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IGP says Balasingham admitted they were terrorists

Mar 13 (PIS) Accusing the LTTE of committing most of the killings in the country starting with that of former Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duraiappa, IGP Chandra Fernando yesterday said LTTE Chief negotiator Anton Balasingham had directly and categorically told him in Geneva that they were a terrorist out-fit. more..

UNICEF child recruitment figures understated- military

Mar 13 (PIS) Although the UNICEF has revealed an official figure of 1,358 as being the number of children recruited by the LTTE for their military purposes since January 2006, the real number exceeds that number many fold, military source affirmed yesterday. more..

Navy ready to corroborate child soldiers’ weapons training claim

Mar 13 (PIS) Navy headquarters is ready to assist the Nordic truce monitoring mission and the UNICEF to authenticate the first statement attributed the two teenagers who fled an LTTE training facility at Sampoor, Trincomalee last Tuesday. They subsequently denied prior claims of receiving weapons training. more..

Elite duties rankle Vavuniya-based cops

Mar 13 (LNP) A group of policemen claimed that there was an attempt to attach them to the Special Task Force (STF). A spokesman for the group claimed that they were under heavy pressure to serve with the elite paramilitary arm of the department. The Vavuniya based police top brass was in the process of bringing personnel less than 32 years under the command structure of the STF for deployment in operational areas for a two-year stint. more..

TNA: Keep Hoole out of Jaffna campus

Mar 13 (LNP) The TNA on Friday warned of `dire consequences` if President Mahinda Rajapakse did not reverse his decision to appoint Prof. S. Ratnajeevan N. Hoole as Vice Chancellor of the Jaffna University. `This is unacceptable,` Jaffna district MP M. K. Elelaventhan told the Sunday Island, demanding immediate cancellation of the appointment scheduled to take effect today. more..

A 7-wicket Royal victory in the gloaming

Mar 13 (LNP) Royal College pulled off a nerve-tingling 7-wicket win in fading light with an over to spare in the 127th Battle of the Blues against S.Thomas` College on Saturday at the S.S.C. grounds in front of a capacity crowd. The Royal openers, established a record opening stand of 218 for the series. more..

JVP favours Indian model federalism

Mar 13 (SAMN) In an apparent shift from its hard-line stand, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Sunday said that it might look into the possibility of applying a semi-federal model like that of India as a way out of the conflict while still holding that a full federal model will spell disaster for Sri Lanka. more..

Army assures rent for land occupied

Mar 13 (SAMN) Due rent would be paid to the rightful owners of property occupied by the army in Jaffna once the documentation required for the procedure is duly completed by the respective owners, the military assured Sunday. Army spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasingha said that some of the property owners were yet to furnish the relevant documents certifying ownership more..

Bread prices likely to go up

Mar 13 (SAMN) With the increase of flour and sugar prices, bakery owners are planning on raising the price of a loaf of bread by Rs.2. A final decision on the proposed price hike would be taken within the next four days by the Bakery Owners Association (BOA) which has a membership of 473 large scale bread producers countrywide. more..

President will lead country to prosperity - Asgiriya Prelate

Mar 13 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapakse is firmly dedicated to solve the North East problem and will lead the country towards prosperity and for this purpose every body must shed party differences and cooperate to strengthen that process, states the Most Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkhitha Maha Nayaka Thera, the Maha Nayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter. more..

Sri Lanka to build domestic aviation hub

Mar 13 (Xinhua) The government has decided to convert the Weerawila airfield to a modernized domestic aviation hub, Daily News reported Monday. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Chairman Paddy Mendis said that studies are being carried out for improving the Weerawila airfield and using it as a principal destination in domestic aviation. more..

Muslim issues will remain despite political consolidation

Mar 13 (HT) Muslim parties and leaders are rallying round President Mahinda Rajapaksa, given his growing popularity and the weakening of the opposition UNP. The most significant development is that the SLMC, which is currently with the opposition, has decided to give "issue-based" support to the government from outside. In effect, it is going to be an ally. more..

Lanka to hold mass ordination of monks

Mar 13 (AFP) Sri Lanka will hold a mass ordination of monks to mark the arrival of Buddhism in the island nation 2,550 years ago as well as staff dozens of temples faced with closure, an organiser said on Monday. Starting on the first full moon day of May, 2,550 Buddhist monks will be ordained in an ambitious project to swell depleted ranks, more..

Sri Lanka enlists convicts to feed army

Mar 13 (Reuters) Sri Lanka plans to move dozens of convicts to an army-held enclave in the rebel-dominated north, officials said on Monday -- not as a punishment but to grow vegetables. Forced to fly up to 1.5 tonnes of vegetables a day into the Jaffna peninsula to feed 40,000 troops because of patchy local supplies, more..

Kylie's boost for Sri Lankan theatre group

Mar 14 (UTV) Kylie, 37, is patron and sponsor of the theatre group but because of her breast cancer diagnosis has been unable to attend any of their performances until now. Many of the children involved in the local troupe, Children of the Sea, were orphaned in the devastating Tsunami and civil war. more..

Police step up probe into human smuggling scandal

Mar 14 (Gulf) Police detectives in Sri Lanka are to record a statement from Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Jeevan Kumaratunga over a multi-billion dollar forged passport scandal involving a group of supporters of the minister and Nigerians who provided the forged visas to them. more..

English teaching via satellite for rural unemployed

Mar 14 (WS) Developing quality indigenous, local language educational content and teaching English via satellite broadcasts to rural communities are some of the projects being supported by financial grants from the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA). more..

Are they working for peace or pieces?

Mar 14 (WS) "Sri Lankan foes vow to scale down violence", is how the BBC internet news reported the recently held talks between the SL Government and the LTTE held in Geneva. Such conciliatory disposition in reporting the events held from 22nd to 23rd February, from a news agency that has shown traditional bias against the Sri Lankan state over the years auger well for the Government in terms of gaining diplomatic upper hand, more..

JRJ's trumped up Naxalite plot

Mar 14 (WS) Some weeks back I wrote about J R's 4th constitutional amendment, through which he extended for a further six years the life of the Parliament elected in 1977. I referred to that as the most destructive act of a dastardly career and, though sometimes I think what he did in July 1983 was worse, more..

Guidelines agreed for local polls

Mar 14 (BBC) Representatives of main political parties in Sri Lanka have urged the elections commissioner to take measures to curb malpractices during the local government elections. The main opposition, UNP, has requested Dayananda Dissanayake to ensure that every voter brings a recognised form of identity to the polling booth. more..

Journalist Wins Award for Report on Child Soldiers

Mar 14 (ET) Sri Lankan journalist Wijedasa Namini received the Grand Prix Lorenzo Natali Award on March 10 in Brussels, for her article on the recruitment of child soldiers by the Tamil Tigers. Namini´s article, "Blatant Relentless Child Recruitment" covers an issue in Sri Lanka also investigated by Human Rights Watch in a November 2004 report. more..

Mangala's telephone tapped

Mar 14 (LeN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to clip the wings of Minister Mangala Samaraweera who played a key role during the Kumartunga administration. The reason behind the President's decision is the Minister's continuing political allegiance to the former President. more..

Elections commissioner biased- Kiriella

Mar 14 (LeN) The Elections Commissioner is a person who has not even done a minor thing to demonstrate his impartiality, UNP Kandy district parliamentarian Attorney Lakshman Kiriella alleged. Expressing misgivings about the impartiality and independence of the Elections Chief at a media briefing in Colombo this morning, more..

'Pride of Pakistan' exibition in Colombo later this year

Mar 14 (AT) Pakistan is making elaborate plans to host their second 'Pride of Pakistan' trade exhibition in Colombo which is likely to take place in August in conjunction with Pakistan’s National Day celebrations. The event is expected to take place on a grander note in comparison to last year, more..

UNDP released People's Consultation Report on Post-tsunami Recovery

Mar 14 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapakse on Monday, formally received the final report on Peoples' Consultations prepared after extensive discussions with those affected by the Tsunami. The peoples' consultations were the first of its kind conducted in Sri Lanka to ascertain the needs and interests of tsunami-affected people with regard to their resettlement within their communities. more..

Tigers' call to disarm ridiculed

Mar 14 (Gulf) Police chief Chandra Fernando has said the Tamil rebels have no right to call for the disarming of other armed groups. Fernando has described the call by the rebels to disarm other armed groups as "a ridiculous suggestion". The IGP said: "A terrorist group cannot demand other armed groups be disarmed, and they do not have any right to make such a demand." more..

Sri Lankan Tamils flee to Indian shores

Mar 14 (Gulf) More than 500 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees have sought refuge in Tamil Nadu since January following outbreaks of violence in the island nation, a senior official has said. However, the Tamil Nadu Government is unperturbed by the illegal influx and prepared to tackle the issue if the need arises, more..

Deputy Minister’s stolen jeep found in Vavuniya

Mar 14 (LT) Deputy Minister Duminda Dissanayake’s jeep that was stolen while being parked at the housing complex for Parliamentarians at Madiwela has been found at Chettikulam area in Vavuniya. Mr. Gamini de Silva, DIG in charge of Vavuniya said a person was arrested with the jeep. The suspect is a resident of Vavuniya and is being interrogated by the police. more..

Govt. has no links with paramilitary groups- Mangala Samaraweera

Mar 14 (LT) Government has never had any links with paramilitary groups and the government forces are not in a position to get involved in clashes that occur in un-cleared areas as CFA has clearly stipulated that Government forces cannot operate in areas controlled by the LTTE said Foreign Minister Mr. Mangala Samaraweera. more..

LTTE Trembles Over JVP- Sangaree Alliance

Mar 14 (ISL) According to a reliable source close to the militants, senior political leaders of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam had a serious discussion yesterday over the news that the JVP, JHU and South will support an Indian style devolution unit for North East. more..

Sinhalese South taken for a ride again on Sunday Leader issue

Mar 14 (ISL) The latest stories published in pro-JVP websites and newspapers against the Lasantha Wicramatunga and The Sunday Leader had exposed the extent of the misinformation campaign and the dependence of the so called Nationalistic Marxist parties on misdirecting Sinhalese South and resorting to LTTE style campaign against the media organizations and dissenting voices in the South. more..

Teacher shortage in Vanni schools spotlighted

Mar 14 (TN) Tamil medium schools in the Vanni electorate are in urgent need of trained teachers to teach various subjects, but no action has been taken by the education authorities to post enough teachers to these schools, said Mr.Selvam Adaikalanathan, Wanni district Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in a letter to the Minister of Education. more..

Britain reiterates support to Govt's peace effort

Mar 14 (PIS) Britain yesterday reiterated its support to the Sri Lankan Government in its peace effort whilst welcoming the Geneva round of talks. At a meeting with Foreign Minister Mangala Samnaraweera in London British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw also appreciated the Government's restraint in the face of provocation. more..

Renegotiate CFA: US Congressman

Mar 14 (PIS) A US Congressman yesterday insisted on the need to renegotiate the ceasefire agreement between the government and the LTTE and implement it in a productive and successful manner. Making a statement on Sri Lanka’s peace process, US Congressman Frank Pallone warned another conflict would be inevitable without progress at the negotiating table. more..

Funds for farmers to protect from wild jumbos

Mar 14 (ANN) President Mahinda Rajapakse, has allocated Rs35 lakhs (US$340,798) for payment of compensation to farmer families who have been affected by wild jumbo attacks. The president took this decision when the affected farmers met him in Tissamaharama recently. more..

Small, medium industries ignored in business programming

Mar 14 (LNP) Business programming in Sri Lanka leaves much to be desired and it focuses mostly on big business with no regard for medium and small-scale industries, International Media and Business Consultant Gavin Anderson said at a workshop on Small and Medium Enterprise programming in Sri Lanka at Hilton Colombo Residencies. more..

Undergrads on strike again

Mar 14 (LNP) Undergraduates of all universities are on a protest this week from yesterday (13) against the delay in affiliating the Sagara Vishva Vidyalaya ' National Institute of Fisheries and Nautical Engineering ' to the Sri Jayewardenepura University. more..

Vehicles have overtaken road development: study

Mar 14 (LNP) While road development had stagnated, vehicle ownership has increased by nearly two hundred percent over the past decade, leading to traffic congestion which has been the largest hindrance to urban transport development. According to a study, stretches of roads have grown from 2.3 million to 2.4 kilometres from 1987 to 2004, while the number of vehicles has grown from 700,000 to over two million during the same period. more..

Drop in LTTE child recruitment

Mar 14 (SAMN) Cases of child recruitment by the LTTE have shown a drop in the four years since the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement, according to statistics released by the UNICEF. It said 1,465 children were recruited in 2002 while the figure dropped to 570 last year. more..

Rs 14m to remove polls banners, posters

Mar 14 (SAMN) "The government has to spend nearly 14 million rupees to remove banners, posters and notice of candidates contesting the local polls this year and a large number of police officers too have to be deployed for his purpose," said W. M. Suraweera, Asst. Divisional Secretary of Bingiriya more..

Bala denies IGP’s claims

Mar 14 (SAMN) LTTE chief negotiator Anton Balasingham yesterday categorically denied that he characterized the Tamil Tigers as a ‘terrorist out-fit’ as claimed by Police chief Chandra Fernando. Balasingham’s response came after IGP Fernando in an interview with the Daily Mirror claimed that “Balasingham had directly and categorically told him in Geneva that they were a terrorist out-fit”. more..

Jaffna islets get 24 hour power supply

Mar 14 (DN) The islets in the North have been supplied with 24 hours of electricity from yesterday. The continuous supply of electricity to the Jaffna islets reality after several years' reports from Jaffna said. Since the electricity was restored in Jaffna a few years ago, the islets were supplied with electricity with limited hours. more..

Rural development projects start on March 24

Mar 14 (DN) The rural development project Gama Neguma will kick off on March 24 with pilot programmes in 10 villages identified as some of the poorest in the country, Rural Livelihood Development Minister A.P. Jagath Pushpakumara said. Minister Pushpakumara said the Government has allocated Rs.46 billion to develop villages under the Mahinda Chinthanaya. more..

Fundraisers ask Toronto Tamils to finance Civil War in Sri Lanka

Mar 14 (TR) It's akin to extortion. Aggressive fundraisers have been going door to door in Toronto, demanding Tamil Canadians help finance the civil war in Sri Lanka. But they're no ordinary fundraisers, reportedly demanding that each Tamil Canadian donate 10-thousand dollars to the Tigers. That organization promotes suicide bombings as a way to achieve their own homeland in Sri Lanka. more..

Lanka flights to city being upgraded

Mar 14 (NIP) Sri Lankan Airlines is all set to upgrade its flight capacity to Kozhikode making it the hot spot for tourists from the island nation. It would soon introduce the wide-bodied Airbus A330 to the historic city. The airline has eight flights per week from Colombo to Kozhikode on all days and operates twice on Thursdays. more..

ActionAid pact with TRO raises eyebrows

Mar 14 (GT) One of the largest UK-based NGOs operating in Sri Lanka, ActionAid International of Sri Lanka, has reportedly signed an agreement with the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) for a massive contract involving post-tsunami rehabilitation in the Northern province. The TRO, which has close links with the LTTE, is banned in the UK by the UK Charity Commission. more..

Why Tigers are stalking Sri Lanka's Muslim community

Mar 14 (KT) WITH the US' war on terrorism being largely perceived as a campaign against extremist Muslim groups professing a violent ideology, is the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam trying to win over the Americans by blowing up a case for jihadi groups in Sri Lanka? more..

Sri Lanka amid war

Mar 14 (UPI) Development efforts in Sri Lanka continue to suffer from a litany of complications, chiefly due to civil war between ethnic groups. Systemic corruption, failed social programs, a militarized youth population, and a polarized political climate contribute to hopelessness that in turn fuels more conflict. more..

Pakistan walk out of practices over venue dispute in Sri Lanka

Mar 14 (AP) Pakistan's cricket team touring Sri Lanka walked out of practice Tuesday morning after they were asked to share the venue with a group playing softball cricket. "It's a disgrace," Pakistan's coach Bob Woolmer told The Associated Press. "When you are on an international touring side wanting a center wicket (for practices) and can't get one, it looks a little strange." more..

Mangroves to be created in Sri Lanka as tsunami protection

Mar 14 (ET) Over the next four years, environmental organisation Earthwatch will work with local communities to develop optimum ways of replanting and restoring the mangrove stands that will protect the coastline of Sri Lanka from future storm surges and tsunamis. more..