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Clemency for Rizana Nafeek

Apr 15 (LG) Rizana nafeek a 19 year-old housemaid from Sri Lanka, is facing the death sentence by beheading in public in Saudi Arabia as she was accused of killing an infant of four months old while she was feeding that infant in 2005. Our deepest condolences to the parents of the dead baby. Campaigning for clemency to Rizana is very important as, we believe that there many issues to be taken in to account. more..

The Year of the Buffalo

Apr 15 (LG) The koha has been striking some melodious notes outside our window by dawn and though he disturbs my heavy slumber after a thick, long night, this avian musicality is welcome. The koha is the harbinger of the avuruddha, the two day — or is it weeks-long — orgy of gobbling the three Ks — kavun, kokkis and kiributh — in addition to the fourth K, kolikuttu, washed down with the Golden Waters of the Tree of Life. more..

Sri Lanka SEC probes securities fraud

Apr 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stock markets regulator is investigating a number of cases of manipulation of the share market on the Colombo Stock Exchange, a senior state counsel has revealed. Buwaneka Aluwihare, deputy solicitor general of the Attorney-General's Department, said that the offences in some of the cases were being compounded with the guilty paying a fine, while others were being prosecuted under the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Act. more..

Liberate Calendar

Apr 15 (TN) A Calendar is conceived and designed by logic and astronomy rather than emotions and myths of politics. If people don’t understand the calendar they follow, educate them. If any section of the society thinks that the calendar is its prerogative, liberate the calendar, rather than mutilating it or abandoning it. If there is any problem in the calendar it has to be investigated and corrected by a forum of astronomers, climatologists and environmental scientists, more..

Need thick skin, patience, long perspective to facilitate peace, says Bauer

Apr 15 (TN) Concluding that to successfully engage in peace process the facilitator needs to have "a thick skin, limitless patience, and a long perspective," Norwegian Special Envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer, in a "Human Values" conference in Oslo on April 10-11, outlined Norway's history of peace-making in Asian countries, and said, Norwegian peace diplomacy is anchored in the United Nations, Norway will engage only on the invitation of the protagonists, and more..

Fishy deal behind ‘CEYPETCO’ tender?

Apr 15 (LT) Economic experts say the decision to delay awarding a 12-month term tender to buy 360,000 tons of utility-grade fuel oil by Ceylon Petroleum Corp (CEYPETCO) is suspicious. ‘CEYPETCO’ has delayed the award stating a further examination of price in the world market and a review of the quality of the fuel was necessary. ‘CEYPETCO’ issued the tender last month on behalf of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), which was seeking supply for a new power plant in Muthurajawela. more..

Rajitha in Norway to support Vaiko's requirement?

Apr 15 (LT) The Construction and Engineering Services Minister Rajithe Senaratne left to Norway yesterday to meet Erik Solheim in a bid to get his assistance to restore civilian rule in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Minister Senaratne will be in Norway for 10 days and will meet other Norwegian leaders including the leader of the Norwegian Conservative Party. more..

Lankans in Saudi appeal to King on behalf of Rizana

Apr 15 (MG) Sri Lankans in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Sunday requested the custodian of the two Holy Mosques, King Abdulla Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, to use his good offices and address the parents of the dead child to give clemency to Rizana Nafeek. Niyaz Mustafa, Senior Finance Controller attached to a leading firm in Jeddah, in a letter to the King states: "I approach you to use your good offices to impress upon the parents of the little child, more..

Norochcholai: Displaced families complain of shocking deception

Apr 15 (MG) Families who gave up their lands for the Norochcholai coal power plant project, protested in front of the main gate of the construction plant office, saying the Government deceived them by providing them with badly built alternative houses. The Government took over 300 acres at Narakkaliya and Paniadiya areas on March 3, 2007 and the 68 families who lived there were given houses in Daluwa Manpuriya Nirmalapura housing scheme on March 29, last year. more..

Hassan Ali demands more security

Apr 15 (MG) The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has charged that if the government could provide Special Task Force (STF) protection to SLMC dissident M.L.M. Hisbullah, then the security provided for SLMC candidates too should be enhanced forthwith. SLMC General Secretary and chief candidate in the Ampara District Hassan Ali told The Nation that the government was yet to provide him adequate security. more..

Undue delay in payment of soldiers’ salaries

Apr 15 (LD) Members of the Security Forces and their families were severely inconvenienced in their preparations to celebrate New Year, after failing to receive their salaries and festival advances on time. It is customary for members of the security forces to receive their salaries on 20th of each month, but in April, they get paid a week before the festivities begin. However, this month’s salaries were sent to their bank accounts only on April 10th. more..

Man accidentally shot inside police jeep

Apr 15 (LD) A man who was arrested in Moratuwa area for being drunk in public has been shot in a struggle with the police. After he was arrested, the man, a resident of Clovis street, Moratuwa, was being taken by jeep when the incident occurred. The official firearm of one of the policemen had got accidentally fired, injuring the suspect in the leg, Moratuwa Police said. Several instances where suspects in various crimes were shot dead while under detention, more..

No complaints of Pillayan using arms – Karu

Apr 15 (LD) Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs, Karu Jayasuriya has said that there has been no complaint against TMVP leader Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan of using firearms. In an interview with ‘Lakbima’ newspaper today (April 15th), the minister responded to an accusation by the UNP that the TMVP, which has aligned with the government for the May 10th Eastern Provincial Council election, carries weapons during campaigning. more..

Free Jayantha Wijesekera, JVP dissidents tell IGP

Apr 15 (LD) MPs Achala Jagoda and Piyasiri Wijenayake of the Wimal Weerawansa faction have requested IGP Victor Perera to free Trincomalee District MP Jayantha Wijesekara from remand custody. Mr. Wijesekera has been remanded on the charges of stealing two vehicles belonging to the two JVP dissidents from Parliament garage on April 08th and assaulting a policeman on duty there who tried to prevent the seizure. more..

Govt. strongly protests screening of 'My daughter the terrorists'

Apr 15 (GDI) In a letter addressed to both the US State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sri Lanka's embassy in Washinton has strongly protested over the screening of pro-LTTE film 'My daughter the terrorists,' sources said. The film, a documentary on the lives and faiths of two female Tamil Tigers produced by Norwegian filmmaker Beate Arnestad, was featured in a documentary film festival in Durham, North Carolina on April 4. more..

Deadlines announced for Monbukagakusho Scholarship applications

Apr 15 (GDI) Japan will be awarding scholarships to Sri Lankan Students under the Monbukagakusho Scholarship scheme 2009. The scholarships will be awarded in the categories of Postgraduate Research, Undergraduate and College of Technology. The closing date for applications to the Ministry of Higher Education is on May 9, 2008. Selection of candidates will be done through an examination conducted more..

LTTE infiltration undermines credibility of AI- Expatriate Lankans

Apr 15 (GDI) Sources from New York informed that the protest demonstration held in front of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in New York on Friday, 11th April was blatantly infiltrated by sympathizers of Tamil Tigers living in the US and Canada. The reports said that this protest demonstration was organized by Amnesty International as an effort to protest to the Sri Lankan Government against harassment and killing of several media personnel in Sri Lanka, claiming that most victims were Tamils. more..

A Presentation by Rajiva Wijesinha at a Conference on ’Peace and Reconciliation in South Asia’

Apr 15 (PISL) Ladies and gentlemen, I am most grateful to His Holiness, and to the organizers of this Conference, for having given me an opportunity to contribute to this Panel discussion on ‘The Role of the Media in Conflict Resolution’. Increasingly it has become clear that the media, at least as regards Sri Lanka, has often contributed to the heightening of conflict, and it is timely therefore to consider how this can be reduced. more..

Police failed to arrest alleged rapist of his own five year old daughter

Apr 15 (AT) Concern is mounting with the information regarding the continued inaction of the police into the alleged sexual abuse of a five-year-old girl by her father. The girl's grandmother has filed a complaint at the Panwila police station in Kandy on 18 June 2007 A court has issued a warrant for the arrest of the alleged rapist who has rape his own tiny five year old daughter. However, it is reported that up to date the police have failed to arrest the alleged perpetrator. more..

Won't join Govt say JVP rebels

Apr 15 (LNP) The dissident JVP group yesterday dismissed accusations that it would join President Mahinda Rajapaksa s government and accept ministerial portfolios. Kalutara District JVP MP Jayantha Samaraweera told The Island they wouldn t accept ministerial portfolios under any circumstances. The dissident group s spokesman Samaraweera said they challenged the JVP leadership publicly after an influential section of the party attempted to politically assassinate their parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawansa. more..

India to supply 1000 MW to Lanka

Apr 15 (LNP) The PowerGrid Corporation of India proposes to lay down an under sea line between India and Sri Lanka. The proposed undersea high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line will be for the transfer of 500-mw, which will be subsequently upgraded to 1,000 mw. According to Power Ministry sources, the proposed undersea transmission line entails an investment of around Rs. 1,500 crore. more..

Nothing but sheer madness!

Apr 15 (LNP) Suicidal tendencies of politicians are monumental, as we have been repeating umpteen times in these columns. Lured by prospects of gaining political mileage, they resort to death-defying acts bordering on plain stupidity, which are suggestive of a kind of death wish. In so doing, they endanger not only their lives but also those of the ordinary people. The government, we are told, is toying with the idea of having its May Day rally in Ampara by way of a show of strength in view of the upcoming Eastern PC polls. more..

Spiritual guru seeks healing for Lanka

Apr 15 (SAMN) Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who has in the past visited LTTE-held areas in the north, is seeking spiritual healing for the conflict in Sri Lanka. At an Oslo meeting, organised by the Art of Living Foundation of the Indian spiritual guru he spoke about the importance of spiritualism in resolving any conflict. “Whether it is inter-religious conflict or intra-religious conflict or it is a conflict between communist or capitalist ideology, more..

Fleeing Tigers complain of atrocities

Apr 15 (SAMN) The incidents of child recruitment and forcible conscription are on the rise in the Wanni and is getting worse with each passing day, a Sea Tiger escapee said Monday. Following an appeal by Security Forces to LTTE cadres to surrender with the promise of transforming their lives, around 54 Tiger cadres including Sea Tiger cadres and sympathisers had given themselves up at the Rehabilitation Centre in Jaffna during the last three months. more..

Mark New Year by planting a tree

Apr 15 (SAMN) Ruk Rakaganno, the Tree Society of Sri Lanka, encourage Sri Lankans to plant indigenous species at anytime of year. The volunteer group are dedicated to protecting the natural flora and fauna of Sri Lanka for the future. Nirmala de Mel, president of the volunteer group affectionately known as Ruk Raks, said the auspicious time of the New Year is a particularly good opportunity to plant a tree. more..

No polls campaign after 6 p.m.

Apr 15 (SAMN) Political parties and representatives in the east have decided not to campaign after 6 in the evening owing to the volatile security situation in the east, DIG of the East Rienzie Perera said. This decision was taken following a meeting with Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayaka, leaders of all political parties, the Inspector General of Police and organisations monitoring the upcoming eastern polls. more..

Patients on ‘Waiting lists’ as some doctors lack kind hearts - Prelate

Apr 15 (DN) Today a large number of patients are on ‘Waiting lists’ because some Sri Lankan doctors do not have kind hearts. At present heart diseases and kidney diseases have gone up due to inappropriate lifestyle of people and when they get diseases they trod here and there with fear of death, Most. Ven. Prof. Bellanwila Vimalarathana Thera said. The Thera was addressing the gathering after distributing funds for the needy patients who required funds for various major operations. more..

Govt's aim to develop backward rural areas - Minister T.B. Ekanayake

Apr 15 (DN) The objective of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his administration is to develop the backward rural areas to the level of the urban areas, said Minister of Highways T.B. Ekanayake at Panduwasnuwara. Four concreted roads costing Rs. 7 million were opened by the Minister T.B. Ekanayake on this occasion. He said a large number of undeveloped rural roads have been constructed in the Kurunegala district. more..

'Only in Sri Lanka do tutors set question papers for exams their pupils sit'

Apr 15 (Island) Sri Lanka is the only country where the tuition masters set question papers for public examinations which their own students sit, Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Minister, Dr. Sarath Amunugama said at the launching of an IT training programme by the Dr. Sarath Amunugama Foundation in collaboration with the IDM Computer Studies (Pvt) Ltd. The training project is conducted at the Sarath Amunugama Foundation headquarters at Nugawela. more..

Army prepares to open a new front

Apr 15 (Island) Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major General G. A. Chandrasiri asserted that his troops had been able to thwart LTTE attempts to infiltrate the peninsula via Pooneryn on the Vanni mainland and trigger chaos mounting claymore mine blasts, suicide attacks and small arms attacks. According to him, there had been over 2,000 LTTE cadres in the peninsula when the LTTE launched a major attack in the second week of August 2005. more..

CC crisis will end next month: DEW

Apr 15 (DM) The proposed bill on new provisions to the 17th Amendment to the Constitution will be presented in Parliament on May 21, Parliamentary Select Committee Chairman and Constitutional Reforms Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara said yesterday. “The Committee met last Wednesday and representatives of all political parties approved the draft proposals. The committee members have agreed that the constitutional crisis that has arisen in respect of more..

Priyanka meets a conspirator in Rajiv Gandhi's killing

Apr 15 (PTI) Priyanka Vadra, who has created a flutter by meeting one of the conspirators in her father Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, on Tuesday said she does not believe in anger, hatred and violence and will not allow these to overpower her. "It was a very personal visit and completely on my own individual initiative. I would be deeply grateful if this could be respected," she told more..

Probe over New Year power failure - CEB

Apr 15 (DM) Investigations are under way by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to determine whether the emergency machinery of the power stations worked round the clock during the island wide power failure during the eve of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year on Sunday. CEB General Manager Ranjit Pulleperuma told Daily Mirror yesterday that a thorough investigation has to be carried out to ascertain why the whole system failed and to check whether the emergency machinery failed. more..

A bitter harvest in rice-eating Sri Lanka

Apr 15 (KT) TO SAY rice is Sri Lanka's staple food is an understatement. Rice is politics in Sri Lanka. Not only that, we are also in love with rice. Take my case. My day is not complete if I do not eat rice for my lunch. There are times I eat rice for all three main meals. Take a ride on a taxi along Colombo's busy roads during lunchtime. One would be sure to see hundreds of vendors sitting under huge umbrellas and selling parcels of cooked rice. more..

Sri Lanka demands recall of Iceland’s diplomat

Apr 15 (NE) The government of Sri Lanka called for the expulsion of an Icelandic diplomat who made a clandestine visit to the Tamil Tiger-held areas in the north, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday in a statement, IcelandReview reported. Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry said it asked Reykjavik to recall Bjarni Vestmann, a minister-counsellor at Iceland’s foreign ministry, after he entered the country on a tourist visa and went to the north to meet with rebels. more..

Taking on the Tamil Tigers

Apr 15 (NP) Over the weekend, counterterrorism police in Ontario and Quebec shut down the Canadian offices of the World Tamil Movement, an alleged fundraising front for the Tamil Tigers. The raids -- which proceeded after police acquired a warrant from a Federal Court of Canada judge -- demonstrate just how much has changed on the national security front in the nearly two-and-a-half years since the Conservatives were elected. more..

Sri Lanka lashes out at Amnesty

Apr 15 (PTI) Sri Lanka on Monday accused human rights watchdog Amnesty International of joining hands with LTTE sympathizers, as the death toll from fierce weekend clashes rose to 95 in the embattled north. In a statement, the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry said that the London-based Amnesty had organised a demonstration in front of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York on Friday. more..

India to play 'most decisive' role in SL peace process: Norway

Apr 15 (PTI) India will play the "most decisive" role in the peace process in Sri Lanka being the "best-placed regional power" to help the island nation, a top Norwegian envoy has said. Norway's special envoy to Colombo Jon Hanssen-Bauer said in an interview to PTI that India was to be the "main partner" for Sri Lanka in the future, and that Oslo was in regular touch with New Delhi over the issue of peace process in its neighbouring country. more..

Seized assets linked to LTTE

Apr 15 (NP) A Montreal building and several bank accounts in Ontario and Quebec were seized by police because they were deemed to be the property of a terrorist group, according to Federal Court documents unsealed yesterday. The court orders explain why RCMP counterterrorism officers began shutting down the operations of the World Tamil Movement in Montreal and Toronto late last week, using powers granted to them under the Anti-Terror-ism Act. more..

Panel says Sri Lanka human rights probe falls short

Apr 15 (Reuters) Foreign observers criticised Sri Lanka's official probe into rights abuses in their final report on Tuesday, before they finally quit the island, saying there was a "lack of political will to find the the truth". The report piled more pressure on Colombo over its rights record amid a new phase in a 25-year civil war. "The uncooperative atmosphere has rendered the task of (the panel), which approached its work in a spirit of cooperation and, more..

'Govt was able to control rice price during New Year season'

Apr 16 (GDI) "The Government was able to control the increase of the price of rice in the New Year season," said Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affaires, Bandula Gunawardana responding to the claims that prices will increase to Rs.150.00 in the New Year season. Minister Gunawardana speaking to stated that there is a difference between the price index in a Super market and Co-operatives, more..

Two unhealthy political developments - Part II – Rise in Muslim discontent

Apr 16 (LG) The political style of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his use of military option in handling the Tamil insurgency have split almost all political parties which have been compelled to make hard political choices. Starting with the UNP, the latest episode in the "split-story" is the JVP. The smaller parties did not split but joined the ruling UPFA bandwagon enjoying the perks of office. more..

`Dharma rajya` has a passion for fashion!

Apr 16 (LG) Earlier, the JHU Leader, Ven. Ellawanda Thero was involved in a luxury fashionable Benz car scandal where it was alleged that the duty free license issued to him for import of vehicle to be used in the service of the people was sold illegally. The JHU who so vociferously and loudly claimed on political platforms that politicians are engaging in rackets, and they (JHU) are coming forward to establish a pure Dharma -rajya seem to be unable to escape those temptations going by their behaviour!. more..

JVP: Wansakkarayo & Karumakkarayo

Apr 16 (LG) The JVP Wansakkarayo represented by Somawansa and Weerawansa worked hard to make Mahinda Rajapakse the President at the last presidential election by canvassing, erecting cut-outs and launching an adverse poster campaign against the other contenders, with JVP Secretary Tilvin Silva saying that "any one could be elected except a candidate from the UNP." This same party wanted Indian made Marutis to be given to MPs then, but more..

John Seneviratne as Chief Govt. Whip?

Apr 16 (LD) Minister John Seneviratne has been asked by the president to accept the position of Chief Government Whip, ‘Lanka Dissent’ reliably learns. Mr. Seneviratne, who hails from Ratnapura, is a senior member of the SLFP, and is one-time chairman of its disciplinary committee. A lawyer by profession, he is tipped to fill the position that fell vacant following the killing of Jeyaraj Fernandopulle. more..

Military offensive in Lanka: LTTE is on the backfoot

Apr 16 (LG) Three months after the Sri Lankan Government (SLG) abrogated the Norway-brokered 2002 Cease Fire Agreement, local body elections have been held in Batticaloa, one of the three districts in the East, against the backdrop of the continued military offensive in the North. The far-from-perfect elections were won by the TMVP, a breakaway faction of the LTTE which is armed and loosely allied with the government. more..

Dissidents try to rejoin JVP - Vijitha Herath

Apr 16 (LD) All dissidents who are sided with Wimal Weerawansa due to a misunderstanding are sending out feelers through intermediaries in an attempt to re-join the party, Gampaha District JVP MP Vijitha Herath has said. Mr. Herath noted that doors are still open for them, and that the internal conflict of the party is showing signs of ending on a positive note. Meanwhile, several close associates of the JVP who live abroad are reportedly attempting to repair the damage between JVP and the Weerawansa faction. more..

'Sri Lanka to award only one offshore oil block'

Apr 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka will only award one out of three offshore oil blocks in the north east of the island for which international oil companies gave bids, petroleum minister A H M Fowzie said. "We are only evaluating the block for which we received three bids," Fowzie told reporters Tuesdays. "We will award it to the bidder who will give most profits to the government." On January 31 when bids closed, Block 001, which is closest to India attracted bids from more..

Beating grain prices with home grown rice

Apr 16 (IPS) Drastically lowered wheat consumption in this island country -- once running close to that of the domestically grown staple rice -- has been welcomed by food security experts as the only way to beat the current rise in global grain prices. President Mahinda Rajapakse is among those who have publicly welcomed the reversal in the dietary habits of Sri Lankans and the return to rice and pulses. more..

Tsunami Recovery In Sri Lanka

Apr 16 (VoA) The U.S. Agency for International Development and the development agency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece, HELLENIC AID, recently inaugurated the newly-rebuilt Anuradhapura Junction Public market in the northeastern Sri Lankan city of Trincomalee. Officials from the two donor agencies, which jointly funded the project, were joined at the event by Trincomalee District Government Agent, Major General T.T.R. DeSilva and Trincomalee Urban Council Chairman G. Mugunthan. more..