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Karuna plans Euro tour

Apr 22 (LNP) Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, alias Karuna, is preparing to embark on a European tour covering Britain, Germany and France, The Sunday Times learns. His visa application to travel to Britain was forwarded last week to the British High Commission in Colombo. The purpose of the visit is said to be aimed at popularizing his movement among his supporters in the three countries and organizing propaganda events. more..

UN agency OCHA to be booted out

Apr 22 (LNP) The government will shortly give marching orders to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) asking its representatives to pack up their bags and leave the politically-troubled northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. A letter, to be sent to the UN office in Colombo, says that OCHA is `overstaying` its mandate. more..

Enlightening public opinion

Apr 22 (LNP) Nearly two decades or more ago, Mr. A.S. Jayawardene, a former Governor of the Central Bank, persuaded the editor of an English morning daily to publish weekly economic indicators which he said the bank would provide on a timely basis. Previously this data was available in the Central Bank`s monthly Bulletin which was invariably several months late. more..

If Lanka enters final, President will be there

Apr 22 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is set to travel to Kensington Oval in Barbados in the event of Sri Lanka cricket team entering the finals in the ongoing cricket World Cup in the Caribbean. The President yesterday wrapped up a four-day visit to Italy and was due in Colombo and will be travelling to the Caribbean for the finals depending on the outcome of Tuesday`s semi final between Sri Lanka and New Zealand at Sabina Park in Jamaica. more..

SLFP to moot radical reforms

Apr 22 (SAMN) The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has recommended wider powers to Chief Ministers including interaction with the cabinet, a second chamber, an ethnic ombudsman and a water commission in its draft proposal to the All Party Representative Committee (APRC), according to reliable political sources. more..

LTTE insists talks only on CFA

Apr 22 (SAMN) The LTTE reiterated Saturday that the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) must be the basis for any future talks with the government. The LTTE’s position will be conveyed to Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar Monday when he meets with the political wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan in Kilinochchi, LTTE’s military spokesman Irasiah Ilanthirayan said adding that more..

LSSP disturbed over DS – Editor spat

Apr 22 (SAMN) The LSSP Sturday expressed "grave concern" of the threat allegedly received by the Editor of the Daily Mirror from the Secretary to the Defence Ministry. Wimalasiri de Mel, General Secretary of the LSSP, said that the Defence Secretary had in a media statement admitted that he had spoken to the complainant on the telephone about certain news stories carried in her paper. more..

“Use know how of ex-top military brass”

Apr 22 (SAMN) The Mathrubumi Arakshaka Peramuna headed by Venerable Delduwe Gnanasumana Thera called on the government to use the military experience and knowledge of retired senior military officials who were actively involved in the war including Major General Janaka Perera to strengthen the government security establishment. more..

Sri Lanka cricket's multi-ethnic, multi-religious unity yet to inspire divided nation

Apr 22 (AFP) Sri Lankans treat cricket as a religion, but the sport has failed to heal wounds of this deeply divided nation despite its ethnically-mixed World Cup squad displaying strong unity. The success of Sri Lanka's multi-ethnic team at the ongoing tournament is seen as an example of shedding communal differences, but not many are optimistic that it will stop the bloodshed. more..

South Africa's support sought for peace process

Apr 22 (SO) The TULF leader V. Anandasangaree along with the EPDP leader and Minister Douglas Devananda will leave for South Africa today to seek the country's support for the peace process in Sri Lanka and to launch the campaign against the LTTE's covert activities in South Africa. For the first time two prominent Tamil political party leaders are jointly making a tour abroad to seek support for the peace process and to lobby against the LTTE's covert activities. more..

Govt. secures 69,000 jobs for male nurses in Italy

Apr 22 (SO) The Government has secured 69,000 jobs for male nurses in Italy, Secretary to the Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Ministry, Upali Dahanayake told the Sunday Observer. The Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare is planning to expedite the process this year. An Italian language, programme has been organised for job aspirants. more..

Mahinda, Mangala meet without preconditions, says Alavi

Apr 22 (NS) Western Province Governor Alavi Mowlana who is facilitating a meeting between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and deposed Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that both had indicated there could be a meeting without any “preconditions.” Governor Mowlana said that it could be a “meet to greet” and was positive that a meeting could happen after President Rajapaksa returns to the country. more..

Cracking the whip on troublesome diplomats

Apr 22 (NS) This week, while President Mahinda Rajapaksa took wing to the Vatican, ostensibly to enhance relations with the Catholic Church, a different kind of public relations exercise was taking place in Colombo. On the one hand, there was Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, who is also the government spokesman, lashing out at the diplomatic community saying some of them had clearly overstepped their boundaries. more..

LTTE pitch invader carried AI campaign material

Apr 22 (NS) The cricket ball campaign controversy of international human rights watchdog Amnesty International took a new turn with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in London Kshenuka Seneviratne writing to the AI London office saying that the LTTE sympathiser who invaded the field during the Sri Lankan-Australia match had been carrying one of the mock cricket balls used in the AI campaign. more..

Lankan experts caution against eco disasters

Apr 22 (NS) An eminent 34- member advisory group of Sri Lankan professionals have cautioned that the Sethusamudram canal dredging project could have disastrous environment impacts, particularly, maritime environment, for Sri Lanka. What is most disconcerting is the absence of any response from the Indian Government to the Lankan concerns. more..

Mixed fare and fortunes for New Year

Apr 22 (ST) Even if some complained that the usually ubiquitous Koha did not join in some parts of the country to herald the dawn of Avurudhu, it was not shorn of its traditional highlights or the customary events. The country's first citizen, President Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa, was at his home turf blending with the common people and those not so common. This was his second Avurudhu since assuming the mantle of the presidency. more..

More war on the cards

Apr 22 (ST) With the Avurudhu festivities over, the focus turns once more to the battlefields of the North and East where the undeclared Eelam War IV is now under way. In the East, contrary to all the official claims, a fuller control of the province by the Security Forces is yet to be achieved. Though they have dislodged Tiger guerrillas from some areas, causing serious casualties both in human and material terms, there is still resistance from many pockets. more..

LTTE slams GoSL for allegations on Credit Card cloning

Apr 22 (TN) Liberation Tigers Political Head S.P. Thamilchelvan, commenting on the allegations by a Sri Lankan Embassy official in London that the Tigers were involved in organized crime in UK by cloning and skimming the Credit Cards in UK, slammed Colombo's "propaganda move" and dismissed the allegation as "an attempt by Colombo to distract the International Community's attention from focusing on Sri Lankan Government's Human Rights violations." more..

Tamil repatriates from Sri Lanka seek State help

Apr 22 (Hindu) Tamil repatriates from Sri Lanka have urged the State Government to lend a helping hand to uplift their economic and social conditions. Talking to reporters, the president of All India United Front Federation for Repatriates, R.M. Ramachandran, said that over 1.4 lakh families, comprising 5.5 lakh Tamils, returned to India between 1964 and 1974 following an agreement between Indian and Sri Lankan Governments. more..

Lankans celebrate New Year

Apr 22 (GT) AROUND 6,000 Sri Lankans turned up at the al Hambal Boys Secondary School grounds on Friday to celebrate the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. The celebrations were organised jointly by the Sri Lankan Co-ordinating Committee (SLCC) and the Sri Lankan embassy. Proceedings began with a colourful opening ceremony featuring Kandyan dancers from the Sri Lanka Fine Arts Society. more..

Murali not tempted by Kent return

Apr 22 (KN) Kent skipper Rob Key has revealed the county made an audacious bid to bring back Sri Lankan spin king Muttiah Muralitharan to the St Lawrence Ground during the close season. But the 34-year-old opted instead for Lancashire, scuppering hopes he would return to the county where he made such an impression during a one-season spell in 2003. more..

Nothing for the farmers, all for jumbos, cows

Apr 22 (ST) Unplanned cultivation and lack of government support for vegetable farmers in and around the Dambulla region have forced many of them to feed their produce to the cows and elephants, while consumers in other parts of the country are paying high prices for vegetables, The Sunday Times learns. This situation had apparently got worse during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year as many farmers had attempted to maximise their profits by increasing their production, only to find there were no traders to purchase them. more..

Liquor ban and the boon to blackmarketeers

Apr 22 (ST) The Government’s move to announce the closure of liquor shops for the traditional New Year just a day before it was done contributed to a lower consumption of liquor by the public. Black marketeers however thrived having a field day through the sale of the product at higher prices. Licensed dealers urged greater surveillance by the Excise Department and urged police to crack down on the malpractice in future. more..

Sri Lanka stars rally in support of cup hopefuls

Apr 22 (AFP) Sri Lankan sports stars are rallying behind the national team competing for the cricket World Cup in the West Indies with a mass gathering set for Monday. Former top players Aravinda de Silva and Hashan Tillekeratne, along with a host of other cricketers, are to take part in the ceremony to wish Sri Lanka good luck in their semi-final clash with New Zealand the following day. more..

Vatican enters Lankan peace process

Apr 22 (HT) The Vatican is the latest entrant in the Sri Lankan peace process. That the Papal Establishment is going to play a role in Sri Lanka was indicated in the statement it issued after a meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and the Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, in Rome on April 20. "The Catholic Church, which offers a significant contribution to the life of the country, will intensify the commitment to form consciences, with the sole aim of favouring the common good, reconciliation and peace," more..

Six said killed in Sri Lanka clashes

Apr 22 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels and government forces fought two gunbattles in Sri Lanka's restive north and east leaving at least six rebels killed, the defence ministry said Sunday. Gunmen of the LTTE clashed with troops at Vavuniya, on Saturday drawing fire from security forces, the ministry said. It said five Tiger rebels were killed in the confrontation but did not say if troops suffered any casualties. more..

Buddhist temples find uneasy home in Indiana

Apr 23 (AP) The newest Buddhist temple here is a vinyl-sided house on the edge of the prairie. Worship services are so popular that people who arrive late must squeeze into the two-car garage, kneel on the concrete floor and pray between a golden statue of a smiling Buddha and a black Craftsman riding lawnmower. "For a house, it's very big, but for a temple, it's very small," said Dr. Khin Oo, a physician and president of Dhammarekkhita, a Burmese temple and monastery here. more..

BBC report 'one sided' - LTTE

Apr 23 (BBC) Tamil Tigers has criticised the BBC for publishing a 'one sided' report on credit card scam in UK. Accusing Sri Lanka government of trying to "divert attention" on international focus over human rights violations, the LTTE rejects accusations that their members involved in the scam. Thousands of motorists in UK who use a bank card to buy petrol are thought to have lost millions of pounds in an international criminal operation. more..

"If scared don't publish a single word of my speech" Ranil says, blasting Gotabhaya

Apr 23 (LeN) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe charges that president Mahinda Rajapakse threw away the opportunity which he had to present a solution that is accepted by all ethnicities and a one that protects the country. Addressing the media at the launch of the United national party's new website he said the president has established a Madamulana Chinthana instead of a National Chinthana. more..

Sri Lanka's civil war spares economy, industrial base in West

Apr 23 (BB) Sri Lanka, facing a return to civil war between the army and Tamil separatists, is maintaining its fastest growth in 30 years because the fighting is taking place far from industries driving the $26 billion economy. "This is a conflict that the country has learnt to live with," said Agost Benard, credit analyst at Standard & Poor's in Singapore. "Businesses still invest, factories still produce. The main reason is because the conflict is localized." more..

Anti-Indian Tiger operating in S. Africa to undermine Tamil leaders

Apr 23 (AT) On the invitation of the S. Africa government, two Tamil leaders -- Douglas Devananda, Sri Lanka’s Minister for Social Services and Social Welfare, who is also the leader of the EPDP and V. Anandasangaree, Leader of the TULF – are touring S. Africa right now. This is the first time that two prominent Tamil political leaders from Sri Lanka on a state visit to South Africa. more..

Erosion of Democracy, Rule of Law and Basic Human Rights

Apr 23 (AT) When we look at Sri Lanka's troubling developments in the post-independence period, without targeting any particular government or leader, there is one phenomenon that stands out as the culprit for the social ills brought about by the practice of politics. That is the patronage system of favoritism and nepotism underlying the political and national rhetoric. more..

Players unhappy that wickets play such big role in World Cup results

Apr 23 (IN) Conditions always play a part in cricket. Accurately analysing the weather and the state of the wicket and adapting to them has always been one of the finer arts of the game. Team selections and tactics often turn on the amount of moisture in the air, the thickness of cloud cover or the bounce of the pitch. more..

Norwegian envoy to meet LTTE leaders

Apr 23 (Hindu) The Norwegian envoy here is scheduled to travel on Monday to Kilinochchi, administrative headquarters of the LTTE to meet its leaders, for an assessment of the situation. In recent weeks, the Sri Lanka military and the Tigers have been engaged in intense fighting in the north and east. The mission of the envoy is to gauge the mood in the LTTE camp. more..

Maharoof pledges 200 percent against New Zealand

Apr 23 (AFP) Sri Lanka seamer Farveez Maharoof pledged to give 200 percent if that's what it takes to defeat New Zealand in the World Cup semi-finals here on Tuesday. Maharoof made a compelling case for a starting place in the team with a man-of-the-match performance against Ireland last week where he took four wickets, including three in an over, as well as pulling off a stunning run-out. more..

New Zealand, Sri Lanka meet yet again in semifinal clash

Apr 23 (AP) New Zealand and Sri Lanka have already had a good look at each other ahead of Tuesday's World Cup so both know what to expect. Knowing what is coming and doing something about it are two different things. Sri Lanka has an explosive top order and a pair of unorthodox bowlers good enough to unsettle any team in the world. New Zealand has a destructive pace attack and a captain who knows how to get the best out of his team. more..

Sri Lanka workers' provident fund loses billions through 'secret' appropriations in 2006

Apr 23 (LBO) The losses caused to a pension fund of two million Sri Lankan workers by the authorities through the use of a barely understood monetary technique reached a peak in 2006, according to the latest official data. Two million private sector workers found their future blighted as their main retirement protection, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), suffered an unprecedented real loss last year when inflation rocketed and returns fell in the face of excessive money printing to bridge the budget deficit. more..

Sri Lanka telco offers doctors on the run

Apr 23 (LBO), Sri Lanka's only listed dot com which operates a service where doctors could be channeled online, says its service is now available through the mobile operator Mobitel. Mobitel said the service would be available for both pre-paid and post paid customers, by dialing 225. "I believe that this new alliance will provide our customers with the benefits of convenience, low cost and timeliness; elements which are of value in this hectic day and age,” more..

Sri Lanka mulls return to a price formula for petroleum sales

Apr 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's largest petroleum retailer the state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) may return to monthly price adjustments once it had recovered current losses, the country's petroleum minister said. "We are working on a price formula which we want to implement after we recover losses within a month or two," Petroleum Minister A H M Fowzie told reporters. more..

Norwegian support for terrorism

Apr 23 (AT) S L Gunasekera senior Attorney at law and President of the Sinhala Jathika Sangamaya did not mince his words as he veered away somewhat from the topic on which he was down to speak .What was the reason for the hysterical outburst of the Royal [he kept dragging the word] Norwegian government’s Foreign Ministry about a symposium by private citizens? he asked. more..

UN misled by its bureaucrats: Ban Ki-Moon surrenders to Tamil Tigers

Apr 23 (AT) E. Kaushalyan, the senior military commander of the internationally banned Tamil Tiger terrorist outfit, was gunned down by unidentified anti-LTTE agents on February 2, 2005, presumably by the break-away Karun Group. This was soon after the tsunami hit Sri Lanka. Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of the UN, too was in Sri Lanka touring the tsunami affected areas during this time. more..

Will Lanka finally have the long awaited Political solution on time?

Apr 23 (ISL) With May 1st around the corner, backed up with some media hype, pressure from donor nations, Asian neighbors and His Holiness Pope Benedict XV; the anti-devolution, pro-Sinhala chauvinistic parties would have to pull quite a stunt to stop the government from implementing the long awaited political solution to Asia’s longest running ethnic conflict. Moreover, the UNP will be waiting on any opportunity to pounce on the government's failures. more..

Sri Lanka to have full-time paid selector

Apr 23 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket will have a full time paid selector serving in the national selection panel after the 2007 World Cup. The term of the current selection committee ends on April 30, two days after the World Cup final, and depending on the availability of the members, either the same committee or a changed committee may be appointed for the next 12 months from May 1. more..

Middle overs could turn the contest

Apr 23 (CI) Sri Lanka thrashed New Zealand in the Super Eight game earlier in the tournament, and while New Zealand have every chance of turning it around on Tuesday, Sri Lanka's all-round bowling attack gives them the edge going into the semi-final. There is little to separate the two teams, though, going by current form or by their World Cup record against each other - they've both won five and lost two in this tournament, and they're tied at 3-3 in six World Cup meetings. more..

UN workers in LTTE custody,UN negotiated clandestinely with LTTE – official

Apr 23 (PISL) The UN is believed to have secretly negotiated for the release of two UN workers held by the LTTE in the Vanni. The Colombo-based UN bigwigs, The Island learns, kept the seizure under wraps believing that the LTTE would eventually free them. Well informed sources said that the UN headquarters too, had been informed of the unprecedented act of terrorism directed against the UN staff. more..

President returns after successful Rome visit

Apr 23 (MoD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa returned to the island early yesterday after a highly successful visit to Rome and the Vatican. Ministers A. H. M. Fowzie and Douglas Devananda were at the Bandaranaike International Airport to welcome the President and his official delegation, who arrived by a special Mihinlanka flight. more..

Trip to heaven and back

Apr 23 (Hindu) I wake up with a start to hear the phone ring. I pick it up with a half-awake "hello", and then realise it is the alarm I have set. It is 4.30 a.m. and I am just 30 minutes away from being picked up en route to Trincomalee, better known as Trinco. I doze off for the first quarter of the journey from Colombo to Trinco and wake up to catch glimpses of lush paddy fields and the clear blue sky. more..

“Extremist groups are working to hinder Sri Lankan Cricket,”- Human Rights Minister

Apr 23 (GDI) Minister of Human Rights and Disaster Management, Mahinda Samarasinghe speaking to media yesterday said that extremist groups were exploiting the Sri Lankan situation and working to hinder the cricketers. Minister Samarasinghe added that even though the campaign launched by the ‘Amnesty International’, a conspiracy against the Sri Lankan cricketers as an act to sully the island’s image, was unsuccessful. more..

Govt. will fully support UK credit scam probe

Apr 23 (LNP) The Foreign Ministry yesterday said it would extend its fullest cooperation to the ongoing investigations by the British authorities into a multimillion-pound British credit card scam which may be funding the LTTE. `On our part we will extend our fullest support to the ongoing investigations by the British authorities into the scam,` more..

SLA deploys elite forces in Northern Front

Apr 23 (LNP) Sri Lanka Army has moved more than two thousand heavily armed Special Forces (SF) towards the Forward Defence Line in Thenmaradchi along the Northern Front, military observers in Thenmaradchi said Sunday, speculating a Sri Lankan offensive at any time from Jaffna`s FDLs. Sri Lankan troopers were also engaged in intensive night training missions for the last three days in Jaffna`s High Security Zone surrounding the SLA`s Palaali garrison, in Thondamanaaru and Valalaai areas. more..