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‘Probe COPE findings, not critics’

Mar 20 (SAMN) Instead of arresting those who were critical of the Government, action must be taken to prosecute those whose names were revealed in the COPE report involving Rs 15,000 million fraud, the JVP said Monday. In a statement on the arrest of former Minister Sripathy Sooriarachchi, over the mishandling of state property the JVP said it was against anything that is illegal. more..

Nearly 10 per cent of State vehicles missing - Gotabhaya

Mar 20 (LNP) At least ten per cent of the state vehicles, used by Parliamentarians, both present and past, under various regimes, have gone missing. `There is no trace of these vehicles` Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse told The Island yesterday. While some Parliamentarians had promptly returned their vehicles, others have given them to their kith and kin and had obtained new vehicles from the Government. more..

Sripathy was arrested under normal law: President

Mar 20 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa told the government parliamentary group yesterday the arrest of sacked Minister Sripathy Sooriyarachchi was not made under emergency regulations or the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Mr. Rajapaksa said Mr. Sooriyarachchi was arrested under the normal law for retaining a government vehicle despite not being entitled to do so. more..

Sri Lankan leaders follow the stars

Mar 20 (HT) The Sri Lankan masses follow their leaders, but the leaders follow the stars - in their astrological chart. And evidently, they also keep a tab on their rivals' charts to know what they are up against. Complex political manoeuvres based on hardnosed calculations do go into making political decisions, but the final answer to the question "to do or not to do" is given, more often than not, by the leaders' trusted astrologers. more..

4 Tamil Tiger boats destroyed by artillery fire: Sri Lankan military

Mar 20 (AP) Sri Lankan army artillery fire destroyed four Tamil rebel boats off the country's northern coast, a senior military official said Tuesday. The number of casualties was not immediately known. Navy ships and troops manning artillery positions along Sri Lanka's coasts have been on the lookout for shipments of arms and ammunition intended for the separatist guerrillas, formally known as the LTTE. more..

Air attacks, land battles in Sri Lanka after ship sinkings

Mar 20 (AFP) Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger rebels have fought fierce land battles after government forces said they sank two ships smuggling weapons for the guerrillas, the defence ministry said. Elite commandos from a special police unit escaped a bomb attack in the eastern district of Batticaloa on Monday morning, the ministry said, adding that the roadside bomb was aimed at a foot patrol. more..

Sri Lanka wary of Bangladesh form

Mar 21 (BBC) Sri Lanka will not make the mistake of taking Bangladesh lightly as the race to qualify from Group B hots up. India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh each have two points so far, with the latter expected to beat Bermuda on Sunday. Therefore, if Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh but lose to India on Friday, all three teams would have four points and run rate would decide qualification. more..

UN appeals for urgent funds to feed thousands displaced by fighting

Mar 21 (UN) The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is appealing for vital funds to boost its operations in eastern Sri Lanka to ensure basic supplies for over 155,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in need of immediate aid after being uprooted by intensified fighting between the Government and Tamil separatists. more..

"Mahinda put his finger into Ranil's mouth and said vomit"- Weerawanse

Mar 21 (LeN) Adderssing the Kurunegale District Conference Chief Secretary of the JVP Tilvyn Silva said "this government is attempting to do the same things which Ranil's government attempted to do. This government is actually worse that Ranil's government". He said "this is a movement when the President we appointed has kicked away the mandate the public gave him. more..

The Rajapakse Brothers Co-operation tarnished the goodwill of the country- UNP

Mar 21 (LeN) The United National Party says the goodwill of the country has been tarnished due to the regime of the Rajapakse Brothers Corporation. Issuing a statement the UNP spokesperson says that this has intensified as the power has been centralized and all powers including military and monetary being directly in the hands of the President. more..

PublishAmerica Presents Train #50 by Pradeep Gunawardana and Bhadraji Mahinda Jayatilaka

Mar 21 (PR) PublishAmerica is proud to present Train #50: Tsunami Disaster by Los Angeles, California based authors Pradeep Gunawardana and Bhadraji Mahinda Jayatilaka. Train #50 is based on true incidents that happened on the day of the great Tsunami disaster in 2004. The train started from Colombo, southbound with 2,000 passengers on board; unforeseen events led to a disaster where most passengers perished. more..

Sri Lanka bracing for milk powder price burst

Mar 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka is bracing for a steep rise in milk powder prices, with a drought in Australia pushing international dairy product prices to unprecedented highs. Sri Lanka's top producers have already sought permission for an immediate price increase of about 10 percent, with further price increases on the cards. more..

Twenty One tsunami affected families resettled in Galle

Mar 21 (AT) Twenty one tsunami affected families in Thalapitiya, Galle were resettled in three storey housing complex on Friday 16 Mawrch, when they received their deeds of ownership at a ceremony held at the site. This UNDP project funded by the Government of Germany was launched in late 2005. Each housing unit is complete with water, electricity and sewerage facilities. more..

Most valuable hardware destroyed with the two ships were aircraft parts that alarms Defense Experts

Mar 21 (AT) The cargo destroyed with the two LTTE ships by the Sri Lanka Navy off Sri Lanka’s Eastern coast has once again drawn the attention of the South Asian defense community to the Tamil Tiger’s attempt to build its air force. According to intelligence reports some of the most expensive military hardware destroyed with the ships was aircraft spare parts or parts necessary to assemble light aircrafts. more..

Colombo conspires to alter East's demography- NLF

Mar 21 (TN) Dr.Wickremabahu Karunaratne, leader of the New Left Front (NLF) said at a news conference held Monday at Hotel Nippon in Colombo organized by the National Front Against War (NFAW) that Sri Lanka Government is conspiring to change the demography of the eastern province by forcibly driving out Tamil people and settling members of the majority community, media sources said. more..

House in uproar over Sripathi’s arrest

Mar 21 (ML) Leader of the Opposition and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday (20) charged that parliamentary supremacy has been seriously undermined by the Colombo Magistrate, the Police Department and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in the way SLFP Parliamentarian Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi was arrested. more..

TNA questions govt. on its stance on the peace process

Mar 21 (ML) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday questioned the position of the peace process and urged the government to stop military activities immediately. TNA Parliamentarian, R. Sampanthan speaking on the adjournment debate on the present security situation in the country said certain forces were preventing the country from moving forward. more..

Special exams in the east conclude successfully

Mar 21 (ML) The government held a special grade 5 scholarship examination that was conducted in the east last week. Department of Examinations (DOE) Commissioner General for Education Anura Edirisinghe told The Morning Leader that the exams were conducted successfully and that there were no problems. more..

Bogollagama suggests a new variant of joint patrolling of Palk Straits

Mar 21 (AT) Sri Lanka's foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama rounded his two-day India visit Tuesday night with a meeting with the defence minister AK Antony. Accompanied by his foreign secretary, he held discussions with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee. He also met former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani, the main opposition leader in Parliament. more..

London Tamil Broadcasting Corporation is back on the air

Mar 21 (AT) London Tamil Broadcasting Corporation is back on the air since from yesterday. Mr. V.Ramaraj, Director of the London Tamil Broadcasting Corporation in a press release said that they are on the air since from yesterday. He said that presently they are on a test broadcast and the regular programs including their popular political forum would be on the air soon. more..

Photo Essay: Sixty Five Years as Fortune Teller

Mar 21 (TW) Parvathy Mookkan Thangavel (75) has been a fortune teller since she was ten year-old girl. “Fortune telling has been my family job. I learnt it from my mother. I have traveled with my mother around the country as a young girl. I am very old and feel lonely now. I have nobody to take care of me. I found temple is the best place to read palms and tell fortune for people. I earn Rs.500 as my daily average income. more..

Sri Lanka seeks global help with separatists

Mar 21 (FT) Buried well down on the international agenda, Sri Lanka’s renewed descent into a particularly brutal conflict between the government and Tamil separatists has seen a sharp increase in killings and human rights abuses committed by both sides since a tenuous ceasefire disintegrated last year. Sri Lanka’s government is seeking stronger commitments of international support in its long war with the LTTE, particularly in cutting off funding raised through front companies and criminal gangs among the Tamil diaspora. more..

Women in Sri Lanka win the numbers battle, but war rages

Mar 21 (LBO) In Sri Lanka, women already outnumber men at 52 women for every 48 men and activists are warning that the proportion would increase if the war continues. However, in the workplace prospects are not all that rosy for Sri Lanka’s ladies. Women are still a minority among Sri Lanka's parliamentarians and ministers, despite the country producing the world's first female prime minister, and later a head of state. more..

Sri Lanka raises more dollars from rupee bonds, shoring up official reserves

Mar 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka has raised 40 million dollars this week by selling rupee bonds to foreign buyers bringing the total so far 140 million dollars, an official said. The government's debt office has so far sold 14.6 bullion rupees worth bonds to foreign buyers. Dealers say foreign investors are buying into 5-year bonds at yields of around 14 percent. more..

Ceylinco group to build new apartment and shopping complex

Mar 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Ceylino group plans to set a shopping and apartment complex in the heart of Colombo, following Board of Investment approval. The complex that is to be built in Nawala, will be a joint venture between Ceylinco Seylan Development Limited and Ceylinco Investment and Realty Limited, the group said in a statement on Tuesday. more..

The political drama needs a relater! – Somawansa Amarasinghe

Mar 21 (LT) “What is being staged today is not the one that was in the old book. This political saga doesn’t have a relater,” said Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe, Leader of the JVP addressing a seminar for intellectuals and professionals organized by the JVP on the theme “The crisis in the country and what should be done.” more..

Opposition asks the parliament to question CID officer

Mar 21 (LeN) Opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe Tuesday requested the speaker to permit the parliament to question Colombo Magistrate, Inspector General of Police and Deputy Inspector General-Criminal Investigation Department Prathapasingha for producing Sripathy Sooryarachi at the Colombo additional Magistrate after he was released by the Kaduwala Magistrate. more..

Court extends Sripathy's detention

Mar 21 (LeN) Kaduwella Magistrate Tuesday extended the detention period of former Minister Sripathy Sooryarachi until 27 March, who was remanded for alleged misuse of government property, to decide on the bail application submitted by his lawyers. Attorney at law Nalin Laduwahetti, appearing on be half of Sooriyarachi at the Kaduwela Magistrate, submitting the bail application sated that the latter should serve the people who voted for him, more..

“We are only exercising the rights of the people,”- Defence Spokesman

Mar 21 (GDI) “As a sovereign Government we treat all the Sri Lankan citizens equally and that is why the Government is exercising the rights of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in east by resettling them in their original lands in the east,” sated the Defence Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwalle addressing the media today. more..

"Government’s commitment to safeguard human rights is genuine and transparent"

Mar 21 (GDI) "Government is earnest in proving its honesty and transparency in preserving human rights in Sri Lanka to the international community," stated the Defence Spokesman, Keheliya Rambukwalle today addressing the media. Mr. Rambukwalle stated that during the discussions of the United Nations Human Rights Council which is being held from 12th to 30th March more..

I.M.R.A. Iriyagolla honoured with stamp

Mar 21 (GDI) A stamp was issued yesterday to commemorate I. M. R. A. Iriyagolla, a former Education and Cultural Affairs Minister. The ceremony was held under the patronage of Information and Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and Post and Telecommunication Minister Rauff Hakeem. The late I. M. R. A. Iriyagolla was hailed as a dynamic politician who deserved a commemorative stamp in his honour for the yeomen service, more..

Aussie investments in SL to boost with new agreement

Mar 21 (GDI) Sri Lanka entered in to an investment agreement with the Australian Government, which will pave the way towards expanded Australian investment opportunities in Sri Lanka. The Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement between Sri Lanka and Australia will enter into force with effect from this month, with the completion by the Australian authorities of its domestic procedures for the entry into force of the Agreement. more..

Clean hands: Campaign against corruption

Mar 21 (GDI) Presidential Secretary Lalith C. Weeratunga said that corruption can only be curbed if the prevailing culture in both sectors of the economy was transformed. "While the reputation of the public sector has been tarnished due to corruption, the private sector was also responsible for the corruption in state institutions, he said. more..

Boost to Indo-Lanka relations

Mar 21 (GDI) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogallagama's discussion with Indian leaders have given a boost to friendly relations and cooperation between India and Sri Lanka in many fields. Minister Bogollagama's meeting with A. K. Antony, was his first since assuming his current portfolio, with the Indian Defence Minister. more..

Policy decision to recruit Tamil translators in police stations

Mar 21 (GDI) Government has taken a policy decision to recruit retired public servants as Tamil translators in police stations all around Sri Lanka. This was announced to media by the Defence Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwalle at the weekly press briefing at the Garamodaya Center today. more..

MDMK functionary surrenders before police

Mar 21 (ZN) A top MDMK functionary, wanted in connection with the 'Sri Lanka hawala transaction case' surrendered before the Q branch police last night. Police went to the house of Seema Basheer, organising secretary of MDMK, yesterday evening, but he along with another MDMK functionary, gave a slip to the police. A special police team was formed to nab him. more..

Weakness in the education system

Mar 21 (ANN) The National Education Commission (NEC) has made a startling revelation. Eighteen per cent of six graders cannot write at all. In a survey to assess the language and mathematical skills of school children, conducted with 4,054 students from seventy schools representing all provinces except the North and the East, the NEC has found twenty eight per cent of ten graders cannot write legibly and only 35 per cent of them can take down a passage dictated to them. more..

Lanka targets Tigers’ overseas arms procurement network

Mar 21 (ANN) In the backdrop of the Sri Lanka SLN (Navy)'s biggest ever success against the LTTE in the entire Eelam war, the government is trying to neutralise the enemy’s overseas arms procurement network. The SLN intercepted and destroyed the two ships in separate confrontations on the high seas last Sunday (March 18). The strike was hot on the heels of the Feb 28 destruction of another LTTE vessel. more..

MIG 27-Inside Story

Mar 21 (MoD) Speculations over an alleged fraud said to have taken place when purchasing MIG 27 fighters for Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) have been there ever since the proposal were made to the government. Now, these speculations have amounted to a formal complaint made at the bribery commission by two parliamentarians. The website giving due respect to its viewers' right to know the truth, looked into the details of the alleged deal and found out quite an interesting story. more..

Sri Lanka Shares close up 0.74 percent; T-bill rates edge up

Mar 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka shares closed up with telecom stocks dominating trading, while yields at Wednesday's treasury bill auction edged higher. Sri Lanka Telecom closed flat at 39.25 rupees, but with 4.4 million shares traded it brought in turnover of more than 170 million rupees of the day's turnover of 653.1 million. more..

Batticaloa mobile communications cut off

Mar 21 (SAMN) Mobile communications in the Batticaloa district have been cut off as part of routine security measures for the ongoing military operations in Thoppigala and adjoining areas. However aid groups operating in the district have raised concerns over the move as they believed it might hamper communications between their staff operating on the ground. more..

Bahu wants hate campaign stopped

Mar 21 (SAMN) Left Front Leader, Dr. Wickramabahu Karunaratne has called on Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to stop his hate campaign and remove threats on his life. In a letter to Rajapaksa, Karunaratne has charged that the Defence Ministry’s website has ‘shamelessly distorted’ his speeches made during his visit to Europe, depicting him as a paid agent of the LTTE. more..

No change in ban on moms working abroad

Mar 21 (SAMN) The ban on mothers with children below the age of five years migrating for work still stands, the Women’s Affairs Ministry said. Human rights organisations have objected to the cabinet decision banning mothers with children below the age of five years migrating for work, claiming it was gender discriminatory. Women’s Affairs Ministry, Additional Secretary, Daya Peiris said the decision was approved by cabinet and stands. more..

New printed on tissues and brown paper

Mar 21 (SAMN) Brown paper and tissue are being used to print newspapers in the Jaffna peninsula due to the severe shortage experienced in newsprint and ink. The Uthayan newspaper last Sunday was printed on brown paper. Editor, Uthayan and Sudar Oli newspapers, N. Vithyatharan said no newsprint had gone to the peninsula after August 11 last year. more..

Gemunu Wijesuriya's voice is no more

Mar 21 (DN) Well known radio artiste Gemunu Wijesuriya died on Monday while receiving treatment at a private hospital. He was 73. The remains lie at his residence 540/19, Thalawathugoda, Madiwela. His body will be removed to the Art Gallery at 1.00 p.m. today for the public to pay their last respects. Funeral takes place today at the General Cemetery, Borella. more..

Speaker officially informed about Sripathi's arrest - Chief Govt Whip

Mar 21 (DN) Chief Government Whip Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle yesterday told Parliament that the CID has officially informed the Speaker on the arrest of Gampaha District MP Sripathi Suriyarachchi. "Therefore the MP's privilege has not been breached or damage caused to the dignity and decorum of the House," the Minister said. more..

Sripathi arrest: UNP claims breach of privilege

Mar 21 (DM) The UNP demanded in Parliament yesterday that the IGP, CID Director and the Colombo Magistrate be summoned before Parliament for an inquiry regarding the alleged breach of privilege of parliamentarian Sripathi Sooriyarachchi. Raising a question of privilege, Chief opposition whip Joseph Michael Perera said the parliamentary privilege of Mr.Sooriyarachchi had been violated by this arrest. more..

Religious rights of every Lankan citizen assured: President

Mar 21 (DM) At the progress review meeting of Religious Affairs and Moral Upliftment held recently at “Temple Trees” President Mahinda Rajapaksa said there should be no barriers for any religious rites and that he is dedicated to assure the religious rights of every citizen in this country. “Any person belonging to any community has the right to live freely in any part of the country. more..

World Vision Aid Continues in War Torn Sri Lanka

Mar 21 (CT) World Vision continues development work in the war-torn districts of Sri Lanka, as the conflict continues to tear apart the lives of thousands of men, women, and children. The recent escalation in hostilities has given rise to a major crisis in the spiralling number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the east of Sri Lanka with over 155,000 now left homeless and living in IDP camps. more..

Peace is knocking on the door -- Anandasangaree tells seminar in the House of Commons

Mar 21 (AT) A packed audience comprising Members of the British and European Parliaments and a large gathering of Sri Lankans of all communities as well as British academics and media representatives attended the Parliamentary seminar on the theme “A way forward to peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka” organized by the London based Campaign for Peace & Unity in Sri Lanka (CPUSL). more..