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Sri Lanka’s Nilanga wins 6th stage

Mar 11 (Dawn) Sudeera Nilanga of Sri Lanka won the sixth and the shortest stage of the 13th Tour de Pakistan International Cycle Race from Bahawalpur to Multan in a Race that was marred by heavy traffic as well as treacherous roads conditions throughout different points of the 88-km stretch. Nilanga launched his decisive attack around 20 kilometers from the finish, winning the 88-km stage in 2 hours, 24 minutes and 19 seconds. more..

President denies rights violations charges

Mar 11 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse denied accusations of rights violations by his administration against the Tamil minority. Addressing a gathering at the Presidential Secretariat here Saturday, the president defended his troops against accusations of abductions and disappearances. more..

Sri Lanka: Share market slumps significantly

Mar 11 (AT) HNB Stockbrokers in their weekly review indicated that the market went through a correction this week with both indices slumping significantly. For the 1st four days of the week (Monday – Thursday) the All Share Price Index (ASPI) fell by 139 points or 4.7 percent, while the more sensitive Milanka Price Index (MPI) declined by 242 points or points or 5.8 percent. more..

Sri Lanka to be featured as the leading country at a apparel sourcing show in August in Las Vegas

Mar 11 (AT) Sri Lanka, already famous for its manufacturing of top selling brands like ‘Victoria’s Secret,’ in the United States, to lure more companies, will be exhibiting its apparel products in next August at one of the leading apparel sourcing shows visited by thousands of potential wholesale and retail chains and private dealers. more..

SLFP tables devolution proposals

Mar 11 (GDI) SLFP will, on Wednesday, submit their proposals to find a political solution to the problems faced by the country, which in turn will be presented to Science and Technology Minister Tissa Witharana, Chairman of the All Party Representative Committee. President Mahinda Rajapakse speaking at an assembly of clergy, professionals, state officials and artistes yesterday at the Presidential Secretariat more..

No halt on offensive against LTTE

Mar 11 (PISL) Defence Secretary Colonel (Retd.) Gotabhaya Rajapakse last week called for increased US support to prevent the LTTE from obtaining fresh consignments of armaments overseas. Outlining the government's two-track strategy to defeat the LTTE, Rajapakse emphasized the need to prevent the Tigers from replenishing their depleted arsenal. more..

A few good fast men

Mar 11 (CI) This may be the first World Cup staged in the spiritual home of fast bowling, where every player taking the field will be constantly reminded of the feats of some of the biggest names - and foot sizes - in quick bowling, but beyond that, this is unlikely to be a tournament for fast bowlers. In the conditions that are likely to dominate the latest edition of cricket's greatest spectacle, more..

Go out and combat crime - President orders police top brass, warns against human rights violations

Mar 11 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday called upon senior Police officers to get involved in combating crime and warned them not to pass on that responsibility to junior officers including constables. He declared that 3,258 cases had piled up at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and they included high profile investigations like the assassination of one-time Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, more..

We are ready to fill political vacuum in East: Karuna

Mar 11 (LNP) The leader of the Tamil People`s Liberation Tigers(TMVP) Karuna Amman`s reported appearance in the east, once again brought him into the limelight. In a telephone interview with The Sunday Times, Karuna reiterated his group`s commitment to the democratic process and said that they are looking forward to early elections in the east so that his party could enter the political mainstream. more..

LSSP wants military agreement with U.S. published

Mar 11 (LNP) The LSSP`s Politburo had resolved that the Mutual Services Pact signed last week by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse and U.S. Ambassador Robert Blake should be published, Mr. Batty Weerakoon, a member of the Politburo and one time representative of the party in the cabinet of President Chandrika Kumaratunga said yesterday. more..

Architect daughter of Sri Lankan wins top UK award

Mar 11 (LNP) Sasha Bhavan, daughter of Jaffna born Nadarajah Bhavan, and her husband Simon Knox have carried off the Manser Medal for 2006 - the `oscar` for small or medium architectural projects awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects. This is not the first time the work of Sasha and her equally talented husband has been recognized as outstanding. more..

Circular battle at Foreign Ministry

Mar 11 (SAMN) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama and Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona are embroiled in a battle of circulars over the recruitment of staff for Sri Lankan missions abroad. On February 22, Kohona laid down the procedure in a circular to heads of Sri Lanka missions overseas. more..

UNP to battle government

Mar 11 (SAMN) The UNP which was perceived to be in hibernation over the last 15 months is to take the battle to the government, commencing March 17- the day its special convention will be held in Colombo. Senior UNP sources said that March 17 would be an important day in Sri Lanka’s political history as it would mark the beginning of a change that ensures truth and justice prevails over lies and deception. more..

250 doctors quit jobs annually: GMOA

Mar 11 (SAMN) The Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) says that nearly 250 doctors including consultants quit government service to join the private sector hospitals and foreign jobs annually due to poor facilities given to them to carry out their duties. According to the GMOA, new vacancies for medical officers are now created naturally as the number of medical officers leaving the government hospitals continues. more..

Over 5000 illegal pharmacies

Mar 11 (SAMN) More than 5000 illegal pharmacies that are currently functioning in the country without proper licence will be dealt in courts under the Cosmetic Devise and Drugs Act, along with the implementation of Bibile recommendations, sources said. This is sequel following an order from President Mahinda Rajapaksa to investigate pharmacies that operate without the required registration. more..

Thirty-first 'Sarasaviya' film festival kicks off

Mar 11 (SO) The 'Sarasaviya' film festival which has become a national event will be held this year for the 31st time. "All arrangements have been made to hold the film festival to mark the 60th anniversary of the local film industry" said ANCL Chairman Sarath Kongahage at a press briefing last week. more..

Handloom industry revived after many years

Mar 11 (SO) The handloom textile industry plays a major role in the rural economy. The industry had a rapid growth in 1970. With the introduction of the open economy, the export promotion zone began to flourish with garments, becoming the fastest growing industry. Explaining the present situation on the handloom industry, Director Department of Textile Industry S. Amarathunga said after a lapse, the industry is returning to normalcy. more..

Taking the flak on rights violations

Mar 11 (NS) The mandarins in Colombo have apparently failed to realise that the yardstick wielded by the international community to judge human rights ‘violations’ is different for the government vis-a-vis the LTTE: the LTTE is recognised in many western nations as a terrorist organisation; they are almost ‘expected’ to violate human rights. Colombo is a democratically elected government; tear gas a mob of protestors and there will dozens crying foul. more..

LTTE acknowledges they had a pact with govt.

Mar 11 (NS) High ranking LTTE officials yesterday acknowledged the existence of an alleged secret pact with the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Earlier deposed Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi were the first to allege that both the government and the LTTE had a secret pact. more..

Mixed reaction over move to change May Day

Mar 11 (NS) The annual May Day commemorating the international day of the workers is poised to be brought forward to April 29 as May 1 clashes with the Vesak Poya this year. At a central committee meeting of the SLFP, a decision was taken to advance the May Day. Minister of Labour Relations and Manpower, Athauda Seneviratna said that the government has taken a final decision to hold May Day rallies on April 29 but more..

Govt. servants irked over new attendance marking move

Mar 11 (NS) Controversy surrounds the Government’s decision to get the thumb impression in marking the daily attendance of public servants. Though the Government intended to introduce the system of clocking in with the thumb impression from January 1 this year it has not been introduced in many state institutions and bodies due to resistance by public servants. more..

Army holds jaya pirith, Tigers warn of bloodbath

Mar 11 (ST) The LTTE mortar attack on diplomats, United Nations and Government officials twelve days ago has had its sequel. Colombo-based foreign diplomats have now been banned from undertaking visits to operational areas in the North and East without the express permission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. more..

More secret deals with the LTTE

Mar 11 (ST) Security at Temple Trees, the presidential abode, is usually tight. But on Wednesdays, it became routinely tighter. That evening ministers turned up for the weekly Cabinet meeting. It was in a room which which had to be re-furnished to accommodate the jumbo Cabinet. Last Wednesday, the same room was slotted for another event when the cabinet meeting ended - a meeting of the Central Committee of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. more..

DIG sent on compulsory leave

Mar 11 (ST) Police Welfare Chief and Deputy Inspector General M. A. Kamaldeen who is being questioned by the CID on allegations of corruption has been sent on compulsory leave by the National Police Commission. NPC chairman Neville Piyadigama said DIG Kamaldeen was sent on compulsory leave pending inquiries. It is alleged that he interfered with the duties of an airport Customs officer who attempted to check a passenger accompanying the DIG’s son from Pakistan. more..

EU trade benefits threatened by human rights concerns

Mar 11 (ST) The European Commission (EC) office says Sri Lanka could lose trade benefits from the European Union (EU) if allegations of human rights and labour rights violations continue to pile up. Sri Lanka is one of 14 countries given GSP+ trade concessions by the EU. The GSP+ scheme gives bigger trade benefits than the usual GSP scheme of the EU and under the GSP+ Sri Lanka can export around 7,000 items into the EU duty free. more..

Husband dead, Tamil woman wants to return to Sri Lanka

Mar 11 (IANS) A Sri Lankan Tamil woman who sailed to India in search of a new life is now pining to return home, unable to bear the drowning of her husband when he tried to swim to Tamil Nadu's coast to seek help for their ailing daughter after a boatman dumped them on a remote sand dune. Daisy Paulin, 33, has not stopped crying since reaching Tamil Nadu after an Indian Navy helicopter over the sea spotted her, her four-year-old child and some other Tamil refugees on the sand dune south of Rameswaram, leading to their rescue. more..

Fresh arrest in iron balls seizure case

Mar 11 (Hindu) Police arrested one more person on Thursday as part of their ongoing investigation into the seizure in Perambalur of iron balls meant for smuggling to Sri Lanka. Director-General of Police D. Mukherjee said that Raju (46), of Rameswaram, was arrested in Pudukottai on the basis of information gathered during the interrogation of a Sri Lankan, Rahul, alias Antony, taken into custody earlier. more..

Grounds for concern prior to opening ceremony

Mar 11 (CI) With the World Cup set to kick-off in two day's time the organisers have expressed concern over the last-minute scramble in getting all the venues in top shape. While the construction inside the stadiums is complete, Don Lockerbie, the venue development director, noted that the finishing touches in the areas surrounding the venues are still pending completion. more..

AHRC published the list of 96 victims in 2 districts of Sri Lanka

Mar 11 (LeN) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is publishing on 9th March 2007 to the following list of the people who have been allegedly killed, arrested and abducted since January 2006 in Sri Lanka. AHRC said it have received the information from reliable source of Sri Lanka. Many cases remain unreported. It is estimated that the actual number of killings, arrest, and abduction throughout the country will be much higher. more..

Bid to censure Lanka in UNHRC may fail

Mar 11 (HT) The European Union's bid to get the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) to censure Sri Lanka for gross human rights violations is expected to fail. The UNHRC is to meet in Geneva on Monday. Informed sources in Colombo told Hindustan Times that neither the US nor India would back any bid to censure Sri Lanka at this point of time. more..

Tamil lawmaker calls for international help as thousands flee northeastern Sri Lanka

Mar 11 (AP) An ethnic Tamil lawmaker appealed for international intervention Sunday, claiming attacks by government troops in northeast Sri Lanka are driving tens of thousands of people from their homes in the area. The International Committee of the Red Cross says more than 105,000 mainly Tamil refugees have fled their homes in Batticaloa district in search of safe shelter in areas under government control. more..

Military says roadside bomb kills 2 commandos in eastern Sri Lanka

Mar 11 (AP) A roadside bomb killed two special forces commandos in eastern Sri Lanka Sunday, the Defense Ministry said. The deaths came amid heightened fighting between the LTTE and Sri Lanka's military. "The LTTE terrorists detonated a Claymore mine targeting a STF (Special Task Force) foot patrol. Two STF officers were killed," the ministry said in a statement posted on its Web site. more..

MSF founder sees no quick end to Sri Lankan cycle of violence

Mar 11 (AFP) The founder of the French charity Medecins Sans Frontiers, who has worked in over a dozen war zones, says there is no quick fix to Sri Lanka's current killing spree -- his latest human rights challenge. Bernard Kouchner, 67, a former French minister who co-founded MSF (Doctors without Borders) in 1971, believes international monitoring is already making a difference on the troubled island. more..

Thousands of Sri Lankans flee as troops, Tigers clash

Mar 11 (AFP) More than 40,000 civilians have fled their homes in eastern Sri Lanka amid renewed clashes between troops and Tamil Tiger rebels that have left 12 dead, both sides said Sunday. The rebel LTTE said two of those killed were civilians during military shelling in the Batticaloa district. "More than 40,000 civilians were displaced within two days due to the heavy artillery and multi-barrel rocket firing," an LTTE statement said, more..

President raps police over killings

Mar 11 (AFP) Sri Lanka's president Sunday chided his top police officers over a new wave of "execution-style" killings and demanded immediate action to end a climate of terror. President Mahinda Rajapakse expected "responsible intervention" by the police to stem a wave of killings, abductions and extortion rackets, some of which have been linked to police and troops, his office said in a statement. more..

Lanka denies killing Indian fisherman

Mar 11 (HT) The Sri Lankan government has denied that its navy intruded into Indian waters around the island of Katchchativu and killed an Indian fishermen on Saturday. A press release from the Foreign Ministry said on Sunday, that the LTTE had instigated reports of such an incident to damage the "strong" Sri Lanka-India bilateral relations. more..

Sri Lanka primed for success

Mar 12 (ECB) Under coach Tom Moody and the astute, unfussy captaincy of Mahela Jayawardene, Sri Lanka have become one of the most consistent teams in world cricket. Their fifth place in the Test rankings, and sixth in the one-day standings, is testament to that - and probably about right for a team with two undisputed world-class players and a clutch more of significant international talent. more..

Vinci plans to complete Colombo-Katunayaka toll road within 36 months

Mar 12 (AT) France's giant conglomerate, Vinci, a ding integrated concession construction group, specialized in financing, designing, building and operation of major infrastructure projects, plans to complete Katunayaka-Colombo Expressway Sri Lanka’s first toll road within 36 months for which one of leading Malayasian Company on project management Macroworks provides loan arrangements with HSBC. more..

Unveiling Chillies 2007 - The "Inside Insight" on Sri Lanka's Advertising Awards

Mar 12 (AT) A Press Conference was held at the Trans Asia Hotel, Colombo to announce the holding of the Sri Lanka Advertising Awards, ‘Chillies 2007’ on the 12th May at the same venue. This would be the biggest advertising and marketing event for the year and the Chillies 2007, is a week long gamut of activities ranging from workshops to exhibitions and festivities that culminate in the finale, the awards night scheduled for Saturday 12th May. more..

International Finance Corporation progressively assist Sri Lankan private sector

Mar 12 (AT) The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, reaffirmed its commitment to contributing to Sri Lanka’s economy by working closely with private enterprises across key sectors. Senior IFC officials, from Washington and India visiting Sri Lanka, shared best practices and case studies at a day-long workshop entitled, “Beyond Financing: Creating Opportunities, Empowering Enterprise.” more..

Sri Lanka to launch more export villages scheme

Mar 12 (AT) Prof.G.L.Peiris , Minister of Export Development & International Trade has assured to set-up more export promotion villages in Sri Lanka to assist rural masses to become haves. Speaking to a group of Businessmen in Sri Lanka he said a number of local Food and Beverage companies need Agri-food raw materials and the international buyers need value added food products and commodities for their products. more..

Let the games begin

Mar 12 (CI) Call it another of cricket's quirks, if you like: every four years, the bridesmaid gets the chance to become the bride, and the event is so resplendent and so momentous that it outshines the real thing. Test cricket, our beloved and noble game, does not, alas, suit itself to a World Cup. But no one should grudge one-day cricket its hour of glory. more..

Sri Lanka's gross violations of Human Rights must stop- Selvy

Mar 12 (TN) Humanitarian Spokesperson of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), N. Selvy, Saturday expressed dismay at International Community's discourse with Colombo by failing to adopt a humanitarian strategy to end the culture of impunity in Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) administered territory. more..

Military says it has recovered 14 bodies of Tamil rebels after clash in eastern Sri Lanka

Mar 12 (AP) A clash between Tamil Tiger rebels and government troops left at least 14 guerrillas and one soldier dead Sunday in Sri Lanka's volatile eastern district of Batticaloa, the Defense Ministry said. "We have recovered 14 dead bodies of terrorists," said military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe. The government often refers to the Tigers as terrorists. more..

Red Cross asks help for Sri Lanka's displaced civilians

Mar 12 (Xinhua) The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said here Sunday that it has asked aid and relief agencies for food and water to be made available for around120,000 internally displaced civilians in Sri Lanka's restive Eastern Province. Davide Vignati, a spokesman for the ICRC said that over 120,000civil war refugees are now housed in 25 camps in the eastern Batticaloa district. more..

Sri Lanka look to past winners for inspiration

Mar 12 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will draw inspiration from the five past winners in their ranks in their bid for World Cup glory, skipper Mahela Jayawardene said on Sunday. The 1996 champions are regarded as early favourites due to their all-round strength on pitches which many feel will play slow like those in the Indian sub-continent. more..

Sri Lanka determined to reclaim the World Cup, says Jayawardene

Mar 12 (AP) Sri Lanka's bid to reclaim the World Cup is being driven by three veterans who featured in the 1996 triumph and are determined to do it all over again. Aggressive opener Sanath Jayasuriya, artful spin-bowler Muttiah Muralitharan and paceman Chaminda Vaas are the squad's link with the team that helped revolutionize how the one-day game was played 11 years ago. more..

More war, less peace

Mar 12 (TS) The LTTE has declared that at is resuming the “freedom struggle” which properly translated means full-fledged war against the Government of Sri Lanka headed by President Mahinda Rajapakse. In its wake thousands of Tamil civilians are fleeing northern Sri Lanka. Mahinda Rajapakse, who was voted President on a hard-line manifesto in alliance with the JVP and JHU, both Sinhala chauvinist parties, has reneged on whatever concessions his predecessors had shown to the ethnic minority. more..

Tamil Leaders Appeal for End to Fighting in Sri Lanka's East

Mar 12 (BB) Tamil leaders appealed to the international community to press Sri Lanka's government to stop its military offensive in the east, saying more than 115,000 people have been forced from their homes in the past week. Army shelling drove civilians from villages near Batticaloa as part of the military's "attempt to invade" the rebel-held area, TamilNet cited T. Ariyanenthiran, the parliamentary representative of the TNA, as saying yesterday. more..

World Cup opening ceremony starts

Mar 12 (BBC) Cricket's ninth World Cup has been officially opened with a spectacular Caribbean ceremony showcasing the best of West Indies' musical talent. The three-hour, $2 million extravaganza at the Trelawny Stadum in Jamaica's Montego Bay featured more than 2,000 singers and dancers. It featured key speeches from West Indies captain Brian Lara and the legendary Sir Garfield Sobers. more..