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Excise officer caught in bribery net

Apr 18 (DM) An excise officer who had allegedly solicited an illegal gratification of Rs. 50,000 and later accepted Rs. 25,000 was remanded till April 29 by the Additional Colombo Magistrate, Manjula Thilakaratne on Wednesday. The suspect, Sunil Shantha of Uda Walawe, an excise officer of Thanamalwila office had demanded Rs. 50,000 from the complainant, Madakalpuwage Gamini to refrain from instituting action against the complainant for possessing ganja. more..

Media watchdog says its treasurer threatened, ransom demanded

Apr 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Free Media Movement (FMM), a media watchdog, said Friday its treasurer, journalist K. Rushangan, has received threats demanding the payment of a ransom before April 25. Despite complaints to the police, no action has been taken to probe the threats, the organisation said in a statement. Rushangan is the editor of the Tamil language news and information website and more..

New fighting in Sri Lanka kills 8 Tamil rebels, 2 soldiers

Apr 18 (AP) Scattered battles across Sri Lanka's northern region killed eight Tamil separatists and two government soldiers, the military said Friday. Army troops clashed with Tamil Tiger rebels in the northern Mannar district on Thursday, leaving four guerrillas and two soldiers dead, a Defense Ministry official said. Twenty-four rebels and nine troops were injured in the fighting, said the official, more..

Ordeal comes to an end for Sri Lankan fishermen

Apr 18 (Hindu) A nightmare that lasted a week for a group of Sri Lankan fishermen will an end on Friday morning when the Indian Coast Guard hands them over to the Sri Lankan Navy. “We have been informed that the group of 10 fishermen will be handed over at RV point on the International Maritime Boundary Line at 7 a.m. on February 18,” said Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner in south India, P.M. Amza. more..

Sri Lankan sprinter banned

Apr 18 (Hindu) Sri Lankan woman sprinter Jani Chathurangani Silva has been banned for two years following a verdict given by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), Lausanne, on April 14. The CAS upheld an appeal by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) which challenged the exoneration of the athlete by Sri Lankan authorities following a complicated disciplinary procedure after the 2006 South Asian Games in Colombo where she tested positive for 19-norandrosterone. more..

Rice price controls fuels fears of black market

Apr 18 (LBO) Sri Lankan traders Friday said they had agreed to sell rice at the new government controlled price but many wholesale shops remained closed in key markets amid warnings of a shortage and emergence of a 'black market'. Government officials said they would crack down on unscrupulous traders who were trying to create an artificial rice shortage and make a profit when plenty of stocks were available. more..

'Prabhakaran not keen on peaceful solution to Lanka strife'

Apr 18 (PTI) LTTE breakaway faction Tamil Makkal Vidhuthalai Pullikal has accused Tamil Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran of not being keen on a peaceful solution to the 25-year-old ethnic strife in Sri Lanka. "Prabhakaran only believes in an armed solution to the Tamil problem in Sri Lanka and is not interested in any peaceful means to resolve the crisis," said Pillayan, the TMVP leader and more..

I want to bring peace to Sri Lanka: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Apr 18 (IANS) Indian spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is keen to play the peacemaker in war-torn Sri Lanka. Claiming that he enjoys the trust of both the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers, Ravi Shankar says he does not need any invitation to act to try ending one of the world's longest running armed conflicts. 'If someone's house is burning, you don't expect an invitation from them! A sensitive person will simply jump in,' more..

'India should organise Lanka peace talks'

Apr 18 (TOI) Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi has suggested that India organise negotiations between the warring parties in Sri Lanka to bring peace to the island nation. "To bring about peace in Sri Lanka, the Union government should come forward to organise useful negotiations so that a proper political solution is thrashed out," he said in an interview to The Times of India. more..

Sri Lanka rights activists face growing dangers

Apr 19 (AN) In March Sri Lankan police used anti-terror laws to arrest and detain J.S. Tissanayagam, a prominent journalist working for The Sunday Times, a maistream English-language weekly. After two weeks behind bars he was finally served a detention order charging him with engaging in terrorist activities, which today in Sri Lanka can be interpreted as criticising the government. more..

Mothers' gift of their sons to priesthood brings fear

Apr 19 (UCAN) Spare a thought for the mothers of priests who serve in war-torn areas of Sri Lanka. For them pride was mixed with fear, and in some cases grief, ahead of the 45th annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations on April 13. For more than half of those years, the unresolved civil war pitting Tamil rebels against the Sinhalese-led government has placed priests at risk, especially in frontline areas in the north and east, where the Tamil minority is concentrated. more..

India Oil wants to market aviation fuel in Sri Lanka

Apr 19 (IANS) Having stabilised operations to retail transport fuels in Sri Lanka, the Lanka Indian Oil Corp, a subsidiary of India's state-run oil company, will ask for Colombo's permission to market aviation fuel. 'We are applying to the government to participate in the aviation fuel marketing and we are ready to develop infrastructure facilities for it,' the managing director of Lanka Indian Oil Corp, K. Ramakrishnan, told IANS. more..

JVP politburo urges govt. to understand rice crisis

Apr 19 (LD) The JVP has called for government mediation in the crisis over rice, only after clearly identifying and understanding the underlying problem. In a statement, the party’s politburo said the government, which had earlier said that it could not control rice prices, has now introduced a certified price after declaring it an essential commodity. The maximum prices that came into effect at midnight on April 16th have now proven to be a failure. more..

Murugan praises Priyanka's initiative to meet Nalini

Apr 19 (PTI) Murugan, husband of Nalini who is himself sentenced to death in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, reportedly praised Priyanka Vadra for taking the initiative to meet his wife in the prison here saying that it spoke "volumes about Priyanka's good nature." Murugan, a Sri Lankan Tamil lodged in prison in Vellore, where Priyanka met Nalini on March 19, reportedly expressed surprise over the meeting as he was unaware of it for several days due more..

UNP protests 'illegal meeting'

Apr 19 (BBC) The main opposition in Sri Lanka has protested an attempt by the Batticaloa authorities to use government officials for electioneering. The United National Party (UNP) says Batticaloa Mayor has called a meeting of all Grama Seva Officers (GSO) in the district on Saturday. "This is clearly illegal. The Mayor has no authority over whole district and calling such a meeting during an election period clearly violates the law," more..

'No shortage' in Kilinochchi hospital

Apr 19 (BBC) There is no deficit of medicine in the Kilinochchi hospital, hospital authorities said. Zonal Health Officer in Kilinochchi hospital, Dr. Satyamurthi, told BBC Sandeshaya that the hospital has enough stocks for three months. In a statement issued on Thursday, the ICRC said that hospitals in the rebel-held north are running short of basic medicines. Dr. Satyamurthi did not deny the report. more..

French relief organization pulls out of Sri Lanka

Apr 19 (DPA) A French relief organization that operated in conflict areas in Sri Lanka and lost 17 of their local workers in a single incident two years ago has decided to withdraw, a statement from the organization said Friday. Action contre la Faim (ACF or Action against Hunger) said it was withdrawing a decision by a group of international experts observing the proceedings of a presidential commission probing 15 violent incidents including the killing of the aid workers. more..

Sri Lanka perfect to a tea

Apr 19 (CM) SRI Lanka teaches you to tell your Uda Pussellawa from your Uva, which makes it nirvana for tea drinkers and enthusiasts. My guru smacked his lips appreciatively. But he didn't search for a spittoon. An almost Buddhist-like calm suffused his face. He swooned as he swilled, blissfully savouring the anti-oxidants. "The loose leaf produces an excellent rounded intensity," he observed sagely. more..

Sajin resigns as CEO of Mihin Air

Apr 19 (LD) Sajin Vaas Gunawardena has resigned as Chief Executive Officer of Mihin Air with immediate effect. An official for the local airline said Mr. Gunawardena would remain as a board member and would have controlling powers. His father, Vass Gunawardena, who stepped down as chairman of Lankaputra Development Bank a few weeks ago, was later appointed head of Development Lotteries Board.

Sri Lanka: the 2008 Galle literary festival

Apr 19 (DS) To many, Sri Lanka seems not to be part of South Asia. Apart from the 22-year-old war that's scarred the country, and cricket, one hardly reads about the lives in the teardrop-shaped Indian Ocean island. When I visited Lanka this spring, the hotel that I checked into was GFH, short for Galle Face Hotel. The name 'Galle Face' was chosen by the English colonialists and attributed to the gate of the Portuguese colonialists' Santa Cruz fortress in Colombo. more..

Ambassador Warnakulasuriya’s appeal to Holy Sea hits Vatican headlines

Apr 19 (AT) The Vatican Daily New Paper Petrus has given much prominence to the statement made by Sri Lanka Ambassador Hemantha Warnakulasuriya at a press conference called by the Sri Lanka Embassy in Italy on the removal of Statue of Our Lady of Madhu, from the Church of Madhu, to the interior of the territory controlled by LTTE – A separatist Tamil outfit which is waging a war against the sovereign Sri Lanka Government for the last two decades. more..

Intent of Priyanka's Vellore visit

Apr 19 (MN) IN MEETING Nalini Sriharan, who is serving a life sentence for her involvement in Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is being projected as carrying forward the attempts made by her mother to bridge the emotional and political hiatus that may have contributed in the alienation of certain communities or groups from the Congress. However, by raising controversy over her visit and being silent on her very purpose of the visit, she is yet to reveal her real intentions. more..

Incidence of smuggling to Sri Lanka brought down: naval officer

Apr 19 (Hindu) Incidence of smuggling to Sri Lanka from Tamil Nadu coast has been brought down, said Commodore Phillip Van Haltren, Naval Officer-in-Charge, Tamil Nadu. Along with the Coast Guard, the Navy had introduced a number of new measures to curb smuggling activities and monitor other illegal movements along Gulf of Mannar, Palk Bay and Palk Straight, he told The Hindu on Friday. more..

Criminalize refusal to record complaints of victims of crimes and human rights abuse

Apr 19 (AHRC) Many newspapers reported a statement by a member of the opposition UNP made yesterday stating that during the last two months the Human Rights Commission (HRC) has received over 200 complaints of violations of human rights and also of the abduction of 40 youths in Batticaloa. The statement further alleged that the complainants were abused and chased away when they went to the HRC to report these abductions. more..

Sri Lanka feed miller hit by high costs, price controls

Apr 19 (LBO) Price controls on broiler chicken, lower sales and soaring raw material costs that prompted farmers to mix their own feed have hit the profitability of Sri Lankan feed miller Ceylon Grain Elevators (CGE). The demand for maize in bio fuel manufacturing has led to a scarcity in supply for human and animal feed production resulting in soaring prices, CGE said. more..

Indian Spy Team failure may have prompted Priyanka’s visit

Apr 19 (LG) Even 10 years after it was formed to unravel the larger conspiracy behind Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Authority (MDMA) of the CBI has failed to provide answers that Priyanka Gandhi wanted from her father’s assassin Nalini in Vellore jail.And the MDMA, which was carved out from CBI in 1998, will get another extension next month. Priyanka Gandhi visited Vellore central jail last month to meet Nalini to find answers to questions like: Why was her father killed, more..

Prabhakaran’s operational strategy

Apr 19 (LG) It is a great pity that our chief negotiators (and their advisors) have no background in science - be it of the mathematical and engineering kind or the disciplines dealing with human and animal behaviour. Legalistic wrangling could then have given place to a more astute judgment of the mind- set of the terrorist Prabhakaran and the strategic thrust of his war-plans. more..

Religion in pre-colonial Sri Lanka

Apr 19 (LG) From the dawn of history Sri Lanka has attracted foreigners to her shores. These included peaceful immigrants, traders and hostile invaders. At first there were invasions by South Indian powers like Cola, Pandya and Vijayanagara and after the 16th century the invaders came from the West, the Portuguese, Dutch and British. All those aggressors were valiantly resisted by the Sinhalese who maintained their sovereignty over a greater part of the island till 1815. more..

Haththa: Painting the drama of the street

Apr 19 (LG) He is recognised as the father of modern street theatre in Sri Lanka. His students have moved from the street to the stage, from stage to television and some even to the silver screen. They owe much to Gamini Haththotuwegama, who, even after many decades of political theatre, does not seem to have moved at all. In his mid sixties now, the man remains in the street, metaphorically and literally. more..

Muslims and the ethnic conflict

Apr 19 (LG) History records that the Muslims of Sri Lanka, whose ancestors were Arab Traders, have been living here for more than 1100 years. They were politically united, economically integrated and culturally autonomous with the other two communities - the Sinhalese and the Tamils. The Muslims led a peaceful and harmonious life until 1505 AD when the Portugese set their foot on the shores of Sri Lanka as invaders. more..

Priyanka takes 17 years to make peace with father’s assasins

Apr 19 (AT) Would it be an exaggeration to say that Sri Lanka has had a raw deal (pun intended) with India politically? Being close neighbors one would have thought otherwise however, where the geopolitics of Sri Lanka was concerned India saw to it that no decision was taken that effected India’s dominance of the region. From creating & nurturing the present conflict to wanting to remain a silent observer to the negotiations, more..

Indian PM denies arms supply to Sri Lanka: Vaiko

Apr 19 (TN) Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has told Vaiko who met him Thursday in New Delhi that there is no truth in reports on Indian supply of arms to Sri Lanka. Vaiko met Indian PM to brief him on his meeting with Erik Solheim and Jon Hanssen-Bauer in Oslo and the outcome of the conference organised by the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) in Norway's capital last week. The Indian PM further told Vaiko that he was aware of Pakistan and China supplying arms to Sri Lanka. more..

The JVP War: Somawansa vs. Weerawansa

Apr 19 (MG) The Somawansa vs. Weerawansa battle that exploded last week has been very much in the air in the preceding days. Various media reports had said that the JVP was in crisis but the party dismissed these as inventions of hostile forces. The JVP leader has publicly confirmed that Weerawansa, who in addition to being the leader of the party’s parliamentary group, was also its propaganda secretary, was under disciplinary inquiry. more..

Pre-school education: Responsibility of Politicians

Apr 19 (LG) Formal school education in Sri Lanka begins at the age of five years plus, and most children reaching this age remain unready for any educational development. The age group 2 1/2 years to 5 years is considered to be the Pre-School age that calls for more concern and attention than what is evident today in the country. The lack of educational facilities for this ego group has resulted in a void in the school system that more..

Price Control - Can it deliver the goods?

Apr 19 (LG) The government's gazette notification to impose price controls on rice, which came into effect from midnight 16th April, is indeed a late but commendable measure in the right direction given the crisis of spiralling rice prices in the market and rumours of further price hikes after the New Year. Though it is unclear as to why the government kept dragging its feet up to now, without enforcing price control, the rice prices could have been kept even lower, had more..

Current promotion criteria of STF unsatisfactory - IGP

Apr 19 (LD) IGP Victor Perera says the present transfer and promotion criteria for the police Special Task Force (STF) personnel are not satisfactory. Speaking at the ceremony held to mark the 25th Anniversary of the police STF at its headquarters yesterday (April 18th), he said that many STF officers have suffered injustice concerning their seniority and the need to introduce a new procedure sans these irregularities has arisen. more..

Govt. behind Wimal’s conspiracy - Tilvyn

Apr 19 (LD) Confirming news reports claiming that that MP Basil Rajapaksa and Minister Dullas Alahapperuma were behind the conspiracy in creating an internal rife in the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, the General secretary of the JVP, Tilvyn Silva has made a special statement to the ‘Irida Lanka’ newspaper. The statement is as follows: “It is Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government who is behind this. more..

JVP candidate & supporters attacked in Ampara

Apr 19 (LD) A JVP candidate at the east PC polls and three of his supporters had came under attack at Arasodi Junction on the Ampara-Akkarapattu road, reports said. The candidate, Abu Sahib, and his supporters were assaulted around 10.30 pm yesterday (Apr. 17th) as they were pasting posters for a party rally scheduled for April 20th in Ampara town. A group of around 10 masked men in motorcycles had attacked them with blunt instruments and fled the scene, more..

JVP alleges Pillyan preventing its east poll campaigning

Apr 19 (LD) The JVP has accused the Pillayan Group of having prevented the party from engaging in a political dialogue with the people of the east in the run up to the provincial council elections there. The JVP’s Ampara district leader Krishantha Priyadarshana said that despite threats by the armed group, they are planning to hold 3,000 pocket meetings in Kalmunai, Potuvil and Samanturai. more..

'Sri Lanka fights off tough resolution at IPU'

Apr 19 (GDI) Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe revealed that a draft resolution requesting the situation in Sri Lanka to be included as an emergency item on the agenda of the 118th session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) held in Cape Town, South Africa had been withdrawn. The Sri Lankan delegation, upon being made aware of the proposal, had immediately made representations to the delegation from South Africa, impressing upon them the fact that more..

Coconut prices to come down

Apr 19 (GDI) The Coconut Development Authority (CDA) has said that the decision to slash the import duty for edible palm oil from 28% to 5% will enable the consumer to enjoy price reductions in coconuts and coconut oil. Chairman of the CDA, D.J.U. Purasinghe has said that the price of a coconut is expected to stabilise around Rs. 32 while a bottle of coconut oil will come down to Rs. 180. more..

Govt. 'extends' war deadline

Apr 19 (BBC) The Sri Lanka government has extended the self-imposed deadline to defeat the Tamil Tigers in the north. Senior Presidential Advisor, Basil Rajapaksa, MP, pledged to hoist the Sri Lankan flag in rebel-held areas by the end of the current Sinhala and Tamil New Year. Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Satah Fonseka, and the government has earlier vowed to "wipe out" the Tamil Tigers by April, this year. more..

JVP heading for 'more splits'

Apr 19 (BBC) The crisis in JVP would soon lead to another split dividing the party into three groups, analysts say. Lionel Bopage, a former General Secretary of the JVP, told BBC Sandeshaya that another split is imminent in the youth movment. The youth movement in the south that twice took arms against the Sri Lankan state split into two major groups last week. JVP parliamentary group leader, Wimal Weerawansa, publicly accused the party hierarchy of ‘conspiring’ to expel him from the movement. more..

Dragonflies to boost wildlife tourism industry

Apr 19 (LNP) Sri Lanka has been identified as a dragonfly hotspot in a paper published in the recently released journal Hydrobiologia. 30 per cent of dragonflies are endemic and 68 per cent of damselflies are endemic. Jetwing Eco Holidays CEO cum wildlife promoter Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne says a scientific paper titled Global Diversity of Dragonflies (Odonata) in freshwater says that at present there is no sound basis for identifying the most important areas of endemism. more..

Whip crackers have arrived

Apr 19 (LNP) The JVP is known for signalling left and turning right and making U-turns on the wrong way to utopia. It was only the other day that JVP Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe, in his typical melodramatic way, thundered at a press briefing that promoting war against terror was not his party s raison d etre. It would take up cudgels against the government over human rights violations, the high cost of living etc, he promised. more..

LTTE seeks INGO support

Apr 19 (SAMN) The Defence Ministry has alleged that the LTTE was attempting to seek the support of International Non Governmental Organisations (INGO) to undertake false propaganda against the government. A report on the Defence Ministry website said the LTTE had held two meetings with representatives of UN OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) in Kilinochchi and Batticaloa urging them to team up with other INGOs to support its war efforts. more..

NCPA to initiate child protection network

Apr 19 (SAMN) A child protection network covering school van drivers will be initiated next week in Kurunegala by the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA), in an attempt to curb sexual abuse of children. The programme which will begin on April 22 will provide safety for 20,000 school children in the Kurunegala area and it will be later extended to Colombo. This network is the first of many other measures to be taken to ensure the safety of children. more..

Potta Naufer stabbed in prison

Apr 19 (SAMN) Underworld leader Potta Naufer who was stabbed and badly injured at the Welikada prison was admitted to the Colombo National hospital yesterday, Prison Commissioner Major General Vajira Wijegunawardana said. According to Major General Wijegunawardana, Naufer stabbed by four prisoners inside the Welikada prison was admitted to the ICU at the Colombo National hospital. more..

Armenia thanks Lanka for support

Apr 19 (SAMN) Foreign Minister of The Republic of Armenia Vartan Oskanian thanked Sri Lanka for not supporting the non-binding resolution “on the situation in occupied territories of Azerbaijan”. Oskanian in a letter to Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said. “I write to thank you for not supporting the non-buinding resolution” on the situation in occupied territories of Azerbaijan” passed the UN General Assembly with 39 votes last week. more..

Chanaka Amaratunga and the 13th Amendment

Apr 19 (PISL) Had he lived, Chanaka Amaratunga would have been 50 on the 19th of April. He died a few months after his 38th birthday, in a state of some disappointment, having been denied in 2004 the nomination to Parliament that the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress had promised. The failure to stick to his promise was one of the shadows that hung over Mr Ashraff and, though he achieved significant status for his Muslim Congress in his lifetime, more..