICDP website “to alleviate flood damage in Lunawa area, through more..

Major industries see decline

Aug 23 (SAMN) Several major industries including garments, tea, coconut and agriculture have declined during the last few years, Parliament was informed Friday. This was revealed by the Chief Government whip Minister Dinesh Gunawardene who was answering a question raised by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake during the oral question time in the House yesterday. According to the facts revealed by Minister Gunawardene the numbers of garment factories have been on the decline since 2002 right up to 2008. more..

SLMC candidate’s residence damaged

Aug 23 (MG) SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem yesterday warned the government would be taught a good lesson if it resorted to violence during the provincial council polls today. Speaking during an adjournment debate on the Sabaragamuwa and North Central Provincial Council polls in the House yesterday Mr. Hakeem charged that the residence of SLMC candidate R.N.M. Jaufer contesting on the UNP ticket was extensively damaged and his vehicles burnt. more..

Terrorism successfully eradicated under present Govt - Artistes

Aug 23 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is successfully eradicating terrorism and is about to unite the country while NGOs and all other LTTE friendly forces are trying their best to save the LTTE. The party which killed youth and the party which let youth die has signed an unofficial MoU against the Government. All patriotic artistes have come together to strengthen the President, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Commanders of the three Armed Forces and war heroes, actor Senaka Wijesinghe said. more..

'Resettlement of shanty dwellers to continue'

Aug 23 (DN) The resettlement of shanty and slums dwellers in Colombo will continue despite efforts by rival political elements to mislead them, Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardana said. He was speaking after laying the foundation for the proposed 60 housing units of Sinhapura at Baseline Mawatha, Colombo 8 yesterday. The Minister said the Government will give a face-lift to the Colombo city providing adequate housing facilities to the affected. more..

‘PC polls referendum on war against terror'

Aug 23 (Island) Both leading contenders the SLFP-led ruling coalition and the UNP yesterday expressed confidence in winning Sabaragamuwa and North Central Provinces at today’s provincial council elections which President Mahinda Rajapaksa described as a referendum on the war against terrorism. Interestingly, CaFFE widely believed to be supportive of the UNP propaganda effort, too, has termed the August 23 elections a mini-referendum on the military campaign. more..

Army takes commanding position west of A-9

Aug 23 (Island) The LTTE yesterday abandoned Tunukkai on the Vanni front as the army brought the strategically important area west of the A9 road under its control. The withdrawal came after three weeks of fierce fighting between the 57 Division and LTTE units spearheaded by the elite Charles Anthony ‘Brigade.’ The SLAF over the past few weeks engaged a range of LTTE targets in the area to facilitate the ground assault. more..

JVP warns of possible bloodbath

~Aug 23 (DM) The JVP warned yesterday that if steps were not taken to arrest the ominous attacks against the Sri Lanka’s democratic system the country would plunge into a disaster. JVP parliamentary group leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake speaking on a motion on election violence told parliament the country and its people had experienced several meaningless wars which were results of incorrect decisions by some politicians. more..

UNP ready for battle with rowdies: Ravi

Aug 23 (DM) The UNP yesterday raised concerns about the government appointing senior DIG Mahinda Balasuriya to Anuradhapura to overlook the elections despite another DIG being already in place to carry out the task. UNP front-liner Ravi Karunanayake moving an adjournment motion said the government was trying to convert the election into a virtual battle and vowed that his party would not allow rowdy elements to usurp the legitimate rights of the people through violence. more..

Sri Lanka to issue new rules for offshore firms

Aug 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka is developing a new policy and rules for setting up offices of foreign companies in the island, with plans to increase a minimum deposit requirement, an official said. After a new company law came into effect last year, branches of off-shore firms are coming under Sri Lanka's exchange control department, which is a unit of the Central Bank. Authorities are framing new rules to promote investor confidence, and more..

Sri Lanka to help Germany's Condor maintain flights

Aug 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka tourism promotion office said it is negotiating lower airport fees and providing marketing support to keep Germany's Condor charter flying to the country, during the 2008 winter season. "Condor’s uninterrupted operation every fortnight to Colombo will ensure a steady flow of German visitors to Sri Lanka," Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau managing director, Dileep Mudadeniya said in a statement. more..

Grenade in UNP candidate's vehicle

Aug 23 (LT) A grenade has been found in UNP candidate Nanda Muruththettuwa's vehicle. Mr. Muruththettuwa is a UNP candidate for Sabaragamuwa PC. However, Mr. Muruththettuwa had said someone would have placed the grenade to frame him. UNP Secretary General Tissa Attanayake talking to 'Lankatruth' said the government is carrying out intimidation and thuggery and obstructions without any hindrance especially in Anuradhapura and Ratnapura Districts. more..

Police protected Berty unleashes violence

Aug 23 (LD) JVP candidate Dhammika Jayawardena has been prevented from casting his vote by ruling party activists at today's polls, the party said. Mr. Jayawardena and his supporters were accosted by a group led by Nishantha, brother of the UPFA Deputy Chairman of Galnewa. Two JVP activists, identified as Ranaweera and Wimal, were assaulted, a complaint by Mr. Jayawardena to Galnewa Police has alleged. more..

Sri Lanka failing to curb public expenditure-ADB

Aug 23 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's public spending continues to rise despite improved fiscal management, due to food subsidies against globally high prices and big debt payments, the Asian Development Bank said on Friday. The ADB, in a statement announcing a new technical assistance programme to help eliminate duplicative programmes, said "public expenditure as a share of GDP has not stabilized". more..

Sri Lanka military: 26 killed in new fighting

Aug 23 (AP) New fighting across Sri Lanka's embattled north left 24 Tamil Tiger rebels and two soldiers dead, the military said Saturday. The worst of Friday's clashes took place in Vavuniya district, where 10 rebels were killed, the military said in a statement. Another 14 rebels were killed in fighting on the front lines in Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi and Welioya, while two soldiers were killed by rebel mortar fire in Jaffna district, the statement said. more..