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Sri Lanka construction industry seeks cheaper alternative to river sand

May 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka's construction industry is seeking to popularize alternatives to expensive river sand to reduce costs in the construction industry, a senior official said. It wants to use a trade fair being held this week to promote manufactured sand using a rock crushing process as a cheaper alternative to scarce river sand, more..

Sri Lanka stocks end shade lower, war worries investors

May 10 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares closed a shade weaker in thin trade on Wednesday, their lowest level in around five months, as investors looked for signs of whether the island's renewed civil war would deepen of ease, traders said. The Colombo All Share index closed 0.07 percent lower after falling around 3.5 percent since last week, erasing all index gains for the year to date. more..

Lankan police recover hijacked Indian diplomatic van

May 10 (PTI) Sri Lankan police today recovered the hijacked van of the Indian High Commission here after a month-long search. The van was found in the north-western Kurunegala district this morning by a police team, along with two other stolen vehicles, police told the High Commission. The Toyota van, bearing diplomatic number plate, was hijacked by gunmen on April 9 while a lone High Commission employee, a local, more..

Boucher gives ear to Jaffna woes

May 10 (BBC) U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Affairs, Richard Boucher has met with local government, military and religious and civic leaders in Jaffna. He said he had an interesting visit to Jaffna where he had the opportunity of meeting many people and gathered information about the situation there. The visit helped to understand the difficulties of the people and also to work towards resolving the problem, US Assistant Secretary of State, Richard Boucher said. more..

I am confused as to the reasons for the continuous vendetta against me, by a government of my own party- Chandrika

May 10 (LeN) Issuing a release regarding the decision to reduce the number of security personnel provided to former president Chandrika Kumaratunga, she says she is amused by the fact that the Supreme Court has decided to cut down on her security when some widows of former presidents are being given 12 security personnel for their safety. more..

2 abducted from Colombo last night by abductors traveling in a white van

May 10 (LeN) Two Tamil persons have been arrested from Colombo last night by an armed gang who were traveling in a white van. The two victims are 26 year old Sathkunaraja Sashidaran of Dehiwala Bathiya Mawatha and 29 year old Robin Roosten of Mayfield Road in Kotahena. Sashidaran had been serving in a communication in Vihara Lane and had been abducted from the lane at around 10:30 last night. more..

Judge withdraws saying he can't hear the Mavilaru compensation fraud case

May 10 (LeN) Colombo Chief Magistrate Namal Balalle today withdrew from hearing the case regarding the Mavil-aru compensation fraud case. When the case was taken up this morning the Chief Magistrate stated that he will with draw from hearing the case. He also said that he therefore requests the Judicial services commission to appoint another judge to hear the case. more..

U.S. envoy mulls problems of civilians, spurned peace process in northern Sri Lanka

May 10 (AP) The United States will try to help solve some of the problems suffered by civilians living on a war-ravaged peninsula in northern Sri Lanka, a senior U.S. diplomat said Wednesday during a visit to discuss the country's stuttering peace process. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher traveled Wednesday to the Jaffna peninsula, a predominantly ethnic Tamil area, more..

77 Indian fishermen killed by Sri Lankan Navy

May 10 (IANS) Seventy-seven Indian fishermen had been killed by the Sri Lankan Navy in the last 16 years and New Delhi is taking steps to control such incidents, parliament was informed Wednesday. 'During the period from 1991 to mid-April 2007, 77 fishermen of Tamil Nadu have been killed in such incidents,' Defence Minister A.K. Antony said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha. more..

Sri Lanka: undeclared war pushes economy to brink of collapse

May 10 (AN) The undeclared war under way in Sri Lanka is pushing the country to the brink of economic crisis. A night-time curfew for airports and security alerts issued by foreign governments to their nationals travelling to former Ceylon – which has been dropped as a destination by some airline companies – have led to a drastic drop in tourism. Meanwhile hikes in military spending and inflation are weighing heavily on public expenditure and on citizens’ pockets. more..

Thailand too good for Lanka

May 10 (NM) Thailand thrashed Sri Lanka to record their second victory in the 6th Asian Youth Girl's Volleyball Champ-ionship at the Chaka-ngrao Gymnasium yesterday. Duenpen Areelua scored 17 points for Thailand to claim a straight-set victory [25-10 25-20 25-7] over unfancied Sri Lankans, who did not appear in the mood to fight, in their third match of the event. more..

New UN rural project supports Sri Lankan tea and rubber farmers

May 10 (UN) The United Nations International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) is supporting a new almost $40 million project in Sri Lanka that has the dual aims of bolstering incomes of 40,000 poor tea and rubber farmers and increasing their bargaining power. “The people targeted by the programme are among the very poorest in Sri Lanka,” said Sana Jatta, the agency’s programme manager for Sri Lanka. more..

Veteran Sri Lankan Banker expected to be elected as the International President of Lions

May 10 (AT) First time in the Sri Lankan history, a veteran banker and a social worker Mahendra Amarasuriya is to be unanimously elected as the President for Lions International at an election which is to be held on 6th July 2007 in the city of Chicago , USA Mr.Amarasuriya is the first Sri Lankan who will be elected as the President of the International Lions. more..

Search Ram first before reaching Ram's bridge

May 10 (AT) Dravida Kazhagam General Secretary K.Veeramani is convening an All Party Meeting on 8 th May 2007 to counter the false propaganda unleashed by BJP and VHP on the so called Rama's Bridge, which they claim as Heritage site and needs protection. We all know once upon a time India was an island nation surrounded by seas hence it had the name Navalanth Thievu. Continental Drifts had altered the world map many times. more..

Rama Sethu: Historic facts vs political fiction III

May 10 (NT) It has been rightly said that the two eyes of history are geography and chronology. Both geography and chronology get vitally linked through cartography. We have irrefutable cartographical evidence about the fact of rama sethu bridge as it was known for thousands of years or adam's bridge as it came to be called during the colonial british period. more..

Tamil leaders presses for Indian model as an alternative to federal and unitary constitutions

May 10 (AT) V. Anandasangaree, leader of the Tamil United Liberation Front, has written to the President Mahinda Rajapakse, arguing that the Indian Model will be acceptable to all sections of Sri Lankan people, as an alternative to both federal and unitary constitutions. However, he adds: "It is very unfortunate that the Indian Government both at the Centre and regional level had not shown any interest in my proposal. more..

British MP Keith Vaz, a “sleaze”, heads Tamil campaign in House of Commons: Dr. Howell rejects moves to lift ban on Tigers

May 10 (AT) The moves of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (AAPG) – T) in the House of Commons -- a private group of British MPs led by Keith Vaz -- to have the ban on the LTTE lifted has been “rejected totally” by the British government, said Foreign Minister, Rohitha Bogollagama, in his address to the parliament yesterday. more..

JVP issues a 'firm warning' to UK, says Britain is welcome only if she abides by Sri Lanka's heritage

May 10 (AT) "The British have provided the guidance for the present terrorist campaign to divide Sri Lanka and the British parliament supported killing of 800,000 innocent Iraqis. A Parliamentary group from the British Parliament is to visit us to give a report on how we the natives are governing ourselves 60 years after Independence. more..

RDA conceded 98 percent of the country’s roads are in bad shape

May 10 (AT) The factors leading to massive number of road accidents deaths and loss of property and major inundation of roads is now attributed to utterly improper planning of road construction. It is now evident that road constructions are planned without adequate provision for drainage or pavements for pedestrians. M B S Fernando, Chairman, Road Development Authority conceded that 98 percent of the country’s roads are in bad shape suggesting more..

Neutrality stressed by Mahanayake

May 10 (BBC) Mahanayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter the Most Ven.Udugama Sri Buddharakkhita Thero has said that religious leaders should keep away from interfering into state affairs in war situations. The Mahanayaka Thero expressed this view when the leader of the Anglican Church, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams visited the thero in Kandy on Wednesday. more..

Media experts criticise “one-sided” Media Freedom Report on South Asia

May 10 (GDI) The latest report on press freedoms in South Asia produced by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) released on Wednesday was criticised by some media experts who participated in the first South Asian World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) event held in the Maldivian capital from 2-3 May. The report on press freedom in South Asia 2006-2007 titled “The fight goes on” was officially released here during a two-day WPFD seminar more..

Lanka radar on Delhi table

May 10 (TT) A high-level meeting chaired by foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee has reviewed security threats after the LTTE’s recent air strikes and also considered a Sri Lankan request to post a team of Indian defence officials to upgrade the country’s radars supplied by Delhi. Delhi has supplied two Indian Doppler Radars (Indra) for low-level target detection to Colombo free of cost in the last five years. The Lankans now are understood to be interested in the more advanced 3D radar. more..

Buddhist sites to turn into hot spots

May 10 (ToI) Kalachakra, the mega Buddhist event held in Amaravati last year, has left the AP tourism department chanting 'Buddham Saranam Gachami'. The event had attracted Buddhists from across the world and the state tourism department wants to make the best use of the state's newfound Buddhist identity. The department is now all set to project Andhra Pradesh as India's key 'Buddhist Tourism' destination. more..

Jayawardene: Quartet hard to replace

May 10 (Fox) Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene has admitted that replacing his team's veteran performers will prove tricky. Batsman Sanath Jayasuriya and bowling pair Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas enjoyed successful World Cups, but all are 33 or older. Former captain Marvan Atapattu, who lost his place in the World Cup line-up to Upul Tharanga, is 37 and another for whom the clock is ticking. more..

Sri Lankan ruling party issues phony constitutional plan for ending war

May 10 (wsws) The SLFP, the main party in Colombo’s coalition government, announced a set of constitutional proposals on April 30 to establish the basis for a political settlement of the country’s civil war. The package, however, is a reversion to measures that the LTTE has long rejected. Thus, far from being a plan for peace, it is a justification for the government’s continuing military aggression. more..

Speaker expels TNA MP from Parliament session

May 10 (TN) The TNA Parliamentarian, a former student leader from Jaffna, S. Gajendran, was expelled from the parliament session Thursday as his recent comments in the Sri Lankan House on air raids by LTTE drew strong protest from the JVP Parliamentarian, Wimal Weerawanse, who demanded the Speaker of the Parliament to invoke 6th amendment of the Sri Lankan constitution and expel Mr. Gajendran, stating that those supported the LTTE failed to honour the 6th amendment. more..

Sri Lankan official suggests unorthodox way to solve traffic problem

May 10 (LBO) A senior Sri Lankan government official has suggested doubling fuel prices and scrapping free cars and fuel for government servants to solve the island's transport problem. Road Development Authority (RDA) chairman M.B.S. Fernando also made the startling suggestion that he prefers keeping roads in their present dilapidated state. more..

Sri Lanka national power grid down after transmission line trip

May 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka's national power utility has started to restore power to the capital Colombo following an island-wide power failure, officials said. A failure in the transmission line from the Kelanitissa power generation complex to Biyagama, in the outskirts of Colombo, is believed to have set off a chain reaction, causing a shut down of several thermal power plants, a Ceylon Electricity Board official told LBO. more..

Sri Lanka's new anti-smoking law begins to bite

May 10 (LBO) Ceylon Tobacco Company has posted only a marginal increase in profit for the March 2007 quarter after a new law that banned smoking in public places at the end of last year hit sales, the company said. CTC profit after tax grew to 277 million rupees in the March 2007 quarter from 265 million last year while turnover increased marginally to 10,832 million from 10,811 million rupees. more..

A horrendous system has taken over in Sri Lanka

May 10 (ISL) While congratulating you on your courageous web-communication efforts in a country that is fast spiralling into the very depths of political horror and nightmare with all spears drawn against press freedom in particular, what has happened in Sri Lanka appears to be a point of no return, like Shakespeare's Macbeth halfway through the bloody lake. People do not count anymore not even President Mahinda Rajapakse. more..

Mangala Samaraweera votes with the government

May 10 (AT) Former Minister Mangala Samaraweera (UPFA), who was sacked by President Rajapakse but whose imminent return is only blocked by the nod of the President, voted with the government yesterday in Parliament. He voted with the government in favor of continuing the state of Emergency. Parliamentary sources said that several government parliamentarians were seen exchanging pleasantries with him. more..

President praise cricketers for bringing fame to motherland

May 10 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa praises the Sri Lankan cricketers, crowned as the runners-up at the World Cup, for bringing fame to their motherland. He made this reference when he hosted a welcoming ceremony for the cricketers at the Temple Trees, recently. Special privileges will be presented to all cricketers who had done Sri Lanka proud. The President revealed that they will be afforded an opportunity to import a modern duty free motor vehicle. more..

Economic Council directs attention on public debt management strategies

May 10 (GDI) At the 8th session of the Economic Council held recently, the attention was directed on the public debt management strategies. The Central Bank Economic Council directs attention on public debt management strategies, presented a raft of proposals on public debt management strategies. The Central Bank provided an analysis on the loans obtained for various projects and other activities during the last 30 years more..

Construction and engineering services sector to eradicate unemployment

May 10 (GDI) Addressing the official launching event of the ‘Excon 2007’ Minister of Construction and Engineering Services Dr. Rajitha Senaratne pointed out that the construction and engineering services sector is an ideal field that would solve the unemployment problem in Sri Lanka. ‘Excon 2007’ , is the annual trade fair of the Chamber of Construction Industry of Sri Lanka (CCI), will be held from 11 May to 13 May at BMICH more..

Tamil community should challenge LTTE, HR award winners

May 10 (GDI) Two Sri Lankan recipients of the 2007 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, Rajan Hoole and Kopalasingham Sritharan said that the LTTE has made it impossible for the Tamils to live in the north and east. They added that if a larger group of people had actively challenged the LTTE, the Tamil community would not be in such a sorry plight as it found itself today. more..

Plans mooted to develop railways

May 10 (GDI) A series of measures were discussed to develop the railways at the eighth session of the National Economic Council held yesterday with President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the chair. The Ministry of Transport also tabled a series of proposals of the rehabilitation of railway service. President Rajapaksa pointed out that if the Railway Department is in a position to render a better service the public would never hesitate to use the train service. more..

New areas for rubber cultivation

May 10 (GDI) The Government plans to cultivate 40,000 hectares of rubber to meet the increasing demand for natural rubber in the local and European markets. The Rubber Development Department will plant rubber in Hambantota, Badulla and Monaragala districts deviating from traditional rubber cultivation areas. This project is focused on 14 Divisional Secretariats. more..

Govt promises 20,000 more jobs for graduates

May 10 (GDI) Government is sketching out their plans to provide job opportunities for more than 20,000 graduates in various State sector institutions. This was revealed by the Minister of Finance and State Revenue, Ranjith Siyambalapitiya yesterday. According to Minister Siyambalapitiya, the new recruitments will be provided in the Ministries, Departments, Corporations, State Banks, Public owned Companies, and institutions under the Provincial Councils. more..

Photo Essay: In Season - Jumbo Prawns, Crabs and more

May 10 (TW) Anura Nandana Silva (42) has been a fish monger for more than 20 years. He resides on the coastal belt in Moratuwa. His house was destroyed in Boxing Day Tsunami. He rebuilt his house from his own savings. Anura buys lobsters and crabs from fishermen in Dehiwala, and walks to Wellawatte daily to sell them on roads. more..

Atapattu dropped for Abu Dhabi series

May 10 (CI) Marvan Atapattu, the former Sri Lanka captain, has been left out of the 15-man squad for the one-day series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. Only nine of the 15 players who travelled to the World Cup have been selected for the three-match series starting May 18. Kumar Sangakkara, Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas had earlier been released from selection for the series so they could play county cricket in England. more..

TNA supports Tiger air strikes

May 10 (LNP) The TNA told parliament yesterday the LTTE air operations were only for its protection and definitely not to attack any other powerful country like India. Speaking at the debate on the extension of the state of emergency, TNA front-liner S. Gajendran congratulated the LTTE for its `successful` air strikes. `This is only to attack identified enemy targets within Sri Lanka and not to attack India. more..

Parliament approves emergency extension

May 10 (LNP) The State of emergency was extended by a further month with a majority of votes of the parliament on Wednesday, the 09th of May. Parliament gave an extension of the state of emergency for a further month with a majority of 109 votes. 124 votes were cast in favour and 15 against. The UNP parliamentarians abstained from voting. more..

Remove Gotabhaya and save the country, UNPurges the government

May 10 (LNP) The only way to prevent the imminent division of the country is to prevent further `military setbacks` and also mobilize maximum support for the country both nationally and internationally, the UNP said yesterday. The minimum this would require, the UNP said in a special statement, was the removal of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse and entrusting the defence of the country to a capable and competent official with experience and strategic vision such as General Janaka Perera. more..

More paramedics to be trained

May 10 (LNP) There is a big demand for paramedics, both locally and internationally. The government plans to train 5,000 laboratory technicians, radiologists, physiotherapists, occupation therapists and pharmacists within this year, Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition Nimal Siripala de Silva said during a ceremony to present letters of appointment to 175 para medics in Colombo on Tuesday. more..

VAT scam: CID looking for 9 suspects

May 10 (SAMN) The CID probing the massive VAT scam at the Inland Revenue Department yesterday told the Colombo Fort Magistrate and Additional District Judge Namal Bandara Balalle that they are looking for nine more suspects who are alleged to have been involved in the VAT scam. The CID told court that they are making arrangements to obtain the assistance of Interpol in connection with the suspects who had left the country and are now living abroad. more..

Easy access to poisons a major problem

May 10 (SAMN) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe goes abroad and poisons foreign countries in order to create a healthy environment for the LTTE and the public should strictly condemn this type of poisoning, Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said. He was addressing a press briefing held at the Health Education Bureau, Colombo yesterday in connection with National Poisoning Prevention week 2007 to be held from May 14 to 20. more..

Vitharana’s proposals as basis for peace

May 10 (SAMN) Chairman of the APRC, Minister Tissa Vitharana, told Parliament yesterday that the proposals he had submitted at the All Party Conference (APC) would be the basis of future peace talks. Speaking during the emergency debate in the House yesterday, Professor Vitharana said it was essential to formulate a common stand based on his proposals, since the President had decided to conduct future peace talks on the basis of his APRC proposals. more..

4pc Lankans Thalassaemia carriers

May 10 (SAMN) There are about 2,000 Thalassaemia patients in Sri Lanka and the treatment cost per patient exceeds Rs. one million, it was disclosed yesterday. Four percent of the population are Thalassaemia carriers. These statistics were revealed by Dr. R.M. Mudiyanse, Consultant Paediatrician, Base Hospital, Mawanella. Dr. Mudiyanse said beta Thalassaemia and E beta thalassaemia commonly occur in Sri Lanka. more..

Poisons claim 2,000 lives a year

May 10 (DN) Around 100,000 persons are admitted to hospitals for different types of poisoning annually and out of them about 2,000 patients die, it was revealed yesterday. So far 26 chemicals and 31 products have been completely banned in Sri Lanka, Dr.Gamini Manuweera, Registrar of Pesticides said. He said that most of the people become victims due to lack of understanding, lack of training and protection. more..

Accreditation Certificate awarding of the NAT Laboratory

May 10 (DN) Prof. Tissa Vitarana, Minister of Science and Technology presented the national accreditation certificate awarded by the Sri Lanka Accreditation Board (SLAB) to the Nuclear Analytical Testing (NAT) Laboratory of the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) which provides nuclear analytical services to export and import market of the country. The awarding ceremony was held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute recently. more..