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Sri Lanka signs up first tranche of US$780mn expansion of Colombo Port

Apr 25 (LBO) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) Wednesday inked a deal with the Sri Lanka government to lend 300 million dollars to expand Colombo port that it said would help keep Sri Lanka’s shipping costs down. Finance Ministry secretary P.B. Jayasundera said the government will chip in with 180 million dollars, and expects private sector funding of 300 million dollars to build the first container terminal under the first phase expansion project. more..

When Sabina woke up to Mahela

Apr 25 (CI) It takes a lot to impress them here at Sabina Park. Many of the locals who came through the turnstiles were weaned on some of the game's all-time greats. Some were here in 1983, when Viv Richards hit a violent 36-ball 61 to transform a dying Test into an improbable triumph, and those whose memories stretch back further can recall the silken strokeplay of Lawrence Rowe. So when they started purring towards the end of Mahela Jayawardene's innings, you knew you were watching something special. more..

Arnold to quit after the World Cup

Apr 25 (CI) Russel Arnold, the Sri Lankan middle-order batsman, has announced that he will retire from international cricket after the World Cup. Saturday's final at Barbados will be Arnold's last match for Sri Lanka, if selected. He will continue to play domestic cricket for the Colombo-based Nondescripts Cricket Club. "Russel has informed his decision to team manager Michael Tissera in Jamaica and it has now been officially conveyed to the cricket board," more..

Inaugural ceremony of Padeniya-Putalam Highway modernization

Apr 25 (GDI) The inaugural ceremony of the modernization of the 61 Kms long Padeniya- Puttalam Highway took place at Nikeweratiya this morning. This project with an estimated amount of Rs.1149 million is proposed to complete within 21 months. Internal width of the road is 6.2 meters. This mega development project comes under the supervision of Minister of Highways and Road Development Jeyraj Fernandopulle, more..

No ‘Economic Blockade in the Vanni’ as Referred to by LTTE Peace Secretariat

Apr 25 (PISL) On a request made from the Killinochchi District Chamber of Commerce, 995 MT of essential supplies to the people in the Vanni was supplied during the last 4 months coordinated by the Federation of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sri Lanka (FCCISL). This has not only ensured the providing of the essential items but has resulted in the stabilization of prices of goods in Killinochchi and Mullativu. more..

UN workers in LTTE custody

Apr 25 (LNP) The government Monday criticized the hotly disputed UN attempt to secure the release of two UN employees held by the LTTE through secret negotiations. Defence Secretary Colonel (retd) Gotabhaya Rajapakse said that they should have brought the abduction of UN employees to the government`s attention immediately. The Island recently revealed the arrest by the LTTE of two local UN employees accused of helping Tamils flee the LTTE-held region. more..

Prof. Arulkumaran creates history

Apr 25 (LNP) Professor S. Arulkumaran created history recently when he was elected Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at St. George`s Hospital Medical School, University of London. He thus became the first president of the Institute to be elected from outside the United Kingdom. Professor Arulkumaran, who was born in 1948, is the son of the late K. Sabaratnam and Gnambikai. more..

Throttling national universities

Apr 25 (LNP) Universities are in the news again. But, it is not for any ground breaking research or any other achievement that they have grabbed headlines. They have attracted media attention over yet another protest. The non-academic workers have launched a strike, demanding the rectification of their salary anomalies and the payment of salary arrears immediately. more..

Sri Lankan watchdog hopes to clean up capital markets with tougher rules

Apr 25 (LBO) Tough new corporate governance rules were being made mandatory to make the markets more attractive to foreign and local investors, Sri Lanka's capital market regulators said. “We firmly believe it to be a key criteria for us to win the confidence of local and international investors – that we have a market which can be trusted, is clean and reliable,” more..

TMVP denies sending threatening e-mails

Apr 25 (SAMN) The Karuna group Tuesday denied allegations that it had sent threats via email to NGOs in the north and east and added that this was a move by the LTTE to bring disrepute to the organisation among the international community.The Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) in a statement said the organisation was maintaining a healthy relationship with the NGOs working in these areas. more..

Govt. wants to promote new media culture

Apr 25 (SAMN) The government launched a special programme to promote a new media culture in the country. The Cultural Affairs Ministry together with the Mass Media and Information Ministry have launched this programme to create an awareness among media personnel when reporting a story. The ministries have requested all media institutions to refrain from reporting news stories that could be harmful to the country’s cultural heritage. more..

Abducted businessman released

Apr 25 (SAMN) A businessman who was abducted in Colombo on Monday night was released after the incident was highlighted on a private TV channel. Convener, Civil Monitoring Committee (CMC), Mano Ganesan said the businessman was released two hours after he was abducted. Ganesan said that the abducted businessman, Rajaratnam Rajapathy was transferred to five vehicles before he was released. Ganesan added that the abductors had spoken in Tamil and Sinhala. more..

JVP accused of backing University strike

Apr 25 (SAMN) Vice Chancellor of the Colombo University Professor Tilak Hettiarachchi Tuesday claimed that the JVP was behind the ongoing strike launched by the Inter University Trade Union Joint Committee (IUTUJC). He said the strikers would not be permitted to enter the University premises due to security reasons. "The Colombo University is located in the High Security Zone. Three service commanders and the Defence Secretary reside in the vicinity. more..

Defiant Johnston says he is not afraid

Apr 25 (DM) UNP front liner Johnston Fernando said yesterday the move by the Fraud Bureau to file a case against him was part of the government’s plan to silence those who publicly talk against the government and its misdeeds. Mr. Fernando told the Daily Mirror his earlier warning that the government was planning to arrest seven UNP MPs including him and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had come true. more..

‘Sinhalese Terrorists’ to start fast unto to death by May 5

Apr 25 (DM) About 20 suspects, who are being held at a special detention camp in Boossa, for allegedly attempting to launch a conspiracy against the government with the aid of the LTTE, are to commence a fast unto death if they are not produced before courts by May 05. Two Sinhalese nationals among the 20 suspects, had already started a fast unto death, but ended it yesterday, after seven days. more..

Constitutional proposals for APRC approved

Apr 25 (DN) The SLFP Central Committee Chaired by President Mahinda Rajapaksa approved the final draft of their constitutional proposals for the All Party Representatives Committee (APRC) yesterday. These proposals include landmark political and constitutional changes that will be acceptable to all minority communities and a viable basis for future Talks. more..

SLT to introduce internet protocol television

Apr 25 (DN) For the first time Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) would be introduced to the country by Sri Lanka Telecom. The company hopes to invest Rs. one billion to bring this service to the country. SLT was granted the licence by the Media Ministry to operate IPTV last week and the service would be available in Sri Lanka by the end of the year. more..

Indian fans back Sri Lanka for World Cup win

Apr 25 (Reuters) "Come cheer the Lankans as they take on the Kiwis. So what if India is not there?" read an advertisement in a popular Mumbai shopping mall where the cricket World Cup semi-final between Sri Lanka and New Zealand was being shown on a big screen. Come Saturday and cricket-crazy India, with a billion-plus population, will be cheering for the last sub-continent team left in the competition in the Caribbean. more..

Rise of Wahabism in Eastern Sri Lanka

Apr 25 (HT) The Islamic fundamentalism found in the all-Muslim town of Kattankudy in the eastern Sri Lankan district of Batticaloa, is rooted in Wahabism, sanctioned and practiced in ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia. Developed between the 13th and 18th centuries, Wahabism has sought to rid popular Islam of "innovations, superstitions, deviances, heresies and idolatries" and get people to adhere strictly to the Quran and the Hadis (sayings of Prophet Mohammad). more..

Time out for Sri Lanka's civil war

Apr 25 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels and Sri Lankan soldiers held a truce as their national side marched to the cricket World Cup final, but sentries were forced to miss the match to keep a keen lookout, officials said. "There were specific instructions to maintain a high alert and ensure that men who were on duty remained in their posts and did not scoot off to watch the match," a military source said. more..

Bomb blast kills 2 village guards, wounds 3 police in eastern Sri Lanka

Apr 25 (AP) A roadside bomb targeting a foot patrol exploded in Sri Lanka's restive east Wednesday, killing two village guards and wounding three police commandos, the military said, blaming separatist Tamil rebels for the blast. The blast came a day after Tamil Tiger rebel planes bombed government positions in northern Sri Lanka in their second-ever airstrike in more than two decades of war. more..

TN police closely monitoring developments in Lanka: Karuna

Apr 25 (PTI) Tamil Nadu police was closely watching the recent developments in Sri Lanka and taking stringent measures to safeguard the state from any adverse fallout, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said today. In his policy note on Home department, Karunanidhi told the state assembly that the Sri Lankan refugees, on their arrival at Mandapam refugee camp, were being screened to ensure that no militant entered the state. more..

Yahoo Photos

Apr 25 (AFP) A fan adjusting the antenna to catch Sri Lanka's World Cup semi-final match against New Zealand on TV. Tamil Tiger rebels and Sri Lankan soldiers held a truce as their national side marched to the cricket World Cup final, but sentries were forced to miss the match to keep a keen lookout. more..

World Cup fever helps Sri Lanka forget civil strife

Apr 25 (Reuters) Cricket fever has gripped Sri Lanka after their team secured a place in the World Cup final, diverting attention -- at least for the time being -- from a worsening civil war. Cricket-mad fans sat glued to their television sets until the early hours of Wednesday morning to watch Sri Lanka defeat New Zealand by 81 runs in Jamaica. more..

Sri Lanka vows to destroy Tiger planes

Apr 25 (AFP) Sri Lanka Wednesday vowed to destroy the Tamil Tigers' air capability, a day after the guerrillas killed six soldiers and wounded 13 in a bombing of a key military base. The Sri Lankan air force said that the LTTE had used a single aircraft to carry out Tuesday's raid against the Palaly military complex. "Only one Tiger aircraft was flown in the operation (by the Tigers), not two as mentioned by them, and it was airborne for about eight minutes," more..

At least 22 killed in northwest Sri Lanka clashes, military says

Apr 25 (AP) Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger rebels clashed in the country's northwest on Wednesday, leaving 22 fighters dead, the military said. The clash erupted as government soldiers tried to destroy rebel mortar positions east of Madhu village in Mannar district, from where the Tigers have frequently launched attacks on military defense lines, the Defense Ministry's information center said. more..

Six years lost in asylum system

Apr 26 (EI) A SRI LANKAN asylum-seeker who fled his homeland to escape a bloody conflict between the government and rebel group the Tamil Tigers has had to wait six years to have his case assessed by the Home Office. A letter to Inkaramoorthy Sangarapillai, who is living in Edmonton, from the Home Office in 2006, refers to information sent to them in 2001, when Mr Sangarapillai said he began his asylum claim. more..

Cricket's a lot more than a game in Sri Lanka

Apr 26 (HT) In Sri Lanka, cricket is not a religion whose fanatical followers burn and vandalise if their Gods fail. The approach to the game is very un-South Asian - sober and clinical. But clearly, cricket in the island is more than just a game. Among players, it is an object of devotion, which demands intense commitment and an ascetic piety. more..

Sri Lankan Airlines eyes European airlines maintenance business

Apr 26 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines engineering unit that does third party aircraft maintenance is aiming for European standard certification that would allow it to extend the business to European airlines. “We are currently working towards obtaining certification in the European standard EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency), which would enable us to carry out maintenance work on aircraft of European airlines," more..

Bridging food gap remains a challenge

Apr 26 (IRIN) Food distribution to the 140,000 displaced people in Batticaloa district has improved; now relief agencies and government authorities are attempting to fill gaps in food availability, principally for those staying with host families. “A gap of approximately 18,000 [displaced people] staying with host families exists …” The IASC report indicated that government authorities planned to target them for food distribution. more..

Cricket: Sri Lanka shows depth of worthy finalist

Apr 26 (AP) Sri Lanka will play its second Cricket World Cup final Saturday in Barbados, but unlike its first appearance, 11 years ago, this is no surprise. There was a sense of shock about its earlier triumph. Sri Lanka had won only three of its 26 matches at earlier tournaments and was regarded by the rest of the cricket world as an engaging lightweight. That allowed it to spring its ambush. more..

Why the Ram Setu must not be destroyed

Apr 26 (RN) Sethusamudram, a project to create alternative shorter route for ships to cross the Gulf of Mannar, is a wonderful idea -- one which is more than 150 years old. The channel, originally an idea of a British commander named A D Taylor was put forth in 1860. In 1955, the Government of India set up the Sethusamudram project committee to look into the feasibility of the project and five routes were discussed till 2001 but nothing happened. more..

Ranatunga's prodigy leads from front

Apr 26 (Age) ON THE day Mahela Jayawardene inspirationally led his country into a World Cup final, the general of Sri Lankan cricket Arjuna Ranatunga recalled leading a teenaged Jayawardene back to the game after the death of his brother, Dhishal. Ranatunga believes Sri Lanka has a very real chance of emulating its historic success of 1996 in Barbados on Saturday, and the captain of that side will be watching every ball from a television studio in London. more..

Muralitharan admits to tactical switch

Apr 26 (AFP) Sri Lanka spin king Muttiah Muralitharan admits he has introduced changes into his game to keep batsmen under his spell. Muralitharan took 4-31 as Sri Lanka beat New Zealand by 81 runs on Tuesday to lead the 1996 champions into Saturday's World Cup final where they will face either Australia or South Africa. "I'm bowling really well around the wicket a lot at the moment and that's a new tactic that can help me," more..

Australia march into World Cup final

Apr 26 (CI) History suggested it would be a close encounter, possibly even a classic, but in the end the second semi-final turned into a cake walk for Australia as they cruised into their fourth successive World Cup final. Their potent pace attack tore out South Africa's first five wickets inside ten overs and there was no way back. Shaun Tait, with a career-best 4 for 39, formed a lethal combination with Glenn McGrath and the target was knocked off inside 32 overs. more..

Conflicting reports of the SLA – LTTE clash in Madhu

Apr 26 (AT) Sri Lanka Army claims that 21 LTTE cadres killed and 23 others sustained injuries, while LTTE claims that it killed 10 Sri Lankan soldiers and 50 sustained injuries. Though both parties claimed that they have inflicted serious damages on the other there is no way of getting confirmation over the conflicting reports. more..

Mahela, intelligence and ingenuity

Apr 26 (CI) Have you ever played book cricket? I don’t know if young people play it these days but when I was growing up in Calcutta in the 1970s, it was all we used to play in school between classes. In case you don’t know the rules, this is how it goes. The game demands that you open a book at random and look at the page number of the left-hand side page that has fallen open. more..

Mahroof to paly in the final

Apr 26 (BBC) Sri Lanka's cricket selectors have decided to replace fast bowler Dilhara Fernando for the World cup final. Sri Lanka team chief selector, Asantha de Mel, told BBC Sinhala Service that team selectors are concerned of Fernando's performance. "We were not satisfied with Dilhara's performance yesterday," he said. more..

Colombo to target Tiger air wing

Apr 26 (Hindu) T he Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) asserted on Wednesday that its top priority is to destroy the nascent Tiger air wing. Explaining the sequence of events leading to the intrusion of Tiger light aircraft close to the Palaly air base in the early hours of Monday, SLAF spokesman Ajantha Silva told a news conference here that only one light aircraft was involved in the abortive attempt and not two as claimed by the Tigers. more..

U.S. representative of Tamil Tigers is arrested in New York

Apr 26 (AP) The top U.S. representative of the Tamil Tigers, a Sri Lankan rebel group designated as a foreign terrorist organization, orchestrated a covert campaign to finance its escalating conflict with military forces in Sri Lanka, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. Karunakaran Kandasamy was arrested and awaiting arraignment on charges of providing material support to the Tamil Tigers. more..

Vatican: Peace education could help Buddhist-Christian conflicts

Apr 26 (CNS) Conflicts between Buddhists and Christians can be resolved through peace education, said the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The "sad reality" of continued prejudice and misunderstanding can be overcome by educating people about other faiths and by helping families and schools reinforce the value of peaceful coexistence, the council said in a message to Buddhists preparing for the feast of Vesakh. more..

Sri Lankan Army, Rebels Claim Successes in Battle in Northwest

Apr 26 (BB) Sri Lanka's army and the rebel LTTE both claimed successes in fighting near the northwestern port of Muttur, the latest clashes in the escalating conflict on the South Asian island. As many as 21 Tamil Tiger fighters were killed in an army operation yesterday to stop rebels shelling military positions near Madu, the Defense Ministry said on its Web site. Two soldiers died in the fighting that ended when LTTE forces "fled in disarray," it said. more..

Sri Lankan SEP to hold May Day meeting in Colombo

Apr 26 (wsws) The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) is holding a public meeting on May 1 in Colombo to mark the international workers day. The unity of the working class around the world is today a matter of urgent practical necessity in order to combat the looming dangers of imperialist war and the deepening assault on democratic rights and living standards. more..

Low turn out at LTTE rally in Paris

Apr 26 (AT) The protest rally organized by the LTTE in Paris to condemn the French Government and Police, failed to draw the Tamil Diaspora in large numbers. Most of them stayed indoors to avoid participating in the rally. The protest rally was organized in the name of Tamil youth organization to condemn the arrest of the leading Tiger activists on the April Fools' day in Paris and suburbs. more..

American 'Karuna' charged for supporting terrorism in Sri Lanka

Apr 26 (LBO) The United States has charged a senior representative of the Tamil Tigers for supporting a foreign terrorist organization, the US embassy in Colombo said in a statement Thursday. If the charges are proved, the defendant Karunakara Kandasamy also known as 'Karuna' faces a maximum sentence of 15 years' imprisonment. more..

Fuming Sri Lankan cricket fans vent anger against commentator on the web

Apr 26 (LBO) Cricket, perhaps the most influential sporting force in Sri Lanka during the last few months, which even led to an unofficial ceasefire between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels, is starting to drive fans up the wall. The reason is not a poor performance by the team as in India’s case or a murder as in Pakistan’s, but the poor performance of the only Sri Lankan commentator used by the international television company that is providing global live broadcasts. more..

India eyes two Sri Lankan oil exploration blocks: report

Apr 26 (LBO) India is eyeing two oil exploration blocks in Sri Lanka with two state oil firms engaging in open bidding as well as taking a block that is being given as a special favour by their southern neighbor, reports said. ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of state-owned explorer, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, is likely to make a formal proposal to the Sri Lankan government for more..

SLAF strikes east of Kilinochchi

Apr 26 (GDI) This morning (26) Sri Lanka Air Force fighter jets hit a well identified LTTE gathering point in the east of Kilinochchi – in the Vanni area, Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) reports. The report further states that the gathering was of LTTE leaders. Yesterday (25), Army troops successfully retaliated a LTTE attempt to attack the security position in Eastern Madu area in Mannar, where LTTE lost 21 cardres and 28 were injured. more..

Ninthavur Water Supply Scheme commences water distribution

Apr 26 (GDI) Ninthavur water supply scheme which will serve a population of 41,000 in Ninthavur in Ampara district of the Eastern Province, with a 24 hours water supply was ceremonially commemorated today. This project is constructed under the second stage of the Integrated Water Supply Scheme for Eastern Coastal Towns of Ampara District. more..

Postal Dept adding more wings to the airmail

Apr 26 (GDI) The Postal Department of Sri Lanka with the assistance of more flight operators plans to expand the airmail service by the end of this year. Superintendent (Central Mail Exchange) of Postal Department P.W. Lankathilaka have said to media that, “The Department has the highest distribution power in the country. Most of the businesses send their local mail through the Postal Department and use courier services to send their foreign mail.” more..