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Central bank eyes inflation-targeting from 2011-12

May 11 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank aims to start inflation-targeting from around 2011-2012 as long as growth momentum of the island's $23 billion economy allows, Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said. The central bank currently targets money aggregates and looks at average rates of reserve money, and has raised its key interest rates five times since last July to their highest levels since 2002 in a bid to bring down inflation from 10-year highs. more..

Rama Sethu: Historic facts vs political fiction - V

May 11 (NT) "The Rules of Evidence are founded in the charities of religion-in the philosophy of nature-in the truths of history, and in the experience of common life" -Lord Chancellor of England, Hon'ble Justice Thomas Erskine (1794). Coins constitute a major source of information for the history of Rama Setu or Ramar Bridge or Setu Bandhana or Adam's Bridge. The discipline or science relating to the study of coins is known as Numismatics. more..

Sri Lanka wants elected cricket committee

May 11 (AFP) Sri Lanka's sports minister said Friday he wants a new committee elected to run the island's cricket administration, which is currently managed by political appointees. "I need to hold elections not only for cricket, but all other sports bodies that are currently governed by interim committees," Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge told AFP. Sri Lanka Cricket is under an interim committee appointed by Lokuge's predecessor, Jeewan Kumaratunga, in March 2005. more..

Sri Lankan Bishop calls for international intervention to stop war

May 11 (AN) Catholic Bishop Thomas Savundaranayagam of Jaffna is appealing for international assistance to bring peace to war-torn Sri Lanka. At a meeting with visiting US government officials on 9 May in Jaffna, the Bishop said both parties involved in the fighting are not interested in pursuing meaningful negotiations. Thousands of civilians, government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels have been killed since a 2002 truce gave way to renewed civil war. more..

Sri Lankan pleads guilty in Tamil Tigers arms plot

May 11 (AFP) A Sri Lankan national pleaded guilty in a Maryland court to charges he tried to smuggle US weapons to Tamil Tiger rebels, the US Justice Department announced. Thirunavukarasu Varatharasa, 37, pleaded guilty to attempted export of arms and munitions and to conspiracy to support the Tamil Tigers, a group the US State Department has considered a foreign terrorist organization since 1997. more..

Lanka seeks clarification on Antony's statement

May 11 (HT) Sri Lanka has sought clarification from India on Defence Minister AK Antony's statement in parliament on Wednesday blaming the Sri Lankan Navy for the death of 77 Indian fishermen between 1991 and mid April 2007. The Island daily on Friday forthrightly condemned India, saying that Antony's statement had brazenly ignored the killing and abduction of Indian fishermen by the LTTE in March this year, which were acknowledged by the Tamil Nadu chief minister and the state DG of Police also. more..

Grenade blast wounds 8 in Sri Lanka refugee camp

May 11 (Reuters) An unidentified attacker threw a grenade into a camp housing hundreds of war-displaced in Sri Lanka's restive east overnight, and the ensuing blast hospitalised eight civilians, police said on Friday. The explosion in the camp, set up in a Muslim school in the town of Kattankudi in the eastern district of Batticaloa, comes as a new chapter in a two-decade civil war between the state and Tamil Tiger rebels unfolds. more..

No love lost between US and LTTE: Boucher

May 11 (HT) US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia Richard Boucher on Thursday conveyed to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, America's "deep concern" over increasing human rights violations and threats to press freedom in Sri Lanka, while assuring him American help to fight LTTE terrorism. Boucher said that the US Secretary of State and he were frequently discussing the "deteriorating" Sri Lankan situation. more..

Rights group calls for human rights mission to Sri Lanka to protect civilians

May 11 (AP) The United Nations should deploy human rights monitors to Sri Lanka to protect civilians caught in continuing fighting between troops and separatist rebels, an international rights group said. The comments by New-York based Human Rights Watch late Thursday came after a U.S. envoy said Washington was concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Sri Lanka, and urged the government to control alleged abductions, killings and intimidation of the media. more..

Sri Lanka in 60 mln dlr train deal with China

May 12 (AFP) Sri Lanka plans to buy 60 million dollars worth of locomotives and passenger coaches from China to modernise its Victorian-era network, the state-owned railway announced on Friday. Sri Lanka Railways is purchasing 100 carriages and 15 diesel-powered locomotives, technical manager P.P. Wijesekera told AFP. China's Exxim Bank will fund the purchases with a lending agreement due to be signed between Colombo and Beijing shortly, officials said. more..

Don't change the Executive Presidency - CJ advises the president

May 12 (LeN) It is being reported that Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva has advised the president not to change the executive president system. According to information available to 'LeN' the CJ has advised the president in this regard when they met at temple trees last week to discus and amend the proposal presented by the SLFP to the ethnic conflict. more..

Negligence of an officer leads to thousands of petrol liters to go a waste

May 12 (LeN) The trade unions and employees of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation requests authorities to take action against the person who should be held responsible for the waste of hundreds of thousands of liters of petrol that is worth close to 10 million rupees. The incident had taken place on the 4th of this month when it rained the entire day. more..

More ships reach Jaffna with essential food items and buses

May 12 (RW) Two ships, Induruweli and Yala, have reached Jaffna peninsular, carrying a total of 5,200 metric tonnes of wheat flour. Unloading of the cargo is already underway. The flour will be distributed to consumers in the peninsular through cooperative outlets. The prices of bakery products which rose very sharply also came down drastically with the availability of wheat flour without any restriction. more..

Sri Lanka needs time to down flying Tigers

May 12 (AFP) Sri Lanka needs time to neutralise the air strike capability of Tiger rebels, a state-run daily said Friday as the international airport shut down at night fearing guerrilla air raids. The Daily News said government forces were in a superior position in dealing with the Tamil Tigers on ground and at sea, but the flying Tigers had plunged the country into confusion. more..

Jayawardene to lead Asia

May 12 (AFP) Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene will lead Asia in three one-day internationals against Africa for the Afro-Asia Cup in India next month, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) said on Friday. Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who missed the World Cup due to injury, has been included in the 14-member squad that also features axed India spinner Harbhajan Singh. more..

LTTE large scale recruitment drive in north, Madhu area recruitment done over Church protest-NPC

May 12 (AT) Amnesty International and other sources have confirmed that the LTTE is engaging in forcible recruitment of both children and adult civilians on a large scale basis in North. In Madhu area, recruitment has been taking place over the protest of the Catholic Church, warned the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka (NPC) today. NPC is a peace think tank based in Colombo. more..

UN to take action against LTTE and Karuna faction for child recruitment

May 12 (AT) Sri Lanka’s terrorists outfit LTTE led by its reclusive leader Velupillai Prabakaran and the Karuna Group led by V.Muralitharan alias Colonel Karuna Amman are to be warned for the continued recruitment of underage children. The Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict considering the Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation of Children and Armed Conflict in Sri Lanka, has decided that its Chairman will issue a strong public warning to the LTTE stating more..

Aussie volunteers return to care for tsunami victims

May 12 (AT) The post-tsunami trauma victims are still waiting for assistance to pick up their lives and move forward. Australia Sri Lanka Medical Aid Team (AUSLMAT) is a dedicated team of Australian doctors and volunteers who return again and again to fulfill a part of their dreams. They made their twelfth visit recently to the Seenigama village in Hikkaduwa, devastated by the tsunami. more..

Tamil minority need a place in Sri Lanka for their own affairs, - Boucher

May 12 (AT) The United States is concerned about deteriorating human rights in Sri Lanka. And it’s important that the Tamil minority got a place in Sri Lanka where they could run their own affairs, said the visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia Richard Boucher winding up his visit to Sri Lanka on Thursday May 10. more..

Sri Lanka raises fuel prices

May 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka has raised fuel prices from midnight Friday to keep up with diesel going up by two rupees, petrol by one rupee and furnace oil by three rupee a litre, a Ceylon Petroleum Corporation official said. This would push 90-Octane petrol to 106 rupees and 95-Octane petrol to109 rupees with standard auto-diesel going up to 67 rupees and super diesel 71.30 rupees. more..

Elephants you'll never forget

May 12 (LS) At first I can't see anything but miles of sun-scorched grass interrupted, on occasion, by clusters of trees. In the distance the water of the Udawalawe Reservoir glistens, but otherwise all is still and quiet. Standing up and looking out over the roof of our jeep, my gaze follows the direction of our guide's pointed finger. I still don't see anything. more..

Sri Lanka bad weather causes barge to run aground

May 12 (LBO) High winds caused a barge anchored off Galle port in southern Sri Lanka to drag anchor and get washed ashore Friday, eyewitnesses and harbour officials said. The unladen barge had been towed by a tug which had come to Galle for repairs after developing engine trouble when sailing past the island. The barge had been anchored off the port but dragged anchor because of the high winds and rough seas in recent days. more..

The Sinhala chauvinists’ use of the War on Terror to promote its ideals

May 12 (ISL) Today the Sri Lankan conflict is slowly drifting into an ethno-religious one, not a war against terror as many sympathizers of the government and armed forces claim. In fact, it is the actions of the Sri Lankan government that maintains the LTTE. With every killing or rape comes more LTTE recruits, and they come with faith and belief that they can avenge the harmful experiences at the hands of this brutal government and its soldiers. more..

A regional development seminar begins in Colombo this evening

May 12 (SLBC) A regional seminar begins in Colombo this evening to mark the 50th anniversary of the Society for International Development. The seminar titled “the power of ideas - 50 years of development in South Asia” will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake. Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama will be the guest of honour at this seminar organized by the Society for International Development Sri Lanka chapter. more..

Media Release

May 12 (GDI) The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been drawn to recent written responses to Indian Parliamentary questions regarding incidents involving fishermen from Tamil Nadu. These responses claim the involvement of the Sri Lanka Navy in attacks and killings of the fishermen. In this context, the Ministry wishes to draw attention to the following: more..

Government aims at uplifting local industrialists - President

May 12 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa stated that one of the main aims of the Government is to support the upliftment of the local industrialists. President Rajapaksa stated this yesterday addressing the members of the Young Entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka at the temple Trees. Young Entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka (YESL) was inaugurated in 10th March 1999 and its every session was headed by a minister, more..

Better Deal for Female Migrant Workers

May 12 (IPS) Besieged by protests from local and international rights groups, the Sri Lankan government is reconsidering a ban on young mothers seeking employment abroad. The March ban was announced by minister of child development and women's empowerment Sumedha G. Jayasena to protect children under five years of age and to limit the neglect of home and the family. more..

Diesel intended for LTTE seized

May 12 (LNP) A large stock of diesel exceeding 9,000 litres being transported to uncleared areas were seized by the Security Forces at two different locations in Mannar on Thursday, the Media Centre for National Security said. According to a spokesman for the MCNS, a driver and his assistant transporting around 1,040 litres of diesel to uncleared areas were seized by the Security Forces in Periyagramam, Mannar on Thursday around 11.30 a.m. more..

Infant dies of negligence

May 12 (LNP) A three-day infant was the tragic victim of alleged negligence by the Horana hospital authorities who transferred the baby to the Badulla hospital instead of the Lady Ridgeway Hospital in Colombo. A mother from Bandaragama delivered a baby at the Horana Hospital on May 5 and the doctors who diagnosed the baby was suffering from a serious heart ailment recommended that the infant be admitted to the Lady Ridgeway hospital. more..

Blair has set an example

May 12 (LNP) So, Prime Minister Tony Blair, after months of vacillation, finally made up his mind. On Thursday, he announced his decision to step down as Prime Minister. His resignation is, however, not entirely voluntary. He had been under pressure from his party for sometime to step down. His ten-year tenure has been quite eventful. Having become Prime Minister at the age of 43, more..

Barking up the wrong tree?

May 12 (LNP) Throughout their World Cup campaign one thing stood out about the Sri Lankan captain. It was Jayawardene`s magnanimity, decency and sense of proportion; an extension of his sportsmanship. Even after the final defeat, the captain never whinged: no sour grapes, no excuses, no passing the blame on the weather, poor umpiring or squash balls for his side`s defeat. Instead he admitted the better side won. That`s all. more..

Army clears way for resettlement

May 12 (SAMN) The government is preparing to launch an ambitious resettlement programme in the Batticaloa district as a major army operation targeting LTTE units based in the Thoppigala jungles come closer to an end. The programme is expected to get underway on May 14. Army Chief Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka expressed confidence in bringing Thoppigala terrain under government control. more..

Govt. for abolition of Presidency

May 12 (SAMN) The Government is committed to abolish the Executive Presidency and it is also mentioned in the SLFP proposals submitted to the APRC, Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told Parliament Friday. De Silva urged the UNP to bring in its own proposals to abolish the Executive Presidency. “The UNP has not still presented their proposals. We can go for a proper system which will enable us to savour democracy,” he said, more..

VIP cars: JVP alleges highway robbery

May 12 (SAMN) Making a shocking disclosure to parliament Friday Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said the Highways and Road Development Ministry had obtained two vehicles at a monthly rent of Rs. 290,000 and Rs.195,000 for the use of the Minister or his deputy or the non-cabinet minister. Fernandopulle was responding to a question raised by the JVP and its front-liner Anura Kumara Dissanayake why such an enormous amount was spent on renting these vehicles when more..

Susil advices jobless grads not to fast

May 12 (SAMN) Education Minister Susil Premajayanth told the unemployed graduates not to be stupid to join fasting campaigns but to improve their education and sit for competitive examinations for the recruitment of teachers as there are several hundreds of vacancies for teachers. Minister Premajayanth was addressing the launch of the ‘Nanodaya’ Education Development Programme of the Central Provincial Ministry of Education in Kandy on Thursday. more..

Rs. 10,000 million to build 222 iron bridges countrywide

May 12 (DN) The Highways and Road Development Ministry will build 222 iron bridges throughout the country within the next three years. Rs. 10,000 million has been set apart for this programme, Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said. He laid the foundation stone for a new bridge at Morawalapitiya on the Alawwa-Narammala road recently. The new bridge is estimated to cost Rs. 24 million. more..

Correct appointments essential for good governance - Polls Chief

May 12 (DN) “There cannot be good governance without placing the most suitable person to the correct position in the public service“ Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake said yesterday. Dissanayake was delivering a special lecture on good governance at the 25th Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service at the New Town Hall. more..

Pillayan vows to fight both Karuna and Prabha

May 12 (DM) Former Karuna associate Pillayan yesterday vowed to continue his fight against the LTTE while ruling out reconciliation with Karuna Amman from whose faction he broke away recently following a bitter feud. “We will continue to fight against the Prabhakaran-led Wanni cadres but we will definitely not patch up with Karuna Amman,” a spokesman for the Pillayan group told the Daily Mirror. more..

Govt. seeks aid from 3 countries

May 12 (DM) The government is to sign agreements with China, Australia and Iran to obtain financial assistance to construct and complete the proposed ‘Moragahakanda reservoir’ within the stipulated period, a senior minister told parliament yesterday. Agriculture Minister Maithripala Sirisena said Anuradhapura district would benefit the most from this project which was initiated on January 25. more..

Rama Sethu: Historic facts vs political fiction - VI

May 12 (NT) We are used to being told that India has no historiography, no historiographical literature. And therefore no history and that Indians think in terms of millions of years, cyclical and recurrent. This is a colonial perspective that is clearly absurd. This is the view of Marxist historians produced like house flies by the Jawaharlal Nehru University during the last 30 years. more..

Lankan admits helping LTTE get missiles from US

May 12 (IANS) A Sri Lankan man has pleaded guilty to charges of helping LTTE in a foiled attempt to procure surface to air missiles and other weapons from the US. Thirunavukarasu Varatharasa, 37, is the fourth person to be convicted in a plot to attempt to obtain military weapons in violation of American law, US Justice department announced on Friday. more..

Relevance of SLFP Proposals

May 12 (TW) The significance of the set of proposals for settling Sri Lanka’s internal conflict and ensuring lasting peace announced by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on April 30 (2007 Labour Day) has to seen from the following factors: As the Head of State and the Leader of the SLFP, the main constituent party in the UPFA coalition government; he promised at the start of his six-year term a political settlement within three months and often reiterated his commitment to ‘honourable peace’ based on ‘maximum’ devolution and negotiated political settlement. more..

Scottish Nationalists Stymied in Quest for Independence

May 12 (TW) Stymie in golf is the situation where an opponent’s ball is between one’s own ball and the hole.Over a period of time the word has come to mean a difficult situation that blocks or thwarts one’s activities. Stymied is how one would describe the predicament in which the Scottish Nationalist party (SNP) is in currently. The SNP led by Alex Salmond registered a historic success at the poll on a platform that had Independence for Scotland as its chief objective. more..

Photo Essay: Mothers brighten the day, every day

May 12 (TW) Mother’s Day is celebrated to honour mothers. It is celebrated on different days around the globe - May 13th this year in several countries. Mothers receive gifts from their loved ones on this special day. Sithy Umma and Fathima Saurami do not know anything about Mother’s Day. They have made numerous sacrifices like any mother to make their children happy, and brighten the lives of their loved ones everyday. more..

UNSC warns LTTE of punishment, but is softer on Karuna

May 12 (HT) The United Nations Security Council's Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict on Friday warned the LTTE of unspecified punitive action for failing to carry out its oft-repeated promise not to recruit children for its fighting units. The breakaway Karuna group was also chastised, but no warning of punitive action was issued to it. more..

Sri Lanka Tiger attack costs Shell 700,000 dollars

May 12 (AFP) The Sri Lankan unit of Royal Dutch Shell suffered damages of at least 700,000 dollars in an air attack by Tamil Tiger rebels last month, the company said on Saturday. Two bombs exploded at the Anglo-Dutch company's storage facility on the outskirts of Colombo, damaging one of its four storage terminals and disabling its fire-fighting operations, the company said. more..

Lanka willing for joint investigation with India

May 13 (BBC) The government of Sri Lanka has said that the there is absolutely no evidence to link the Sri Lanka navy with attacks on Indian fishermen. The Ministry of foreign Affairs said that it’s issuing a press release to set the record straight. The Foreign Affairs Ministry points out that there has been irresponsible speculation alleging the involvement of Sri Lanka Navy. more..

Lanka says no evidence Indian fishermen killed by its Navy

May 13 (PTI) Taking exception to Defence Minister A K Antony's recent statement that over 77 Indian fishermen were killed by Sri Lankan navy, the government here today said that there was "absolutely no evidence" of this. In a two-page statement, Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry sought to draw the attention of the authorities to the issue of fishermen from the two countries straying into each other's territory and said Colombo wanted to put the "record straight." more..

India's refusal to clarify Antony 's statement irks Lanka

May 13 (HT) To the utter dismay of the Sri Lankan government, India did not respond to its demand for clarifications on Defence Minister AK Antony's statement in parliament holding the Sri Lankan Navy responsible for the death of 77 Indian fishermen between 1991 and mid 2007. Since there was no response from New Delhi within the stipulated 48 hours, Sri Lanka on Saturday went public on its version of the events. more..

India must join battle to defang the LTTE

May 13 (Gulf) Three times now and in as many weeks, a long suspected but hitherto unseen Tamil Tiger Air Force has exploded the myth of Sri Lanka's newfound military invincibility. Will it slow President Mahinda Rajapakse's war machine that has eaten into the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam's eastern territories? Concomitant to the argument, will India, which has covertly helped Colombo tackle the Tigers, take a more overt role to protect its vulnerable and emotive southern flank and safeguard its valued brains trust who have been put on the rebel hit list? more..