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President vigilant on harmful cultural affairs through media

Mar 29 (LT) President Mahinda Rajapakse’s has paid his serious attention injurious programs presented through media damaging the culture of the country. He has instructed his Secretary Mr Lalith Weeratunga to send a directive to all electronic media institutions to refrain from telecasting such programs. more..

Government using the Police on their own at the Mini Polls – UNP

Mar 29 (LT) Mr Tissa Attanayake, the Deputy Secretary of the party says that due to the inactivity of Independent Commission, the Government will use the Police on election duty on their own. He accuses that this practice will be adhered by the Government during the Local Government polls as well. more..

Crucial Solheim-Bala talks today

Mar 29 (PIS) Norwegian Minister Erik Solheim will hold crucial talks with LTTE chief negotiator Anton Balasingham in London today with the second round of peace talks hanging in the balance. The LTTE has threatened to either postpone the second round of talks scheduled for next month or will insist on sticking to the same theme discussed at the previous round of talks more..

Loganathan appointed SCOPP Deputy Secretary General

Mar 29 (PIS) Ketheshwaran Loganathan, 54, has been appointed the Deputy Secretary General of the Secretariat for the Coordination of the Peace Process (SCOPP). He will assume duties with immediate effect. He recently resigned from the Board of Directors of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and as the Head of its Peace and Conflict Analysis Unit. more..

JVP hopes for historic victory, ready to take over country

Mar 29 (LNP) On the eve of the local council polls, the JVP said yesterday the elections tomorrow would be historic in demonstrating the popular support for the party and establishing it as the new force to take over the administration of Sri Lanka. more..

65,000 policemen go into action

Mar 29 (LNP) Some 65,000 police officers were put on election duty from yesterday with regular mobile patrols going all over the country and the Army standing by to quell any possible violence, Inspector General Chandra Fernando said on the eve of the local council elections. more..

VAT scam: Tax boss remanded

Mar 29 (LNP) In the ongoing probe into the sensational VAT scam amounting to some Rs. 357 million and probably going up to one billion rupees, an Inland Revenue Department Assistant Commissioner Ananda Wickremesinghe Ambepitiya was yesterday remanded till April 5. more..

Another election and no vote for migrant workers

Mar 29 (SAMN) Over 1.5 million Migrant Workers, who constitute 1.2 million documented and 20 per cent undocumented, are disfranchised this time too. The 1.2 million odd registered voters who make up 62 per cent revenue earners to the Sri Lankan economy have no participation in the political process of this country. more..

ID decision no bar to voters

Mar 29 (SAMN) The Elections Commissioner Tuesday assured that no one will be deprived of their franchise at Thursday's poll, despite the decision to insist on identification papers. "We will ensure the rights of all registered voters. No one will be turned away," Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake told a media conference. more..

Plans to net tax evaders

Mar 29 (SAMN) Several doctors, lawyers, engineers, private tuition masters and people paying telephone bills upto Rs.10,000 per month are alleged to have evaded paying income tax. Action will be taken to recover the due taxes in accordance with the Inland Revenue Act, Inland Revenue Commissioner General A. A. Wijapala said, more..

Resettlement allowance to be enhanced

Mar 29 (DN) It has been decided to enhance the initial resettlement allowance to displaced families of the North East conflict from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 50,000, at a discussion held on the North and East Development programme held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday. more..

Bail to Sumathipala 'illegal'

Mar 29 (BBC) The Supreme Court has ruled that the Appeals Court has violated country’s law by releasing former head of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), Thilanga Sumathipala, on bail. A five-member bench headed by Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranaike unanimously ruled that the earlier ruling by the Appeals Court to grant bail to Sumathipala, who is charged under Immigration and Emigration act. more..

Shaking down Toronto's Tamils

Mar 29 (NP) Imagine for a moment that Arab terrorist sympathizers were stalking Arab-owned businesses here in Canada, seeking to extort money to send to al-Qaeda, so that explosives could be purchased and terrorists recruited. Now imagine that all this was going on with the knowledge of the Canadian government -- yet Ottawa refused to use its powers under existing anti-terror legislation to stop the practice. more..

Opinions vary on SL Muslim regiment

Mar 29 (HT) The Muslims of Sri Lanka are divided on the establishment of a Muslim regiment in the Sri Lankan Army. The Sinhalas see it as a positive step but the Tamils are resolutely opposed to it. The Sri Lankan Army has started recruiting Muslims for a Muslim regiment with the avowed purpose of giving a chance to the Muslims to enter the army and more..

Murali strikes after Sangakkara special

Mar 29 (CI) Sri Lanka, thrust by an immense 185 from Kumar Sangakkara and a twirling late afternoon special from Muttiah Muralitharan, edged closer to a memorable victory against Pakistan at the SSC in Colombo. Sangakkara's ninth Test hundred had earlier seen Sri Lanka declare at 448 for 5, setting Pakistan a target of 458. more..

Sri Lankan woman released after years in border jail

Mar 29 (AP) A Sri Lankan woman fleeing persecution in her native country has been released after spending more than four years in federal detention on allegations that she entered the country illegally. Saluja Thangaraja, 26, was freed from the Otay Mesa detention center late Monday after the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the release more..

Fear fuelling graft in Lanka: Rights group

Mar 29 (AFP) Corruption will increase in Sri Lanka as state auditors stop investigating graft for fear of attracting government criticism, the Asian Human Rights Commission warned yesterday. The Hong Kong-based rights group said corruption probes in Sri Lanka had already slowed after Finance Secretary P B Jayasundera publicly chastised the country’s auditor general this month. more..

Tamils warily return to mined areas as teams clear out explosives

Mar 29 (AP) The shiny round object half buried in her garden aroused Nixon Kousi's curiosity - and could have cost her life. Kousi, a 23-year-old mother of two, is one of thousands of ethnic Tamils who have returned to their native villages in Sri Lanka's northeast over the past four years, hoping to start a normal life after spending years in refugee camps more..

Tamil Tiger negotiator meets with cease-fire mediator in London

Mar 29 (AP) The Tamil Tigers' chief negotiator met a Norwegian government minister in London Wednesday to prepare for talks with the Sri Lankan government aimed at repairing the two sides' tattered cease-fire. Norwegian Minister of International Development Erik Solheim, who secretly began the peace effort that led to a 2002 cease-fire more..

Sri Lanka vows talks despite sinking of navy craft

Mar 29 (AFP) Sri Lanka's government pledged to continue talks with Tamil Tiger rebels despite the killing of eight sailors in a suicide blast and fears the island could slip back to full scale war. Colombo's chief peace negotiator Nimal Siripala de Silva said government will go ahead with talks next month at a venue in Switzerland despite Saturday's suspected Tiger sinking of a navy gunboat. more..

Lankan ban leaves fishermen in lurch

Mar 30 (NIP) The fishermen and boat owners at Rameswaram have been badly affected by the ban imposed by the Sri Lankan government on deep-sea fishing along the maritime border with India. The ban was imposed after a Sri Lankan Naval vessel was blown up by some suspected Tamil Tiger rebels, killing eight sailors. more..

Non-tech graduates find IT jobs in 4-months

Mar 30 (LBO) A fast track program to give non-tech graduates jobs in the IT field has paid off, with a first batch of students finding full time work in top companies. The four month program by the Moratuwa University gives graduates from other fields marketable skills like computer programming, web design, networking and business know how. more..

Sri Lanka to slap stamp duties on credit cards, leasing, insurance policies

Mar 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka will introduce stamp duties from April on a range of services like credit cards, leasing and insurance policies, as the government looks for ways to raise revenue to pay for infrastructure and welfare spending plans. Starting April 1st, credit card balances will be taxed Rs.10.00 for every Rs.1,000 spent, more..

Dead cranes cause bird-flu scare in Mannar

Mar 30 (TN) Four cranes found dead in the premises of official bungalow of the Government Agent in Mannar Wednesday afternoon have been sent to Kandy to be examined by veterinary surgeons to determine the cause of death, Mannar hospital sources said. more..

UNP behind Secretary's killing - Minister Maithreepala

Mar 30 (LeN) Agriculture, Irrigation and Mahaweli Development Minister and SLFP General Secretary Maithreepala Sirisena says his Private Secretary M.L/Dharmasiri was assassinated by a group of the main opposition from Dimbulagala. At a media briefing held in the Foundation Institute this morning (29), he said this murder should not be credited to the LTTE account. more..

Lack of Delhi's support for Sri Lankan Tamils deplored

Mar 30 (Hindu) It is regrettable that the Indian Government, which backs the cause of Palestinians, is not supporting Sri Lankan Tamils who are also fighting for a cause, said speakers at a meeting here on Tuesday. They asked why India, which used to have frequent meetings with Sri Lankan officials, did not call for a meeting with the leaders of the LTTE to know their views. more..

LTTE cooking up evidence to link Govt with anti-LTTE Tamil parties

Mar 30 (AT) Key leaders belonging to the political wing of the TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (Col.Karuna's wing) met the villagers at the Pechiyamman Temple grounds located in Valaichchenai on Tuesday early morning. The meeting was arranged by the villagers Kannan Kiramam, Vinayagapuram, Kannakipuram, Pethalai, Puthukudiyiruppu located in Valaichchenai. more..

Will Norway and Co-chairs back the EPDP Council in LTTE-controlled area?

Mar 30 (AT) The Co-chairs and Norway, the official facilitator in the peace process in Sri Lanka, are faced with a knotty problem: will they back the legally elected representatives of the Eelam Peoples' Democratic Party (EPDP) to run the Puthukudiyiruppu Pradeshiya Sabha or will they back the LTTE who lost control of it to the EPDP, their arch rivals. more..

Norway does not back "self-rule for Tamils" as stated by the Indian magazine

Mar 30 (AT) Embarrassed by media reports that Norway was backing "self-rule" for the Tamils of Sri Lanka the Royal Norwegian Foreign Ministry released the written question and answer to prove that Erik Solheim who gave the interview to the Indian magazine Tehelka never made such a statement. more..

Plot to remove Daily News editor?

Mar 30 (AT) The pro-JVP Sinhala weekly, Lanka March 26 reported an alleged NGO conspiracy to remove Bandula Jayasekara and Karunadasa Sooriyarachchi from the posts of editor Daily News and Silumina respectively. According to this story, headlined, 'Moves to sack Daily News Editor' the secretary of a powerful government ministry, the heads of several NGOs and Norway are behind this plot. more..

Mediator tells Sri Lankan parties to keep ceasefire promise

Mar 30 (AFP) The main mediator in the long-standing conflict in Sri Lanka, Erik Solheim of Norway, on Wednesday called for the government and Tamil rebels to keep their commitment to a ceasefire even after the recent deadly attack on a naval vessel. Suspected rebels blew up a trawler together with six of their own men as a navy gunboat approached them on Saturday, more..

Bogala Graphite parent to shift UK processing centre to Sri Lanka

Mar 30 (LBO) The parent company of Bogala Graphite is shifting a UK-based processing centre to Sri Lanka, boosting profits of the local firm, a top official said. Graphit Kropfmühl (GK) of Germany, which controls 87 percent of Bogala, is closing a processing plant which is now in Braintree, Essex and transferring its operations to Sri Lanka. more..

High drama at the Colombo Municipal Council

Mar 30 (AT) High drama is taking place at the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) with Deputy Mayor Azath Salley's Confidential Secretary Fathima Nadya allegedly calling the shots at the Council, leading to some cases being even taken up by the Criminal Investigations Division. more..

LTTE agreed to participate in the second round of talks

Mar 30 (AT) Erik Solheim, Norway’s Minister for International Development met with Anton Balasingham in London yesterday and it has been agreed that LTTE delegation will participate in the second round of talks to be held in Geneva during 19 – 22 April. It is reliably learnt that, at the talks, Anton Balasingham has agreed for the participation in the second round of talks. more..

Local elections to judge government's popularity, peace process' direction

Mar 30 (AP) Sri Lanka was staging local council elections Thursday in what was seen as a referendum on the governing coalition led by President Mahinda Rajapakse. Over 10 million people are eligible to vote for leadership in 226 local councils in the election, which comes as spiraling violence threatens a four-year-old cease-fire between the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Muslim regiment, a calculated attempt to seed disunity- TNA MP

Mar 30 (TN) "President Mahintha Rajapakse's announcement of launching a Muslim Regiment, recruiting Muslim youth, ostensibly for the security of the Eastern province Muslims, is a calculated attempt to drive a wedge between the Eastern province Tamils and Muslims," said S. Jeyanandamoorthy, TNA Batticaloa parlimentarian, Wednesday. more..

Sri Lanka votes in local poll, eyes on Marxist vote

Mar 30 (Reuters) Sri Lankans began voting on Thursday in local government elections widely seen as a litmus test of the popularity of President Mahinda Rajapakse's hardline Marxist allies that could impact on a fragile peace process. Polls in and near Tamil Tiger areas across most of the island's north and east have been postponed for six months more..

“Liberation Tigers amidst the currents of a favorable breeze”

Mar 30 (TW) Our long struggle enduring economic hardships has now awakened the international community but Sinhala seem to have not realized it. Today if the Sinhala government is showing a willingness to do something it’s only due to a necessity that has arisen,” says Senior LTTE member K.V. Balakumaran in an interview to Thiankkural, more..

Brisk polling in Amparai local election reported

Mar 30 (TN) Brisk polling is reported in the elections for the twelve local authorities in the Amparai district, which began Thursday morning at 7 a.m. At noon about fifty percent of voters have registered their franchise. Polling to four Tamil speaking local authorities and eight Sinhala local authorities in the Amparai district are in progress, more..

Polling commences for 266 local councils in Sri Lanka

Mar 30 (TN) Polling in about 8829 centers to elect 3624 members to 266 local government authorities comprising 12 municipal councils, 34 urban councils and 220 pradesiya sabahs countrywide began Thursday morning at 7 a.m. A total 11,037,763 voters are eligible to cast their franchise to elect their members from about 25,523 candidates fielded by political parties and independent groups. more..

Armed LTTE Men Fire At Navy Again

Mar 30 (SLA) ARMED LTTE CADRES onboard a fast moving dinghy in the seas off MUTTUR, opened fire at the naval detachment at NORWAY POINT today (30), around 10.30 a.m. These armed LTTE men appeared from un-cleared SAMPOOR BAY areas, at first fired a hail of bullets to the detachment and later fired a grenade, using 40 mm grenade launcher. more..

LTTE Abducts Another Schoolboy

Mar 30 (SLA) KUMARASINGHAM NAVAN (20), an advanced level student of THIRUKKOVIL VINAYAGAPURAM School, BATTICALOA, who is a resident in NAVALADI Road, THIRUKKOVIL – 2, has been abducted by a group of LTTE cadres, while on his way back home after school, on 21 March 2006 around 3.30 p.m, claimed a complain made by his father more..

Local government elections heighten political instability

Mar 30 (wsws) Elections for local government bodies are to take place in Sri Lanka today. While normally a rather mundane affair, these “mini polls” have been bitterly fought, as all of the major parties vie for position in the increasingly unstable political situation surrounding the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government. more..

Election is peaceful except for few minor incidents - PAFRAL

Mar 30 (LT) Local Government Elections is being conducted in a peaceful manner except for a few minor incidents says PAFRAL. Though attendance at the polling booths was trivial in the morning later more and more voters were seen queuing up at polling booths. Mr. Kingsley Rodrigo, Director PAFRAL said there was lack of interest in voting. more..

PNM will continue demonstration until Norway is expelled from SL

Mar 30 (LT) Dr Gunadasa Amarasekera, Co-Secretary of the Patriotic National Movement said that the Organization will demonstrate against Norway’s role in the peace process. He added that they will continue until Norway is expelled from Sri Lanka since it is bias towards the Tigers. more..

Close associate of Prabhakaran arrested at KIA

Mar 30 (LT) Kailesan Kanabalasinghe said to be the Velvettiturai leader of the VVT faction operative in Canada has been arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department yesterday (29). He was arrested at the Katunayake International Airport. Kailesan is said to be a close associate of Prabhakaran. He was deported from Canada by the immigration officials on 27th more..

Tigers attack the Navy in Trincomalee

Mar 30 (LT) Four Wanni tiger members who entered the high security zone in Trincomalee harbour have attacked navy around 10.45 a.m. this morning (30). The navy was able to repulse this attack according to reports. The four attackers have fled into Sampur area in retaliation by the navy. There had been shooting for about 10 minutes between the two parties. more..

Lankan president’s visit to boost economic ties

Mar 30 (Dawn) The primary objective of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse’s visit to Pakistan this week will be to boost economic cooperation and increase two-way trade that at present stands at just a little over $200 million. This was stated by Sri Lankan High Commissioner C.S. Weerasooriya while talking to Dawn on Tuesday. more..

JHU opposes Muslim brigade

Mar 30 (LNP) The JHU yesterday condemned moves to create a special Muslim brigade in the Sri Lanka Army calling it an attempt to divide the country further on ethnic grounds. Insisting that there is no need for the creation of a regiment purely on ethnic grounds, JHU Leader Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thera said there were a large number of Muslim officers and soldiers who made significant contributions to the Army, more..

SC to review Thilanga`s case

Mar 30 (LNP) The Supreme Court yesterday allowed the appeal of the Attorney General against the Court of Appeal judgement granting bail to Thilanga Sumathipala who is alleged to have abetted Dammika Amarasinghe to use a forged passport. Dammika Amarasinghe was killed in the Magistrates court premises when he was produced in connection with another case. more..