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Lankan Tamils supporters lock up govt offices in city

Apr 17 (LG) Suspected supporters of Sri Lankan Tamils locked and sealed three Central government office premises in Chennai sending policemen in a tizzy in the early hours of today. According to police, the gates of offices at Shastri Bhavan and Aaykar Bhavan (income tax office), both at Nungambakkam, and the Head Post Office on Anna Salai, were found locked. The security guards in all the three offices were reportedly present on the premises when the miscreants locked up the gates. more..

South Asia - Challenges facing the Region

Apr 17 (LG) Talking of the challenges facing South Asian region one wonders where to begin and where to stop. It is a complex region with the plethora of challenges, some of which are not of its creation. Some long standing and others from recent times. The region is endowed with a vast and ancient historical and cultural heritage as well as an abundance of natural resources. more..

Sri Lanka's next step

Apr 17 (WSJ) Sri Lanka is now closer to peace than at any moment since a bloody civil war erupted in 1983. Government forces have taken the last redoubt of the terrorist LTTE and, after a two-day cease-fire this week for a national holiday, are closing in on the Tigers' last miniscule patch of land. Now President Mahinda Rajapaksa must turn his attention to winning the peace. Mr. Rajapaksa's decision in 2006 to ramp up the military fight against the Tigers and to formally abandon a fruitless cease-fire in early 2008 has paid off. more..

Sri Lanka has chance to end Tamil conflict: US

Apr 17 (AFP) The Sri Lankan government has the chance to end the decades-long conflict with the Tamil Tigers, the United States said Thursday, urging both sides to reach a ceasefire. "The government of Sri Lanka has an opportunity to put an end to the lengthy conflict," State Department spokesman Robert Wood said. The United States was also calling on "the government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers to immediately halt hostilities" so trapped civilians can get aid, he added. more..

Sri Lanka successfully concluded tourism promotional road shows in Riyadh and Dammam

Apr 17 (AT) With the view to tap more tourist arrivals, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau has successfully concluded a tourism promotion road show in Saudi Arabia. The tourism promotion road shows was organised by Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) in collaboration with the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Riyadh and SriLankan Airlines were held on 30th and 31st March in Riyadh and Dammam respectively, more..

Sri Lankan Tamil MPs meet Narayanan, Menon

Apr 17 (Hindu) A four-member Sri Lankan Tamil MPs team, led by R. Sambandan and belonging to the TNA, called on National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon here, seeking India’s intervention in the ongoing civil war in the island nation. They wanted New Delhi to urge the Sri Lankan government to announce a ceasefire and help innocent civilians to leave the conflict zone. more..

U.N.'s Ban sends chief of staff to Sri Lanka

Apr 17 (Reuters) U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has sent his chief of staff to Sri Lanka, where the world body is trying to arrange for thousands of civilians trapped by fighting to escape, a U.N. spokesman said on Thursday. Spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters the official, Vijay Nambiar, was already in Sri Lanka, but gave no details of his activities there. "The Secretary-General is doing his utmost to alleviate the situation and in that regard he continues a number of high-level contacts," Haq said. more..

Tamil hunger striker 'prepared to die' in London

Apr 17 (AFP) A Sri Lankan hunger striker in London who has gone ten days without food said Thursday he was prepared to starve himself death to highlight the plight of Tamils, as hundreds of people protested. Paramesweran Subramaniyam, 28, is surviving on sips of water and his condition could soon become critical, doctors say. But he says death is a price he would pay to force the British government to intervene in the conflict. more..

Sirimavo led SLFP and country at crucial times

Apr 17 (LG) The 93rd birth anniversary of the late Premier and SLFP leader Sirimavo Bandaranaike falls today. She was born as a daughter of the Kandyan chieftain Barnes Ratwatte and was brought up in the best traditions of such families that were staunch Buddhists. Though she was educated in a Westernized school in Colombo her traditional background and her own upbringing made her embrace the indigenous culture more than the Western one. more..

Retain India's influence & interest in Lanka

Apr 17 (Economist) Unfortunately, a complicated relationship exists between Sri Lanka and India, especially now. In the recent past there has been a consolidated effort on the part of the Sri Lanka government to annihilate the terrorists and regain lost territory. More so, as the LTTE grabs every opportunity to reorganise its cadre and pose a new threat to Sri Lanka. India has to show sufficient influence, power and interest in the island so that the fringe countries do not take advantage of the adverse situation which exists there. more..

Sri Lanka petroleum credit largely repaid: official

Apr 17 (LBO) Most of the short term credits from Iran and private suppliers to Sri Lanka's state-run petroleum retailer had been repaid, though the outflow worsened a balance of payments crisis in the island, a top central bank official said. The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) had borrowed up to a billion US dollars from Iran on a revolving credit to cover imports of oil during 2008. "It has come down to about 300 million (US dollars)," more..

External intervention: How to avoid a re-play of events in 1987

Apr 17 (TC) Will this Sinhala and Tamil New Year be the gateway to a new period of Sri Lanka’s history? Will it be better or worse than what has gone on so far? Or will there be no change and will the country still remain in the same stage of history that we have been in all these dozens of Aluth Avurudu celebrations? Or will a new cycle of the old conflict begin with this Avurudu? The answer depends on how we comprehend this period we are living through, the moment in which the Aluth Avurudu has taken place. more..

LTTE envisages ceasefire, political solution ending armed conflict

Apr 17 (TN) "LTTE’s armed struggle is the historical product of injustice against the Tamil Nation in the island, and if the International Community could achieve a just political solution to the conflict, the need for an armed struggle would cease to exist," said Selvaraja Pathmanathan, the LTTE plenipotentiary for international relations, in a statement issued on Friday. more..

Colombo householders asked to register particulars with police

Apr 17 (TN) All householders in Colombo have been instructed by Sri Lanka Defence Ministry to register their particulars at the nearest police station and that failure to do so may result in punitive measures, according to announcement made over loud speaker in Sinhalese and Tamil from a long white bus bearing the Sri Lanka government insignia, Thursday night and Friday morning. more..

Tiger Diaspora’s wolf alarms misfire miserably

Apr 17 (LG) When we take up a cause especially those that are of extremely serious implications such as those that affect the well being and interests of nations and peoples, we have to ensure utmost integrity in our reports. It should not even be some people fooling with false reports all the people all the time or all the people fooling some people all the time. However, it is said that all the people cannot fool all the people all the time and more..

Politics without values

Apr 17 (LG) Rahul Deepankar, a distinguished Indian physician from Chicago, said goodbye to his roaring practice to contest the elections in his country. Being a Dalit, he thought he had all the advantages of contesting from a reserved seat. His first call was on Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). But, to his dismay, he found that his “high qualifications” were in his way. “She does not like highly educated persons in her ranks,” someone from the party told him. more..

Eelam politics: empty rhetoric and perceived threats - I

Apr 17 (LG) Four significant statements were made on Wednesday 8 April 2009, in connection with the LTTE and Sri Lankan Tamils. First, Pattali Makkal Katchi leader Dr Ramadoss said, “The Chief Minister has failed in stopping war and ensuring ceasefire in Sri Lanka. He has failed the Sri Lankan Tamils and he must apologise to the people for that. He has been writing letters and sending telegrams to the central government, but more..

Pursuing the safety of civilians, not the continuation of terror

Apr 17 (PISL) The decision of the government to declare a ceasefire over the New Year period has met with they type of reaction that suggests how difficult it is to achieve peace when so many influential and noisy international actors are full of destructive preconceptions. The main purpose of the ceasefire is to allow people to leave, which is what the so called international community has been requesting. more..

Sports bring Eastern youth closer to the rest of Sri Lanka

Apr 17 (PISL) The people of the East remained isolated from the rest of the country until mid 2007 when the province was freed from the shackles of terrorism. Following liberation, people in the East were soon given the opportunity to express their democratic rights, and have elected their representatives after nearly twenty years. The Eastern province, now governed by a civil administration, is beginning to gradually realise its true potential, and shows strong potential in many sectors. more..

Inadequate schooling in Sri Lanka’s plantations

Apr 17 (wsws) The poor state of public education in Sri Lanka’s tea and rubber plantations is one aspect of the terrible social conditions facing mainly Tamil-speaking workers—one of the most oppressed sections of the working class. Plantation workers make up about 5 percent of the Sri Lanka’s population and are concentrated in the island’s central hills districts. The overwhelming majority are the descendants of Tamils brought from southern India in more..

Parliamentarian Piyasiri Wijenayake shot Balage – Eye witnesses

Apr 17 (LT) NFF Parliamentarian Piyasiri Wijenayake shot dead the JVP member Nandana Balage said witnesses when the trial of the killing was heard at Attanagalla Court today. There were five witnesses and three of them said they saw Parliamentarian Piyasiri Wijeneyake shooting Nandana Balage. Mr. Nandana Balage was shot dead by a gang of people on the 6th at about 2.30 a.m. while travelling in a van after decorating a JVP election office at Attanagalla. more..

Main parties prepare to celebrate May Day

Apr 17 (LT) The May Day rally of the UPFA will be held at Bandarawela with the participation of President Mahinda Rajapakse. A special committee has been appointed to make preparations for the May Day rally said a senior member of the UPFA. The UNP will not hold a May Day rally this year as well. Instead they will engage in religious activities. The construction of a new building for Vajira Children’s Home will be more..

'Prabha is not in the no-fire zone'

Apr 17 (LeN) Former LTTE military leader and present Minister of National Integration Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman says that he believes the Tiger leader Prabakaran is not in the no-fire zone and may be hiding in Mullaithivu, Kilinochchi or Mannar jungles. According to Karuna Amman, Prabakaran has not fled to a foreign country. He can never flee to India. more..

IDP camp Manik Farm is what it is (but what is that?)

Apr 17 (GV) Most of the arguments about Manik Farm (and other transit camps in the North of Sri Lanka) seem to get stuck on definitions and comparisons. Is it a concentration camp? Is it like the camps run by the Nazis or old colonial powers? I believe these debates miss the most important question: what is the actual predicament of people who have escaped from the Wanni to be held in these camps? Can we spend just a few minutes to really consider their situation? more..

Norway takes pot-shot at Sri Lanka

Apr 17 (AT) Norway in a press release pontificated on its longstanding friendship with Sri Lanka while taking a pot-shot at the country pointing out "All attention must now be directed towards the precarious situation for the civilians trapped in the conflict zone, and to end the fighting without further bloodshed." According to a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Norway has not offered a single dollar so far for the rehabilitation of the IDPs either in the East or North, more..

National programme to uplift the local agricultural sector

Apr 17 (GDI) Two million varieties of plants had been planted under ‘Api Wawamu Rata Nagamu,’ a concept uplifting local agricultural sector. It is expected to plant twenty million varieties of plants in next year and this project underlines the theme ‘Grow Today to Reap Tomorrow’, Minister of Trade, Market Development, Cooperative and Consumer Affairs Bandula Gunawardhana said more..

Flyover to Dehiwela in four months

Apr 17 (GDI) Highways and Road Development Ministry will inaugurate the construction of the flyover, Perasavi, in Dehiwela junction today (17) at a cost of Rs. 870 million which is funded by the British government. It is expected that after the completion of the flyover will enable 40,000 vehicles to pass everyday in two lanes. The flyover will be 337 metres long and 7.35 metres wide and It is scheduled to be completed by the end of August 2009.

Sarvodaya Movement

Power and energy policies stipulated in Mahinda Chinthana realizes

Apr 17 (GDI) In a fresh bid to strengthen the national power-grid with another 400 MWs, 159 licenses have already been issued to prospective corporate stakeholders to carry on with renewable energy power generation, and interested parties are bound to complete their projects within a set timeframe of two years. “Solar, wind, biomass and solid waste are productive sources of power generation, and the ministry expects to satisfy 10 percent of national energy consumption by way of such renewable sources. more..

Government backs five-day week in private sector

Apr 17 (GDI) “A five-day week arrangement may possibly reduce work pressure and improve the quality of family life. By now, many private sector enterprises are planning to switch into the five-day week work pattern, and we believe that it will have a positive effect on the community as well. However, we should not let the five-day work pattern to impair operational efficiency,” a top official of the Ministry of Labour said. more..

A Trojan horse of British make

Apr 17 (LNP) The government has acted wisely by rejecting Britain`s call for an extension of the humanitarian pause declared in view of the traditional New Year on April 13 and 14. The kneejerk reaction of the LTTE to the government`s gesture was to spurn the truce offer contemptuously out of hand and step up attacks on the troops, demanding a `permanent` ceasefire with international mediation. more..

Magistrate blames officials for prison break

Apr 17 (AD) The Kalutara Chief Magistrate blamed the negligence of duty by officials as the cause for the failed jailbreak at Kalutara Prisons which led to the killing of six of its inmates. Chief magistrate Anura Seneviratne was cross-examining the Prison’s superintendent Shantha Fernando at the magisterial inquiry into the deaths. The prison official had admitted that had the prison’s iron gates remained closed, the incident could have been averted. more..

Norway to compensate for attack on Lankan embassy

Apr 17 (AD) Norway says that it will compensate the Sri Lankan Government for the damages done to the property of the Sri Lankan Embassy. The Norwegian Foreign Ministry said that soon after the attack on the Embassy in Oslo April 12, the Norwegian Government strongly condemned and regretted the incident. Commenting on the investigations the Foreign Ministry says that the police have strengthened the security at the premises and more..

Two children go missing

Apr 17 (CT) Two children - a 2 ½ year old boy and a girl aged 10 years - have gone missing from their neighbouring homes at Nugekanda in Akmeemana. When they were last heard, the boy, Kaveen Rashmika Jayasinghe, had been on his way home with the girl, Thanuja Iranganie, to find his bicycle. The girl, the second child in the family, was a grade six student of Rathnajothi Vidyalaya in Bataduwa. The boy was the only child in the family.

Education Minister agrees to grant principals' promotions

Apr 17 (CT) Education Minister Susil Premajayantha has agreed to grant long overdue promotions to school principals without considering the four and 60 per cent limits spelt out in their constitution. The agreement came at a meeting he had with the school principals association. The minister has also promised to rectify issues in Class Three appointments as soon as the Public Services Commission makes its recommendations. more..

HR cases challenge legislature's powers - Speaker

Apr 17 (CT) Constant filing of court cases of human rights violations has challenged powers of Sri Lanka's legislature, said Speaker of Parliament W.J.M. Lokubandara. He was speaking at the opening of a legal aid centre by Sarana Movement, at Nawala. Noting that justice occupies a higher position than the law, Mr. Lokubandara said lack of awareness of the law has become a major issue among the Sri Lankan public. more..

3 computers go missing from Inland Revenue Dept.

Apr 17 (CT) Three computers containing vital information about VAT defaulters and tax details of the troubled Golden Key Credit Card Company have gone missing from the Department of Inland Revenue. The computers had been under the charge of the VAT Division and the Chief Accountant (Revenue) at the time. On a complaint lodged by a commissioner of the Department to Slave Island Police, an investigation is now under way. more..

Death of nurse: Colleagues blame medical officers

Apr 17 (DN) Nurses attached to the Matara General Hospital yesterday agitated opposite the hospital against the death of a colleague allegedly due to professional negligence of certain medical officers. Nanda Fernando had been an officer attached to the nursing staff of the Matara General Hospital. The nurses stated that she had been admitted to hospital on April 12 and transfered later to the Intensive Care Unit on April 14 since her condition was worsened. more..

Garbage problem yet unresolved

Apr 17 (DN) The garbage disposal problem of the Colombo metropolitan area remained unresolved for over last two weeks though there was a reduction in dumping garbage in busy places like Bodhiraja Mawatha, Pettah, due to the long holidays on account of the Sinhala and Hindu New year. As most of the shops, eating houses and workplaces remained closed less garbage was dumped. But in some places the stench was unbearable to those who returned to work after holidays. more..

Forces' dedication come in for praise

Apr 17 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa paying tribute to the country's Armed Forces, said that it was through their dedication, sacrifice and valiant deeds that the people of all races and creeds were able to live without fear and tension. He was addressing soldiers at the Vanni Security Forces Headquarters during his historic journey to Kilinochchi. The President who mingled freely with the troops sharing Avurudhu kiribath and sweetmeats came in for much praise by more..

Police in hot water over drunken assault on child

Apr 17 (Island) A high level inquiry has been launched by the Police into an incident on the Sinhala/Hindu New Year day where a 12-year-old boy was allegedly stripped naked and mercilessly assaulted by a group of drunken policemen attached to Seeduwa Police Station. Sources said that the National Child Protection Authority would be informed about the incident. Eye witnesses to the incident said that the boy had been stopped by a group of drunken uniformed policemen when he was cycling on the road. more..

SLMC opposes Govt move on demarcation

Apr 17 (Island) SLMC General Secretary M. T. Hassen Ali, MP yesterday opposed the Government’s move to hand over the duties of a Delimitation Commission to an individual Minister or Politician to demarcate the boundaries of new Wards under the pretext of bringing reforms to the present Local Government Elections system. "We understand that the Government has brought pressure on minority political parties within the Government to more..

CEB, CPC and SLPA workers threaten to strike

Apr 17 (Island) Trade unions of the Ceylon Electricity Board, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority plan to join hands shortly to demand a 40 per cent salary increase. CEB’s Joint Trade Union Alliance Convener Ananda Nimalaratne told The Island on Wednesday that their increment – given once in three years – had been due in January this year. "In our case even though initially we said 40 per cent, the Salary Cadres Committee said 33 per cent and more..

Banks won’t budge, Govt. forced to pay billions for hedging

Apr 17 (DM) After talks between five commercial banks and a high-level Cabinet Sub Committee (CSC) were abruptly called off, the government will now be forced to pay a minimum of US$810 million or Rs.88 billion to the banks on the controversial oil hedging deal with the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC). “We had to stop the talks after four rounds in a bid to reach a compromise when more..

Family trip turns into nightmare

Apr 17 (DM) A family pleasure trip turned into a nightmare yesterday when at least five people died after their boat capsized in a tank at Uhana in Ampara. Police Spokesman Ranjith Gunasekara told the Daily Mirror that the bodies of the victims - three men, a woman and a two-and-a-half year old girl were recovered shortly after the tragedy while three others who were miraculously rescued immediately were rushed to the Gonagolla hospital. more..

No safety option for Prabha

Apr 17 (DM) The government said yesterday it would not provide a safety option for LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran to lay down his weapons and escape despite international media reports of such a plan being worked out in the hope of ending Sri Lanka’s bitter and longstanding conflict. MCNS director Lakshman Hulugalla said Mr. Prabhakaran would have to give himself up to the security forces after laying down his weapons. more..

Multi-ethnic students celebrate New Year

Sri Lanka looks to raise US$500mn abroad

apr 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka is looking to raise 500 million dollars from international markets when conditions turn more favourable, while rolling over about 300 million dollars more in maturing dollar debt in 2009, an official said. Global financial markets have turned risk averse compared to two years ago when Sri Lanka sold a 500 million dollar sovereign bond. "Anytime a window opens we will go," the head of Sri Lanka's public debt office, C P J Siriwardene said. more..

Sri Lanka looks at cutting working week, easing layoffs

apr 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's labour ministry says a request by the private sector to cut the working week to five days to deal with an economic slump, is timely and attempts would be made to reach a deal fast. Sri Lanka's private sector has asked to end a half-day of work Saturday and spread the time over the rest of the week with many export firms losing orders. But unions were demanding overtime. more..

Vijay Nambiar meets Sri Lankan President

apr 17 (PTI) Amid international community's calls for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka's north, top UN official and veteran Indian diplomat Vijay Nambiar on Friday met President Mahinda Rajapaksa to discuss the plight of civilians trapped in fighting between the troops and LTTE as well as efforts to free them. Mr. Nambiar, the Chief of Staff of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, arrived here on Thursday evening on a two-day unannounced visit. more..