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Uncertainty over Madhu Feast

Aug 5 (SAMN) The annual feast of our Lady of Madhu is still in the balance as no official announcement has been made about holding the feast on August 15. informed sources said no decision had been taken regarding the return of the statue of “Our Lady of Madhu” to the shrine either. However, Minister Milroy Fernando said the mass would be said as it was a day of obligation and a holy day for Roman Catholics the world over and added anyone could go to the Shrine as the situation in the area was calm. more..

Thonda not begging for pardon

Aug 5 (SAMN) The Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), has not yet decided whether to accept the Presidential pardon, or to appeal against the sentence handed to its leader Arumugam Thondaman, spokesman. R. Yogarajan said Monday. “The party will meet and decide whether or not to accept the pardon senior member MYogarajan said. Earlier Yogarajan said the party would appeal against the suspended jail sentence imposed on Thondaman and others for violating a Court order. more..

Humane touch changed me: EP CM

Aug 5 (SAMN) Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan said he decided to give up terrorism and work for democracy when a woman whose husband has been killed by the LTTE, offered him food and a drink while he was hiding as a terrorist in Maduru-Oya. “We [the LTTE] in hiding, were starving in Maduru-Oya sometime back. A young Sinhala woman carrying an infant brought me food and drink. more..

Illegally adopted baby elephant rescued

Aug 5 (DN) The Flying Squad of the Wild Life Conservation Department yesterday arrested two suspects who have illegally adopted a baby elephant in Athurugiriya. It was revealed in the investigation that this baby elephant was adopted by these suspects without a legal permit. It is a four-feet tall male baby elephant. Both Wild Life Conservation Department and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources are periodically receiving information about people who rob and adopt baby elephants by preparing illegal documents. more..

Decrease in vehicle imports

Aug 5 (DN) The registration of motor vehicles in Sri Lanka, has recorded a decrease in the registration of vehicle imports in the first six months of the year when compared with the corresponding period of last year. According to the Department of Motor Traffic 136,592 vehicles have been registered during the fist six months of the year, recording a decrease of 16,470 vehicles when compared with the corresponding period of 2007, states the Government Information Department. more..

CPA committees in schools to strengthen child, parent, teacher relations

Aug 5 (Island) Child Protection Committees which will aim at assisting children who are weak in their work by identifying and eliminating the reasons for their backwardness in class, will be established by the National Child Protection Authority. A spokesman for the NCPA said yesterday that assistance will be provided to these children depending on the reasons for their backwardness in class. more..

"I should have been one of the first to leave…"

Aug 5 (Island) UNP Kurunegala district parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekera, is one of the few capable young politicians produced by the UNP in recent times. He was a former Colombo Law faculty student activist whom Professor G.L.Pieris brought with him into politics through the PA in 1994. Jayasekera joined the UNP along with Professor Pieris in 2001, and contested the parliamentary election of 2004 on the UNP ticket and won. more..

Lawyer wants new phone laws disconnected

Aug 5 (DM) A lawyer filed a writ application in the Appeal Court yesterday against the proposed law to prevent the use of mobile or CDMA phones by anyone other than the registered owner. The petitioner, Sudarshana Gunawardena filed the petition citing the Telecom Regulatory Commission, its Chairman Lalith Weeratunga and TRC Director General as respondents. Filing the application as a public interest litigation, Mr. Gunawardena said on July 12, more..

Bank officer in fishy pawning deals

Aug 5 (DM) Police requested a Colombo Court yesterday to impound the passport of a National Savings Bank (NSB) officer who was allegedly involved in fake jewellery pawning deals. OIC Lalith Weerasinghe, of the Nugegoda Special Crime Investigation Unit, yesterday, moved the Colombo Chief Magistrate Nishantha Hapuarachchi to impound the passport of Mohamed M. Kamil, an officer who had been in charge of the Gold Jewellery Pawning Section of the National Savings Bank at Nawala, more..

SAARC Opportunity For Human Rights

Aug 6 (LG) Colombo took on the appearance of a city under siege during the week of the SAARC Summit. Roads were deserted and schools were closed to ensure security for the visiting Heads of States from the seven South Asian countries. But the recently concluded Summit was a personal success for President Mahinda Rajapaksa whose government ensured that the events went without any major hitch. The President appeared comfortable in his role as host. more..

On Bruce Fein episode: Carrion bird flies again?

Aug 6 (LG) This is to inform all concerned that Bruce Fein the former attorney for Tamils For Justice who claims to have resigned from his responsibilities and duties as attorney for the T4J, after his Toronto trip or more like during the Toronto trip, and who joined Justice For Thamils led by son of the late Joseph Pararajasingam and Mrs Sugunam Pararajasingam of Toronto, Subakanthan Pararajasingam, and more..

Will TN Chief Minister alleviate the sufferings of the refugees?

Aug 6 (LG) Whenever there is intense fighting in the north, people who are affected used to take refuge in Tamil Nadu. Many thousands of people have taken refuge in Tamil Nadu refugee camps during the last three decades. The relief they get is enough for them but they have to find a job for their children's studies and for their other needs. Recently, Kalaignar Karunanithy had said that Tamil refugees cannot buy any property in Tamil Nadu. more..

SARRC Summit and what next?

Aug 6 (LG) SARRC Summit, hosted at great expenses and amidst tight security, has come to an end without any untoward incidents, in the back drop of a unilateral truce offer by the LTTE. Meanwhile, the government, which turned down the truce offer of the LTTE, has indulged in military advances into Vanni during these ten days. There were air attacks and the government has announced that it has captured certain areas, while more..

Truce as strategy

Aug 6 (FL) ON the evening of July 11, Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa took off on an unannounced visit to Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. Colombo, the capital of the island-nation, was abuzz with speculations about the “mysterious visit” to India, especially since Sri Lanka is scheduled to host the 15th Summit of the SAARC on August 2 and 3. Forty-eight hours later, it became clear that Rajapaksa was on a pilgrimage to the abode of Venkateswara. more..

LTTE retreating in Lanka; India neutral

Aug 6 (IANS) Amid continuously shrinking of Tamil Tiger territory, the Norwegian-sponsored peace process is on hold in Sri Lanka with no signs of resuming any time now. Western diplomats say that Norwegian facilitation will remain on hold as long as fighting rages. There is unlikely to be any advancement in the peace process in the near future. Although Norwegian diplomats do not travel any more to LTTE areas, they are in touch with the Tigers through other means. more..

Sri Lanka hopes to collect 800 million from 'eco' tax

Aug 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's environmental protection office is hoping to collect up to 800 million rupees from a series of taxes charged on people who own cars, mobile phones, standard light bulbs and firms that use telecom transmission towers. The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) will also charge a two percent levy on top of ten percent mobile subscriber levy from August 15. more..

'Petitioning for media freedom sustains separatism'

Aug 6 (LD) At a time when the military is waging a decisive war to take control of the north, petitioning for media freedom is a traitorous act that sustains separatist sentiments of imperialists, said National Freedom Front leader Wimal Weerawansa. He was speaking at a function at Mahaweli Centre in Colombo yesterday (Aug 05th) that marked the launch of the NFF's monthly magazine 'Kirula.' more..

Lanka at mercy of India thro' power project - JVP

Aug 6 (LD) JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake says Sri Lanka will surrender to India both politically and economically through the 200-mile-long submarine electricity cable project. Speaking to the media in Colombo today (Aug. 05th), he said that the proposed project would give India the upper hand in Sri Lanka's energy sector. The island would not be able to abolish the project agreement for any reason, Mr. Ratnayake said. more..

Army chief demands 'censorship' - Five Media

Aug 6 (LD) Five Media has strongly condemned a reported warning by the Army Commander against the continuation of defence features of 'Sunday Lankadeepa'. In a statement, they said Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka had told staff journalist Indika Ramanayake that he would not cooperate with the newspaper if did not stop the two articles. The features in question are a defence analysis by Duminda Sanjeewa and a translation of the security situation by Iqbal Athas. more..

Blood bank protests sudden transfers

Aug 6 (LD) Staff of the blood bank at the Colombo National Hospital staged a demonstration today (Aug. 05th) against the sudden transfer of three of their colleagues who had exposed alleged wrongdoing. The Health Services Trade Union Alliance organized the protest in front of the National Blood Bank. The protestors urged health authorities to cancel the transfers and not to interfere with probes by the Attorney General and the Bribery Commission into the allegations. more..

Petition against new phone laws

Aug 6 (LD) A lawyer filed a writ application in the Appeal Court yesterday (August 04th) against a law that proposes the prevention of the use of mobile or CDMA phones by anyone other than the registered owner. The petitioner, Sudarshana Gunawardena, filed the petition citing the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, its Chairman Lalith Weeratunga and the TRC Director General as respondents. more..

Military and the mess up in media relations

Aug 6 (TC) "The Sirasa TV crew who went to cover the opening of the second flyover in Kelaniya met with hostility from the bodyguards of Minister Mervyn Silva. An eye witness at the scene claimed that the minister had inquired whether a Sirasa TV crew was present and upon identification had ordered his guards to forcibly remove the video tapes from the camera." News item in a Colombo daily August 5, 2008. more..

Kumble goes bird-watching in Sri Lanka

Aug 6 (CN) Indian skipper Anil Kumble is a man of many hobbies, including photographing his teammates in different moods and capturing nature in its different forms. During India's ongoing tour of Sri Lanka, Kumble's fans saw another shade of the great leg-spinner when he took off to a nearby bird sanctuary, which is located about two kilometres from the players' hotel in Galle for bird-watching. more..

Harbhajan, a player to watch out for: Muralitharan

Aug 6 (CT) Muttiah Muralitharan, the goggle-eyed Sri Lankan spin wizard is statistically the most threatening bowler on the planet. With over 1,000 international wickets in his kitty, he stands tall above celebrated deities of Warne, Kumble, McGrath and Walsh in the pantheon of cricket legends. What really defines him is his competitive outlook towards each game and, of course, the smile at the end of every delivery. more..

Opposition parties oppose CEPA agreement

Aug 6 (AT) Major opposition political parties have shown opposition to the proposed Comprehensive Economic partnership Agreement – CEPA and said it will affects local services sector. Addressing a three hour debate in parliament on Tuesday UNP, JVP and NFF said this agreement would provide more opportunities for India. However TNA parliamentarian R.Sampanthan pointed out that almost every country in the world aims to enhance economic ties with India. more..

Biography of N.U. Jayawardena Presented to Indian Prime Minister

Aug 6 (AT) The first copy of the biography, N.U. Jayawardena – The First Five Decades, was presented to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when he visited Colombo for the SAARC Conference. Prime Minister Singh first met N.U. Jayawardena in the early 1950s, when the Prime Minister was a student of Economics at Cambridge University with NU’s eldest son Lal. The authors of the book, Kumari Jayawardena (NU’s daughter-in-law) and Jennifer Moragoda (his granddaughter-in-law); more..

July 83- Propaganda Hype: A ‘Carte Blanche’ for the LTTE

Aug 6 (AT) A number of articles appeared in the public press commemorating the events of July 83, where riots broke out in Colombo over the death of 13 soldiers on an ambush at Thinneveli, in Jaffna. Some writers, as usual, dubbed these events the ‘Black July’ inferring these as the darkest events ever to have happened in the country, while some reasoned out the hackneyed theory of July 83 being the cause of Ealam wars that have cost the country a few thousand lives. more..

LTTE takes French ACTC for a ride

Aug 6 (AT) In recent weeks the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo and the Sri Lanka Embassy in France received dozens of letters signed by different individuals with Tamil and French names. Though they were posted from different localities in Paris, all the letters had the same content accusing the government of Sri Lanka of alleged human rights violations and alleging that soldiers torture Tamil citizens. more..

Nallur Kandasamy annual festival commences today with ‘Kodi Etram’

Aug 6 (AT) The annual festival of Nallur Kanthasamy Kovil (Temple) in Jaffna commences today with Kodi Etram - the ceremony of flag hoisting to mark the beginning of the temple festival. The festival will commence at 10 AM, in the morning. According to tradition, Nallur Kanthasamy Temple is said to be one of the few temples in the peninsula that practices rites and observances according to Saiva agama traditions, and reflected with regularity, splendor and pageantry. more..

Are our human rights secured in the 1978 Constitution?

Aug 6 (LG) Human rights are inherent rights possessed by people simply as and because they are human beings. Human rights is a concept that has been constantly evolving through out human history tied to the laws, customs and religions throughout the ages. The contemporary concept of human rights is the product of the 17th and 18th century European thought. The term has only come into common currency during the 20th century. more..

CEPA agreement will be made public before signing: G.L

Aug 6 (LG) The Government has assured that the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and Sri Lanka would be implemented only after placing all the facts to the public and decides upon their approval or disapproval. Minister of Export Development and International Trade Prof. G.L.Pieris said that all professionals have got excited as services too would be exchanged within countries and have a fear that it would affect their professions badly. more..

Real Liberation

Aug 6 (LG) The slogan of liberation has become a cheap word for the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. Time and again the Tamils have heard drum beating slogans of the government and the LTTE that they have liberated this and have liberated that from each other. Poor innocent civilian population is being roasted by both these monstrous elements and people’s yearning thirst for peace from oppression of both the aggressors is only reaching the deaf years. more..

The stillborn artificial Sri Lankan identity V

Aug 6 (LG) I have to digress somewhat to respond to Mr. R. M. B. Senanayake’s letter to the editor that appeared on 28th July 2008. However the response is not outside the theme of the present series of articles as I would have had to come back to the Sri Lankan identity as defined by me at present and hopefully accepted by those who can think, and not as defined by most of the elite intellectuals of the country, in the final stages. more..

Black July 1983 : India cannot adopt ‘holier than thou’ attitude

Aug 6 (LG) I have been reading, an interesting exchange of opinions about Sri Lanka and its tragic race riots between one Mr. Gunasekera and Mr. Dayan Jayatilleke. I agree with Mr Jayatilleke’s description of Sri Lanka’s barbarism in 1983; but I suspect he may have not known much race riots in India. True, innocent people were made to suffer by UNP government goon squads and barbaric idiots in Sri Lanka and more..

Devolution of power is all that is required

Aug 6 (LG) The question of devolution of power arose only after the Sinhala Buddhist majority introduced the "Sinhala Only" language policy to hit the Tamils who were better educated and better employed than the Sinhala majority. This was because S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike used the language card to become the prime minister at any cost, which instantly divided the country on ethnic lines and made way for the present ethnic war. more..

'People in the Wanni can seek hope for the future from the Eastern example'

Aug 6 (GDI) Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council, said that the future of the LTTE as a fighting force is under grave threat given the efficiency and determination with which the security forces are going about the humanitarian mission of liberating the Wanni. The Chief Minister was speaking to a group of journalists who had come to cover the 15th SAARC Summit in Colombo and had decided to see first hand the situation in the Eastern Province. more..

'No real push' for 17 amendment

Aug 6 (BBC) The speaker of the parliament has accused all political parties of lacking interest to implement vital constitutional amendments. Speaker WJM Lokubandara told BBC Sandeshaya that it is the responsibility of the Parliamentary Select Committee to come out with proposals to amend 17 amendment to the constitution. He admitted that there is a public perception that the government and all political parties are deliberately delaying submitting new proposals. more..

Fresh bids for Colombo harbour project

Aug 6 (SG) News media in the country say the Ggovernment of Sri Lanka plans to call for fresh bids for the construction of the first terminal at the new Colombo South Harbour next month. Quoting the Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Saliya Wickramasuriya, sources said that, in February this year after much delay and controversy, the Government awarded the contract to Hutchison of Hong Kong to build the first terminal, even though it was only the second highest bidder. more..

Frontline positions shift rapidly in Northern theatre of war

Aug 6 (TC) Significant strides made by the armed forces on the one hand and consequential withdrawals (strategic or otherwise) by the LTTE on the other, have caused rapid shifts in the frontline positions of both sides in the northern theatre of conflict. While the armed forces are gaining the upper hand on the northern battlefront ,the LTTE remains defiant and unpredictable. more..

MR’s acceptance of full implementation of the 13th Amendment

Aug 6 (ML) At long last the President, according to press reports, had given an assurance to the Indian Prime Minister that he is willing to implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution to the full. This no doubt is a dramatic U-turn as far as SLFP led coalition governments are concerned. President Mahinda Rajapakse was a staunch opponent of the provincial councils system when it was introduced by the UNP government and more..

The Govt’s educational nightmare

Aug 6 (ML) The country’s education system is plagued by many setbacks, and the government’s failure to respond effectively has exacerbated the mess that has beset the educational system in this country today. The government schools’ admission procedure is in total chaos and the Education Ministry’s failure to distribute textbooks for grades 10 and 11 in time, the impending proposal to cut down the number of school days to reduce fuel consumption and more..

Police still to question Mervyn on Sirasa assault

Aug 6 (ML) THE police is yet to record a statement from Labour Minister Mervyn Silva over the assault of a cameramen and video journalist attached to Sirasa TV at the opening of the second flyover bridge in Kelaniya on Monday (4). Police Spokesperson SSP Ranjith Gunasekara told The Morning Leader yesterday that immediate action was taken and that the two cameras that were forcibly taken from the cameramen were recovered and statements from the people involved are being recorded. more..

Tigers warn motorists using Wanni roads

Aug 6 (ML) THE Tigers yesterday warned motorists on the Wanni roads to be extra vigilant due to the large number of IDPs travelling on them. "Tamil Eelam police issued a notice yesterday warning road users of increased risk of accidents on the road due to sudden increase in the number of road users as a result of large scale displacement," the Tiger Peace Secretariat said yesterday. more..

National policy on labour migration

Aug 6 (LNP) The Government is planning to introduce a National Policy on Labour Migration to usher better protocol on labour migration policies and management. The final draft of the proposal being prepared by the Foreign Employment and Welfare Ministry is to be presented to the Cabinet in September for further perusal. The proposed document would include three key windows such as Regulations on Good Governance, Protection and Welfare of Migrants and Development Aspects of Labour Migration. more..

Menon left BMICH without Narayanan

Aug 6 (LNP) A row over neglecting Indian National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan s security on the opening-day of SAARC leaders summit at the BMICH, initially blamed on the host, has taken a new turn with the revelation that the official had arrived at the venue earlier in the company of Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and was expected to return the same way. The Indian delegation had been staying at the Hotel Taj Samudra under a heavy security blanket. more..

Ringing changes on policing

Aug 6 (LNP) The police are trying their hands at different methods to improve their image the world over. These experiments have seen policemen taking to dancing and singing while on duty in some countries. (A wag says, in this country, too, we have singing and dancing cops, the only difference being that our guys are dancing to the tune of politicians and singing hosannas for them!) more..

Dr. P.B joins Mahinda for Beijing Olympics

Aug 6 (BL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to leave for Beijing today to watch the Olympics. It is learnt that among the officials accompanying the President will be Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara who featured prominently in a recent landmark Supreme Court ruling over his role as PERC Chairman with regard to the privatisation of Lanka Marine Services. A fortnight ago Dr. Jayasundera wrote to the President, who is also Minister of Finance to “relieve him of his duties”, more..

Mervyn warns TV channel

Aug 6 (LNP) Minister Mervyn Silva yesterday said he was no cameraman and did not forcibly take the video camera of the Sirasa TV crew covering the flyover opening event on Monday. He said this despite photographs appearing in the media showing the Minister seemingly attempting to remove a video camera of one of the Sirasa crew members. Minister Silva however warned the private TV channel would have to face the consequences if it attempted to cover any event attended by him in the Kelaniya electorate and more..

Food prices reaching crisis proportions – survey

Aug 6 (BL) “While rising food prices are having a telling effect on the common man’s budget, the threat of a Darfur-like calamity is looming on the horizon. As the general populace struggles to cope with the rising costs of transport, cooking gas and electricity, a corresponding hike in food prices may just be the last straw for many who barely eke out a living on meagre earnings,” says the latest edition of Business magazine LMD more..

Opposition Leader ‘second’ to FM’s daughter

Aug 6 (BL) The table of precedence in the official Protocol List needs to be changed, UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara, citing the allocation of a fifth row seat to Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and the non allocation of seats to former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. “The Leader of the Opposition was allocated a back row seat. Is this the way to treat the Leader of the Opposition and a former Prime Minister?” the UNP MP said. more..