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Sri Lanka says sinks big rebel arms transport ship

Mar 18 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's navy sank a large ship on Sunday it said was transporting arms for Tamil Tiger rebels and the blazing vessel and its crew disappeared under the waves after a series of explosions. The incident, off the restive eastern coast and away from strategic harbor port of Trincomalee, came after a series of land and sea clashes over the past year and the military started new offensive to wipe out rebels from east. more..

The Sinhala terrorist story is a political conspiracy of Gotabaya and the crew

Mar 18 (LeN) It is now being revealed that the "Sinhala Terrorists" label that came to the forum recently, is a political conspiracy, created by several powerful hands including the Secretary of the Defense ministry. It is also being said that before the so called Sinhala Terrorists were arrested, the leaders of the organisation Shyamal and Lalith Senevirathne had visited several media organizations in vehicles are believed to be of Military Intelligence sources more..

"The 'Sinhala terrorist' leader is a national treasure of the intelligence unit"- Kadawatha OIC

Mar 18 (LeN) It is being disclosed that "Shyamal" who is the main suspect of the "Sinhala Terrorist" group, which is said to have had connections with the LTTE, have undergone LTTE training and were involved in triggering bombs in the South, is said to be kept in a location which belongs to the Military with maximum security. more..

Bob Woolmer's death stuns cricket world

Mar 19 (CI) Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan coach, died in hospital in Jamaica on Sunday after being found unconscious on the floor of his World Cup hotel room earlier in the day. He was 58. Pervez Mir, Pakistan's media manager, said: "Bob Woolmer has passed away. I am speaking from the hospital and all the team management is also at the hospital. Doctors have pronounced him dead. more..

Dominant Australia beat Netherlands by 229 runs

Mar 19 (CI) The minnow-bashing was not as brutal as South Africa's but Australia motored along like a well-oiled machine and exploded during the slog to bat Netherlands out of the match by scoring 358 for 5 at St Kitts. After being agonisingly stranded in the nineties twice in 14 matches, Brad Hodge reached his maiden one-day hundred during what was a perfectly paced innings. more..

Mahinda - Ranil in "secret pact"

Mar 19 (BBC) President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the main opposition is in a secret pact to bring in foreign military to Sri Lanka, Rajapaksa's election alleged. The Peoples Liberation Front (JVP) parliamentarian Lal Kantha said Rajapaksa and Ranil Wickramasinghe are expoliting the human rights abuses to bring in international envoys and security forces. more..

Allan Little talks to Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister, Rohitha Bogollagama

Mar 19 (BBC) Sri Lanka's government appears to be pursuing a military solution to the separatist aspirations of the Tamil Tigers. Although officially they're seeking a negotiated settlement, more than 3,000 people died last year in fighting between government and rebels. The government has come under fire also from children's charities and non governmental organisations for human rights abuses. more..

Sri Lanka business delegation signs several joint venture agreements with Chinese counterparts

Mar 19 (AT) A 60 member high powered private sector trade delegation led by Nawaz Rajabdeen, President, Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Induatry of Sri Lanka went to China along with the recent Presidential entourage. The delegates were highly satisfied with the great success of the tour, as they were able to arrange various joint ventures and export orders of local products. more..

CCI offers opportunities to become an Engineer while being in employment

Mar 19 (AT) The shortage of suitably qualified technical personnel for middle level management grades is an acute problem in the construction industry and at the same time young school leavers are reluctant to join the industry due to lack of opportunities in the industry to progress in their chosen career. more..

Sri Lanka implements IPC pepper project

Mar 19 (Hindu) The International Pepper Community (IPC)/FAO-assisted project aimed at improving the pepper quality and marketing of value-added products has been implemented by the Sri Lankan Department of Export Agriculture recently. India is the major export market for the Sri Lankan pepper, which often was subjected to criticism by the trading community here as inferior in quality. more..

SL government is strong, says Anura Bandaranaike

Mar 19 (TN) Mahinda Rajapakse's government is in a stronger position after the joining of UNP dissidents, and there is no question about the government's stability within the parliament, National Heritage minister Anura Bandaranaike, said Sunday in Kandy. Minister Bandaranaike held discussions with the Malwatte chapter Mahanayake Ven. Thibatuwawe Sidartha Sri Sumangala Thero on issues related to National Heritage. more..

England make hard work of vital win

Mar 19 (CI) After the disciplinary problems of the previous day England managed to keep their focus, dispatching Canada by 51 runs in St Lucia, to open their World Cup account. Ed Joyce and Paul Collingwood hit sixties as England began and ended their batting strongly before early inroads with the ball put the result beyond doubt. more..

Sri Lanka Telecom looks to convergence for growth

Mar 19 (LBO) Gloom over the spectacular telecom busts in the last decade has given way to a new round of optimism worldwide and the new mantra for the telecom industry is convergence. That optimism is driving change in Sri Lanka’s largest fixed line telecom firm, Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT). However a network overhaul and combing business to reduce operations and investment costs hinges on Sri Lanka’s telecom regulator. more..

Sri Lankan defence ministry extends police state moves

Mar 19 (wsws) As the Sri Lankan government expands its military offensives against the LTTE, preparations are being made to further curtail basic democratic rights and suppress political opposition, particularly to the war. A chilling Ministry of Defence (MOD) press statement issued on March 1 foreshadowed a widening use of the present emergency powers against anyone criticising the activities of the security forces. more..

Bishop calls for urgent help to Batticaloa IDPs

Mar 19 (TN) "Around 1,53,000 Internally Displaced People from the LTTE held areas, are suffering without sufficient food, drinking water and other basic facilities for the last four or five days. The International community and humanitarian organizations should step in immediately to help the destitute people," Rt. Rev. Kingsley Swampillai, the Bishop of the Trincomalee-Batticaloa diocese of the Catholic Church said to media, more..

Jaffna bus service reduced due to lack of spares

Mar 19 (TN) Ceylon Transport Board (CTB), the only public transport means in Jaffna peninsula, will soon ground to a halt as spares and other essentials have ceased to reach Jaffna since the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) closed the A9 land route to the peninsula in August 2006, transportation officials in Jaffna said, Friday. Only 63 buses of the usual fleet of 137 are able to function and at least 400 tyres are immediately needed besides essentials like oil, tubes and spare parts. more..

Govt has accepted sea reclamation plan: John Keells

Mar 19 (LBO) John Keells Holdings (JKH) said Monday it was officially informed by the government that a letter of intent (LOI) would be issued on a private public partnership to reclaim land around the Colombo port. "We have received notification today that the Cabinet Sub-committee on Investment Facilitation (CSIF) has approved the issuance of a Letter of Intent (LOI) in favour of John Keells Holdings Limited (JKH) in connection with a proposal submitted by JKH to the Government of Sri Lanka," more..

Sri Lanka shares close 0.86 percent up

Mar 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s shares closed up Monday amidst thin trading, dealers said. The benchmark All Share Price Index closed up 0.86 percent to 2,752.74 points and the Milanka Index gained one percent to 3,836.30. Total turnover for the day was only 149.2 million rupees. Mobile operator Dialog was up 25 cents at 25.75 and Sri Lanka Telecom was up 50 cents to 37.25 rupees. more..

'Ranil may loose his position of ‘Opposition Leader’ to JVP’s Wimal Weerawansa'

Mar 19 (AT) Cabinet Minister Jeyaraj Fernadopulle predicted that there are possibilities that Ranil Wickremesinghe might lose his job and Wimal Weerawansa might very well become the country’s Leader of Opposition very soon in the present parliament. With the planned cross over of the next five UNP parliamentarians the office of the Leader of Opposition held by the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe would come to an end predicted Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle. more..

British Prime Minister’s perception on the implementation of Ceasefire Agreement in Sri Lanka disputed

Mar 19 (AT) Sri Lankan Muslim Information centre in the United Kingdom while welcoming the British Prime Minister’s concern about the resolution of the Sri Lanka’s national question has expressed their disappointment over his observation, that the only realistic way to solve Sri Lanka’s national question is to fully implement the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA). more..

JVP condemns undemocratic actions of the Sri Lanka Government

Mar 19 (AT) The Political Bureau of the JVP has condemned the Sri Lanka Government for its undemocratic actions including the arresting of a political dissident and demanded that the tendency to frighten people should be done away forthwith. In a statement released to the press the Political Bureau of the JVP has pointed out that the Member of Parliament Sripathy Suriyarachchi has been taken into custody on the 17th March, 2007. more..

“Govt’s peace proposals will grant maximum devolution of power,”-FM

Mar 19 (GDI) “Government’s peace proposals are aimed at granting maximum devolution of power, while maintaining the unity of Sri Lanka,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama stated addressing the meeting at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC. Minister explained that the Government will be placing these proposals before the All Party Representative Committee (APRC), more..

4000 villages developing under ‘Gama Neguma’

Mar 19 (GDI) 4000 villages island-wide will be upgraded starting from the 29 of this month with a total estimated cost of Rs.77 billion. This project comes under the ‘Gama Neguma’ the village development programme, which is comes under Mahinda Chinthana. According to the Nation Building Ministry another extension of this programme is to launch in November this year as an island wide project ending by 2009, targeting 8000 Grama Niladhari (GN) divisions. more..

Sri Lankan FM to visit India next

Mar 19 (GDI) The Sri Lankan Foreign Minister- Rohitha Bogollagama, following his visit to the United States will arrive in New Delhi on a three day official visit to India. The Foreign Minister will discuss with the External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on a wide range of issues relating to the security situation in Sri Lanka. more..

Senior Catholic priests appreciate security forces’ efforts to help Northern citizens

Mar 19 (GDI) Several most senior Catholic priests during a three day visit in Jaffna during the weekend witnessing the progress of the lives of the people appreciated the efforts put in by the troops securing the normalcy of the Northern peninsula. Bishop of Galle Rt. Rev. Dr. Harold Anthony Perera, Bishop of Anuradhapura Rt. Rev. Dr. Norbert M. Andradhi OMI and Mannar Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph arrived at the Palaly airport on Friday (16) morning. more..

Sri Lanka & China enter in to MoU on bilateral Air Services

Mar 19 (GDI) Sri Lanka and China entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on enhancing the bilateral air services between the two countries. Accordingly, a Sri Lankan delegation led by the Secretary of Ministry of Ports and Aviation visited China on 15 and 16 of March, at the invitation of the Government of China. more..

Key member of smuggling gang held

Mar 19 (Hindu) The `Q' branch police on Sunday arrested a key member of a gang that was involved in smuggling of explosive materials to Sri Lanka. They also seized a boat used for the nefarious activities. Police sources told The Hindu that Muniandi (55), son of Chinnandi of Mandapam, a boat owner, was arrested based on a confession made by Kannan of Nagatchi in Ramanathapuram district. more..

NGOs, subversive activists and foreign funds - I

Mar 19 (NT) I am quite amused though not surprised by the recent statement of Fr Jegath Gasper Raj, a Catholic priest who had recently collaborated with Kanimozhi, daughter of Chief Minister Karunanidhi in organizing the recently concluded Chennai Sangamam in collaboration with Tamil Maiyam - ostensibly a cultural festival which was held in Chennai city. more..

LTTE faces critical shortage of ‘ammo’

Mar 19 (ANN) Efforts of the LTTE to replenish its depleted arsenal suffered a serious setback when the SLN intercepted and destroyed two of its large vessels carrying huge stocks of armaments in separate engagements yesterday (March 18). Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) tracked them down on the high seas, a senior military official said. more..

Mangala calls on democratic forces to rise against `emerging tyranny`

Mar 19 (LNP) Former Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday called on all democratic forces to come together to work against what he termed as `the emerging tyranny` in the country. Mr. Samaraweera told the Daily Mirror yesterday that even the UNP and the SLFP as democratic political parties could be a part of that exercise. more..

Govt has nothing to hide on human rights -FM

Mar 19 (LNP) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told a meeting in Washington on Friday that the Government had taken a bold initiative to appoint an international observer group to the Commission of Inquiry for investigating alleged human rights violation since it had nothing to hide and is committed to ensure such violations don`t go unpunished. more..

Time has come to do what`s right

Mar 19 (LNP) Politics, it is said, is the art of the possible. But some of our politicians are doing not just what is possible but what in any democracy worthy of its name would surely be considered impossible. Take the size of the present cabinet. Would President Mahinda Rajapakse or any other politician for that matter have dared to go to the electorate and told the people that they would seek an entry for this nation in the Guinness Book of Records by appointing a cabinet this size? more..

AI accuses UNHRC of ‘dithering’

Mar 19 (SAMN) Amnesty International (AI) Sunday accused the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) of ‘dithering’ on the Sri Lankan issue in the face of continuing human rights abuses with alleged impunity in the country. However a UN HR official in Sri Lanka said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was well aware of the need for the council to be more effective in its activities and outlined her expectations in a statement last week. more..

Speaker to discuss LTTE deal

Mar 19 (SAMN) Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara has decided to take up the Select Committee proposal to probe the alleged deal struck with the LTTE at a party leaders’ meeting shortly before placing it on the Parliamentary Order Paper. A few weeks ago, sacked Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathy Sooriyarachci alleged the government signed a secret pact with Tigers in the run up to the Presidential Election to ensure a boycott of the poll in the northern and eastern provinces. more..

Karuna faction boosts firepower

Mar 19 (SAMN) The Karuna faction has boosted its firepower with the recent recovery of four mortars earlier possessed by the LTTE. According to Karuna’s spokesperson Azad Moulana they recovered four mortars including two 120 mm tubes during a search operation in the Thoppigala area, the focus of ongoing security forces operations spearheaded by elite units. more..

LTTE suffers double blow

Mar 19 (SAMN) The LTTE efforts to replenish its depleted arsenal suffered a serious setback when the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) intercepted and destroyed two of its large vessels carrying huge stocks of armaments in separate engagements Sunday. Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) tracked them down on the high seas, a senior military official said, adding that four OPVs were deployed to carry out the latest operation which resulted in the first-ever destruction of two LTTE vessels during a confrontation with the navy. more..

President wants speedy renovation of religious sites

Mar 19 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered the speedy renovation of religious sites of all faiths, throughout the country, allocating Rs. 103 million for this purpose. In addition religious sites in Anuradhapura area are to be renovated with other infrastructure to ensure maximum facilities to the Pilgrims before the forthcoming Vesak Poya. more..

Work on Upper Kotmale next month

Mar 19 (DN) The construction of the Upper Kothmale Hydro Power Plant’s water tunnel begins next month at the initiative of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. A spokesman for the Power and Energy Ministry said that measures would be taken to start construction of the tunnel from April 9 under the second phase of the Upper Kothmale Hydro Power Project on the President’s instructions. more..

Viharamahadevi Park loses its lustre

Mar 19 (DM) Viharamahadevi Park which has been a paradise for children and a recreation centre for many decades has become a place for criminal activity and disturbances in the recent past. The most serious incident that had taken place recently was an alleged attempted rape of a young woman by a son of a Pradeshiya Sabha member and four others. The incident resulted in fisticuffs when the security officers of the Park intervened. more..

New medical faculty at Sabaragamuwa university

Mar 19 (DM) Another Medical Faculty will be established at the Sabaragamuwa University next year with the hope of admitting 80 students for the first batch. The total number of medical colleges will be nine after the establishment of the new faculty. Last year, the University Grants Commission (UGC) established a medical faculty at Rajarata University accommodating around 200 students. more..

Display of price index on essential food items compulsory

Mar 19 (GDI) Consumer Affairs Authority has made it compulsory to the Government operated ‘Lak Sathosa’ Shops, Budget Shops, Economic Centres, Co-operative shops around the country, to display the price indexes of the recently price regulated essential goods. The Chairman of the Consumer Affairs Authority Sarath Wijesinghe stated that if any of these shops do not display the regulated price list the Authority will have to take legal action against such shops. more..

“Comprehending to the wishes ...

Mar 19 (GDI) “People long for peace. They want a peaceful solution. It is in these circumstances, we by comprehending the wishes of the people are working towards finding a solution through democratic processes within the united Sri Lanka,” stated the Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare Douglas Devananda. Mr. Devananda said "If we dream, we can achieve anything through war", such an intention will lead us towards loosing the freedom we already have. more..

Asylum seekers promised 'quick' process

Mar 19 (AAP) Australia has promised to process "as quickly as possible" the asylum claims of 82 Sri Lankan boat people being held on Nauru. The men arrived in Nauru at the weekend, having spent four weeks detained on Christmas Island after their fishing vessel was intercepted by the Australian navy in international waters. more..

175 schoolchildren, 9 staff narrowly escape air strike on school

Mar 19 (TN) Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Kfir bombers Monday morning bombed a school in Chundikulam, wounding a female teacher and two schoolboys, attending 7th grade and 9th grade at the school, Chundikulam Vidyalayam, located 21 km northeast of Kilinochchi, in the southern part of Vadamaradchi East region in Jaffna district. Three bombs were dropped 25 meters from a class room. more..

Mines a menace as Sri Lanka resettles war refugees

Mar 19 (Reuters) Their houses have been hit by artillery fire, their belongings looted and drinking water supplies contaminated, but the greatest menace facing Sri Lanka's resettled war refugees are landmines and unexploded bombs. In this former Tamil Tiger stronghold, troops estimate the rebels laid around 6,000 mines to slow an army offensive to evict them. more..

Bid to alter ethnic ratio in Lanka flayed

Mar 19 (HT) A group of anti-war and human rights activists in Sri Lanka has alleged that the government is using the on-going military operations against the LTTE in the East to lessen the number of Tamil-speaking people vis-a vis the Sinhalas there. The veteran leftist leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara warned that the move to bring about demographic changes in the East would be "disastrous" as it would take the ethnic conflict to a "dangerous terrain" and further internationalise it. more..

Britain can reach out to LTTE's 'lower levels': Colombo

Mar 19 (IANS) Sri Lanka, bogged down by an undeclared war, feels Britain can play a larger role in the now derailed peace process by reaching out to the Tamil Tigers at 'lower levels', a top official said Monday. Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona, however, said Britain would not replace Norway, which brokered a ceasefire between Colombo and the LTTE in 2002 but is now not in the good books of the regime of President Mahinda Rajapakse. more..

Sri Lanka says planes bomb rebels in north; 8 dead in separate clashes

Mar 19 (AP) Air force fighter planes bombed a Tamil rebel naval base in Sri Lanka's volatile north Monday, the military said, while eight combatants were killed in separate clashes between government troops and rebels in east. Air force spokesman Group Capt. Ajantha Silva said a well-identified base was bombed that is operated by the naval wing of the Tamil rebels, in northern Kilinochchi district. more..

Heavy battles after Sri Lanka claims sinking Tiger ships

Mar 19 (AFP) Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger rebels have fought fierce land battles after government forces said they sank two ships smuggling in weapons for the guerrillas, officials said Monday. An intense battle broke out in the eastern district of Batticaloa Sunday leaving at least two soldiers dead and 13 wounded, military officials said. more..

High hopes of ‘good’ jobs, poor training keep Sri Lankan youth unemployed

Mar 20 (LBO) Lining up for ‘good’ jobs coupled with limited access to quality education and training have upped levels of unemployment among Sri Lanka’s youth, a new World Bank study shows. The study shows that youth with GCE Ordinary Level and GCE Advanced Level education are the most unemployed, compared to other levels of education. more..