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Sprinklers! - a C-turn by Vavuniya onion farmers

Mar 28 (AT) “My father was supportive when I chose to deviate from the traditional method of cultivation” said Niyas, a young farmer, from Pulitharithapuliyankulam, a village in the Vavuniya District. He proudly displayed a sack of freshly harvested carrots weighing 30 kilograms to UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Frederick Lyons. more..

Media has an immense responsibility towards Sri Lanka’s future

Mar 28 (GDI) "Media holds an immense responsibility towards building Sri Lanka’s future," stated Minister of Mass Media and Information, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa today. Minister Yapa stated that addressing the gathering at the opening ceremony of the new office building of the Ministry of Mass Media and Information, ‘Asi Disi Medura’ at Polhengoda. more..

Troops liberate Kokkadicholai

Mar 28 (GDI) The Army made further advances in the East and secured Kokkadicholai, one of LTTE’s nerve centers, to the south of Batticaloa and Unnachchi under their control. Troops were able to catch a large haul of claymore mines, land mines, anti-personnel mines, improvised explosive devices, guns and other warlike items that had been hurriedly left behind by fleeing Tiger terrorists in the face of advancing troops. more..

SL inaugurates diplomatic relations with Azerbaijan

Mar 28 (GDI) The Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan has established diplomatic relationship with the Government of Sri Lanka with the appointment of Dr.Tamerian Karayev as the Azerbaijani ambassador to Sri Lanka who is also their ambassador for India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Maldives. The new ambassador held a media briefing yesterday at the Galadari Hotel to explain the importance of having close, friendly and mutual relationship between Sri Lanka and Azerbaijan. more..

Kra Canal to boost Sri Lankan Economy

Mar 28 (GDI) “The projected construction of the Kra Canal between the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Thailand will save million tones of fuel for world shipping and it would help the expansion of the economies of SAARC and ASEAN members and other countries in the entire region,” stated Dr. Vinayak Purohit addressing 35th Commemoration of the Late Philp Gunawardena. more..

National interest foremost – President Rajapaksa

Mar 28 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa urged media to give top priority to the interest of the nation. Addressing media heads yesterday at the Temple Trees he said, "the Government has granted full freedom to the media. But whatever profession we do, we should have a country to live in. Therefore we should always give priority to our country." more..

We are prepared for future Tiger air raids, says President

Mar 28 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said the security forces would counter successfully any future LTTE air attack. President Rajapaksa speaking during a meeting with print/electronic media editors at Temple Tress last evening said the security forces were in the process of addressing whatever lapses there may have been in the air defence system at the time of Monday`s attack. more..

Sripathi further remanded till April 10

Mar 28 (LNP) Sacked Minister Sripathi Sooriyarachchi who was arrested on charges of failing to return a state-owned vehicle was refused bail by the Kaduwela Magistrate yesterday and further remanded him till April 10. Additional Magistrate Lakmal Wickremasuriya refused the bail application saying the reasons mentioned did not come under special provisions to grant him bail. more..

Postal workers on strike

Mar 28 (LNP) Postal workers launched an island wide token strike at midnight on Monday against the Government`s move to reduce their overtime and extra shifts. Monday`s night mail trains to Badulla, Kandy and Galle left Colombo without mail. Around 18,000 workers are participating in the strike, organized by an alliance of 10 trade unions of the Postal Department, General Secretary of the Lanka Postal Workers Union, Rohana Fernando told the media on Monday. more..

Co-chairs briefed on Tiger air attack

Mar 28 (SAMN) The government Tuesday briefed the Co-chairs of the Sri Lanka Aid Group on the LTTE air attack on the Katunayake Air Force Base. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama met US Ambassador Robert O’ Blake, German Ambassador Jurgen Weerth representing the EU Presidency, EU Ambassador Julian Wilson, Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar, and Japanese Charge d' Affairs N. Ito at the Ministry in Colombo, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said. more..

SL second only to Iraq on HR violations

Mar 28 (SAMN) Sri Lanka is only second to Iraq on abductions and other human rights abuses, international human rights watchdogs said, warning that the situation would only get worse in the coming months. The Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) was informed by rights organisations in Geneva last week that the country has gone back to the pre-ceasefire levels where abductions and human rights violations were rampant. more..

Govt. protecting the corrupt: JVP

Mar 28 (SAMN) The JVP Tuesday accused the government of avoiding taking action against ministers and officials allegedly involved in the multi-billion financial fraud exposed by the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) in Parliament. Party strongman MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said COPE had exposed massive financial scams at state institutions; now the government should take action against those involved in them. more..

UNP calls for Gotabhaya’s resignation

Mar 28 (SAMN) The UNP Tuesday called for the resignation of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa saying that the LTTE attack on the Katunayake Air Force Base had called the government’s bluff, thus uncovering the ground reality of the war. Rajapaksa last week stated he took full responsibility for the security of the Katunayake air base and for the war, claiming 95% of it had been won. more..

‘We will neutralise LTTE’s air capability’

Mar 28 (ML) Military Spokesperson Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said that the LTTE will not be able to create an impact in the conflict areas with their air power. In an interview with The Morning Leader Brig. Samarasinghe said that the security forces were ready to face any attempt made by the LTTE to attack civilian areas, including Colombo. more..

Polythene issue: Is the cure worse than the disease?

Mar 28 (ML) An important deadline on the use of polythene is just around the corner — Mach 31 — when both manufacturers and users are expected to complete the shift from polythene products below 20 micron to that of a thicker variety. The ban came into effect on January 1 but the truth is three months after the official ban to ‘complete the shift’ Sri Lanka is still not ready to complete the shift. more..

Maubima, Sunday Standard put up shutters

Mar 28 (ML) The Standard Newspaper Group, which publishes the Maubima and Sunday Standard newspapers, has decided to put up shutters from this week due to government pressure. The newspaper group published a notice in last week’s issue stating they were compelled to reduce the number of pages from 100 to 16 due to the financial strangulation of their media group by the state. more..

President’s attempt to woo Mangala fails

Mar 28 (ML) An attempt by President Mahinda Rajapakse to woo ousted Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera by offering additional security in the wake of the LTTE attack on the Katunayake Air Force Base failed with Samaraweera declining the offer. The President made the offer of security to Samaraweera over the telephone after learning that he was at the airport at the time of the LTTE attack. more..

New President of the Appeal Court welcomed

Mar 28 (DM) The need for competent, independent and impartial judiciary as an institution has been recognized and accepted by all governments, whether democratic or not, said Justice K. Sripavan, the new President of the Court of Appeal. He was addressing the gathering at a ceremonial sitting of the Court of Appeal, to welcome him and Justice A.W.A. Salaam. more..

Uninterrupted power supply despite dry weather: CEB

Mar 28 (DM) Despite a drastic drop in the water levels at reservoirs, the CEB has pledged uninterrupted power supply in the coming weeks. A senior CEB official said following the recent drop of water levels in reservoirs, sixty percent of the country’s electricity supply needs were provided by thermal electricity power plants. more..

No breakdown of trade and commerce by terrorist attacks

Mar 28 (DN) The Government is well-equipped to meet any challenge posed by LTTE attacks and is geared to ensure the smooth functioning of trade and commerce even in the midst of such attacks as witnessed yesterday. The Secretary of the Trade, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Ministry, Dr. R. M. K. Ratnayaka assured there would be no indemnity demands by shipping giants for huge sums as insurance securities to dock their ships in Sri Lanka as happened following the terrorist attacks on the Bandaranaike International Airport in July 2001. more..

Consider country's interest first, President tells media

Mar 28 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday stressed that the media should consider the country's interest first regardless of any political or other differences. "The Government has granted full freedom to the media. But whatever profession we do, we should have a country to live in. Therefore we should always give priority to our country," the President told the Heads of the Media institutions at Temple Trees yesterday. more..

Over 1400 detonators seized in TN

Mar 28 (PTI) Over 1400 detonators, meant for being smuggled to Sri Lanka, were seized during a raid at Alagathapuram near Uchipuli here on Wednesday and one person taken into custody in this connection, police said. The sources said 1425 detonators were recovered from a garden belonging to one Gopal and the raid followed a tip-off that arms and explosives were being smuggled from a point at Alagathapuram. more..

Sri Lankan separatists take fight to the air

Mar 28 (CSM) For the second time in two days, the LTTE launched a brazen attack on the Sri Lankan Army. The latest came after a suicide bomber killed seven by driving an explosives-laden tractor into an Army camp early Tuesday morning in Batticaloa district in eastern Sri Lanka. But while the Tigers have launched several such assaults by land and sea, it was Monday's raid by two crude aircraft on a military base just outside Colombo that has left Sri Lankan military analysts worried. more..

India supplied radar for Lanka airbase, says 'no comments'

Mar 28 (NIP) As the LTTE confirmed fears of it having acquired air capability by using light aircraft to bomb the Katunayake air force camp near Colombo on Monday, there was silence in New Delhi. This despite the fact that it was India which had supplied the radar system deployed at the base as part of its assistance to help Colombo strengthen its air defence. more..

IAF sets up radars to monitor skies after LTTE air strike

Mar 28 (PTI) Indian Air Force has set up eight radars as a precautionary measure to monitor the skies in the aftermath of Tamil Tiger rebels launching their first aerial strike in Sri Lanka two days ago. The radars were fixed at Seeniappa Darga Casurina jungle near Sundaramudaiyan village in Ramanathapuram district and trials were being held, a senior IAF official told the agency. more..

Sri Lanka says drives Tiger rebels from eastern HQ

Mar 28 (Reuters) Sri Lankan troops have driven Tamil Tiger rebels from a key stronghold in the island's restive east, the military said on Wednesday, as the government probed how a rebel plane managed to bomb a base in the capital. Troops seeking to evict Tiger fighters from the eastern district of Batticaloa found late on Tuesday a complex of bungalows they say was a hurriedly abandoned rebel headquarters whose occupants fled to nearby jungle. more..

Faulty radar helped Tigers?

Mar 28 (LNP) Speculation is that LTTE aircraft which carried out Monday`s attack on the Katunayake airbase survived some 400 km of flying distance and that too at night due to deficiencies in the SLAF radar. Initial investigations revealed that the first generation radar installed by India failed to detect the incoming aircraft until the radar at the adjacent Bandaranaike International Airport identified them. more..

Sri Lanka troops on the offensive after plane attack

Mar 28 (AFP) Sri Lanka's military said it had captured a key Tamil Tiger rebel stronghold in the island's embattled east, two days after the guerrillas stunned the capital with their first ever air raid. Security forces took control of Kokkadichcholai in the district of Batticaloa and seized a large haul of arms, ammunition and land mines from the LTTE base, the army said in a statement. more..

Soldiers seize major Tamil rebel base in eastern Sri Lanka amid peace talks call

Mar 28 (AP) Sri Lankan troops have driven separatist Tamil rebels from a key base in eastern Sri Lanka, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday, amid calls by the government for peace talks and by the United Nations to end the bloodshed. There were no military casualties in the assault late Tuesday on the rebels' Kokkadicholai base, military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said, adding that the Tamil Tigers fled, leaving behind an arsenal of weapons. more..

CID probes a deal connected to Mangala

Mar 29 (LeN) The DIC has launched a special investigation into a 12 million rupees deal that is said to have taken place when Mangala Samaraweera was the minister of ports and aviation. The investigation has been triggered due to a complaint made to the CID regarding a favouration that had taken place. more..

Lanka fighting to be focus of Saarc summit

Mar 29 (ET) India voiced concern on Wednesday over the first-ever air raid staged by Tamil Tiger rebels and said that next week’s South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit would focus on escalating violence in Sri Lanka. “We have made it clear to everyone that we are very concerned at the escalated violence in Sri Lanka and the air strike is one aspect of it,” more..

Sri Lanka missing out on carbon trading opportunities: experts

Mar 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka is still far behind neighbouring countries in carbon trading which has the potential to earn much foreign exchange, experts said. The island can plant indigenous forests and develop alternatives to carbon emitting energy sources to do carbon trading which is still not being used to its fullest extent, analysts at the Strategic Enterprise Management Agency (SEMA) said. more..

Sri Lanka’s top apparel exporter slot filled by Brandix

Mar 29 (LBO) The Brandix group has been named the top apparel exporter by Sri Lanka's export promotion agency, the company said Wednesday. Brandix said it expected a group turnover of 320 million us dollars for the year ending March 2007. The Export Development Board had released the rankings based on export turnover at meeting convened by Export Development Minister G.L. Pieris at a meeting with the six largest exporters, Brandix said. more..

Sri Lankan airlines raises ticket prices by making fuel surcharge permanent

Mar 29 (LBO) Sri Lankan Airlines said Wednesday it will incorporate the fuel surcharge into air fares from April 01, effectively raising ticket prices and ending the possibility of lifting the charge if oil prices fall. “The airline will implement this change to most destinations with a few exceptions, due to regulatory issues,” SriLankan Airline said in a statement. more..

New high commission building in Sri Lanka marks UK's commitment: envoy

Mar 29 (LBO) The construction of a new building for the British High Commission (embassy) is a symbol of Britain’s commitment to Sri Lanka, its envoy said in Colombo. A ‘topping out’ ceremony which marks the completion of the highest point in the superstructure of the building took place Tuesday. “….this new High Commission is a statement of intent to remain committed to Sri Lanka’s future and to the work of the British Government in Sri Lanka,” more..

LTTE air-wing connections in France, UK and Malaysia

Mar 29 (AT) "Asian Tribune" investigations have revealed that France, Malaysia and UK are three key locations in which the Tamil Tigers got their training and purchased equipment for their air wing. It is known that the Tigers have recruited Tamil expatriates and even mercenaries to build, train pilots and establish their air wing. more..

LTTE threat to India's strategic interests -- Dr.Subramanian Swamy

Mar 29 (AT) Dr.Subramanian Swamy, President of the Janata Party and visiting Professor at Harvard University, in a press statement has said that India has a special responsibility to launch a massive pre-emptive strike on all LTTE installations in Sri Lanka because of its (1) goals which are harmful to India's strategic interests and (2) bonding and cooperation with Indian terrorist groups. more..

Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon says India concerned over escalation of violence in Lanka

Mar 29 (AT) In its first formal official reaction to the LTTE's air raid on Katunayake air base near Colombo, India on Wednesday termed the March 27 strike as one example of the escalation of violence in Sri Lanka, and said, it is a cause for serious concern. Foreign Secretary, Shiv Shankar Menon, while fielding questions at his briefing on SAARC summit here, rejected the criticism in a section of Lankan media that the radar India had given to Colombo had failed to detect the 'intruding' LTTE aircraft. more..

Specialized Training in Carpentry

Mar 29 (AT) The Chamber of Construction Industry Sri Lanka in collaboration with the Industrial Development Authority of the Western Province will establish a Specialized Training Centre in Carpentry to meet the shortage of craftsmen required for both Construction and Furniture Manufacturing Sectors. The Chamber of Construction Industry has already established Construction Craftsmen Centres in the Districts of Galle and Matara more..

In India’s back yard beyond Palk Straits

Mar 29 (AT) The LTTE’s air raid on the Katunayake air base near Colombo is a timely reminder that the Tigers resolve to strike hard at a time of their choosing cannot be underestimated. By any stretch of imagination, the Air Tigers, as the fledgling air force of LTTE is styled, is no match to the Sri Lankan Air Force. In fact, they are yet to graduate beyond micro-light aircraft and helicopters. more..

South Africa see off late Malinga flurry

Mar 29 (CI) An extraordinary spell of fast bowling from Lasith Malinga, where he strung together a devastating sequence of four wickets in four balls, threatened to produce the greatest one-day heist before South Africa scrambled to a dramatic one-wicket victory in a heart-stopping Super Eights clash in Guyana. South Africa needed a meagre four runs to win with five wickets in hand when Malinga finished batsmen as if swatting flies. more..

'We never had a chance' - Jayawardene

Mar 29 (CI) Failure to capitalise on what were virtual home conditions for Sri Lanka left their captain Mahela Jayawardene frustrated though not disheartened after a classic finish in a classic match. "We just did not deserve to win this game for the way we batted today, full stop," Jayawardene said. "We always knew the wicket would suit us, our spinners. It was definitely a game for us to win. But the way we played today, we never had a chance, except for that last burst from [Lasith] Malinga. more..

'If only the stumps had hair'

Mar 29 (CI) Many before the game, including your humble previewer, had not thought it possible for South Africa and Sri Lanka to match the drama of their previous encounter at the last World Cup. But an ambling kind of afternoon exploded into a startling finish as a man with what looks like a mangled skunk on his head full-pitched his way to four wickets from four balls. He was told by the press later it was a record. more..

Full length, full reward

Mar 29 (CI) Charl Langeveldt became only the third South African bowler - after Lance Klusener and Shaun Pollock - to take a five-for in the World Cup, but his feat was overshadowed by a dramatic late spell by Lasith Malinga, who became the fifth bowler to take a hat-trick in World Cups, but the first to take four wickets in four balls in all one-day internationals. more..

Satyagraha against abductions

Mar 29 (BBC) Hundreds of relatives of missing people urged Sri Lanka authorities to take immediate steps to find their loved ones. Staging a Satyagraha in Hyde Park, Colombo, the relatives said their loved ones have been missing for months but there was no response from the government. Some accused security forces of involved in the abductions. more..

India sidesteps LTTE air strike

Mar 29 (TN) India treaded with caution and reserve Wednesday while reacting to the Tamil Tigers' air strike on the Sri Lankan Air Force base at Katunayake airport on Sunday, Indian press reports said. Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shanker Menon was quoted as saying India was concerned general escalation of violence in which the airstrike was one incident. more..

Sea battle tops Sri Lanka's violence 16 Tamil rebels believed killed

Mar 29 (AP) Sri Lanka's navy intercepted 10 Tamil Tiger rebel boats advancing toward the country's northeastern coast, destroying three boats with 16 rebels aboard during a three-hour battle, the military said Thursday. All 16 rebels were believed killed in the latest flare-up in a week of dramatic attacks and heavy violence in Sri Lanka's undeclared war, including Monday's first airstrike by rebels in their more than two-decade conflict against the government. more..

Sri Lankan airline's emergency response plan pays dividends

Mar 29 (LBO) SriLankan airlines says its emergency procedures allowed it and Sri Lanka's main international airport to swing back into action within hours of a temporary closure earlier this week. "I doubt that any other major airport in the world could have recovered as quickly as we did," Peter Hill, CEO of SriLankan said in a statement. more..

Sri Lankan investors told to dump fundamentals and chase charts

Mar 29 (LBO) Stock market players have been advised to throw away glossy company annual reports, ignore financial accounts and fundamentals and instead use technical analysis or charts to make money on trading. “Annual reports are telling you lies in a colourful and beautiful manner – look at the charts instead,” Sarath Rajapakse, a passionate chartist who is a consultant to equities broker, Lanka Orix Securities exhorted stock market investors. more..

Four-wicket Malinga unaware of his record

Mar 29 (Reuters) Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga was unaware he had become the first man in international cricket to take four wickets in four balls, against South Africa in the World Cup Super Eights. His heroics, which have never happened before in international one-day or Test cricket, nearly robbed South Africa of victory but Graeme Smith's men clung on for a one-wicket win having earlier been cruising. more..