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UK Tamils want British monitors to oversee vote

An organisation calling itself the British Tamil Conservatives (BTC) has urged the British government to deploy election monitors in Sri Lanka ahead of the first Northern Provincial Council polls scheduled for Sept 21.

Claiming that the Sri Lankan government was holding Northern PC polls due to international pressure, the BTC asserts that a free and fair election would largely depend on the deployment of polls observers.

The group said that the forthcoming polls would give those living in the Northern Province a rare opportunity to express their aspirations for what it called self-rule.

The BTC declared its support for the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) while urging the Tamil Diaspora organisations to throw their weight behind the Tamil leadership in Sri Lanka. The BTC said: "The TNA stands for the legitimate aspirations of Tamils’ self-rule and seek a political solution to a conflict that has not been resolved."

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Stormy weather leaves one dead, four injured

Stormy weather that raged across the country had killed one person and left four injured, Disaster Management Centre officials said yesterday.

Assistant Director, Pradeep Kodippili, told The Island that over 3,000 persons of 326 families countrywide had been affected by heavy rains and stormy winds which had caused earth bunds to collapse.

Around 90 houses were damaged and 15 others destroyed by the gale force winds that swept across the Batticaloa District yesterday. Around 500 persons had been affected in the district, Kodippili said, adding that stormy weather damaged around 20 houses in the Amapara District and 93 persons had been left homeless.

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President opens new world class port

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, yesterday morning, declared open the new Colombo South Port built at a cost of US$ 500 million with an Asian Development Bank loan of $300 million and the balance from the Sri Lanka Ports Authority.

With the commissioning of the new Port, by the President, its first terminal, the South terminal built by the China Merchant Holdings International, on a 30-year Build Operate and Transfer agreement, too, went into operation. Under the agreement SLPA has a 15 per cent stake in the first terminal as well.

This new expansion to the existing Port of Colombo has brought in world class facilities and with its 18-metre draft, which can handle even the biggest Triple-E Class vessels carrying 18,000 containers.

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One killed, scores injured including IP

Military crackdown on Weliweriya protest:

One person was killed and scores were wounded when troops opened fire on an unruly crowds blocking the Kandy-Colombo main road yesterday.

The army said it had been compelled to fire as the troops had come under attack by those demanding the closure of a factory allegedly responsible for polluting ground water in the Rathupaswela area of Weliveriya.

Among the wounded were troops and police personnel including Weliweriya OIC IP Upali. Earlier the police backed by troops fired tear gas and baton charged protesters in a bid to clear the road.

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