2:15 PM

Top Indian delegation in Colombo

A high-powered Indian delegation headed by National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan arrived here Friday, with Indian and Sri Lankan sources giving different accounts of their mission. Accompanying Narayanan were Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh. The three officials between them virtually determine India’s policy vis-a-vis Sri Lanka.

The three arrived on a special flight from New Delhi around 11.30 a.m. on a two-day visit, an Indian diplomat told IANS. “Their visit is in connection with the forthcoming SAARC summit.”

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit is scheduled to open Aug 1 in Colombo. “The delegation is scheduled to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa and other key government officials”, the source said, declining to give further details about the previously unannounced trip. When contacted, a top official of the Presidential Secretariat played down the importance of the visit, calling it a “regular one”.

“Their visit is a part of the ongoing consultation between Sri Lanka and India on the current developments,” the official said, in an obvious reference to the conflict raging in Sri Lanka. The official pointed out that a Sri Lankan delegation comprising Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the president’s secretary Lalith Weeratunga and presidential advisor Basil Rajapaksa went to New Delhi in late 2007.

Source: TheIndian News

10:20 AM

Microsoft Chairman, Bill Gates to visit Sri Lanka

Bill Gates, Chairman Microsoft Corporation during a 20 minute interview I had with him in Indonesia has assured that he would visit Sri Lanka next year, said Prof Tissa Vitharana, Minister of Science and Technology, addressing the launch of INFOTEL the biggest Information Communication Technology (ICT) event in Sri Lanka that is scheduled to be held on 30th October at the BMICH.

The launch and a press conference to reveal the details of INFOTEL was held at Trans Asia Hotel last week where Prof Vitarana was the Chief Guest. He said that Bill Gates was invited to inaugurate Infotel, but he has said that he would be unable to attend, but he would send his message for the event.Prof Vitharana said that when Bill Gates comes to Sri Lanka they could make use of the opportunity to get Microsoft involved in ICT research and development and said that with the government declaring next year as the year of ICT and English and this will enable Sri Lankan children to get jobs they are looking for in a short period of time.

He said that Infotel 2008 will be an ideal platform to showcase the combined strengths of the ICT industry of Sri Lanka and to pitch this message onto the international arena and it will highlight the enormous growth potential in the country and the comprehensive policies, infrastructure and conducive business environment in place to fuel and sustain this growth.

Infotel aims to bring together the entire IT community in Sri Lanka including industry experts, professionals and academics and the user community to a single platform. This will be the 9th Infotel Exhibition will be held as part of the ICT Week for 9th consecutive year commencing from October 17th. The four day exhibition will be on the theme “The Future is already here”. It is expected to draw attention to the already available infrastructure and offerings in the local ICT field and highlight that human capability and broadened outlook are the pe-requisites to exploit the available facilities to its full potential.

In addition to the software, hardware and communications categories, special “Career Section” will also be introduced. This is aimed to provide career seekers, students and visitors with information on how to match career and job opportunities in the field of ICT with the required academic and professional qualifications along with skills required by the industry. It will also showcase the strengths in the market in terms of academic and professional courses available.The e-Sri Lanka initiatives section will be coordinated by the ICT Agency to showcase applications that help to bridge the digital divide or remove the technological boundaries between the average citizen and state institutions. It will enable the visitors to share and be informed of e-services and solutions offered by public sector agencies to improve their lifestyles using digital technologies.

Roshan Rasool,Chairman, Infotel Lanka Society said that last year was a great success and this year they want to make it the biggest ICT Week ever in the whole of Sri Lanka. Roshen Devapura, COO/Director, ICT Agency of Sri Lanka said that the government is devoting increased focus on developing the ICT and ITES sectors of the country.

The 10th International IT Conference (IITC) 2008 organized by the University of Colombo School of Computing is another key event of the National ICT week. It will provide networking opportunities for participants to acquaint themselves with the current global technological developments through presentation made by eminent specialists in the field.

9:38 AM

No negotiations with the LTTE in this moment, says Sri Lankan PM

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickremanayake said the Sri Lankan government would not hold any discussions with the LTTE until they lay down their arms. He said Tiger organization is facing its biggest defeats now.The Prime Minister at a meeting with the new New Zealand ambassador to Sri Lanka Rupert Hall Biro at the Prime Minister’s office on Thursday said that the LTTE must lay down their arms before arriving at the negotiating table.

The Prime Minister has reiterated that the Sri Lankan government is committed to safeguard the rights of the Tamil people. He further pointed out that the government was able to liberate the Eastern province from the terrorists due to the implementation of a systematic programme.The Prime Minister requested the New Zealand Ambassador to assist in the development of the local dairy farming. Ambassador Biro has pledged to assist Sri Lanka in the programme to eradicate terrorism.

8:42 AM

Army guns down 3 LTTE cadres - Mannar

Troops deployed on the Mannar frontline yesterday (June 19) reported that 3 terrorists were killed in separate incidents.

In the Nadunkandal area, a terrorist was gunned down around 12.45pm. In the Periyaoddeppu area troops gunned down a terrorist detected ahead of the defence line around 8.50am. Also, in the Mulikkandal area, a terrorist was reportedly shot dead around 11.45am.