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Portugese ruined Jaffna: Historian

Apr 10 (HT) Today, the Tamil-speaking Jaffna peninsula in north Sri Lanka is a bastion of orthodox of Saivite (believers of lord Shiva) Hinduism. But historians say that during Portuguese rule in the 17th century, it was entirely Catholic. The fascinating story of how and why Jaffna became Catholic en masse, and why it reverted to Hinduism more..

Final decision only after meeting LTTE Eastern Commanders - Thamilchelvan

Apr 10 (TN) A final decision with regards to LTTE's stand on CFA talks in Geneva would be taken only after LTTE commanders from the East attend a crucial central committee meeting with the Tiger leadership, LTTE Political Head Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan told media after a meeting with the representatives of Co-chairs at the LTTE Peace Secretariat in Kilinochchi Monday. more..

Sri Lanka's donors head north to meet rebels

Apr 10 (Reuters) Ambassadors from Sri Lanka's key donor countries headed north to Monday to meet senior Tamil Tiger rebels amid a spurt in violence ahead of peace talks next week. The island had been relatively quiet since January, when the two sides agreed to their first direct talks since 2003, more..

CHRONOLOGY: Recent suspected Sri Lanka Tiger rebel attacks

Apr 10 (Reuters) Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels killed four Sri Lankan soldiers and two aid workers in a claymore mine ambush on Monday on the army-held northern Jaffna peninsula, the military said. The attack is the worst on land since the LTTE and the government agreed in January to hold direct talks in Switzerland. more..

Grenade explodes as ambassadors meet Tamil rebels

Apr 10 (AP) A grenade exploded near the newly opened office of a breakaway faction of the Tamil Tigers on Monday, officials said, as foreign ambassadors urged the rebels to seek a peaceful settlement to Sri Lanka's two-decade conflict. The blast occurred in eastern Batticaloa just hours after Peoples' Liberation Front of Tamil Eelam - which has formed a political wing - had opened the office. more..

New violence hits Sri Lanka, five government soldiers, two civilians killed

Apr 10 (AP) A mine exploded in northern Sri Lanka Monday, killing five soldiers and two relief workers, the military said, as foreign ambassadors urged Tamil Tiger rebels to seek a peaceful settlement to the country's two-decade conflict. The soldiers were moving in a van when the Claymore mine exploded, killing four, more..

Hospital construction continues despite strikes and landmines

Apr 11 (RW) Over one year on and Merlin's priority in the aftermath after the 2004 tsunami is to leave a legacy of improved health care. To date, our team has refurbished and re-equipped four temporary medical facilities, restoring services to almost half a million people. more..

Sri Lankan aid workers killed by mine attack

Apr 11 (AN) CAFOD is expressing its sadness over the death of two Sri Lankan humanitarian aid workers, killed Monday in a Claymore mine explosion. Mr Shanmugaratham Pathmanathan, 55, and Mr Chelvendra Pradeepkumar, 29, worked for the Human Development Centre (HUDEC)-Caritas Jaffna, CAFOD’s local partner in the north of Sri Lanka. more..

No support for talks if tigers’ path to Elam is not stopped - JVP

Apr 11 (LT) They will not be able to extend their support for the talks between GoSL and tiger organization if direction for the establishment of a Tamil Elam state in the future is completely brought to a halt immediately emphasizes the JVP. This was stated by the JVP making a special statement to the All Party Conference held at Presidential Secretariat yesterday (10th). more..

Mini poll postponed till 20th

Apr 11 (LT) Elections in 22 local government councils postponed as a result of court orders are to be delayed till 20th May. Earlier it had been decided to have the elections for these councils on the 18th. The Commissioner of Elections Mr. Dayananda Dishanayake has taken this decision after Patriotic Front had pointed out that holding elections during the Wesak month would disturb Wesak celebrations. more..

Canadian Tamils thank the Canadian media

Apr 11 (LeN) Sri Lankan Tamils suffered sustained attacks on their democratic rights by both the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE, and were forced to abandon their homes in search of refuge in other countries, including Canada. The recent report by Human Rights Watch, "Funding the 'Final War': LTTE Intimidation and Extortion in the Tamil Diaspora" reveals that once again, more..

Vigneshwaran funeral today: shops closed and blacks flags hoisted in Trincomalee

Apr 11 (LeN) Police investigating the killing of Trincomalee Tamil People's Forum leader V.Vigneshwaran have received information that the victim had been persuaded by some one to leave the bank building, making it easier for the assassins to accomplish their task. more..

Mahinda too given 3 million by VAT scam mastermind

Apr 11 (LeN) Kamil Kuthubdeen, the mastermind of the notorious VAT scam, considered to be the Asia's biggest scandal has offered millions of rupees to the leaders of the Sri Lanka's two largest political parties for propaganda purposes and in the face of the situation the ongoing investigations against him are likely to be stalled. more..

World Bank gives US$ 35,000 grant to empower Sri Lankan youth

Apr 11 (LBO) The World Bank Monday gave out US$35,000 grant to six projects that will help youth development work in Sri Lanka. In its second consecutive year, the 2006 Small Grants Programme aims to build capacity and develop management skills among Sri Lankans within the ages of 18-30 years, the bank's Country Director Peter Harrold told reporters. more..

Britons wounded in Sri Lanka blast

Apr 11 (AFP) Three Britons were injured in Tuesday's bomb attack in northeastern Sri Lanka in which 12 sailors were killed, police said. The two women and a man were flown to Colombo for treatment after their van was caught up in a mine attack that was intended for a navy bus, a police official said. more..

Finance ministry says fuel subsidies could be used for development spending

Apr 11 (LBO) Finance ministry says fuel subsidies are placing an unsustainable burden on the exchequer; in a move analysts expect to be a precursor to an upcoming round of retail fuel price hikes. "In 2005, the government had to spend Rs25 billion to sell fuel below cost," a statement from the Ministry of Finance said. more..

Bond traders divided over a change in interest rates

Apr 11 (LBO) Central Bank is unlikely to cut interest rates this month, though some traders are expecting a 25 basis point cut. The repurchase rate currently stands at 8.75 percent and the reverse repurchase rate is at 10.25 percent. The repurchase rate is the return on cash deposited by commercial banks with the central bank and the reverse repurchase rate is the cost of borrowing from the Central Bank. more..

FAQ: on LTTE ban by PSEPC Canada

Apr 11 (TW) Q1: Why is the Government of Canada listing the LTTE (Tamil Tigers)? A1: Canada has assessed the LTTE and determined that it is a terrorist group pursuant to the Criminal Code. Listing under the Criminal Code is a clear statement that anyone supporting the LTTE is not welcome in Canada and if they do support the terrorist activities of the LTTE, they can be subject to criminal prosecution. more..

Canada’s new government lists the LTTE as a terrorist organization

Apr 11 (TW) The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, today announced that Canada’s new government has listed the LTTE as a terrorist group, effective April 8, 2006, pursuant to the Criminal Code. “The decision to list the LTTE is long overdue and something the previous government did not take seriously enough to act upon,” said Minister Day. more..

Allowing contributions to LTTE front organizations - “a major concession”

Apr 11 (TW) Canada has banned the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) with effect from April 8, according to a government announcement in Ottawa on Monday. “But the announcement added that Canadians could continue to make financial contributions to the LTTE’s front organisations. more..

Time for Solheim to get off Karuna and failed Ceasefire Agreement to advance peace

Apr 11 (AT) In the preceding articles three articles (see Asian Tribune April 7, 8 9, 2006) the role of Erik Solheim, the "facilitator" sitting the middle of the Sri Lankan conflict, was drawn in some detail to establish that he has, in the main, (1) acted contrary to the declared principles of the Royal Norwegian government; more..

Col. Karuna's group hoists their flag over East in a simple opening ceremony

Apr 11 (AT) Political Secretariat of the TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal led by Colonel Karuna was ceremoniously declared open yesterday in Batticaloa. Hindu, Muslim and Christian religious leaders were present at the occasion chanting prayers when the Tamil national flag of the TMVP was hoisted by Commander Marckan. more..

Exporters ask speedy VAT refunds

Apr 11 (AT) The business community in Sri Lanka says that the Department of Inland Revenue[IRD] is not in a position to refund VAT claims due to lack of funds from the Government coffers. According to the officials of the IRD the government treasury allocates nearly 500 million rupees each month to pay VAT refunds. more..

Karuna not a "paramilitary" because he was trained and armed by LTTE - S.L.Gunasekara

Apr 11 (AT) S. L. Gunasekera, a leading lawyer who participated in the Thimpu talks along with H. L. de Silva, has dismissed the Norwegian and the LTTE argument to include Col. Karuna's group as "paramilitaries" as irrelevant. There is mounting pressure internationally too on Erik Solheim to get off the one-track agenda of focusing on Col Karuna as it does not help the peace process. more..

TNA MPs, LTTE leaders pay respect to Vigneswaran in Kilinochchi

Apr 11 (TN) "Tamil human rights activist Mr. V. Vigneswaran's assassination and those of 17 other Tamils in the period from November 2005 to January 2006 clearly shows that the Government of Sri Lanka will never protect the human rights of the Tamils. Therefore we ourselves have to strive to protect our rights," said Rev. Fr. Kanagaratnam, more..

Development of NE and normalcy to be focus at talks - President

Apr 11 (SN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa opened the fourth All Party Conference yesterday at the Presidential Secretariat wishing that the scheduled talks with the LTTE in Geneva from April 19 to 21 would be more meaningful with the assistance and contribution made by all political parties representing Parliament. more..

Army sends strong warning to LTTE

Apr 11 (SN) The Army has sent a strong warning to the LTTE through the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in Jaffna calling for an immediate cessation of violence against Security Forces and to abide by their commitment made in Geneva, Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka told the Press yesterday. more..

Sri Lanka to offer big awards to Olympic gold medalists

Apr 11 (Xinhua) The government promised to award 10 million rupees to anyone who wins a gold medal for the country at the Olympics. The offer was made by president Mahinda Rajapakse on Monday at a special ceremony in Colombo to felicitate weightlifter Chinthana Vidanage, who bagged a gold medal at last month's Commonwealth Games in Australia. more..

SL Army and Karuna can defeat LTTE – Defence Secy

Apr 11 (TN) Sri Lanka’s Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told the head of the international ceasefire monitors that the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) could easily defeat the Liberation Tigers with the assistance of the Karuna Group paramilitaries, the Daily Mirror reported Tuesday. Paradoxically, Mr. Rajapakse, appointed to his post by President Mahinda Rajapakse, more..

Egypt to help govt in oil exploration

Apr 11 (SAMN) Egypt has offered its expertise in oil exploration to Sri Lanka. The Egyptian assistance was offered when Minister of Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Development, Minister of Transport and Railways A.H.M. Fowzie met the Egyptian Minister of Petroleum, Engineer Amin Sameh Samir Fahmy in Cairo on Sunday. more..

Mob attacks police after accident

Apr 11 (SAMN) A group of people in Kalutara Katukurunda turned the area into a mini battle field after a Colombo-bound bus from Matara knocked down and killed a motor cyclist around 10.30 p.m on Saturday. The victim Chamila Shirantha Silva (24) of Nagoda was an employee of the Katukurunda “Café Lanka” hotel. more..

Sri Lanka to emerge as top tea exporter

Apr 11 (SAMN) Sri Lanka is likely to overtake Kenya as the world's largest Black Tea exporter this year after poor rainfall hit crops across East Africa. The rising global tea prices are bringing more cash into Sri Lanka's tea growing hills, a senior official of the Sri Lanka Tea Board told Lankapuvath. more..

Claim illegal detention and persecution by colleagues

Apr 11 (LNP) Several policemen, including two inspectors recently discharged by Maligakanda Magistrate Priyantha de Silva, are planning to file separate fundamental rights cases claiming illegal detention and persecution by police. The Magistrate late last month released them after Rohantha Abeysuriya, representing the Attorney General`s Department, acknowledged that there was no reason to continue with the case. more..

New salary circular coming

Apr 11 (LNP) A new salary circular for public servants based on the 2006 budget is to be released before April 25, the Finance Ministry said yesterday. It said the circular aimed at increasing the productivity of public servants and monitoring state institutions was prepared by a Commission appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Doors open for jobs in Britain

Apr 11 (LNP) Giving good news to Sri Lankan job seekers, the Labour Ministry said yesterday Britain had decided to open its doors to Sri Lankans seeking employment in that country. The British Government`s decision follows a recent discussion between Labour Minister Athauda Senaviratne and Britain`s International Organization for Workers Director General Jan de Wilde. more..

15-year-old girl stabbed 13 times

Apr 11 (LNP) A 22-year-old garage employee stabbed a 15-year-old girl thirteen times because she refused his offer of love on April 6 in Ahungalla. The girl was stabbed while she was washing clothes near the well outside her house. The girl Malkanthi was a Grade 10 student. more..

Government has allocated Rs. 2.1b for paddy purchasing

Apr 11 (DN) The Government has still not stopped purchasing paddy, Secretary to the Ministry of Trade, Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Marketing Development R. M. K. Rathnayake told the Daily News. So far, the Government has spent nearly Rs 2.1 billion for paddy purchasing and expects to increase the allocation to Rs. 2.5 billion, he said. more..

Famous Sri Lankan elephant sick after eating cookies, chocolates for festival

Apr 11 (AP) Sri Lanka's most celebrated elephant, "Raja," has fallen ill after eating scores of cookies, chocolates and other rich food offered to him as part of Buddhist new year celebrations. Thousands of worshippers have visited Raja at Colombo's 150-year-old Gangaramaya Temple in recent days ahead of the new year celebrations starting Thursday. more..

Sri Lanka tense after pre-talks ambush, Tigers blamed

Apr 11 (Reuters) Sri Lankan troops increased security on Tuesday in the aftermath of a suspected Tamil Tiger ambush that killed five soldiers and two aid workers, with peace talks in Switzerland next week uncertain. The attack, the worst on land in several months, came ahead of the talks aimed at bolstering a strained 2002 ceasefire pact more..

Terrorist Tigers banned, Canadian Tamils urged to report on fund-raising

Apr 11 (CP) The Conservative government has outlawed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and will encourage Canadian Tamils to snitch on any fund-raising efforts by the violent Sri Lankan separatist movement. The Tamil Tigers were formally listed as a terrorist group effective Saturday, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day announced Monday in a decision he said was "long overdue." more..

Canada ban won't affect LTTE materially

Apr 11 (HT) The Canadian ban on the LTTE, which came into effect on April 8, is unlikely affect the militant organisation materially, though it sullies its international image. The ban does not curb fund raising in Canada. The law still allows contributions to the militant group's front organisations. more..

Sri Sri for Sri Lanka peace

Apr 11 (HT) Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation, has told an audience in Jaffna that he is ready to meet the LTTE leader V Prabhakaran and mediate between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE to bring peace to Sri Lanka. more..

Top cease-fire monitor to question rebel leader about deadly mine blast

Apr 11 (AP) The chief European cease-fire monitor was to question a top Tamil Tiger leader Tuesday about a mine blast that killed seven people in northern Sri Lanka, including five soldiers and two aid workers, a spokeswoman said. Ulf Henricsson was to meet the Tigers' political wing leader S.P Thamilselvan, said Helen Olafsdottir, more..

Foreign pressure on Sri Lanka talks

Apr 11 (PTI) Peace-broker Norway along with Japan and the European Union today mounted pressure on both the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan Government to go ahead with their proposed ceasefire talks next month despite an upsurge in violence. Ambassadors from Norway, Japan and the European Union met with the rebel LTTE yesterday to urge them to go ahead with the talks tentatively arranged for April 19 to 21. more..

Bus carrying soldiers on New Year holiday attacked, 12 killed, eight wounded

Apr 11 (AP) A bus carrying Sri Lankan soldiers on New Year holidays hit by a mine planted by suspected Tamil Tiger rebels in the northeast Tuesday, killing 12 navy sailors and wounding eight others, the military said. Two British tourists from East Harling, Norwich, who were in another vehicle, were also wounded in the explosion, said Jagath Malwatte, a physician at a hospital near the scene. more..

Bus blast kills 12 Sri Lankan sailors

Apr 11 (AFP) Suspected Tamil rebels blew up a bus full of sailors in northeastern Sri Lanka, killing 12 and further dimming hopes for a new round of peace talks next week, officials said. The attack Tuesday was seen by officials involved in the Norwegian-backed peace bid as a blow to diplomatic efforts to get the parties to the negotiating table in Switzerland to discuss ways to save an increasingly faltering ceasefire. more..

Yahoo Photos

Apr 11 (AP) Navy sailors patrol near a bus that was hit by mine at the eastern town of Trincomalee. 12 navy sailors and eight others were wounded Tuesday when a bus carrying them was hit by a mine planted by suspected Tamil Tiger rebels in Trincomalee. On top of the bus is a power cable. more..

Is it safe to go to Sri Lanka?

Apr 12 (TO) Online Travel Editor Steve Keenan, who spent two weeks in the country in January, 2006, answers your questions following today's bombing.
Is it safe to go to Sri Lanka?
In a nutshell, yes. The civil war between the government and separtist Tamil Tiger rebels is largely confined to the north and east of the country, as witnessed by today's bomb in the region. more..

President blatantly violates constitution says Rights Group

Apr 12 (ISL) "In blatant violation of Sri Lanka's constitution, President Mahindra Rajapakse took it upon himself to appoint members to the National Police Commission and the Public Service Commission. These appointments bypassed the constitutional process, which requires the appointments to be approved by the Constitutional Council. more..

Norway condemns attack

Apr 12 (BBC) Norway condemns the latest acts of violence in Sri Lanka The Government of Norway condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the latest acts of violence in Sri Lanka. The media report heavy loss of life in a new Claymore mine attack today. This is the third such attack in the last three days in which people have been killed or seriously injured. more..