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Heavy battles grip Sri Lanka as troops keep up offensive

Sep 5 (AFP) Government forces and Tamil Tiger separatists fought heavy battles in northern Sri Lanka with another 34 combatants killed in fresh clashes, the defence ministry said Friday. Troops encountered stiff resistance from the rebel LTTE as troops tried to move deeper into rebel territory, defence officials said. The ministry said 30 rebels were killed and another 27 wounded in fighting since Thursday, more..

Bishop Chikera unofficial LTTE spokesman - JHU

Sep 6 (LG) JHU General Secretary, Venerable Omalpe Sobhitha Thero has told Head of Colombo's Anglican Church Bishop Duleep Chikera to have patience till the Security Forces crush the LTTE to make the Wanni truly a Zone of Peace. In a statement issued in response to the Bishop's call for making the Wanni a peace zone while the battle against the Tigers is raging, the Venerable Sobhitha Thero said that Chikera is echoing the LTTE's earlier 'peace' appeal, which Defence Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa flatly rejected. more..

'Now, only Judiciary is solving people’s woes'

Sep 6 (LG) UNP M.P. Madduma Range Bandara addressing the media yesterday (4Sep) asked, what is the purpose of a Govt. which cannot solve people’s urgent grievances and waits for Court instructions? This is a Govt. which was heedless, only started acting after the parents went to the Courts for School admissions; then, the Govt. teachers’ salary anomaly issue too went to Courts. Strikers demanding relief also end up in Courts to get redress. more..

Govt.’s borrowing spree plunging country into a vicious debt cycle

Sep 6 (LG) Speaking to the Media yesterday, UNP Gen. Secretary Tissa Attanayake, showed grave concern over the indiscriminate massive short term borrowings of the Govt. at exorbitant interest rates in its desperation to cover up its bankruptcy and debt repayments with no development programs or progress in sight. Already, U.S. $. 230 million has been borrowed by the Govt. and another U.S. $ 70 million is in the pipeline. more..

'Time to develop abilities of Jaffna students'

Sep 6 (LG) Having received the students from Jaffna who had come to take part at the National Sports Competition 2008, at Isipathanaramaya, Colombo on the 04th of September 2008, Douglas Devananda, Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare addressing the media personnel stated that the lack of democracy in the North-East Provinces was one of the causes for continuation of the existent ethnic problem. more..

Finding an escape route for Prabhakaran

Sep 6 (LG) The speed of the Sri Lankan forces advancing deep into the heart of Vanni – the last stronghold of the Tamil Tigers – is forcing the Tiger hierarchy to find alternative safe havens for its leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran. Increasing speculation in the Tamil disapora suggests that he will be whisked away to the jungles of Burma or to the rebel-held territories in Philippines as no recognized state is prepared to grant him refuge. more..

Don’t blame the bishop; blame the archbishop!

Sep 6 (LG) They say the bishop has put his foot in the porridge or something to that effect. The Anglican Bishop Duleep de Chickera should have sought his career in the precincts of St Thomas College, Mount Lavinia and remained as a part of the learning process there. He is immature to be a leader of a community especially at this time, a period of troublous and chaotic nightmare with terrorism in full steam in the country not just in Wanni alone nor only by the LTTE. more..

Conspiracy of the Catholic Church in the North

Sep 6 (LG) In the wake of the Government Forces entering in to the District of Kilinochchi controlled by the armies of the demoniac Prabhakaran, Duleep Chikera the Catholic Bishop has woken up to call for a Peace Zone in the North. The Catholic Church is trying to make the best out of a bad situation to permanently implant the influence of the Catholic Church in the North after the terrorists are eliminated by the Government Forces. more..

Sri Lanka refutes Amnesty’s simplistic analysis of IDP situation

Sep 6 (GDI) The Government of Sri Lanka refuted certain assertions made by Amnesty International (AI) on 04 September 2008, in a statement to the Human Rights Council on supposed “severe problems of protection and assistance for displaced persons triggered by the intensification of hostilities,” according to a media release of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights. The media release also stated the following: more..

Tiger proxies evicted from UNESCO NGO Conference

Sep 6 (GDI) Three members of a pro-LTTE Non Governmental Organization were evicted from the 61st Annual UNESCO Conference of DPI/NGO at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris yesterday. The three, members of Tamil Centre for Human Rights (TCHR), had registered as participants submitting false information to the Department of Public Information of UNESCO and the DPI/NGO Conference Secretariat in Paris and New York. more..

'A third evil force responsible for attacks on the Tamil Nadu fishermen'

Sep 6 (AT) Blaming Sri Lankan Navy for various incidents of alleged attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen was denied and it was pointed out of the presence of a third ‘evil force’ in the sea, referring very clearly to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Mr. P.M. Amza, the Deputy High Commissioner cleared a lot misinformation and false propaganda viciously let loose against the Sri Lanka Navy. more..

A need for real Tamil leadership

Sep 6 (AT) “The war has reached a significant phase” so says most international media channels. We cannot be naďve to the fact that regaining lost territory & winning the battle will finally put to rest 30 years of calamity. While the army surges ahead it is time for the people of Sri Lanka to start working upon a change in mindset away from extremes & not allow the past to haunt the decisions that should create a fresh start for the entire country. more..

Minister admits rights violations

Sep 6 (BBC) Human rights violations are occurring in Sri Lanka, a senior government minister has admitted. Minister in charge of Investment Development, Prof. GL Peiris, told BBC Sandeshaya that the international community should understand the context in which these abuses taking place. The minister who is in London to promote investment in Sri Lanka said the government has a duty to protect civilians ‘from explosions, things of that kind’. more..

Rugby: Future looks bright for Sri Lanka

Sep 6 (IRC) With the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 now only six months away, the 10th Singer SriLankan Airlines International Sevens over the weekend should act as a form guide ahead of the Asian regional qualifier next month, with many of the leading nations involved. Ten teams will take part in the event at the picturesque Nittawela Grounds in Kandy over the next three days: hosts Sri Lanka, Korea, Chinese Taipei, China, Malaysia, India, Singapore, Thailand, Kazakhstan and Arabian Gulf. more..

Headstand surfer is making waves

Sep 6 (BBC) A survivor of the 2004 Asian tsunami has become a Dorset tourist attraction by surfing while standing on his head. Dulip Kokuhannadige has wowed crowds on Bournemouth beach by performing a headstand while riding the waves. The 22-year-old from Sri Lanka came to England after falling in love and marrying a British aid worker. But now the relationship has ended he says he hopes to stay in the town for the opening of Europe's first artificial surf reef later this year. more..

South Africa seize advantage early

Sep 6 (CI) Outbatted in the first four-day game in Potchefstroom, South Africa A came back strongly in the second, dismissing Sri Lanka A for 180, and then taking a seven-run lead with nine wickets left in their first innings. Sri Lanka's woes began as soon as they were put in. Tharanga Paranavitana, the top scorer in the first game, was out with his team yet to score a run. Upul Tharanga and Gihan Rupasinghe then steadied the innings with a 64-run stand, before Rupasinghe became the first of five wickets for medium-pacer CJ de Villiers. more..

The poor plight of the people

Sep 6 (LG) We have a government that has no will to stop the increasing cost of living. The government gives excuses for the increase and is only interested in appointing committees to end ways and means of reducing the cost of living. But, nothing has happened. There has been a chain of price hikes ranging from food commodities to gas and even service charges. People wake up each day only wondering which price will go up any moment. more..

Abductions are also war offences!

Sep 6 (LG) Amnesty International has expressed grave concern that persons responsible for enforced disappearances are still at large and move about freely in Sri Lanka. It has also openly charged that the offenders operate without any fear of prosecution since there is no independent institution to inquire and investigate into disappearances. What does it reflect? Amnesty International and other international organizations have doubts about more..

All political parties must contribute for peace

Sep 6 (LG) Every time the war commences, innocent people are faced with sufferings and economic losses. Innocent Tamil people are suffering due to the war. Students are suffering without basic facilities and are unable to continue their educational activities even though schools have commenced. Vijitha Herath, JVP‘s General Secretary cum JVP parliamentarian has said that JVP doesn’t accept innocent Tamil people being killed in the war against terrorism. more..

Shell Blasts Refugee Camp at Puthumurippu

Sep 6 (LG) The refugee camp of the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) at Puthumurippu was under artillery shelling at 4.30 p.m. on 30.08.2008. A young child, a month old infant, (see pics) two women and a man were killed on the spot. All are innocent civilians. A girl of 17 and two children 06 years and 10 month old were seriously injured. All the three were rushed to the Kilinochchi district hospital. more..

The Tide is Turning

Sep 6 (LG) A few weeks back in one of my reports from Vanni I wrote that the war would take a turn, when the fireworks start from the LTTE. I predicted it to commence by the end of September. But I was proved wrong. The game has already started, I guess. From Kilinochchi, where I live I was able to note in the past months, that the shelling was nearing day by day though slowly. But for the past one week it was getting little more faint indicating that the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) was on the retreat or stagnant. more..

A note of thanks to Prof Rajiva Wijesinghe

Sep 6 (LG) In a most welcome speech at a seminar ‘Lest we forget: the tragedy of July 1983’ the Secretary General of Secretariat for Co-ordinating the Peace Process Prof Rajiva Wijesinghe has bluntly revealed the causes of the tragic state sponsored violence in July 1985 against the Tamils. Such an effort to accept responsibility for the violence by a fair minded and respectable Sinhala politico is a welcome process to go through a meaningful engagement to progress better more..

Sirisena squabbles with Chamal to sell water

Sep 6 (LT) A cabinet paper presented to the cabinet by Minister of Irrigation and Water Management Chamal Rajapakse to market water and was approved has been opposed by Minister of Agricultural Development & Agrarian Services Development Maithripala Sirisena. Minister Sirisena has presented a cabinet paper no. 55/2008 opposing the cabinet paper presented by Minister Rajapakse on 04.07.2008. more..

Sea Tiger leader’s relative launches TV channel in Europe

Sep 6 (GDI) A close relative of the Sea Tiger leader Soosai has launched a new television channel for LTTE propaganda in Europe named Valary TV, which is to start telecasting from the French capital on September 6, 2008. This was also announced in Thendral TV, another LTTE-connected television channel launched by Dr Nalliah Sivanathan of Thendral Medical Centre in London. Valary TV is headed by one A C Taricisicus, who is a close relative of Soosai, more..

Church medical fund helps save poor parishioners

Sep 6 (UCAN) Chamila Sudarshani says she feels "reborn" thanks to a major medical operation partially paid for by a Church-run fund. The young woman was one of the 1,500 well-wishers at an Aug. 28 thanksgiving service the Chilaw Diocesan Medical Assistance Fund (CDMAF) organized to mark its fifth anniversary. Bishop Valence Mendis of Chilaw celebrated the anniversary Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine at Nattandiya, with 100 priests joining him. more..

Dismissal of a former district Court Judge

Sep 6 (AHRC) On the communication bearing No. 1376/2005, in the case of Mr. Soratha Bandaranayake submitted through counsel, Mr. S.R.K. Hewamanna, we are including the full text of the View expressed by the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) adopted on 24th July, 2008. In this case the Committee expressed the View that the rights of Mr. Bandaranayake, guaranteed under article 14 (1) and 25 (c) of the ICCPR have been violated. more..

Police allegedly hung a man upside down and poured the juice of chilies in his eyes and nose

Sep 6 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a man was severely tortured by Panadura South Police while he was illegally detained in police custody on August 21, 2008. Police hung him upside down and poured the juice of chili peppers into his eyes and nose in order to extract information from him regarding the whereabouts of his brother. more..

Electricity to entire Jaffna Peninsula By November

Sep 6 (LNP) The Government will meet the electricity needs of the entire Jaffna District by November this year. Its desire is to supply power sans a crisis after completing the work on the Chunnakam Power Plant. 24 mega watts of power is being provided to the Jaffna civilians at present. The Chunakkam power plant, which will be ready by end of November, can generate 36 megawatts, generating six megawatts from six generators. more..

Alarming trend in noise pollution - PSM

Sep 6 (MG) Remand of a Buddhist monk in Colombo by the Supreme Court on the charge of noise pollution has sent shock waves to clergies and activists of other faiths. During this Holy month of Ramazan there are possibilities for Muslims to be charged by the Police for noise pollution if they have not taken prior permission from the local Police. The Mosques are advised to take precautions throughout the period of Ramazan. more..

Ramazan relief on Ferial's request

Sep 6 (MG) The police have relaxed security barriers at the Bibile checkpoint for people travelling from Colombo to Ampara in view of the month of Ramazan. Vehicles carrying passengers were earlier not allowed to proceed through the road block from 10 pm to 6 am day due to security reasons. However after Minister Ferial Ashraff intervened and requested the Defence Ministry to provide some relief the defence authorities had taken this decision. more..

700 more deserters to face Court Martial

Sep 6 (SAMN) The army Friday announced that 700 more army deserters are to be tried by Court Martial soon, and urged the remaining deserters to report back to service and avoid being arrested. “We have so far arrested some 2000 army deserters, who failed to report back to the army” military Spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara said, adding that some 700 such deserters are to be tried by Court Martial in the next few weeks. more..

Dengue, Rat Fever on the increase

Sep 6 (SAMN) Health officials Friday warned of a possible island wide outbreak of Dengue fever within the next few months as thunder showers lashed across the country heralding the onset of the monsoon period. Dr. Lakmini Magodarathna, senior member of National Dengue Control Unit said Dengue fever reaches epidemic proportions after each rainy period. According to health statistics 4,680 people from various parts of the country have been diagnosed with Dengue during the last eight months. more..

New laws on tamed elephants

Sep 6 (SAMN) The Environment Ministry will soon formulate a national level action plan with new regulations with regard to tamed elephants to ensure their well-being, Environment Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said. The regulations will comply with international conditions as well, the Minister told a ceremony at the Kotte Raja Maha Viharaya on Thursday. The Minister opened the sacred relic exhibition at the conclusion of the temple’s 108th annual perahera. more..

JHU to intervene

Sep 6 (SAMN) The JHU said Friday it hoped to intervene in the Supreme Court case involving a Buddhist monk who was remanded for not appearing in court for allegedly violating a Supreme Court order on sound pollution. JHU legal adviser and Central Environment Authority Chairman Udaya Gammanpila told journalists his party would make submissions to Court with regard to sound pollution in respect of Buddhist monks and their religious activities. more..

'Investors offered Constitutional guarantee by Govt'

Sep 6 (DN) Sri Lanka is at the threshold of a decisive phase in her history. The Security Forces are engaged in operations to clear the last hideouts of terrorists. The Government has embarked upon a comprehensive programme to extend governance; we take for granted, to all parts of the country and restore democracy and civilian administration. "After the successful military campaign to free the Eastern Province from the LTTE stranglehold, civil administration has been further enhanced with the holding of elections in the Eastern Province. more..

Co-operatives must go global - PM

Sep 6 (DN) Prime Minister urged the Co-operative Movement to re-define its objectives and revolutionise its endeavours, to compete with the contemporary global open economy. The Premier stated this when he addressed a colourful ceremony at the Samanala playgrounds in Galle to commemorate the 86th International Co-operative Day. He pointed out that historically, the esteemed Co-operative Movement has had to confront much criticism and daunting challenges amid the fierce competition of free, open-market polices. more..

'Take meaningful steps to curb corruption'

Sep 6 (Island) Responding to a recent Finance Ministry call for public proposals for strengthening national income to facilitate development efforts, Vasudeva Nanayakkara who had successfully moved the Supreme Court against the privatisation of Lanka Marine Services (LMS) has warned that the survival of the national economy would entirely depend on a meaningful effort to curb waste, corruption and irregularities. more..

Liquor consumption down, but fines from hooch dens up

Sep 6 (Island) Commissioner General of Excise Vasantha Hapuarachchi yesterday said that though the Governments policy to reduce alcohol consumption had been successful, his department had increased its revenue through fines imposed on illicit distilleries, in the first six months of 2008. This was far more than that of the corresponding period last year. He said that in the past the consumption of legally distilled alcohol increased by almost 50 per cent annually, but compared with the past six months consumption it had dropped by 50 per cent. more..

President to summon APC: JHU

Sep 6 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa told the JHU yesterday that he would summon the All Party Conference (APC) again to discuss matters aimed at reaching a political solution to the ethnic conflict. JHU parliamentary group leader Ven. Aturaliye Ratana Thera told a news conference that the party had talks with the President in this regard and made a request to summon the APC which represents all political parties. more..

Talks break down as cricket crisis deepens

Sep 6 (DM) Sri Lankan cricket has reached the brink of the worst possible disaster since the rebel South African tour in the early eighties, with the possible exit of the top players from the national team to join the Indian Premier League (IPL) as compromise talks between administrators and players broke down yesterday. Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene, former skipper Sanath Jayasuriya and Muttiah Muralitharan were among the top Sri Lankan players who were scheduled to meet the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) more..

DBS quits “Nation” in dismay

Sep 6 (LD) A very reputed and respected journalist D.B.S. Jeyaraj, popular among English readers who was contributing a column to the “Nation” news paper has informed the new management of the Rivira Media Corporation that he is calling it quits with them on ethical issues. “It was indeed pathetic to see Mr. Abeywardane referring to Mr. Nilanka Rajapakse frequently to determine the fate of news stories. more..

2009, an election year - President

Sep 6 (LD) Tagging 2009 as an election year, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has informed all electoral organizers of the SLFP to maximize their services to the public, a senior minister says. Speaking to ‘Lanka Dissent’, the minister said that the President was speaking at a special meeting of the SLFP electoral organizers at Temple Trees on September 04th. more..

Mangala denies contesting South PC polls

Sep 6 (LD) There is no truth in media reports that claim I will contest the Southern Provincial Council as a Chief Ministerial candidate after resigning from Parliament, leader of the SLFP ‘Mahajana’ Wing, Mangala Samaraweera says. These news reports also say that I have even informed the opposition leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe of this, he added, speaking to ‘Lanka Dissent’. more..

Govt. concerned over Justice Marsoof’s oration

Sep 6 (LD) Senior government figures are concerned over the former Attorney General, K. Kamalasabayson Memorial Oration delivered by the Supreme Court Judge Saleem Marsoof, the ‘Ravaya’ reports. Implementation of the 17th Amendment, which is the highest mark of quality in constitutional history, would be the highest professional achievement of AG Kamalasabayson, Justice Marshoof said. more..

Sri Lanka's 'underlying' inflation in new trouble, as Thailand dumps core

Sep 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's 'core' inflation index, which is claimed to be responsive to central bank action, continued to edge up in August, even as 'headline' inflation fell amidst tight policy, and Thailand got ready to scrap core inflation targeting. The statistics unot of Sri Lanka's central bank said its controversial 'core' inflation index without food and energy, which is said to show underlying inflation, moved up to 17.4 percent in August from 17.2 percent in July. more..

Sri Lanka tea export earnings hit new high

Sep 6 (LBO) Sri Lankan tea export earnings hit a new high up to July this year with strong demand continuing from the oil exporting regions of the Middle East and Russia, brokers said. Brokers Asia Siyaka Commodities said that according to an analysis of Customs data Sri Lanka earned 766 million dollars from tea exports during January - July 2008, up 44 percent compared with last year's record performance. more..

Gomes quits Sri Lanka Cricket's interim committe

Sep 6 (CI) Dian Gomes, a member of Sri Lanka Cricket's interim committee, has resigned from his post citing excess workload as the reason. Gomes juggles his cricket commitments with roles at the Amateur Boxing Association, the National Olympic Committee (NOC) and an apparel manufacturing company. "I sent my letter of resignation to Arjuna [Ranatunga] and copied it to the sports minister," Gomes told Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror. more..

Sri Lanka says 24 rebels killed in new fighting

Sep 6 (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers captured three Tamil Tiger rebel bunkers and killed 24 guerrillas in fighting across the island's restive north, the military said Saturday. Troops captured the three bunkers and killed eight rebels in fighting Friday along the northeastern front of Welioya district. Other fighting broke out Friday in Vavuniya district, where 14 rebels were killed, and in Kilinochchi district, where two guerrillas were killed, more..

'It is now the Tamil diaspora'

Sep 7 (TN) A conference on Sri Lankan diaspora that took place last week in Kuala Lumpur provided an opportunity to understand the broad perspectives of the Eezham Tamil diaspora, its universal aims and development agenda on one hand and to witness the subtle efforts by certain elements to nullify its identity and hijack its noble agenda to the diplomatic benefit of the Sri Lankan state on the other hand, according to a Malaysian Tamil scholar. more..

Wellington offers to train Sri Lankan youngsters

Sep 7 (CI) Cricket Wellington is offering young Sri Lankan players the opportunity to train and play in New Zealand as part of its Wellington School of Cricket programme. Asoka Weerasundra, the business manager of Wellington School of Cricket, was in Colombo to recruit players, who will have to pay NZ$ 7500 (US$ 5000) for the chance to train at the Westpac Stadium. Depending on their performance, players - 15 years and above - could get a chance to play in the Wellington League. more..