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President meets Sri Lankan Olympic team

Aug 7 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in Beijing on Wednesday to open his four-day official tour of China in connection with the 29th Olympic Games which begins on Friday. Despite a long journey from Colombo, the President immediately went to the Athletes Village in the Chinese capital to meet the Sri Lankan contingent which is making its final preparations for the 205-nation Games. more..

Money set aside to desilt Negombo lagoon

Aug 7 (DN) Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Felix Perera told Parliament yesterday that the Government has allocated money to desilt the Negombo lagoon. The Minister said some people have occupied several sections of the Negombo lagoon illegally and have even constructed illegal structures. He said the water level of the Negombo lagoon has gone down at present due to the depositing of dregs on the lagoon bed. more..

Food served at Galle cricket Test causes uproar

Aug 7 (DM) Police authorities are contemplating on whether to take action against the Interim Committee running Sri Lanka Cricket after their personnel on duty at the Galle International Cricket Stadium were allegedly served with food unfit for human consumption during the second Test between Sri Lanka and India which ended on Sunday. The food was supplied by the Tour Organising Committee (TOC) of Sri Lanka Cricket which also provided meals to VIP invitees and other special guests. more..

Foreign degrees won’t be recognized if no A/L: Minister

Aug 7 (DM) The Ministry of Higher Education will never recognize foreign degrees obtained by students who do not have the basic Advance Level qualifications and strict guidelines will be laid down shortly to streamline the entire higher education system and to prevent obtaining such degrees, Higher Education Minister Prof. Wiswa Warnapala said. He made these comments when he met Prof. Galina Molhova, Head of the Department of Language Teaching, University of Sofia, Bulgaria more..

Janaka turns down Govt. picked security, wants to select them himself

Aug 7 (Island) UNP chief ministerial candidate for the North-Central provincial council elections Major-General (rtd) Janaka Perera has refused to accept the eight government appointed security personnel for his personal safety. He insists that he be allowed to pick the eight personnel as he could not trust those appointed by the government, the North-Central province UNP Election Campaign Unit said. more..

Ships taking cargo to the North must carry essential items

Aug 7 (Island) Commissioner General of Essential Services (CGES) S. B. Divaratne yesterday said that he would not hesitate to cancel the licenses of ships carrying cargo to the North if they fail to comply with his directive to transport at least 25per cent of essential items required in the peninsula. "These shippers are bent on creating artificial shortages to jack up the prices of essentials since 60 to 70 per cent of consumers in the peninsula patronize private traders," he said. more..

Murali has found a spin twin in Ajantha Mendis

Aug 7 (IANS) The performance of 23-year-old Sri Lankan spinner Ajantha Mendis during the first two Tests against India has excited cricket circles here and he is being hailed as the successor to world record holder Muttiah Muralitharan. Mendis mesmerised the Indian top order, claiming 18 wickets in the two Tests - eight in the first and 10 in the second - a record for a Sri Lankan debutant. more..

Sri Lankan army sees success against LTTE a step away

Aug 7 (Dawn) Shortly after the conclusion of the SAARC summit in Colombo where the curbing of terrorism featured prominently, a smiling President Mahinda Rajapakse was featured on state television conversing with an injured soldier. “The war will be over when Prabhakaran is forced to surrender,” the president was seen telling the soldier who had lost both his legs in the fierce battles that raged across the north during the summit despite a proclamation of a ceasefire by the LTTE during the Saarc summit period. more..

LTTE links claimed as Sri Lankan scams entire English village

Aug 7 (IANS) An English court has jailed a Sri Lankan man who defrauded an entire village apparently in order to pay back debts to a loan-shark with Tamil Tigers links. Abdul Samad Mohamed Raik, a petrol station attendant in the village of Houghton on the Hill in southeast England, was jailed for two years and nine months Wednesday after he helped to clone more than 500 debit or credit cards to steal 175,000 pounds. more..

Church near Sri Lanka front line cancels festival

Aug 7 (AP) A popular annual festival at a revered Roman Catholic church near the front lines of Sri Lanka's civil war has been canceled because the government and Tamil rebels have failed to recognize the area as a peace zone, officials said Thursday. Meanwhile, new fighting in the restive north killed 11 Tamil Tiger rebels and a soldier, the military said. The 17th century church in Madhu, 130 miles north of Colombo, has attracted hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every August who more..

What is this wet zone and dry zone argument in Srilanka

Aug 8 (LG) I have been reading some articles on this subject recently in some Lankan news papers: Some people feel that they live in a dry zone and they think that they live in a geographically deprived land compared to people who live in wet zone (in the south). It is peculiar to read these arguments in relation to prevailing ethnic and political tensions and crises : it looks that now we blame our geography for human made problems: more..

Enemy Within: LTTE Agent In EROS Reveals

Aug 8 (LG) “The Intelligence Wing of the EROS has identified Batticaloa Municipal Councillor Rajanathan Prabaharan as being an LTTE Intelligence Agent. The authorities in Colombo have been briefed and it is said a warrant will be issued for his arrest and detention in due course. He is said to be in hiding in Batticaloa area and it is possible that he may be deported back to Switzerland as he holds a Swiss passport,” more..

LTTE Attempted To Infiltrate The EROS

Aug 8 (LG) The EROS claimed today that they have identified four agents of the LTTE who had attempted to infiltrate their organisation and target key leaders within EROS, senior member of the EROS said. According to the sources, “It is said that the agents of the LTTE had attempted to formally re-join EROS claiming to be loyal members of the (Shankar Rajee) faction of EROS which joined the democratic mainstream in 1987 and has remaining opposed to the LTTE facist terrorists since.” more..

Hindu conference in crisis

Aug 8 (LG) The 11th London Saiva Conference hosted by The Federation of Saiva (Hindu) Temples UK is facing difficulties due to pressures from the LTTE supporting members of the Federation. The Federation of Saiva (Hindu) Temples UK is made up of five Hindu temples in London: Shree Ghanapathy Temple, London Sivan Kovil, Highgatehill Murugan Temple, Sri Kanaga Thurkai Amman Temple and Sri Rajarajeswary Amman Temple. more..

Is this Minister enjoying immunity?

Aug 8 (LG) It was only a few days ago that Chief Justice Sarath N.Silva said that no one is above the law. The Chief Justice made this comment when a fundamental rights application seeking a direction on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to make appointments to Constitutional Council came before court. He was constrained to make this assertion because of the constitutional provisions that offer immunity to the President against legal proceedings. more..

R.Sampanthan’s Lament

Aug 8 (LG) The leader of the so “Tamil National Alliance”, R Sampanthan is reported as having bemoaned in Parliament, the plight of the Tamil People particularly in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, he said that:- “The war is prosecuted as if it is being waged against an alien enemy in total violation of International Human Rights Laws and International Humanitarian Laws” and later sought, albeit obliquely, to justify the terrorism of more..

Annals of Arab arrival in island of Ceylon

Aug 8 (LG) Sri Lanka is composed of a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-religious population which has made this island their home from antiquity. The statistics reveal the pluralistic nature of Sri Lankan society and the diffusion and inter- relation of several cultures. This is the great beauty of this country. Sri Lanka comprises of the major ethnic group, the Sinhalese, in addition to other groups such as Tamils and Muslims. more..

'Govt. candidates are brazenly flouting the election laws'

Aug 8 (LG) Tissa Attanayake, the UNP Gen. Secretary, addressing the media, said the postal voting of Govt. servants are due on the 7th and 8th of August for the North Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces. Like how the Govt. is using force, lies and violence at every election, even at these provincial Council elections, it is trying the same tricks. It is under this regime that the Govt. servants got the worst treatment after the most promises having been made to them at elections by the Rajapakse Government. more..

TNA welcomes the signing of the CEPA with India

Aug 8 (LG) Tamil National Alliance has expresses its support for the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership with India. TNA leader R.Sampanthan has called upon the government to sign the CEPA despite the opposition. TNA leader R.Sampanthan, speaking on an adjournment motion in the House, told that the leaders in Sri Lanka want neither peace nor development and that is why they oppose the signing of the CEPA with India. more..

Legitimate struggles are branded as terrorism!

Aug 8 (LG) Colombo declaration by the leaders of the SARRC countries vouching to eliminate terrorism in the South Asian region appears to be a matter of insignificance, since it fails to address its mind to the root cause of terrorism. It is like curing the symptom rather than the disease. This declaration of war against terrorism has been made following strategies to brand legitimate and just struggles of minorities as terrorism. more..

'I am the man for the North'

Aug 8 (LG) “The TMVP should understand the importance of other Tamil politicians,” said Douglas Devananda, Secretary General of the EPDP and Minister of the Government in an interview with Sri Lanka Guardian. He shared his opinions freely at his residence in Colombo last week. Here is the full text of the interview. What do you think of the present political and military situation in the country? more..

Sri Lanka business chamber touts virtues of Indian trade deal

Aug 8 (LBO) A Sri Lankan business chamber has said the proposed new trade deal with India would give businesses an opportunity to penetrate the rapidly expanding Indian market and offer protection against trade barriers. The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said it welcomes the expansion of the current Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India to a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). more..

Sri Lanka government 2009 budget bill to parliament on Oct 9

Aug 8 (LBO) The appropriation bill for Sri Lanka's budget for 2009 will be presented to parliament on October 9 for its first reading, the government said Thursday. The budget speech and second reading of the budget will be on November 6, a government spokesman said. The cabinet this week approved a proposal by president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also finance minister, to prepare the budget. more..

'Mendis's rapid rise surprised us'

Aug 8 (CI) Regardless of the outcome of the third and final Test between Sri Lanka and India, the astonishing bowling of Ajantha Mendis will be a highlight of the series. His meteoric rise and popularity have pleasantly surprised his captain Mahela Jayawardene. "When we saw him we knew we had to develop him in the right manner," Jayawardene said on Thursday. "We never expected him to be this successful early in his career, more..

Chinese president meets president of Sri Lanka

Aug 8 (Xinhua) Chinese President Hu Jintao met in Beijing on Thursday with President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakse, who is here to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games and other activities. Hu first extended a warm welcome to Rajapakse on behalf of the Chinese government and people, saying he still clearly remembered the amicable meeting with Rajapakse during the annual session of the Boao Forum for Asia, held in April in Hainan of China. more..

Sri Lanka says offensive against rebels succeeding

Aug 8 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's government said on Thursday it was making gains in an offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels, as soldiers killed 16 rebels in fresh battles in the north. Defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella also rejected any possibility of a ceasefire or peace talks at this stage, saying this could only happen if the LTTE were to lay down arms unconditionally. "Surely, definitely, positively we are moving forward and we will not turn at any point," more..

Riveting series awaits fitting finale

Aug 8 (CI) Sri Lanka v India has already made a strong claim to being called the Asian Ashes, as opposed to the contests between Pakistan and India who, over their last two series, produced some of the most unappetising Test cricket on pitches that didn't deserve any better. The matches in this series have been far more exciting than the victory margins seem to suggest. The first Test witnessed the coming together of two spinners who look set to form the most fearsome bowling duo since McGrath-Warne. more..

Jayalalitha moves court to retrieve island from Sri Lanka

Aug 8 (IANS) Former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalitha on Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the central government to retrieve from Sri Lanka the Kachatheevu island off Rameshwaram that India ceded in 1974. The AIADMK chief contended that then prime minister Indira Gandhi gave away Kachatheevu without suitably amending the constitution, mandatory for effecting any change in Indian territory. more..

Sri Lanka Ambassador in Germany on a reaching out program

Aug 8 (AT) T. B. Maduwegedara, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Germany met the Tamil community in one his ‘Reaching out Programs.’ Ambassador visited Bielefeld and Hamm in the North Rhein Westphalia State in the West Germany on 06th August 2008. North Rhein Westphalia is one of the largest German. During his reaching out program in Bielefeld, Ambassador Maduwegedara met the Sri Lankan Tamil community and appraised them of the present developments in Sri Lanka and more..

Sri Lanka urged PNA to assist stranded Sri Lankans in Gaza strip to go back home

Aug 8 (AT) Sri Lanka’s Representative in Palestine has urged the Palestine National Authority (PNA) to intervene and help the stranded Sri Lankan citizens in the Gaza Strip and help them to get out of Gaza and also to go back to Sri Lanka. Dr. T. Jayasinghe, Representative of Sri Lanka to PNA, recently met the Palestinian Minister of Interior Abdel Razaq Al Yehyah at his office in Ramallah. more..

Researcher calls Black Tigers the most prolific suicide terrorists group in the world

Aug 8 (AT) The LTTE terrorist group with over 150 walking bomb attacks is the world’s most prolific adopter of suicide terrorism said University of Pennsylvania researcher Professor Michael Horowitz. Michael Horowitz, assistant professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania said it has become customary for varied suicide terrorist groups to keep connections to adopt ideas like Sri Lanka’s LTTE who invented the suicide vest being modeled by Hamas and other Middle Eastern groups. more..

Summary of the Cabinet decisions

Aug 8 (GDI) Cabinet has granted approval to a memorandum submitted by His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa for the formulation of Budget for the year 2009. Accordingly approval was granted to formulate the budget adhering to the directions and guidance spelt out in the National Budget Circular No. 139 and under the Mahinda Chinthana Policy Framework, and for the Parliamentary Programme for the Appropriation Bill 2009. more..

'Rice subsidy for estate workers is an election bait'

Aug 8 (LT) The government has stated that Rs.100 rice subsidy for 10 kg of rice at the rate of Rs.10 per kilo would be given to estate workers. This was stated by the Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs Bandula Gunawardene. The minister said the intention of giving the subsidy is to encourage the estate sector employees for rice consumption and added that the subsidy would be given to estates in Matale, Kandy, Nuwaraeliya and Badulla districts. more..

Doubts about emergency landing of helicopter

Aug 8 (LT) The incident in which a MI-17 helicopter belonging to Indian Air Force carrying 11 Indian Air Force personnel that landed at Arippu area due to alleged technical problems has come into a lot of confusion. The reason for this is that the government first said the helicopter belonged to Indian Air Force and there were 11 Indian Air Force personnel travelling in it. When the emergency landing of the helicopter was fist revealed by the media the government said it was an Indian helicopter. more..

Stern trade union action if agreement to modernize railways is not revealed!

Aug 8 (LT) The agreement the government of Sri Lanka signed with India to modernize the coastal railway line should be revealed to the country states ACREGU adding that they would take stern action if the government fails to do so. At a media meeting held in Colombo yesterday (6th) Mr. Sumathipala Manawadu, General Secretary of ACREGU stated this adding that 40 compartments, including 7 restaurant cars, imported from China are still parked in railway yards without being used. more..

Sri Lanka: Free Journalist and Other Critics

Aug 8 (HRW) The Sri Lankan government should release a prominent journalist and two others connected to a website critical of the government, Human Rights Watch said today. The three have been held without charge since March under emergency regulations. On March 7, 2008, the police Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) arrested J.S. Tissainayagam, a columnist with the Sunday Times newspaper and editor of the Outreach website. more..

'Indian Premier's stand on terrorism commendable'

Aug 8 (GDI) Defence Spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella praised the position taken by India's Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh on the issue of terrorism during the recently concluded SAARC Summit in Colombo. Dr. Singh expressed the view that "terrorism is the single biggest threat to South Asia" and Minister Rambukwella, pointed out that this is a clear and positive statement towards eradicating terrorism in the region. more..

India-Sri Lanka power link feasible: PGCIL

Aug 8 (BS) Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL), India's largest electricity transmission company, has found the installation of power transmission lines between India and Sri Lanka to be feasible, paving the way for eventual trading of electricity between countries. The 285-kilometre long line, including submarine cables over a stretch of 50 km, will enable India and Sri Lanka to trade their surplus power with each other, thereby offering a cheaper option to bridge the power generation deficit. more..

Central bank says interest rates easing

Aug 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank has said interest rates on benchmark government securities had begun to ease with the opening up of the market to foreign investors, continued liquidity and lower inflation expectations. "Interest rates in the government securities market have recorded a considerable reduction during the early part of 2008 and have stabilized towards the middle of the year," it said in a statement. more..

SB believes President will do him justice

Aug 8 (LD) "I believe President Mahinda Rajapaksa will preserve Sri Lanka's obligations by international conventions by complying with UN Human Rights Commission’s call to restore my civic rights," said National Organizer of the UNP S.B. Dissanayake. Speaking at a press briefing in Colombo this morning (August 07th), Mr. Dissanayake noted that it was important for the government to comply with international conventions. more..

Launch by Lanka-China Young Journalists

Aug 8 (LD) The Sri Lanka China Young Journalists' Forum officially launched its new website and the magazine 'Mahajana Cheenaya' at a function at the BMICH. Speaking on the occasion, Chinese ambassador Ye Dabo said the publication of the magazine and the website would be very unique in Sri Lanka because they mainly concentrate on the Chinese news, features, poetries, photography, educational releases and editorials, lending the Sri Lankan people an opportunity to know more about China. more..

Protest against Mervyn tomorrow noon

Aug 8 (LD) Media rights organizations are organizing a protest campaign at Kollupitiya Junction in Colombo, starting at 12.00 noon tomorrow (Aug. 07th) to condemn the attack by Minister Mervyn Silva on a Sirasa TV camera crew a few days ago. In a statement, these media groups allege that responsible authorities have failed thus far to take action against the minister despite his continuing suppression of the media. more..

Ruhuna Campus joins party

Aug 8 (LD) Just as undergraduates and marshals clashed in Colombo, a clash occurred between two groups of students at the University of Ruhuna. The fight at the Colombo Campus left the head marshal, several lecturers and students injured. In Ruhuna, it is alleged students of the Students Union had assaulted members of the Science Faculty Students Union. The Secretary of the Students Union has lost several of his teeth during the exchange of blows, and is now receiving treatment at the Colombo General Hospital. more..

Sirasa TV shouldn't have sent crew - police

Aug 8 (LD) Knowing Minister Mervyn Silva's hostility towards Sirasa TV, the broadcaster should not have sent a crew to cover the opening of Peliyagoda flyover where two of its personnel were manhandled, said police spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekara. Speaking to the media at the Media Centre for National Security, the SSP said that the media should have respected the minister's instruction that he should not be photographed. more..

Unique blend of SAARC, Sri Lanka, Buddha and LTTE

Aug 8 (TN) The 15th Summit of SAARC that oscillated between YES and NO until last hours of its preparation due to the rancor among political parties of nascent Republic Nepal was finally held successfully amid tight security in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka, the host country of the 15th SAARC Summit, not only held the gala despite its many domestic and international challenges, but also showed the world that the country can develop itself as more..

Provincial Election Campaign: Battling for the Centre?

Aug 8 (GV) Today, the UNP, the SLFP and the JVP have zeroed-in all their resources to the Sabaragamuwa and North Central provinces. Ministers, Members of Parliament and the Pradeshiya Sabha politicians across the country have all been entrusted with specific tasks in this provincial council election campaign. These tasks are based on their individual capacities. Some of them strategize the campaign, some others speak at the rallies while others more..

Church welcomes special electricity charge reduction

Aug 8 (UCAN) The Catholic Church has welcomed the government's move to reduce electricity charges for religious establishments. Buddhist and Catholic religious leaders including Archbishop Oswald Gomes of Colombo recently appealed to the Supreme Court to direct the government to reduce the charges, after electricity bills skyrocketed in March. They argued that religious places, including temples and churches, depend on donations from the people. more..

An Asian champion awaits

Aug 8 (CI) The precursor to the deciding final match of this fantastic Test series isn't in the same league as what transpired in Kolkata in 2001, but for India it's no less important. It has been seven years since they came back from 0-1 to win a three-match series, and that's all too annoying. India have been in a 1-1 position before in recent years, most famously against Australia at home in 2001, against Sri Lanka away later that year, and in South Africa in January 2007. more..

A many-storied venue

Aug 8 (CI) For perhaps the first time, two Test captains addressed the pre-match media conference while perched on bar stools. No, they weren't under the influence. It just so happened that the long verandah in front of the bar at the P Saravanamuttu Stadium made it the ideal location. Less than a day earlier, Chandra Schaffter, who managed the Sri Lankan team on their first Test tour of India in 1982, had spoken of how much it meant to the Tamil Union Club to host the Test match, more..

Sri Lankan police actions silly and cruel

Aug 8 (UPI) What is simply silly and what is clearly cruel may be relative. However, what Sarath Kumara Naidos, his wife Sriyani, his mother Asilin, his sister Mangalike, her husband Neil and his mother Nandawathie are going through is certainly both silly and cruel by whatever standards. On July 5, while Nandawathie was watching, Sarath Kumara, who was helping to mix cement at his neighbor’s house, was arrested by a policeman in uniform and another in civilian dress. more..