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Sri Lanka faces Deutsche Bank claim in oil derivatives dispute

Apr 5 (LBO) Deutsche Bank has filed arbitration proceedings against the government of Sri Lanka over non-payment in oil derivatives deals with state refiner Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC). The Deutsche Bank claim was registered with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on 24 March 2009, according to the international dispute resolution centre. The bank claims that the Sri Lankan government violated the bilateral investment treaty between German and Sri Lanka. more..

Minister Muralitharn actions in new Ministry

Apr 5 (GDI) National Integration and Reconciliation Ministry office was opened by the Minister Vinayagamoortthi Muralithan alias Karuna Amman at Jawatta Road, Colombo 07 in the evening today. Dew Gunasekara was also presented in the ceremony and he said, it is a great pleasure for him to work hand in hand with Minister Muralitharan who has experienced Easten community well. Minister Mralitharan expressed his sincere thanks to President Mahinda Rajapaksa for the assistance provided him all the way through. more..

From the battlefield to the economic and propaganda wars

Apr 5 (SL) The Western Provincial Council election took a back seat last week as the government faced the harsh reality of the cash crunch though the Central Bank tried to downplay it. Not being able to resort to commercial borrowings from overseas banks and the expected inputs of foreign deposits from the Sri Lankan diaspora not materialising the government had to take stock of the remaining options. more..

Ceylinco registers new company

Apr 5 (SL) Hot on the heels of the Ceylinco empire crash landing leaving thousands of duped investors high and dry, members of a Ceylinco subsidiary have floated a new company named Ceylanka Publications. Independent Financial News & Views Ltd, another company founded by Lalith Kotelawala publishes three magazines namely Aratuwa, Akura and Sports Today. There are other publications such as Kedapatha largely meant for the Sinhala reading Sri Lankan immigrants while another, Aratuwa Italia is published purely for Sri Lankans living in Italy. more..

Getting to the bottom of the ‘plantation problem’

Apr 5 (SL) The government and the Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) are at loggerheads, trading allegations and counter allegations on the management and default of lease payments due to the state from 20 private plantation companies. The government has alleged that the 20 plantation companies had defaulted commercial banks to the tune of Rs.10.13 billion and Rs. 291 million to the government despite having obtained Rs. 10.059 billion as management fees during the period between 1996 – 2007, more..

The people issues of the PC elections

Civilians fleeing ltte areas encounter new problems

Apr 5 (SL) Relevant excerpts from an Amnesty International briefing on the humanitarian crisis and lack of human rights protection in the Wanni are presented below: Civilians who try to flee the fighting run a gauntlet between the Sri Lankan armed forces and LTTE fighters. Many civilians risk their lives to reach government-controlled areas. The Sri Lankan government has claimed that Tamil Tigers have fired upon civilians seeking to escape the conflict zone. more..

LTTE cadres slink into No Fire Zone

Apr 5 (LB) Marking a historic milestone in the 4th Elam war, the army yesterday captured the entire land area from the clutches of the LTTE (save for the no fire zone {NFZ} ) and remaining LTTE cadres escaped to this zone to save their lives. Military intelligence said that now the LTTE cadres were positioned in the North and South area in the NFZ and these remaining LTTE leaders were mingling with civilians to avoid sniper attacks. Troops also recovered 105 bodies of LTTE cadres and 80 T56 weapons yesterday. more..

Good men still exist in SL!

Apr 5 (LB) There are still good men in Sri Lankan politics... as unbelievable as that may sound. SLFP National List MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has bought a complete set of surgical equipment for the Maharagama Cancer Hospital with his parliamentary salary of four years and ten months, fuel allowance, entertainment allowance, mobile phone bill allowance and payment for attending sittings. This is wonderful, particularly when you consider that most parliamentarians would today sell the Maharagama Cancer Hospital more..

Underdogs and top dogs, all wooly headed...

Apr 5 (LB) Though it seems the forthcoming Western PC election is quite a one horse race, there are those in the UNP who are trying to make the best out of a bad situation. However, there was gallows humour for them from the other side, when the president said last week that his party men are fighting with each other for preferences, because there is nobody in the UNP to fight with these days. However the UNP is desperately fighting on three fronts, more..

Lanka reconstruction opportunity

Apr 5 (BL) Sri Lanka’s Chamber of Construction Industry will host Excon 2009, an international construction trade fair and exhibition between May 29 and 31, according to a press release. The event will offer a chance for Indian construction companies to participate in the rebuilding process of the North and East which are expected to see major development activities, the release said. Described as the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, more..

UK supports displaced Sri Lanka civilians

Apr 5 (DFID) Helping civilians forced to leave their homes by the ongoing conflict in Sri Lanka remains a priority for the UK government. New support will help people living in temporary camps be granted freedom of movement and give them the chance to access social welfare and ultimately return home. UK support will help the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) to register all civilians who have been displaced by the conflict and are now living in camps. more..

Only Budu Sarana for MP Sarana's victims

Apr 5 (LB) The Attanagalla magistrate last Friday instructed police to arrest Gampaha district UPFA parliamentarian Sarana Gunawardena over the alleged abduction of a child, and for illegal possession of firearms. Meanwhile, the police department has been blamed for attempting to defend another notorious politician by desisting from arresting MP Sarana Gunawardena. more..

Sri Lanka workers' 'godfather' leaves

Apr 5 (GDN) A MAN described as a godfather to the Sri Lankan community has returned home after almost 30 years in Bahrain. Chandra Liyanarrachchi was a pioneer of the Sri Lankan Club, and left Bahrain after retiring from his job as co-ordination, administration and protocol officer at Royal Court. He had previously served the club as entertainment and sports secretary, and held several posts over the past 28 years. more..

Traumatised Tamils live in fear of new crackdown in Sri Lanka

Apr 5 (Guardian) Last year, in a village in the east of Sri Lanka, Selvi Ratnarajah opened her door to find three masked men pointing guns at her face. They pushed inside and screamed at her to turn off the lights. When she refused, they shouted for her husband, Ravanana, dragged him into the street and forced him at gunpoint on to the back of a motorbike. "I went out of the house and ran and ran through the bush," she said, fingering her husband's tattered ID card. more..

The truth about Tamil statistics

Apr 5 (TS) When a human chain of Tamil Canadian protesters circled Toronto's city core last month, the Star reported the "fact" that Greater Toronto is home to 200,000 Tamils, the largest Sri Lankan Tamil community outside Sri Lanka. Is that number in fact correct? Short of lining up and counting every Tamil in Toronto, the Star can't determine exactly how many have come from Sri Lanka to make the GTA home. The best we can do is provide readers with a fair approximation from authoritative sources. more..

Violence silences voices of Sri Lankan journalists

Apr 5 (NYT) A blue plastic bag sits crumpled on the floor, easy to overlook, in the office of Lal Wickramatunga, the managing editor of The Sunday Leader. Inside the bag are the clothes and shoes of a dead man — the things his brother Lasantha, 52, was wearing on Jan. 8 when eight masked thugs on motorcycles smashed the window of his car and shot him to death. “I keep them as an inspiration,” Mr. Wickramatunga said, “because if we don’t take what happened and make Sri Lanka a better place, then Lasantha will have died in vain.” more..

LTTE-proxies in TN makes attempts to smuggle-in communication equipment

Apr 5 (MoD) With the increasing break down of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil (LTTE) communication network due to the onslaught of the Sri Lanka Army against them more attempts have been made to smuggle in communication equipment through Chennai from European sources, Tamil Nadu Police Q Branch investigations have revealed. 'Q' Branch is the police section in Tamil Nadu that makes investigations into terrorist activities. more..

Sri Lankan speaks out over suicide attempt

Apr 5 (Gulf) A 25-year-old man from Sri Lanka attempted to commit suicide because he was pessimistic about his future, according to police. Malvin A. reportedly tried to kill himself by drinking chlorine, but his brother took him to Al Kuwait hospital, where his life was saved. Malvin A. spoke to Gulf News about the incident. "I work in a hotel in Sharjah - my salary is Dh1,800. I have been working in the hotel for the past six months. Previously, I worked in a company in Fujairah for two years," he said. more..

Getting ready for the Avurudhu

Apr 5 (LG) The approach of the Avurudhu season leaves us in a confused state. The koha, the harbinger of the New Year is striking melodious notes, for no apparent reason, the vegetation in the neighbourhood and the Koha’s abode itself being devastated by a house builder. Squirrels are chirping loudly and merrily, also for no reason, because the trees on which they frolicked for years have been felled down. They are probably Sinhala kohas and squirrels — like the Sinhalayas preparing to celebrate the Avuruddha without a cent in the pocket. more..

Armed forces to launch: Biggest ever rescue operation

Apr 5 (SO) The Sri Lankan military is to expedite the world’s largest hostage rescue operation where the LTTE terrorists keep over 70,000 civilians in a small patch of land less than 20 square kilo metres, the Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka said. Despite requests and warnings pouring in from all over the world to keep the civilians away from fierce fighting, the terrorists, who have fixed their heavy artillery guns in densely populated areas, more..

Honouring those to whom honour is due

Apr 5 (LP) Parliament MP and president’s counsel Wijedasa Rajapaksa was honoured with the prestigious “Dhamma Neethi Visharada Sasana Bhushana” award (Eminence in law) by the Chief Prelate of the Asgiri chapter of Siyam Sect and its Maha Sanga Sabawa on 20th of February 2009. He was awarded the “Deshabimani Sri Lanka Janaranjana” Award by the Chief Prelate of Amarapura Sect and its Maha Sanga Sabawa in September 2008. more..

Record passport, visa revenue

Apr 5 (SO) The revenue of the Department of Immigration and Emigration has increased by a record amount of over 178 million last year. The department’s total revenue for 2008 was Rs. 3,698,522,201 while in the previous year they were able to collect only Rs. 3,519,624,717. Controller of the Department, P. B. Abeykoon said that the main revenue was generated from the issue of passports that amounted to Rs. 1,960,932,311. more..

Yal Devi - a binding force

Apr 5 (SO) Those were the very words uttered by the then Governor General Sir J.W. Ridgeway, who first launched the train service between North and South in 1902. The very first locomotive to inaugurate the train service in Sri Lanka was brought down to Colombo by the British in 1864 and it was only thirty eight years after the first ever train service in the island that the Northern railway line was laid to establish the link between North and South. more..

Northern and Eastern economies pick up

Apr 5 (SO) The Eastern economy grew by 2 to 3 percent faster than the national average both in 2006 and in 2007 despite the conflict, which is encouraging. The Northern economy too grew by over 3 points faster than the national average in 2007. After the liberation of the East from the LTTE more companies will invest in this area and thereby benefit the people to a greater extent. It will also help sustain peace in the country. more..

Bishop requests A-9 for civilian use

Apr 5 (NS) The Bishop of Jaffna, Rev. Fr. Thomas Soundaranayagam has made a request from the Government to reopen the A9 route to the public due to the New Year. “I made the request about four days back. Even though the request was made for the New Year, there were many other reasons to request the government to reopen the route,” said the Bishop. He pointed out that lots of people are stranded in Colombo and Jaffna since there is no proper transport between the two cities. more..

Mount Garbage overshadows Colombo

Apr 5 (NS) The growing garbage menace within Colombo city has put the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) in a quandary. Last week’s Supreme Court order, preventing private sector participation in the disposal of garbage within the city of Colombo, has now become a bone of contention for the CMC, led by the UPFA. If, a decade ago, Colombo city was considered one of the best cities in Asia, today perhaps, the city is one of the dirtiest in the region. more..

UNP’s intrigues and UPFAers’ preferential vote battle

Apr 5 (NS) It appears the UNP rebel group has now declared a temporary ‘ceasefire’. They have decided to cease hostilities against Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, in view of the April 25 Western Provincial Council elections. It was decided at the recently held Working Committee Meeting that Wickremesinghe should continue to function as the UNP Leader. However, those who led the rebellion to oust him from the leadership post, were far from being satisfied with the decision. more..

'IDPs to be resettled soon'

Apr 5 (NS) Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe has announced that plans are afoot to give local NGOs access to IDP camps in Vavuniya shortly. According to him, discussions regarding this have already taken place between Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa and the local NGOs. The Minister also scotched rumours that the IDPs will be kept in camps for three years, as reported by many visitors to the camps recently. more..

Elections chief wants VIP’s kept away from polling stations

Apr 5 (Island) Commissioner of Elections Dayananda Dissanayake reminded IGP Jayantha Wickremaratne to give strict instructions to Police Personnell that except for voting purposes the Polling Stations were out of bounds to any VVIPs including Ministers and MPs. The Commissioner requested the IGP to create an awareness among Police personnel of the Provincial Council Elections Act no –(1) of 1988 and instruct them to take action against any violators without fear or favor. more..

‘Politically motivated oppsition to Peliyagoda garbage dump’

Apr 5 (Island) Special Commissioner, Colombo Municipal Council(CMC) Hewaheta Sumanapala, yesterday said that he had found that those who objected to the disposing of garbage on a 15 acre land belonging to the UDA in Peliyagoda were persons who were politically motivated and had no valid cause for objecting. He said that it was found that they were intent on using the garbage pile up also some of which were dumped by them to sling mud at the UPFA during the forthcoming elections to the Western Province. more..

No lifeline for LTTE assures govt.

Apr 5 (Island) Dismissing recent LTTE efforts to force a Norwegian intervention to force an immediate ceasefire on the Vanni front, the Sri Lankan government yesterday said that it wouldn’t allow anyone to throw a fresh lifeline to the group. An authoritative official accused Norway of trying to rescue the LTTE by facilitating its propaganda campaign geared to cause an immediate international intervention. He said that the army was outside the no firing zone and more..

CID still awaiting dossier from INTERPOL on Sicille Kotelawala

Apr 5 (Island) The CID is still awaiting the dossier from the INTERPOL on Mrs. Sicille Kotelawala against whom a judicial arrest warrant has been issued in Sri Lanka, a top police official said. "We have already informed INTERPOL and a response is expected in due course", Director, CID, SSP M. G. W. M. Muthubanda said. Sicille Kotelawala, wife of Ceylinco Consolidated Chairman Lalith Kotelawala, has been ordered to be arrested in connection with the 26 billion rupee Golden Key scam. more..

New Year bolt: Food prices soar

Apr 5 (ST) Essential food items, including dhal, sugar, onions and potatoes, are set to go up in price before the National New Year following a government decision to impose an additional import tax on these items, an official said yesterday. Consumer Affairs Ministry Secretary Lalith Silva said the Finance Ministry had issued a directive to increase the cess on more than 20 items. He said this would result in a price increase, but he defended the measure saying it was to “protect the local farmers and promote local products.” more..

Lanka faces economic war

Apr 5 (ST) Slowly but surely the curtain is falling on the Wanni theatre of battle. The Army has confined the guerrillas to a mere 19 square kilometres, including the civilian safety zone, near the coast of the Mullaitivu district. Whilst a nation readies for the National New Year, the coming days will see heavier battles before the LTTE, lose one of their proudly touted claims. For more than two and half decades the guerrillas had boasted of dominating one thirds of the country's land mass and more..

The elephants have already come to Minneriya

Apr 5 (ST) The famous ‘Elephant Gathering’ at Minneriya Park has become a regular phenomenon from June to about October each year, which coincides with the dry season in the North Central Province. The Minneriya tank fills up with the rains from the previous months, and as the drought settles in, the water level recedes, though the tank never really runs dry. Wild elephants from all the surrounding areas, from as far as Wasgamuwa, the Somawathi Sanctuary and Kantale thus more..

Farmers strike veggie mafia

Apr 5 (ST) Grow your own food and be self-sufficient they were told, and those who followed this advice are facing desperate times, while a ruthless mudalali mafia makes a killing with the prices as the authorities appear to be turning a blind eye to the happenings. This is Dambulla, bordering the North Central Province (NCP) described as the country’s food basin where agriculture is the mainstay and the farmer is supposed to be king. But that was in the past. more..

Rajapaksa, Ban urged to coordinate to stop Tamil killing

Apr 5 (PTI) Asserting that many displaced Tamil civilians are being killed in the on going battle in the North, the former Sri Lankan Prime Minister and Opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe has asked the UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon and President Mahinda Rajapaksa to coordinate to address the issue. The government should work with UN to address the issue of IDPs in Mullaittivu, Wickremasinghe told while addressing a meeting here. more..

India breaks another LTTE weapon smuggling ring

Apr 5 (IANS) India has broken yet another Tamil Tiger ring that sought to smuggle war material to the rebels, arresting four men including a British national of Sri Lankan origin in Chennai. Acting painstaking sleuthing, the four were formally detained Friday from the southern Chennai suburb of Thiruvanmaiyur. They included a member of the LTTE. It is the first crackdown on the LTTE this year in Tamil Nadu, more..

Embattled Sri Lanka seek IMF bailout

Apr 5 (AFP) Sri Lanka appears to be on the verge of crushing Tamil Tiger rebels after decades of fighting but its success has blown a hole in the nation's finances and forced it to seek an IMF bailout. Negotiations are underway with the International Monetary Fund for a 2.4 billion-dollar rescue package as the island's economy reels from the twin effects of unprecedented war spending and the global financial crisis. more..

Sri Lanka military: 420 rebels killed in 3 days

Apr 5 (AP) Sri Lankan forces killed 420 Tamil Tigers in the last three days and drove the rebels into a "no-fire" zone crowded with tens of thousands of civilians trying to flee the fighting, the military said Sunday. Government troops captured the entire Puthukkudiyiruppu area, the last rebel stronghold on the edge of the safety zone in the island's war-ravaged north, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said. more..

Sri Lanka military says 25-year war in final act

Apr 5 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's military said on Sunday troops had confined the Tamil Tiger rebels to a no-fire zone, where the last act of the 25-year separatist war will play out with tens of thousands of civilians still trapped. Three separate units killed at least 420 rebels after surrounding them in a triangle-shaped single square kilometre (0.5 square mile) during a three-day battle, the military said. more..

War without end in Sri Lanka

Apr 6 (SP) In Sri Lanka (the island nation off the southern tip of India), three decades of bloody civil war (between the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamils) is coming to an end. The destruction of the rebel (LTTE) fighting force does not end the war (which has killed about 75,000 people in 25 years), just the period of major combat. There are still a lot of angry, armed and anti-social Tamils in Sri Lanka. more..

Prevail on LTTE to allow the Civilians to go for safety- MEPs Urged

Apr 6 (AT) Sri Lanka calls on European MEPs to influence diaspora communities they represent to bring pressure on the LTTE to let go of the people they are holding as ‘human shields’. Ambassador Ravinatha Aryainsha has told Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) that some apologists among them are trying to save the LTTE by calling for a ceasefire and trying to stop the Sri Lanka Government from militarily defeating the terrorists, and more..

Pakistani bus driver to be honoured in Colombo today

Apr 6 (DT) Pakistani bus driver Mehr Mohammad Khalil, who saved the Sri Lanka cricketers during an attack on the team near Gaddafi Stadium on March 3, will be honoured in Colombo on Monday. Along with his wife and children, Khalil left for Sri Lanka here on Sunday on a weeklong visit to the Pearl Island. Khalil and his family are invited by the Sri Lanka government. more..

CCC makes a successful trade mission to Chile

Apr 6 (AT) Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) Trade Fair Unit arranged a successful Business Promotion Mission to Chile and CCC would enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federation of Chilean Industry and the National Chamber of Commerce in Santiago. The CCC delegation had One-to-One business meetings that was organized by the Santiago Chamber of Commerce and the visiting delegation to established contacts with their counterparts. more..

Bridge the trust deficit, a Tamil diaspora leader tells President Rajapaksa

Apr 6 (AT) ‘My eldest brother must pave the way for the Tamils living abroad to come back and work for Sri Lanka’, Mathi Kumaraturai (38), a leader of the Tamil Diaspora from Denmark, told the Asian Tribune, saying ‘For me Sri Lanka President is my eldest brother. He must remove the trust deficit that is responsible for the ethnic divide in the country’. 'It was the Sri Lankan Tamils who were the live-nerves of the war for Tamil Eelam. more..

Remembering “Lassie Boy” on his 51st birthday

Apr 6 (DBJ) “Sunday Leader” founder Editor,Lasantha Manilal Wickrematunge, who was assassinated on January 8th this year, would have celebrated his 51st birthday today (April 5th) if among the living. For the first time in many years I will not be wishing Lasantha Manilal Wickrematunge on his birthday. On this day I can only echo Tennyson with grief “Oh for the touch of a vanished hand and the sound of a voice that is still”. more..

Lankan groups clash in Melbourne

Apr 6 (BBC) Two injured people were admitted to hospital after two Sri Lankan diaspora groups have clashed in Melbourne, police said. Glen Atwell, spokesperson for Victoria police force told BBC Sandeshaya that the clash erupted as a group of anti-LTTE demonstrators on the steps of parliament house clashed with a Tamil motorcade in Melbourne on Saturday. "Around 11am on Saturday, about 1500 Sri Lankan Sinhalese students gathered in front of parliament house. That was a peaceful protest," more..

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