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Govt is the most concerned in opening A9 for public transportation

Apr 8 (GDI) Reopening of A9 for public transportation has been of immense interest, and Jaffna Rt. Rev Thomas Savundranayagam has called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to speed up the renovation process to make A9 accessible for the public soon. Citing recent press reports of such concerns, Essential Services Commissioner S. B. Divarathna made it a point to convey the government's interests in the reopening of the A9 soon. more..

The resurgence of terror and the paramilitary forces in Sri Lanka

Apr 8 (LeN) The five media associations met the Congress of Religions yesterday to urge them to intervene and push for President Mahinda Rajapakse to take the necessary steps to prevent further attacks, abductions and assassinations of journalists and reestablishing good governance in Sri Lanka. The media organizations presented to the Congress of Religions a special report based on the investigations that revealed that the attacks, abductions and assassinations of journalists that more..

The slaughter of civilians in the Vanni

Apr 8 (LG) The terrible plight of civilians in the Vanni has attracted worldwide concern and sympathy, and rightly so. While the circumstances are completely different, the civilian death toll in the Vanni over the past few months (over 2000) is already double the number of civilians killed in the Gaza massacre of December-January, and is still mounting. The thousands who suffer serious injuries are further victimised by the delay or lack of medical attention, more..

Wanni no-fire zone is in reality a no-food, no-care, no-safety zone

Apr 8 (TC) Colombo calls it a no-fire zone, but it could also be called a no-food zone, a no-care zone, even a no-safety zone, if the story of Prasad Siva­tharsany is anything to go by. Early last month, the pregnant 24-year-old was injured in army shelling. Twelve days later, on March 14, she gave birth to a baby girl at the zone’s only hospital, a makeshift affair. Staff noticed a piece of shrapnel in the baby’s thigh. So even before her first feeding, the child underwent surgery. more..

Sri Lanka war commonly misunderstood as one between terrorist group and legitimate state

Apr 8 (TC) Last December, the government of Sri Lanka held a day of national festivities to commemorate the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. In April, intense fighting continues between government and LTTE forces. However, the escalating humanitarian crisis of the Tamil civilians remains unheeded by the international community. The war on the island of Sri Lanka is one of disparities on a number of accounts. more..

"Vanangamann" ship is arrogant intrusion combined with provocation and diversionary intent

Apr 8 (TC) Let me get this right. Two hundred and thirteen years since the first British colonial ships landed in Sri Lanka, a ship is setting sail from Britain, launched at an event with banners and posters (Vanangaman: “Mercy Mission to Wanni”) bearing the map of Tamil Eelam, patronized by politicians and personalities of the former colonial occupier; a ship which hopes to enter the territorial waters of Sri Lanka without more..

'People not concerned regarding increase in water bill'

Apr 8 (LT) The people have not felt the increase in water tariffs imposed recently as a burden and as such no measures would be taken to bring the water tariff down says Minister of Water Supply Mahinda Amaraweera. The JVP Parliamentarian Premasiri Mannage had said the water tariff has been increased by 300%, this has brought about additional burden on the masses and the government should take immediate measures to bring down the water tariffs. more..

'Mediate to find solutions for the strike'

Apr 8 (LT) All Ceylon Transport Workers Union (ACTWU) has requested the President to mediate in finding a solution for the strike that is being carried out in several CTB depots in the island. The letter sent by General Secretary of ACTWU Sepala Liyanage to the President states: ‘The employees of CTB depots in ‘Ruhuna Division are engaged in a trade union action to win their just demands. more..

Strikes in several CTB depots demanding salary arrears and festival advance

Apr 8 (LT) Employees of several CTB depots engaged in strike action yesterday (7th) demanding arrears in their salaries and festival advance to be paid to them. The strikers state they would not stop their strike action until a living allowance of Rs.3500/- a festival advance of Rs.3000/- and the salary arrears of Rs.10,500/- due to be paid for them are paid before the New Year. more..

MP Sarana Gunawardene asks for ‘anticipated bail’

Apr 8 (LT) The directive for an application made by UPFA MP Sarana Gunawardene, who is wanted by police in connection with an incident where he assaulted and injured a person at Weeragula in Yakkala and abducted his child after shooting in the air to frighten residents, asking for anticipated bail has been put off by the Additional District Magistrate I.P.D. Liyanage for today (8th). more..

Agitation against killing of Nandana today

Apr 8 (LT) An agitation against the killing of Nandana Balage, an active member of the JVP, by thugs who had arrived in the double cab belonging to NFF Parliamentarian Piyasiri Wijeneayake, will be held at Lipton Circus today at 10.00 a.m. states the media unit of the JVP. The agitation will be held with the participation of the leaders of the JVP at Lipton Circus today at 10.00 a.m. and a march has been organized from more..

Clinton and Norway discuss Sri Lanka issue: Praises Norway's credibility in foreign mediation

Apr 8 (AT) Describing what’s going on in Sri Lanka as a "bloodshed", United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was full of praise for Norway as a nation that “brings to each foreign policy challenge credibility as a nation that can be an independent and productive partner” when she met the Norwegian foreign minister Jonas Gahr Stoere at the State Department April 6. more..

I can't cause miracles: Erik Solheim

Apr 8 (TN) "I can understand the level of desperation among the Tamils in Norway. But, I can't cause miracles," said Erik Solheim, the Norwegian international development minister and the topmost representative of the Norwegian facilitation to the peace process in the island of Sri Lanka, on Tuesday. Responding to Mr. Erik Solheim, Mr. Ki Pi Aravinthan, a veteran former Tamil militant of the 1970's and more..

It`s the abolition of the presidency, stupid!

Apr 8 (LNP) Promises, it is said, are like babies easy to make but hard to deliver. As politicians are not bothered about delivery in any form, they go on making promises. Sirima Bandaranaike promised `rice from the moon` or handen haal and won elections. But, under her watch from 1970 to 77, rice became a luxury hardly available even on earth! J. R. Jayewardene promised to give `eight pounds of grain` or eta ata free of charge. His free grain became pie in the sky. more..

Take punitive action against LTTE

Apr 8 (DN) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told Parliament yesterday the international community should reach a crescendo in calling on the LTTE to lay down arms and allow the people to leave the safe zone, in the absence of which punitive measures would follow. He said, “We welcome the ministerial statement issued earlier this month by the British Foreign Secretary Miliband that the LTTE is a terrorist organisation and that the Government of Sri Lanka has a need to root out the threat from terrorism. more..

Vehicle exhaust emission tests: Stern action against errant testing centres

Apr 8 (DN) The Environment and Natural Resources Ministry, the Transport Ministry and the Motor Traffic Commissioner’s Department have decided to take stern action against Vehicle Exhaust Emission Testing Centres that issued emission certificates without proper tests being conducted on the vehicles. ”The certificate being mandatory to obtain the annual revenue licenses for motor vehicles, bogus certificates are issued on large-scale by these Centres jeopardising more..

New life to Libya-Lanka relations

Apr 8 (DN) Sri Lanka and Libya relations have stood the test of time and has gone to the extent of exploring the employment market in the construction, hospitality, trade and investment sectors in Libya. The relations between the two countries will be enhanced with President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s official visit to Libya which begins today. The two countries enjoyed intimate and cordial relations under the Non Aligned Movement since the establishment of Libyan mission in Colombo in 1970. more..

GMOA ready to work at NCKTRC

Apr 8 (Island) The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) said they were willing to commence treatment at the National Centre for Kidney Transplant and Research Centre in Maligawatte at any given time. GMOA Spokesman Dr. Upul Gunasekara said yesterday (07) that the delay had been by the Ministry. "The Health Ministry is responsible for the health of the nation. The National Centre for Kidney Transplant and Research (NCKTR) belongs to it. more..

Ceylinco directed to register troubled Sussex Colleges with BOI

Apr 8 (Island) Education Minister Susil Premjayanth has directed K. A. S. Jayatissa, Deputy Chairman of the troubled Ceylinco Sussex Educational Services Ltd., to register the institute with the Board of Investment immediately. At a meeting called by the Education Ministry at Isurupaya on Monday (7), Premjayanth stressed that the future of 5,300 studying at Sussex colleges shouldn’t be jeopardised by unscrupulous actions. more..

No IMF conditions for loan facility, says govt.

Apr 8 (Island) Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama yesterday told Parliament that the question of pruning the public sector or curtailing the rights of public sector employees had not arisen during talks with the International Monetary Fund. He was answering a question by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake whether a gazette notification by the Public Service Commission had been issued to accommodate demands of the IMF in return for a loan of US$ 1.9 billion. more..

Malaka pistol whipped me, bodyguards kicked me: Accountant

Apr 8 (DM) Chartered accountant Chaminda Senasinghe giving evidence at the trial where Labour Minister Mervyn Silva’s son Malaka is charged with assault informed the Mount Lavina Magistrate’s Court that a pistol was pointed at his forehead and he was pistol whipped when he was at a night club. Mr. Senasinghe said that on September 6, 2007 he visited the Bistro Latino for a dinner date with a German friend. more..

'LTTE’s defeat an epitaph for Jeyaraj'

Apr 8 (DM) The government has conferred the highest honour on late Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle by wresting the last stretch of land from the LTTE by the time of the commemoration on his first death anniversary, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday. The President was speaking at a meeting to mark the first death anniversary of late Chief Government Whip and Senior Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle. more..

Police action to disarm candidates, supporters

Apr 8 (DM) Weapons in the possession of candidates contesting the Western Provincial Council elections and those of their supporters will be confiscated, the police said yesterday. They said they would carry out regular and strict checks to prevent the use of firearms during electioneering and on Election Day. Election Desk Chief Gamini Navaratne said special police teams would be deployed to search party propaganda offices and the candidates’ vehicles. more..

Volunteers seek steps to lift ban on LTTE

Apr 8 (Hindu) A group of campaigners affiliated to various organisations left for Chennai on Monday to mobilise support for the release of film director Seeman and to demand revoking of ban on the LTTE. Pressing their demands, the volunteers had planned to conduct a campaign in the train and also in railway stations en route. When the volunteers, sporting ‘T Shirts’ with the slogan ‘Revoke ban on LTTE’, came to Tirunelveli Railway Junction to board the train, railway police personnel intercepted them. more..

From Sri Lanka and enfranchised

Apr 8 (Hindu) They came from Sri Lanka, settled here and have the franchise. Almost 10,000 Tamil voters live in colonies on 2,700 hectares of rubber estates of the public sector Rehabilitation Plantations Ltd. in Punalur in the Kollam Lok Sabha constituency. These voters go back to the 700 Indian-Tamil families from Nuwara Eliya district of Sri Lanka’s Central Province which were rehabilitated here under the Sirimavo-Shastri Agreement of 1964. The plantation company was exclusively created for them. more..

Bloodbath in TN if something happens to Prabhakaran: Vaiko

Apr 8 (PTI) MDMK leader Vaiko today warned of a "bloodbath" in Tamil Nadu if"something"happened to LTTE leader V Prabhakaran in the ongoing offensive by the Sri Lankan army in the island nation&aposs Tamil areas. Addressing a protest demonstration here, Vaiko, a staunch supporter of the LTTE, said there was nothing wrong in youth taking to arms and joining the LTTE in its fight against the Sri Lankan army. more..

'LTTE chief may not surrender fearing extradition to India'

Apr 8 (PTI) Elusive Tiger supremo V Prabhakaran, who has lost almost all the rebel territory and his key aides in the war with Sri Lankan troops, is unlikely to surrender as it may pave the way for his extradition to India to face charges in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, a media report said today. "Surely he will not commit suicide" as he is a billionaire and would want to live longer, nor will he surrender more..

Sri Lanka raises turnover tax

Apr 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka is tripling a newly introduced non-recoverable business turnover tax from May 01, 2009 as the country grapples with a currency crisis, and state revenues fall with a slowing economy. The Nation Building Tax, payable on the “liable turnover” for every quarter, was introduced from February this year at one percent. But a proposed amendment to the tax law published on March 30 says it will be raised to 3.0 percent and charged on the same basis as earlier. more..

RCMP targets Tamil funding

Apr 8 (NP) A non-profit organization shut down last year for financing terrorism paid three fundraisers in Montreal to collect money for the Tamil Tigers guerrillas, according to newly released RCMP documents. The alleged role played by the "paid activists" is revealed in thousands of pages of documents, photos and video filed in Federal Court this week as part of an effort by counter-terrorism officials to dismantle the World Tamil Movement. more..

Jayalalithaa slams Cong, DMK on Sri Lankan Tamils issue

Apr 8 (PTI) AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa on Wednesday accused Congress and DMK, coalition partners of the ruling UPA at the Centre, of doing little to mitigate the "sufferings" of Sri Lankan Tamils. In a statement here, she said the people of the state were prepared to get rid of the "hand that supported the killings of Tamils", apparently referring to the election symbol (the hand) of Congress. more..

Sri Lanka military sounds last warning to Tigers

Apr 8 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's military on Wednesday broadcast a final surrender offer to Tamil Tiger rebels surrounded in a tiny strip of coast, urging them drop their guns and free tens of thousands of civilians or be destroyed. After a punishing three-day battle in which the military said it killed more than 500 LTTE rebels, the army sealed the remnants of the separatist group off in a no-fire zone where they are mixed among civilians. more..

Tamils begin third day of protest

Apr 8 (BBC) A Tamil protest in central London has entered a third day, although police say only about 25 demonstrators remain at Parliament Square. More than 3,000 people have taken part in the rally since Monday afternoon, calling for the UK government to act to help end war in Sri Lanka. Seven people were arrested during clashes with police, who have been trying to bring the protest to an end. more..

State finances busted, Rs118bn printed

Apr 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's government finances had been busted in 2008 with revenues 95 billion rupees below target, 118 billion rupees being printed by the central bank, while foreign financing turned negative, the latest official data show. In recent years it has become the practice in Sri Lanka to present fairy tale revenue numbers to the parliament in the budget, and only airy fairy out-turn numbers in next year's budget for parliamentary consumption. more..

'Will 'rehabilitate' LTTE as citizens, if surrendered'

Apr 8 (PTI) Exuding confidence that LTTE will never "raise its head again" after it suffered a string of military defeats at the hands of the Army, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has asked the rebels to surrender, promising to "rehabilitate" them as "good citizens". "Ninety nine per cent of the LTTE, its leaders, cadres and infrastructure have been destroyed. There is no way the LTTE can raise its head again," more..

Suicidal stormtroopers surrounded

Apr 9 (SP) Up north, five infantry divisions have killed, captured or driven away all LTTE gunmen, forcing them into the 20 square kilometer No Fire zone. In the last week, over 500 LTTE fighters have been killed as they sought to stop the army advance. Several hundred LTTE fighters have surrendered. Five senior LTTE leaders were killed, and LTTE supreme leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran is believed to have fled to the No Fire zone. more..

Opportunities dawn for Puttalam IDPs

Apr 9 (PISL) The long displaced persons in the Puttalam settlements are gradually becoming very much a part of the socio-economic structure of the area, and the government is undertaking initiatives to empower them and provide opportunities for income generation. Over 112,000 people were displaced from Mannar, Mullativu and Jaffna, due to the ethnic cleansing practised by the LTTE against Muslims in 1990. more..

An Amnesty for the Tigers

Apr 9 (PISL) Amnesty International, with a pertinacity worthy of the LTTE, has once more returned to the charge against the Sri Lankan government. As usual it begins its diatribe with affirming its principled balance between an elected government and terrorists, between legitimate armed forces who do not attack civilians and terrorists who do this as a matter of principle, between those who are seeking to free the trapped people Amnesty purports to care about and those who are entrapping them. more..

Palestine to brief Arab league on Sri Lankan situation

Apr 9 (AT) Palestinian National Authority will brief Arab League through its Ambassador about the present situation in Sri Lanka. This assurance was given by Dr. Ahmed Soboh, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs to Dr. T.Jayasinghe,Diplomatic Representative of Sri Lanka in Palestine during a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Dr. Walid Hassen, Director Middle East also took part in the meeting. more..

Buddhism In Palestine

Apr 9 (AT) During my travelling to many cities in Palestine which includes both Israel and West Bank, I happen to notice Bo trees ( Ficus Religiosa) in many parts of Israel and West Bank and naturally I became curious to know more about the presence of this tree in this part of the world. In Tel Aviv it is a very common tree found along many roads and nobody could explain the origin or any special significance of its presence. It may be that no one has taken the trouble to study it. more..

Only pluralism can save Sri Lanka

Apr 9 (LG) With the 30 year war coming to an end a new word has come into fashion, the buzz word is “pluralism”. On the 29th of March the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka and the Canadian High Commission in Sri Lanka organized a seminar titled, understanding Islamic pluralism Principles and Practices at the BMICH in Colombo which was attendant by Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists. more..

'Pottu Amman takes charge of LTTE, Prabhakaran unwell'

Apr 9 (PTI) LTTE's dreaded intelligence chief Pottu Amman has taken the overall command of the outfit amid the "fast deteriorating mental health condition" of its supremo V Prabhakaran who is hiding in the No Fire Zone in Sri Lanka's north, the Defence Ministry said on Wednesday. The No Fire Zone in Pudukudiyirippu area of Mullaittivu, though demarcated by the government as a safety zone for civilians held by the Tamil Tigers, has now also become the sanctuary for the top rebels leaders, more..

Tiger troubles

Apr 9 (LG) The LTTE is down and out. If the Sri Lankan defence reports are anything to go by, the war against the Tamil Tigers is all but over. In the last one week or so, the LTTE, which has been holding out against the Lankan troops for over two decades, suffered some of the heaviest casualties in recent times. The death toll is being quoted in the hundreds. The LTTE supremo Prabhakaran, who is claimed to be in Lanka, is said to be confined to a bunker. more..

Sonia should press for ceasefire in Sri Lanka: VCK

Apr 9 (PTI) Describing Congress president Sonia Gandhi as "last hope for Sri Lankan Tamils", the pro-Eelam Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) on Wednesday appealed to her to "immediately intervene" and press for ceasefire in the island. "Sonia Gandhi should deal the situation from a humanitarian point of view...she is the last hope of the Sri Lankan Tamils and has the power to press for a ceasefire with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse," more..

Sri Lanka rupee and bourse flat ahead of long holidays

Apr 9 (Reuters) Rupee and bourse closed flat on Wednesday in dull trade ahead of a long holiday, but concerns over conditions on a $1.9 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan remained, traders said. The rupee closed flat at 115.70/80 a dollar as conversions from remittances and exporters were offset by importer dollar demand from a state bank. "There was a tendency for the rupee to appreciate due to dollar conversions," more..

Rekawa and rice

Apr 9 (PFK) For the June issue of Practical Fishkeeping Magazine I’ve included more details of my travels in southern Sri Lanka. This time I moved from the large freshwater lake to the rice paddies, a beautiful Lotus pond and a huge saline lagoon. In true Sri Lankan style, the wildlife was in abundance including many birds of prey, reptiles and amphibians, but the fish are what I was there for and I was lucky enough to find quite a few. more..

Dawn is approaching to Sri-Lanka

Apr 9 (AC) After nearly 25 years Sri-Lankan military are now closing in to end of their long lasting battle with Tamil Guerillas. Rebels are now holding only 20 square kilometers of jungle and beach on the island's northeast coast. Guerillas are fully surrounded by the official forces. It seems almost imminent that the rebels will loose their last piece of land in a matter of time. When the Sri-Lankan authorities smell the victory rebels are watching their looming defeat ahead. more..

France concerned about humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka

Apr 9 (KUNA) After months of fighting in which the Sri Lankan army has progressively cornered Tamil rebels in the north-east of the island, France said Wednesday it was increasing concerned about the situation facing the many Tamil civilians trapped in the region. The United Nations has also said it is worried about the fate of these civilians, who have not managed to escape the ongoing combat and France joined calls for respect for international humanitarian law by all parties in the fighting. more..

'Condemn govt’s attempt to burden masses with its expenditure'

Apr 9 (LT) The government continues to burden the people by levying more taxes and this move of the government is vehemently condemned states JVP MP Sunil Handunneththi. Let’s condemn burdening the masses with government’s expenditure. The government is taking measures to put the burden of the escalating economic crisis due to its wrong economic policies and management on the shoulders of the masses. more..

Central Bank lifts vehicle import curbs

Apr 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank said it has lifted the 100 percent margin deposit requirement against Letters of Credit for selected categories of vehicle imports from Wednesday. The margin was imposed as a monetary policy measure in view of the expansion of money and credit aggregates, which caused pressure on the exchange rate and the balance of payments, the bank said in a statement. more..

Army refutes Tiger propaganda on chemical weapons

Apr 9 (GDI) PRO-TIGER (LTTE) mouthpieces worldwide, unable to digest the humiliating defeat in the hands of Sri Lankan Security Forces, have been once again trying to tarnish the Sri Lanka Army image saying that it has ‘extensively used chemical weapons’ against Tigers in Puthukudirippu, the last bastion of Tiger terrorists. The Sri Lanka Army categorically denies LTTE’s baseless allegations outright and strongly affirms that the Army, more..