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India to offer health, vocational training facilities

Apr 19 (DN) India has extended assistance to uplift health and vocational facilities in Sri Lanka. Two Memoranda of Understanding were signed on April 16 by High Commissioner of India Alok Prasad and Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundera, a Finance and Planning Ministry release said. The first MoU pertains to construction of a 150-bedded district general hospital at Dickoya, Hatton. The Government of Sri Lankan has provided three acres. more..

Financial help for scribes to follow training courses

Apr 19 (DN) The Media and Information Ministry has arranged to provide journalists with financial assistance to follow training courses to help them develop their professional skills. This programme is implemented for the second time on the direction of Media and Information Minister Anura Priyadarshna Yapa in terms of the Mahinda Chinthana, said Media and Information Ministry Secretary A. Dissanayake. more..

JVP home and home battle shifts to PCs

Apr 19 (Island) The damaging battle between the Somawansa and Weerawansa factions is likely to spread to JVP groups in the provinces with both parties vigorously seeking the support of Provincial Councillors. The Weerawansa faction has already received the support of E. W. S. Priyanjith Vitharana, Sabaragamuwa PC member and the leader of the Ratnapura District JVP Councillors. more..

GMOA dismisses Minister’s statement on vacancies for doctors

Apr 19 (Island) Responding to a recent statement, by Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, that there won’t be vacancies in Sri Lanka for doctors who pass out of the Sri Lankan medical colleges, the Government Medical Officers Association, while dismissing it as a politically motivated statement, said yet it had drawn up plans to find employment for doctors in foreign countries. more..

Water VAT to wait

Apr 19 (DM) The Water Management Ministry and the National Water Supply and Drainage Board yesterday decided to suspend the proposed 15 percent VAT charge on water bills, NWSDB Secretary Asoka Peiris said. “We will remove this additional burden from the consumers and review several proposals before taking a decision,” Mr. Peiris told Daily Mirror. The 15 percent VAT which was to be charged from all consumers had been suspended and would not be included in the water bills for this month. more..

World peace award to Lankan schools

Apr 19 (DM) Two Sri Lankan schools will receive the Hiroshima Peace Award at a ceremony to be held at the Nobel Museum at Stockholm in Sweden today. The organizers of the event said the Principals of the Deraniyagala based Sinhala Kanishata Vidyalaya and the Kathireshan Tamil Maha Vidyalaya would accept the Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Prize for Peace and Culture for 2008. The two Principals accompanied by a 15-year-old female pupil from each school will attend the award ceremony. more..

India to help build 150-bed hospital in Sri Lanka

Apr 19 (PTI) India will help construct a 150-bed hospital in Sri Lanka and provide vocational training to the people in rural areas of the island nation under the two agreements signed here between the neighbouring countries. The Sri Lankan government has provided three acres of land for construction of the district general hospital at Dickoya in Hatton in the Central Province. more..

Sri Lanka says 29 killed in fighting

Apr 19 (AFP) At least 28 Tamil Tiger rebels and one soldier have been killed in artillery duels across Sri Lanka's war-ravaged north, the defence ministry said on Saturday. Security forces killed 25 members of the LTTE in Mannar district while three others were killed in nearby Weli Oya district on Friday, the ministry said. It said one soldier was killed in clashes in Weli Oya. more..

Impose sanctions on Sri Lanka, report urges

Apr 19 (NP) Canada should impose sanctions on Sri Lanka in response to the country's deteriorating human rights record, says a report that was to be released at a Conservative party fundraiser last night. The report, written by a group of Ontario lawyers and Canadians of Sri Lankan origin, says the rule of law is collapsing in the war-torn South Asian nation, where there have been rising government-backed killings and abductions. more..

EU pressuring Sri Lanka to relent on campaign against LTTE

Apr 19 (NIP) Sri Lanka’s ongoing military campaign against the LTTE faces stronger objections from the European Union (EU), rather than India, though both are being heavily lobbied by elements sympathetic to the Tamil Tiger rebels, says a top official in the Sri Lankan foreign ministry. “India is too big a power to yield to pressures from a small terrorist group, but the European Union is seeing the Tamils as underdogs persecuted by the Sinhalese majority. more..

Light at the end of the transit tunnel

Apr 20 (CI) There is no doubt that Sri Lanka's recent one-day form is a source of concern. We have grown accustomed during the past decade to being a competitive international team, but since the World Cup last year the winning habit has proved frustratingly elusive with 12 defeats in 20 results. However, any concern must be tinged with a clear understanding that we are a team in transition. more..

Ajith Cabraal in HARDtalk

Apr 20 (BBC) In a HARDtalk interview first shown on 16th April 2008, Stephen Sackur spoke to the Governor of Sir Lanka's Central Bank, Ajith Cabraal. Earlier this year the Sri Lankan government formally withdrew from the long ignored ceasefire agreement with the Tamil Tigers. The Colombo government believes it can win a conclusive victory over the rebels and maintain Sri Lanka's economic growth. Ajith Cabraal is the governor of Sri Lanka's central bank. more..

ADB funds reconstruction of bridges in Jaffna

Apr 20 (TN) Asian Development Bank (ADB) has allocated Rs.325m to reconstruct Ponnaalai Bridge that connects Kaarainakar in the islets and Jaffna peninsula, and initial reconstruction work is already in progress, Jaffna Government Agent (GA), K. Ganesh said. ADB has also consented to fund building the Vallai Bridge between Vadamaraadchi and Jaffna that had been destroyed in Sri Lanka Army (SLA) offensive, Jaffna Secretariat sources said. more..

SLA suspends KKS-Trincomalee passenger ship service

Apr 20 (TN) Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Palaali Military High Command has allegedly issued a directive informing the public that the passenger ship service between Kaangkeasanthurai (KKS) and Trincomalee will be suspended from Sunday until further notice, informed sources in Jaffna said. The military cited security situation as the reason for the suspension. However, Jaffna Government Agent (GA) K. Ganesh has not issued any formal statements regarding this matter until Saturday night, more..

Agreement reached on power plant site

Apr 20 (Hindu) India has finally agreed to locate the 500 MW coal-based thermal plant of the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) in Sampur town in Trincomalee district. The town was wrested by the Sri Lanka military from the LTTE in September 2006. According to reliable sources, the decision was conveyed by New Delhi to the Mahinda Rajapaksa government. Though India and Sri Lanka signed an agreement in December 2006, there was no unanimity between the two sides on the exact location of the plant. more..

Folk poetry and modern sensibility

Apr 20 (LG) The topic I have selected may seem rather paradoxical. How could folk poetry which expresses a traditional ‘peasant sensibility’ be used to express a modern sensibility; convey thoughts and emotions of a modern society which is far removed form the traditional peasant society. But if we examine the works of our modern poets in Sri Lanka, and their attempt to express a modern sensibility, this apparent paradoxical nature turns out to be rather baseless. more..

Rape, crime and violence

Apr 20 (LG) Rape, crime and violence have reached alarming proportions in our country recently. It seems as if not a day passes without some horrific murder or rape taking place. What are we as citizens doing about it? I think the time has come, for all religious leaders to appear together on the electronic media and make an appeal on this. It seems to me that this has happened with a decrease in spirituality and in religious values. more..


Apr 20 (LG) The JVP is no stranger to schisms. Its first internal upheaval preceded its first insurgency. The JVP has a higher membership turnover rate than either the UNP or the SLFP. Though quite a few of its more prominent dissidents tried to chart an independent path none succeeded; the ones who made good did so only after they recreated themselves and joined the SLFP or the UNP. The latest implosion is likely to take a similar trajectory. more..

He rose to great heights, but never lost touch with reality

Apr 20 (LG) After watching the nail-biting first one- day international between Sri Lanka and West Indies, when the Windies hurricane struck the day- lights out of the Lankans, Air Vice Marshal Harry Gunathilake succumbed to a heart attack and passed away peacefully. An officer and gentleman, Harry worked and served for the right reasons. He led a humble life and lived by his principles until his last breath. more..

Let’s alleviate poverty the Bangladesh way

Apr 20 (LG) Poverty alleviation continues to be an acute problem in Sri Lanka, despite the efforts of the government and private organisations over the years. The micro-management of finances is one approach that has been adopted to tackle this problem. However, this approach has not yielded the desired results. It is now five months since Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh visited Sri Lanka and delivered two important speeches on poverty alleviation. more..

SriLankan and Mihin: No urge to merge says Vaas

Apr 20 (LB) Just weeks after the government took over SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering provided thousands of free meals to mourners at Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle’s wake, authoritative sources said. Fernandopulle was once a Minister of Civil Aviation in Chandrika Kumaratunga’s Government and had strongly opposed the Emirates deal. “Sri-Lankan staff appreciated the stance taken by Minister Fernandopulle at the time and felt that they should provide these meals,” more..

LTTE targets Anuruddha, 6 others

Apr 20 (LB) Sleuths of the Terrorist Investigation Division probing the discovery of a haul of explosives in the Ambakote area of Digana, Kandy, in the course of interrogating a group of LTTE cadres unearthed a Tiger conspiracy to assassinate Ministers D. M. Jayaratne, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Keheliya Rambukwella, Former Defence Deputy Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte and the former Nuwara Eliya Police Special Investigation Bureau Officers in Charge H.M.S.Bowela and Fonseka. more..

MILL MAFIA the real story behind the rice price?

Apr 20 (LB) JVP MP S.K.Subasinghe blamed the Government for creating a substantial distortion in the paddy and rice markets in Sri Lanka. He said “We saw this crisis two years ago and proposed that the Government introduces a proper machinery to give a reasonable price for paddy and a reasonable price for rice in order to save both the farmer and consumers. But today only the Rice Mill Mafia is benefiting from the Government’s decision”. more..

Sambhur hunting thriving in Nuwara Eliya

Apr 20 (LB) Amidst the merry- making during the annual holiday season in Nuwara Eliya, sambhur hunting is thriving in the areas in and around Nuwara Eliya and worse still, the Sitha Eliya agricultural farm run by the Ministry of the Agriculture is the latest killing field for sambhur. A team of Wildlife officers nabbed three security guards of the farm red handed while in the act with 75 kilograms of sambhur meat in the premises of the seedling nursery of the Seetha Eliya Farm on April 10. more..

Nivard gets foxed by straight talk

Apr 20 (SL) Barely two weeks after International Trade Minister and UNP renegade, National List MP G.L. Peiris returned to the country after a failed mission in Brussels to secure the GSP Plus facility, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Ajith Nivard Cabraal was to tell the BBC that the GSP+ facility was not really necessary. He not only dismissed the concessions as disposable but also said he had personally advised the government the concessions were not essential to the garment industry. more..

Mission accomplished

Apr 20 (SL) The time to celebrate the complete annihilation of the LTTE by the killing of its last 3,000 LTTE cadres in 2008 has come... and gone... sans the fanfare one would expect in the era of the Chinthana administration’s Toppigala tamasha at Independence Square in July 2007. Last Friday, April 18, the total number of Tamil Tigers killed in 2008 — as per the statistics provided by the Defence Ministry — reached 3,000. more..

Loss making Railway donating rail tracks

Apr 20 (SL) Transport Minister Dulles Alahapperuma and his Railway officials have taken their own government by surprise. The Sri Lanka Railway as we all know has a huge debt burden besides being a loss making venture. Despite all that however, the Railway has resorted to acts of generosity in issuing iron rails free of charge even to private institutions. The free distribution, only allowed when gifting iron rails to the armed forces or more..

Economic Pitfalls

Apr 20 (AT) On April 11th the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) placed Sri Lanka amongst 37 countries categorised as ‘requiring external assistance’ due to ‘severe localised food insecurity’. Two days later, in his Sinhala and Tamil New Year message, President Mahinda Rajapakse heaped praise on his agricultural policy, painting a roseate hued word picture of a country headed towards a future of plenty and prosperity. more..

Why Jeyaraj Fernandopulle was assassinated? Reveals Pro-LTTE Weekly

Apr 20 (AT) Creating a niche in Sri Lanka’s politics by presenting himself as a leader of a minority community and mixing his religion , Roman Catholicism with politics with ambitions to become the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka as a close confidante of the President is one of the main reasons former Highways Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle was assassinated says, a pro-LTTE weekly printed in Canada and distributed all over Europe. more..

JVP Provincial councilors may support Wimal Weerawansa faction

Apr 20 (AT) JVP provincial Councilors say they will support Wimal Weerawansa faction if the JVP does not solve internal conflicts . Sending a three page letter to the General Secretary of the party Tylwin Silva , he said Wimal Weerawansa’s problem is not his own crisis. It is a long term internal conflict of the party, said Team leader of the Ratnapura District JVP Provincial Councilors E.W.S.Priyanjith Silva. more..

Where is Nalini’s daughter? Indian agencies clueless

Apr 20 (DNA) Indian intelligence agencies are clueless about the whereabouts of Megara, daughter of Nalini Sriharan basking in the limelight after her jailhouse tryst with Priyanka Vadra in March. “Megara is not in London. She has given us the slip. We are trying to zero in on her,” a senior Indian government official told DNA on condition of anonymity. Another official disclosed that Megara was sighted in Norway four months ago before the trail ran cold. more..

Anti-competitive Activities, the source of rice crisis

Apr 20 (GV) Rice, which is the staple food in Sri Lanka, has become the subject of a national issue today. Government appears to being in the dark as to how to tackle issues confronting rice in the context of a market economy. As it is well known, since independence, many successive governments through various public spending programmes, supported by foreign aid, developed the rice production sector with a vehement dedication with the aim of making Sri Lanka a rice self-sufficient country. more..

Why Priyanka’s Vellore visit is not personal

Apr 20 (IE) Rice, which is the staple food in Sri Lanka, has become the subject of a national issue today. Government appears to being in the dark as to how to tackle issues confronting rice in the context of a market economy. As it is well known, since independence, many successive governments through various public spending programmes, supported by foreign aid, developed the rice production sector with more..

Government launches English Language Skills initiative

Apr 20 (GDI) The Government launches a major initiative this week on the teaching of English in the country aimed at improving the skills of English teachers both in the private and public sectors, training in English for Business Outsourcing, the of use new methods of English language teaching through the electronic media, and opening access to a large numbers of persons in the low income categories to obtain a working knowledge of English. more..

LTTE surrendees to receive more foreign employment opportunities

Apr 20 (GDI) The Government has taken steps to broaden the process of providing vocational training to LTTE surrendees in the Northern and Eastern Districts which will assist in granting them more foreign employment opportunities. The accelerated programme will commence from the 1st of next month (May). Up to now over 60 LTTE cadres have surrendered to three rehabilitation centers set up by the security forces in Jaffna, Batticaloa, and Trincomalee. more..

JVP denies conflict with PNM

Apr 20 (LD) The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna has denied having any conflict with the Patriotic National Movement. The JVP's Chief Secretary Tilvyn Silva has said that the party still considered the PNM as an ally, adding that the two parties still worked closely at electoral and district levels. Only a few in the leadership are shaken because of Wimal Weerawansa, he said in an interview with the April 20th issue of 'Irida Lankadeepa.' more..

Secret deal between LTTE and Muslim Congress leader bared

Apr 20 (LNP) Minister A.L.M. Athaullah has disclosed of a secret pact between Muslim Congress Leader Rauff Hakeem and tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran to re-merge the North and East. The Minister pointed out that Rauff Hakeem is already drawing up plans in collaboration with the UNP for this purpose. He was addressing a propaganda rally in support of A.L.M. Hisbullah who is contesting the Provincial Council from the Freedom Alliance. more..

Sinhalese appointed Secretary of Education for East

Apr 20 (LNP) Condemning the hurried appointment of Uppul Weerawardene as the secretary of Ministry of Education in Eastern province, P.Ariyanarenthiran, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Member of Parliament told TamilNet t that the appointment is further evidence of the Government of Sri Lanka`s mission of continued Sinhalization of the east. Excerpts from the comments made by Mr.Ariyanarenthiran follow: more..

JVP confident of isolating Wimal before next Parliament sitting

Apr 20 (LNP) The JVP would go all out to isolate Wimal Weerawansa as the party felt there was no point in seeking a negotiated settlement to the crisis triggered by the high profile dissident, well informed party sources said. `We can t turn a blind eye to his private deal with the Rajapaksa administration, this source said. `They want to run the JVP by remote control through Weerawansa, We can t ignore the threat posed to the party by government strategists. more..

Bhathiya and Santhush to push milk drinking campaign

Apr 20 (LNP) The Ministry of Livestock Development and Fonterra Brands Lanka have joined forces to promote the consumption of dairy products through a national milk drinking campaign. The campaign will encourages people to drink at least two glasses of milk a day with a long-term strategy of improving the health and wellbeing of Lankans together with the added benefit of growing the country s dairy industry. more..

Rice crisis deepens

Apr 20 (SAMN) The rice crisis following government decision to impose a price ceiling intensified Saturday, with Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunawardena threatening to use the military to force open rice shops if the owners continued to down shutters. “If the shop owners continue to close shops and hide rice, I will use the Army to open shops and make rice available to the consumers by Monday,” the Minister warned. more..

Israel holds back arms supplies

Apr 20 (SAMN) Israel has informed Sri Lanka it is unlikely to sell arms to the country because of concerns over its connections to Iran and the fear of Israeli technology falling into enemy hands. The Israeli concerns were communicated to Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake during a recent visit where a special request was made for arms supplies to fight the LTTE threat. Diplomatic sources said the Israeli position was communicated to Wickremanayake by more..

IIGEP: Govt. ponders next move

Apr 20 (SAMN) The government is still undecided on whether to appoint a new International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) to observe the work of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) looking into 16 serious cases of human rights violations in the country. “We are still contemplating our next move. The IIGEP concept is owned by the Sri Lanka government and we have not decided yet on whether to reconstitute a new group,” more..

Kitulgoda showdown to intensify

Apr 20 (SAMN) The showdown between the opposition parties and the government over the appointment of Dhammika Kitulgoda as the Secretary General of Parliament shows signs of intensifying with both the UNP and the JVP vowing to compel President Mahinda Rajapaksa to withdraw his nominee. The UNP charged the President was trying to achieve his personal motives through the unconstitutional appointment and warned it would continue to fight against the appointment. more..

Govt does not take diktats from others - Leader of the House

Apr 20 (SO) The Government has refuted the accusations levelled by the International Independent Eminent Group of Persons (IIEGP) who has terminated their observations from the Presidential Commission of Inquiry. The IIEGP has claimed that they withdrew from the Commission ‘due to lack of political will on the part of the Government to support a search for truth’. more..

Flexibility and patience vital to solve national crisis

Apr 20 (SO) The Chairman of the All Party Representative Committee and Minister of Science and Technology Prof. Tissa Vitharana who announced the convening of the APRC meeting this week after a lapse of two months said that during his visit to Britain, the British and North Ireland experts who successfully dealt with the North Ireland crisis said that the Lankan national crisis should also be dealt with extreme patience and flexibility to reach an amicable settlement. more..

Rice prices will stabilise soon - Secretary

Apr 20 (SO) There is no scarcity of rice in Sri Lanka and with the completion of the harvest for the Maha season the prices will be stable, said Secretary, Ministry of Trade Marketing Development Co-operatives and Consumer Services, Dr. R.M.K. Ratnayake. He said the global food crisis is a short term problem and with the demand for food in the world the problem will be resolved soon because many countries have increased its production of food, making good use of the rain. more..

Exhibition and business forum to promote English teaching

Apr 20 (SO) An exhibition and business forum on English as a life skill will be held on April 23 at the Hotel Galadari, organized by the BOI and the Presidential Secretariat.The project is an initiative of the President and is implemented through a Special Presidential Task Force. The Forum and Exhibition is an integral part of this initiative, and is intended to bring together 11 leading English teaching institutes from more..

Mihin bankrupt!

Apr 20 (NS) The government-owned budget airline Mihin Lanka is in debt over its head to the tune of billions of rupees, prompting its controversial CEO Sajin Vaas Gunawardene to resign from his post with immediate effect last Friday. The Nation is in possession of documents disclosing grave financial chicanery by Mihin Lanka, which has gobbled up vast amounts of public funds. Mihin’s accumulated losses by August 2007, as per Bank of Ceylon’s Memorandum of October 26, 2007 to its Credit Committee, have been Rs. 796.8 million, more..

Battle of a different kind

Apr 20 (NS) Amidst all the festivities for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, and in the throes of an election campaign in the East, the government had a battle of a different kind on its collective hands these past few weeks-that of the rising cost of living that has been taking the gloss off its popularity in recent months. The latest ad hoc measure resorted to by the government, was to impose price control on rice- a step reminiscent of the Sirima Bandaranaike regime in the seventies when more..