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Keheliya speaks of a diplomat who tarnishes the country's sovereignty

Apr 19 (LeN) Government defense spokesperson minister Keheliya Rambukwella says there is a diplomat who fingers beyond his/her area of work and tarnishes the country's sovereignty, but if he/she continues to do so, he/she will be dispatched from the country. Speaking to the media at the media centre for national security he said there were instances when the American Ambassador was sent away from the country. more..

LTTE abducts another group of fishermen near Mannar

Apr 19 (GDI) This morning (18), LTTE abducted seven fishermen in Wankalai area in North of Arippu of the Northwestern coastal line of the island. These fishermen have begun their journey from the coastal area south of Mannar. “LTTE cardres traveling in three boats have abducted these seven men, selecting specially the unmarried ones,” Navy Spokesman Commander D.K.P. Dassanayake said more..

Sri Lanka three wheeler financier shows above average returns: Fitch

Apr 19 (LBO) A small Sri Lankan finance company to which specializes in funding three-wheeled auto-rickshaws is showing high profitability, Fitch Ratings which assigned the firm a BB+ (lka) rating said Wednesday. About 95 percent of the assets of Trade Finance and Investments (TFI) in the 9-months ending December 2006 was in three-wheeler finance. more..

Sri Lanka threatens to expel diplomats

Apr 19 (AFP) Sri Lanka warned Wednesday it may expel foreign diplomats who meddle in the island's internal affairs and said at least one unnamed envoy was being investigated. The threat comes amid growing international criticism of Sri Lanka's human rights record and Colombo's resistance to suggestions that United Nations monitors should be sent to the island. more..

Ruthless Sri Lanka trounce Ireland

Apr 19 (CI) Ireland's World Cup adventure ended with a chastening experience as they crumbled for 77 against Sri Lanka in Grenada. Farveez Maharoof took three wickets in an over and Muttiah Muralitharan bamboozled the middle order before Sri Lanka raced home in 10 overs, leaving everyone with an early lunch. All ten Ireland wickets fell for 49 in 20 overs - 23 of those coming in a final-wicket frolic - as Maharoof and Muralitharan shared eight victims. more..

Govt promises inquiry into ‘disappeared’ while families wait in anguish

Apr 19 (IRIN) Seven-year-old Angel Yogarajan held a photograph of her family and stared blankly, while her brother and mother fought hard to keep back the tears. On 2 March, their family of seven was suddenly reduced to three people who have been desperate ever since. Angel’s father, Emmanuel Yogarajan, and three of her brothers were abducted in the coastal town of Negombo, more..

Norway dismisses allegations

Apr 19 (BBC) Norwegian government dismisses claims by an organisation called Norwegians Against Terrorism that Norway was supporting terrorism. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reacting to an article published in the Sunday Times has sent an open letter to its chief editor. "Reference is made to an article in The Sunday Times on Sunday 15 April 2007 concerning totally unfounded claims that Norway was supporting terrorism by a Norwegian who calls himself Norwegians Against Terrorism." more..

"No threat, only a frank exchange of ideas"

Apr 19 (Hindu) Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has been accused of threatening the Editor of an English paper, Daily Mirror, over its coverage of the situation in the east and the activities of the Karuna faction. While admitting that he had a telephone conversation with the Editor, the Defence Secretary said it was "just a frank exchange of ideas on two controversial articles" published in the daily. more..

India providing prohibited items to Sri Lanka

Apr 19 (ON) India is supplying High Exlosive and TPT ammunition for 40 mm Launchers contrary to the agreement that India will only provide defensive harware to the Sri Lanka Armed Forces, it has been reliable learnt. Indian Statement that they shall only supply defensive hardware to Sri Lanka is a deliberately created illusion to appease the coalition partners in Tamil Nadu State. more..

Vaas and Murali dropped for tactical reasons

Apr 19 (CI) Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan were dropped from the Sri Lankan side that took on Australia in the Super Eights match for tactical reasons, according to Asantha de Mel, Sri Lanka Cricket's chief selector. Already without pace sensation Lasith Malinga, who was rested due to an ankle injury, Sri Lanka lost to Australia by seven wickets having already qualified for the semi-finals. more..

Lankan expats to celebrate New Year

Apr 19 (TP) Sri Lankan community will celebrate their New Year festival, Aluth Avurudda, tomorrow. The auspicious day fall on when the sun moves from Pisces to Aries and the Sinhalese Buddhists and Tamil Hindus in Sri Lanka join themselves to celebrate their common New Year. This also coincides with the time when the harvest ends, so the colourful fruits from the trees is collected in bulk to fuel the week-long celebrations. more..

Sri Lankan exporters run short of space as container lines switch to India

Apr 19 (LBO) Sri Lankan exporters are faced with a shortage of space on container ships for their shipments to Europe after several shipping lines diverted some of their services to India, an official said. The crisis is affecting exports of garments, tea and coir, Jayanath Perera, chairman of the Sri Lanka Shipper’s Council said. more..

Sri Lanka raises diesel price

Apr 19 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka raised its diesel price Wednesday due to pressures created by high cost of global oil prices, officials said. S. K. Cyril, deputy general manager of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) said that the price of diesel has been raised by 5 percent with effect from midnight Wednesday. Accordingly the per liter price of diesel, widely used for transport purposes would go up by three rupees to 63 rupees. more..

'We put our foot down' - Jayawardene

Apr 19 (CI) They may never have threatened to extend their stay beyond the Super Eights, but Ireland have at least provided a barometer of the merits of the other contenders in the tournament. Honest, dogged and never-say-die, they have seen off Pakistan and the Bangladeshis, given England a run for their money, been pretty heavily beaten by West Indies, South Africa and New Zealand, and been roundly thumped by Australia and now Sri Lanka, more..

Mendis to offer $1,000,000 collector`s bottle

Apr 19 (PRN) Mendis International, Inc. has announced that the world's first ultra-premium coconut brandy bottle of Mendis will be presented for sale for $1,000,000 USD. "To own the very first Johnnie Walker or Remy Martin bottle made would be an absolute dream for most fine spirits connoisseurs," says Chris Richardson, President and CEO of Mendis International. more..

Sri Lanka firms plans $200m shrimp farms in Nigeria

Apr 19 (VM) Sulalanka Nigeria Ltd, said it has concluded plans to lead a consortium of foreign firms, based in Sri Lanka to invest about $200 million in the nation’s aquaculture shrimp farm, in southwestern part of the country. The investment would provide an opportunity for the country branded shrimp to have a niche in the international market and that most of the shrimps imported from Nigeria are not branded. more..

Backlog of parcels shipped to Jaffna

Apr 19 (TN) The Cargo vessel "Induruwa", carrying nearly 6000 parcels lying in backlog in Trincomalee post office since January, sailed Tuesday evening to Kankesanthurai harbour in Jaffna peninsula, Department of Postal Services (DPS) said. Only parcels containing medicine, weighing up to one kg, would be accepted to Jaffna district, according to an announcement by DPS. more..

Fishing ban after sea skirmish between SLN, Sea Tigers

Apr 19 (TN) Following fire fight between Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) and Sea Tigers in the lagoon seas south of Jaffna Peninsula, Tuesday afternoon, SLN has imposed fishing ban on fishermen from coastal areas of Pashaiyoor, Gurunagar, and Navanthurai Wednesday, sources from Jaffna said. More than 3000 fishermen have been affected by the ban. more..

Sri Lanka tourist arrivals fall sharply as violence escalates

Apr 19 (LBO) Tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka fell by 36 percent to 35,031 in March 2007 compared with the same month last year as escalating fighting between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels deterred holiday travel. The fall in arrivals came on the back of an 18 percent drop in arrivals in February with key markets such as Western Europe, India and East Asia being the worst affected, more..

Sri Lanka rupee falls to a new low; overnight rates ease

Apr 19 (LBO) The Sri Lanka rupee fell to a new low of 110.50 to the dollar in early trading Thursday dealers said, while short-term interest rates eased. The rupee had ended just short of 110 to the dollar earlier in the month with high rupee interest rates encouraging exporters to convert to the domestic currency early. more..

Infrastructure and Housing Development Project in Puttalam

Apr 19 (GDI) The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Minister of Finance and Planning to implement an infrastructure and housing development project in Puttalam district. The International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank has agreed to provide a loan of US$ 32 million interest free but with a service charge of 0.75% per annum. more..

President Rajapaksa to meet Italian President today

Apr 19 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who arrived in Rome yesterday evening will meet Italian President Giargio Napolitano at the Quirinal Palace for bilateral discussions today. President is due to meet His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI at Vatican tomorrow. President Rajapaksa is expected to brief about the developments in Sri Lanka and expected to convey the best wishes of the Sri Lankan people more..

BOI to expand local investor opportunities

Apr 19 (GDI) "BOI in the past 29 years have been only doing business with foreigners. We want to change this culture and open doors to local businessmen too," said new Chairman of the Board of Investments, Dhammika Perera. He made this statement to the media after assuming duties as the Chairman of the Board of Investment yesterday (18). Mr. Dhamika Perera who served as a director of the BOI is a young and prominent businessman in the country. more..

Eastern province flourishing; Govt expedites the development plans

Apr 19 (GDI) In par with expediting the development of infrastructure facilities in the Eastern part of the island, Government has initiated many projects resulting a smoothly run resettlement programme for the Internally Displaced People. Government plans to resettle 75,000 Internally Displaced People currently sheltered in welfare camps in Batticaloa, before end of July this year, facilitating them with all the necessary requirements. more..

Sri Lanka Consulate in Los Angeles promotes Trade, Investment and Tourism in U.S.

Apr 19 (AT) In early March when Sri Lanka Consul General for U.S. western states Jaliya Wickremasuriya talked to ‘Asian Tribune’, the Online Daily stated, “within two months of assuming duties in Los Angeles, Wickremasuriya had gauged the political, investment and trade scenario in the most populous and important region in the United States to promote the country he represents, Sri Lanka." more..

Karuna faction counters allegations, says Eastern populace are with them

Apr 19 (AT) The Karuna Faction, in a statement issued today has countered allegations of armed intimidation of populace in the East and said that such allegations are a 'tactic to shift attention from Tigers defeats in East'. TMVP also requested to immediately lodge complaints with the Police and 'take any action necessary' if any of its members are sighted with arms in the government controlled areas of East. more..

Daily Mirror journalist narrowly escapes "white van" abduction attempt in Colombo streets

Apr 19 (AT) S.S. Selvanayagam, a senior reporter attached to Daily Mirror newspaper (Colombo) narrowly escaped the now infamous "white van" abduction attempt on his life on the evening of April 17. The "white van" abductions are now a commonplace "enforced" disappearance occurrences in Sri Lanka where paramilitary teams arrive in a white coloured van without a number plate and grab designated persons, sometimes resulting in victim's permanent disappearance. more..

Fishermen's safety: Pawar to discuss issue

Apr 19 (Hindu) Union Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Sharad Pawar has promised to discuss with the Sri Lankan Prime Minister the problems faced by Indian fish workers on the borders of the international waters between India and Sri Lanka and the demand for protection of their life and property. Mr. Pawar gave this assurance to a delegation of the Nationalist Matsya Thozhilali Congress (NCP) that met him during his brief sojourn in the State the other day. more..

Sri Lankan govt pins all hopes on Vatican

Apr 19 (Dawn) With no sign of ending hostilities with the Tamil Tiger rebels and facing intensified criticism from international human rights groups, the Sri Lankan government is now looking to the Vatican for solace. President Mahinda Rajapakse on Wednesday left for the Vatican for a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI scheduled to take place on April 20, officials at the Presidential Secretariat confirmed. more..

Indian response awaited on coordinated Palk Strait patrolling – Govt.

Apr 19 (PISL) The proposal was put forward by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogallagama during a meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, on the sidelines of the recently concluded 14th SAARC summit in New Delhi. Bogallagama said that greater coordination was required between the Sri Lankan and Indian navies to prevent the LTTE from smuggling arms into Sri Lanka. more..

SLAF jets target a group of senior LTTE cadres

Apr 19 (LNP) Jets, launched from Katunayake SLAF base, yesterday morning attacked a heavily fortified LTTE base east of Kilinochchi, a senior official said. According to him, several senior intelligence wing cadres were in the targeted base at the time of the air assault. Quoting intelligence services, he speculated that jets targeted a meeting of the LTTE intelligence. more..

Human rights were violated in 1988-89 not now -Bandula

Apr 19 (LNP) The UNP leader has started talking about violations of human rights today, but during the UNP regime of 1988, young people were being killed by the dozen and burnt in public on highways making people turn their faces away. Some heads torn off from corpses were stuck on fence sticks and exhibited, but today there were no such extra judicial killings or violation of human rights in the country, more..

Kandy could soon be a city gone astray - DIG

Apr 19 (LNP) Problems concerning the pavements and roads in Kandy are worsening day by day and the World Heritage City of Kandy will soon be known as a city gone astray if solutions to the human and traffic problems are not found, warned the Deputy Inspector General of Police (Central) Nimal Mediwake, at the presentation of Traffic Stop Signal Sign Boards to School Traffic Wardens. more..

Karuna is clearly acting as a quasi military group and not a political party

Apr 19 (LNP) Military engagements in the Vakarai area forced people in their thousands to flee the violence, creating an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe. There are thousands who are making the resettlement camps their homes for months on end. Executive Director of the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA), Jeevan Thiagarajah tells Hard Talk that both the government and the NGOs have failed in their duties towards the displaced. more..

AI rebuffs LTTE on sports boycott

Apr 19 (SAMN) Amnesty International (AI) said it had never called for a boycott of sport and looked to the LTTE to prove its words by ceasing abuses, including its attacks on civilians and its recruitment of child soldiers, as well as declare its support for the deployment of international human rights monitors. more..

'Ranil's ploys to topple govt of no use'

Apr 19 (SAMN) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe wanted to topple the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse in April before the Sinhala/Hindu New Year. At the same time there were national and international conspiracies to set up an anti-national regime by destabilizing the government which represents indigenous thinking, Minister of Trade and Consumer Services Bandula Gunawardene said more..

Inland Revenue chief termed hilarious

Apr 19 (SAMN) Exporters yesterday described Inland Revenue Chief’s statement that there has been Rs. 300 million worth of overclaimed VAT refunds as hilarious. In remarks to a state paper, the Commissioner General of Inland Revenue A.A. Wijepala as saying that the Department has detected Rs. 303 million worth overclaimed VAT refunds over the past nine months. more..

JHU sounds ICC on Tiger flag

Apr 19 (SAMN) The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) has expressed its concern over an incident which had taken place on April 16 during a World Cup cricket encounter between Sri Lanka and Australia in Grenada where a person stormed the playground with a so-called "Eelam" flag of a terrorist organisation. more..

Rs.2,000 million for purchasing paddy

Apr 19 (DN) The Government has allocated Rs. 2,000 million to purchase the 2006/2007 Maha season paddy harvest from farmers. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has promised further allocations if necessary following the success achieved by the Government's paddy purchasing programme. The Government through 94 purchasing centres countrywide has earmarked for purchase 110,000 Metric tons of paddy by utilising Rs.2000 million allocation. more..

Appeal to local bodies to conserve power

Apr 19 (DN) Power and Energy Minister W.D.J. Senevirathne yesterday made a special request to all local authorities to switch off their street lamps between 5.30 and 6 in the morning to save electricity to evade possible power cuts. Seneviratne charged that certain local authorities including Colombo and Kotte Municipalities were not switching off their street lights on time in the morning. more..

New VC for Jaffna University

Apr 19 (DM) The Jaffna University which has been functioning in the absence of a permanent Vice Chancellor for over one year will call for applications to fill the position shortly. Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole who was appointed as Vice Chancellor of the Jaffna University is unable to take up the position due to terrorist threats. In the meantime, Prof. K. Kumaravadivel was appointed acting VC. more..

Karuna allegedly sends questionnaire to NGOs

Apr 19 (DM) An email allegedly sent by the Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP), the political arm of the Karuna faction, calls on several Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the east to fill in a questionnaire which seeks information on possible links between the NGOs and the LTTE. The email, a copy of which was sent to the Daily Mirror, from the email address, while appreciating the rehabilitation work done by the NGOs in the north and east, more..

Ram Sethu issue: VHP serves ultimatum

Apr 19 (TOI) The Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Thursdsay threatened to launch a nation-wide agitation if the Centre did not change before May 13 the current alignment for the Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project which would destroy the Ram Sethu or Adams Bridge in the Palk Straits. VHP International President Ashok Singhal said all Hindu organisations and saints would unite to oppose any move to destroy one of the "most important and holy monuments" for the Hindus -- Ram Sethu. more..

Malinga set for Sri Lanka semi-final return

Apr 19 (AFP) Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jaywardene is confident of having fast bowler Lasith Malinga fit for Tuesday's World Cup semi-final in Jamaica. Malinga, who has taken 15 wickets at under 15 apiece at the tournament, has missed Sri Lanka's last three matches after damaging left ankle ligaments. His latest absence didn't prove costly, Sri Lanka dismissing Ireland for 77 in their final Super Eights match more..

Tharanga's poor form raises Atapattu's prospects

Apr 19 (AFP) The wretched form of Sri Lanka's left-handed opener Upul Tharanga has opened the possibility of former captain Marvan Atapattu making a comeback in the semi-final clash with New Zealand. Tharanga managed just 17 runs in his last three outings and his longest innings lasted no more than 22 balls -- a huge cause for concern. more..

Military says Tamil rebel captured by army kills himself by taking cyanide

Apr 19 (AP) A Tamil rebel killed himself by swallowing a cyanide capsule as he was questioned by army interrogators after being detained at a checkpoint in northwestern Sri Lanka, the military said Thursday. Air force fighter jets, meanwhile, bombed rebel positions in northern Sri Lanka for a third consecutive day. more..

Truth elusive as Sri Lanka slides deeper into war

Apr 19 (Reuters) Near dusk, men with guns enter the village of Awaranthalawa in northern Sri Lanka, shoot and kill six women and a boy, and withdraw to the jungle. After that April 12 incident Sri Lanka's military blamed the killings on Tamil Tiger rebels, fighting for an independent homeland for minority Tamils along the north and east of the teardrop-shaped island known as the "Pearl of the Indian Ocean." more..

British envoy embroiled in Sri Lanka media crisis

Apr 19 (AFP) Sri Lanka's top defence official summoned Britain's envoy Thursday after he expressed solidarity with an editor facing death threats, diplomats said. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse "invited" British high commissioner (ambassador) Dominick Chilcott to his tightly-guarded office at short notice Thursday, a high commission spokesman said. more..

Jaffna Church tells Pope that human rights no longer guaranteed in its region

Apr 20 (AN) The Commission for Justice and Peace (JPC) of the Diocese of Jaffna has been demanding for some time that the authorities respect the 2002 cease-fire, shed light on several murders and disappearances that have occurred in the area, and re-open land routes to the Jaffna peninsula. It has sent the same requests in a letter to the Pope on the eve of a meeting between the Holy Father and Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse. more..

Sufficient quantities of essential items reaching Jaffna

Apr 20 (GDI) The Government, with the assistance of ten leading Jaffna based private traders, accelerated the process of supplying essential items to Jaffna, especially during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year season. Minister said that the support of the private sector has become an additional strength to the government mechanism of supplying essential items to Jaffna civilians effectively and efficiently at a reduced price. more..