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Gama for whom? Verdict today

Mar 30 (LNP) All parties expressed confidence of winning today`s local polls, which has been marred by legal battles and unprecedented violence. The main opposition UNP currently controlling the majority of local bodies said it hoped people would place their trust on the party and vote it to office. more..

South Asia's #1 blood bank in Sri Lanka

Mar 30 (SAMN) Sri Lanka is to build South Asia's number one blood bank. On a Cabinet memorandum submitted by the Minister of Health Nimal Siripala de Silva, the Cabinet had granted the approval to continue the construction work of the blood bank building at Narahenpita. more..

ICTA rolles out “virtual” peace links

Mar 30 (SAMN) In a bid to bridge both the language divide and the “opportunity gap” ICTA Wednesday rolled out a distance e-leaning network and a trilingual free email service. “The Nanesala e-learning centres and the local language emailing system is a driving force in transforming Sri Lanka into a harmonious knowledga society,” more..

Rs. 2000 note out soon

Mar 30 (SAMN) The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) is planning to issue the much talked of two thousand rupee note that was printed last year, CBSL sources said Wednesday. However, there is expected to be some confusion if this note is released, another source said. "At the time of going for printing Dr. Sarath Amunugama was the then Finance Minister and obviously his signature is in the note," more..

Banning polythene is not the solution, says CNCI

Mar 30 (DN) The government should ensure proper collection of garbage and introduce effective waste disposal methods including recycling instead of banning polythene and plastic said Chairman of the Ceylon National Chamber of Industries (CNCI) Nimal Perera. He was addressing a program organised by the CNCI to discuss the government's proposal to ban polythene and plastics items. more..

Face socio-economic challenges collectively in the region: President

Mar 30 (OW) President, Mahinda Rajapakse, called upon the members of the SAARC to "develop structures" to face the "social and economic challenges collectively and regionally." Mr. Rajapakse made the call at the inaugural of the Fourth Conference of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians in Colombo. more..

Defiant Malik scripts a draw

Mar 30 (CI) Shoaib Malik's immense but painstakingly composed maiden Test hundred steered Pakistan to an unlikely but spirited draw on the final day of the first Test against Sri Lanka. Malik was given invaluable support by Faisal Iqbal in a 115-run partnership, with whom he defied Sri Lanka for much of the morning and afternoon. more..

State banks asked to issue more plastic cards to public servants

Mar 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka's treasury secretary P B Jayasundara has asked the two state banks to step up credit card sales to public servants, following hefty salary increments this year. Under a recent government circular, those working in low and middle level jobs got a 25 percent pay hike, while more..

Tamil Tiger rebels, Sri Lanka navy exchange gunfire; no known casualties

Mar 30 (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels in a boat fired at a Sri Lankan navy post in the port town of Trincomalee on Thursday but retreated when the navy retaliated with gunfire, a navy spokesman said. The incident comes ahead of a visit by Norwegian peace envoys next week. more..

Sri Lanka rights body facing collapse, watchdog warns

Mar 30 (AFP) Sri Lanka's independent human rights watchdog may collapse as the government has failed to replace the outgoing panel of commissioners, the Asian Human Rights Commission said Thursday. The Hong Kong-based AHRC said Sri Lanka's Human Rights Commission will be without commissioners from April 3 because the island's Constitutional Council, which is empowered to make appointments, is defunct. more..

Tigers seek security guarantees to attend Swiss talks

Mar 30 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels demanded guarantees of safe passage through Sri Lanka's only international airport to attend Swiss talks next month on saving their troubled ceasefire. The LTTE said they will attend talks in Switzerland, tentatively set for April 19 to 21, only if peace broker Norway and the Colombo government assure their safety. more..

Yahoo Photos

Mar 30 (Reuters) A policeman (L) helps an elderly woman walk to a polling center in Colombo. Voters went to the polls on Thursday in a vote seen as a test of the popularity of President's Marxist allies that could impact the fragile peace process. more..

Sri Lanka peace bid side-lined in local vote

Mar 30 (AFP) Sri Lanka Thursday voted at local elections after a lack-lustre campaign where even the usually divisive peace process was pushed to the background, officials and analysts said. Voting was slow across the country, elections officials said adding, however, that there was no balloting in the island's restive northern and eastern regions where Tamil Tiger rebels are in control. more..

Sri Lankan elections to judge government's popularity, peace process' direction

Mar 30 (AP) Three people were wounded Thursday in assaults during local elections seen as a referendum on President Mahinda Rajapakse's governing coalition and its support of a Norway-brokered peace process with Tamil rebels. Over 10 million people were eligible to vote for leadership in 226 local councils in the election, more..

Humanitarian Situation Report - Sri Lanka

Mar 31 (RW) The top mediator in Sri Lanka's peace process, Erik Solheim of Norway, met the LTTE's leading negotiator in London on Wednesday to discuss peace progress. The LTTE will participate at the second session of peace negotiations in Geneva during 19-21 April more..

Website start to counter Karuna's popular website

Mar 31 (ISL) Desperate efforts are being made to undermine the website of the Tamileela Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TVMP) by the LTTE. The TVMP launched its website ‘’ recently and it became one of the popular sites to read first hand news from TVMP. more..

Norway envoys to make S.Lanka visit before talks

Mar 31 ((Reuters) Norwegian peace envoys will visit Sri Lanka next week ahead of a talks between the government and the Tamil Tigers, Norway said on Thursday as the rebels warned they might refuse to set a date for more talks. Norwegian development minister Erik Solheim, who brokered the island's fragile 2002 truce and is stepping aside as Norway's special envoy for the island's peace process, more..

Navy and LTTE accuse each other

Mar 31 (BBC) The Sri Lanka Navy accuses the Tamil Tigers of attacking one of its boats in the seas of Trincomalee. Navy spokesman Commander D. K. P Dassanayake has told journalists that the rebels fired grenades and used automatic weapons. The navy did not suffer any casualties. more..

Fans stay away from Sri Lanka-Pakistan Tests

Mar 31 (CI) Despite the best efforts of the Sri Lankan board (SLC) to draw in crowds for the series against Pakistan, including giving free entrance for the first Test, the Pakistani players are not pulling in the spectators. Just a few hundred people showed up on the first day of play in the Test here on Monday after rains washed out the opening day's proceedings, more..

'I am not disappointed with the way we played' - Mahela

Mar 31 (CI) The wicket played really well and we were not very lucky today. The guys gave everything but it was not our day. When you have 140 overs in a Test match to get the opposition out it is a missed opportunity but I am not disappointed with the way we played the game overall. To fight-back from 32 for 5 and to be pushing hard for a win on the final day was not a missed opportunity. more..

Reactivate HRC without any delay — Radhika

Mar 31 (TW) The outgoing chairperson of the Human Rights Commission Radhika Coomaraswamy has warned President Mahinda Rajapakse that Sri Lanka will find it increasingly difficult to defend itself before international treaty bodies if the country does not speedily reactivate the Commission once its members leave on April 3. more..

Pakistan training Jihad group in Sri Lanka: LTTE

Mar 31 (HT) The Pakistani intelligence agency Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) is backing a Muslim terrorist group called "Jihad" in Eastern Sri Lanka, the LTTE's ideologue and chief peace negotiator, Anton Balasingham, charged on Wednesday. more..

UNP Parliamentarian arrested with tiger posters

Mar 31 (LT) Mr. Ranjith Aluwihare, UNP Parliamentarian for Matale District was apprehended by Sigiriya police transporting a stock of illegal posters in a vehicle without number plates. He was produced before the courts and was released on bail. Two vehicles with the Parliamentarian were apprehended when police checked vehicles in Sigiriya area. more..

JVP secretary writes to Election Commissioner on election violence in Kandy District

Mar 31 (LT) Mr. Tilvin Silva, General Secretary of the JVP in a letter to Commissioner of Elections states that the violence that has been unleashed in Kandy District is committed by gangs of thugs led by Deputy Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage. Most of the violence had been directed against the members of the JVP more..

Low turnout in Sri Lanka local polls

Mar 31 (AFP) A low turnout marred municipal elections Thursday after a campaign which unexpectedly focused on local issues instead of the usual electoral favourite, the island's divisive peace process. Election officials estimated that only about half the 10.1 million eligible voters turned out to cast their ballots to elect municipal, urban and village councils, compared to 67 percent in the last such poll in 2002. more..

TN fishermen attacked by Lankan counterparts

Mar 31 (NIP) Eight fishermen from Rameswaram were allegedly attacked and thrown into the sea by Sri Lankan Tamil fishermen on Wednesday. A mechanised boat was also sunk by the Lankans. Fisheries Department sources said that 392 boats had set out to sea for fishing on Wednesday. more..

Conflicting report:SL Navy - LTTE shooting at each other

Mar 31 (AT) Sri Lanka Navy and LTTE have exchanged gunfire off the eastern coast of Trincomalee. Conflicting reports emerges and it is still unclear who started the attack initially. Sri Lanka Navy claims that LTTE cadres onboard a fast moving dinghy in the seas off Muttur, opened fire at the naval detachment at Norway Point and they started shooting on self defense. more..

President to forge an alliance with UNP after mini poll

Mar 31 (LeN) There are signs of major political upheavals in Sri Lankan politics after the 3 day official visit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa which will get underway tomorrow (31). These signs became quite obvious at a discussion held yesterday at Temple Trees between the President and Deputy UNP leader Karu Jayasuriya and Kurunegala District UNP parliamentarian Gamini Jayawickrema Perera. more..

President brands Bogollagama as 'Barrier of Investment' (BOI) Minister

Mar 31 (LeN) It is reported that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered the removal of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Minister Rohitha Bogollagama and the Director General of the Board of Investments, Lakshman R.Watwala from his entourage to Pakistan. Earlier they were to accompany the President on his 3 day official visit to Pakistan. more..

Acts of violence exceed 100, only 18 voted at Tiruwanagama

Mar 31 (LeN) The Election Commissioner's office said the local government election held today at 8829 polling centers islandwide to elect 3624 members for 12 Municipal Councils, 34 Urban Councils and 220 Pradeshiya Sabhas was largely peaceful with no major incidents. more..

Norway island attack by SLN draws warning from LTTE

Mar 31 (TN) Mr.Elilan, LTTE Trincomalee district political head, informed the Trincomalee head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) Mr.Ove Thursday evening in Sampoor that LTTE has the right to movement in seas adjoining LTTE controlled coastal areas and this right does not violate the ceasefire agreement, LTTE sources said. more..

"Upsurging People's Force" warns of resuming offensive

Mar 31 (TN) A press release titled, "Days are numbered for the traitors who sell our Mother land," signed by leaders ofthe "Upsurging People's Force of Jaffna District", was sent to all media in Jaffna Thursday night, sources said. Advising voters of Jaffna, "not to fall prey to enticements of temporary appointments and development projects," more..

LTTE 'unhappy' over Army recruiting Muslims

Mar 31 (AT) Top LTTE ranks are reported to have expressed their 'displeasure' over a recent advertisement appearing in the State owned print media calling for Muslim youth to join the Sri Lanka Army. It is reliably learnt that the Tiger hierarchy during several internal meetings highlighted that the decision to recruit Muslims youths who more..

SLA disallows spouses to meet detained fishermen

Mar 31 (TN) Sri Lanka security forces refused permission for spouses of three of the five fishermen who were arrested while fishing in seas of Kodiyadi off the coast of Munai, Pt.Pedro on 22 March to see their sons Thursday, legal sources from Jaffna said. The fishermen were accused by the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) of engaging in smuggling arms for Liberation Tigers, more..

Two killed in Sri Lanka election violence

Mar 31 (TN) One person was knifed to death in Weligama at 7.30 p.m., and another was shot to death in Belliatte in Sri Lanka's south at 9.30 p.m., Thursday in election related violence between supporters of ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and opposition United National Party (UNP), sources in Colombo said. more..

ITAK wins Trincomalee UC, PS, Thirukkovil PS, Alaiyadivembu PS

Mar 31 (TN) Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchchi (ITAK), the TNA party contesting in the local authorities elections, has won all the 9 seats in Thirukkovil and Alaiadivembu Pradeshiya Sabahs and won Karaithivu with 4 seats in Amparai district. The ITAK also won after a long time, both the Trincomalee Urban Council with 10 seats, and Trincomalee Town & Gravets PS with 6 seats. more..

Tamil Tiger Fire Against Navy Continues

Mar 31 (SLA) TWO MORE CEASEFIRE VIOLATIONS COMMITTED BY THE LTTE were reported when Tamil Tigers fired at the Navy from the LTTE held area of SAMPOOR on Sunday (30) afternoon. In the first incident, Tamil Tigers in the un-cleared areas of SAMPOOR have fired two rounds at a Naval boat on duties in the KODDIYAR bay area in TRINCOMALEE Sunday (30) around 4.45 p.m. more..

Sri Lanka's March inflation dips

Mar 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka's annualised inflation eased to 9.6 percent in the twelve months to March from 10.3 percent in February, despite price hikes in the sales of firewood, sugar, meat and milk tea, the Census & Statistics Dept said Friday. The twelve month moving average is usually taken as the official inflation figure by the government. more..

Sri Lanka's economy expands by 5.9 % in 2005

Mar 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka's economy expanded by 5.9 percent in 2005, over 5.4 percent a year earlier, in the backdrop of high international oil prices and stiff competition for key exports like garments, the Central Bank said Friday. Economic growth during the fourth quarter of 2005 was 6.3 percent more..

Central Bank keeps markets guessing on next move

Mar 31 (DJ) When inflation in Sri Lanka surged last year, the central bank went on an aggressive monetary tightening that saw 125 basis points added over 2005. Inflation has begun to slide since then, and the central bank appears to be preparing to shift to a looser policy, more..

1st meeting of the newly elected local govt members is in the 2nd week of next month

Mar 31 (SLBC) Minister of Provincial councils and local government Janaka Bandara Tennakone says the newly elected members of the local government bodies will meet on the 15th of next month. The selection of heads for these institutions will be carried out after consulting the leadership of the respective parties. more..

Musharraf against separatism in Sri Lanka

Mar 31 (PIS) Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf said he was against separatism in Sri Lanka. Funding of terrorism must be dried up globally and terrorism must be defeated, Musharraf said. The Pakistani leader said: "We are against separatism in Sri Lanka. We believe and respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka." more..

Pakistan denies involvement with Muslim armed group in East

Mar 31 (PIS) Pakistan has refuted claims made by the LTTE chief peace negotiator Anton Balasingham earlier this week that the Pakistan Secret Service was directly assisting a Muslim Jihad armed group in the east. In a startling revelation over Australian television Mr. Balasingham alleged that the Muslim armed group was being assisted by the Pakistan Intelligence unit. more..

Two Ugandans with HIV positive deported

Mar 31 (LNP) Two Ugandans who pleaded guilty to a charge of printing forged US dollar notes were yesterday ordered to be deported by Court after a JMO report said they were HIV AIDS positive. High Court judge Rohini Perera imposed a fine of Rs. 40,000 in addition to the deportation order. more..

Probe into child carrying ballot box

Mar 31 (LNP) The Police Women and Child Protection Division has opened an investigation into the case where a child had been used by an uniformed policeman to carry ballot boxes from the Election Centre, Colombo 8, on Wednesday. The investigation was launched after The Island and our sister newspaper Divaina carried the photographs. more..

Aco Developers to build tallest building in Lanka

Mar 31 (LNP) An Indian based company Aco Developers (Pvt) has signed an agreement with the BOI to build the country`s tallest building with an investment of US$ 100 million in Colpetty. The company is planning to construct up to 45 levels and the Urban Development Authority has given approval for the project, its Chairman Ravi Jaipuria said. more..

Korea contributes US$ 100,000 to Colombo Plan Programme

Mar 31 (LNP) The Republic of Korea has made a voluntary contribution of US$ 100,000 to the Programme for Private Sector Development (PPSD) of the Colombo Plan. The grant provided would be utilised to implement human resource development programmes on: more..

LTTE demands ‘safe passage’ at BIA

Mar 31 (SAMN) The LTTE Thursday demanded guarantees of safe passage through Bandaranaike International Airport if it was to participate at the next round of talks in Geneva. It said the government and the peace facilitators Norway must assure the safety of the LTTE’s negotiating team for the talks to be held from April 19-21. more..

Lankan troops for UN mission in Haiti

Mar 31 (SAMN) The government is preparing to deploy fresh troops in Haiti in April. Army headquarters said that a battalion of Artillery Regiment troops would be deployed in place of troops currently deployed in the Caribbean island to bolster the US-installed regime. Sri Lanka’s first major overseas peacekeeping contingent was deployed there in 2004. more..

Budhha Jayanthi celebrations countrywide

Mar 31 (SAMN) The Ministry of Education has planned a long-term programme with regard to the 2550th Buddha Jayanthi celebrations, which is be held this year. The Buddha Jayanthi commemorates the passing away of Lord Buddha, in 543 BC. The 2550th Buddha Jayanthi celebrations will be held all over the country as well as in many parts of the world during this year. more..