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Govt says key rebel supply route closed

Apr 2 (AFP) Sri Lankan government forces have cut off an essential supply route to Tamil Tiger rebels trapped in the jungle, the defence ministry said Thursday. The Tiger guerrillas are battling to hold back a military assault that has pushed them into a 21 square kilometre patch of land in the northeast of the island. "With the fall of Pachchapulmudai (village), the LTTE lost their last supply route used for reinforcement and logistic transportation to Puthukkudiriruppu junction," more..

Sri Lanka says rebels encircled in fierce fighting

Apr 2 (AP) Sri Lankan troops have surrounded dozens of Tamil Tiger separatist rebels during fierce fighting in the island's north in a drive to end a 25-year civil war, the military said Thursday. The rebels — who once commanded a de facto state across a large swath of the island's north and east — have been pushed into a small sliver of coastal land measuring just 8.4 square miles (21 square kilometers), on the northeast coast. more..

Sri Lankan visitors learn how 'Politics is a good thing'

Apr 3 (UVA) For people in the many of the world's democracies, professor Larry Sabato's famous motto – "Politics is a good thing" – rings hollow, and would require a good bit of explaining. A new initiative from the University of Virginia's Center for Politics is using citizen-to-citizen diplomacy to do just that. A group of Sri Lankans came to U.Va. last week with a reluctance to be involved in politics in their country, "because its so corrupt, you don't want to be associated with it," more..

UNHCR welcomes Govt. initiatives on IDPs

Apr 3 (AD) The conditions at the IDP welfare centres in the North are in line with international standards, UNHCR the international lead agency for the internally displaced persons, says in a statement dated March 31. In this statement, the UNHCR states it wishes to make reference to the Guidance Note outlining principles on protection and assistance with regards to the IDPs from the Vanni in the districts of Vavuniya, Jaffna and Mannar. more..

Airport & Aviation chairman assumes duties

Apr 3 (AD) Colonel (Retired) Prasanna Wickramasuriya assumed duties as chairman of the Airport and Aviation Services Ltd. on March 31. Col. Wickramasuriya promised to transform the Bandaranaike International Airport as the friendliest airport in the Asian region. Col. Wickramasuriya also pledged to appoint a marketing promotion team to popularize the national airline internationally. more..

The ingrained short sightedness of Tamil leaders (Part 02)

Apr 3 (LG) About ten years back, I had the opportunity to discuss the ethnic question with a young Tamil leader who was dreaming of an Eelam State devoid of the Tigers. One of the issues we discussed was the language problem. I told him that in the Constitution of J. R. Jayawardene he has included solutions for the problems of the Tamil people. more..

Shoojit Sircar's next film on Sri Lanka

Apr 3 (MO) Shoojit Sircar, who went to Kashmir to film his love story "Yahaan", is geared up to can his next movie "Jaffna" in war-hit Sri Lanka and claims it is the first Hindi film to be made on the problems of the conflict-torn island nation. "I think Mani Ratnam's Tamil film 'Kannathil Muthamittal' was also about the LTTE. But my 'Jaffna' would be the first Hindi film to go into the critical situation in the area," more..

Exit the Tiger, Enter the Dragon

Apr 3 (TC) The West wants a “humanitarian pause.” Whenever anyone uses the word “humanitarian”, its like politicians kissing babies, its time to get worried. The word “humanitarian” is another word for “weapons of Mass destruction”. It smacks of an agenda, certainly not a “humanitarian” one. Remember the “humanitarian” flour bombing of Jaffna. The “humanitarian” operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and even Sudan. There was also that very “humanitarian” operation in Mavil Aaru. more..

How JR’s legal eagle Shiva Pasupathy became Prabhakaran’s jinx

Apr 3 (LG) Shiva Pasupathy former Sri Lankan Attorney General to President J R Jayewardene has the audacity to write to UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navanetham Pillay about the plight of civilians in the Northern mainland of Sri Lanka. He sheds crocodile tears about the civilians now being used as a human shield by Prabhakaran getting protective custody from the armed forces. more..

Sri Lanka gets more duty free access to Pakistan

Apr 3 (LBO) Pakistan has increased the number of products that can be imported from Sri Lanka to 4,000 under the final phase of the free trade deal between the two countries. The ministry of export development and international trade said in a statement that the access became effective on March 20. It said that under the deal signed in 2002, Pakistan has granted duty free access for Sri Lankan products like more..

Sri Lanka foreign bank books hit by oil derivatives

Apr 3 (LBO) Non-performing assets at Citibank's Sri Lanka branch have rocketed after state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation refused to pay up on controversial oil derivatives which went against the utility. Meanwhile, Standard Chartered Bank, which also sold derivatives to CPC, has taken a different path in dealing with the problem. Citibank Sri Lanka has classified 22.07 billion rupees as a non-performing loan in its accounts for December 2008. more..

Not in our name

Apr 3 (NP) Roy Ratnavel's recent National Post article ("Why Canada's Tamils are upset," March 20) may lead readers to the mistaken belief that all Tamils in Canada share the same opinion on the situation in Sri Lanka. In fact, not all Tamils in Canada are from Sri Lanka (many come from India, Malaysia, Singapore and other nations). And even among those Canadian Tamils who do come from Sri Lanka, not all support the LTTE (better known as the Tamil Tigers) or its Canadian affiliates. more..

Media Briefing on IDPs in Vanni

Sri Lanka to get US emergency food aid

Apr 3 (LBO) The US Agency for International Development (USAID) said it has donated 15 million dollars (1.7 billion rupees) worth of food aid for Sri Lanka to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). The food, consisting of wheat, lentils and vegetable oil, will be distributed to a large number of displaced and conflict-affected people in the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka, the aid agency said in a statement. more..

Registration process will ease restrictions on IDPs, says government

Apr 3 (IRIN) The government says a new registration process to begin soon will help ease restrictions on the freedom of movement of thousands of civilians who have fled the fighting and now live in camps. More than 57,000 civilians are in 29 centres in Vavuniya, Jaffna and Mannar districts in the north. “They will get an identity card after registration,” Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Human Rights and Disaster Management, said. more..

Sri Lanka summons Norwegian envoy over 'Tiger call'

Apr 3 (AFP) Sri Lanka said Thursday it had summoned Norway's envoy to complain about the Nordic country's alleged role in arranging a telephone conversation between Tamil Tiger rebels and a UN official. Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona said the government voiced its "displeasure" over the call supposedly arranged last week between UN humanitarian chief John Holmes and a Tiger leader based abroad. more..

ACT justice and peace worker in Sri Lanka arrested

Apr 3 (ACT) The executive secretary for justice and peace in the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka has been arrested by a government terrorism investigation unit. Mr Santha Fernando was detained at Colombo's international airport and taken in for questioning, while he was on his way to a meeting in India. He has been held in detention for one week. more..

Govt. cowed down by IMF – cuts ‘Samurdhi’ benefits

Apr 3 (LT) The government giving in to the conditions of the IMF has cut off the relief called ‘Jana Pubudhu’ given to ‘Samurdhi’ recipients complains ‘Samurdhi’ officers union. They point out the ‘Jana Pubudhu’ programme which allows loans for ‘Samurdhi’ recipients to commence self employment projects from government funds with an interest of 14% and on condition of re-imbursement which had existed since 30.09.2004 has been terminated more..

Veteran Sri Lankan Singer, Christopher Paul in the Town

Apr 3 (AT) Christopher Paul who has been entertaining three generations of Sri Lankans of all races with a sweet unique voice, is in London to entertain a huge army of fans during the forthcoming Sinhala & New Year festival in Feltham, a suburb of London. Christo, as he loves to be called by both the young and old alike, looks remarkably fit for his age: the humble human being is a living monument to modesty. more..

Confronting False Dichotomies

Apr 3 (AT) Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU Ravinatha Aryasinha has called on EU member states to take action against LTTE terrorist front organizations operating in Europe "as a public good”, saying “not only are these organizations a problem as they serve terrorists and contribute to the mayhem they create, they also effectively exploit the generosity and decency of civic minded people in these countries. more..

Weapons of self-destruction and road to perdition of UNP

Apr 3 (AT) Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) is possessed to destroy others, and everyone in this era of terrorism and counter-terrorism knows that. But does anyone procure weapons for self-destruction? To destroy yourself, people around you and an organization you lead? For that matter if the leader of an organization knowingly procures those weapons he is blind to reality with absolutely no vision endangering his organization and those around him. more..

Disappearances of Persons

What is Eric Solheim doing in respect of Sri Lanka?

Apr 3 (LG) According to the Tiger "News-Constuctor Tamilnet, the Norwegian Minister for Tight-Rope Walking and worldwide sponsoree for Tiger Terrorism has had a telephone conversation with Prabhakaran's Valvettiturai compatriot and former Constable-General of the LTTE, B Nadesan. This was reported by the LTTE's director of the Wanni No-More Peace Secretariat, Puleedevan, "Deity of the Tiger." more..

Sri Lanka tea exports tumble in February

Apr 3 (AFP) Sri Lanka's tea exports slid nearly 30 percent in February due to an output slump blamed on a "severe drought," officials said Thursday. Sri Lanka is one of the world's biggest tea exporters and the commodity is its largest foreign exchange-earner. Tea exports fell 29.2 percent to 131.3 million dollars in February, down from the same month a year earlier, the Tea Board said. more..

Vital UN food aid en route to displaced persons in northern Sri Lanka

Apr 3 (UN) The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said today that 1,000 metric tons of critically-needed food assistance has been dispatched to a designated “safe zone” in north-eastern Sri Lanka, where more than 100,000 people have been displaced by fighting. The items were sent aboard a ship chartered by the Government of Sri Lanka, sailing under the flag of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and was due to be unloaded later today. more..

'UPA did not protect Tamils in Sri Lanka'

Apr 3 (Hindu) Bharatiya Janata Party national secretary S. Thirunavukarasar has accused the United Progressive Government at the Centre and the State of having failed to protect the lives of the innocent Sri Lankan Tamils by using its good office. He said that though it had a different stand on Sri Lankan Tamils issue, the Centre had a huge responsibility in protecting Tamils, as most of them were of Indian origin who settled there for employment. more..

Conditions improve in IDP camps

Apr 3 (RW) Vast improvements have taken place in the conditions of the IDP camps where several steps have been taken for their welfare. The objective of the government is to provide maximum relief to ensure the well-being of the IDP without laxing security said Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Human Rights and Disaster Management addressing a media briefing held at the Presidential Secretariat today (02). more..

JK Consumer Foods to handle Railway catering

Apr 3 (AT) John Keells Consumer Foods is now entrusted to handle the catering to Sri Lanka Railways. The Railway Catering Service provides food and beverage services to several thousands of railway commuters at all leading stations and on board trains on selected routes around the country. J&P Catering Services managed by a professional hotelier -Chef Jilan de Silva, has taken over the Railway Catering Service, more..

Colombo to host World Accreditation Day Workshop

Apr 3 (AT) To concede the World Accreditation Day June 9, the third Regional SAARC Accreditation Follow-up Workshop in association with PTB Cooperation Germany, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, SAARC Secretariat, SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry will be held in Colombo from 8 to 10 June according to Tissa Jayaweera Senior Vice President, Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) Sarath Mendis, more..

23 Indian fishermen arrested in Sri Lanka

Apr 3 (IANS) At least 23 Indian fishermen have been arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy off Thalaimannar island when they were illegally fishing in the nation's territorial waters, an official said Thursday. Acting Navy Spokesman Commander Mahesh Karunaratne said naval crafts on routine patrol arrested the group of 23 Indian fishermen along with six boats for illegally intruding into Sri Lanka's international maritime borders. more..

The phenomenal fete of Sri Lanka’s armed forces

Apr 3 (AT) There are many who believe a military option is not possible. Given that the UN Security Council’s 5 permanent members and the G8 nations account for 88% of the world’s arms trade can anyone envisage wars and conflicts coming to a close? Military solutions become unbelievable and unimaginable because the very powers that voice calls for peace are the very powers that manufacture and sell arms and more..

Forum to brief Pope on Tamils’ plight

Apr 3 (EB) With the Sri Lankan government going full throttle in its attempt to decimate the Tamils, the Ecumenical Clergy Forum for Human Rights (ECFoHR) in Chennai is going to represent the Tamil cause to the Vatican, the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). The ECFoHR says it will urge the international Christian bodies to prevail upon the United Nations to stop the genocidal killings of civilian Tamils. more..

Special train services to travelers for festival season

Apr 3 (GDI) Sri Lanka Railways will deploy 47 special trains during the Sinhala and Hindu New Year. Special train service will commence from April 8 and continue until April 19 and this train services will be available for their return journey as well. The 47 special train service will commence from Colombo Fort, Maradana Mahawa, Badulla, Hatton, Rambukkana, and Galle stations. more..

MoD Provides mobile registration facility for Western Province

Apr 3 (GDI) Citizens of the Western Province are now provided with the facility to get them registered online with the Ministry of Defence. IGP Jayantha Wickrmarathne yesterday launched the mobile registration unit for the citizens in the Western Province, and the online registration portal, The government by a gazette order required every household in the country to provide a list of temporary lodgers living with them to the nearest police station in the year 2006. more..

Government Information Department Launches “Lak Ru” Television Channel

Apr 3 (GDI) Government Information Department, together with Sri Lanka Telecom affiliate Visioncom, proudly launches “Lak Ru” a new television channel bringing local television viewers a totally new experience. The launching ceremony will be on the auspicious of April 05, marking the 90th birthday of Sri Lanka cinematic legend Dr. Lester James Peris, President Mahinda Rajapaksa will grace the occasion by inducing “Lak Ru” on April 05, at 11.00 a.m. more..

'Child Protection Authority should mediate in child abduction incident by MP'

Apr 3 (LT) Secretary General of the UNP Tissa Attanayake has made a written request from Dr. Jagath Wallawatta, Chairman of Child Protection Authority to mediate immediately regarding the incident where a Member of Parliament has abducted a child from Yakkala, Gampaha area and thereby fulfill the obligation of the authority towards the children of this country. more..

Muslim Aid gives mobile hospital service to Vanni IDPs

Apr 3 (PSM) Muslim Aid Sri Lanka (MASL) launched a mobile inflatable field hospital and water purification system brought down via its global partner Global Medic last week. This high tech mobile unit brought down on a request made by the Government will be used to support the health care services of IDPs in Vavuniya and Mannar areas and is coordinated by the Health Ministry. more..

Rs.200 million building to be sold to pay compensation for ‘Salu Sala’ employees

Apr 3 (LT) Minister of Textile Development Mahinda Rathanatileke says a building belonging to ‘Salu Sala’ on the Galle Road at Kollupitiya would be sold to pay compensation for 298 employees of ‘Salu Sala’ who have agreed to go on compulsory retirement. The minister says the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment has already agreed to buy the three storied building on a 22 perch land worth Rs. 200 million. more..

Organized violence against JVP – CaFFE

Apr 3 (LT) The JVP is being targeted in an organized manner during the Western PC election and a large number of election violence against the JVP is being committed in Colombo and Kalutara districts reports Campaign for Free Fair Elections (CaFFE).CaFFE reports out that there were 23 incidents of assaults and threatening against members of the JVP between the 13th and 31st of last month. more..

Tame these asphalt cowboys!

Apr 3 (LNP) Private bus operators seem to believe that simply because they operate more buses than the State-owned CTB, they are a privileged lot entitled to legal immunity. They have successfully defeated all past attempts to discipline them. It took over three decades for some of them to be put in uniform! They are again on the warpath demanding that the National Transport Commission (NTC) be stripped of its powers to mete out punishment. more..

LTTE loses two battle hardened leaders Amuthab & Gobith

Apr 3 (MoD) Defence Intelligence sources have revealed that leader of the "Charles Antony" band of the LTTE, Amuthab, and former leader of the same band Gobith were killed in recent fighting in Puthukkudyiruppu. The civilians sought refuge with the armed forces yesterday also confirmed the fact and told the soldiers that the junior and middle level cadres of the LTTE have lost their faith in the outfit and planning to surrender or seek refuge with the armed forces as civilians. more..

Sri Lankan Indigenous Medicine go International

Apr 3 (LP) There is a high demand from foreign countries for the Indigenous (Ayurvedic) Medicinal practices and necessary measures are taken to promote the medical practices to other countries. Australia, Italy, Cuba, France, Lebanon, Palestine and several other countries have requested from the Sri Lankan government to have the Indigenous Medicinal practices in their countries stated the Minister of Indigenous Medicine, Tissa Karaliyadda. more..

Political Cartoons in Sri Lanka

Training for Human Rights Defenders 2009 commences on the 07th

Apr 3 (LP) The inauguration ceremony of the Human Rights Defenders (HRD) Training Programme for the year 2009 will commence on the 07th of April in Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Vavuniya. Awarding of certificates for those who completed the HRD training in the year 2008 will also take place at the inauguration ceremony the same day. The programme is conducted by the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka. more..

The Big Brown (e) Sahibs

Apr 3 (PISL) Given my deep affection for all things British, I had been wondering for some time whether we had not been unfair to Des Browne, in refusing to accept him as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to Sri Lanka. The poor man might have been hurt and I had been told by someone who had worked for him that he was comparatively one of the nicer people to have been Secretary of State for Defence, not an easy task in the midst of the British offensive against more..

de Saram added to World Twenty20 squad

Apr 3 (CI) Batsman Indika de Saram has forced his way into the Sri Lanka ICC World Twenty20 squad with some outstanding performances for Ruhuna in the ongoing Inter-Provincial Twenty20 tournament. de Saram was included by the national selectors along with four other players - Tissara Perera, Gayan Wijekoon, Milinda Siriwardene and Lahiru Thirimanne - expanding the squad's strength to 30. more..

Lanka sets new benchmark in global transport/banking history

Apr 3 (AT) In what could be described as a novel and unprecedented worldwide benchmark in the annals of global banking and transport, Sri Lanka will launch the first ever mobile banking system inside railway compartments today. This is a joint venture will be between Sri Lanka Railways and the Lankaputhra Bank. The inaugural and promotional service will be inaugurated in the Kandy bound train leaving Colombo Fort at 9.35 am today. more..

'IMF loan results in high cost of living'

Apr 3 (LG) The government did not heed the UNP's advice and went ahead with a loan application from the IMF and a private internatonal commercial bank, in addition to the Hedging deal, and as a result, the cost of living for the average citizen has dramatically gone up, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said. He made these comments at a political rally held in Biyagama today more..

26 Suicide bombers on the prowl: President cautions Cabinet

Apr 3 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has cautioned his Cabinet that he had been notified by intelligence sources that 16 LTTE suicide cadres have entered the Colombo city. The President had cautioned his Ministers at the weekly Cabinet meeting Wednesday night. He has also advised Ministers not to hold large scale meetings in the run up to the Western Provincial Council polls billed for April 25 and had asked them to be extremely careful about their movements. more..

Delhi in touch with Colombo on Tamil issue, Manmohan, Sonia assure Karunanidhi

Apr 3 (AT) With Tamil Nadu expected to play a key role in government formation at the centre after the elections in May, the Congress is paying increasing attention to the concerns of its Dravidian ally, the DMK. In the span of a week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi have sent letters to chief minister Karunanidhi on SL Tamil issue. Message was identical: 'Don't worry. We are in touch with Colombo and Rajapaksa is committed to devolution'. more..