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Luxury liner calls at Colombo harbour

Mar 5 (GDI) One of the top bracket luxury liners, the Five Star Super Passenger cruiser ‘Silver Whisper’ made its maiden call at Sri Lanka Ports Authority controlled passenger Jetty at Colombo Port carrying 260 passengers on board on March 03. The ship under silver sea Cruisers Ltd, visited Colombo from Phuket in Thailand on her way to Kochin in India during the Indian Ocean Cruise. more..

Tigers open up new satellite radio station from Vanni

Mar 5 (AT) Pulikalin Kural (Voice of Tigers, (VoT)) -- the official radio station of the LTTE -- was launched yesterday in Vanni, Sri Lanka using the Intelsat 12 satellite (Europe* Star1). The Tigers now have the best technology to broadcast to Europe and South Asian countries from Vanni. The technical equipment and the licensing of this station was originally approved by Ranil Wickremesinghe and Bradman Weerakoon under the Ceasefire Agreement. more..

Norway’s Ambassador meets with LTTE political head Tamilselvan in Vanni

Mar 5 (AT) As the LTTE clashed with the Sri Lanka Army and killed three soldiers in Jaffna peninsula, Norwegian Ambassador in Colombo Hans Bratskar went to Kilinochchi and held discussions with the rebel group’s political head S. P. Thamilchelvan. This is the first time the Norwegians met the LTTE after they launched an artillery attack slightly injuring the US and Italian Ambassadors who were in a humanitarian delegation visiting Batticaloa. more..

Mail overflows Trinco storage, lie outside in open

Mar 5 (TN) Trincomalee postal department official await the arrival of a cargo vessel "Mercs Yala" from Kankesanthurai to transport thousands of mailbags and parcels to Jaffna district, as the attempt to ship the mail before Sunday failed, sources in Trincomalee said. The backlog has been lying in Trincomalee general post office since January 13 without any vessel being assigned to take them to Jaffna, more..

India urged to find solution to ethnic crisis

Mar 5 (NIP) Sri Lankan MP Mavai S Senathirajah on Sunday said that the international community should impose economic sanctions against the Island Nation in order to find a viable solution to the ethnic crisis. Briefing journalists here, he said the European Union had imposed certain sanctions against Sri Lanka a month ago. more..

Lankan arrested for illegal immigration

Mar 5 (NIP) The ‘Q’ police have arrested a 35-year-old Sri Lankan refugee on charges of indulging in illegal immigration of refugees to Sri Lanka on Saturday. He was later handed over to the Panavaram police. According to the police, Amirtha Sarkan, a refugee from Triconmalee, Sri Lanka was arrested for helping the Lankans to migrate illegally to India. more..

Tigers` North Korean link bared?

Mar 5 (LNP) Speculation in defence circles is that armaments, including sizeable stocks of artillery shells and mortar rounds, ordered by North Koreans from a major arms supplier, were to be transferred to the LTTE. One such shipment is believed to have been thwarted by Sri Lanka about two months ago. The supplier, a major arms producing country had cancelled the shipment immediately after Sri Lanka brought the alleged move to her notice. more..

Country plunging towards terror era: UNP, TNA

Mar 5 (LNP) The main opposition UNP and the TNA yesterday warned that the country was plunging towards an era of terror and anarchy, following the recovery of five bodies from a marshy bog at Muthurajawela in Kandana. While mystery surrounds the deaths of the five victims, it is believed that they had been shot dead elsewhere and dumped in the marsh. more..

Advanced tech. education centre by next year

Mar 5 (LNP) The construction of the state-of-the-art building project for students seeking advanced technological education is in progress in Kegalle Higher Education Minister Prof. Wiswa Warnapala has instructed relevant officials to expedite the construction work. Higher Education Ministry sources said the Kegalle building project would be of immense value to students involved in various advanced technological studies and more..

Karaoke workers harassed: Attorney

Mar 5 (LNP) Five women and two men taken into custody from a Karaoke entertainment and night club in Mt. Lavinia and produced before Mt. Lavinia Magistrate on Friday (2) were acquitted. This was the second occasion this year the employees of this establishment (Karaoke club) were produced before Mt. Lavinia Courts and discharged. more..

Mowlana as mediator

Mar 5 (SAMN) Western Province Governor and veteran SLFPer Alavi Mowlana who was instrumental in resolving the rift between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Minister Anura Bandarnaike said that the ongoing ‘battle’ between the President and ousted Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Siripathi Sooriarachchi was a totally unnecessary one. more..

JVP wants halt to search ops on estates

Mar 5 (SAMN) The JVP wants a halt to search operations being conducted in the hill country. Up to now around 150 estate workers have been arrested by the Terrorist Investigation Unit. They have been in remand at the Boosa Prison for months, JVP MP Ramalingam Chandrasekar said. He said that most of workers have been remanded without acceptable evidence. more..

CMC Turmoil continues

Mar 5 (SAMN) Turmoil in the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) continued with Commissioner Dr. Jayantha Liyanage charging Opposition Leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara of trying to sling mud at President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the SLFP. Dr. Liyanage was reacting to some allegations made by Nanayakkara on the newly opened car park at Bauddhaloka Mawatha and regarding St John’s Fish Market and the hoardings which were put up to mark the first anniversary of the President’s election to office. more..

Propose devolution to Tamils: Prelate

Mar 5 (SAMN) The Most Ven. Mahanayake Tibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangale Thera told Science and Technology Minister, Chairman All Party Representative Committee (APRC), Professor Tissa Vitharana that he was not agreeable to any solution to the present crisis that was put forward to satisfy the LTTE terrorist group. Any devolution should be proposed to the Tamil people in general and not the LTTE, the prelate urged. more..

Agricultural sectors’ contributions to GDP low, says Minister

Mar 5 (DN) The agricultural sector’s contribution to the GDP is 17.5 per cent which is very low though 80 per cent of the country’s population are farmers while over thousands of part time workers are engaged in various agricultural related subjects, Agricultural Development Minister Hemakumara Nanayakkara said. He said the Government has given priority to develop agriculture for the farmers’ betterment. more..

Minister orders probe into Youth Corps activities

Mar 5 (DN) Youth Affairs Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi has ordered an inquiry into activities of Youth Corps since there was no clear document on programmes conducted by the Youth Corps during the UNP rule. According to the Minister, no audit inquiry had been conducted on programmes conducted by the Youth Corps. more..

Thousands of Tamil and Sinhalese youth recite Rosary for peace

Mar 5 (AN) About 20,000 Sinhalese and Tamil youth took part last Saturday in the 60th National Day of the Child in Our Lady of Lanka Basilica in Tewatte. It gave them the opportunity to pray to Our Lady that she “may bring the country lasting peace.” Before the mass, celebrated by the Archbishop of Colombo Mgr Oswald Gomis, Sunday school children from the whole archdiocese recited the Rosary. more..

Govt. responds to Blake’s comment

Mar 5 (DM) Responding to US Ambassador Robert O. Blake’s comment that he did not believe the LTTE intended to target the diplomats when it shelled the Webber ground on Wednesday, the government yesterday reiterated it had enough evidence to prove that the Tigers had deliberately targeted the diplomats. “It was obvious, the Tigers intentionally targeted the visiting diplomats as they did in earlier occasions,” more..

Stern action against exam cheats

Mar 5 (DM) The Department of Examinations will take stern action against students who secured admission to schools in underprivileged districts only a few months before the Advanced Level Examination solely for the purpose of taking advantage of the low Z-score cut off marks allocated to these districts. more..

Indian fishermen seek safety against SL Navy

Mar 5 (IANS) A grouping of Indian fishermen has urged the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard to protect them from attacks by the Sri Lankan Navy which they say have left 400 people dead or wounded in the previous two years. The National Fish Workers Forum (NFF) has shot off letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister A.K. Antony, demanding that the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard "should be alerted to protect the Indian fishermen". more..

Top SL officials held for links with LTTE

Mar 5 (HT) An un-named senior official of the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry and a Director of an NGO, both belonging to the majority Sinhala community, were arrested last week for alleged links with the LTTE. Confirming it, Defence spokesman Kaheliya Rambukwella told Hindustan Times that the arrests showed that the government was "non-discriminatory" and that a person's background did not matter when the state moved to protect national security. more..

UK Urged to Press Sri Lanka on Media Freedom

Mar 5 (OW) Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama arrived in London today (5 March) in preparation for meetings with two UK cabinet ministers. The meeting takes place tomorrow at a time of huge crackdown in Sri Lanka, the latest manifestation being arrest of the director and a journalist from the Mawbima newspaper. more..

Seven killed in Sri Lanka

Mar 5 (AFP) Seven people have been killed in Sri Lanka's restive northern and eastern regions in clashes between security forces and Tamil Tiger rebels, the defence ministry said Monday. Three soldiers were killed in the northern district of Jaffna early Monday when troops traded fire with Tiger rebels, the military said, adding that security forces had also inflicted heavy damage on the guerrillas. It gave no further details. more..

Sri Lanka peace mediator meets Tigers, 3 soldiers killed

Mar 5 (Reuters) Sri Lankan rebels warned of a "bloodbath" if international mediators are unable to restrain government forces, after holding talks on Monday with Norway's ambassador in the strife-torn northern part of the country. Norwegian envoy Hans Brattskar's visit to the Tiger-held town of Killinochchi comes days after the Italian and U.S. ambassadors to Colombo and the United Nations representative to Sri Lanka were slightly hurt more..

Sri Lanka and United States sign reciprocal military logistics deal

Mar 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka and the United States has signed a deal to give reciprocal logistical support for the military forces of the two countries, the US embassy in Colombo said Monday. The 10-year agreement which will provide a framework for increased interoperability of the forces of the two countries has been signed between Sri Lankan Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa and U.S. Ambassador Robert Blake. more..

Tamil rebels warn of 'bloodbath' if Sri Lankan military offensive continues

Mar 5 (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels warned on Monday of a "bloodbath" if the international community fails to stop an alleged offensive by Sri Lanka's military in rebel-held areas. The rebel warning, the strongest since the two sides signed a cease-fire five years ago, came during a meeting between Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar and S.P. Thamilselvan, the rebels' political chief, the guerrillas said in a statement. more..

Sri Lanka Navy orders, Saudi tugs buoy Colombo Dockyard

Mar 6 (LBO) Colombo Dockyard (CDL) is reporting a full order book till 2008 for new ships, after building seven fast patrol boats for the Sri Lankan Navy and two tugs for Saudi Arabia which saw revenues rising 21.3 percent to 7.4 billion in 2006. Last year it had delivered seven fast patrol crafts for the Sri Lanka Navy after completing an order for 10 vessels. more..

Better living conditions for internally displaced in Sri Lanka

Mar 6 (AN) All they wanted was to go home. But as one man in a camp noted, their `future is a big question mark', as Sri Lanka is once again on the brink of a bloody war. Over 200,000 people have been displaced by the recent spate of violence in the north and east of the country, between the LTTE and the government. more..

Sri Lanka financial reglators in a new bid to boost professional skills

Mar 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's financial regulators are coming together to boost skills of market professionals in a bid to deepen securities and insurance industries. Sri Lanka's capital markets have not been fully tapped, officials say, with a lack of skill levels in the industry being the main reason. more..

Batticaloa refugees increase to 83,000, Vaharai displaced to be resettled from today

Mar 6 (AT) As the Government of Sri Lanka announced yesterday that victims and displaced due to LTTE attacks in Batticaloa area will receive Rs. 100,000.00 each, Sri Lanka's television stations reported that the total number of displaced in Batticaloa as reaching 83,000. A considerable number of these are as a result of recent clashes in Vaharai between the Sri Lanka forces and the LTTE. more..

IDPs 'ready' to go back

Mar 6 (BBC) Resettling of the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) from Vakarai will start from Tuesday, Sri Lanka government officials said. More than 16000 people were displaced in Vakarai when the hostilities increased between the government forces and LTTE. The District Secretariat said that more than 4500 families from 37 villages left Vaharai and taken refuge in schools and other establishments. more..

Sri Lanka downs Scotland

Mar 6 (PA) Sri Lanka has registered a predictably heavy 162-run defeat of Scotland in a World Cup warm-up clash at the 3Ws Oval. Sri Lanka was made to work for its 7-294 - featuring half-centuries from Kumar Sangakkara (81), Sanath Jayasuriya (77) and Upul Tharanga (70) - and once Scotland's reply had lost three early wickets, there was little doubt it would fall well short of the target. more..

Elephants as Partners in Conservation

Mar 6 (IPS) Decades after unsuccessful attempts to minimise the elepehant-human conflict in Sri Lanka, authorities are trying out a bold experiment -- allowing both mammals to live together in harmony with the environment. Some 50 to 60 people -- mostly chena (slash and burn) cultivators -- are killed annually by marauding elephants in search of food. Drives to shift herds to nature parks, away from human settlements, have not been very successful. more..

India for security part in Lanka pact

Mar 6 (FE) India is pitching for a special security clause in the agreement on services which it intends to ink with Sri Lanka as part of a comprehensive economic partnership agreement. “The security angle and the insertion of a special security clause in the final agreement will be part of the discussions,” a government official told FE. more..

UNP to launch campaign against abduction, killings, HR violations

Mar 6 (TN) The main opposition United National Party (UNP) is to launch a mass protest campaign across Sri Lanka against the increased number of abduction, killings and other human rights violations. The campaign will begin in April led by Ranil Wickremasinghe, opposition leader, said S.B.Dissanayake, national organizer of the UNP. more..

UNP demands to know JVP, JHU's position on SLFP-LTTE deal

Mar 6 (TN) The main opposition UNP Monday requested the JHU, all monks' party and Sinhala nationalist JVP to state their stand on the allegation leveled by ousted ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi that some politicians of ruling SLFP had struck a secret deal with the LTTE before the last presidential election. more..

Sri Lanka Hails Victory; Refugees Unsure of Future

Mar 6 (NPR) In Sri Lanka, government forces, say they've won crucial victories, allowing them to cut off the rebel Tamil Tigers' supply line and securing terrain used to shell a naval base. But for 40,000 Tamil refugees who have been displaced by both civil war and a tsunami, the question is when — and how — they be allowed back to her home. more..

Karunanidhi defends daughter as party war plays out on TV

Mar 6 (IE) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M Karunanidhi today lashed out at those who had caste aspersions on his daughter, Kanimozhi’s LTTE links. It may be recalled that Tamil Maiyam — the cultural organisation, that had recently organised the Chennai Sangamam (a cultural extravaganza) in the city — had earned flak for its LTTE links. Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi is the coordinator of this cultural organisation that was founded by Father Jegath Gaspar Raj. more..

Sri Lanka's World Cup bid on target, says Jayawardene

Mar 6 (Reuters) It was mission accomplished for Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene after his team enjoyed a 159-run victory over Scotland in their opening World Cup warm-up match on Monday. The 1996 champions are considered one of the dark horses for the title in the Caribbean and underlined their intentions after amassing 294 for seven before skittling out the Scottish side for 135 in the 42nd over. more..

People's Bank grows bigger, makes more profits, but faces pension challenge

Mar 6 (LBO) People's Bank, a state bank has reported consolidated after tax profits of 3,997 billion rupees for, up 28 percent over the previous year, while the bank's stand alone profits grew 20 percent to 3,350 million rupees, in its 2006 provisional results. The bank's revenues grew 28.5 percent to 34.95 billion while group revenues with its leasing subsidiary were up 29.5 percent to 38.09 billion rupees. more..

Sri Lanka pension fund looks at day trading

Mar 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's private sector employees pension fund (EPF) is planning to engage in 'day trading' using a small portfolio, an official said. The Employees Provident Fund which has assets of 475 billion under management has been investing about one percent of its funds (about five billion rupees) in stocks. more..

Sri Lanka shares plunge a week after a global meltdown, while regional markets bounce back

Mar 6 (LBO) Colombo shares plunged more than two percent Tuesday almost a week after global markets hit record lows, and in a day that saw top regional markets bouncing back. Hong Kong closed up 2.11 percent, Singapore 1.76 percent, Japan 1.22, while Sri Lanka benchmark all share index skidded 1.76 percent lower losing 52.29 points. more..

Norwegian team visits key institutions in Kilinochchi

Mar 6 (TN) Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Hans Brattskar, and other officials visited Kilinochchi Hospital, Education officials and the North East Secretariat of Human Rights office in Kilinochchi Monday around 3:30 p.m, and held discussions on current issues related to people's medical needs, education and human rights, sources in Kilinochchi said. more..

Police chief admits Sri Lanka forces involved in abductions

Mar 6 (TN) Sri Lankan security forces are involved in abductions of civilians for ransom, the country’s Police Chief admitted Monday, saying a ‘large number’ of officers and troops had been arrested on charges of abduction and extortion. However Police Inspector General Victor Perera also asserted that “organised groups” were conducting abductions and killings “to embarrass the government.” more..

A conspiracy in Parliament! – Chief Opposition Whip

Mar 6 (LT) The reason for COPE report not being included in the Hansard is the result of a conspiracy said Chief Whip of the Opposition Joseph Michael Perera. The debate on the COPE report which reveals corruption and malpractices of 26 state enterprises was held on the 22nd of last month. Several politicians too have been accused of corruption by the report. more..

EPDP denies of any involvement in demanding ransom or donations in Vavuniya

Mar 6 (AT) EPDP denied of any involvement in ransom and donation received from anyone, anywhere. EPDP alleged that none of their members were involved in such heinous crimes. Douglas Devananda MP, Secretary General of the EPDP told "Asian Tribune" that since 1990 May, his return from India to Sri Lanka and his involvement in the democratic mainstream, EPDP has either demanded or accepted one cent neither as ransom nor as donation from anyone. more..

US State Department’s Steven Mann Visits Sri Lanka March 8-9

Mar 6 (AT) Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the United States Department of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Steven Mann is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka March 8-9 less than two weeks his ambassador in Colombo faced Tamil Tiger mortar fire when he visited the eastern city of Batticaloa. American Embassy media note states that he is expected to discuss the stalled peace process, human rights and access to conflict areas more..

Clear evidence of LTTE links with arrested journalists – CID

Mar 6 (GDI) The Police Department has found out clear evidence on direct contacts of the recently arrested journalists with the LTTE and their plans to destruct the security in the country. Former Deputy Inspector General in charge of –Criminal Investigation Division (DIG-CID) and the Director of the Colombo Crime Division, Ashoka Wijethilaka stated the above today, more..

North harvest continues reaching the southern markets

Mar 6 (GDI) Many agricultural products of farmers of the Northern peninsula have yet again started reaching the markets of the Southern part of the island. On Monday(05) the merchant vessel “Mercs Yala”, left Mailaddy port Jaffna carrying 143 tonnes of red onions, 314 tonnes of tobacco, 1.5 tonnes of tobacco powder and many other palmyrah products and will be reaching Trincomalee harbour soon. more..

National Security Ordinance is to maintain law and order in this country- IGP Victor Perera

Mar 6 (GDI) “National Security Ordinance has been promulgated by the Government to maintain law and order in this country,” stated the Inspector General of Police, Victor Perera addressing the media today. He added that the national Security Ordinance caters to the legal possibilities which are not possible under the normal law, more..