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Committee to study Anti- Conversion Bill

Apr 6 (SAMN) A committee of 19 with Minister Wijedasa Rajapakse as chairman has been appointed to the Legislative Standing Committee on the Prohibition of Forcible Conversion of Religion Bill. Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara made the appointments Wednesday. more..

Mine clearance: EC withdraws funds

Apr 6 (SAMN) Despite some 675,000 landmines still known to be buried in the North and East, the European Commission yesterday announced its withdrawal of funding for mine clearing operations for the rest of the year and possibly for next year as well as Sri Lanka was not a signatory to the Ottawa Convention. more..

VAT scam biggest swindle in South Asia - Senior State Counsel

Apr 6 (DN) The multi-billion rupee VAT fraud at the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) was termed as the biggest ever swindle in South Asia by Senior State Counsel Haripriya Jayasundera who appeared for the Attorney General in the case along with the CID when the matter came up before the Colombo Fort Magistrate and Additional District Judge Namal Balalle yesterday morning. more..

Sri Lankan foreign secretary arriving in India

Apr 6 (IANS) Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary H.M.G.S. Palihakkara arrives here Thursday night to brief India about peace talks scheduled in Geneva with the Tamil Tigers April 19-21. Accompanying Palihakkara will be Finance Secretary P.B. Jayasundara and John Gooneratne, secretary general of the Sri Lankan government's Peace Secretariat. more..

Sri Lanka Seeking $500M Saudi Loan

Apr 6 (AP) The government is negotiating with Saudi Arabia to obtain a US$500 million loan for expanding the country's only refinery, the Petroleum Resources minister said Thursday. "We are seeking the loan from the government of Saudi Arabia and discussions are underway. We expect a decision to be a made in about a month from now," A.H.M. Fowzie told a news conference. more..

Sri Lankan gangs make their mark in Delhi

Apr 6 (IANS) A Sri Lankan Tamil gang that used ingenuity and the humble catapult to rob at will here has been busted. And officials say criminals from Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka are increasingly haunting the Indian capital. In the last two years, around 25 Tamil-speaking criminals hailing from Tamil Nadu or of Sri Lankan origin have been arrested here on charges of robbery. more..

Colombo move evokes mixed response : Muslim regiment in army

Apr 6 (Dawn) A mixed response greeted the government’s move last week to form an exclusive Muslim military regiment aimed at protecting Muslims living in the east from LTTE attacks. While bouquets and brickbats were hurled at the proposal, from both Muslim parties and other observers, the military headquarters in Colombo said that the first phase of the recruitment was successful. more..

Sri Lanka goes ahead with time change

Apr 6 (AFP) Sri Lanka will put the clock back by half an hour from April 14, joining the same time zone as giant neighbour India. The island will go back to five and a half hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) from the traditional Sinhala and Tamil New Year, said director at the president's media office, Lucien Rajakarunanayake. more..

Norwegian peace envoys meet Sri Lankan president

Apr 6 (AP) Norway's top peace envoy met with the Sri Lankan president on Thursday ahead of talks with Tamil rebels later this month, but with both sides accusing the other of escalating attacks that could cloud the prospects for peace. Erik Solheim met with President Mahinda Rajapakse, said Chandrapala Liyanage, a presidential spokesman. more..

Sri Lankan Tamil groups clash ahead of talks

Apr 6 (AP) A top Norwegian envoy arrived in Sri Lanka on Thursday to discuss the country's peace process with the president, amid fears that interfactional fighting between Tamil rebels could cloud the prospects of peace. Two members of a breakaway Tamil Tiger rebel faction were wounded in the fighting Wednesday in the hamlet of Panichchankern, more..

War risks dim economic prospects

Apr 6 (AFP) The risk of Sri Lanka returning to full-scale hostilities despite a four-year-long ceasefire with Tamil rebels is stunting economic growth and investment, the Asian Development Bank said. In its Asian Development Outlook released Thursday, the Manila-based ADB forecast Sri Lanka's economy will grow 5.3 percent this year and 5.2 percent in 2007, which it says is "a respectable performance." more..

Sri Lanka banks on poorest women

Apr 7 (BBC) Women's banks are flourishing in Sri Lanka but there are questions about whether they really make a difference to poverty. There is barely space to move in Philomena Aranasingham's front room. She lives in the Kirullapone slums in the heart of Colombo, moments away from a still waterway with sewage floating by. more..

Sri Lanka's Muslim leader praises Norway's peace approach

Apr 7 (Xinhua) One of Sri Lanka's senior Muslim leaders said Thursday that the new Norwegian special peace envoy on Sri Lanka Jon Hanssen-Bauer has come with a clear strategy and a new approach in order to push forward the peace process with the Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

US warns against charity reaching terror groups

Apr 7 (IANS) The US envoy to Sri Lanka Tuesday warned against money donated to combat disasters from reaching terrorist groups, as he opened here a meeting of lawmen from Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. "The fight against terrorist financing demands an all encompassing approach, targeting not only terrorist groups but also individuals, businesses, banks, criminal enterprises and charitable organisations that finance terrorism," more..

Multivision gobbled up by 'Mission Political'

Apr 7 (LeN) 'Lanka e News' has learnt of an incident where a Minister has used his political clout and the Inspector General his police powers to vest the management of a Board of Investment approved project in one of their loyalists. This institution is Ruhunu 2001 Multivision which was established as a BOI project in June 1997. more..

Sri Lanka offers safe passage for Tigers after fresh Norway bid

Apr 7 (AFP) Sri Lanka gave security guarantees to Tiger rebels travelling to Switzerland for talks on saving their faltering ceasefire, a Norwegian minister said here after talks with the president. Norway's International Development Minister Erik Solheim said President Mahinda Rajapakse agreed to Tamil Tiger demands for safe passage to Switzerland more..

Tamil rebels, Sri Lankan govt to go ahead with Swiss peace talks

Apr 7 (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sri Lankan government will go ahead with peace talks in Switzerland despite simmering tensions and accusations that both sides violated a cease-fire agreement, Norway's top peace envoy said Thursday. The April 19-21 talks in Geneva had been in doubt after the Tamil Tiger rebels accused the government of failing to honor more..

Norway clears decks for Lanka talks Round II

Apr 7 (HT) Norwegian facilitators, Erik Solheim and Jon Hanssen Bauer, have cleared the decks for the second round of peace talks between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE to be held in Geneva between April 19 and 21. During their sojourn in the island, they had met President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo, and the LTTE's political commissar, SP Tamiselvan, in Kilinochchi. more..

Chandrika too invited to elect SLFP leader

Apr 7 (LeN) The SLFP General Secretary has invited party leader Chandrika Kumaratunga who is currently in London to participate in a special convention of the party tomorrow to elect a new leader for the SLFP and to take several important decisions for the well being of the party. The invitation has been sent to Kumaratunga through her secretary D.M. Dissanayake. more..

We were without funds as we spent on Mahinda - Hela Urumaya

Apr 7 (LeN) The Jathika Hela Urumaya is a party based on safeguarding the country, race and religion and its main vote base came from urban middle class, but as they were not interested in voting at the local polls, it had significant impact on the JHU performance at the polls, JHU General Secretary Ven Dr. Omalpe Sobitha thera said. more..

Patriotic Peoples' Movement now a cat's paw of JVP

Apr 7 (LeN) The founders of the Patriotic Peoples' Movement which was launched with the aim of discussing national and people's problems without political affiliations and to draw the rulers' attention to them, allege that the movement has now become a cat's paw of the JVP. A founder leader of the Movement said that it has ceased to be a national movement any longer. more..

President in a hurry to appoint Constitutional Council

Apr 7 (LeN) In a letter addressed to Speaker W,J.M.Lokubandara, the President has requested him to nominate members for the Constitutional Council shortly after consulting the relevant parties. The President in his letter has pointed out that due to the non-appointment of the Constitutional Council, members could still not be appointed to the other independent commissions- the National Police Commission, more..

Today D-Day for Ranil

Apr 7 (LeN) The UNP working committee will decide today whether party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe's decision to expel Matara District parliamentarian Mahinda Wijesekara from the party working committee and the Matara district leadership was right or wrong. The working committee is due to meet at 4.00 today evening. The key topics of the meeting will be the expulsion of Wijesekara, more..

LTTE cadre killed in Panichchankerni - Elilan

Apr 7 (TN) A Liberation Tigers cadre, Lt. Arulanantham, was killed Wednesday evening by artillery fire from Sri Lanka Army position in Mankerni, Trincomalee District Political Head of the LTTE, S. Elilan, said in a letter to SLMM Thursday. The artillery fire was used by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) when the Tiger cadres counter attacked a group of 40 armed men who launched an attack on a LTTE sentry post in Panichchankerni. more..

Para military armed groups not identified - IGP

Apr 7 (BBC) Police chief Chandra Fernando says that he has not clearly identified who the para military armed groups are but he said Special Task Force(STF) is operating under police as a paramilitary. However, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Chandra Fernando said that Police would take legal action against those who carry unauthorised arms and also criminals. more..

Norway's dubious role in Sri Lanka

Apr 7 (AT) The voices against Norway have been rising for some time not just among the 'Sinhala extremists', "Sinhala chauvinists", "Sinhala racists" – the usual labels used by the pro-Norwegian NGOs to denigrate those who question the motives and the partisan role of Erik Solheim – but even among objective political observers outside Sri Lanka. more..

5 LTTE cadres were killed and another 5 seriously injured in Panichankerni

Apr 7 (AT) Reports reaching Colombo reveals 5 cadres belonging to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were killed and another 5 sustained serious injuries when they were attacked at Panichankerni, located at Vaharai in the Batticalao district. more..

Trade Unions of Lanka Salu Sala work to reduce losses

Apr 7 (AT) An economically collapsed Lanka Salu Sala Ltd has adopted a number of policy decisions to revamp its business activities and reduce prevailing losses, Working Director of Salu sala Upali Weerasingha said. "The main trade unions belonging to the ruling party and the opposition agreed to support the management to reduce losses to make it a profitable government entity," he said. more..

Another BOI investor faces government red tapes

Apr 7 (AT) International Waterways Ltd, a local BOI company, which targets to launch Sri Lanka's first ever internal passenger boat service face government red tapes. According to the company sources, the company is willing to invest US$ 16 million on this boat service which provide better and speedy transport facilities to busy passengers in Colombo. more..

LTTE’s cause still sways Tamil voters’ mood

Apr 7 (MM) LTTE may inspire fear and disdain in most Indians, yet it’s this secessionist outfit based in Sri Lanka that most of the parties have sympathised and flirted with for close to a decade after the 1983 Lankan carnage. Following the killing of several thousand Tamils in the island nation by the Sinhala majority, lakhs of refugees had landed in Tamil Nadu in 1983 and 1984 seeking asylum. more..

Norway plans to step up financial help in Sri Lanka

Apr 7 (LBO) Norway plans to step up financial assistance in Sri Lanka following a request by President Mahinda Rajapakse to raise its profile in the island, peace envoy Erik Solheim said Thursday. Solheim, who is also Norway's International Development Minister, said that Oslo's financial assistance to Sri Lanka has so far mainly centered on fisheries and livelihood development. more..

Lanka peace process: India to be briefed

Apr 7 (AFP) The Norwegian mediator of Sri Lanka peace process will travel to India to discuss efforts for salvaging a fragile truce even as Colombo today guaranteed security to Tamil Tigers to go to Switzerland for this month's direct talks. President Mahinda Rajapakse assured security guarantees to the Tigers to travel through the only international airport here, Erik Solheim said, more..

No homeland for Tamil expatriates under LTTE

Apr 7 (AT) LTTE's official radio "Pulikalin Kural" – Voice of the Tigers -- has announced that the land, houses and other moveable and immoveable properties of the expatriate Tamils will be taken over by the LTTE to be distributed among new occupants selected by the LTTE. The announcement was made by Sudar, the official who claimed to be the Legal Draftsman in charge of Justice and Administration. more..

Glimmer hope for the round 2 talks

Apr 7 (AT) Norwegian peace facilitators had closed door talks with Sri Lanka President with lingering doubts about the next round of talks in Geneva and of salvaging the peace process which is under constant threat of faltering. As it was a closed door meeting details were sketchy, however it is learnt that according to a source, President Mahinda Rajapakse has told more..

Lanka to benefit from skilled labour demand in Middle East

Apr 7 (GN) Sri Lankan skilled and semi- skilled workers would be in high demand in Middle Eastern countries following the oil related economic boom in the region in the coming years, sources said. Currently many Middle Eastern countries are investing heavily in their own major development projects. more..

Dhanapala promises to reform the UN

Apr 7 (GN) Sri Lanka's candidate to lead the United Nations said yesterday that as secretary-general, he would push ahead with reforms to the world organisation and take a more proactive stance towards "what is evil and wrong with the world." Jayantha Dhanapala told reporters that whoever replaces Secretary-General Kofi Annan next year would have to address the scandals that have weakened the United Nations' credibility. more..

Govt keen to move onto substantive issues

Apr 7 (GN) The Government has conveyed to the LTTE through the visiting Special Norwegian envoy that they must move from CFA talks to more concrete issues such as a final solution to the problem without delay. Norwegian special envoy Jon-Hanssen Bauer met President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple trees yesterday. more..

Vigneswaran shot dead in Trincomalee

Apr 7 (TN) Mr.Vanniasingham Vigneswaran, President of the Trincomalee District Tamil Peoples' Forum (TDTPF) was shot dead Friday around 9.30 a.m. by an unidentified person when he was about to enter the main branch of the Bank of Ceylon (BoC) located along Inner Harbor Road between the office of the Senior Superintendent of Police and Trincomalee Harbor Police. more..

Parliament adjourned for May 9 following disruption by TNA MPs

Apr 7 (TN) Sri Lanka's parliament was adjourned till May 9 following continued disruption of its proceedings by Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarians protesting against the killings of Tamil civilians in the North East by the State armed forces in connivance with para military groups and the latest victim being Mr.V.Vanniyasingham, more..

Elilan blames SLA Intelligence for Vigneswaran slaying

Apr 7 (TN) Mr.S.Elilan, Trincomalee district political head of the LTTE Friday in a statement blamed the Sri Lanka Army and its intelligence for the slaying of Mr.V.Vigneswaran, President of the TPTDF in an area declared high security zone and surrounded by vital security installations of the Sri Lanka Army, Navy and Police. more..

Home Guards Returning Home Gunned Down

Apr 7 (SLA) SUSPECTED LTTE (Tamil Tiger) gunmen on Friday (07) morning mercilessly gunned down two Home Guards returning home after the previous day’s night duty while they were in the general area between KATUWANVILA and KUDAPOKUNA, about 12 km meters away from WELIKANDA. more..

Suspicious LTTE Crafts Again Observed

Apr 7 (SLA) ONE MORE MOVEMENT of two LTTE attack craft was sighted in the general sea area north of MULLAITTIVU Thursday (06) morning at about 8.30 a.m. Naval troops on duty have observed those two LTTE craft were fast moving towards the north from MULLAITTIVU coast for reasons best known only to the LTTE before those craft returned to the previous location. more..

Grenades Recovered Defused

Apr 7 (SLA) THE TRINCOMALEE POLICE on Thursday recovered a K-400 type hand grenade left behind at a place in VIJITHAPURA area in TRINCOMALEE. Meanwhile, on information given by a civilian in UPPUWELI area, another JR-type hand grenade was recovered by the Police from a location, closer to 4th Mile post in UPPUWELI on Tuesday more..

EU extends 70mn euro credit line

Apr 7 (LBO) The European Investment Bank Friday extended a 70 million euro special credit line to Sri Lanka, to help rebuild small and med-sized industries affected by the December tsunami. Tailor made for Sri Lanka, the credit line can finance up to 75 percent of the cost of individual projects, with borrowers given five-years to repay the debt. more..

Stocks up on lack of pre-talks violence

Apr 7 (Reuters) Stocks ended firmer on Thursday with investors pleased by an ongoing lack of violence ahead of talks with Tamil Tiger rebels, while the year's first initial public offering (IPO) was oversubscribed. The Colombo All-Share index rose a provisional 0.8 percent to close at 2,343.89 points. more..

56 peace violations during last month!

Apr 7 (LT) During last month 57 violations of peace has occurred. This was disclosed by Prime Minister in Parliament today (07). The PM added in a similar situation it is essential to extend the Emergency. Among the incidents 10 assassinations, 10 attempt of murder incidents, shooting and hurling bombs at 15 occasions were reported, he said. more..

Expel Norway which classifies terrorist as liberators – National Bhikkhu Front

Apr 7 (LT) ‘We have emphasized several times that Norway international tigers are white tigers. That we have done with evidence. It is Norway which granted all previledges to Tiger terrorists. Hence Sri Lanka has to face two tiger groups viz: white tigers and Wanni tigers. more..

Intl bodies fund rebels for mines clearing

Apr 7 (ANN) A Tiger rebel organisation has received financial and technical assistance from several international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for mine clearing operations. Among the donors are Norwegian People’s Aid, British Mine Advisory Group, Swiss Foundation for Mine Action and Danish De-mining Group. more..

New special peace envoy and Devananda Meets In Colombo

Apr 7 (ISL) Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare, Douglas Devananda met the new special peace envoy Jon Hanssen Bauer facilitating the peace process last Wednesday, according to sources from EPDP. A lengthy discussion on peace process took place during the meeting, sources added. more..

Anti-LTTE Tamil protests halt London fund raiser

Apr 7 (LNP) Public pressure has halted a fund-raising campaign in London by a supposed LTTE front organisation said to be the brainchild of Tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran and his wife. The Social and Economic Development Organisation for Tamils (SEDOT), a private company incorporated in Britain about one year ago, was due to hold a fund-raising event on April 29 at more..