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Private sector employees to receive a salary hike

Apr 26 (GDI) Steps have been taken to increase the salaries of the private sector employees. This was taken preceding a request made by eleven leading Trade Unions to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. These Trade Unions have clarified to the President that considering more than 5 million private sector employees in Sri Lanka, the salary volume introduced in the years 2003-2004 does not by any means match the increased coast of living at present. more..

Saudi Arabia expresses support to counter terrorism

Apr 26 (GDI) Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has expressed its fullest support to the Sri Lankan Government in countering the terrorism created by the LTTE in the island nation. This supportive expression was revealed to Foreign Affairs Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the KSA Prince Saud Al Faisal when he met his Sri Lankan counterpart in Riyadh on Tuesday (24). more..

TUs, parties free to hold May Day meetings on alternative day

Apr 26 (GDI) Labour Relations and Manpower Minister Athauda Seneviratne said the Government has no issue with political parties and trade Unions who want to celebrate International Workers’ Day on an alternative day to May 1, assuring all support to such parties and Trade Unions. He said there had been some debate among political parties and Trade Unions on the Government’s decision to shift the traditional May Day events to April 30 on account of Vesak falling on May 1. more..

Government has no intention of cutting off ‘Samurdhi’ compensation

Apr 26 (GDI) “Government has no intention of cutting off the ‘Samurdhi’ compensation project or holding the ‘Samurdhi’ at any cost,” stated Minister of Nation Building Jagath Puspakumara. Minister Puspakumara stated this today at the press conference briefing the Ministry’s Progress Report of the year 2006 and the Development Summery for the year 2007. more..

LTTE air crafts were flying very low and without lights

Apr 26 (GDI) Speaking at the weekly media briefing on the security situation of the country held at the Media Centre for National Security, Air Force Spokesman Group Captain Ajantha Silva explaining yesterday’s LTTE’s air strikes said that the light air crafts were flying as low as 100 to 200 metres height and without lights. "The event lasted only about eight minutes and the soldiers fired focusing on the sound they were hearing," he further added. more..

Govt still ready for a peaceful settlement

Apr 26 (GDI) "There is no question of recommencing or restarting the peace process as far as the Government is concerned. The forum is wide open," Defence spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said adding that it was very clear that from beginning Geneva talks the LTTE withdrew from the talks bring in various reasons. He said this saying that Government Chief Negotiator Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva met Norwegian Facilitator Mr. Hans Brattskar few days back and more..

New hotels to boost Sri Lanka tourism

Apr 26 (TA) The past year in Sri Lanka has seen a flurry of new luxury hotel openings, signalling a renewed confidence that Sri Lanka may become the 'next big thing' in hot destinations, Sri Lanka's Minister for Tourism announced in the lead up to next week's Arabian Travel Market. Deputy Minister of Tourism Faiszer Musthapha said 20 new hotels and accommodation units had opened in Sri Lanka during the past year, further marking Sri Lanka as one of Asia's best kept secrets. more..

NCPA officers captured by LTTE felicitated

Apr 26 (PISL) The police officers, attached to the National Child Protection Authority, captured by the LTTE on September 9, 2005 and later released were felicitated by Minister of Women Empowerment and Child Protection. Sumedha G. Jayasena at a function held at the NCPA auditorium yesterday. The minister said the officers risked their lives to perform their duties to protect the nation’s children should be rewarded for their dedication and sacrifice. more..

LTTE: Sri Lankan offensive repulsed in Madu

Apr 26 (LNP) Liberation Tigers Wednesday said they repulsed a ground offensive by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) at Parisankulam inside LTTE controlled Madu division in Mannar. More than 10 Sri Lankan soldiers were killed and around 50 sustained injuries, said LTTE`s Military Spokesman Irasiah Ilanthirayan. The SLA troopers who moved from Iranai Iluppaikkulam camp were locked in a five-hour jungle clash where Tigers engaged sniper units inflicting casualties on the SLA troopers, Mr. Ilanthirayan said. more..

Mangala meets President

Apr 26 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa met sacked minister Mangala Samaraweera at Temple Trees on Tuesday evening and held talks for three hours, Government sources told the Daily Mirror yesterday. The discussion which began at 7.30 p.m had gone on till 10.45 p.m. It was learnt that during the meeting the President had discussed with Mr. Samaraweera at length the recently submitted power devolution proposals presented at the SLFP central Committee and his visit to the Vatican. more..

Diesel hike puts CEB in mess as CPC demands full price

Apr 26 (LNP) The three rupee hike per litre of diesel, which came into effect on April 19, has put the Ceylon Electricity Board into dire straits. The CEB was purchasing a litre of diesel at a subsidized price of Rs 55. However, the CPC now insists that the CEB should buy at the increased new price of Rs 63, an increase of Rs 8 per litre, CEB sources said. Under the Rs 55 price structure, the CEB was still incurring a loss of Rs 2 per unit of electricity supplied. more..

Bus route 122 a nightmare to commuters

Apr 26 (LNP) The Colombo Avissawella bus service on route number 122 has become a nightmare, to the people using public bus transport beyond Homagama, due to the shortage of buses and the breakdown of the few buses that ply on this route, residents of the area told The Island. Most private and SLTB buses start from various mid points to Colombo on this route like Homagama, Kottawa and Maharagama, but no buses start from any mid point between Homagama and Avissawella to Colombo they said. more..

UNP seeks debate with bar association

Apr 26 (SAMN) The main Opposition UNP yesterday challenged the Sri Lanka Bar Association to a public debate over any TV channel regarding SLBA’s silence over the grave human rights violations in Sri Lanka. UNP front-liner Lakshman Kiriella told a news conference he was prepared to participate in such a debate with the President, Secretary and the Treasurer of the Association. more..

Newsprint finally arrives in Jaffna

Apr 26 (SAMN) The newspaper publishers in Jaffna continue to print newspapers on brown paper and other materials as the amount of newsprint sent has been inadequate. The publishers of the Jaffna newspapers complained that the amount of newsprint sent was not enough. The government last month assured the newspaper publishers that the necessary amount of news- print would be sent. However, the owners alleged that they were put through a tedious procedure for the items to be sent. more..

Diplomas for 1000 nurses

Apr 26 (SAMN) For the first time in nursing history 1,000 diploma certificates were awarded to nurses on Tuesday. Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said, at the awards ceremony, that recruitment procedure for nurses and paramedics would be changed shortly to accommodate qualified personnel. He said nurses undergoing training at 13 training schools and three training centres will get an opportunity to get BSc degrees in nursing. more..

No money to pay defamation claims: ANCL

Apr 26 (SAMN) The State controlled Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (Lake House) informed the Colombo District Court that it had no money to pay damages in defamation cases filed against it as it was facing a severe financial crisis with having to pay over Rs. 77 million in other defamation cases. ANCL Secretary Ms. Kumudu Hemani Imbulmure Gunawardena made this submission filing an objection against an attorney-at-law seeking a writ of execution of damages awarded to him. more..

Ministry felicitates policemen held by LTTE

Apr 26 (DN) “Arrangements will be made to recognise the services of police officers of the National Child Protection Authority Special Police Unit who were in LTTE custody”, Child Development and Women’s Empowerment Minister Sumedha G. Jayasena said. The Minister at a ceremony to felicitate these three officers at the NCPA auditorium yesterday said she will take steps to offer them due promotions and nation’s honour. more..

Govt. will provide optimum benefits for people - President

Apr 26 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa reiterates that his Government is fully committed to reap the optimum benefits for the country and its people. “The Government is the strongest ever in Parliament in the country’s history,” the President said. “We hold the great responsibility of implementing the franchise of the people. We will implement them in sequence. We have succeeded in building-up a strong Parliament and a strong government, after a long time”, the President said. more..

Early detection foiled Tiger air raid: Military

Apr 26 (DM) The timely detection of the LTTE aircraft by ground troops foiled Tuesday morning’s attempted rebel attack on the Palaly air base, the military said while admitting the plane could not be destroyed as it was dark. Military spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe said yesterday the troops manning the Forward Defense Lines (FDL) in Muhamalai and Nagarkovil heard the sound of suspicious aircraft flying above in the wee hours of Tuesday and informed the Palaly base of a possible threat. more..

Hakeem to continue protests against Karuna

Apr 26 (DM) SLMC leader Minister Rauff Hakeem yesterday said he stands by his statement to the Daily Mirror early this week that Karuna cadres have created a tense situation in the eastern province. He said this when the DM contacted Mr. Hakeem after government defence spokesman Kehiliya Rambukwella said at a news conference that Mr. Hakeem had denied making such a statement to the newspaper. more..

Sri Lanka Places Restrictions on Recruitment of Maids

Apr 26 (AN) Sri Lanka has imposed restrictions on the recruitment of housemaids, which includes a total ban on hiring women who have children less than five years of age. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, who wrapped up a three-day visit to the Kingdom, told reporters yesterday that female domestic workers who have children below five would not be sent abroad as housemaids. more..

No LTTE activities in T. Nadu: Karunanidhi

Apr 26 (PTI) Rejecting the opposition's charge that the activities of the outlawed LTTE had increased in Tamil Nadu after the DMK assumed power, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today asserted his government would not give room to the militant group to operate in the state. "The LTTE is not involved in any activity here. They have no job here. Their purpose and activities are different," he said more..

We're ready for Murali and Vaas, warns Ponting

Apr 26 (AFP) Australia captain Ricky Ponting insists his world champions are ready to face down Sri Lanka's veteran bowlers Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas in Saturday's World Cup final. Australia have already beaten Sri Lanka in the tournament when they won their Super Eights clash by seven wickets in Grenada 10 days ago. more..

'Bowling around the wicket has helped,' says Murali

Apr 26 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan admits he has introduced changes into his game to keep batsmen under his spell. "I'm bowling really well around the wicket a lot at the moment and that's a new tactic that can help me," said Muralitharan. "It seems that when you can't see which way the ball is going it's harder. So hopefully that helps me in the future and I'll take more wickets. People are getting ready for the spin, so if I bowl the 'doosra' I might get a top edge." more..

SUNY student suspended 5 days for gun pose

Apr 26 (TU) A State University of New York at Cobleskill student, suspended after posting a picture of himself posing with a shotgun on the Internet, said he received a five-day academic suspension. The student, Tharindu Meepegama, in a Wednesday phone interview from A.O. Fox Hospital in Oneonta, where he was undergoing an evaluation, said he posed no threat. But he received the suspension "pending a psychological evaluation" after posting the picture April 17 on his profile page on the social-networking Web site Facebook. more..

Rajiv Gandhi assasination hatched in Paris hotel: Website

Apr 26 (ANI) A web site has suggested that the plot to assassinate former Prime Minister and then Congress party president Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 was hatched in a five-star hotel in Paris. According to, French intelligence agencies are in possession of documentary proof and evidence, that the L.T.T.E, Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrochchi and several Congress party bigwigs colluded to have Rajiv Gandhi eliminated, as he was seen as a looming threat to the LTTE and to some Congress leaders, more..

Sport brings hope of respite in Sri Lanka

Apr 26 (AFP) Sri Lanka's surge into cricket's World Cup final this weekend has raised hopes of a peace dividend on an island united by sport but divided by conflict, even if no one is showing long-term optimism. Cricket is hugely popular in Sri Lanka and is seen as one of the few things that cuts through political and ethnic lines amid escalating fighting between troops and Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

LTTE says air force will help claim statehood

Apr 26 (HT) The LTTE has said that its newly established "Tamileelam Air Force" (TAF) will help it gain recognition in the international community as an organisation running a full-fledged "state". "The air actions open up new possibilities in the military, political and diplomatic fields," the Tamil militant group's military spokesman Rasaiah Ilanthirayan told Hindustan Times over phone from Kilinochchi in North Sri Lanka. more..

Dreamtime, or how Sri Lanka will win the World Cup

Apr 26 (CI) For adults, watching cricket is a kind of schoolboy dreaming. It offers the possibility of perfect resolutions…not just a happy ending but a perfect happy ending, the sort that real life doesn't deliver. Actually, nor does cricket. But on the 24th, it did. The Sri Lanka-New Zealand match wasn't a great one-day match, because it wasn't much of a contest, but for the spectator who'd picked the right side (like me) it was the most perfectly satisfying game to watch. more..

Sri Lanka uses WC success to woo tourists

Apr 26 (AFP) Sri Lanka is using the cricket World Cup to lure holidaymakers to this tropical island that has seen a marked drop in foreign visitors following an escalation of violence, officials said Thursday. Sri Lanka's tourism authorities are using 30 students at Caribbean venues to hold placards, traditional masks and balloons to catch the attention of television cameras, the officials said. more..

Monks praise France for nabbing alleged fund raisers for Tamil rebels

Apr 26 (AP) Dozens of Buddhist monks and their supporters rallied Thursday in Sri Lanka's capital, praising France for arresting more than a dozen people suspected of funneling millions of euros (dollars) to the Tamil rebels. "The French government, which has set an example to the whole world in combating terrorism, is owed the appreciation of the Sri Lankan people," said Bengamuwe Nalaka of the Patriotic Buddhist Monks' Front, more..

Sri Lanka air force targets meeting of Tamil rebel leaders; rebels say civilians hit

Apr 26 (AP) Sri Lanka's military said it targeted senior Tamil rebel leaders Thursday with an airstrike in the north, but it was not immediately clear if there were any casualties, military officials said. The rebels claimed the attack hit a civilian area. Government ground troops, meanwhile, attacked insurgents' mortar positions in the northwest following a day of fierce fighting that left 23 combatants dead. more..

President leaves to witness cricket final match

Apr 26 (Xinhua) President Mahinda Rajapaksa departed Thursday to witness the Saturday's World Cup final Cricket match between Sri Lanka and Australia in Bridgetown, Barbados. Rajapaksa had departed heading for Barbados in the Caribbean islands to witness the final match, said Chandrapala Liyanage, a senior Presidential Secretariat official, adding that the president was invited by the Prime Minister of Barbados Owen Arthur. more..

Sri Lanka forces bomb rebel "leaders' gathering"

Apr 26 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's air force bombed a gathering of Tamil Tiger leaders in the rebel-held north on Thursday, two days after the rebels staged their second-ever aerial attack, a military spokesman said. "We took one target today, it was an LTTE leaders' gathering east of Kilinochchi," said air force spokesman Ajantha de Silva, referring to the LTTE. more..

Sri Lankan war planes bomb rebel territory

Apr 26 (AFP) Sri Lankan war planes bombed areas in rebel-held territory in the island's north, a day after fierce ground battles between the two sides, the rebels said. The LTTE said military jets dropped a dozen bombs over a residential area of the Kilinochchi district, 330 kilometres (206 miles) north of the capital, Colombo on Thursday. The rebels added that two civilians were wounded in the attacks. more..

French businesses eye Sri Lankan investment opportunities

Apr 27 (LBO) A team of French businessmen representing sectors such as textiles, shipping, energy, railways and environment is visiting the island, the French Embassy announced Thursday. The businessmen will be accompanied by French government officials from the Treasury, Finance Ministry and development agencies as well as trade advisors. more..

Sri Lanka Islamic financier promotes micro-entrepreneurs

Apr 27 (LBO) Islamic Financier Amana Investments Limited has introduced a new microfinance scheme for micro-entrepreneurs who cannot afford conventional banking. The company has joined hands with Muslim Aid, a UK-based NGO that will help provide skills training to entrepreneurs. “We target small entrepreneurs who cannot access banking and uplift them to a level that they can grow into a bankable proposition,” more..

Sri Lanka star Jayasuriya’s family head for final

Apr 27 (AFP) The family of Sri Lanka’s master blaster opening batsman Sanath Jayasuriya was set to join him in Bridgetown for Saturday’s final with Australia. Jayasuriya’s wife Sandra and three young children were due to leave later Thursday for London en route to Barbados, a family friend told AFP. Jayasuriya, player of the series in the 1996 World Cup which Sri Lanka won, is a vital cog in the Sri Lankan batting machine. more..

Summary of the Cabinet Decisions

Apr 27 (GDI) The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by Hon. Keheliya Rambukwella, Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and welfare, to sign the Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Labour of the Government of the United Arab Emirates. The Foreign employment data reveals that 96% of the migrant workers and more than 60% of the foreign remittance are from the Middle Eastern countries. more..

Ponting told to pull his head in

Apr 27 (DT) THE Australians were last night told to keep their noses out of Sri Lanka's business as tension escalated in the build-up to tomorrow's World Cup final. Soon after leading Australia to a stunning seven-wicket semi-final demolition of South Africa, Australia captain Ricky Ponting took aim at the Sri Lankans by suggesting they had botched their preparation for the final. more..

If Ranil fools round his political career would come to an end- Mervyn

Apr 27 (LeN) Minister of labour and SLFP Kelaniya electorate organizer Mervyn Silva warns that the public will end opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe's political career if he attempts to destroy country's democracy and unity. The minister made this warning addressing a demonstration organized in front of the Fort Railway station to protest the recent statements made against defense secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, to resign from his post. more..

We will decide whether to stay with the Govt. or not- SLMC secretary

Apr 27 (LeN) Chief secretary of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Hasan Ali says the Muslim congress will have to decide whether it is going to remain with the government if their requests with regards to the ethnic conflict is not furnished in the government's proposal to solve the crisis. He has made this statement addressing a function in Kalmunai. more..

Appeal by TISL to create an environment to guarantee basic democratic norms in the country

Apr 27 (LeN) The Transparency international - Sri Lanka says the current polarized socio-political environment has a tendency to undermine democratic norms and has created a perfect arena for powerful individuals to act with impunity. It adds that the violent and ruthless campaign of the LTTE, and other armed groups have contributed tremendously to the erosion of democracy in the country. more..

Mangala - Mahinda 4 hour discussions settles disputes

Apr 27 (LeN) President Mahinda Rajapakse has decided to hand over the ministry which Mangala Samaraweera held previously and several other subject matters including government�s peace process, development and politics. The president arrived at this decision after a hour discussion held with Mangala Samaraweera last night at the temple trees. Presidential secretary Lalith Weeratunga and Western Province governor Alevi Maulana were also present at the discussion. more..

Sri Lanka not the only team that can draw inspiration from class of '96

Apr 27 (AP) Sri Lanka isn't the only team that can draw inspiration from looking back to its 1996 World Cup triumph. While the current Sri Lanka squad is preparing for Saturday's World Cup final against Australia with stories of that win 11 years ago still circulating among players and fans, captain Mahela Jayawardene said countries such as Bangladesh and Ireland should be contemplating it to. more..

Don't forsake Sri Lanka

Apr 27 (TO) Sri Lanka, a golden island in the Indian Ocean, tailor-made for holidaymakers, is suffering from tourist blight. Hotels are 60-70 per cent empty and beach traders, desperate to sell their silk scarfs and jewellery, look forlornly at the scarcity of foreigners lying on the sand. It’s a sad story for an island that can offer so much for honeymooners or families. more..

Batticaloa displaced students' education in disarray

Apr 27 (TN) 58 schools in Batticaloa district have been closed due to the extraordinary conditions prevailing in the district, affecting 17,000 students, Batticaloa Regional Director of Education, Mr. A. M. E. Paul said Thursday. Students displaced from Muthur region due to Sri Lanka Army (SLA) offensives have been admitted to schools in Batticaloa district and 18 schools are temporarily functioning in public places and in temples or churches, he added. more..

Daily Kfir attacks over Vanni terrorizes children

Apr 27 (SN) For three days in row the Vanni area was subjected to daily aerial bombardments by the Sri Lankan Air Force. All of the attacks have been in the middle of civilian settlements terrorizing people, especially the young. On 24 April, bombs were dropped in late afternoon in Kaiveli not far from the Puthukkudiyoruppu hospital in Mullaithivu district. more..

Sri Lanka closes airport, blacks out capital after reports of suspicious aircraft

Apr 27 (AP) Sri Lanka suspended air traffic and switched off power around its capital following reports of a suspicious aircraft on Thursday, two days after Tamil Tiger rebel planes bombed military positions in the country's north, the military said. "We have got information on a suspicious aircraft, our air defense system is on and we are conducting a search," air force spokesman Group Capt. Ajantha Silva said. more..

Sri Lanka's main airport re-opens after air raid scare

Apr 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka's international airport has re-opened after several flights were diverted as a precautionary measure after reports of a possible Tamil Tiger air raid, officials said. Military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said there was no attack but there were reports of two unidentified light aircraft being detected in Puttalam, an area north of the Katunayake Airbase and airport, promting defensive action. more..