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Failed bank to re-start as Sri Lanka Savings Bank in June

Mar 15 (LBO) After several false starts, the failed Pramuka Bank would start operations 0n June 01 as the Sri Lanka Savings Bank, the finance ministry said Wednesday. The Pramuka Bank licensed as a specialized bank was closed by the Central Bank in October 2002, with an estimated 80 percent bad loans. Of the 16,000 depositors, 67.2 percent had deposited less than 100,000 rupees. more..

SL Oppn flays secret deal with US

Mar 15 (HT) The opposition UNP and the JVP have attacked the Sri Lankan government for signing the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA) with the United States, saying that there is more to it than meets the eye. Since ACSA mentions mutual cooperation in peace keeping missions, the JVP's politburo on Tuesday asked whether the agreement would facilitate the induction of an US peace keeping force in the war-torn island. more..

Gotabaya has played out 600 million when purchasing MIGs- A complaint to the Bribery Commission

Mar 15 (LeN) Former Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Former Ports Development Minister Sripathy Suriarachchi lodged a complaint to the Bribery commission this evening regarding a cash fraud which they say had taken place when purchasing 4 MIG 27 fighter jets which are said to be 27 years old. more..

Sri Lanka sells 100 million dollars worth of rupee gilts to foreigners

Mar 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka has sold half of the targeted 20 billion rupees worth of bonds to foreign buyers this year, the country's public debt office said. "Foreign investment in government Treasury bonds has shown a remarkable progress exceeding the total investment which now stands at over 50 per cent of the annual target of Rs 20 billion in the year 2007," more..

Fighting closes Sri Lanka schools

Mar 15 (BBC) Recent fighting in eastern Sri Lanka has closed more than 100 schools, with some turned into camps to accommodate displaced people, officials say. They say that the fighting has crippled daily lives of residents in the area. Teachers say that rocket strikes are terrifying pupils, whose parents are now reluctant to take them to school. more..

Hope becomes a reality for displaced Sri Lankans in resettlement programme

Mar 15 (UNHCR) A. A. Mohommed cannot conceal his delight as he shows visitors round his new home, but despite his joy he also worries about his childrens' future as fighting again wracks Sri Lanka. "It's difficult to believe that we are finally standing inside our very own house. My boys will finally have a proper home," the crippled 40-year-old tractor driver says, with his two year-old son under his arm and a big smile on his face. more..

Blair: Come back to 2002 Agreement

Mar 15 (BBC) The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has assured his country's support in achieving peace in Sri Lanka. The "only realistic way" to solve Sri Lanka's national question is to fully implement the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) signed in 2002, he told British parliament on Wednesday. Tony Blair was responding to question raised by Keith Vaz, Labour MP representing Leicester East constituency on "tragic situation unfolding in Sri Lanka". more..

Sri Lanka steps up fight against deadly disease

Mar 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka's health service is now detecting tuberculosis patients faster and the infection rate of the once fatal disease is trending down, officials said. Last year 8,000 new infections had been detected which was down from 9,000 a year before, with more people coming forward to be tested. more..

Standard Newspapers appeals to embassies

Mar 15 (ISL) The Standard Newspapers Company Ltd appealed to the embassies in Colombo to help it get through tough government measures to close it down. In a letter to the embassies the newspaper company accused the government for attacking media freedom and using the war psychosis to clamp down on political opponents and critics. Full text of a letter. more..

Press Freedom in Sri Lanka - GoSL caught with pants down?

Mar 15 (ISL) Reliable sources told the Voice of Eelam that almost all the embassies in Sri Lanka are gearing themselves to raise funds for the Standard Newspapers Ltd after its accounts were frozen by the government. The news paper company publishes two weekly news papers, one in English, the Sunday Standard, and one in Sinhala, Mawbima (Motherland). more..

Sri Lankan construction firms vie for large state projects

Mar 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka says local construction companies will be the first pick for government building contracts, with training ongoing to develop local expertise. Sri Lankan companies are being encouraged to undertake infrastructure projects on a public-private partnership basis, Rajitha Senaratne, minister for construction and engineering said. more..

Talks on devolution proposals

Mar 15 (Hindu) The ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) began deliberations here on Wednesday to finalise its "package of proposals" on devolution and power sharing in the quest towards resolution of the ethnic conflict. The recommendations are to be submitted to the All Parties Representative Conference (APRC), constituted by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, to advise him on a political solution. more..

Time for decisive action

Mar 15 (Hindu) It is as significant as it is a surprise that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has come up with the suggestion that the Indian Navy should take up joint inspection with its Sri Lankan counterpart of the waters straddling the international maritime boundary line. As he subsequently clarified, his limited objective is to put an end to the killing of fishermen from Tamil Nadu, allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy. more..

Sri Lanka go for the kill in group of death

Mar 15 (CI) Now comes the chance of Trinidad, which hosts the appropriately named Brown Package, the group of the subcontinent, and the closest these feeble opening-round pools can come to producing a group of death. It is also the chance for Bermuda, to bask in the first five of their fifteen minutes, and for Sri Lanka, to join West Indies and Australia in their opening statements of intent. more..

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator calls on both sides to grant aid access

Mar 15 (UN) The United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator today called on both sides in strife-torn Sri Lanka to allow humanitarian assistance to get through to those civilians trapped on the frontlines, while also highlighting the plight of over 130,000 people in the east of the island forced to flee their homes because of the recent upsurge in fighting. more..

Triumphal provides latest New Zealand Technology to manufacture Barmac Sand

Mar 15 (AT) The local contractors will say good-bye to river sand and welcome newly developed Manufactured Sand / Barmac Sand from local quarry owners to construct their buildings, roads and mega infrastructure development projects without violating Environmental laws of Sri Lanka. Barmac - a New Zealand machine maker who produced manufactured sand, Barmac machines are now in Sri Lanka to guide quarry owners to manufacture manufactured sand with the latest technology. more..

Southern Illinois University Provides English Teacher Training at BCIS

Mar 15 (AT) English teachers in Sri Lanka now have access to a unique resource at the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies in Colombo. English Language Fellow Kane Gilmour, a doctoral candidate from Southern Illinois University specializing in Sri Lankan English, is hosting a series of programs called Teaching English in the 21st Century. more..

Legislators and industry people hail appointment of Construction Services Minister

Mar 15 (AT) Members of Parliament and top people connected to the construction industry have shown their pleasure on appointment of Sri Lanka’s first Construction Minister by the President Mahindha Rajapakshe and said it is an important decision to improve the local construction industry and boost employments. more..

UNICEF Sri Lanka tests pioneering new tool for use in emergencies

Mar 15 (UNICEF) UNICEF is pioneering a new system in Sri Lanka that promises some hope of improving the efficiency of humanitarian crisis response. In the past, gathering vital statistics during and after an emergency has been a cumbersome task. Collecting information places huge demands on manpower, vehicles and work hours and still leaves holes in forming an accurate picture of a disaster’s impact on people. more..

Tamil lawmaker urges Norway to stop Sri Lanka from using old playground to fire artillery

Mar 15 (AP) Ethnic Tamil lawmakers on Wednesday complained to peace broker Norway that government soldiers are using a former playground near schools and a hospital in an eastern Sri Lankan town to fire artillery at separatist Tamil Tiger rebels. The TNA party made the complaint at a meeting with Norway's Ambassador Hans Brattskar, lawmaker Senadhiraja Jeyanandamoorthy said. more..

Drop Ban on Mothers Emigrating for Work

Mar 15 (HRW) The Sri Lankan government's proposed regulation banning mothers of young children from migrating abroad for work discriminates against women and endangers the welfare of their children, Human Rights Watch said today. On March 7, Sri Lanka's ministerial cabinet approved a proposal by the Minister for Child Development and Women's Empowerment that would ban women with children under 5 years of age from emigrating for work. more..

U.S. grants LKR 51 million for petroleum exploration in Sri Lanka

Mar 15 (TN) U.S. Trade and Development Agency has awarded 51 million rupees ($474,000) to Sri Lanka Wednesday. Promoting energy security in Sri Lanka through the development of oil and gas sector is the goal of the grant, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Embassy in Colombo. U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert Blake and Sri Lankan Secretary for the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, signed the agreement Wednesday. more..

Uncle Sam In Sri Lanka

Mar 15 (OI) In a message sent to US President George Bush after the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US, the then Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga offered Washington "full access to the country's port, airfields and other facilities" for use in its operations against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. more..

Sri Lanka Fancy Caribbean Adventure

Mar 15 (C365) Mahela Jayawardene believes Sri Lanka have a team which "can go the distance" as they prepare to meet minnows Bermuda in their opening World Cup Group B match in Port of Spain tomorrow. The 1996 champions have retained the services of four of the players who guided them to the title and Jayawardene insists that experience could prove vital. more..

Sri Lanka may maintain interest rates at highest level in Asia

Mar 15 (BB) Sri Lanka's central bank will probably keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged, judging that five increases in borrowing costs since June is enough to control inflation. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka will leave its repurchase rate at 10.5 percent, according to seven of 11 analysts in a Bloomberg News survey. The other four expect a quarter-point increase. more..

Sri Lankans being sent to Nauru

Mar 15 (AAP) A GROUP of Sri Lankan asylum seekers intercepted by the navy near Christmas Island last month will be transferred to the Pacific island of Nauru for processing, the federal Government says. Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews said the Government had again decided to process asylum seekers' claims for refugee status offshore to send a strong message to people-smugglers. more..

Sri Lankan scientist finds way to see the invisible

Mar 15 (LT) Prof. Mahinda Pathegama, Sri Lankan born scientist, has made a scientific breakthrough that a computer could be manufactured to magnify particles invisible to the naked eye. Prof. Pathegama, who is an authority on artificial intelligence and has written a thesis on the subject, was also a member of the team of scientists who was involved in getting Sri Lankan ace spinner Muththiah Muralidharan released from the controversy of his action. more..

Sri Lanka accepts John Keells Holdings mega sea reclamation plan

Mar 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka has accepted a proposal to reclaim the sea and develop 450 acres of land alongside the Colombo Port by John Keels Holdings (JKH), a senior minister said. "In the committee headed by the president we approved a very important and a flagship project to add 450 acres to the land space in Colombo," Investment Promotion Minister Sarath Amunugama told reporters Thursday. more..

'Our youngsters are ready to make their mark'

Mar 15 (CI) The much anticipated World Cup got underway with a wonderful opening ceremony in Jamaica featuring a host of West Indian and international stars performing in front of an enthusiastic crowd. It was launched with true Caribbean flavour and passion. The players from all nations could sense the immense pride with which the West Indians have accepted the challenge of hosting the tournament. more..

“Eastern province in Sri Lanka could serve...

Mar 15 (GDI) “Eastern province in Sri Lanka could serve as a model for post-conflict peace building and development,” stated the Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, during his recent discussion with the United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Foreign Minister Bogollagama who met with UN Secretary-General at the UN Headquarters in New York today called on the international community including the UN to more..

Citizen’s safety, North and East Development are govt concerns – Media Minister

Mar 15 (GDI) Media and Information Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa emphasized that the Government is not focusing on continuing a war but it is in the sole hope of liberating the people, specially the Tamil populace and their land to serve them with the equal proportions of development benefits the country faces. more..

Birth Certificates to be issued within five minutes

Mar 15 (GDI) Government has taken measures to issue the birth certificates of the Sri Lankan citizens within five minutes time span. Accordingly, the as the official launching of the new technological system will be carried out tomorrow (16th) at the Dehiwala Divisional Secretariat Office, with the chairmanship of Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs. more..

Summary of the Cabinet Decisions -14.03.2007

Mar 15 (GDI) The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by Hon. Felix Perera, Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources for the procurement of services for Marine Geophysical survey project on delimitation of the continental margin of Sri Lanka (DEOCOM). GEMS Survey Ltd., has agreed to procure the above services for a down payment of 15% of the evaluated total amount upon more..

Mihin Lanka to start operation this month

Mar 15 (GDI) Government owned budget airline Mihin Lanka, will start its operations by end of March. Accordingly, Mihin Lanka’s first 161-seater Airbus A320 arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport on Tuesday. Ministry of Aviation states that the airline will initially fly to regional destinations, including the Middle East and India. more..

Government has sent 200 metric tons of essential goods to Batticaloa

Mar 15 (GDI) "Government has sent 200 metric tons of essential goods for the civilians who are returning to Batticaloa from uncleared areas," stated the Minister of Resettlement Rishad Bathiudeen, speaking to the Government official website. Also he said that the Government is working on providing the necessary infrastructure facilities for these IDPs. more..

Leading Tamil Democrats write to India

Mar 15 (ISL) We are convinced the Indian government, through its foreign ministry and the security establishment, is aware of how the current situation in Sri Lanka has evolved over several decades and is capable of projecting its trajectory. The current situation has been brought about by the willful actions and inactions of both the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE which undermined the Norwegian sponsored ‘Ceasefire Agreement’ from its very inception. more..

Condolences on the death of Comrade Senthil from the Socialist Equality Party

Mar 15 (wsws) The Socialist Equality Party of Sri Lanka sends its deep-felt sympathy and condolences to the wife of Comrade Senthil Ravee, his three children and all his family members. The tragic death of Senthil on the motorway in the early hours of Wednesday, February 28, is symbolic of the intolerable social conditions that ordinary Tamil people born in Sri Lanka face, particularly in the last three-and-a-half decades. more..

Aid group requests Aust help in Sri Lankan massacre investigation

Mar 15 (ABC) An aid group which lost workers in a massacre in Sri Lanka last year has made an appeal for Australian police expertise to be used in solving the case. Last August, 17 Tamil employees of the French charity Action Against Hunger were murdered during intense fighting between Government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Kidnapped man freed in Sri Lanka

Mar 15 (LL) A HARROW man who was abducted in Sri Lanka has been freed by his captors. Sivapatham Sivasorupan, of Twyford Road, was kidnapped in Colombo earlier this month. It is unclear why Mr Sivasorupan, who has lived in Harrow for the last ten years with his wife and children, was in Sri Lanka and it is not known when he is expected to return home. more..

Moody tells Sri Lanka to forget India defeat

Mar 15 (AFP) Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody has told his team to forget all about their recent series defeat to India when the World Cup rivals clash in what will be a crucial Group B match on March 23. Moody said the result of that one-day series, where India won the four-match contest 2-1, will have no bearing on their clash here. more..

Govt. probes Karuna group`s activities

Mar 15 (LNP) The Government yesterday said a police probe had been launched into the alleged illegal activities of the Karuna faction even as Amnesty International reiterated concerns of cadres loyal to the breakaway LTTE faction abducting civilians from displaced camps in the East. Investigations had been launched into complaints of the involvement of the Karuna faction in activities other than political work in Batticaloa. more..

Govt: UNP initiated military logistical agreement with US

Mar 15 (LNP) The Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA) statute (formerly known as `NATO Mutual Support Act`) finalised on March 5, 2007 would simplify exchanges of logistic support, supplies, and services. The US has ACSA with 89 other countries. A senior government official rejected criticism by the UNP and JVP and concerns expressed by the LSSP, a constituent of the SLFP-led ruling coalition. more..

Secret pacts, Uncle Sam and Cardboard Sandows

Mar 15 (LNP) The JVP has blown a gasket over the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA) recently signed between Sri Lanka and the United States. It is making an issue of the reference therein to `peace keeping missions`. It demands that the contents of the agreement be made public forthwith. Strangely, the UNP, too, has lashed out at the government over that pact. The UNP has chosen to dub it a `secret deal.` more..

President vows to pursue objectives

Mar 15 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared that his Government’s quest for peace and development could not be sidetracked by the machinations of certain individuals and parties who have lost public faith. He said unfounded allegations were being made by certain individuals and sections of the media with an ulterior motive of devaluing the Government’s achievements on all fronts. more..

Sripathy fails to return jeep

Mar 15 (SAMN) The CID has commenced investigations into the failure of ousted non Cabinet Minister Sripathy Sooriyarachchi to hand over a jeep assigned to his former ministry. CID sources told The Island that the jeep belonging to the Postal Department had been used by the Minister since former President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s tenure. more..

'Govt fails to control air pollution'

Mar 15 (SAMN) Petitioners Geethani Wijesinghe of Mirihana, Nugegoda and the Environmental Foundation Limited have complained to the Supreme Court about the failure of the Ministry of Environment and the Central Environmental Authority to control air pollution in the cities and the suburbs. The petition said that the authorities failed to conduct vehicle emission programmes and to set up vehicle emission testing centre, to regularly check the fuel emission standards from motor vehicles. more..

Police looking for more VAT suspects

Mar 15 (SAMN) The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) probing the massive VAT scam at the Inland Revenue Department, yesterday told the Colombo Fort Magistrate and Additional District Judge Namal Bandara Balalle that they are looking for several more suspects who are alleged to have been involved in the VAT scam. more..

UNP reformists decline invitation to Convention

Mar 15 (DN) The UNP Democratic Group has decided not to attend the UNP Convention on March 17 despite a request from the party to participate. A decision to this effect was taken yesterday at the United National Party Democratic Group’s meeting held at Seth Sevana under the chairmanship of Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs and leader of the group Karu Jayasuriya. more..

Training skilled construction workers - a priority for State

Mar 15 (DN) Training skilled workers for the construction industry will enable them to capture lucrative Middle Eastern job markets, against the backdrop of the construction boom there, Minister of Construction and Engineering Services, Rajitha Senaratne said. “Today the construction industry is booming in the Middle-Eastern countries, therefore, we could export skilled workers for those markets, more..

Crisis in the UNP might delay matters

Mar 15 (DM) The Parliamentary Select Committee tasked with introducing further amendments to the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, is to meet next week to discuss matters regarding the formulation of the final report – but the crisis in the UNP might delay matters. Committee chairman and Constitutional Affairs Minister D.E. W. Gunasekara told the Daily Mirror yesterday the committee would take a final decision on the issue after the meeting scheduled for March 21. more..