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Sinhala businessmen will be abducted next warns UNP

Mar 14 (ML) The UNP yesterday accused the government of gross human rights violations and charged that while today it was only Tamil businessmen who were being abducted, soon it would spread to the Sinhalese community as well. "It is no secret that Tamil businessmen are being abducted on a major scale for ransom, with government complicity. Before long it will spread to all communities, including the Sinhalese, if we continue to turn a blind eye," more..

'The abductions are to discredit the govt.'

Mar 14 (ML) Defence Advisor to the President, H.M.G.B. Kotakadeniya said that the security situation was very dangerous as there were Sinhalese persons working with the LTTE. He said that the LTTE and the Karuna group could not be differentiated as they were trained with the same ideologies. "I say this because cadres belonging to both parties were trained with the same ideologies. The Karuna group broke away from LTTE due to some reasons. It does not mean that they have completely changed. more..

A govt. trying to fight its way out of the human rights net

Mar 14 (ML) While Sri Lanka’s standing in the eyes of the astute international community is at an all time low, Rajapakse’s absurd rhetoric of appointing Special Commissions to inquire into human rights violations, bringing down Scotland Yard to investigate the killings of certain prominent human rights advocates and politicians in his own backyard etcetera have lost its zing. more..

The Freedom of the Wild Ass vs. Media Freedom in Sri Lanka

Mar 14 (ISL) The Sri Lankan Defense Spokesperson, Mr. Keheliya Rambukwella’s comments in English and in Sinhala on 6th March 2007 on the news broadcast of the government owned Independent Television Network (ITN) augments the increasing concern of the Free Media Movement (FMM) on the growing disconnect between the Government’s avowed support of media freedom and the statements of high ranking officials within the Government who seem to continually undermine it. more..

Sri Lanka - India: Coordinated Patrol or Joint Patrol?

Mar 14 (ISL) Plenty of salt water has flown under the Pamban bridge since the mooting of the proposal for the Joint patrol along the International Border line (IBL) between India and Sri Lanka. It appears to have even withstood a Tsunami. The scope of the discussions has also widened like the ongoing broad gauge conversion over the Pamban Bridge. more..

`Problematic areas' around Rameswaram under scanner

Mar 14 (Hindu) A high-level team of Coast Guard and State police officers on Tuesday inspected several `problematic areas' along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) off Rameswaram and along the coast. The field meeting studied the routes used by contraband smugglers, fishermen's problems and refugee management issues. It identified landing centres and loopholes in the existing security arrangements and logistics. more..

Sri Lanka 'urgently needs UN monitors'

Mar 14 (AFP) UN-BASED rights group Human Rights Watch urged the UN's top rights assembly today to send monitors to Sri Lanka to stop worsening violations by government forces and rebels. HRW said in a letter to the 47 member UN Human Rights Council that an official monitoring mission was "urgently required". Monitors on the ground, instead of occasional visits by UN experts, could investigate and deter a pattern of abuse that has caused hundreds of deaths or injuries and forced thousands to flee their homes in recent months, it said. more..

Joint coastal patrol proposal with Lanka under consideration: Indian Govt

Mar 14 (PTI) India is considering a Sri Lankan proposal for a joint patrol of strategic Palk straits in the wake of increasing attacks on Indian fishermen, Defence Minister A K Antony said on Tuesday. "I will like to assure the House that the Government of India will do everything possible to protect legitimate rights of the fishermen," he said in an intervention after DMK members raised the matter in the Lok Sabha. more..

West Indies storm to opening victory

Mar 14 (CI) The West Indies shrugged off any early-tournament nerves with a convincing 54-run win over Pakistan in the opening match of the World Cup at Kingston in Jamaica, with a notable allround performance from Dwayne Smith. It was an impressive win, not least for their ability to absorb the expectation of hosting their first World Cup. Furthermore, the total they were defending was by no means out of Pakistan's reach. more..

UNP Executive Committee is illegal! – Rajithe Senaratne

Mar 14 (LT) The Executive Committee of the UNP was illegal said Minister of Construction and Engineering Services Rajithe Senaratne. Mr. Senaratne, who crossed over from the UNP to join the government accepting a ministerial portfolio, said UNP Leader Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe had appointed 50 members to the UNP Executive Committee when a stay order from a court was enforce. more..

GA to submit resettlement report to High Court

Mar 14 (TN) Jaffna Government Agent (GA), K. Ganesh, said he will be submitting a preliminary report prepared regarding the resettlement of displaced persons to residences in High Security Zones (HSZ) of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in Valigamam north to the High Court soon, in a press meet convened at the Jaffna District Secretariat Tuesday. more..

Colombo lodges, boarding houses to be closely monitored

Mar 14 (TN) The law enforcement authority under the direction of Sri Lanka Defence Ministry has formulated a scheme to closely monitor the activities of lodges and boarding houses to strengthen the security in Colombo city. As a first step the Ministry is suspending the registration of new lodges, and is planning to order closure of lodges which fail to provide basic facilities, and to identify lodges which are suspected of having close links with undesirable persons. more..

Sri Lanka power utility bats on difficult wicket to provide uninterrupted supply

Mar 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's power utility is on a drive to provide uninterrupted supply to the country while facing googlies from depleting hydro reserves, technical glitches, and higher demand from world cup cricket viewers. The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is asking consumers to keep minimum lighting as they watch World Cup Cricket into the wee hours of the morning. more..

Sri Lanka follows regional markets down

Mar 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s shares followed regional market down Wednesday sliding two percent. The Colombo share market’s All Share Index fell 2.29 percent (64.19 points) to 2738.85 and the Milanka fell 2.28 percent (89.19 points) to 3820.41 points. The regional drop was triggered by heavy losses in the US markets overnight. more..

Katunayaka IT park to boost IT investment opportunities in Sri Lanka

Mar 14 (GDI) “The Techno Park which is to be established in Katunayaka will be built within eight months to boost the IT industry," says Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Dr. Amunugama stated this during an inspection tour to the land site of the park today. A mega Techno Park is to be established in Katunayaka with a cost of USD 300 millions, facilitating the IT companies to maintain their offices in the building at the park. more..

IDP numbers exaggerated – Govt Defence Spokesman

Mar 14 (GDI) Some of the statistical figures circulating around about the number of internally displaced persons in the Batticaloa district are not exactly correct, Government Defence Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said today at the weekly media briefing held at the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS). more..

Sri Lanka-China bilateral discussion on new Air Services Regime

Mar 14 (GDI) Sri Lanka will be conducting bilateral discussions with China on establishing a new Air Services Regime later this week. Accordingly, a delegation lead by Secretary to the Ministry of Ports and Aviation Mr. Tilak Collure will visit Beijing from 15th to 16th March 2007, to discuss matters pertaining to an enhanced air services regime between the two countries. more..

SL and Japan hold Economic and Policy dialogues

Mar 14 (GDI) 4th Japan- Sri Lanka Policy Dialogue and the 1st Japan-Sri Lanka Economic Dialogue was held from 11th March to 13th March 2007. Accordingly, Mr. Chihiro Atsumi the Director General for Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan arrived in Sri Lanka on last Sunday, to hold these dialogues and to meet with several high ranking Government representatives. more..

810 Midwives and 89 PHIs in to the service; 171 midwives to North and East

Mar 14 (GDI) Enhancing the strength of the health sector a new batch of Midwives and Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) joint the service today (13) making the service more public friendly. The presentation of appointment letters took place at a ceremony held at Temple Trees under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Focus on Development News - Media Minister

Mar 14 (GDI) The Minister of Information and Media Anura Priyadarshana Yapa stated that the Press Officers in the Government service are performing an important role by projecting the development activities. He highlighted the necessity of having the responsibilities of a journalist while reporting. more..

Monthly allowance for low income earning disabled people

Mar 14 (GDI) Government has taken up the initiative to pay a monthly payment for the disabled persons of low income earning families commencing from this month. This decision has been taken by the Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare Douglas Devananda as the Chairman of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities. The Treasury has allocated Rs. 47 million for this purpose. more..

LTTE Ripples in Tamil Nadu

Mar 14 (AT) The ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK) party took out a huge procession in Chennai by on March 12, 2007 in protest against the Sri Lanka Navy's repeated firing on Tamil Nadu fishermen in the Palk Strait. Later a delegation comprising some of the leading lights of the party like N Veerasamy, M K Stalin, and Duraimurugan presented a memorandum protesting against the killing of Indian fishermen to the Sri Lanka Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai. more..

Establish two separate units to serve the Tamils in the north and east -- TMVP Commander, Pillaiyan

Mar 14 (AT) Pledging that the TMVP is for a united and undivided Sri Lanka the TMVP Supreme Commander Pillaiyan told the "AsianTribune" that the Sri Lankan government should give the lead by establishing two separate interim administrative units in the North and East provinces. This would enable the people of these two provinces to conduct their day-to-day affairs according to the wishes of the local people. more..

Bogollagama requests United Nations to join in Sri Lanka government plan to uplift the condition of secured eastern people

Mar 14 (AT) Calling the re-development plan introduced by the Government of Sri Lanka to the nation’s Eastern Province a model for post conflict peace building the island nation’s foreign Minister called on the United Nations to join in complementing the effort to up lift the people who were secured from the LTTE , when he met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in New York. more..

Mawbima news paper accounts sealed - FMM statement

Mar 14 (ISL) Free media Movement is disturbed to here that the bank accounts of Sinhala language weekly Mawbima was sealed today, 13th March 2007 by the government. Mawbima is a critical news paper and has a wide circulation among the Sinhala population. It is published by Standard Newspaper Private Limited. Mawbima newspaper has been under increasing pressure by the government over the last few months, as documented by number of press releases of FMM. more..

Bus driver gets 20 years R.I for rape

Mar 14 (LNP) A driver of a luxury bus who had allegedly raped a young passenger travelling to Colombo at the Pettah bus stand was sentenced to twenty years rigorous imprisonment by the Colombo High Court yesterday. High Court Judge Upali Abeyratne convicted the accused Samarakone Arachchige Savindra of Pitipana South, Kiriwaththuduwa for committing rape on a girl on May 24, 2005 at Bastian Mawatha in Pettha. more..

JVP furious over secret pact with US

Mar 14 (LNP) The JVP yesterday expressed fears about a possible threat of a UN peace keeping force in the country and urged the government to reveal the agreement it signed with the United States last week. The JVP Politburo said the logistics agreement signed by Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa and US Ambassador Robert Blake, providing a framework for increased interoperability was not `clear` or `specific`. more..

UNP hits out at Govt. deals with US and Tigers

Mar 14 (LNP) The UNP yesterday accused the Government of signing a secret deal with the United States similar to the secret deal it allegedly clinched with the Tigers to disarm all paramilitary groups including the Karuna Group in the North and the East. UNP Kandy District Parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella told a news conference yesterday `the Rajapaksa brothers` had signed the secret deal with the US and that he would reveal details of the deal during the next session of Parliament. more..

Of that Secret Pact

Mar 14 (LNP) Our politicians are blessed with a remarkable ability. They can make mountains out of molehills or even dunghills. Before the last Presidential Election, the UPFA as well as the JVP let out a howl of protest against what they termed a secret pact between Ranil and Prabhakaran. They obviously blew a tacit understanding that some UNPers were believed to have with the LTTE out of proportions to discredit the UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

APRC: UNP to decide on after March 15

Mar 14 (SAMN) The UNP will decide this week its future participation in the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) after the party’s deadline to the government to submit its proposals by March 15 lapses. The SLFP is expected to submit its proposals to the APRC Wednesday, but the UNP has called for the government to submit its proposals if the party is to participate in future deliberations. more..

New security measures for Jaffna

Mar 14 (SAMN) In order to minimise civilian casualties, the military has instructed the people in the Jaffna peninsula to travel within 50 metres on either side of the main road during movement of military convoys. "The new safety measures are activated in the best interest of civilians. The LTTE has shown no regard for civilian life when attacking the Security Forces. more..

National policy on elephants

Mar 14 (SAMN) The first national policy to protect wild elephants in the country was approved by cabinet recently. Objections made by the public have been considered by the committee prior to the document being sent for cabinet approval. Trustee Bio Diversity and Elephant Conservation Trust and Task Force Member, Jayantha Jayawardene said cabinet approved the new national policy two weeks ago. more..

National Sports Festival at Beliatta

Mar 14 (SAMN) The National Sports Festival this year will be held at the National Playground in Beliatta from September 14 to17. For this purpose the playground is to be renovated at a cost of Rs. 30 million. The sports festival will be shifted to the Southern Province on a request made by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa with the objective of taking sports to the village development unity and harmony through sports and encourage the young villagers to participate. more..

Govt to develop Seruwila sacred area

Mar 14 (DN) With the liberation of Eastern Province from LTTE terrorists, the Government will develop the Seruwila sacred area. The site is to become a World Heritage Site on a proposal by UNESCO. The Ministry of Construction and Engineering Services had held discussions with the Maha Sangha including Viharadhipathi of Seruwila Mangala Raja Maha Vihara Ven. Saranakitthi Nayaka Thera, more..

Revitalization program on Ola-leaf writing skills, preparation & conservation

Mar 14 (DN) A unique program will be launched on 14th March at the premises of the Malwatu Viharaya when the Project on the Revitalization of Ola-leaf Tradition will be undertaken by the Malwatu Maha Viharaya and the Department of Archaeology, University of Peradeniya. This six-month program is fully funded by UNESCO (Bangkok) while infrastructure support and resource persons will be provided by the Department of Archaeology, University of Peradeniya more..

Token strike cripples Universities

Mar 14 (DM) Universities in the country came to a standstill yesterday due to the token strike launched by the non-academic staff who demanded their salary anomalies be rectified immediately. Following the strike, the university authorities were compelled to postpone examinations leaving students in the lurch. Some students, who turned up for the exam at the Open University were disappointed when they had to turn back and go home. more..

CMC decides to increase Colombo rates

Mar 14 (DM) The decision to increase rates in Colombo led to cross talk in the Colombo Municipal sessions yesterday with several councillors including a few UPFA members voting against it. According to the proposal the rates will be increased up to 25% for residential properties from 15% of the annual values while for the commercial properties in the developed areas from 30% to 35%. more..

C4 explosives found dumped at Fort railway station

Mar 14 (GDI) During a search operation at the Fort railway station the security personnel have found a pack of C4 explosives dumped at the station premises, Military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe informed the media today at the at the weekly media briefing on current security situation of the country. more..

Jayasuriya aims to inspire 1996 repeat

Mar 14 (CI) In his fifth and final World Cup, Sanath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka's veteran opener, says his batting is as explosive as it was in Sri Lanka's 1996 title triumph. Jayasuriya briefly retired from the game in 2005, but said the memory of that World Cup victory pushed him back. "It's a great feeling to be back, I'm still the same batsman and hoping to revive Sri Lanka's glory days," said Jayasuriya. more..

Antony: Lanka blames LTTE

Mar 14 (AA) Defence minister A.K. Antony on Tuesday told the Lok Sabha that Sri Lanka had blamed the LTTE for the recent incident where the Sri Lankan Navy allegedly fired on fishermen in the waters between India and Sri Lanka. He also said the Union government "shared the anguish and concern" expressed by the government and people of Tamil Nadu. more..

Tigers holding the Karadiyanaru Hospital chasing away the patients

Mar 14 (GDI) The LTTE are forcibly holding the Karadiyanaru Government Hospital in the Thoppigala area to treat their injured cardres, Military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe informed the media today at the weekly media briefing. “The LTTE cadres have chased the civil patients and are using the hospital only to treat their cardres and none of the civilians are allowed in,” he further added. more..

Sri Lanka warplanes pound rebel targets

Mar 14 (AFP) Sri Lanka warplanes bombed suspected Tiger rebel camps, a day after top defence officials warned that the latest military campaign could last three years. The military said supersonic jets staged sorties for the third day against suspected rebel positions in Thoppigala Jungle in the island's east. "There are no immediate reports of casualties, but Tuesday's air strikes damaged Tiger vehicles and infrastructure," more..

Sri Lanka bans semi-nude adverts

Mar 14 (AFP) Sri Lanka banned on Wednesday the use of naked or semi-naked models in advertising, saying it was seeking to protect those offended by public nudity. The Ministry of Cultural Affairs announced the ban through notices in Sinhalese-language newspapers, warning advertisers against the use of unclothed males or females. The ministry statement did not say what punishment offenders might face nor if the ban extended to paintings of nudes. more..

SL denies deal with Indian navy

Mar 14 (SN) The navy yesterday denied reports published in the Indian media quoting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi that the Sri Lankan government has agreed to let Indian naval personnel board Sri Lanka naval vessels during patrolling in the Palk Straits to prevent possible recurrence of attacks on Indian fishermen. more..

Yahoo Photos

Mar 14 (AFP) Sri Lankan Tamils take shelter in Batticaloa, in eastern Sri Lanka to escape fighting between troops and Tamil Tiger rebels. Amnesty International said on Tuesday that there were armed groups roaming the camps for displaced people in Batticaloa, and kidnapping residents. more..

Intelligence agencies blamed for LTTE's free run in TN

Mar 14 (NIP) The failure in sharing intelligence inputs among the high level officials of the Central and State Intelligence agencies has provided the much needed platform for the LTTE to have a free run in spreading its network in Tamil Nadu and indulging in smuggling of arms to Sri Lanka. The lack of coordination and exchange of inputs between the two agencies have again surfaced with the reported failure of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), more..

Armed groups patrolling displaced people camps in Sri Lanka: Amnesty

Mar 14 (AFP) Amnesty International said on Tuesday that there were armed groups roaming camps for displaced people in the eastern Sri Lankan district of Batticaloa, and kidnapping residents. Citing its own sources, which it did not identify, Amnesty said that some of the groups were part of the Karuna faction -- a breakaway rebel group -- and their presence in the camps were tolerated by Sri Lankan authorities because of the group's help in the military campaign against Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Sri Lanka's air force bombs major eastern Tamil Tiger rebel base, military says

Mar 14 (AP) Sri Lanka's air force bombed a major eastern rebel base for the third straight day Wednesday, the Defense Ministry said, as Amnesty International said armed groups — some wearing breakaway Tamil Tiger insurgent uniforms — are abducting people from refugee camps. Details of casualties and damage from the air raid on the mainstream Tamil Tigers' Thoppigala base in Sri Lanka's eastern jungles were not immediately known. more..

Sri Lanka looks to raise more tax at local government level

Mar 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka is looking for ways for local government bodies to collect more taxes to as part of the strategy to take economic development to rural areas, the office of the president said Wednesday. President Mahinda Rajapakse had met chairmen of local government bodies yesterday to discuss ways to push through the Mahinda Chinthana development strategy at local government level. more..

Sri Lanka to draw oil exploration laws and establish regulatory body

Mar 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka is to develop an oil exploration laws and establish a regulatory system with funding from the United States, the US embassy in Colombo said Wednesday. The Ministry of Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Development is getting a 51 million rupee grant from the US Trade and Development Agency to develop oil and gas regulatory system and establish a regulatory authority. more..