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Bus mishap kills 3, injures 60 in Sri Lanka

Apr 6 (Xinhua) Three passengers were killed and 60 others injured when a private bus overturned in Sri Lanka's central Kandy district, a local newspaper reported on Friday. According to the newspaper, the bus was on its way from Mahiyangana to Kandy on Thursday when the mishap occurred at Siyambalagastenna. The injured passengers had been rushed to local hospitals and some of them were in critical condition. more..

Why Mahinda wants Indian as C'wealth chief

Apr 6 (HT) Following Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's suggestion that the next Commonwealth Secretary General be an Indian, there is speculation as to why he mooted the idea and who he might have had in mind while doing so. According to a top official, who did not want to be indentified, Rajapaksa told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in New Delhi earlier in the week, that having an Indian as secretary general would give the South Asian region the clout that it badly needed. more..

LTTE may target India's nuclear reactors

Apr 6 (TT) In a startling revelation, Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Dr Palitha Kohona has told TIMES NOW that in his government's assessment, the LTTE has acquired the capability to target India's nuclear reactors in the South from the air. Now, for the first time, the Government of Sri Lanka has told Indian officials that the nascent LTTE airforce is not as toothless as it was thought previously. more..

Sri Lanka civil servants to get new cars at low prices

Apr 6 (AFP) Sri Lanka is offering drastic customs duty cuts to help over 20,000 civil servants import new cars, the finance ministry said Friday. The move was to fulfil an election promise made in 2005. Senior public officials, including police and military personnel, with over five years of service will be entitled to import a car, sports utility vehicle, or a pick-up truck by paying as little as 25 percent of the normal tax. more..

French judges file preliminary charges against 15 suspected of funding Sri Lankan rebels

Apr 6 (AP) French anti-terror judges filed preliminary charges against 15 people suspected of funneling millions of euros to Tamil Tiger rebels battling the Sri Lankan government, judicial officials said Friday. The suspects, 14 of whom were placed in preventive detention, face preliminary charges of extortion, financing terrorism and "criminal association with a terrorist enterprise" — a blanket charge often used in France that carries a 10-year maximum sentence. more..

Sri Lankan navy, Tamil Tiger rebels battle at sea

Apr 6 (AP) Sri Lankan naval gunships battled Tamil rebel boats off the island's northwest coast Friday, the military and rebels said, both sides claiming to have destroyed enemy craft. The sea battle comes amid a flurry of violence in recent weeks that has killed hundreds as the military tries to capture rebel bases in the east. The Tamil Tigers have hit back with bomb attacks and a daring air raid on an air force base outside the capital, Colombo. more..

Tigers, troops claim heavy damages after sea battle

Apr 6 (AFP) Sri Lanka's navy and Tamil Tiger rebels fought a sea battle off the island's northwestern coast on Friday with both claiming heavy losses for the other side. Naval patrol craft engaged five boats of the LTTE off the coastal district of Puttalam and one was sunk, a Sri Lankan military spokesman said. "We believe one was carrying at least two suicide cadres and it exploded and sank when we opened fire at it," more..

Ref "unaware" of five-ball over

Apr 7 (ES) Match officials failed to notice they allowed Sri Lanka to bowl a five-ball over during their dramatic two-run win over England, according to reports in the British media. England needed three runs off the final ball to win the match but Dilhara Fernando bowled Ravi Bopara at the second attempted - after failing to let go of the ball the first time - winning the mach by just two runs. more..

Electricity in Colombo cut off to find suspicious air craft

Apr 7 (LeN) An observation has been made in Colombo after cutting off the electricity for around 20 minutes last night on a warning that an suspicious air craft was flying to Colombo from the Thalai-Mannar area. When questioned regarding last evening's power cut from sub electricity posts they said the Ceylon Electricity Board had initiated the power cut and would resume electricity in about 30 minutes. more..

DIG of the CID has been involved with SLFP politics

Apr 7 (LeN) Chief opposition whip Joseph Michael Perera questions whether those who are not anti government would face difficulties when dealing with DIG of the CID D.W. Prathapasinghe, since he clearly is someone who has been involved with politics from the SLFP. more..

A lie doesn't last forever; Navy lieutenant freed

Apr 7 (LeN) Lieutenant Rohana Gamage who was arrested and detained since the 13th of last month by the terrorism investigation division on the charges of having connections with the LTTE and supporting the organisation was freed yesterday afternoon without lining up any charges against him in court. The CID earlier stated that when he was arrested in Anuradhapura some secret and suspicious documents were also found from his possession. more..

A mad dog, threat to journalists

Apr 7 (LeN) Minister of Health and Nutrition Nimal Siripala de Silva has warned journalist that "they should be vaccinated with something like rabbis". He has made the above statement while addressing a ceremony in Colombo organized to mark the International Health day that falls tomorrow. According to the journalists who were present there the minister had spoken with much aggression and had meant that the journalists in the country are mad like those dogs diseased with rabbis. more..

Sri Lanka’s military find powerful bomb in Jaffna

Apr 7 (AP) Sri Lanka’s military recovered a powerful bomb in Jaffna, the northern bastion of Tamil rebels who have fought a decades-long insurgency, The Defence Ministry said Friday. The device discovered late Thursday was similar to a 10-kilogram (22-pound) explosive recovered from a shop in the outskirts of capital Colombo earlier on Thursday, the duty officer at the ministry’s information center said. more..

Two TN fishermen arrested for giving 'false information'

Apr 7 (PTI) Two Tamil Nadu fishermen were arrested on Friday for having allegedly given false information about 41 Sri Lankan refugees who had arrived at the coast here on April 3. Police arrested Selvam and Raju, however, the third person involved in the case, Antony Siluvai is still at large, Rameswaram DSP Subramaniam said. more..

Sri Lankan business told to get set for oil strike

Apr 7 (LBO) The top official in charge of Sri Lanka’s search for oil has told the corporate sector to be ready to provide the support service and skills required by an offshore petroleum industry. “It is important for the business sector to take an active approach (in developing an oil industry),” Neil De Silva, director general of petroleum resources development, said Friday. more..

Sri Lanka gets new Test venue

Apr 7 (AFP) Sri Lanka is building a new international cricket stadium in the island's arid southern province, Sri Lanka Cricket said on Friday. The new stadium in Ranna village in the southern district of Hambantota, which is also the home constituency of President Mahinda Rajapakse, will host international matches. Initial work on the stadium, 238 kilometers from Colombo, is due to be completed by the end of next year, more..

Sri Lanka to contract 'A' team cricketers

Apr 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka plans to contract cricketers for the A team for the first time in the island's history, to nurture talent for upcoming games and the national team, a senior official said Friday. The contract, which came into effect from April 1, covers a pool of around 18-20 players, Sri Lanka Cricket secretary K Mathivanan told LBO. more..

'Protect civilians' in conflict zones

Apr 7 (BBC) The London based human rights watchdog, Amnesty International, has urged warring parties in Sri Lanka to take immediate steps to protect civilians caught in the conflict. The rights group says it is seriously concerned on the affect of the war on civilians as a result of “deliberate attacks” by Sri Lanka security forces and the LTTE. more..

soldiers harass ex-president's grandson

Apr 7 (TN) Ex-Sri Lankan president and late UNP stalwart J. R. Jayawardene's grandson, Amirith Jayawardene, was chased and harassed by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers Friday night in Colombo for having attempted to overtake a SLA Jeep. The incident took place at Punchi Borella in Maradana, 2 km southeast of Colombo city, around 7:00 p.m. Amirith was driving his car at the time of the incident. more..

Lanka's strange times & critical choices

Apr 7 (CC) It is a uniquely Sri Lanka potpourri of the tragic and the comic, the serious and the absurd, the significant and the irrelevant, characteristic of the country and the times. In the almost liberated Batticaloa, the LTTE attacks five army camps simultaneously. The Defence Secretary says that the war will continue for three years and that the President will have to find the funds. more..

‘Remembering Kethesh’-Address by Ahilan Kadirgamar

Apr 7 (TW) This is an important day for us, as we remember the life and work of one of our most passionate democracy activists. We remember Kethesh for his commitment to truth and justice, something the protracted armed conflict and corresponding militarization of our society has almost destroyed. We remember Kethesh for his great sympathy for the ordinary people and his commitment to a people centered politics. more..

More than 65,000 deaths! Is it correct?

Apr 7 (TW) War is neither event of words nor its takes place within a stadium, where it is limited to certain boundaries with non-tangible volumes. Instead it takes the entire space of the world as its battleground and giving prominence to certain strategic areas as war fronts. This is valid to protracted civil war in Sri Lanka irrespective of its size compare to the war in Iraq. more..

GoSL must recognise ‘collective rights of Sri Lankans’

Apr 7 (TW) Thank you very much Mr Chairman, and Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a great privilege for me to have been invited to say a few words at this occasion. I can’t help reflecting on the fact that I think Kethesh would have expected what happened during brother Anandasangaree’s speech. I think he would have expected there to be a discussion and a debate. more..

65th Anniversary of the First Air Raid on Colombo

Apr 7 (TW) In March 1942, the British knew that the Japanese would make a bid to take Sri Lanka - then Ceylon, following their successes in South East Asia. Indeed a Japanese armada comprising 305 aircraft on six carriers, under Adm Mitsuo Fuchida was heading for Ceylon from Indonesia. On April 4, a Catalina aircraft piloted by Sq Ldr Leonard Birchall of 413 squadron Royal Air Force, had spotted the armada 400 miles from Galle. more..

Fisherman injured in Sri Lankan navy firing

Apr 7 (Hindu) Tension gripped the coastal hamlets of Nagapattinam district on Friday following the reports of renewed attacks by Sri Lankan Navy on fishermen. The island Navy was reported to have opened fire at a mechanised trawler off Point Calimere on the Vedaranyam coast early on Friday. Shanmughavelu (26) of Akkaraipettai was wounded in the attack. more..

Conflicting versions of sea battle

Apr 7 (Hindu) The navy and the Tamil Tigers gave conflicting versions of a sea battle in Mannar waters on Friday. According to the navy, its Inshore Patrol Craft (IPCs) confronted an LTTE suicide boat in Baththalangunduwa Sea. The boat, which came along with four more LTTE boats, was destroyed. The confrontation occurred when the IPCs intercepted them at a location 5 nautical miles off Baththalangunduwa, northwestern coast. more..

John Exter's legacy to Sri Lanka; a Central Banker for all times

Apr 7 (LBO) John Exter can be regarded as one of the history makers in modern Sri Lanka. He lent his wisdom, intellect and experience, without any reservation, for the establishment of the Central Bank of Ceylon, the name of the Bank at that time. The Bank was established in 1950 on the basis of the recommendations made by him as a one man committee, the report of which is now known as the Exter Report. more..

Caviar becomes cheaper as Sri Lanka tries to keep prices down

Apr 7 (AFP) Sri Lanka's move to cut food prices ahead of the traditional New Year has unwittingly made exotic caviar cheaper in a country where more than half the population earns less than a dollar a day. Sri Lanka marks the traditional Sinhala and Tamil New Year next weekend and prices usually soar during the festive season. more..

Special Units for human rights education in schools

Apr 7 (GDI) The Government with the vision of expanding the knowledge and awareness of human rights among the school students has decided to establish Human Rights Units at Schools Island wide. Currently two of such units are successfully operating in Anuradhapura district under the supervision of National Human Rights Commission (NHCR). more..

An accelerated programme to boost the SME community

Apr 7 (GDI) A special programme will be launched under Jathika Saviya- Gama Neguma development programme to make the small medium enterprisers aware of banking procedures of the banking sector. Central Bank of Sri Lanka has formulated a special hand book for this purpose mentioning the key factors such as identifying the business opportunities, possibility of obtaining bank loans for improving the income, loan schemes benefiting rural development etc. more..

Protective bunk barrier to Kebethigollawa

Apr 7 (GDI) Protective bunker barrier was erected on a request made by the people of Kebethigollawa during the visit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the area immediately after the massacre of a large group of civilians by the LTTE. Yesterday (06) a special high profile team including Ministers toured Kebitigollawa Yaka Wawa, Palugasdamana and Gonamadiyawa to inspect the basic facilities for the people and the progress made in the construction of infrastructure. more..

SAARC Car Rally to reach Colombo tomorrow

Apr 7 (GDI) The SAARC Car Rally 2007, comprising over 100 participants of seven SAARC nations will arrive in Sri Lanka on the 8th of Aprial (Sunday). The rally is organised by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to promote regional connectivity, tourism and business among its member states. The Rally will touch all the member-nations, and was flagged off from Cox's Bazaar, Bangladesh, on 15th March. more..

Can the current government trap the LTTE as done by the UNP?

Apr 7 (ISL) The Daily Mirror recently quoted that the UNP will form a government by the end of April. But can they regroup and get back on top? Many moderates argue that Ranil Wicremesinghe was instrumental for trapping the LTTE when his government signed the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement and lifted all economic embargoes in the North East. more..

Drought and plantation strike affect tea production- CB report

Apr 7 (ANN) The Central Bank (CB) performance report covering 2006 said tea production declined approximately 3 per cent substantially affecting the Gross National Product. President Rajapakse showing concern about the CB report remarked on the poor performance of tea production. Although the report in its introductory form did not specify reasons for production downturn, there were already some pointers which led to the crop debacle. more..

Four Factors Led to French Crackdown at This Time

Apr 7 (TW) Fourteen Tamils of Sri Lankan origin suspected of being linked to the LTTE organization were placed in judicial custody under a preventive detention order in France on Thursday April 5th after being produced in Paris at a special counter - terrorism tribunal. A special four member panel consisting of examining magistrates Jean - Luis Bruguire , Thierry Fragnoli, Marc Trevidic and Philippe Coirre filed preliminary charges and ordered that they be held in detention for a period of 120 days pending further investigations. more..

Why Action was Taken Against Tiger Connection in Paris

Apr 7 (TW) The well - planned and co-ordinated action in Paris by French authorities against the LTTE may have come as a surprise to many in Sri Lanka and abroad. It was however hardly a surprise to those observing the irrational, self - defeating conduct of the tigers within and outside Sri Lanka . An insular, arrogant hierarchy in a state of disconnect with reality is rapidly leading the movement downhill. This is becoming clearly visible now. more..

Jean-Luis Bruguire: The Tough Anti-Terror Judge of France

Apr 7 (TW) Jean Luis Bruguire is perhaps the most feared anti - terror judge in France. He is from a family that has had judges for eleven generations. After a hectic 30 year career in fighting terror Bruguire is expected to retire this may. He will then embark on a political career by contesting elections to the legislature in June. The recent crackdown on the LTTE in France was reportedly co-ordinated by him and will be most probably the swansong of this famously controversial jurist. more..

Address food crisis: NGOs to Govt.

Apr 7 (SAMN) With the government committing a meager Rs. 45 for every IDP fleeing the fighting in the Mannar district, humanitarian agencies have urged the government to put its words into action on seriously addressing the food crisis of displaced civilians. Meanwhile Amnesty International (AI) has urged all parties to the conflict to comply with their obligations under international law -- to protect civilians and allow access by humanitarian aid agencies to populations in need. more..

Have no fear, Sri Lanka's top taxman tells tax payers

Apr 7 (LBO) Tax payers need not fear the Inland Revenue Department, Sri Lanka’s chief tax officer said who faces a daunting task of raising more revenue for a country that is already projecting budget deficit as big as 9.2 percent of the economy. The department wants to be tax payer-friendly and expects the citizenry to be tax friendly. more..

‘Astrologers lead Ranil astray’

Apr 7 (SAMN) Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said the UNP and the Opposition is lead by a firm believer in astrology. Ranil Wickremesinghe merely repeats what his soothsayers say. "Several months ago, when the UNP leader consulted Indian soothsayers he was told he would be back in power within three months. Since then he has been confident of forming a government within 90 days. That fiasco ended after more than 20 UNP MPs crossed over to our side," more..

Upper Kotmale second phase begins

Apr 7 (SAMN) The second phase of the Upper Kotmale Hydropower project, one of the major power projects aimed at averting possible future power shortages will be inaugurated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Niyamgamdora, Kotmale on Monday. According to Power and Energy Ministry sources, a 35m high and 157m long dam will be constructed across the Kotmale Oya at Thalawakele and the water would be fed to an underground power station at Niyamgamdora, Kotmale through a 12.5 km long tunnel. more..

Misery and misuse of powers

Apr 7 (SAMN) The Joint Front of CPC Trade Unions, Friday accused the Secretary to the Ministry of Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Development, A.P.A. Gunasekera of misuse of powers and undue interference in the Management decisions which were the cause of the corporation’s ills which would impact on the economy and inflict burdens on the people. more..

Bishop seeks spirit of cricket in politics

Apr 7 (DN) Colombo’s Anglican Bishop the Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera yesterday reiterated his plea for the government and the LTTE to begin immediate and sincere negotiations towards the devolution of power and stabilisation of peace. “Lessons must be learnt from past mistakes. Prevailing security measures and safeguards can and must remain in place during talks. more..

Common currency: Govt. rejects UNP’s charges

Apr 7 (DM) The government yesterday pooh-poohed a UNP request for a parliamentary debate on President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s proposal calling for a common currency for the entire SAARC region. Chief Government Whip and senior Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle told the Daily Mirror the President had the right to make such a proposal and therefore he believed there was no breach of parliamentary privilege. more..

Traditional values at State institutions

Apr 7 (DN) Considering recommendations of the Cultural Affairs and National Heritage Ministry on the need for building an indigenous identity away from concepts spawned by globalisation, Ministers have decided that all Public sector institutions should adopt several measures as a pioneering step to inculcate into the masses’ minds Sri Lanka’s traditional values and customs, a Public Administration and Home Affairs Ministry circular said. more..

Prime Minister calls for quality films

Apr 7 (DN) Quality films are a must to attract filmgoers, said Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake. The Government will give its unstinted support for artistes to produce quality films, he said as the chief guest at the 31st Sarasaviya Film Festival organised by the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd at the BMlCH on Thursday. more..

20 killed as explosives-laden car blows up in TN

Apr 7 (ZN) Twenty people were killed and 18 injured, some seriously, when a car believed to be carrying "some explosive substance" blew up at Senthur village near here today, police said. Police said people noticed smoke emanating from a car parked on the national highway while its three occupants were making a futile attempt to douse the fire. more..

Seven killed in Sri Lanka bus blast

Apr 7 (AFP) Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels set off a roadside blast, killing seven bus passengers and wounding 26 in Sri Lanka, the government said Saturday. The LTTE detonated the blast outside the town of Vavuniya, 250 kilometres (156 miles) north of Colombo, the defence ministry said, adding a soldier was among the bus passengers killed. more..

Pirates free ship with Sri Lankan sailors off Somalia

Apr 8 (AFP) Pirates have released a UN-chartered cargo ship and an Indian vessel they captured in the unpatrolled waters off the coast of Somalia, a maritime official said Saturday. Andrew Mwangura of the Seafarers' Assistance Programme said the hijackers freed the MV Rozen on Friday, more than a month after it was seized after delivering 1,800 metric tonnes of relief food shipped by the UN World Food Programme. more..

Satellite based ‘Direct to Home’ television services a threat to National security

Apr 8 (AT) Media ports operating Direct to Home television service linked to any international satellite communication portal would be seen as a threat to a country’s security. It tends indirectly to helps to penetrate and enable the viewing of the ‘Free to Air channels’ of terrorists organizations broadcast in the same satellite. more..