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Laws alone not suffice to curb corruption - President’s secy

Mar 25 (NS) Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga said yesterday that laws alone would not curb corruption within the government but it takes a personal effort to achieve this goal. “Corruption does happen. Bringing in new laws will not put a stop to this. It takes an effort from the personal level to curb corruption,” he said. more..

Civilians flee fresh fighting in Mannar

Mar 25 (NS) Thousands of civilians fled fresh fighting between the troops and the LTTE in Mannar and took refuge in the Madhu Church premises as exchange of fire continued on a new front in Mannar. UNHCR spokesperson Orla Clinton said that close to 10,000 civilians had taken refuge around the Madhu Church and expressed concern regarding the plight of the internally displaced persons. more..

CID to quiz Mangala

Mar 25 (ST) With sacked minister Sripathy Sooriyarachchi being remanded for alleged misuse of a state vehicle, the CID is now to probe allegations regarding the other sacked minister Mangala Samaraweera amidst speculation he also may be taken in. Detectives said they would question Mr. Samaraweera soon on allegations by former directors of a cement company. more..

Basil as minister, what next?

Mar 25 (ST) It was the loquacious non-Cabinet rank Minister of Power, Mervyn Silva, who let the cat out of the bag. During a private visit to Bangkok last week, he told Sri Lankans resident there that he planned to quit Parliament. That was to make way for Basil Rajapaksa, Senior Advisor to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to be sworn in as a member on the National List. more..

Eelam war IV erupts in the Wanni

Mar 25 (ST) Reports of a group of Tiger guerrillas, said to be around 50, hovering in an area south of the Madhu Church and just ahead of their defended localities astride Mannar caused serious concerns for the security establishment. Were they on a mission to attack troop positions? Air raids on the group set a poser. There were civilian settlements in the area where the group was moving around. more..

New law offers compensation to crime victims

Mar 25 (ST) Legislation that seeks to afford compensation to victims of crime is being drafted. Solicitor General C.R. de Silva said yesterday the proposed Victim and Witness Protection law would also provide protection to witnesses in criminal cases. Deputy Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda said protection would be guaranteed not only to the witnesses but also to their family members. more..

Laws soon to minimise AIDS stigma

Mar 25 (SO) The Ministry of Health will introduce new laws soon to minimise the social stigma and discrimination against those living with HIV/AIDS. Addressing a regional media workshop organised by the Commonwealth Foundation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that the Ministry would study and adopt such legislation adopted by other Asian countries in this regard. "We will soon introduce a new Act to dispel myths and misconceptions related to HIV/AIDS", he said. more..

President pays glowing tribute to women

Mar 25 (SO) While contributing to over 60 percent of the national income, engaging in the battlefront to protect the motherland and bringing gold medals to the country, the Sri Lankan women, being a major contributors to the country's economy, have not forgotten their role as housewives, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said at the ceremony held at the Temple Trees yesterday. more..

Govt. knows who is abducting- TNA

Mar 25 (LeN) Tamil National Alliance Jaffna district MP Suresh Premachandra says that the current government is not a democratic one as innocent Tamil civilians are being killed in the south while launching attacks to the civilian populated areas in the East. He says the government should put a stop to the killings and immediately launch talks on order to find a lasting solution to the conflict. more..

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

Mar 25 (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..

Sri Lanka's Barefoot march forward in style

Mar 25 (LBO) Pink elephants, orange octopuses, purple hippos, and little brown mice dressed in colourful handmade clothes form an integral part of a Sri Lankan family owned company's armoury to win millions of loyal fans and conquer the world in its own unique style. A dream child of Barbara Sansoni, a Sri Lankan designer, artist and writer of Dutch origin, "Barefoot" is a clothing and lifestyle store that shuns assembly-line techniques to weave fabric by hand. more..

Suspected Tamil rebels kill 3 civilians in northern Sri Lanka, says military

Mar 25 (AP) Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels fatally shot three ethnic Tamil civilians in northern Sri Lanka on Sunday, the military said. The killings took place in Jaffna town, the heartland of Sri Lanka's ethnic minority Tamils, an official at the national security media center said on condition of anonymity citing policy. The victims have been identified as Arulraj Jeyanandaruban, 26, Yogalingam Sarangan, 23 and 19-year-old Soosaithasan Thanaraj. more..

Indian cricket stars' lookalikes hide from angry fans after India's World Cup loss

Mar 25 (AP) Life as a lookalike of an Indian cricket star can have its perks, but lately it's had a nasty downside, with some hiding from irate fans after India's loss to Sri Lanka, a news report said Sunday. India's defeat to Sri Lanka on Friday disappointed millions of Indians with the team facing its ouster from the World Cup in the Caribbean. Fans vented their anger by burning effigies and posters of the players in several Indian cities and towns. more..

Indian cricket fan commits suicide after defeat

Mar 25 (Reuters) A cricket fan committed suicide while another died of a heart attack in India after watching their national team's crushing defeat to Sri Lanka in the World Cup match in the Caribbean, police said on Sunday. Upset over India's loss and after having an argument with his wife, 25-year-old farmer Mahadeb Sarkar hung himself after the match in the village of Bajitpur in eastern state of West Bengal. more..

Rajapaksa denies ethnic discrimination in Lanka

Mar 25 (HT) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has denied that there is any ethnic or religious discrimination in the country. Addressing nurses here in Colombo on Thursday, the President pointed out that Tamils were leaving the LTTE-controlled areas and seeking refuge in government-controlled areas. And they were settling down in Sinhala-dominated areas. more..

Tourism takes a beating amid Sri Lanka fighting

Mar 25 (AFP) Sri Lanka's tourism industry suffered a sharp drop last month as fighting between troops and Tiger rebels escalated and foreign holiday makers stayed away, the Tourist Board said Sunday. Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka fell 18.3 percent to 52,687 in February from the same month a year earlier, official figures showed Sunday, with the key markets of India and Germany posting the steepest falls. more..

Heavy casualties in Sri Lanka amid intense battles

Mar 25 (AFP) Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger rebels were locked in intense battles in the island's northeast on Saturday, for a second straight day, as both sides reported heavy casualties. The defence ministry placed its losses at nine soldiers killed and 45 hospitalised while military sources listed another 45 troopers as "walking wounded." more..

Supreme Court to hear Mawbima publisher's FR petition

Mar 25 (TN) Supreme Court granted leave to Mawbima and Sunday Standard publisher, Mudiyansalage Basnayake, to proceed with his Fundamental Rights (FR) application against his arrest and detention. The three-member bench of the Supreme Court chaired by Chief Justice Sarath N.Silva ordered that the FR application should be mentioned on March 29 to consider the petitioner's plea for interim relief, namely, his release. more..

Thousands flee as Sri Lanka fighting worsens

Mar 25 (AFP) Thousands of Tamil civilians were on the run in northern Sri Lanka Sunday as troops and Tiger rebels traded artillery fire across a de facto border, with both sides claiming heavy casualties. The rebel LTTE said about 2,000 men, women and children fled their homes in the district of Mannar, where heavy fighting has raged since Thursday. more..

Police say explosion at Sri Lanka airport air base

Mar 26 (Reuters) A loud explosion was heard at an Air Force base within Sri Lanka's international airport north of Colombo, police said on Monday, as truce monitors checked reports of a rebel air attack. "There has been a loud explosion from the Air Force camp in Katunayake not far from the airport runway where all our attack aircraft are parked," said Deputy Inspector General of Police Jayantha Wickramaratne. more..

Attack at main Sri Lanka airport

Mar 26 (BBC) A military base adjoining Sri Lanka's only international airport has come under attack from suspected Tamil Tiger rebels, government officials say. Witnesses reported hearing a series of loud explosions followed by gunfire. Passengers already on aircraft were disembarked and led to a shelter, while others trying to reach the airport were turned away and approach roads closed. more..

Air-Tigers attack Katunayake military airbase

Mar 26 (TN) Two attack air-crafts belonging to Liberation Tigers carried out bombing raids at the Sri Lanka Air Force airbase at Katunayake at 12.45 midnight Sunday and returned safely to Vanni, military spokesperson of the LTTE, Rasaiah Ilanthiraiyan told TamilNet. The targets for the air attack were the hangers where SLAF's Kfir and MiG-27 fast-attack aircrafts were parked, Ilanthiariyan said. more..

Gunfire and blasts heard near Sri Lanka airport

Mar 26 (AFP) Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels launched a pre-dawn attack against Sri Lanka's main military airbase Monday, prompting the immediate closure of the adjoining international airport, officials said. At least four explosions were heard from the Katunayake airbase, which shares a boundary with the Bandaranaike international airport, and 12 airmen were taken to a nearby hospital, military officials said. more..

Photo Journal: Nostalgia for “Vali North”

Mar 26 (TW) The people of Vailikamam North were forced to leave their houses in 1990. Valikamam North comprises 16% of Jaffna peninsula. 165 square kilometers have been declared as High Security Zone. 85,000 inhabitants were forced to seek shelter in welfare camps. They have been living in welfare camps since 16 th of June 1990. more..

EPRLF – Pathmanabah Group Proposes: A United, federal provincial Secular state

Mar 26 (AT) According to the proposal submitted by the breakaway Group of the EPRLF The United Republic shall have a Provincial State for each Province defined in the constitution, in order to mind and foster the interests and particular aspirations of all the citizens in the Province and obliged to preserve peace, equality and fraternity among all the communities in the Province, and protect the life and property of all the people in the Province. more..

Sri Lanka tourism industry hit hard in February

Mar 26 (AFP) Sri Lanka's tourism industry suffered a sharp drop last month as fighting between troops and Tiger rebels escalated and foreign holiday makers stayed away, the Tourist Board said Sunday. Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka fell 18.3 percent to 52,687 in February from the same month a year earlier, official figures showed Sunday, with the key markets of India and Germany posting the steepest falls. more..

Sri Lanka to get Islamic stock indices

Mar 26 (LBO) The Colombo Stock Exchange and Dow Jones are teaming up with the Islamic finance firm Amana to start two indices for Sri Lankan stocks, the company said. The Dow Jones Islamic Market Amana Sri Lanka Index and the Dow Jones Titans 20 Sri Lanka Index is to be formally launched Monday. "The indexes are expected to enhance the visibility of the domestic equity market in the eyes of international investors," more..

Tapes may show cricket coach's killer

Mar 26 (AP) Security video from the hotel where Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer was strangled may contain images of the killer or killers, but police needed more time to analyze the footage because of the cameras' limited scope, authorities said Sunday. Deputy Police Commissioner Mark Shields said the video shows only the corridors at the end of Woolmer's floor — not the door to his room or others. more..

'Punish' 80s Rights perpetrators

Mar 26 (BBC) Hundreds of parents and relatives of those disappeared in late 80s appealed authorities to punish the killers. Relatives of the disappeared gathered to Seenigama Kovil in Hikkaduwa to urge the God's help in punishing the culprits. Dressed in white, the relatives marched to the Kovil with placards urging the authorities not to let the crimes against humanity to happen again. more..

Sri Lankan Airlines to start operating delayed flights from 10.00 am

Mar 26 (LBO) Sri Lankan Airlines will start operating flights delayed due to the temporary closure of the international airport following a Tamil Tiger air raid on the adjoining air force base from 10.00 am local time, the national flag-carrier said. The Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake re-opened at 03.30 am local time after Tamil Tiger light aircraft dropped at least two bombs on the nearby air force base, killing three airmen and injuring 16. more..

Sri Lanka main airport re-opens after Tiger raid on airbase

Mar 26 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels carried out their first ever air raid Monday, attacking a military base on a daring night-time mission that forced the temporary closure of Sri Lanka's international airport. At least three airmen were killed and 16 others wounded in the raid on the Katunayake airbase next to the airport north of Colombo, officials said. more..

Sri Lankan SEP demands urgent inquiry into disappearance of party member

Mar 26 (wsws) The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) demands that the Sri Lankan government conduct an urgent investigation into the disappearance of SEP member, Nadarajah Wimaleswaran, and his friend, Sivanathan Mathivathanan, who have been missing since Thursday evening. All the evidence to date points to the involvement of the navy, which controls the northern islands near Jaffna, where both men live. more..

Tamils are a Vanishing Community - Prof. Hoole

Mar 26 (ISL) Professor S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole, Vice Chancellor, University of Jaffna, who was forced to flee Sri Lanka because of death threats by the LTTE, in a no-holds-barred interview, gives his view on political developments in the country, refugee influx in the East, LTTE activities in the Jaffna University, literacy rate in Jaffna and his position as the VC. more..

CID in a political mess says rights group

Mar 26 (ISL) The last few weeks have seen the use of the powers of the Attorney General's Department to freeze the accounts of a person associated with a leading newspaper which turned hostile to the government. Also during the last few days a former minister who had been vocal against the regime, which he served, accusing it of corruption and secret deals was arrested by the Criminal Investigation Bureau on charges of misuse of a vehicle under laws which prohibit bail. more..

Cathay Pacific suspends flights to Sri Lanka

Mar 26 (AFP) Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airlines on Monday announced the immediate suspension of flights to Sri Lanka following a rebel air raid on a base next to the island's only international airport. "Safety is a top priority at Cathay Pacific and a careful assessment of the situation will be made before services are resumed," the airline said in a statement received here. more..

US introduce new comprehensive immigration reform bill for migrants

Mar 26 (GDI) A comprehensive immigration reform bill containing provisions that provide regularized legal channels for new immigrants has been implemented by the Asian American Justice Centre. This new bill which is based on an initial examination of the proposed legislation includes several measures that will especially benefit the 13.9 million strong Asian American community. more..

Government official news website launched

Mar 26 (GDI) The official news website of the Department of Government was launched by Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayake at the Temple Trees this morning. The website, of the Department of Government Information will disseminate news in English, Sinhala and Tamil. Minister of mass Media and Information Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, Minister of Mass Media Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena and Presidential Advisor A H M Azwer also attended the web launching ceremony. more..

A new BOI project worth Rs.175 millions

Mar 26 (GDI) The Board of Investment (BOI) of Sri Lanka signs an agreement with the John Ward Ceylon (Pvt) Limited (JWC) for a project to manufacture dip coated industrial gloves for the export market on 16th March 2007. According to official sources of the BOI, the total estimated cost for this project is Rs.175 million and will generate over 575 employment opportunities. more..

Government condemns LTTE attempt on Katunayake Air Force Camp

Mar 26 (GDI) The Government vehemently condemns the cowardly attempt to attack the Katunayake Air Force Camp in the aftermath of major defeats suffered by the LTTE in the North and East. Although the attack failed to achieve its objective of destroying fighter aircraft at the base, three Air Force personnel died and 16 others suffered injuries. The Government offers condolences to the next of kin of the victims. more..

More Chinese investments in Sri Lanka

Mar 26 (GDI) China is expected to increase investments in Sri Lanka. A high-powered business delegation from China will arrive in Colombo as a follow up meeting to discuss joint venture investment with local businessmen shortly. This is the first time a cross section of businessmen from all regions were included in a high-powered business delegation of 60 members who toured China with the Presidential delegation. more..

Sri Lanka government plans to defeat terrorism

Mar 26 (AT) The Government says it is determined to face any challenge in its fight against terrorism. It further points out all sections of the Sri Lankan society should extend fullest cooperation to the government in this national endeavor. The LTTE terrorists are facing a severe defeat in the northern and eastern war front. It is common practice terrorists’ organizations to resort to cowardly attacks in the face of defeats in the battle front. more..

Tiger air raid a stunt for headlines

Mar 26 (AT) The two Tiger light aircrafts missed the target of destroying the newly purchased MIGs in their raid on the military air base in Katunayake early this morning. It, however, killed three soldiers and injured 17 but it had no significant military impact. According to a military analyst, the bombs hit the headlines of the media and the minds of the public more than the intended military target. more..

Vandort century gives Sri Lanka A the upper hand

Mar 26 (CI) Michael Vandort struck a century to put Sri Lanka A in a strong position on the opening day of the second four-day match against Bangladesh A at the Colombo Cricket Club Ground. Vandort scored 114 as Sri Lanka A reached 296 for 5 at stumps. Bangladesh A got off to a superb start after putting Sri Lanka A in to bat. more..

A gentlemen’s game

Mar 26 (ANN) The murder of Bob Woolmer, the gentleman, has cast its shadow over the Cricket Word Cup series. His tragic end will remain etched in the memories of cricket lovers the world over until doomsday. A pall of wretchedness has descended on the on-going tournament, which would otherwise have been a carnival. Although his killers have yet to be found out, the hand of the Bookie Mafia behind the crime is manifestly clear. more..

Govt. to compensate child for loss of hand

Mar 26 (LNP) The Government will compensate the two-and-half-year-old Hasani Udeshika, of Galagedara, for the loss of her right hand while undergoing treatment in hospital. Udeshika`s right hand was amputated at the Colombo National hospital in a bid to save her life, Health Ministry sources revealed. The sources told The Island that the patient suffering from pneumonia was admitted to the Galagedara hospital a few months ago where she had been administered an injection to artery instead of a vein by the duty nurse. more..

Poaching in SL waters a security threat

Mar 26 (SAMN) Despite sporadic clashes between the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) and Sea Tigers in the northern and north-western waters, particularly in the Gulf of Mannar on Sri Lanka’s side of the international maritime boundary line, Tamil Nadu fishing fleet continues to poach in Sri Lankan waters. Recent inquiries revealed that poaching was continuing amidst unsubstantiated accusations by Tamil Nadu administration that the SLN was responsible for a recent spate of attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen. more..

'Allegations against Govt. unfounded'

Mar 26 (SAMN) The allegations levelled against the Government on abductions, disappearances and murders are baseless, said former High Court Judge Mahanama Thilakaratne, Chairman of the One Man Presidential Commission, appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to inquire into allegations of abductions, disappearances and murders in the country. more..

Dallas asks Mangala to stop helping LTTE

Mar 26 (SAMN) Newly appointed Matara District SLFP leader Dallas Alahaperuma said on Saturday he was ready to accept former Minister Mangala Samarawera as the district Chief if he refrains form activities advantageous to Prabhakaran, even indirectly. Alahaperuma said this at a function to mark the opening of a new police station at Dickwella. more..

SLTnet goes 1 Giga bps

Mar 26 (SAMN) Sri Lanka Telecom, the nation’s communications powerhouse announced its upgrade of SLTnet, the largest Internet backbone and service provider in Sri Lanka, with multiple access to global Internet networks. The upgrade involves the recent addition of 622Mbps (STM4-Synchronous Transport Module-4) capacity to SLTnet international Internet Protocol Back-Bone (IPBB). more..

LTTE releases photographs of air mission

Mar 26 (TN) LTTE have for the first time released photos of their Air-Tigers to media with Tamileelam Air Force (TAF) first major mission. While reputed military analysts speculated on the LTTE use of air-craft limited to self-destroy missions, Tigers have surprised them by using locally designed payload carrying mechanisms, and automatic ammunition discharge circuitry, and demonstrated capability to fly night missions. more..