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Sri Lanka delays tariff cuts under FTA

Aug 20 (Dawn) The Sri Lankan government has delayed the second phasing-out of tariffs on products other than those in their no concession lists, which was due from July 1, 2006 under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Pakistan, it is learnt.Pakistan and Sri Lanka had agreed a time-frame under the FTA effective from June 12, 2005 to phase-out tariffs to zero per cent in a period of three to five years on more..

Uthayan newspaper warehouse burnt down in Jaffna

Aug 20 (TN) Warehouse of the Uthayan, Tamil daily published from Jaffna district was burnt down by four unidentified armed men, Friday night, while curfew was in force. The warehouse is located along Rasa Veethi in Kopay. Armed men set fire to the warehouse Friday night around 10.30 p.m. ordering the watcher to move away. The watcher was blindfolded and his hands tied. more..

Colombo aggravates humanitarian crisis in NorthEast – NGO forum head

Aug 20 (TN) Head of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) forum in Kilinochchi, Mr Ganesapillai, speaking at a press conference Wednesday accused the Sri Lankan government of deliberately blocking food and other supplies to civilians living in Vanni and Jaffna. more..

Teen warriors

Aug 20 (ANN) "When they come with guns and bombs to kill our soldiers, we cannot take account of their gender or age in dealing with them,’’ a defence spokesman told a news conference that followed the bombing of what the LTTE first called an "orphanage" close to their Mullaitivu stronghold a few days ago. more..

Urgent measures taken to provide food supplies to Jaffna

Aug 20 (AT) Government takes urgent measures to provide food supplies to the Jaffna Peninsula. Accordingly, K.Ganesh, Government Agent of Jaffna has announced that arrangement are made to provide food stocks from the Government stores at Navatkuli today to all the Multi-Purpose Cooperative Societies in the district. more..

Suicide bombers -- weapon of choice for Sri Lanka rebels

Aug 20 (Reuters) Long associated with sectarian violence in the Middle East, the suicide attack has been refined by Sri Lanka's secularist Tamil Tiger rebels into a sophisticated weapon of war. Spearheaded by the Black Tigers suicide squad and their naval wing, the Black Sea Tigers, the rebels have for years assassinated political and military figures in their fight against the Sinhalese-dominated state. more..

India offers to Lanka formula based on Sarkaria commission

Aug 20 (PTI) With bloody conflict raging in Sri Lanka between the government forces and the LTTE, India has pitched in to help by offering a political formula to resolve the crisis. India has offered a devolution formula, based on the Sarkaria Commission's recommendations, which could take care of the interests and aspirations of all sections of the society of the island nation, official sources told PTI. more..

Maid stabbed on doorstep

Aug 20 (GDN) A Sri Lankan housemaid who was stabbed when she answered her apartment front door was recovering in hospital yesterday. Nalini Menike, 35, was stabbed repeatedly in the abdomen by an unidentified attacker at around 6.30pm on Friday in Manama, sources told the GDN. more..

Jaffna stares at dwindling supplies, soaring prices and cash shortage

Aug 20 (Reuters) The government-held city of Jaffna, cut off by fighting between Sri Lankan forces and Tamil Tiger rebels, faced dwindling supplies and soaring prices yesterday. But there is no real panic, aid workers and witnesses from the remote northern town say. One city resident said over telephone that prices for staples were up more than three-fold, more..

Bravo to pro-war monks

Aug 20 (OC) My spirits were lifted this week, when a bunch of "pro-war Buddhist monks" (so described by the news agency) in Colombo, Sri Lanka, attacked a rostrum full of Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Buddhist clerical peaceniks. The peaceniks were promoting various acts of appeasement toward the psychopaths in Sri Lanka's northern jungles who are called the Tamil Tigers. more..

Enough evidence to prove Sencholai was a tiger training camp

Aug 20 (GN) The government vehemently rejects the allegation leveled by the pro-LTTE websites on the Air Force attack at a so-called 'children's' home' in Mullaitivu. The Government is also concerned over the Resolution pertaining to Sri Lanka adopted by the State Assembly of Tamil Nadu on 17th August 2006, which contains assertions based on reports which have been totally fabricated by the LTTE. more..

Mutur displaced facing health risks

Aug 20 (SAMN) Sanitation and waste management in the camps for people displaced after the recent attacks in Muttur are in a poor condition creating health problems, according to an official of the Peace Secretariat for Muslims (PSM). Programme Officer PSM, Abdul Kalam M. Rayees said the toilets and water supply are not adequate to cater to the huge number of displaced people. more..

No missile scene puzzles military

Aug 20 (SAMN) The military top brass is puzzled as to why the LTTE did not fire anti-aircraft missiles during the over week-long battle across the army’s frontlines in the Jaffna peninsula. "If they brought down a fighter aircraft over Jaffna it would have a catastrophic impact on the defenders. A successful missile strike would have given the attackers the upper hand," a senior military official said. more..

e-Ticketing at local cinemas

Aug 20 (SAMN) Tired of standing in long lines to purchase tickets at movie theatres? Well, there is a simple and convenient way of avoiding all this hassle. It’s called e-Ticketing and it is bringing the local movie theatre experience into the new millennium. more..

Local firms shut out of lubricant market

Aug 20 (SAMN) Sri Lanka’s lubricant market has finally opened up but local companies are complaining that they are being shut out with preferential treatment given to multinational corporations. Qualification requirements set forth by the Government to operate in the lubricant market are disadvantageous to local business, more..

JVP rejects Indian model

Aug 20 (LNP) The JVP is insisting that Indian-type federalism is not suitable for a small country like Sri Lanka and a different model needs to be worked out. JVP frontliner Vijitha Herath made this comment in response to an appeal by TULF leader V. Anandasangaree for the JVP to accept the Indian model as a possible solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. more..

New rules on reconditioned vehicle imports delayed

Aug 20 (LNP) The government has bowed to pressure from importers of reconditioned vehicles and put off till December enforcing new regulations (earlier effective from August 1) on compulsory export inspection certificates for used car imports. The new process would have raised reconditioned car prices by at least Rs 200,000 each. more..

Jaffna back to the grave

Aug 20 (LNP) Jaffna city turned into a ghost town with the curfew clamped this week and the sound of artillery shells bursting everywhere brought back memories of the pre-ceasefire era when the town suffered heavy damages and casualties from a protracted war. more..

Sri Lankan army bombs 'sea base'

Aug 20 (BBC) Sri Lanka's army says it has bombed a sea base from where Tamil Tiger rebels launched attacks on government positions in the Jaffna peninsula. A rebel website said the facility was a civilian shipyard and that bombs had injured four civilians. Denying the report, the military said it had destroyed many rebel boats. more..

Apollo shares on hold?

Aug 20 (SO) Billionaire businessman Harry Jayawardane's move to purchase shares at Apollo Hospital has been put on hold following a complaint made against him by Apollo Hospital Chairman Dr. Prathap C. Redi. Enterprise Development Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said that under the statute of the BOI, if such a complaint was received, the BOI could stop approval to grant BOI status to such purchases. more..

Patriot Bill in House soon

Aug 20 (NS) The government is to present a Patriot Bill to Parliament shortly that would among other things restrict the media from publishing sensitive military information pertaining to troop movements, locations and arms purchases. The bill shaped in the lines of the US Patriot Act had been initially drafted by a leading criminal lawyer in the country. more..

Crisis simmering in the UNP; Mahinda under JVP fist: SB

Aug 20 (NS) UNP national organiser S.B. Dissanayake is frank in his opinion and openly says there is a crisis within the party. He cites delays in implementing vital reforms as the cause for this crisis and says there is a section within the party who does not want any change done. While assuring that he would not leave the party, Dissanayake told The Nation that he feels it is difficult for the UNP to march to victory unless reforms are implemented. more..

Rights fears as SriLanka ceasefire team faces major cut

Aug 20 (AFP) A foreign team monitoring Sri Lanka's crumbling ceasefire will be almost halved after Tamil Tiger rebels ordered members from European Union states to leave the country, the group said. The team will be reduced from a full strength of 57 members to 30 next month after the LTTE demanded that three nations pull out after the EU branded the rebels a terrorist organisation. more..

Rain ruins another India-Sri Lanka one-dayer

Aug 20 (AFP) (The second one-day cricket international between India and Sri Lanka was abandoned without a ball being bowled as bad weather continued to play havoc with the series. Overnight rain and another wet spell over the Sri Lankan capital forced the umpires to call off the game on Sunday at the Sinhalese sports club at 13:30 pm (0800 GMT). more..

'No formal SL request yet for Indian aid to Jaffna'

Aug 20 (HT) India is yet to receive any formal request from the Sri Lankan government for emergency humanitarian assistance for beleaguered Jaffna, according to well placed sources in the Government of India. Reports quoting the Sri Lankan government defence spokesman, Keheliya Rambukwella, had said on Saturday, that Indian assistance had been sought and that India would help. more..

"Vaiko's visit pre-empted solution to Sri Lankan Tamil issue"

Aug 20 (Hindu) In a startling political development, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi told the Assembly on Saturday that his initiative to find a solution to the Sri Lankan Tamil issue, as requested by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1989, was pre-empted by his then party colleague Vaiko's visit to the island. more..

Sri Lankan military, rebels trade artillery fire along northern border

Aug 20 AP) Separatist Tamil Tiger rebels and government forces traded artillery and mortar fire as the insurgents tried to break through government lines and recapture the northern Jaffna Peninsula, the military said Sunday. Aid agencies, meanwhile, warned of a growing humanitarian crisis in Jaffna, where food and water is running out and all access routes into the peninsula have been cut. more..

Sri Lankan troops raid university in the north, student detained

Aug 20 (AP) Hundreds of Sri Lankan soldiers raided a university, seizing computers and detaining a student, in the northern Tamil heartland where the government has been battling separatist rebels, the military and a pro-rebel Web site said Sunday. The troops surrounded the campus of Jaffna University on Friday, broke into the offices of the university's student federation and arrested its leader, more..

80 rebels killed in shelling, Sri Lankan military says; U.N. warns of humanitarian crisis

Aug 20 (AP) Two days of heavy artillery and mortar fire killed more than 80 Tamil Tiger rebels, Sri Lanka's military said, as the United Nations warned of an impending humanitarian crisis in areas cut off by fierce fighting. Sri Lanka's air force, meanwhile, destroyed a strategic rebel sea base in the north with airstrikes early Saturday, killing an unknown number of guerrillas, more..

South Africa's pull out of Sri Lanka hurt cricket: ICC chief

Aug 20 (AFP) World cricket boss Percy Sonn said he was disappointed at South Africa's decision to abandon the tour of Sri Lanka for security reasons, but declined to impose sanctions on the Proteas. "I am deeply disappointed at their decision to go home," Sonn, a South African lawyer who heads the International Cricket Council, told a media conference in the Sri Lankan capital on Sunday. more..

Sri Lanka moves to lift siege on Jaffna amid fighting

Aug 20 (AFP) Sri Lankan troops backed by artillery and fighter jets are resisting a Tamil Tiger rebel advance on the Jaffna peninsula amid moves to lift a nine-day siege of the embattled region. Overnight attacks by the LTTE on troops at Muhamali on the southern edge of the Jaffna district led to casualties on both sides, a military official said Sunday. more..

Unable to achieve peace, Sri Lanka returns to war

Aug 20 (Reuters) Both Sri Lanka's government and Tamil Tiger rebels might still say they want peace despite a return to large-scale fighting, but in reality they may have got the war that they wanted after four years of ceasefire. Hopes had been high after the Norwegian brokered truce was signed in 2002 -- aid flowed in and most diplomats and analysts judged a two decade war that had killed more than 64,000 people to be over for good, with the LTTE running a de facto state across a seventh of the island. more..

Jaffna bound civilians stranded in Vavuniya for 11 days

Aug 21 (TN) More than five hundred Tamil civilians bound for Jaffna district stranded in Vavuniya for the last eleven days Monday morning gathered in the Vavuniya district secretariat urging the civil authorities to take steps to send them to the peninsula. Vavuniya district secretariat officials said no concrete decision is taken regarding travel arrangement for stranded Jaffna bound civilians through A 9 highway. more..

EU ban on LTTE hurt peace efforts – Hanssen-Bauer

Aug 21 (TN) Norwegian Special Envoy John Hanssen-Bauer has questioned the European Union's decision, taken last May, to classify Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers as terrorists, the BBC reported Sunday. Mr. Hanssen-Bauer told the BBC that the EU move had damaged the chances of renewed talks, aimed at ending the recent upsurge in violence. more..

Eachchilampathu IDPs face dire shortage of food

Aug 21 (TN) About 12 thousand internally displaced Tamils from 2956 families trapped in LTTE held villages in Eachchilampathu division in the Trincomalee district following continuous aerial bombardment and artillery fire directed by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) from its military installations in east port town and its suburbs have been facing starvation as food and essential materials are not supplied by non-governmental organizations and the government agencies since the fighting broke out, civil sources said. more..

Sivamaharajah assassinated

Aug 21 (TN) Managing Director of Jaffna Tamil daily "Namathu Eelanadu" and the veteran chairman of Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society (MPCS) in Tellippalai, Jaffna, Sinnathamby Sivamaharajah, 68, was shot and killed at his temporary residence inside the High Security Zone of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in Tellippalai Sunday night around 7:20 p.m. Mr. Sivamaharajah is a former parliamentarian (TULF) and a senior member of Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK), the main constituent party of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). more..

Tiger personnel threatened young girls to go for military training

Aug 21 (ISL) We have news from our very reliable Wanni sources that are quite disturbing. Nevertheless, they answer some of the few missing jigsaw pieces of the horrendous consequences to the bombardment last Monday that killed several school children and injured many. Ever since the Mavil Aru and Muttur atrocities the Tigers engaged in to provoke the Armed Forces to retaliate, their primary motive was to attack the Armed Forces on the Jaffna Peninsula and enlarge the Wanni Bandit Zone. more..

Let's revisit past to identify Sencholai

Aug 21 (LeN) The government and the LTTE have made claims and counter claims regarding the LTTE's Sencholai camp in the aftermath of Air force air strikes that killed and injured its female inmates. The government insisted that it was a camp training LTTE cadres while the LTTE initially told it as a orphanage then as a school and finally as a campus. more..

Security force death toll 131-Government: Security force death toll 485-LTTE

Aug 21 (LeN) LTTE attacks on the Muhamali forward defence lines yesterday were successfully repulsed and bodies of 88 LTTE cadres killed in heavy fighting were recovered and 6 troops were also killed, the Media Centre for National Security said. more..

Time running out for Sri Lanka dormant account holders

Aug 21 (LBO) Depositors who have money and other assets in Sri Lanka's bank have till the end of the month to reactivate their accounts, and prevent accounts being reported to the central bank has abandoned property, officials said. Bankers say to reactivate an account it is not necessary to deposit money, even an account balance inquiry or an updating of the passbook would be enough. more..

Sri Lanka sets Sept deadline to phase out tariffs under India, Pakistan trade deals

Aug 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka has set an end September deadline to implement commitments under its trade deals with India, Pakistan and other South Asian countries. Sri Lanka was expected to phase out tariffs under its free trade deals with India and Pakistan this year, as well as under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA). more..

Sri Lanka cancels India series due to bad weather

Aug 21 (AFP) The one-day cricket series between India and Sri Lanka has been cancelled after the first two of three scheduled games were rained off, Sri Lanka Cricket said. "The series is off," Sri Lanka Cricket media manager Samantha Algama told AFP following a meeting between the Indian team management and local officials here on Sunday. more..

The ominous silence from Sri Lanka

Aug 21 (TS) Every day he dials his wife's number, hoping to hear her voice. But for Jeyarajah Saravanamuthu, whose wife of 26 years is in war-torn Sri Lanka, that moment never comes. "Every day there is no answer," he says. Siyamaladevy Saravanamuthu didn't like travelling without her four children but flew to Sri Lanka early this month to be with her ailing father. more..

The unending war in Sri Lanka

Aug 21 (Hindu) SRI LANKA is on the boil. Apart from the daily diet of killings, bomb blasts, and targeted assassinations, the dimension of the unfolding humanitarian disaster is alarming. Since the current phaseof violence began on July 26, after the LTTE shut down a waterway in the east, hundreds of people have been killed and at least one lakh, by conservative estimates, rendered homeless. more..

BD10,000 stolen from envoy's car

Aug 21 (GDN) POLICE are on the trail of thieves who stole BD10,000 from the car of Sri Lankan Consul General P B Higgoda, he told the GDN yesterday. Mr Higgoda said he withdrew the money before he was due to leave on vacation from Standard Chartered Bank, in Manama, at around 12.15pm. He then went to the British Council to bid farewell to his colleagues and left the cash in his car. more..

Pakistan DPLs get security boost

Aug 21 (SS) Security for the Pakistan High Commissioner Bashir Wali Mohmand and the High Commission's building at De Saram Place, Colombo 10 has been beefed up following LTTE's failed assassination bid against Mohmand on Monday. A highly-placed source attached to the High Commission told the Sunday Standard that authorities have taken steps to strengthen the number of security personnel provided to the High Commissioner which includes more army and police personnel. more..

Tigers brought in 12 shiploads of arms

Aug 21 (SS) During the truce between 2001 to 2004, the LTTE had been able to bring down 12 shiploads of weapons including Katusha rockets and 60 tons of explosives, an intelligence report said. According to a foreign intelligence report, the LTTE's arsenal includes shoulder fired SA-7 surface to air missiles, 10 tons of plastic explosive, 50 tons of TNT, heavy mortars and heavy machine guns procured through their sophisticated international arms-buying network more..

Loyal monks visit Ranil

Aug 21 (SS) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was planning to go abroad even before the Mawilaru incident. Before going abroad he wanted to entrust his party work to his loyal subordinates, so he devoted the entire past week seeking loyal people to entrust each of his duties to. On one hand the UNP had its 60th anniversary approaching. On the other, it was the J.R. Jayewardene day for which they had to make various arrangements. more..

Government censures Ulf Henricsson

Aug 21 (SS) The government has censured the head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) Ulf Henricsson for making baseless allegations and wrongful implications that the government and security forces had barred the monitors from carrying out investigations into the murders of the 17 aid workers who were killed early this month. more..

European NGOs probed over tsunami funds

Aug 21 (ANN) A top EU official on Friday (August 18) assured President Mahinda Rajapakse of a thorough investigation on alleged embezzlement of tsunami reconstruction funds by NGOs based in EU territory. Niranjan De Silva Deva-Aditya, the majority leader of the EU's Overseas Development Committee, met Rajapakse at Temple Trees where he discussed a front-page report headlined "Rehab chief slams NGOs over embezzlement of tsunami funds". more..