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'False allegations on MIG 27 deal; an attempt to destroy Sri Lanka’s international relationships'

Mar 24 (GDI) Government has vehemently denied any inconsistency in purchasing of the MIG 27 aircrafts and stated that these allegations may hinder the humanitarian operations in the East and also disrupt diplomatic relations between the Government and friendly states. more..

EROS attacks LTTE's proxies in London

Mar 24 (AT) The two former members of the EROS who are holding a meeting in London today have come under attack from the main body of EROS now operating in Europe. In a press release Rajanathan Prabakaran, General Secretary of the Democratic Front of the Eelam Revolutionary Organization has charged that Ravi Suntharalingham alias 'Kudumbi Ravi' and Velupillai Kuhanendran alias 'Kuhan' who have organized this meeting in London today are acting as proxies of the LTTE's in London. more..

Textile Institute's international conference hosted in Colombo

Mar 24 (BT) Sri Lanka played host to the Textile Institute's international conference from 1-3 March at the Cinnamon Grand hotel in Colombo for the first time; says Professor Lakdas Fernando, chairman of the Organising Committee. The conference was inaugurated at the Cinnamon Grand. The theme of the conference was "Concept to Consumer". Prof. Peiris was the chief guest. more..

Indian fans vent fury after Sri Lanka loss

Mar 24 (Reuters) Hundreds of cricket fans across India burnt effigies, defaced posters and held mock funeral processions of the national team, a day after their defeat to Sri Lanka in the World Cup match in the Caribbean. Winners in 1983 and finalists in the last tournament, India suffered a 69-run defeat in their crunch Group B match against Sri Lanka and their slim hopes of progressing now hinge on an unlikely defeat for Bangladesh by debutants Bermuda on Sunday. more..

Separatist violence in Canada and Sri Lanka

Mar 24 (TW) “How did Canada escape protracted political violence despite having a flourishing separatist movement?” This was a perplexing question that six Sri Lankan media participants seriously tried to grapple with during a ten - day study tour in Canada February 25th to March 6th. We raised this question often at our meetings with academics and professionals particularly in the French - Canadian majority province of Quebec. more..

Plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka – Then and Now

Mar 24 (TW) The present depressing situation particularly for the Tamils in Sri Lanka is the worst since India intervened in 1987 to end the internal strife that had escalated to a violent campaign for a separate autonomous state of Tamil Eelam in the island’s North-East region. India, keen on preventing the break-up of Sri Lanka urged the Sri Lankan Government to devolve powers to the provinces with the Northern and Eastern provinces merged as one multi-ethnic unit. more..

Nuraichcolai Photo Essay: “A forgotten community”

Mar 24 (TW) The Muslims of Mannar were forced to leave in 1990. Most of them were fishermen and farmers. Some of them have changed their traditional job over a period, and doing business to earn a better income. A large number of people are still living in cadjan huts, where a few of the displaced people have managed to build houses on their own. They have been living in these tiny huts for seventeen years. more..

Govt getting ready for an election; looking for a political party to compete

Mar 24 (LeN) Source from the Temple Trees say that the President is getting ready for an election though several senior ministers repeatedly said that an election will not be held until 2010. This is being confirmed due to the fact that, Dalas Alahaperuma who is a close ally of president, holding secret discussions with several party secretaries to to take over their parties and register them with different names. more..

Some ministers are involved with the abductions

Mar 24 (LeN) The UNP says some ministers are also involved with the abductions and collection of ransom which is taking place freely in the island currently. The charge is being made by Former Speaker Joseph Michael Perera. Speaking in parliament yesterday he said that the UNP is aware which ministers were involved with the abductions but said that the Party would refrain from disclosing them in parliament as it would be a violation of parliament standing orders. more..

India lacked muscle and hustle

Mar 24 (CI) The magnitude of this match, it was said, could have rivalled a World Cup final. The tournament could ill afford India, cricket's cash cow, to crash out so early. Some reckoned there was so much at stake that India, which contributes close to a third of the game's revenues, would remain in the competition, even if it involved arm-twisting behind the scenes. more..

It wasn't good enough - Chappell

Mar 24 (CI) Greg Chappell appeared in what was probably his most volatile press conference in the job. "In light of recent events," he said, referring to the Bob Woolmer incident, "I am not going to be making any comments about what's wrong with anything or anybody." It did not stop the media from trying. Who should take responsibility for this defeat? I think it's a collective responsibility. We didn't play well enough and it is a disappointment that everyone has to share. more..

'We didn't deserve to go into the second round' - Dravid

Mar 24 (CI) Rahul Dravid played the shot of a defeated man in India's virtual knockout by Sri Lanka at the Queen's Park Oval. Hobbling on one foot, watching the wickets go down and the required rate go up, he began throwing about his bat, ultimately holing out, having just taken 17 from a Lasith Malinga over. It was the cricketing equivalent of his expression as he faced the press for a long interrogation later. more..

Army seize large LTTE arms, medication haul

Mar 24 (LNP) Security forces seized a large quantity of explosives hidden in a lorry parked opposite a house at Navanthurai in Jaffna yesterday morning, sources said. Among the items recovered were a suicide jacket, two explosive charges, a bottle of cyanide powder, two satellite phones, three remote controls, nine claymore charges, four communications sets, one Nokia phone charger and 20 code sheets, sources said. more..

Police raid building sites

Mar 24 (LNP) A massive search operation was launched yesterday to check particulars of employees and vehicles at building sites in the Western province, police said. Western Province DIG N.K. Ilangakoon said police had received information that several workmen employed in building projects were involved in terrorist and underworld activities including murders. more..

Newsprint for Jaffna papers soon

Mar 24 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has assured newspaper publishers that all their problems will be solved shortly and printing material will be supplied to Jaffna. The President made this assurance when he met Ranjith Wijewardene, the President of the Newspaper Publishers Association yesterday. The President has requested Newspaper Publishers to be impartial and not to promote terrorism. more..

Mihin Air runs into major storm in Parliament

Mar 24 (LNP) The UNP and the JVP yesterday hit out at the government, accusing it of failing to obtain prior approval either from the Cabinet or Parliament when launching the controversial budget airline `Mihin Air`. For the second time, Parliament debated the issue yesterday as an adjournment motion proposed by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake who asked as to how public funds were released from the Employees` Trust Fund, Employees Provident Fund and the Foreign Employment Bureau for the project without Parliament sanction. more..

Govt. probes move to hamper IDPs return

Mar 24 (SAMN) The Defence Ministry has launched an investigation into allegations that international organisations are urging internally displaced persons (IDPs) not to return to their native places, a high level ministry source said Friday. "Some international organisations have pressured the displaced persons in Batticaloa not to go back to their native places. more..

President assures honourable peace

Mar 24 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa Friday assured that he would bring an end to the decade long bloodshed in the country ushering honourable peace ensuring the security of people to traverse from the point of Dondra to Point Pedro free from any fear or doubt. The President gave this assurance when he attended the foundation stone laying ceremony to construct the new Dagoba “Mahinda Saama Chaityaya” at Priyangala Raja Maha Viharaya, Madatugama, Kekirawa more..

Lanka won’t be intimidated: Dayan

Mar 24 (SAMN) The newly appointed Sri Lankan ambassador to Geneva, speaking at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday voiced strong opposition to what was said by some member states and non-governmental organisations when speaking about Sri Lanka. According to a transcript of a statement made by Ambassador Dayan Jayatillake during a right of reply during the ongoing sessions, he took exception to the tone and attitude of at least two NGOs and Sweden’s representative. more..

50,000 houses for shanty dwellers

Mar 24 (SAMN) A programme to construct 50,000 houses to accommodate shanty dwellers is in progress, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. The President also instructed officials to make arrangements to remove unauthorised constructions within the city without any discrimination and emphasised the need to keep the city beautiful. more..

Provincial tourism facilities to be developed

Mar 24 (DN) Tourism Minister Milinda Moragoda will hold discussions once in every three months with all Provincial Council Chief Ministers to upgrade the tourism industry. Addressing chief ministers at the inaugural discussion in Colombo on Wednesday, he said the foundation of tourism industry is based on Provincial and Urban Councils, Pradeshiya Sabhas and local tourists and it is through them that the country could take the message around the world. more..

Standard Newspapers frozen funds freed

Mar 24 (DN) Petitioners Standard Newspapers (Pvt) Ltd. and Standard Printers Pvt. Ltd now can operate their accounts, the Attorney General informed the Supreme Court when rights applications filed by four companies against the freezing of their accounts by the Finance Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Central Bank were mentioned before the court yesterday. more..

Prof. Warnapala appoints committee ignoring reports of previous four

Mar 24 (DM) Higher Education Minister Prof.Wishva Warnapala informed Parliament on Thursday he would take action to resolve the crisis at the Pali and Buddhist University shortly, where Bhikkhu undergraduates are staging a Satyagraha urging the authorities to remove the two officials allegedly involved in corruption. more..

Tyranny gave birth to Tigers: Sambanthan

Mar 24 (DM) In what appeared to be a direct reference to the Sinhala community, TNA MP R. Sambanthan on Thursday said the LTTE was “your baby” but went on to add that they didn’t mind referring to the terrorist outfit as “our baby” for the purpose of resolving the conflict. Addressing a Symposium on the Experts’ Reports to the APRC, the veteran parliamentarian said rebellions were inevitable when there were consistent violations of Human Rights. more..

Cricket bridges ethnic divide in Lanka

Mar 24 (HT) With an armed conflict on for the last two decades, Sri Lankans may seem to be irreconcilably divided on ethnic lines. But Sri Lankan cricket has shown, time and again, that an all-embracing, multi-ethnic Sri Lankan identity does exist, and is a force to reckon with. This was strikingly evident when Team Lanka took on Team India and gave the latter a drubbing in the World Cup match on Friday. more..

Moderate Tamils' constitutional proposal

Mar 24 (HT) The Eelam Peoples' Revolutionary Liberation Front – Padmanabha (EPRLF-P), a moderate Sri Lankan Tamil group despite its name, has proposed that Sri Lanka adopt a secular and federal constitution which will also ensure that no ethnic group or political party gets a brute two thirds majority in parliament. more..

Sri Lanka death toll rises as army battles rebels

Mar 24 (Reuters) Sri Lankan troops fought artillery duels and close-quarter battles with Tamil Tiger rebels in the island's northwest on Saturday, as each side claimed to have killed dozens of foes over three days. The military said it believed it had killed at least 45 Tiger rebels in the clashes in the northwestern district of Mannar, where renewed civil war is spreading from the east, saying nine soldiers were killed and 46 wounded since Thursday. more..

LTTE asks civilians to flee Madu sanctuary

Mar 24 (HT) The LTTE is asking civilians who had found refuge in the Madu church sanctuary in war-affected Mannar district, to flee immediately, on the plea that fighting is going to take place there also. But the people are resisting the pressure. "There are 10,000 IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) in the church premises. They do not want to leave because they feel safe there," UN spokesperson Orla Clinton told Hindustan Times in Colombo on Friday. more..

Military: Suicide bomber blows himself up during search in Sri Lanka

Mar 24 (AP) A suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber blew himself up and killed a soldier who was searching him in northern Sri Lanka on Saturday, adding to the 47 people who died in three days of fighting between troops and guerillas, the military said. The blast occurred in Jaffna town, the heartland of the ethnic minority Tamils, military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said. more..

Millions of cricket fans stunned by India's World Cup loss to Sri Lanka

Mar 24 (AP) Disappointed fans burned posters of Indian players and beat the pictures with sandals while police protected the homes of key Indian players Saturday after India suffered a shock defeat to Sri Lanka in a World Cup preliminary match. The defeat sank the hopes of millions of cricket-mad Indians, who stayed awake until early Sunday hoping to see their batsmen deliver a victory against Sri Lanka in Barbados. more..

DMK government increases cash relief for Lankan refugees

Mar 24 (PTI) Tamil Nadu government today announced doubling of cash relief to Sri Lankan Tamil refugees. Presenting the State budget, Finance Minister K Anbazhagan said the government would take necessary action to improve the facilities in the refugee camps. The number of eggs provided to children under the nutritious meal programme would be increased from two to three per week and the government would incur an additional expenditure of Rs 53 crore for this scheme. more..

Sethusamudram project to be ready by November 2008

Mar 24 (Hindu) The Sethusamudram Corporation Limited is confident that the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project, which envisages dredging of a channel across the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka, will be commissioned by November 2008, its Chairman and Managing Director, N.K. Raghupathy, said here on Friday. more..

LTTE running guns from Thailand: official

Mar 24 (IN) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger guerrillas are suspected to be running weapons from Thailand but no seizures have been made so far, a senior Indian military officer said Saturday. He also discounted reports that China had established a listening post on Myanmar's Coco Island, located to the north of the strategic Andaman and Nicobar Islands chain in the Indian Ocean. more..

Photo Journal: SAPI launches “A Glimmer of Hope”

Mar 25 (TW) The preliminary reports of the panel of experts became public in December, although the reports were supposed to have been confidential. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse appointed seventeen member multi ethnic group of experts to submit recommendations on power sharing and constitutional reform. more..

Jayawardene credits young batsmen

Mar 25 (CI) Genius knows its worth. Reclining back in his chair, signs of a little belly now, Muttiah Muralitharan straightened slightly as he was asked if he was pleased to have got second use of the surface. The pitch did, after all, afford a little turn. "The wicket didn't turn much," he began saying, sincerely enough, before those eyes jumped alive, "it's just that I have the ability to turn the ball." more..

Strange Times and Critical Choices

Mar 25 (AT) It is a uniquely Sri Lanka potpourri of the tragic and the comic, the serious and the absurd, the significant and the irrelevant, characteristic of the country and the times. In the almost liberated Batticaloa, the LTTE attacks five army camps simultaneously. The Defence Secretary says that the war will continue for three years and that the President will have to find the funds. more..

JHU cautions of evil forces in the East destructing heritage monuments

Mar 25 (AT) A delegation representing Sri Lanka’s National Heritage Party, (JHU – the political party of the Buddhist monks) met with Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal led by V Muralitharan alias Colonel Karuna to examine in detail environmental issues of the Eastern province, as well as issues connected with the safeguarding of the traditional hereditary monuments. more..

Ceylinco aspires to modern supermarket mall building

Mar 25 (AT) Ceylinco Consolidated has the utmost confidence in the government and the economy of the country and hence we feel that investment in projects such as this will indeed reap dividends, said Sanka Wijesinghe, Deputy Chairman, Ceylinco International Realty Group (CIR) speaking at the occasion of declare opening of the Realty Plaza Ja-Ela an upmarket shopping mall. more..

Peace professionals and War professionals

Mar 25 (TW) There has been a spate of writings on the political economy of war, particularly relating to the war on terror that President Bush has imposed on the world as the primary concern of humankind in our time. Sumanasiri Liyanage, Peradeniya academic and commentator, has recently written about the political economy of peace in the Sri Lankan context. more..

China, Sri Lanka to further relationship

Mar 25 (Xinhua) China and Sri Lanka should take the chance to enhance the all-round and cooperative partnership, said a leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Saturday. The year of 2007 marks the 50th anniversary of China-Sri Lanka diplomatic ties, and is the year of friendship between the two countries, said Wu Guanzheng, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. more..

President no-balls World Cup VIPs

Mar 25 (LNP) With Sri Lanka moving into the Super Eight of the Cricket World Cup, a large group, including ministers and top officials had planned to go to the Caribbean Islands at a cost of some Rs. 20 million in public funds, but President Mahinda Rajapaksa has intervened to stop it. The Sunday Times learns the plan was for Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge, non-cabinet sports minister Bandula Basnayake, several provincial sports ministers Sri Lanka Cricket chief Jayantha Dharmadasa and other officials of the Cricket Board and Sports Ministry to go to the Caribbean. more..

Pakistan reduces duty on Sri Lankan betel exports to 20%

Mar 25 (LNP) The Pakistani government has reduced the duty on Sri Lankan betel exports to 20% from a previous 35% and also abolished the existing quota system for this commodity following talks Export Development and International Trade Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris held with Pakistani Commerce Minister Humayun Akthar Khan in Islamabad recently. This duty concession will benefit farmers in a big way and boost Sri Lanka`s betel exports to Pakistan. more..

State vehicles - investigate the big picture

Mar 25 (LNP) Many years ago, the then Chairman of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, made an off-the-cuff remark that `those riding around in about 90% of the vehicles you see on the road are not paying for their petrol.` This undoubtedly was a guesstimate, a ball park figure if you like. But there is a strong truth underlying it. more..

More bets than bats

Mar 25 (LNP) Cricket betting which is believed to be linked to the sensational murder of Pakistan`s coach Bob Woolmer is racing beyond horses in Colombo and elsewhere in Sri Lanka. Bookmakers and betting centres in Colombo are putting out World Cup specials and say matches are now more popular and are drawing more bets than horse races. more..

Polls reform hits snag over UNP delay

Mar 25 (SAMN) Election reforms have hit a snag with the main Opposition UNP deliberately delaying its proposals on the reforms, Chairman of the parliamentary select committee on election reforms Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said. Gunawardane who has written to the UNP expressing his disappointment over the delay said the party had different views amongst groups within the party and has still not decided on the ratio on the First-Past-the-Post system and the Proportional Representative system. more..

Solar power for schools

Mar 25 (SAMN) A programme to provide solar powered electricity for schools and village health centres in selected rural areas is in progress and co-ordinated by the Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Councils. Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon has stated that this is a development program implemented by the Government to improve rural health and educational infrastructure. more..

Polythene deadlock as deadline nears

Mar 25 (SAMN) Three months have passed after the ban on thin polythene, making March 31 the final day for the public to use thin polythene, but with thicker polythene replacing the thin variety no proper eco-friendly alternatives are in the market. Authorities have not yet implemented appropriate methods to look into eco-friendly alternatives like paper, jute, rattan, hemp, cane, cotton, banana, coconut and palmyra leaves. more..

NHDA fails to recover Rs.3 b in loans

Mar 25 (SAMN) The National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) has to recover an outstanding Rs. 3 billion from housing loan beneficiaries and there is a fault somewhere why such a huge amount of money had not been recovered since 1984, Minister Housing and Common Amenities Ferial Ashraff said. The minister directed the Ministry Secretary to appoint a committee to introduce new management motivation for the improvement of efficiency of the NHDA. more..

British Police detain two LTTE women activists

Mar 25 (NS) Two suspected members of the LTTE women’s front, Ankayartkanny and Seevaratnam Ambihai were detained by the British Police at Parliament last week for taking photographs of the participants in a parliamentary seminar titled ‘A way forward to peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka’ organised by the Campaign for Peace and Unity in Sri Lanka (CPUSL). more..

Wielding the big stick on rebels

Mar 25 (NS) So far, President Rajapaksa has succeeded in his policy of ruling by dividing the UNP. But he tried to kill too many birds with the single stone of a cabinet reshuffle and ended up with a mega cabinet and a host of disgruntled MPs and the Samaraweera-Sooriyarachchi mess. For the record, JR hardly changed his first cabinet over his first six year term unless it was absolutely necessary: It is a lesson that his present day successor might still find useful. more..