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Karunanidhi for joint patrolling

Mar 13 (Hindu) Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Monday said the State Government hoped that Indian fishermen's safety would be ensured if both the Indian and Sri Lankan governments came forward to conduct joint inspections along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL). Addressing presspersons after the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Ministers organised a demonstration to protest against the firing on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, more..

A brick house after two decades!! - 175 families moved into permanent homes

Mar 13 (AT) One hundred and seventy families displaced as a result of Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict moved into permanent homes in Vavuniya and Mannar last week, after having spent many years in welfare centers in the vicinity. The housing and livelihood projects began in March 2006 by the United Nations Development Programme. more..

LTTE forced exodus in the East - Statistics

Mar 13 (RW) EAST: The displacement of civilians in the East from their native places started with the tigers acting against the will of the people. Initially by the end of July they were in the form of depriving them basic needs such as water to drink. Subsequently many civilians started displacing themselves from the areas of Verugal, Kathiraweli. more..

Sri Lanka shares steady after recent fall

Mar 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s shares steadied Tuesday, a day after the market slid two percent, dealers said. On Tuesday, Colombo shares market’s benchmark All Share index closed down 4 points at 2,799.57 points while the Milanka index closed up 7.9 points at 3,904.11. “The market was overall quiet. The counters were rather weak and there was not much of additional buying support,” more..

Sri Lanka gets budgetary support grant from Japan

Mar 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka has secured a 10.2 million dollar grant from Japan to support the island's balance of payments, with the funds to be used to import goods and material, the Japanese Embassy said Tuesday. "This grant will be utilised for economic structure reforms, mitigation of balance of payment difficulties as well as for poverty reduction through rural development projects," the statement said. more..

UNP dissident group rejects Sripathi’s allegations

Mar 13 (GDI) Minister of Supplementary Crops Development R. M. Dharmadasa Banda vehemently rejects the allegations made by the former minister Sripathi Sooriyarachchi against the Government, on privatization of the Higurana Sugar Factory during Mr. Sooriyarachchi’s ministerial period. more..

Govt hopes 1.5M tourists by 2010

Mar 13 (GDI) The Government expects to increase the number of tourist arrivals up to 1.5 million with in the next 3 years with a newly implemented giant development programme under the Ministry of Tourism. Minister of Tourism Milinda Moragoda stated that the Government will incorporate with all the sectors involved in the tourism industry in preparing the promotional plan with relate to the enlistment of the programme. more..

Priority for rights even under trying circumstances - Human Rights Minister

Mar 13 (GDI) The Government is committed to ensure that the fundamental rights of persons are respected and protected even in the difficult circumstances of combatting terrorism, Human Rights and Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told the Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday. "The Government is making all efforts to address concerns of alleged violations of human rights through effective action and it continues to place emphasis on preventive measures," more..

Prevent LTTE slaying Tamils

Mar 13 (GDI) The Tamil Democratic Congress (TDC) has appealed to the Fourth Session of the UN Human Rights Council to fully investigate the arbitrary and extra judicial killings and the incommunicado detentions of Tamils by the LTTE in various locations in the uncleared areas in Sri Lanka. The TDC in its appeal to the UN Human Rights Council states to consider the following matters seriously. more..

Tension mounts among fishermen in Nagapattinam

Mar 13 (Hindu) Tension is mounting among the fishermen along the 188-km long coastline in the district following the continued firing on fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, including the killing of a fishermen from Rameswaram, on Saturday. Fishermen of eight major coastal hamlets, who boycotted fishing last week for four days to protest against the killing of fisherman Kaliyaperumal of Akkaraipettai by the Sri Lankan Navy in mid-sea recently, have started venturing into the sea since last Thursday. more..

Sri Lanka’s diplomatic balancing act with the US

Mar 13 (KT) WHAT was a decade ago inconceivable or impossible in terms of Indo-Lanka relations happened on Mach 5. Sri Lanka became the 90th country to sign a logistical agreement of military nature with the sole superpower, the United States. India would have punished or threatened to punish Sri Lanka if the agreement had taken place prior to September 11, 2001. But 9/11 has changed everything — including the way India looks at Sri Lanka. more..

Govt. invites two UN envoys

Mar 13 (LNP) The government yesterday said it was taking effective action to curb alleged human rights violations and stressed the Special Rapporteur on torture and the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the human Rights of IDPs were invited to carry out a fact finding mission in Sri Lanka this year. more..

Mangala hits out at Gotabhaya

Mar 13 (LNP) Former Ministers Mangala Samarawerera and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi earlier yesterday expressed dismay over Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa`s failure to show up for an inquiry held at the Human Rights Commission. `Mr. Rajapaksa has once again absconded from attending the Human Rights Commission and made a mockery of it,` Mr. Samaraweera told the media at a media briefing. more..

Public servants to learn Sinhala and Tamil

Mar 13 (LNP) The Foundation for Existence (FFE), which has conducted an extensive survey on `language inequality and equality` presented its findings, on the implementation of official language policy, to Public Administration Minister Karu Jayasuriya recently. Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister Karu Jayasuriya told The Island that the Ministry had drawn its attention to the fact that increased facilities would need to be provided to public servants to learn both lan guages. more..

Police wipe out pavement hawkers, unauthorized structures

Mar 13 (LNP) The police will launch `Operation clean up` from next week to rid the Fort and Pettah of all unauthorized structures and halt the nefarious activities being conducted by the underworld at the Central bus terminal. They expect to accomplish their task before April 2, Colombo Central ASP Premalal Ranagala said yesterday. more..

Violence delays landmine clearance

Mar 13 (SAMN) As a result of the increasing level of violence in the north and east, landmine clearance is facing new challenges with officials warning that the 2008 deadline will not be met. Disaster Management Ministry Advisor and former Secretary M.S. Jayasinghe admitted that given the security situation “100% land mine clearance is not possible by 2008.” more..

More male than female in State sector

Mar 13 (SAMN) There were 813,000 persons working in the state and semi governmental sector, as at 1st July 2006, according the latest survey by the Census and Statistics Department. Of that figure 60 per cent were males. There were 325,272 persons working in the State sector while 279,924 were in the Provincial Public sector and a 207,834 in the Semi Government sector according the report. more..

LG Ordinance Amendment bill this week

Mar 13 (SAMN) The Local Government Ordinance Amendment bill is to be presented to the Cabinet as an urgent bill this week. SLMC Deputy General Secretary General, Nizam Kariappar, said Sunday it could not be included in the agenda of the last cabinet meeting as it was sent by the legal draftsman only on Tuesday, a day before the last cabinet meeting. more..

Sri Lanka not benefitted by colonialism

Mar 13 (SAMN) Colonialism had not overall benefitted countries such as Sri Lanka and India, said Presidential Senior Advisor and Former Foreign Minister Tyronne Fernando. Fernando was addressing the political activists of all political parties in the Southern Province at a workshop on public policy organised by the National Democratic Institute at the Mount Lavinia Hotel last Saturday. more..

Peoples' Committee urges opening of western sea-route to Jaffna

Mar 13 (TN) Rt. Rev. Thomas Savundranayagam, the Bishop of Jaffna, said that he has requested Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse to open a sea route from Kurrikaduvan in the jaffna Islets to Mannar enabling people to travel to and fro from the peninsula, sources said. Closure of A9-highway has seriously affected the lives of the peninsula residents, the Bishop said in a press meet more..

CEB collects over Rs. 25m from power pirates

Mar 13 (DN) The Ceylon Electricity Board has recovered over Rs. 25 million it had lost due to power piracy during the last two months following a series of raids carried out by the CEB Flying Squad in different parts of the country. A total of 174 suspects were taken into custody during these raids conducted with the help of the police. more..

Fishing trawler in Tiger hands?

Mar 13 (DN) The Sri Lankan trawler missing from March 3 is believed to have been hijacked by the LTTE. After the Sri Lanka Navy received third party information that the vessel had been hijacked in mid seas and after the Indian Coast Guard has reported that the trawler has vanished without any trace, it was speculated in Colombo that most probably the missing craft would have been hijacked by the terrorist group. more..

'UNP ready for elections at any time'

Mar 13 (DM) Referring to the widespread speculation about a possible general election, the main opposition UNP says that the party is ready to face any elections at any time. Party’s General Secretary, Tissa Attanayaka, told the Daily Mirror yesterday that Chairmen of party’s District organisations including, Jaffna, Batticaloa and Vavuniya and party organisers for 72 electorates out of 140 had been appointed and the balance 68 electorates are to be appointed later this month. more..

Secret deal: Ranil demands response from President

Mar 13 (DM) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe challenged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to disprove allegations made by former Minister Sripathi Sooriyarachchi that the UPFA signed a secret deal with the LTTE in the run up to the Presidential Elections in 2005. Addressing a public rally in Gampaha Mr. Wickremesinghe asked why Mr. Rajapaksa was remaining silent regarding the allegation. more..

Interrogation of eight persons in iron balls seizure case continues

Mar 13 (Hindu) Police investigating the seizure of iron balls from a house in Perambalur a few days ago, suspect the involvement of a bigger gang in the smuggling operation to Sri Lanka. The interrogation of eight people brought to Chennai, continued on Monday, a senior State police officer said. Those questioned included relatives and labourers of Ramesh Kumar in whose house the 4.5 tonnes of iron balls were found. more..

The New Theatre of Conflict in Eastern Province

Mar 13 (TW) On Thursday March 8th morning a combined operation of the army and STF was launched. The A - 5 or Chenkalladdy - Badulla road was the axis in this new theatre of war. Two columns moved from opposite ends. One column from Chenkalladdy moved via the “Karutha Paalam” towards Koduvaamadhu; The other moved from Pulukunawe - Maha Oya - Siyambalanduwa areas towards Periya pullumalai and Aayithiyamalai. more..

Tiger 'Kottamsa' of Kudumbimalai and Maavadimunmaari

Mar 13 (TW) Batticaloa district is bi- sected to a great extent by the 30 mile long Batticaloa lagoon where the fishes “sang” on moon - lit nights of a by- gone, beautiful era. There is a littoral strip of land between the lagoon and the sea known as “Eluvaankarai” or shore of the rising sun.The hinterland to the west of the lagoon was known as “Paduvaankarai” or shore of the setting sun. more..

Tamils becoming a Homeless Nation in their Own Homeland

Mar 13 (TW) A humanitarian tragedy of massive proportions is unfolding in the Batticaloa district of the Eastern Province. Intensive artillery shelling and aerial attacks have resulted in a massive displacement of more than 100,000 Tamil civilians living in areas controlled by the LTTE. The current conflict is of a military nature but its consequences are cruelly victimising the ordinary , helpless civilians. more..

UN envoys invited to check out rights abuses

Mar 13 (HT) In the midst of speculation that the UN was planning to send a monitoring mission to Sri Lanka to check out on allegations of gross human rights violations, the Sri Lankan government announced on Monday that it had itself invited two UN envoys to perform the task. Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, that the government had invited the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, and more..

TN supports India-Lanka joint patrols

Mar 13 (AA) Tamil Nadu chief minister M. Karunanidhi, in a change of stand, on Monday indicated that his government was in favour of the joint patrolling of the Palk Strait by the Indian and Sri Lankan navies in order to protect the fishermen of Tamil Nadu. The DMK had earlier expressed reservations about the proposal made by the Sri Lankan government. more..

ID cards for Sri Lankan refugees

Mar 13 (CO) Sri Lankan refugees accommodated in various camps in Tamil Nadu, who were 12 years and above, will be given identity cards before the end of this month. The ID cards would carry various details, including their date of arrival and place of stay, official sources said here today. More than 19,000 refugees have arrived in Tamil Nadu since January after the battle between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan army had intensified, more..

Sri Lankan fishermen protest fishing ban

Mar 13 (Xinhua) A group of fishermen gathered in Sri Lanka's eastern port town of Trincomalee on Tuesday to protest a fishing ban imposed by the military amid clashes between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels. Around 150 fishermen gathered near Trincomalee's clock tower area Tuesday morning to urge the authorities to lift the fishing ban, police sources said. more..

Sri Lanka says air raids kill eight Tamil Tiger rebels

Mar 13 (AFP) Eight suspected Tamil Tiger rebels were killed in strikes by Sri Lanka warplanes as part of a military offensive in the eastern Batticaloa district, the defence ministry said Tuesday. "An east LTTE intelligence leader identified as Irakkian and a training instructor were among the dead," the ministry said of the air strikes on Monday. more..

Air force bombs major Tamil Tiger base in eastern Sri Lanka for 2nd day

Mar 13 (AP) Sri Lanka's air force bombed a strategic Tamil Tiger jungle base in the east for a second straight day on Tuesday amid signs the insurgents were gathering for a counterattack, a military spokesman said. The air raid comes as relief agencies warned of an impending humanitarian crisis in the east, where tens of thousands of people have fled their homes in recent weeks due to an escalation of fighting. more..

Camps full, Sri Lanka war-displaced live under trees

Mar 13 (Reuters) There is no room for thousands of new war-displaced in crammed refugee camps in Sri Lanka's east, so many are sheltering under trees or in schools and churches, aid workers said on Tuesday. More than 40,000 people have fled rebel-held territory in the eastern district of Batticaloa over the past week as the military seeks to drive Tamil Tiger rebels from the area amid a new chapter in a two-decade civil war. more..

ICRC assists displaced civilians in Batticaloa

Mar 14 (ICRC) The ICRC has stepped up its relief operation in Batticaloa district in order to assist several thousand civilians who have been displaced over the past four days by fighting between the Sri Lankan security forces and the LTTE. These newly displaced people fled their homes in the Vavunatheevu and Karadiyanaru areas and headed for the town of Batticaloa, where they are now sheltering in local schools and in camps more..

Documentary on Black Tigers premiered in Oslo

Mar 14 (TN) For the first time the Tamil Tigers have allowed a foreign film team to "hand-pick, follow, interview and dig deep," into the lives and faiths of two female Black Tigers, according to the producers of a documentary film titled "My daughter the terrorist," which made its World Premiere to a full house crowd at Parkteatret in the Norwegian capital Oslo Monday. more..

Mileage enjoyed by Sripathy and Mangala on others account will soon be over - Rajitha

Mar 14 (LeN) Minister of engineering services Rajitha Senarathne says the mileage enjoyed by Sripathy and Mangala on others accounts would be soon over. He said that both of them are attempting to reach wonderland with the help of Ranil. Speaking at the Karu factions office today he said that Ranil Wickremesinghe has been talking of taking over the government on many occasions and but has been postponing it all those times. more..

Party sold for Rs. 1 million; CID probes

Mar 14 (LeN) The CID has launched a special investigation into the case which a new political party has been formed by handing over false documents under the same registration number of the United Muslim Peoples' Alliance to the election secretariat. The new party has been registered as the United Peoples' Alliance. The CID has begun investigations into the incident after a complaint lodged by the United Muslim Peoples' Alliance to the DIG of the CID D.W. Prathapasinghe. more..

Senior Sri Lankan defence source warns of long campaign

Mar 14 (AFP) A top Sri Lankan defence source warned Tuesday the current military campaign against the Tiger rebels could take up to three years as warplanes bombed rebel positions for a second day. "Within the next two to three years, we should be able to eliminate them (Tamil Tigers)," the top source said, declining to be named as the air force carried out Tuesday's bombing raid in the eastern Batticaloa district. more..

The Mahinda - Pirabha Pact: Where does the nation stand?

Mar 14 (ISL) There were stories floating on the shores of Sri Lanka muttering the Mahinda-Pirabha Secret Pact. I was quite sure that it was a load of crap. Mahinda wanted a United State under one rule, while Pirabha wanting self determination. How could there be two factions having contrary beliefs to one another, different ends of the negotiation table, be willing to make a secret pact that would bring Mahinda the presidential seat in return for money, and a deadline to give LTTE their ISGA. more..

Corrupt and Undemocratic Sri Lanka under Mahinda regime

Mar 14 (ISL) Being a henchman or a relative of “Rajapakse” is enough to be successful in Sri Lanka nowadays. The most interesting aspect of corrupt nature of Sri Lankan regime can be seen in how Rajapakse administration assign almost all top positions in his government as his brothers and relatives. Even the counselor for the United States is an eight-grade drop out who is also happens to be the cousin of President Rajapakse. more..

Ranil VS Mahinda – Challenging LTTE’s perception of Sinhalese leadership

Mar 14 (ISL) LTTE supporters are looking at the mahinda -ranil leadership battle from two completey uncomparable points of view. From the way I see it, LTTE believes that both mahinda and ranil had an agenda to destroy the tamils over! Was the argument that the Ranil govt marginalised tamil leadership- is this simply because the TNA was brushed aside? With all the goo goo gaga about political parity, the TNA are a spineless bunch. more..

Sri Lanka's Lost Generation

Mar 14 (AM) The odds were stacked too strongly against Sri Lankan teenager Thillainayagam Theeban. First, he and his family happened to be at ground zero of the biggest disaster in living memory, the Indian Ocean tsunami in December, 2004. Within months of that blow came the resurgence of political violence in Sri Lanka, creating a second tragedy for tens of thousands caught in the crossfire. more..

Sri Lanka: An Open Letter to the Donor Country Leaders

Mar 14 (AT) Why Sri Lanka should not be forced to accept tamil aspirations and re-structure the country against the wishes of the majority in order to qualify for international aid. The prescription of donor countries including India requires Sri Lanka to adhere strictly to the following formula to arrive at a settlement of the issues bedeviling the country while scarcely recognizing the sovereignty of the Sri Lankan Nation and her people. more..

Niche market, value addition and branding - the way forward for export expansion

Mar 14 (AT) Speaking on the theme ‘Maintaing Sri Lanka’s International Competitiveness – Policy of the Government’ Prof G L Peiris, Minister of Export Development and International Trade said Sri Lanka should not embark on competing with such large countries like China and India, but as we are progressing now should seek to promote niche market expressed the great importance and more..

'Karuna's men in IDP camps' - Amnesty

Mar 14 (BBC) Amnesty Inetrnational expressed concern about the activities of armed groups operating in government controled areas in a satement issued on Tuesday. In an interview with the BBC, Government security spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said the government is doing everything to prevent the activities of such groups in government controlled areas. more..

In the cross hairs

Mar 14 (FL) February 22 marked the fifth anniversary of the Norwegian-brokered CFA between the Sri Lanka government and the LTTE. Five days later, on February 27, the Tamil Tigers demonstrated in a chilling fashion that the pact was a dead letter. The daring daylight guerrilla attack on two helicopters carrying top diplomats near the Sri Lanka Air Force base in Batticaloa shattered beyond doubt many myths about the prevailing environment in the island nation. more..

Fear of abduction

Mar 14 (FL) Nearly 100 abductions have been reported to the SLHRC so far this year. AS the undeclared war between the Sri Lanka forces and the Tamil Tigers has struck terror in the North and the East, the rest of the island nation, particularly Colombo, the national capital, is in the grip of fear of equal intensity. A dramatic surge in unexplained killings, abductions and disappearances in the past few months is a cause of alarm and panic. more..

Minister complains of extortion racket by Karuna group

Mar 14 (ML) A massive extortion racket allegedly by the Karuna group has been reported to the Defence Ministry and the police by a government minister following complaints by a large number of Tamil businessmen. Several Tamil businessmen had complained to Deputy Vocational and Technical Training Minister, P. Radhakrishnan that persons claiming to be from the Karuna group had in the months of January, February and early March demanded a ransom of Rs. 5 million each in exchange for their security. more..