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February trade deficit narrows despite higher petroleum imports

Apr 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka's trade deficit narrowed to 144.5 million dollars in February despite oil import costs moving up, the central bank said Wednesday. The February deficit was the lowest since December 2005, the central bank said. Petroleum imports rose by 1.8 per cent in February 2007, but intermediate (-4.8%) and investment goods fell (-13.6), with the trade deficit narrowing by 31.3 percent to 144.5 million dollars. more..

How Sri Lanka is trying to manipulate inflation numbers: fuss-budget

Apr 11 (LBO) When Sri Lanka's statistics office says it is computing a new index to better reflect 'true' inflation it is simply treading a well beaten path frequented by innumerable money printing countries throughout monetary history. The Department of Census and Statistics has said it was putting out a new index in June on the orders of an 'economic council' headed by the country's president. more..

Singapore closely trails Tigers

Apr 11 (GDI) The Singapore government is keeping a close watch on the activities of the LTTE and its sympathizers on Singapore soil, Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng told an intelligence service ceremony in Singapore. Some sympathisers of the LTTE were known to be living in Singapore and while their actions might not have harmed Singapore directly, Mr. Wong warned his government would not turn a blind eye to Tiger-activities. more..

Bright future for migrant workers

Apr 11 (GDI) A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed to strengthen the Sri Lankan migrant workers' rights and to ensure their protection with in a legal framework between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Jordanian Government. Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Keheliya Rambukwella who is currently on an official visit to Jordan and Minister Baseem Khaleel Al Salam signed the MoU on behalf of two countries. more..

Government to provide compensation to the died in yesterday’s bus-truck collision

Apr 11 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed the Minister of Transport Dallas Alahapperuma to expedite compensation for those who died in the yesterday’s tragic bus-truck collision. President Rajapaksa has expressed condolences to the families of those who died in the bus-lorry crash in Induruwa and wished a speedy recovery for the injured. more..

Pulse of a Nation: President Mahinda Rajapaksa on National and International Affairs

Apr 11 (GDI) Review: Numerous articles have been written about President Mahinda Rajapaksa's 'Mahinda Chinthanaya' which gives the policy frame work of his government. There have been many articles, papers and speeches on the policies and their implementation since the formation of the new government on November 19, 2005. However, they fail to reflect the innermost feelings or the pulse of the man - Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

SAARC Car Rally to arrive Kandy today

Apr 11 (GDI) As the seconded day of the SAARC car Rally, it will continue to Kandy via Nuwaraeliya today. The Sri Lanka leg of the SAARC Car Rally began at Galle Face road yesterday (10th April 2007) at 7.00 a.m. with a ceremonial flag off by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka. Yesterday, the Rally passed through Kalutara, Galle, Welligama and reached Tissamaharama. more..

President instructs to accelerate Weerawila airport project

Apr 11 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed the officials to accelerate the construction of the proposed Weerawila International Airport and provide compensation to the people who would lose land due to the project. The President gave these directives yesterday during a meeting with all relevant officials connected with the project held at Temple Trees. more..

Karuna unveils LTTE air-craft smuggling during CFA

Apr 11 (GDI) The Former LTTE Eastern Commander, Vinyagamurthy Muralitharan alias Karuna in an up-close interview with one of Sri Lankan media stated that LTTE had plans of strengthening their aerial attacking system since the Government of UNP in 2002. "Ever since Jaffna was captured, Prabhakaran planned to purchase several small planes known as light aircraft from Thailand and other countries in the east to be assembled here," stated Karuna. more..

Latest stunts of the LTTE in Paris a death-knell

Apr 11 (AT) Leading the Tamils to the killing field has been the practice of the LTTE for the last 30 years. After leading the Tamils to the killing fields usual LTTE uses its propaganda machineries to pin the blame on the Sri Lanka Government and other Tamil organizations. But still the Tamils and the international community have not fully well comprehended the modus operandi of the LTTE operatives. more..

Malinga ruled out of New Zealand game

Apr 11 (CI) Lasith Malinga, the World Cup's equal leading wicket-taker, has been ruled out of Sri Lanka's match against New Zealand on Thursday with a grade two tear in his left ankle. With the recovery period set between seven and 14 days, Malinga will almost certainly miss the Australia game on in Grenada on Monday and perhaps even the Ireland clash there two days later. more..

French investigations highlight LTTE terror over Tamil diaspora

Apr 11 (PISL) Investigations following the arrest of 17 LTTE cadres in Paris on April 1st highlights the terror prevalent among the Tamil diaspora due to the LTTE’s harsh methods. Governmental sources said yesterday. The counter terrorism sub directorate (SDAT) under the Central Directorate of Crmininal Police of France arrested 17 key LTTE activists including one French national in and around Paris more..

Government has two faces, says Somawansa

Apr 11 (LNP) The JVP which claims to have played a pivotal role in President Mahinda Rajapaksa`s election, yesterday accused the government of having two faces in governing the country. Party Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe said the JVP was no longer able to understand the exact intentions of this government. `We do not know where this government is heading. This government is not implementing the Mahinda Chintanaya but has blended it with the UNP`s Peoples Agenda. more..

President took important decision on power plants - WDJ

Apr 11 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapakse took a very important decision to initiate the construction of the Upper Kotmale and Norochcholai power plants amidst difficulties. The Upper Kotmale phase II will usher in an era of prosperity, Power and Energy Minister W. D. J. Seneviratne said. He said the Upper Kotmale phase 11 when completed will supply power not only to the up country population but also to the entire country. more..

Stamp out highway terror!

Apr 11 (LNP) All good soldiers, it is said, go to heaven. Similarly, cynics may say, all bad drivers, too, end up there. For, they keep their passengers and other road users ever reminded of God! Put any atheist or agnostic in a boneshaker with a manic at the wheel?aka a private bus?and the rollercoaster ride that translocates his heart to his mouth will certainly have him say a prayer or two. He will alight?if lucky to survive the journey?from that contraption a true believer! more..

SLFP in charge sheet controversy

Apr 11 (SAMN) Controversy prevails over why the ruling SLFP charge sheeted only ousted Minister Sripathi Sooriyarachchi and left out Mangala Samaraweera who was also stripped of his portfolios. According to the letter sent by Party’s General Secretary and Minister Maithripala Sirisena, Sooriyarachchi has been had been held responsible for the breach of party discipline on six counts and accused of working against the SLFP policies while criticising them. more..

Ranil wants Janaka Perera as DS

Apr 11 (SAMN) Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Tuesday called for the appointment of Rt. Major General Janaka Perera as Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary (DS) in place of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Addressing party organizers at ‘Sirikotha’ Wickremesinghe said Major General Perera currently serving as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Indonesia was one of the most successful and competent military leaders and more..

No polls, assures Minister

Apr 11 (SAMN) The Government is stable and strong now and it has no intention of holding a Parliamentary Election in May or afterwards, assured Leader of the House and Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva Tuesday. "There will be no change in the Government as stated by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe," Minister de Silva stressed. more..

A-9 Highway closed

Apr 11 (SAMN) Since Monday the military has temporarily closed the Omanthai entry-exit point on the Kandy-Jaffna A-9 road due to constant LTTE mortar attacks that killed two soldiers and injured six, causing inconvenience to thousands of civilians making preparations to celebrate the National New Year. The military said it would re-open the road to facilitate civilian movement during the festival season if the ICRC agreed to be present at the entry-exit point. more..

Goodwill mission to Vakarai

Apr 11 (DN) 'Vakareta Ne Gamanak' (A goodwill visit to Vakarai) organised by few social welfare organisations led by Deputy Social Services and Social Welfare Minister Lionel Premasiri under the guidance of Social Services and Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda took place at Vakarai Maha Vidyalaya on recently. Various companies, organisations and persons donated different items worth over Rs.25 million. more..

Dismissed Lake House employees reinstated

Apr 11 (DN) Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said he never treated employees of the ANCL by their party colours but always worked to endure their future well-being. He said the ANCL earns an income of over Rs. 3 billion annually and pays the highest salaries to the employees compared to other media institutions. "Therefore you must work hard to make the dream of the President a reality in creating a new political culture in the country," more..

NGOs reject “traitor” label

Apr 11 (DM) Several leading local Non Governmental Organisations which participated in the just concluded UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session are perturbed at being labelled as “traitors” for highlighting the plight of civilians and victims of human rights violations in Sri Lanka. The NGOs which have raised objections include the Centre for Policy Alternatives, Civil Monitoring Commitee, Free Media Movement, more..

Security forces achievements should not be underestimated

Apr 11 (DM) Founder Member of Manel Mal Viyaparaya JVP Parliamentary Group Leader Wimal Weerawansa said achievements of the security forces should not be underestimated by talking about their shortcomings. Mr. Weerawansa made this comment at a ceremony organised by Manel Mal Viyaparaya to felicitate the security personnel who sacrificed their lives to save the Chenkaldi Camp, which came under a suicide attack by the LTTE recently. more..

Tamils make plea to Ottawa

Apr 11 (TG) Standing in front of poster-sized photos of whole families hanged and others shot while they slept, a young Montreal mother described her own relatives' tragedy in her native Sri Lanka. "My father, mother and brother were all shot one night at dinner," said Santhiraleda Ganeshalingam, 32, who heard the news in a phone call from her sister in Sri Lanka last May. more..

200 Muslim villages to be developed

Apr 11 (MN) 200 Muslim villages are to be culturally developed through the Jathika Saviya and Gamaneguma Programs of the president, said Mr.M.I.M Ameen, Director of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs Department. He also said, that President Rajapaksha had allocated 100 million rupees for the purpose, and that 200 Muslim villages selected from the entire Island would be developed and that cultural, religious centers Mosques and other infrastructure facilities would be provided. more..

'Many dead' in Sri Lanka clashes

Apr 11 (BBC) The Sri Lankan army and Tamil Tiger rebels have clashed in the north of the island with many fighters killed, both sides say. A senior defence ministry official said mortar and artillery fire had killed at least 20 rebels around the Omanthai checkpoint in Vavuniya district. A rebel spokesman denied the claim. He said the guerrillas ambushed army soldiers and killed 10 of them. more..

Ranil hopes raja yoga will topple Rajapaksa raj

Apr 11 (HT) A new conflict is emerging in war-torn Sri Lanka. It is between opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe's Raja Yoga and President Mahinda Rajapaksa's deeply entrenched Raj. Encouraged by an astrological prediction that he is going to enjoy Raja Yoga or power to rule the land, from mid April onwards, the UNP chief has been making a variety of moves to topple the Rajapaksa government in April-May. more..

Sri Lanka set World Cup exam for New Zealand

Apr 11 (AFP) - New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming believes his side can win the World Cup: their Super Eights match against fellow contenders Sri Lanka will go a long way to seeing if he is right. The Black Caps - like defending champions Australia unbeaten at the tournament so far - top the Super Eights table on run-rate. more..

Sri Lankan military, Tamil rebels clash in north, 30 reportedly killed

Apr 11 (AP) Clashes between Sri Lankan soldiers backed by artillery and Tamil Tiger rebels in the north have killed up to 30 people, the two sides said Wednesday amid a spate of air raids, bus bombings and sea battles that have left scores dead in recent weeks. Wednesday's statements from the government and rebels offered the first details of the clashes that broke out a day earlier near the frontier separating government- and guerrilla-held areas more..

No impact on cricket team - Tissera

Apr 12 (BBC) The campaign launched by Amnesty International to focus on Sri Lanka's human rights violations bears no impact on the Sri Lanka squad, team management said. Manager of the Sri Lanka cricket team, Michael Tissera, told BBC Sandeshaya that there has been no campaign in the grounds or near hotels where players stay. The Sri Lanka team did not even know of the capmpaign until authorities informed, Tissera added. more..

Govt. 'ready' for referendum

Apr 12 (BBC) The government in Sri Lanka says it is ready to call for a referendum if the parties in the south agree for a political solution to national question. Minister of constitutional affairs Dew Gunasekara said that he appreciated the efforts of the president to resolve the national problem though a common agreement. “For the first time in the history there is a political consensus among the political parties for the national problem” minister Gunasekara told juornalists in Colombo. more..

The Amnesty Campaign: Taking the Eye Off the Ball

Apr 12 (TW) A lot of heat and indeed anger has been generated by the Amnesty International campaign - Sri Lanka: Play By the Rules – timed to coincide with and targeted at the Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean. Amnesty has made clear that the campaign is not targeted at the Sri Lankan cricket team and in response to criticisms of this nature made the point that the issue is not cricket but human rights and that all right thinking and mature adults will not mistake the campaign as in any way making a comment on or seeking to undermine our cricket team. more..

Sri Lanka will attack from first ball

Apr 12 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will go on to the attack from the first ball in the style which won them the 1996 World Cup when they bat in Thursday's Super Eights match against New Zealand. Sanath Jayasuriya, still opening his team's batting 11 years on, and Romesh Kaluwitharana turned one-day cricket on its head when they launched an all-out attack in the first 15 overs of fielding restrictions. more..

Sri Lanka turns to style of 1996 to spur World Cup attempt

Apr 12 (AP) Sri Lanka's World Cup tactics are simple: stick to what you're good at. Fortunately for fans, what Sri Lanka is good at is a thrilling brand of cricket involving big hitting. It was a style of play that won the country the 1996 World Cup as a huge outsider and transformed views of what was possible in the one-day game. more..

SriLankan Airlines on an additional mission to promote Tourism

Apr 12 (AT) Sri Lankan Airlines in addition to their airlines and travel work has made it an integral part to promote Sri Lankan tourism and specially is in search of new vistas in the regional tourism promotion via sports. Mr Chandana De Silva, Head, Corporate Communication, SriLankan Airlines has participated the Ambassadors’ Golf Tournament held recently in New Delhi, more..

Cambridge University UK conducts training programme for Sri Lankan teachers

Apr 12 (AT) University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) organized a familiarization training workshop for teachers and principals numbering to 80 from various Sri Lankan schools, on contemporary teaching practices and techniques and the participants were provided an opportunity exchange views on best practices. more..

Police concludes investigations on the Galle bus accident

Apr 12 (AT) Southern Police Chief Jayantha Gamage says preliminary investigations into the deadly bus-truck accident in Kosgoda, Induruwa yesterday has been completed. Reports of the government analyst have confirmed that there was no involvement of any type of explosives in the accident. A fire had taken place due to explosion of diesel tanks of the two vehicles. more..

Dalas threatens of establishing a Military government

Apr 12 (LeN) President's advisor Dalas Alahaperuma has made a threatening warning to a UNP MP stating that if the country's leadership is questioned or threatened a military government will be established. Making the threat Alahaperuma said that if the president's life faces any sort of an accident the UNP shouldn't have any hopes of coming into power and that they would establish a military government. more..

Ranil & Prabakaran wants Gotabaya out of war- Media Minister

Apr 12 (LeN) Media minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena speaking to the media in Colombo this morning said that both the LTTE's and the UNP's intention is to remove Gotabaya Rajapakse from leading the war as the LTTE tries to kill him and Ranil Wickremesinghe is asking him to resign. He said Gotabaya is an important official to the country. more..

Is Lankadeepa editor lying for free air tickets- Ranil

Apr 12 (LeN) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe questions whether the Lanka Deepa news paper was hiding the truth and reporting false details since he was given a ticket to China. He raised this question speaking at a function organized by the Civil Monitoring mission on Monday. Speaking regarding the article written main headline of the Lankadeepa Sunday paper "India ready to curb LTTE air power" he said, this was baseless. more..

Science secures the fish supply in Sri Lanka

Apr 12 (SD) Fish production could be boosted by exploiting Sri Lanka's man-made reservoirs. Anuradha Alahakoon reports on the challenges and progress so far. A fishing boat arrives at the shore of Angamuwa reservoir, a small water body hidden in a distant village in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. A fisherman gets out. He fills a basket on his bike with fish and roams the neighbouring village shouting 'maalloo' (fish) to attract customers. more..

No clues to hijacking of mission vehicle

Apr 12 (Hindu) Thirty-six hours after the Indian mission car was hijacked on the highway to the International Airport here, the Sri Lanka police was struggling to find clues to the whereabouts of the vehicle, the culprits behind the incident and their motives. It is believed that personnel of various agencies of the Sri Lanka Government enquired from the driver, who was released by his captors after five hours of detention more..

Intelsat works with Sri Lankan authorities to halt unauthorized use of its satellite

Apr 12 (IS) Intelsat, the leading provider of global satellite communications, today issued a statement with regard to the unauthorized use of one of its satellites by the LTTE, a Sri Lanka-based terrorist group. The U.S. State Department lists the LTTE as a foreign terrorist organization. Intelsat officials, including its technical experts, met with Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the United States, Bernard Goonetilleke, on 10 April more..

Stop alienating elected representatives from their constituents - TNA

Apr 12 (TN) "Tamil National Alliance (TNA) strongly condemns the sudden postponement of the Batticaloa District Development Committee (DDC) meeting scheduled for Wednesday at parliamentary complex, Colombo, by the President of DDC, Minister Ameer Ali, without informing Batticaloa district parliamentarians," a statement released by TNA Wednesday in Colombo said. more..

Special pilgrim tours for parents of soldiers

Apr 12 (GDI) Special pilgrimages to India are organized catering to the parents of the Security Forces personnel who made the supreme sacrifice and those went missing in action. Today (11) the programme initiates with the first group of a hundred parents, leaving for India, in a Mihin Lanka special flight. The pilgrims will tour the historic places of worship in India for seven days and return on 17 April on which day the second group of 152 parents will leave for the tour. more..

4 Sri Lankans drowned in sea

Apr 12 (Hindu) Four Sri Lankan refugees including two women drowned in the sea in the early hours on Wednesday, in Indian waters off Palk Strait when their fibreglass boat capsized, apparently in rough weather. Informed sources said a group of six refugees and a driver started the journey at 5 p.m. from Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. The engine reportedly developed a technical snag. The boat toppled over in the rough sea and six of them fell into the sea. more..

Naval air station to be set up near Rameshwaram

Apr 12 (IANS) The Indian Navy will set up a medium-size naval air station near here to heighten vigilance along country's maritime boundary against Tamil Tigers rebels and their supporters. 'At present, we are just operating in a small sector in the Palk Bay area. A naval air station will enable us to make our presence more felt and we can cover the entire Indian Ocean, Commodore P.E. Van Haltren, naval officer-in-charge, Tamil Nadu, said here Wednesday. more..

Catholic Church groups reach out to Sri Lanka war refugees

Apr 12 (UCAN) The Hindu Tamil farmer sits in his brother's barbershop in Colombo, nervously fingering a small parcel of clothing on his lap. These belongings are all that he, his wife and two children could salvage before they fled the fighting in Sri Lanka's northeast. "We had to leave because our village was being bombed," Subramaniam Sivanantha said, as his children run around the shop noisily. "It became impossible to stay." more..

Anglican bishop hails unifying effect of cricket team

Apr 12 (EC) Anglican Bishop Duleep de Chickera of Colombo says his island nation that is bleeding from deep ethnic divisions should emulate the successful Sri Lankan cricket team currently in the Caribbean for the Cricket World Cup. "At this time of World Cup fervor, we can do well to remember it is not just the prowess of our team that is noteworthy," de Chickera noted in his recent Easter message. more..

Antiterrorism laws used to muzzle the Press

Apr 12 (HRW) The Sri Lankan government is abusing antiterrorism legislation to clamp down on journalists who expose human rights abuses, official corruption, or otherwise question the government’s handling of the civil war with the LTTE, Human Rights Watch said today. Standard Newspapers Ltd., which publishes a leading Sinhalese-language weekly Mawbima and the English-language weekly Sunday Standard, stopped operations on March 29. more..