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Another U.S. base in the Indian Ocean?

Mar 9 (Hindu) THE TEN-YEAR Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) signed by the United States and Sri Lanka on March 5, which provides for among other things logistics supplies and re-fuelling facilities, has major ramifications for the region, particularly India. However, New Delhi's silence on the development is a reflection of the changed geo-political environment in the post-Cold War era with the emergence of the U.S. as the sole superpower. more..

India should intervene in Lanka, says ENDLF

Mar 9 (NIP) Eelam National Democratic Liberation Front (ENDLF) has sought India’s military intervention in Sri Lanka to protect the Eelam Tamils. “Soft options will not work with the Sri Lankan Government. With the final war imminent in the strife-torn island nation, India should send troops to prevent bloodshed,” Nesan, a Central Committee Member of ENDLF, told journalists here. more..

Sri Lanka: 200,000 displaced, security worsening in Government-separatist fighting

Mar 9 (UN) Over 200,000 Sri Lankans have been displaced in the past six months and some 600,000 others remain cut off in the north of the island as the unresolved conflict and dangerously fragile ceasefire accord between the Government and Tamil separatists continue to affect gravely the lives of children and women, according to a United Nations update. more..

Editorial: Island in crisis

Mar 9 (HT) The absence of State effort to put in place human rights mechanisms has aggravated the war in Sri Lanka. For matters to improve, Colombo must rein in State-linked violations. Situations of armed conflict lead to grave human rights abuses. In Sri Lanka, the absence of human rights mechanisms and protection has led to the escalation of an undeclared war. The Norway-facilitated Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE has collapsed. more..

TNA MPs visit Tamil political prisoners

Mar 9 (TN) Seven TNA parliamentarians accompanied by Minister for Justice and Legal Reformation, Dilan Perera, visited the Tamil Political prisoners at Magazine Prison in Colombo Thursday evening and discussed matters related to their release. The prisoners who had begun a fast-to-death campaign on 21 February had called off their action temporarily on February 26 following TNA parliamentarians' assurance to assist them. more..

Vessel Yala to carry Jaffna mail from Trinco

Mar 9 (TN) The backlog of about six thousand parcels lying in the Trincomalee general post office and about two thousand such parcels expected to reach east port town from other parts are expected to be dispatched to Jaffna by a vessel "Yala" on March 13, said Trincomalee Post Master. more..

Sri Lanka tea exporter calls for economic stability rather than inflation-depreciation cycle

Mar 9 (LBO) In a departure from the usual cry, a top tea exporter in Sri Lanka has called for lower fiscal deficits and economic stability rather than depending on currency depreciation to regain competitiveness lost through fiscally-induced domestic inflation. more..

Sri Lanka share close up Friday after string of losses

Mar 9 (LBO) Colombo share market close up nearly one percent up on Friday following a string of losses in the week. The All Share Price Index was up 0.7 percent (20 points) to 2,862.22 and the Milanka Index was up 0.91 percent (35.9 points) to 3,977.18. On Thursday and the All Share Index lost 2.25 percent (65.28 points) to 2842.22 and the Milanka Index lost 2.86 percent (116.14 points) to 3941.28. more..

Massive defeat for the LTTE Terrorists in North of Trinco

Mar 9 (GDI) The Sri Lanka Army successfully launched a 48 hours Humanitarian Operation resulting a heavy defeat for the LTTE carders who were located in Peraru Jungles in the North of Trincomalee today. These terrorists based in Peraru area around 30 kilometers North of Trincomalee town were a serious threat to the passangers on Anuradhapura –Trincomalee road and Trincomalee- Pulmudai road and more..

President encourages the research team of Embryo Transfer

Mar 9 (GDI) The President Mahinda Rajapaksa has paid his special attention on the resent success achieved by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Peradeniya in forming a female goat kid named ‘Peradeniya Kumari’ resulted from Embryo Transfer (ET) technology. President highly appreciated this exponential progress and encouraged his team to engage in such research activities further. more..

Troops Call Upon LTTE Cadres to Surrender

Mar 9 (GDI) AS MORE and more Tiger (LTTE) cadres, aware of their fate in the face of consolidating troops now engaged in search and clear operations in the east, have begun to come forward and surrender themselves to the Security Forces in fear of their lives. In the latest move, four young LTTE cadres who were fleeing after escape from LTTE clutches reached the troops at BATTICALOA late Thursday (8) evening and pleaded for security to their lives. more..

Troops Neutralize Tiger Threats Clearing More Terrorist Bases

Mar 9 (GDI) TROOPS NOW consolidating their positions in KUMBURUPPIDI, PERARU, PERIYAKARACHCHI areas to the north of Trincomalee overran four more terrorist camps this morning (9) causing extensive damages to the LTTE infrastructure and terrorists. Troops backed by artillery and MBRL for the last 48 hours have been engaged in clearing those pockets of terrorists and their hideouts as well as thousands of explosive devices, more..

Second fish canning factory to operation this year

Mar 9 (GDI) A large scale project with a cost of over 60 million US dollars (Approximately Rs.6000 millions) will be launched to establish a fish canning factory in Akmeemana, Galle. This is the second operational fish canning factory in Sri Lanka. Construction work of Sri Lanka’s second operational fish canning factory will commence in May this year. more..

UNICEF accuses LTTE of more than 6,000 child abductions this year

Mar 9 (GDI) The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced that as at January 2007 they have recorded 6,241 child abductions in the North and East provinces and blamed the LTTE terrorists for having recruited 6,006 of them for war. It has also blamed the breakaway Karuna group for abducting 235 out of the recorded 6,241. more..

Levies cut to bring down food prices

Mar 9 (GDI) The government has relaxed levies of 10 essential food and other items to bring down the prices. This step taken by the Committee on Reducing the Cost of Living would result in reduction of prices of 10 essential consumer items before the Sinhala and Tamil New Year period. This decision was taken at a meeting of the Committee at Temple Trees last evening presided over by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Legal action against NGOs abusing duty free facility

Mar 9 (GDI) Legal action will be taken against NGOs, which have violated the conditions related to vehicles imported free of duty and taxes for relief and reconstruction activities. The Finance Ministry said that Government has allowed various NGOO to import material aids and duty free vehicles on approval of the Cabinet of Ministers considering the unexpected disaster situation, emerged from Tsunami tragedy and relief services urgently needed to be provided after the disaster. more..

LTTE must free the two surviving TMVP cadres abducted in Ja-ela

Mar 9 (AT) TMVP led by Colonel Karuna demanded yesterday for the immediate release of the two of their surviving supporters who were abducted at Ja-ela and held incommunicado at the Karadiyanaru Intelligence camp of the LTTE. Azad Mowlana, spokesman for the TMVP told “Asian Tribune” that Pradeep (24 Yrs) from Kannankudah and Rajkumar (26 Yrs) from Unnichchai in the Batticaloa district were the two of the total of seven TMVP supporters who came to Colombo and stayed at a lodge in Ja-ela, more..

JVP warns US

Mar 9 (LNP) The JVP warned the US Deputy State Secretary Steven Mann who arrived in Sri Lanka yesterday, that no one had the right to violate the sovereignty of Sri Lanka at any time. Mr. Mann has been sent by President George W. Bush following a request made by the US Congress to look at alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka.This warning was given by JVP Parliamentary Group Leader Wimal Weerawansa who made a special statement in Parliament yesterday. more..

Sripathi says deadly white van following him

Mar 9 (LNP) Former Minister Sripathi Sooriyarachchi told parliament yesterday that his life was in danger as a suspicious white van without a number plate was following him during the past few days. `After Mangala Samaraweera and I were removed from our positions, the security provided to us was also withdrawn on an order from Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. more..

Outer Circular Highway for Colombo

Mar 9 (LNP) The study on the 29-km Outer Circular Highway (OCH) has resumed, a spokesman for the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said. The OCH is a highway which will connect Kottawa with Kerawalapitiya and will reduce traffic congestion in and around Colombo as it will link several trunk roads and expressways, namely the Southern Expressway, the Kandy-Colombo Expressway and the Colombo Katunayake Expressway. more..

Needed: A Haal Chinthanaya

Mar 9 (LNP) The Institute of Post Harvest Technology is reported to be planning to popularise a new flour mixture, which is eighty per cent wheat flour and twenty per cent rice flour. The new scheme, it is believed, will help save a great deal of foreign exchange. With such innovative projects, it is not only money that we will be able to save but the lives of the rice growers as well. We are in for a bumper harvest in the Maha season. more..

Mangala lashes out at Sirisena

Mar 9 (SAMN) The Sri Lanka Freedom Party, on Wednesday night, decided to initiate disciplinary inquiries against former Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathy Suriyaarachchi. The party Central Committee, chaired by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, met at Temple Trees, to decide on the course of action to be taken against Samaraweera, the Party Treasurer and Suriyaarachchi, its Gampaha District Parliamentarian, more..

JVP wants committee for media guidelines

Mar 9 (SAMN) The JVP proposed in Parliament Thursday the appointment of a Select Committee to determine a set of guidelines for media coverage of parliamentary proceedings. The Party’s parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawansa said this basic framework should be formulated incorporating the views of all political parties. more..

Listing for Fisheries Harbour Corp

Mar 9 (SAMN) Ceylon Fishery Harbours Corporation (CFHC) is planning to become a listed company in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE). Chairman of the CFHC Asanga Abeyagoonasekera told Daily News that they have an initial idea to be listed under CSE. But they have to expand their portfolio and increase their profits by venturing to other business segments before listing under the CSE. more..

Fund to promote low cost housing

Mar 9 (SAMN) The government has taken a policy decision that any person or company deciding to carry out constructions of over 5,000 square feet would first have to pay from 1 per cent to 5 per cent of the construction costs to the "Low Cost (Income) Housing Fund" commenced by the Urban Development Authority (UDA), before the building plans are approved by the respective local authority, more..

Baseless Allegations of Abductions and Disappearances

Mar 9 (PISL) The spate of criticism and accusations, leveled at the SL Armed Forces, the Police and the Government of Sri Lanka during recent times, for complicity in abductions and disappearances that have taken place in certain parts of the country are unfounded. Various groups and organizations, local as well as international, have raised concern over these alleged human rights violations. more..

Humanitarian Situation in Sri Lanka

Mar 9 (PISL) This Report is an updated version of a presentation made on the Humanitarian Situation in Sri Lanka by a Representative of the Secretariat for Co-ordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) at the Sri Lanka Development Forum held at the Lighthouse Hotel in Galle on 29th and 30th January 2007. more..

Food quantum to Jaffna trebled after A9 closure

Mar 9 (DN) The Government has dispatched 81,345 metric tons of essential items to Jaffna from August to up todate covering a six-month period, Commissioner General Essential Services S.B. Divaratne said yesterday. Addressing a media briefing at the Information Department, the Commissioner said of the 81,345 metric tons, 78,729 metric tons of essential items have already been sent and the rest have been loaded for transportation in ships. more..

AG ready to frame charges against Maubima journalist

Mar 9 (DN) The Attorney General was now in a position to consider framing charges against journalist Munusamy Parameshwari attached to the Maubima newspaper, based on the I.B. Extracts provided by the Police, the Supreme Court was told when her rights plea was mentioned before Court yesterday. more..

Tycoon criticized for text book picture

Mar 9 (DM) Political parties condemned in Parliament yesterday the blasphemy committed by a business tycoon through the unethical display of a picture of the Buddha in a textbook allegedly issued to children at a private school belonging to him. The House debated the matter as an adjournment motion proposed by JHU MP Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thera who said the Buddha had been depicted as standing on his head on the back of a dog in this children’s book, causing heartburn to Buddhists in this country. more..

Controvesy regarding Dehena Ella waterfall project

Mar 9 (DM) Ratnapura Pradeshiys Sabha has initiated a project to construct a swimming pool and a visitors rest in the vicinity of Dehena Ella falls at Wewelwatta in Ratnapura despite public protests. They said Deneha Ella falls created by a tributary of Omarabotuwa river is the 27 th highest waterfall in the country and the ongoing project would cause extensive environmental damage. more..

Twin Cities man freed from jail in Sri Lanka

Mar 9 (ST) A 65-year-old Twin Cities man jailed for 31 days in Sri Lanka on terrorism charges was cleared and freed Thursday, and he said his incarceration has only emboldened him. Although Evan Balasuriya of Minneapolis said he was roughed up by police, locked in a crowded jail with fetid conditions and imprisoned in a camp with Tamil Tiger rebels, he said he intends to remain in the country to rebuild a village ravaged by the tsunami of December 2005. more..

Ancient link between India, Sri Lanka ignites passion

Mar 9 (IANS) Hindu groups are stepping up protests against the likely razing of an ancient bridge in the narrow sea between India and Sri Lanka due to a shipping project, saying it will be unfair to do away with something of such heritage and religious value. The Ram Setu or Adam's Bridge, a chain of limestone shoals 48 km long that once linked Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu with Mannar in Sri Lanka's northwest, faces possible destruction when more..

Sri Lankan refugee flow to India nearing 18,000-mark

Mar 9 (IANS) The number of Sri Lankan Tamils fleeing to India is picking up again after a relative lull and is set to cross the 18,000-mark amid fears of renewed fighting in the island nation. An NGO that tracks the refugee movement says the total number of refugees since January 2006 had risen to 17,822 following the arrival by sea Thursday of 13 adults and 11 children at Rameswaram, a costal district in Tamil Nadu. more..

Sri Lanka abductions stage managed

Mar 9 (HT) Responding to local and international allegations that it has a hand in the spate of abductions and mysterious disappearances in the country, the Sri Lankan government has said that many of the abductions had actually been "stage-managed" by interested parties like the LTTE for "propaganda purposes" or to gain a "personal advantage". more..

Why Lankan women shun politics

Mar 9 (HT) Politics is one profession that Sri Lankan women avoid like the plague. While women abound in several other professions like administration, judiciary, medicine, and teaching, they are scarce in the political parties and elected bodies, which abound in Sri Lanka. What is amazing is that this is so despite the fact that there are more females than males in the Sri Lankan population of 19.5 million. more..

Sri Lankan players would welcome new bunker hub

Mar 9 (PW) Plans to develop a major bunkering terminal in the south of Sri Lanka could bring down marine fuel prices in other ports in the country. "We don't see this development as eating into the Colombo market," a local player told Bunkerworld. He predicted it could even benefit the port. Sri Lanka has an agreement with China to develop a bunker terminal at Hambantota, near the southern tip of the island. more..

Women appeal for peace, 14,000 civilians flee the east

Mar 9 (AN) Women in Sri Lanka who marked International Women’s Day yesterday were opposed to any celebration because the atmosphere was not festive but rather one of a conflict still seeking a solution. Yesterday in fact some 14,000 civilians fled the Batticaloa area in the east where army troops have massed for an offensive against Tamil rebels. According to local sources, residents fear they might used as a human shield by the warring parties. more..

Sri Lankan judge says shootings of 17 post-tsunami aid workers were murders

Mar 9 (AP) The International Commission of Jurists called on Sri Lanka on Friday to ensure an impartial investigation into the shooting deaths of 17 aid workers helping with post-tsunami reconstruction and to offer protection to witnesses. "Fear is the enemy of justice," Michael Birnbaum, the ICJ's official observer at the inquest hearings told reporters Friday more..

Tigers say resisting Sri Lanka military onslaught

Mar 9 (AFP) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers said Friday they had repulsed a major offensive by government troops aimed at clearing the rebels from the east of the war-torn island. The military meanwhile claimed it had taken three rebel bases during separate fighting in a neighbouring district. "The Sri Lankan military attempt to move from the Black bridge towards the LTTE area of Koduvamadhu was thwarted," more..

Fighting in east Sri Lanka kills at least 23, military says

Mar 9 (AP) Anti-insurgency commandos overran a Tamil Tiger rebel base in eastern Sri Lanka on Friday, killing at least 20 guerrillas, the military said. Three commandos also died. The clash occurred in Ampara district 220 kilometers (130 miles) east of the capital, Colombo, said military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe. more..

Sri Lanka says captures bases, Tigers issue warning

Mar 9 (Reuters) Sri Lankan troops captured four Tamil Tiger bases and inflicted heavy casualties in the restive northeast before dawn on Friday, the military said, pushing on with an offensive the rebels warn could end in a bloodbath. Ground troops backed by artillery and multi-barrel rocket launchers advanced overnight on rebel-held territory in the district of Trincomalee, and around 150 Tiger fighters withdrew, more..

Crackdown on LTTE supporters, 41 held

Mar 10 (CO) In their crackdown on LTTE supporters in the state, Tamil Nadu police have arrested 41 persons, including 16 Sri Lankans, Director General of Police D Mukherjee said here today. Security arrangements in coastal districts have been stepped up in coordination with the navy, Coast Guard and Intelligence Bureau to prevent infiltration of Sri Lankan Tamil militants and to stop their supporters from indulging in "unlawful activities" more..

US envoy discusses human rights issues with Sri Lanka's president

Mar 10 (AP) A U.S. envoy said he discussed human rights issues with Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse in a meeting Friday, amid a growing number of abductions and unexplained killings in the country torn by a separatist conflict. "The issue of human rights was an important part of my dialogue with the president," Steven Mann, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, more..

Eight missing in rebel-dominated wildlife park in Sri Lanka

Mar 10 (DPA) Eight people, including two senior army officers, were reported missing in an abandoned wildlife park in north western Sri Lanka amidst fears that suspected Tamil rebels may have harmed them, wildlife officials said. According to the officials, the men had entered the Wilpattu National Park 280 kilometres north of the capital on an inspection tour, but had not returned, and an escort vehicle had found at least three bodies strewn inside the park. more..

Tharanga efforts in vain

Mar 10 (SL) Upul Tharanga's century proved in vain as New Zealand completed their on-field preparations for facing England in their first World Cup match with an 18-run warm-up win over Sri Lanka. Three half-centuries gave the Kiwis just enough to play with as they posted 285 for eight, after being put into bat at the 3Ws Oval. more..

Lankan tourist dies in bus

Mar 10 (NIP) A 52-year-old woman tourist from Sri Lanka reportedly died of heart attack in a moving bus here on Friday. According to police, Saraswati (52), hailing from Colombo and accompanied by her husband Koleen, boarded a private bus in Chennai on Thursday night in order to visit Rameswaram. When the bus was nearing Tiruchy early on Friday morning, she complained of chest pain. more..

New programme to upgrade fish cultivation

Mar 10 (GDI) The Government reportedly is considering a campaign to induce the farming community with an upgraded system both in marine and fresh water habitats. This will be carried out in district level and an island wide a new programme will be introduced with the assistance of District Secretaries and other Government officials. more..

Sri Lanka rakes in US $ 215 mn from dollar bonds while risk premium edges up

Mar 10 (LBO) The risk premium demanded by buyers of Sri Lanka dollar bonds edged up Friday, but the government raked in all offers raising four times the money it originally sought. The government's public debt office said the weighted average yield on the 2-year bond issue Friday was 155.24 basis points above the London Inter Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR). more..

Functions of Finance ministry are suspicious! – Sunil Handunneththi

Mar 10 (LT) Functioning of the Finance Ministry is suspicious said JVP Parliamentarian Sunil Handunneththi in the Parliament today. This suspicion is specially conformed from the way financial acts are presented to the Parliament said Mr. Handunneththi. The normal tradition is to discuss any financial acts at the financial committee of the Parliament before they are presented to the Parliament he said. more..