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Jayasuriya to retire from Tests

Apr 1 (AFP) Sri Lanka's highest run-scorer Sanath Jayasuriya has said he would retire from Test cricket next week to concentrate on the one-day game. The 36-year-old left-handed opener said he would make his final Test appearance in the second match against Pakistan starting in Kandy on Monday. "I thought about it long and hard and decided that's it. It's a very emotional moment, but I guess every good thing has to come to an end," he said. more..

UPFA victory should pave way for progress in peace- TNA

Apr 1 (TN) "Local electoral rout of Sinhala extremist parties, the JVP and JHU is a clear mandate to President Mahinda Rajapakse to take immediate steps to move peace process forward. Urgently, the Unitary Constitution and rejection of concepts of Tamil Homeland should be removed from "Mahinda Chintanaya," and replaced with concepts supporting Tamils right to self-determination," more..

Fonseka visits Jaffna, daughters arrive for sightseeing tour

Apr 1 (TN) Sri Lanka’s Army commander, Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka arrived at the Palaly airport Friday morning, was taken to Jaffna Thuraiyappah stadium in a Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) helicopter and proceeded to meet the commanders at the 52 Brigade Head Quarters in Jaffna amid high security, sources in Jaffna said. more..

Clothing drives Sri Lanka economy to 5.9 percent growth

Apr 1 (AFP) Sri Lanka's economy expanded by 5.9 percent last year, up from 5.4 percent the previous year, on the back of higher garment exports, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka said. Agriculture and telecommunications also added to the higher growth, the bank said in a statement on Friday. more..

UNP appeal for Colombo, too, dismissed

Apr 1 (LeN) The Appeal Court today dismissed a petition filed by the United National Party seeking permission to file a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Appeal Court order upholding the Assistant Election Commissioner's decision to reject the UNP nominations for the Colombo Municipal Council. more..

Victory a 'mandate for peace'

Apr 1 (BBC) The voters in Sri Lanka have endorsed the government’s attempts to make peace with the Tamil Tigers, victorious UPFA has claimed. Government’s chief negotiator Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said the public have given a mandate for UPFA government to continue negotiations with the LTTE to find a lasting solution to Sri Lanka’s national question. more..

No turning back for Sri Lanka’s Garment industry

Apr 1 (AT) At the 13th Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka Garment Buying offices Association (SLGBOA) pledged the determination of the Sri Lanka Garment Industry that they have no choice but to open and compete in the world market to survive and prosper as an industry that brings in the highest foreign exchange into the country more..

What takes Mahinda to Pakistan?

Apr 1 (HT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa's visit to Pakistan beginning on Friday, has an important message for India, political observers here say. Informed sources told Hindustan Times that one of the main aims of Rajapaksa's visit was to send a message to India saying that if it did not help Sri Lanka militarily, the latter might approach Pakistan for help. more..

Low coconut prices irks the growers

Apr 1 (AT) Current trend with the increase in harvest, farm-gate prices of coconuts are declining rapidly and the Colombo Coconut Development Authority Auction Sales held on 29th March the last level recorded Rs 9 per nut, said JVR Dias, President, Coconut Growers Association of Sri Lanka. more..

LTTE's ethnic cleansing of the Muslims yet not subsided

Apr 1 (AT) "TamilEela Viduthali Pulikal strongly believes in Tamil nationalism and we wanted to embrace the Tamils living in North, East, Upcountry and also the Tamil speaking people – Muslims. There is no Tamil nationalism without the participation of the Upcountry Tamils and Muslims who are also Tamil speaking people," more..

SLN harassment of Ponnalai displaced escalates, complains TNA MP

Apr 1 (TN) Harsassment by Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) soldiers on members of displaced families from Ponnalai west in the western coastal area of Jaffna district has increased and the situation has deteriorated such that villagers are fearful for the safety of young girls, TNA parliamentarian, S Gajendran filed a complaint with the Jaffna Branch of the SLMM Friday more..

SLN, SLA violate ceasefire, Elilan tells SLMM

Apr 1 (TN) The Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) and Sri Lanka Army (SLA) collaborating with paramilitaries had violated the ceasefire agreement in the LTTE controlled Muttur east and Vakarai area said Mr.S.Elilan, Trincomalee district political head of the Liberation LTTE Saturday. He lodged three separate complaints with the SLMM, more..

Transport of essential items to un-cleared areas continues

Apr 1 (SLA) 1660 lorry loads of food and other essential items had been dispatched to un-cleared areas in the northern province during the period between 24 March 2006 and 30 March 2006. Those consignments had reached areas in KILINOCHCHI and MULLAITIVU districts via OMANTHAI and UYILANKULAM Entry/Exit points. more..

Despite peace talks, Sri Lanka drifts towards civil war

Apr 1 (wsws) Although the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE are due to hold a second round of talks in Geneva on April 19-21 over the current ceasefire, the level of violence is again escalating in the war zones of the North and East of the island. Last Saturday the naval vessel Dvora, a fast attack craft, was sunk during a confrontation with a trawler off the north west coast. more..

The Lorenzo Natali Prize and Sri Lanka's Little Soldiers

Apr 1 (TW) Two weeks ago, I won the European Commission's Lorenzo Natali Prize for Journalism, awarded to print and online writers for outstanding reporting on human rights and democracy. It hadn't been an easy race to finish. Among those who competed were journalists from top international publications more..

Prizewinning Entry at Lorenzo Natlai Prize

Apr 1 (TW) Under the shade of a leafy tree, four alert young men are keeping watch – LTTE cadres, by their clothing. A sharp knife glints in the hand of one man. Another holds a heavy pole. Two motorbikes stand ready. The dry, dusty ground is blistering hot. Glaring sunshine blinds the eye. A morose breeze occasionally disturbs the sullen atmosphere but Vakarai gets little respite. more..

New Norwegian Peace Envoy Hanssen - Bauer takes over

Apr 1 (TW) In recent times the most talked about Norwegian in Sri Lanka was Erik Solheim. It appears that very soon another of Solheim’s countrymen may compete keenly for that place. His name is Jon Hanssen Bauer, the man appointed as Norwegian special envoy to the Sri Lankan peace process. more..

What ails the Jaffna University?

Apr 1 (TW) The latest happenings at the Jaffna University (JU) spells disaster and if the unruly undergraduates and politicians are going to decide who the VC should be then one might as well write off the future of University education in the North and East. This disease is bound to catch on if not arrested now. more..

Unitary and Federal States II

Apr 1 (TW) I understood from Douglas Jayasekera's lauding of the role of Malaysia in problem solving in relation to the Philippines, followed by his urging that we turn to our giant neighbour than to the West to find a solution to our problem, that he was pointing to Malaysia and India as constitutional models. I stand corrected. more..

That warning to Radhika?

Apr 1 (TW) Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission leaves today for New York to take up her new and prestigious appointment as UN Sectretary General’s Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict. As a parting remark she has, quite rightly, given her considered opinion to President Mahinda Rajapakse that more..

LTTE has no rights at sea: Haukland

Apr 1 (PIS) The outgoing Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission Chief, Hagrup Haukland yesterday said the LTTE had absolutely no right to the sea. He said LTTE threats of serious consequences ofits sea movement was restricted could be mere rhetoric, but even rhetoric has a way of turning dangerous and blowing up beyond control. more..

Evidence based policy making

Apr 1 (TW) Many of the problems we are confronted within Sri Lanka today, can be attributed to the fact that many of our policy makers over the years, have gone against a widely accepted principle. The principle is that the problems in modern societies have to be resolved by taking measures on a rational basis. more..

On President’s visit and our relations with Pakistan

Apr 1 (TW) President Rajapaksa is on a visit to Pakistan. Anton Balasingham, it has been reported, has gone into convulsions on hearing the news. It is of some interest to reflect on the possible reason for his having gone berserk. One of the strategies of the LTTE has been to isolate this country, they did succeed at one time because of our own foolishness. more..

Brain drain continues with hundreds leaving every year

Apr 1 (LNP) `Graduates and postgraduates produced by our educational system are leaving our shores and we have a tremendous brain drain, with hundreds leaving every year`, Minister of Science and Technology Prof. Tissa Vitharna told a gathering of university students at a two day workshop organized by the faculty of chemistry University of Kelaniya recently. more..

Battered UNP puts up brave face, claims voter base intact

Apr 1 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa`s UPFA administration yesterday swept to an unprecedented landslide victory in the local council elections, winning as many as 222 of the 266 councils for which elections were held, while the main opposition UNP suffered a bad defeat and the JVP could only maintain control of the one council it held earlier. more..

No serious incidents at LG polls

Apr 1 (LNP) Thursday`s local government polls were marred by a series of incidents in the provinces, particularly in Kandy and Puttalam districts where gangs allegedly hired by ruling party politicians targeted opponents, mainly their erstwhile colleagues the JVP. more..

Road is clear, Mr. President

Apr 1 (LNP) The LG polls results prove beyond any doubt that the people have overwhelmingly supported the UPFA at the grass roots level. For the UNP, which was reeling from the loss at the November presidential election, the polls came as the second wave of tsunamidevastating than the first. The JVP has survived the wave but has lost its loincloth. It stands badly exposed. more..

Lanka offers line of credit to Pakistan

Apr 1 (SAMN) The Sri Lankan government Friday agreed to provide a credit line of US$ 10 million to Pakistan in a bid to promote Sri Lankan goods in Pakistan. The loan – the first of its kind would enable Pakistanis to buy Sri Lankan goods in Pakistan – was agreed upon during the state visit by President Mahinda Rajapakse. more..

More local polls after court verdicts

Apr 1 (SAMN) Elections to 22 local councils for which the polls were put off due to court battles will be held 35 days after he announces the date, Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake said Friday. Addressing a post election news conference, the Commissioner said that in deciding on a date for elections he would skip the April festive season, the Vesak and school holidays. more..

Govt to relax import tariff on cement

Apr 1 (SAMN) The Government plans to further relax import tariffs on goods like cement, from April this year under its trade deal with India. Under the Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement, tariffs are to come down to not less than 70 per cent of the General customs duty rate this year, a senior official of the Ministry of Finance said. more..

Anti-Dengue campaign in the South

Apr 1 (SAMN) An anti dengue campaign is to be launched in the South to prevent the spread of the deadly disease. A programme to destroy mosquito breeding places and to keep the area clean will be launched by the Epidemiology Unit in collaboration with the Government agents and medical officers in the Southern Districts next week. more..

LTTE Fund Raising Exposed

Apr 1 (ISL) The Human Rights Watch in their report ‘Funding the Final War-LTTE Intimidation and Extortion in the Tamil Diaspora’ released on 15 March 2006 revealed information obtained under constrained circumstances about the aggressive LTTE fund raising campaign in the Tamil Diaspora. more..

LTTE bluff on the 'Paramilitary' issue

Apr 1 (DN) The President and the Government must not be taken in by the LTTE bluff on the paramilitary issue. Thank god it is not Ranil Wickremesinghe and the UNP that is now talking with the LTTE, but the UPFA. Else we would have come from Geneva with a commitment in the joint statement that would have been issued to the effect that more..

Sri Lanka look to winning farewell for Jayasuriya

Apr 1 (AFP) The Sri Lankan team is hoping to give former skipper Sanath Jayasuriya a grand farewell by winning the second and final Test against Pakistan. Left-handed Jayasuriya, 36, Sri Lanka's highest run-scorer in both Test cricket and one-day internationals, announced his retirement from Tests on Friday. more..

Pakistan, Lanka Chambers to set up Joint Business Council

Apr 1 (IRNA) Pakistan and Sri Lankan chambers of commerce and industries on Saturday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up a Joint Business Council between the Chambers of Commerce and Industries of both the countries. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse witnessed the signing ceremony at a breakfast meeting hosted by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI). more..

Sri Lankan military accuses rebels of provocation

Apr 1 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan troops have accused the Tamil Tigers of carrying out a series of attacks to provoke the troops in violation of the ongoing truce. Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe, the defense ministry spokesman, said Saturday that the LTTE rebels had fired at the Navy as many as five times during the last 10 days. more..

Rajapaksa's electoral stunner augurs well for peace

Apr 1 (HT) The ruling United Peoples' Freedom Alliance's stunning victory in the local government elections held on Thursday, augurs well for the peace process in Sri Lanka, the media say. It is also seen as an endorsement of his "Mahinda Chinthanaya", the manifesto of the rural poor and the indigenous and moderate Sinhala nationalistic forces. more..

Indian coast guards arrest 9 Lankan fishermen

Apr 1 (UPI) The Indian Coast Guard detained nine Sri Lankan fishermen who were fishing in international waters in the Bay of Bengal off the Cuddalore coast. A coast guard told the agency on Saturday that they were on routine patrol between Chennai and Cuddalore when they found the Lankan fishermen in two mechanised boats venturing into Indian waters on Thursday night. more..

Top Swedish army officer takes over command to oversee Sri Lanka's cease-fire

Apr 1 (AP) A retired Swedish general on Saturday took over command of monitoring Sri Lanka's cease-fire with Tamil Tiger rebels, which has come under increasing strain amid spiraling violence. Ulf Henricsson, 64, becomes the first non-Norwegian to lead the mission that was set up to oversee the Norwegian-brokered 2002 cease-fire that halted Sri Lanka's almost two decades of war. more..

Ruling coalition's victory in local polls to help Tamil Tiger peace process

Apr 1 (AP) President Mahinda Rajapake has a fresh mandate to continue peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels after his ruling coalition's overwhelming victory in local elections, state-run media said Saturday. Rajapakse's UPFA won majorities in 222 out of 264 local councils where results were declared, the Government Information Department said Saturday. more..

Sri Lanka to lose solitary CommonWealth gold?

Apr 1 (LE) Sri Lanka’s weightlifting hero at last month’s Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, Chinthana Vidanage could lose his medal after testing positive for banned anabolic steroids. A report from Melbourne says that medical experts who examined the urine sample of Vidanage have found traces of a performance enhancing drug. more..

Preserve Human Rights Commission - AI

Apr 1 (BBC) With just days to go before the mandate of Sri Lanka's national Human Rights Commission is due to expire, Amnesty International calls for immediate action to preserve the country's key institution responsible for the protection of human rights. more..

Pakistan, Sri Lanka say they will work closely to promote peace, stability in region

Apr 1 (AP) The leaders of Pakistan and Sri Lanka agreed to work closely to fight terrorism, ensure peace and stability in the region and enhance trade ties, the foreign ministry said Saturday. Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz also reaffirmed their support for the ongoing peace process in Sri Lanka more..

Low vote for monks, Marxists to help Sri Lanka peace: media

Apr 1 (AFP) The crushing electoral defeat of Sri Lanka's nationalist Buddhist monks and Marxists, who both oppose Norwegian-backed peace moves, could boost efforts to end ethnic bloodshed, media said. Official results of the Thursday poll showed that President Mahinda Rajapakse's People's Alliance won 225 of the 266 local councils. more..

T-56 Weapon And Ammunitions Recovered

Apr 2 (SLA) TROOPS IN SEARCH AND CLEAR OPERATION in POINT PEDRO recovered one T-56 weapon, 100 rounds of ammunition, three magazines along with a length of wire hidden inside a house today (02) around 6.30 a.m.. Investigations are in progress.

One more TamilNet canard challenged by the Army

Apr 2 (SLA) The Army strongly denies the pro - LTTE TamilNet story regarding an alleged private visit of the two daughters to the Commander of the Army to Jaffna Peninsula. This untrue report on the TamilNet further claimed that both of them were received by Northern Region Commander Major General G.A Chandrasiri. more..

Gowrimuhunthan, Kantharoopan appointed chairmen to Trinco Councils

Apr 2 (TN) Councilors who have secured the first two places in the preferential votes in the Trincomalee Urban Council (UC) and the Trincomalee Town and Gravets Pradesiya Sabah (PS) on behalf of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchchi (ITAK) are to be appointed as the Chairman and Vice Chairman. more..

Three Sri Lankans face execution in Saudi Arabia for robbery

Apr 2 (TN) Three Sri Lankan nationals are reported to be at risk of imminent execution. Their cases have been referred to Saudi Arabia’s Head of State, King Abdullah Bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz Al-Saud, to decide whether to grant clemency or to ratify their sentences, a report from Amnesty International said. more..

Separate regiment, a ruse to split communities, say Muslim Leaders

Apr 2 (TN) "Government is launching a Muslim regiment in Sri Lanka Army to widen the split between Muslims and Tamils. Muslim community should not fall prey to this sabotage scheme," said several speakers at the Muslim Council's Eastern Conference held Saturday morning in Loyds Hall in Akkaraipattu, Adalaichenai, Batticaloa, chaired by its president N. M. Ameen. more..

NorthEast project aims to increase proficiency in English

Apr 2 (TN) Mr.R.Thiagalingam, Provincial Education Ministry Secretary Saturday inaugurated the first English Medium Activity Camp-2006 for North East province at Trincomalee Sri Shanmuga Hindu Ladies College. To promote English medium education among students, central ministry of education has launched a project to hold English Medium Activity Camp in each province. more..