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New Year: The national Celebrations of Sri Lanka in Tamil Nadu

Apr 13 (AT) The Deputy High Commission for Sri Lanka in Southern India celebrated the Sinhala and Tamil New Year in a festive ambience at the Chancery premises on 12th April 2008 in Chennai. The Sinhala and Tamil New Year or the National New Year as it is also known, is a national and cultural festival of the Sinhala and Tamil people who follow the calendar of the sun. more..

Weerawansa alerts JVP to snared threat to divide them

Apr 13 (AT) Wimal Weerawansa’s emotional speech in Parliament last week (now listened to by web surfers) spelled out a snared threat to divide the JVP, coming right on the heels of a similar warning of foreign intervention by Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle two days prior to his death. In all thirteen JVPers expressed fear of impending reprisals brought about by external forces. more..

Eastern province election, a referendum for democracy and growth

Apr 13 (AT) Member of Parliament Basil Rajapakse, in an interview to “Asian Tribune” said that the number one issue in the East is whether the people stabilize the liberation of the East won from the LTTE terrorists or whether let it slide back into the hands of the LTTE. The Second issue is to whether they want a Provincial Council in the East like the other seven Provincial Councils or a merged North-East Council like what the UNP and the SLMC say that they want. more..

Power-sharing: A conceptual framework

Apr 13 (GV) The constitutional reform debate in Sri Lanka is in a particularly enervated state as we approach the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, with a government in power that displays that bizarre concoction of procrustean infantilism that so characterised the Jayewardene and Premadasa attitudes to constitutional government and democracy: its thinking juvenile, its methods menacing. more..

Tigers ‘continue to raise terror funds in Qatar’

Apr 13 (GT) THE SRI LANKAN Tamil rebels are still “extorting” money from fellow Tamils in Qatar, a visiting minister has alleged. The LTTE, which is fighting for a separate state for Tamils in the majority-Sinhala country, “are still raising funds” in Qatar, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hussein A Bhaila said in Doha yesterday. The matter has been raised with the Qatar government, said Bhaila, who is here to attend the 8th Doha Forum on more..

The JVP implosion and New Year blues

Apr 13 (SL) The week leading to the Sinhala-Hindu New Year proved a bloody one with the festive air being severely marred by the brutal assassination of Chief Government Whip and Highways Minister, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle in Weliweriya on Sunday morn (6). It brought home the truth that if the nation is to feel safe, there needs to be an end to the conflict, a point the American Embassy was quick to make in the aftermath of Fernandopulle’s assassination. more..

Students penalised due to Ministry lapse

Apr 13 (SL) A group of four students nominated by the Higher Education Ministry to partake in a scholarship programme for Medicine (MBBS) courses in Bangladesh have been allegedly left high and dry, purportedly due to a colossal mix up between the Bangladeshi authorities and the Higher Education Ministry. Several local school students who completed their GCE A/Level exams in December 2006 responded to an advertisement in the Daily News of more..

Big stink that is the CMC

Apr 13 (SL) The municipal administration in Colombo, in the eyes of many, has come to a state where it is being compared to the stinking garbage dumps found within the city limits. The stench that emanates from the maladministration within the council is proving to be equally strong. The present Colombo Municipal Council’s (CMC) failure to adhere to the Municipal Council Financial and Administrative Regulations has resulted in more..

Deaths, defections and a constitutional crisis

Apr 13 (SL) A doomed week it was for the country’s legislature. It not only recorded an actual slaying of a senior politician, Chief Government Whip, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle but perhaps also the political demise of another, the colourful JVP Parliamentary Group Leader, Wimal Weerawansa who was seen literally beating his chest over an alleged conspiracy within the Marxist outfit to oust him. more..

“Sarvathaari”- dawns April 13th, 2008

Apr 13 (HA) “Puththaandu” or “Puthu Varusham” literally translates New Year. The New Year is the harbinger of spring. Tamil and Sinhala New Year dawns on April 13th 2008 at 4.55 pm according to Vaakkiya Panchaangam, and at 6.29 pm according to Thirukanitha Panchaangam on Poosam Natchaththiram first stage. Vishu Punniya Kaalam or auspicious time is 12.55 pm to 8.55pm. Panchaangam is an almanac. more..

Difference between "Tamils" and "Tamil Tigers"

Apr 13 (MB) * Pirabaharan killed all the persons he worked with before he became the leader of the Tigers. * After Pirabaharan became the leader of the Tigers, he started killing all Tamil political leaders, elected mayors, university professors and many innocent Tamils who had criticized Tigers. * In 1990 Pirabaharan wanted 100,000 Muslims in the North of Sri Lanka to get out within 24 hours - a text book example of ‘ethnic cleansing’. more..

Tamil New Year

Apr 13 (TN) The Tamil New Year day falls on Sunday, 13th April, since 2008 is a leap year. On other years, it is 14th April. It is not only the Tamil New year, but also the New Year of Sinhalese and Malayalis. It is not appropriate to call it a Hindu New Year since vast majority of Hindus in India don't celebrate it a New Year. It is only an auspicious day called Mesha-samkraanti for them. But, the Sikhs celebrate it a New Year. more..

Govt. engages in programme to divide opposition parties! – Lal Kanthe

Apr 13 (LT) The government is engaged in creating dissention within opposition parties accuses the JVP. Several forces have joined to carry out a conspiracy against the party says JVP Parliamentarian Lal Kanthe. He said, “There are many forces that have rallied to conspire to divide and break our party. One of these forces is the government. Specially, people like the President and Basil Rajapakse, while having official dealings with the JVP politically, have begun to have private dealings with certain seniors of the JVP.” more..

Rs. 18.9 m vehicle for Minister Ranawaka

Apr 13 (CT) A Land Rover Discovery, worth Rs. 18.9 million, has been imported from the United Kingdom for Environment Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka. The City Branch of the Sampath Bank has carried out the related banking aspects of the transaction. On February 19th, the Customs had released the vehicle imported through 'Sann Freighters' of Ragama. more..

Severe dearth of English medium teachers in Jaffna

Apr 13 (LD) The Jaffna peninsula is facing a severe dearth of English medium teachers, District Secretary K. Ganesh has said. Speaking to the media recently, he said that the district presently has only half of the requirement. Jaffna has 6,420 teachers for a student population of 138,625 in 410 schools. Primary classes too, are facing a shortage of teachers. more..

Rs. 44 m for unarmored Benz car bought for 'senior army staff'

Apr 13 (LD) The Army has reportedly purchased a brand new unarmored Mercedes Benz car at a cost of Rs. 44 million for use by the wife of its commander, Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka who is due to retire at the end of this year. In an article on defence spotlight, the April 13th issue of 'The Sunday Leader' says that the super luxury vehicle had been purchased as a 'staff-car' by the Army's Ordinance Directorate on March 14th. more..

Life in Jaffna: The seen and the unseen, the told and the untold

Apr 13 (LNP) When we visited Jaffna town last week, it appeared to be buzzing with life. People were attending to their New Year shopping while Tamil music blared in the background--probably from the shops that were being decorated for the festivities. Buses were plying and young girls were cycling to temple even as dusk fell. These are scenes that were rarely seen in the recent past. more..

Wimal Weerawansa moots new front

Apr 13 (LNP) The JVP dissident faction led by its parliamentary group chief, Wimal Weerawansa, has mooted the formation of a Deshapremi Peramuna (Patriotic Front) and pledged to work under that banner. They have vowed to take this action if their disputes with the party leadership are not amicably settled. The decision by Mr. Weerawansa and ten dissident MPs to form such a front, with the backing of a number of civil society organisations and more..

Jail or fine if you neglect elders in Sri Lanka

Apr 13 (LNP) Ill-treating or exploiting of elders is to be banned by law in a bid to curb the increase of abuse of senior citizens. Social Services Ministry Secretary V. Jegarasasingham, who is also chairperson of the National Council for Elders, said the amendments to the existing Protection of the Rights of Elders Act of 2000 would be introduced soon to offer further protection for people above the age of 65. more..

LTTE gets info before Air Attacks

Apr 13 (LNP) According to the information sources from Sri Lanka Air Force, we have been learnt that LTTE is getting information regarding any air attack before it commences. After the death of LTTE Political wing leader, Tamil Selvam, they have managed to get prior information of the air attacks and because of this , SLAF were failed in targeting any of the LTTE leaders after Tamil Selvam`s death. more..

Security blanket for New Year

Apr 13 (SAMN) Security has been beefed up in the city with additional measures in place for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year because of fresh concerns over possible terror attacks during the festive season, police said. An additional 1000 police officers have been deployed in the city of Colombo and its suburbs, Police Spokesman DIG N. K. Illangakoon said. Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said there have been no specific intelligence warnings of terror attacks during the New Year season. more..

50% Lankans lack dietary energy: study

Apr 13 (SAMN) Half of all Sri Lankans do not get the minimum calorie daily requirements according to the latest studies of the government. "An average poor in Sri Lanka receives only 1696 kilo calories per day while a Non-poor receives 2194 kilo calories, and 50.7% of the population receive less dietary energy than that set as the minimum level required," the latest poverty study by the Department of Census and Statistics said. more..

COPE defunct

Apr 13 (SAMN) In a shocking disclosure on Thursday, COPE Chairman Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe revealed that the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) has become partially defunct. He attributed the sorry state of affairs to the non-cooperation of the majority of members and asserted that ever since he crossed over to the opposition in accordance with his principles, the majority of the members, mainly from the government, “no longer cooperate to do anything.” more..

ANCL directed to favour JVP defectors

Apr 13 (SAMN) Trade unions attached to the state owned Associated Newspapers Ceylon Limited (ANCL) have alleged that the management has been ordered by higher authorities not to provide publicity to news items related to the JVP. Union sources said following the split in the JVP, the ANCL administration has received directives from higher authorities not to carry any stories on the main JVP and to provide publicity to the JVP’s Wimal Weerawansa faction. more..

I wish that JVP is undivided -Basil

Apr 13 (SO) The Indian support to implement the 13th Amendment to solve the national problem is still in the fore mainly on platforms of the JVP which is now facing with the serious internal crisis, paving the way for a party division. The Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa, who said that he does not have the ‘remote device’ to exercise control on the government, added that the government would seek the assistance of country’s closest neighbour India to resolve the national problem more..

Sun’s journey from Pisces to Aries

Apr 13 (SO) The celebration of Sinhala and Hindu New Year in the month of April also known as the “Bak Masaya” is regarded as one of the main cultural celebrations among Sinhalese and Hindus. The day the sun completes one full round around the earth is called the “Parana Avurudda”. And the day it starts a new route is called the New Year. Many terms are used in the Sinhala language for the New Year such as “Suriya Mangallaya”, Neketh Keliya and Bak Maha Senakeliya. more..

Adverse weather hits salterns

Apr 13 (SO) The price of salt will increase by 100 per cent after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year due to the severe shortage in the market following adverse weather conditions that affected the salterns in the country, salt manufacturers said. A kilogram of salt which was Rs. 10-12 a year ago now ranges from Rs. 35 to Rs. 40. Consumers said that the price of a packet of salt has gone up by almost 100 per cent within a month. more..

CGR goes for 20 new Indian power sets

Apr 13 (SO) The Ceylon Government Railway (CGR) will purchase another 20 new power sets from India, Transport Ministry sources said. The new power sets will be used for long distance travel and this is the first time the CGR purchased power sets for long distance travel. The new power sets will be purchased under the Indian Credit Line facility. The Indian Credit facility will also be used to renovate the Fort railway station, Southern rail track and the signal system of the Southern railway, more..

Govt. moots plans to block Hakeem

Apr 13 (NS) In a bid to nullify the UNP’s list of candidates who will contest from the Trincomalee District at the upcoming Eastern Provincial Council election, government Parliamentarians are mooting to take SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem’s nomination to courts, citing it as contrary to the law. They allege that if the opposition UNP's charge that the appointment of Dhammika Kithulgoda as acting Parliamentary Secretary General as illegal, then, similarly, Hakeem’s resignation from Parliament is also contrary to the law. more..

JVP faces battle of ‘Wansas’

Apr 13 (NS) The question is where will all this gung-ho end and what damage will accrue to the JVP? The Weerawansa faction has stated it will function as an alternate group on the lines of the Karu Jayasuriya led faction of the United National Party and the Mangala Samaraweera group of the SLFP. There is no doubt that such a course of action will only lead to more attrition and acrimony and compound the party’s problems. more..

Resilient rebel leaves irreplaceable void

Apr 13 (NS) The assassination of Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle no doubt creates a vacuum in the government benches in Parliament. He held the opposition at bay at all times. It is a personal loss for President Mahinda Rajapaksa since he took forefront in all important debates in Parliament to defend the government. At times he bulldozed the opposition and made pre-emptive attacks on the opposition, in defence of the government in Parliament. more..

Shady pill deal puts heart patients at grave risk

Apr 13 (NS) The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry has allegedly imported substandard medication used for the treatment of heart patients. The All Ceylon Health Service Union (ACHSU) claimed that the Ministry had imported poor quality drugs worth US$ 52,250 from a South Asian pharmaceutical company in September 2007. The drug Glycerly Trinitrate Tablets (GTT) used to treat heart patients was bought because the company was offering a high commission. more..

Jeyaraj: Probe on who failed and what next

Apr 13 (ST) A man, not more than 35 years in age, hovered around the Kanthi Playground at Weliweriya from the early hours of last Sunday. He wore a black T-shirt and a black "three quarter" shorts. Around 7.45 a.m. when Highways Minister and Chief Government Whip, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle was flagging off a marathon race, he moved from behind and detonated explosives reportedly strapped to his waist. more..

Rice from moon for new sunrise

Apr 13 (ST) It seems a strange co-incidence. Leaders of different political hues are trapped in crisis of disturbing proportions as another national New Year dawns today. For the Government and its leaders, the woes are too many. Mounting living costs brought in gloom for most homes this week. Shops and markets drew smaller crowds. Inter-monsoonal rains caused havoc to the rice harvest. more..

Price hikes after Avurudu

Apr 13 (ST) While prices of New Year items have risen to their highest levels and beyond the reach of thousands of people this year, further post-Avurudu shocks are likely with fuel, domestic gas and milk food prices going up. Ceylon Petroleum Corporation Chairman Asantha De Mel said yesterday crude oil prices soared to $111 a barrel this week and the CPC would find it difficult to sell fuel at the current prices. more..

His morning’s schedule was known a week ahead

Apr 13 (ST) The attendance of Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle as the chief guest at last Sunday’s Marathon was made public at least a week ahead of the event. The chief organiser of the event and Adishta Sports Society President Pradeep Wijewardene said the marathon was organized in mid March and posters announcing the attendance of the high profile minister were put up by March 28. more..

Lankans should prefer skilled jobs abroad

Apr 13 (KT) The Sri Lankan government has been mobilising their people, who intend to travel abroad for better prospects, to look for semi-skilled and skilled jobs and discouraging them from opting for menial positions as that lands them in various troubles, the top diplomat from that country said. In an interview with Khaleej Times, Mohammed Nabavi Junaid, Sri Lankan Ambassador to the UAE, spoke about the new developments with regard to labourers and housemaids. more..

Curfew lifted in northern district

Apr 13 (Xinhua) Defense authorities said here Sunday that a daily curfew in the northern Jaffna peninsula will not be imposed in view of the Sunday's traditional New Year celebrated by the residents in the district. "The curfew will not be imposed tonight to help people observe the traditional rituals of the New Year", Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, the military spokesman said. The Jaffna peninsula is subject to a daily curfew between 8 p.m. local time and 5 a.m. more..

Sri Lanka boosting Mideast ties

Apr 13 (TP) Sri Lanka's bilateral relations with countries in the Middle East are getting stronger, the country's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hussien A Bhaila, has said. Bhaila, who is here to address the Doha Forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade, was talking to reporters yesterday. "The Middle East is generally supportive of Sri Lanka. Our diplomatic and trade relations are getting strengthened", he said. more..

Surrendered LTTE militants want to leave country

Apr 13 (PTI) The LTTE militants and sympathisers who have surrendered are putting pressure on the Sri Lankan government to arrange for overseas jobs for them, fearing assassination at the hands of the Tamil Tigers for having deserted the outfit. "We always fear for our life by the LTTE though we have been put up in well guarded buildings," the former LTTE activists told a group of journalists here recently. more..

Fierce fighting kills dozens

Apr 13 (AP) Fierce fighting between government forces and Tamil separatists across Sri Lanka's war-ravaged northern region has killed dozens of rebels and soldiers, according to the military and rebels. The military said soldiers killed at least 40 Tamil rebels in fighting Saturday along the northern front lines, while the rebels said 30 soldiers were killed in the clashes. Reports of fighting have increased in recent months amid government promises to capture the rebels' de facto state in the north and more..

Sri Lanka power grid fails on holiday

Apr 13 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's national power grid crashed on Sunday, a holiday for the Sinhala-Tamil New Year, most likely due to overload, a senior state electric company official said. "One of the hydropower stations called Vicotia power plant tripped. That's the reason for the island wide power cut," said Ceylon Electricity Board General Manager Ranjit Palleperuma. Sunday is the first day of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, when people traditionally stay at home and observe religious ceremonies. more..

India urged to take the lead to end Sri Lanka conflict

Apr 13 (IANS) Two Sri Lankan leaders - one a cabinet minister and one from the opposition - and Indian politician Vaiko have urged India to play an active role to help end the island nation's protracted ethnic conflict. Speaking separately on telephone from Oslo at the end of a two-day international conference, all three said that there was an urgent need to end the fighting now raging in Sri Lanka. more..

A landing like no other

Apr 14 (Hindu) A land like no other” is the marketing jingle of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Board (SLTPB). On the morning of March 26, for a group of 11 journalists including this correspondent and two crew members on board a hot air balloon, it was indeed an experience of not only a land like no other from the skies 100 meters above the ground but also proved to be a case of “a landing like no other”. more..

Trade fair draws crowds in East

Apr 14 (MG) Over 5,000 people attended the first ever Trade Fair was held in Mutur in the Trincomalee District on April 9 and 10. Organised by the Enterprise Resource Centre (ERC), a project of Muslim Aid Sri Lanka and its partner AmeriCares, in time for Sinhala and Hindu New Year the trade fair featured 18 stalls selling books, clothes, confectionary, handicrafts and screen prints. more..

Machiavelli Mahinda

Apr 14 (AT) Just before the last Presidential election, a story doing the rounds was that an influential section of the senior SLFP leadership (led by then President Chandrika Kumaratunge) was strongly against then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse joining hands with the JVP because the fear that the JVP will eat into the traditional SLFP grassroots vote base over the long term. more..

The JVP’s (Internal) War

Apr 14 (AT) In a week marred by the barbaric Tiger attack in Weliweriya and enlivened by the melodramatic split in the JVP, the revelation that 50.7% of the Lankan people are undernourished barely made a stir. The Rajapakse administration exulted over the rising per capita income levels but failed to comprehend that a juxtaposition of the two indicators hints at a country caught in a process of rapid socio-economic polarisation. more..

Sri Lanka poultry breeder shifts to modern facility

Apr 14 (LBO) Poultry breeder Three Acre Farms Limited (TAFL) plans to relocate some of its operations to a facility which is being fitted with modern farming equipment and infrastructure, the company said. "Over the next two years, the commercial broiler operation at Bulathsinghala will be relocated and the existing facility will be converted in to a breeder farm," the group said in its annual report. more..

Nedumaran castigated France of double standard

Apr 14 (AT) Pala Nedumaran, an Indian National and a pro-LTTE campaigner in his address yesterday in Paris castigated France for its double standard and said it is the duty of France to assist the Tamils in Sri Lanka in setting up a separate country. Nedumaran, it was reported that he admonished France for being tough and for arresting leading members of the LTTE and keeping them under custody since 01 April 2007. more..

Thoughts on New Year

Apr 14 (LR) Nowadays, it is not with the nature’s call of “koho.. koho..”, but with noise of various merchants that first reminded the arrival of New Year. Still we have managed to preserve our traditional values with our Avurudu celebrations. The New Year is the time when whole family gets together and celebrates. Luckily we are still not confined to the atomic family and every one look after not only their parents but grand parents and other relatives. more..