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'shells fell on houses' civilians caught in crossfire

Mar 31 (BBC) Fighting in Eastern Sri Lanka had affected civilian lives again according to eye witnesses. Two children had died as a result of shelling thursday night. Two children and two women were among eight civilians killed after shell attacks in Sittandi and Murakottanchenai in Batticaloa. Eighteen others were wounded. One of the dead was a two year old child and three of the victims were from the same family. more..

West Indies expect batsmen to deliver against Sri Lanka

Mar 31 (AFP) West Indies captain Brian Lara is looking forward to an improved performance from his batsmen in a crucial World Cup Super Eights match against Sri Lanka here on Sunday. The hosts find themselves in a must-win situation early in the second round after losing to defending champions Australia and New Zealand. They have just two points from three matches, courtesy of a win over fellow-qualifers Ireland in the first round. more..

Federalism and Identity Cards

Mar 31 (TW) Sri Lankan State including government, opposition and the people as the segments, which hold the supremacy according to the 78 Constitution, are equally responsible for the negligence and the deliberate efforts to undermine the rights of the Tamil people. I come to the above conclusion, as I am disturbed by the way Tamil people are treated in the manner on their Identity and proof of identity. Up to some extend this is valid to Muslim people as well. more..

Sri Lankan SEP holds media conference over disappearance of party member

Mar 31 (wsws) The Sri Lankan Socialist Equality Party (SEP) held a media conference in Colombo yesterday as part of the SEP/WSWS campaign to demand that the Sri Lankan government and military conduct an urgent investigation into the disappearance of party member Nadarajah Wimaleswaran and his friend Sivanathan Mathivathanan in the northern Jaffna islands on March 22. more..

Sri Lanka evaluates effectiveness of disaster warning system

Mar 31 (LBO) Community-based disaster warning system technologies and their effectiveness were tested in study conducted in 32 villages Sri Lanka’s coastal belt. The research was conducted fielding Java enabled mobile phones, CDMA phones, addressable satellite radio and a specially developed Remote Alarm Device. more..

Sri Lanka’s Dockyard in talks with Croatian shipbuilders

Mar 31 (LBO) Colombo Dockyard Ltd. (CDL) is having talks with Croatian investors on setting up ship building facilities in Sri Lanka, a government minister said. Investment promotion minister Sarath Amunugama said negotiations on the Croatian investments had taken place between officials of the two countries last week. more..

“Deferment of Human Rights Council’s resolution; A positive development”

Mar 31 (GDI) “The Human Rights Council’s decision to defer its proposed resolution on Sri Lanka’s Human Rights situation which was taken yesterday can be described as a positive advancement of the global community’s perspective towards the human rights situation in Sri Lanka,” said the Minister of Human Rights and Disaster Management, Mahinda Samarasinghe. more..

Police seize 15 million steel balls in Mannar

Mar 31 (GDI) Government security personnel seize a large stock of 15.2 million steel balls at Mannar, being transported by a lorry on Thursday evening (29). This load of steel balls, the largest ever reported so far, was apprehended at the Police-Army road block at Pulleady Erakkam area in Mannar on the Medawachchiya – Mannar main road, Military Spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said. more..

Sri Lanka calls for SAARC to curb terrorist funding

Mar 31 (GDI) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has said Sri Lanka will call on SAARC member states at its forthcoming 14th Summit meeting in New Delhi next week to revisit the associations’ modalities in countering terrorism in all its manifestations. President Mahinda Rajapakse will lead the Sri Lanka delegation to the Summit that will take place on 3rd-4th of April. more..

Furnished houses for 67 Norochcholai families

Mar 31 (GDI) Sixty seven families displaced following the construction of the Norochcholai Power Plant received furnished houses and titles for plots of two-acre lands each from Power and Energy Minister W. D. J. Seneviratne at a ceremony at Daluwa in Norochcholai on Thursday. Seneviratne commissioned the new electrification scheme providing electricity to the new houses. more..

More Naval ships sailing towards Rameswaram

Mar 31 (Hindu) Some more ships of the Indian Navy are expected to reach Rameswaram soon as part of the security plan worked out in the wake of the recent developments in Sri Lanka. They will be in addition to the two ships patrolling the International Maritime Boundary Line. Besides, scores of interceptor craft fitted with weapons including light machine guns and medium machine guns, two hovercraft and high-powered speedboats of Navy and the Coast Guard have been pressed into service. more..

Radar system not at fault

Mar 31 (Hindu) The aerial strike by the Tamil Tigers on the main base of the Sri Lanka Air Force has led to disagreement between New Delhi and Colombo on the efficacy of the radars gifted by India to guard Sri Lankan skies. Suggestions from Sri Lanka that deficiencies in the air defence system installed by India helped the Tigers sneak through the aerial route all the way back and forth from the Vanni jungles to the air base next to Sri Lanka's only international airport has been met with a curt "no way" from India. more..

"Federal system" is the best way to tame the Tigers and avoid separatism -- Anandasangaree

Mar 31 (AT) V.Anandasangaree, leader of the TULF, told the "Asian Tribune" that the unitary system of Government that has prevailed since 1948 -- the year of independence -- has failed to bring about unity and national integration in the country. "A federal system of Government in Sri Lanka will prevent separation and promote unity in the country. But under a unitary system the country will never be in peace and tendency for separation will continue" he added. more..

Malaysia live nerve centre of LTTE activities

Mar 31 (AT) In an e-mail sent to the "Asian Tribune" Dr.T. Dorai, Principal of Advance Aeronautics Training Centre in Ipoh, Malaysia, denied that he was involved in any procurement of arms or smuggling of arms to the LTTE. He admitted that Lawrence Thilakar, who was at that time the LTTE’s international representative based in Paris, met him and appealed to him to help them with the procurements of arms for the Tiger outfit. more..

Tamilnet halts reporting on SLAF air strikes

Mar 31 (ISL) ,the pro LTTE news site and its editor who destroyed half of the Sri lankan Air Force assets has now halted any reporting on Sri lankan air strikes in LTTE areas. This is to prevent the website from becoming a ludicrous trash site in the eyes of Sri lankan expats in the West. Although inside SLAF sources confirm that there had not been any significant damage done to the Air Force in recent attacks, claimed that 40% SLAF striking capability had been damaged by LTTE's catapults sourcing unnamed and unknown SLAF sources. more..

The three pronged monster

Mar 31 (ISL) The story is that the crisis with the LTTE has been made into an ‘achcharu’ (a spicy fruit salad) by politicians and media-men who just write for the sake of holding on to a job. Now it has grown to such an extent that both the media and politicians are in awe of that monster’s size. It has been given a three pronged image by those seeking to hold onto power. As a result the country is divided, and some without an iota of feeling to what it owe its home. more..

Prices of items show a decreasing trend in Jaffna

Mar 31 (ISL) It has been observed that the prices of food items including other essential goods are showing a decreasing trend. This is mainly due to the stern instructions issued by the GA to all the co-op. societies to distribute all the items in their stock. Accordingly a family in Jaffna gets three packets of milk food, seven slabs of soap, tooth pastes etc. more..

Dirty" Sethu and "Rowdy" Rajan found guilty of attacking TBC

Mar 31 (AT) A bench of three magistrates in the Harrow Magistrates Court found Nadarajah Sethurupan (better known as "Oothai (Dirty Sethu") and "Rowdy" Rajan, guilty of violating the peace and causing damages to the Tamil Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) on 8 June 2006. Both are known as active agents of the LTTE. "Dirty" Sethu, ran the Oslo based, threatening and attacking Tamils opposed to the LTTE. more..

Madugalle reaches new milestone

Mar 31 (CI) The Super Eights match between England and Ireland at Guyana was a landmark for Ranjan Madugalle, who completed 200 ODIs as a ICC match referee. Madugalle, the former Sri Lankan batsman, made his debut as a match referee in a ODI at Karachi in 1993 between Pakistan and Zimbabwe. "It's always good to reach a landmark," said Madugalle. "I would still look at it as another one-day international but, yes, when I look back and reflect on the journey I feel that it's something I enjoyed and will continue to enjoy." more..

Lack of Education for Children in the East

Mar 31 (TW) While the total number of IDPs has been recorded as 292,685 persons islandwide, providing education to the displaced children is a cause for worry. One of the burning issues affecting these IDPs is education for their children. The pressure the IDP movement was having on schools converted into temporary shelters as well as existing schools having to accommodate extra children, and in some cases a drastic decline in school attendance owing to the tension prevailing in the area are causing concern to the authorities as well as parents. more..

Only their parents’ home

Mar 31 (HM) The Colombo government’s new initiative to resettle displaced Sri Lankans has not only angered many of the people it is targeted to serve, but also fails to address the concerns of over 100,000 refugees who live in Tamil Nadu. On 16 March, international watchdog Human Rights Watch claimed that authorities were using “threats and intimidation” to force Sri Lankans who had fled because of recent fighting to return to their homes, although this has been widely disputed. more..

Power sharing mechanism needed to resolve conflict

Mar 31 (TW) Science and Technology Minister Prof. Tissa Vitarana, Chairman of the All Party Representatives Committee, outlines the progress made by the APRC and stresses the need for a power sharing mechanism to resolve the present conflict, in an interview with Manjula Fernando of the Daily News: Q: The All Party Representatives Committee (APRC) is reportedly close to submitting its proposals. When will it be forthcoming? more..

Photo Journal: Nostalgia for “Vali North”

Mar 31 (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. The middle class people who could afford, have deiced to rent houses in other areas after spending some time in the welfare camps. more..

UK cracks down on LTTE front

Mar 31 (PISL) The United Kingdom government has commenced action against a London based LTTE front organization, sources in the UK said yesterday. UK investigators had traced a "strong" link between LTTE and one of the trustees of the organization, The Sivayogam Trust, which administers the Muthumariamman Hindu Temple, located at 180-186 Upper Tooting Road, Tooting, London, sources said. more..

We never gave LTTE Rs 70 Mn -Yapa

Mar 31 (LNP) The SLFP on Thursday denied that it gave the LTTE Rs 70 million to prevent people in the North and East from voting at the November 2005 Presidential Election. Cabinet spokesman and Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa asked at yesterday`s Cabinet press briefing about UNP allegations that in terms of the `Mahinda -Prabhakaran Election Pact`,the LTTE was paid Rs 70 million said`We never gave the LTTE any money.` more..

LTTE will be finished off - Army

Mar 31 (LNP) The LTTE will be finished off from the ground before it comes by air,the army said on Thursday. Army spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe addressing journalists at the cabinet press briefing said that there was no need to worry about the LTTE`s so called air power, since it will be finished off at ground level.`We will finish off the LTTE from the ground before it comes by air.` more..

CSE downslide and global democracy on the Gadarene Slope

Mar 31 (LNP) The downturn in the Colombo bourse in the aftermath of terror attacks on Monday, however worrisome that downslide may be to brokers, investors and the public, has led to celebrations in some quarters. While the terror sympathizers are cock-a-hoop about the tumble out in the open, the terror-worshipping southern politicians are deriving some sadistic pleasure from the country`s plight, on the sly. more..

AI stumps Lanka at World Cup

Mar 31 (SAMN) Amnesty International (AI) has launched a worldwide public campaign calling for international human rights monitoring mechanism to be immediately established in Sri Lanka, AI said Friday. Amnesty International believes nothing could be more effective in reducing the incidents of human rights abuses other than a genuine commitment by the security forces and the LTTE to respect human rights. more..

New domestic airline to be launched

Mar 31 (SAMN) The JS Group of Pakistan will be lunching a domestic airline service in Sri Lanka. The Ministry of Defence has cleared the venture. The Company has already entered into a commercial partnership with Deccan Aviation Lanka, which is already operating helicopter operations. JS Air and Deccan Aviation will initially operate flights to Palali, Trincomalee, Ampara, Weerawila, Koggala and other domestic destinations. more..

JVP will never join with UNP: Tilvin

Mar 31 (SAMN) General Secretary of the JVP, Tilvin Silva, said UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s plan to build a joint opposition together with the JVP, will never be a reality. Addressing the JVP district organisers in Matale recently he said the JVP is the only party in the country today that can give leadership to the people. The JVP does not want to join hands with the UNP that destroyed the country. However, the JVP is still prepared to give strength to the government to follow the right path. more..

New Colombo Consumers Price Index soon

Mar 31 (SAMN) The Government has decided to introduce a new official Colombo Consumer’s Price Index (CCPI) which will be prepared based on the Family Revenue and Expenditure Survey which was conducted in 2002 including the improvements of measures of the current CCPI as suitable for the current price movements in consumer items in Sri Lanka. more..

Herbal gardens for 10 Colombo schools

Mar 31 (DN) The School Herbal Garden Development Project organised by the Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) will hold its inaugural tree planting ceremony on April 3 at Kotahena Central College, CMC sources said. The CMC’s Public Health Department in association with the Indigenous Medicine Department of the CMC and Hettigoda Group plan to introduce herbal gardens at 10 selected schools in the CMC area for the initial stage of this project. more..

100 more rural schools to be upgraded

Mar 31 (DN) The Government has allocated Rs. 175 million for the development of rural schools aiming to reduce student congestion in urban schools, the Education Ministry said. Under the Rural School Development Project the Government has taken action to renovate and develop 450 rural schools. One hundred schools will be developed this year alone. more..

Armed group threatens Kalpitiya Lankadeepa correspondent

Mar 31 (FMM) It has been reported to the Free Media Movement that a group of armed men in civics visited the work place of provincial correspondent of Lankadeepa newspaper for Kalpitiya area, Puttalam district Mrs. Pathma Kumari, in a white dolphin van and inquired about her. This incident took place around noon 29th March 2007. She has made a complaint to the Kalpitiya police on this matter. more..

Air base attack: UNP calls for Select Committee

Mar 31 (DM) The main opposition UNP yesterday called for a Parliamentary Select Committee to inquire into Monday’s pre-dawn LTTE air attack on the Katunayake air force base. UNP frontliner Lakshman Kiriella told journalists the party wanted Parliament summoned for this purpose but the government had declined to do so and the party believed the CID probe on this attack would be futile. more..

Sinhala, Tamil New Year: NPC calls for ceasefire

Mar 31 (DM) The National Peace Council (NPC) yesterday called on the government and LTTE to declare a humanitarian ceasefire and to return to the obligations of the Ceasefire Agreement for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. Issuing a statement, following the air attack by the LTTE on the Katunayake Air Force base, the NPC said, “The attack adjoining the country’s sole international airport, and the government's response through air bombardment of LTTE held areas, are ominous indications of the path of military escalation that lies ahead. more..

Attack on fishermen serious issue: MK

Mar 31 (CO) The Tamil Nadu government is collecting details over the reported killing of five fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy last week, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi told the State Assembly on Friday. Replying to the AIADMK and MDMK members who raised the issue, Karunanidhi said the firing by the Sri Lankan navy on Tamil Nadu fishermen was a major issue. more..

Air raid no threat to South Asian region: LTTE

Mar 31 (HT) In a significant statement ahead of the SAARC summit in New Delhi in early April, the LTTE has said that the air strike which it conducted against the Sri Lankan Air Force's main base at Katunayake on March 26, poses no threat to the South Asian region. "Our struggle is aimed at achieving our own freedom, and we are no threat to any one else other than the oppressive Sri Lankan state we are fighting against," said the rebel group's political leader, SP Tamilselvan, in Kilinochchi on Friday. more..

Thai, Sri Lankan Prime Ministers Confer On Security, Investment

Mar 31 (Bernama) Thai Prime Minister Gen. Surayud Chulanont has held talks with his visiting Sri Lankan counterpart Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, aimed at strengthening cooperation in the fields of security, exchange of intelligence, trade, investment and energy. TNA in its report said, the talks were held Friday evening at the Government House here and Gen. Surayud later held a dinner party in honour for Wickremanayake more..

Centre trying to help Lanka: Vaiko

Mar 31 (CO) The MDMK has charged that the Centre was "secretly trying to help" the Sri Lankan government in the wake of the recent aerial strikes by the LTTE, by installing radars along the Tamil Nadu coast. In a statement here, MDMK leader Vaiko said the Union government, instead of getting back the radars given by it to the Sri Lankan government, was trying to assist the "Sinhalese chauvinistic government" and its military which are shocked by the strikes by the 'Air Tigers'. more..

Sri Lanka court blocks international rights probe

Mar 31 (ZN) A Sri Lanka court blocked access for an internationally supervised team probing grave human rights abuses as the island faced mounting criticism for extra-judicial killings, police said Friday. Colombo's chief magistrate refused permission yesterday for the special presidential commission investigating high-profile assassinations and massacres to have access to court records, a police official said. more..

Common gods, shared values thread India, Sri Lanka together

Mar 31 (IANS) From kings to gods, from rivers to religion, from languages to entertainment, a shared heritage born centuries ago continues to embrace India and Sri Lanka even in this modern age. "Sri Lanka is culturally akin to India," says A. Sabarullah Khan, a veteran diplomat from the exotic island nation based in New Delhi. He should know. Like most Muslims from his country, Tamil is what he speaks at home - and the language came from India. more..

Sri Lanka says terrorism no threat to 8 percent growth

Mar 31 (AFP) Sri Lanka's president said "terrorism" was no threat to growth as he forecast that the island's economy would grow by eight percent in 2007. President Mahinda Rajapakse also said he expected annual eight percent average growth over the next five years despite government forces battling Tamil Tiger rebels in the island's northeast. more..