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Wimal: A Govt.puppet says JVP

Apr 21 (DM) JVP frontliner, Vijitha Herath yesterday charged that the dissident Parliamentary Group Leader, Wimal Weerawansa wanted to carry out the government agenda within the party and wanted to make the JVP a puppet of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime. After the Mahinda Rajapaksa government declined the 20 conditions offered in 2006 by the JVP to support the government and ditched the party by forming the cabinet with the UNP dissidents, the JVP wanted to form a ‘National Front’. more..

The Media’s responsibility in securing it’s own freedom

Apr 21 (GV) Despite my horror for cynicism, I find myself defeated into just that. While I would like to confine my ranting to discourses with my imaginary friend, reading Ruki’s post From the Tiger’s Den to an Open Prison and the comments made to it just tipped the scale on sanity. So I decided to put it out there in the hope that it will comfort the ailing and ail the comfortable. more..

Airport misery for new recruits

Apr 21 (GT) SOME companies continue to flout Labour Department diktats by failing to pick up their newly-recruited employees from the airport on time, it is learnt. Workers who arrive at the Doha airport are often received by the representatives of their employers and transported to their accommodation but there have been cases where the new arrivals have to wait for over 12 hours before they are taken to their camps. more..

Security threats increase need to transfer Naufer

Apr 21 (DM) Prison officials are considering transferring injured underworld leader Mohammed Naufer alias Potta Naufer to the Welikada Prison hospital owing to security threats at the National Hospital where he is warded currently. “We are awaiting hospital authorities’ permission to discharge the convicted underworld leader and to immediately ward him at the Prison Hospital,” Prisons Chief, Major General (Retd) Vajira Wijegunawardena said more..

Sri Lanka agriculture, construction workers earn less, services do better

Apr 21 (LBO) Sri Lankan agriculture and construction workers saw their earnings eroded by high inflation in 2007 for the second year running while public sector workers and the service sector saw real increases, the central bank said. " . . . as experienced in the previous year, both the agriculture and construction sector employees suffered losses in their real wages in 2007 as compared with the previous year," the bank said in its annual report. more..

Lessons for Sri Lanka as top economists says future prices show no 'shortage' of rice

Apr 21 (LBO) An examination of futures prices show that there is no 'shortage' of rice, but government meddling in rice production and marketing is causing other negative fallouts, a top economist has said. Steve Hanke, from the University of Baltimore in the United States, says the term structure of Thai rice which is showing an upward sloping curve shows that there is no 'shortage' of rice. more..

India aiding English-language teaching in Sri Lanka

Apr 21 (NIP) India has begun aiding English-language teaching in Sri Lanka in a major way to enable young Sri Lankans get jobs in the corporate sector, especially in the burgeoning services businesses where English-language skills are a key requirement. The “English as a Life Skill” programme, started by the Mahinda Rajapaksa government, aims to train at least 50,000 persons between the ages of 18 and 24 in the use of the language with assistance from more..

India dragging its feet on selling rice to Sri Lanka

Apr 21 (NIP) India is said to be dragging its feet on an urgent request from the Sri Lankan government for supply of 100,000 tons of rice. Days after the request was made through official channels, New Delhi is yet to respond, trade sources told this website’s newspaper. A leading rice trader in Sri Lanka said the External Affairs and Commerce ministries, and even the Prime Minister’s Office are involved in the decision-making process as India itself faces soaring inflation, more..

LTTE and army blame each in the murder of another priest

Apr 21 (AN) The murder of Fr M. X. Karunaratnam, a Catholic priest, was widely condemned by all major groups in the country, including human rights groups. Father Karunaratnam was driving back to his parish of Vannivi’laangku’lam after celebrating Mass at Maangku’lam Church when he was killed around 12.30 pm in a road-side bombing in Vanni, along the Mallaavi-Vavunikkulam Road. Army spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakara said that in the area there is a strong LTTE presence. more..

Caritas grieves murder of Catholic priest; renews calls for Australian engagement

Apr 21 (RW) Caritas Australia is calling on the international community, including the Australian Government, to assist the Sri Lankan Government in challenging the culture of impunity operating throughout Sri Lanka, after the death of Father MX Karunaratnam in a roadside bombing on Sunday. AP is reporting 'a roadside bomb set off by government soldiers in rebel-held territory in Sri Lanka has killed a Roman Catholic priest who was also a human rights activist'. more..

Jets destroy three Tamil Tiger boats in air strike

Apr 21 (AP) Sri Lankan fighter jets attacked the Tamil Tiger naval wing early Monday, destroying three rebel boats as fighting raged between the two sides in the country's civil war, the military said. Government troops also attacked a rebel base across the front lines in the Mannar region early Monday, killing seven rebels, Nanayakkara said. A day earlier, fighting left 33 combatants dead, the military said. more..

Sri Lanka seeks reprieve for banned sprinter

Apr 22 (AFP) Sri Lanka will ask the world athletics governing body to grant a reprieve to banned woman sprinter Jani Chaturangani de Silva, the sports minister said on Monday. "I have asked the lawyers to compile the facts related to Jani's ban so that I could make a request to the IAAF," Gamini Lokuge told AFP. Lokuge said he believed there had been technical flaws in the investigation against De Silva, more..

Hundreds expected to protest killings of journalists in Sri Lanka

Apr 22 (INE) human rights group is organizing a trip to New York in April to protest the recent killings of journalists in Sri Lanka. At least 1,000 people are expected to call for the investigation of the murders in front of the Sri Lankan mission to the United Nations on April 11. The largely student protest is organized by the Somerville-based chapter of Amnesty International in an effort to bring attention to an issue ignored by the American press, more..

Catholic priest killed returning from Sunday mass

Apr 22 (UCAN) A Jaffna diocese priest active in promoting human rights was killed on April 20 by a mine explosion on his way back to his church after offering Sunday Mass in a parish sub-station. Father Mariampillai Xavier Karunaratnam was driving the car and reportedly died instantly of head wounds in the explosion at 12:30 p.m. on the Mallavi-Vavunikulam Road, about 75 kilometers south of Jaffna. The jungle area, known as the Vanni, is under the control of the LTTE. more..

Madhu Matha 'transferred within'

Apr 22 (BBC) The Madhu Matha statue was removed from the Madhu church to Thevanpetti after carefully considering the security situation, Sri Lanka’s Catholic Church said. The General Secretary of Sri Lanka Catholic Bishops Association, Bishop Norbert Andradi, said the most sacred statue was transferred within the LTTE-held area, contrary to media reports suggesting otherwise. The statue of the virgin Mary was removed on 03 April from more..

JVP MP released on bail

Apr 22 (BBC) A wider conspiracy is underway to defeat JVP at the forthcoming local elections, a JVP parliamentarian said. Trincomalee district legislator Jayantha Wijesekara told journalists and supporters that the police was part of the conspiracy. He was speaking in front of Colombo magistrate court, after the court granted bail to the MP and two other JVP supporters arrested on suspicion of highjacking official vehicles of dissident JVP MPs. more..

Rice traders 'forced to sacrifice'

Apr 22 (BBC) Wholesale traders and rice mill owners are forced to sacrifice to meet the government-enforced price control for rice, a rice traders union said. Dudley Sirisena, president of All Ceylon Rice Mill Owners Association (ACRMOA), told BBC Sandeshaya that the traders are struggling to meet government demand. Nearly 150 traders who met Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardene on Monday have agreed to make rice available for the market. “I know some traders who have lost Rs. millions,” more..

Killing of Rev Fr. Karunaratnam – mystery deepens

Apr 22 (AT) Latest reports from Vanni revealed that Father M. X. Karunaratnam, the Chairman of the NorthEast Secretariat on Human Rights (NESOHR), was a victim to the claymore mine, laid by the LTTE. Reports further revealed that with the view to counter any sudden thrust by the Sri Lankan armed forces, LTTE has mined the entire Vanni region and due to human error their cadres detonates them at times, more..

Sri Lanka shippers mull better deal with demise of cartels

Apr 22 (LBO) A European Union directive to abolish shipping line 'conferences' or cartels by October should lead to more competition and enable shippers to get a better deal, Sri Lanka Shippers' Council officials said. SLSC president Ananda Wijayasuriya said lines will in future not be able to fix prices but negotiate contracts of carriage with individual shippers based on competition. more..

Sri Lankan Airlines and Mihin to be jointly run: officials

Apr 22 (LBO) Sri Lankan Airlines and Mihin Air would be commercially run together after new chief executives take-over but the two airlines would remain as separate entities, officials said. Mihin Air chief executive Sajin Vaas Gunawardena said Mihin's sole aircraft which is now on 'wet lease' would be converted to 'dry lease' and maintained by SriLankan Airline's technical facilities in the future. more..

NPC laments Rev Fr Karunaratnam assassination

Apr 22 (FI) The killing of Fr Karunaratnam adds to the heavy toll of humanitarian, human rights and religious workers killed in the course of the ethnic conflict. The National Peace Council condemns this targeted killing of a senior Catholic priest and human rights worker. In addition to his many contributions to society, Fr Karunaratnam helped to facilitate some of NPC'­s own peace programmes and study tours in the Wanni and Jaffna. more..

French aid group leaves Sri Lanka

Apr 22 (AP) International aid group Action Against Hunger has pulled out of Sri Lanka saying it has no trust in a government investigation into the massacre of 17 of its workers nearly two years ago, a spokeswoman said Monday. The withdrawal of the group was the latest blow to the government's probe of the killings and several other alleged human rights abuses during its war with Tamil rebels. more..

Why Priyanka must not pursue Rajiv's murder trial – II

Apr 22 (MN) RAJIV GANDHI was also hated by the kin of Indian peace keeping force (IPKF) soldiers, who were pushed into the obviously suicidal mission against the determined militia. There was no question of winning against a cadre that had nothing more to lose and was ready to bite a cyanide-capsule if caught. more..

Health Ministry is now a patient!

Apr 22 (LG) It is an acknowledged fact that, scarcely a day passes without the Media highlighting the corruption, inefficiency, lethargy, wastages and drug shortages afflicting the Health Ministry. Recently, even Doctors pinpointed that the intensive care units of the Hospitals are lacking facilities whereby the lives of patients are put in grave danger. Indeed, some are dying. They alleged. more..

Only UPFA Council could spur Eastern development - Hisbullah

Apr 22 (MG) Former SLMC strongman turned UPFA candidate for Batticaloa, M.L.A.M. Hisbullah said yesterday that only a UPFA led Council could sustain the momentum in the Eastern resurgence. While identifying the UPFA as the only party which could unite all communities under one banner, Hisbullah accused certain groups whom he claimed were engaged in fanning the flames of ethnic tension that could only drag the East back to a dark era. more..

Hakeem - Prabhakaran secret pact: Athaullah

Apr 22 (MG) Minister A.L.M. Athaullah has reportedly disclosed of a secret pact between Muslim Congress Leader Rauff Hakeem and tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran to re-merge the North and East, when he was addressing a propaganda rally in support of M.L.A.M. Hizbullah. The Minister pointed out that Rauff Hakeem is already drawing up plans in collaboration with the UNP for this purpose. more..

Conspiracy behind attacks! – JVP

Apr 22 (LT) There is a heinous conspiracy against the party behind the alleged attacks by thugs targeting the Parliamentarians and several of their supporters who claim to have left the party states the JVP in a statement issued by its Political Bureau. In its statement the JVP emphasizes that the party has no hand in the cowardly attacks and points out that those who are furious that the conspiracy to fracture the JVP had failed target those more..

TIC mourns the death of Rev. Fr. M X Karunaratnam

Apr 22 (LG) The Tamil Information Centre (TIC) is shocked and deeply distressed at the tragic death of Catholic priest Rev. Fr. M X Karunaratnam, the chair and founder member of the North East Secretariat on Human Rights (NESOHR). He was killed in a Claymore mine blast at Vanniviliankulam in Mullaitivu District on 20 April 2008 while travelling to attend the remembrance event of Tamil National Alliance’s more..

Killing of NESoHR Chairman condemned

Apr 22 (LD) Several countries and organizations have condemned the killing of human rights activist Rev. Fr. M.X. Karunaratnam in a claymore blast in Mullaitivu on April 20th. In a statement, the Royal Norwegian Embassy said the Chairman of the North East Secretariat on Human Rights (NESoHR) was killed by an explosive devise targeting his vehicle. “Norway condemns the killing which further adds to the already far too high civilian toll of the ongoing conflict,” it said. more..

JVP seeks British HC’s assistance to counter LTTE

Apr 22 (LD) Leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna Somawansa Amarasinghe has requested British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Dr. Peter Hayes to obtain the support of Britain and the European Union to counter activities of the LTTE. At a meeting with Dr. Hayes at the JVP headquarters in Pelawatte yesterday, the JVP leader has expressed his strong disapproval of separatism and said that his party policy was to name Sinhala, English and Tamil as national languages. more..

PA May Day rally in Dehiatthakandiya

Apr 22 (LD) The Peoples’ Alliance will now hold its May Day rally at the Mahaweli stadium in Dehiatthakandiya, its General Secretary D.M. Jayaratne has said. The PA had earlier decided on Ampara town as the venue for the occasion. Due to the prevailing security situation, the party’s May Day Organizing Committee also unanimously decided not to hold a processions this year, the minister told the media. more..

Govt. violating election regulations - UNP

Apr 22 (LD) Charging that the government is violating election regulations in its campaign for the forthcoming Eastern provincial Council election, the UNP has lodged six complaints with the Department of Elections. These complaints include the abduction of a person, use of state resources for election campaigning and intimidating government officials, reports from the UNP say. more..

Jayatha Wijesekera’s security slashed

Apr 22 (LD) The security of Trincomalee District JVP MP Jayantha Wijesekara, who was released yesterday (April 21st) after being involved in a vehicle robbery from the Parliament car park recently, has been slashed, reports say. In view of the possible threats he is exposed to in the Trincomalee district, Wijesekera was initially given a backup vehicle and eight police guards. more..

Rat fever claims 41 lives this year

Apr 22 (LD) Forty one lives were lost to rat fever or leptospirosis up to the third week of April this year. According to the Ministry of Health, only 34 deaths were reported for the whole of 2007. Paddy farming districts, notably from Colombo, Gampaha, Matara, Kegalle and Kalutara have reported the deadly disease, the Ministry’s chief epidemiologist Dr Nihal Abeysinghe told the media yesterday. more..

Dr. Jayalath Jayawardana denies meeting LTTErs in London

Apr 22 (AT) Dr. Jayalath Jayawardana, one of the leading UNP leader says that he was on a private tour to London and there he was met with both by his Sinhala as well as Tamil friends, who are Sri Lankans. According to his statement to Asian Tribune, “There has been a malicious attempt to label me as a LTTE spy and a link between the UNP and the LTTE since 1994, but all these attempts have failed." more..

Rs. 1,000 m to develop schools in East

Apr 22 (GDI) The World Bank has granted Rs. 1,000 to develop schools in the Eastern Province and accordingly speedy measures will be taken to fill Moulavi teacher vacancies in schools, Education Minister Susil Premajayantha said, addressing a meeting at Kaththankudy to discuss educational problems of Muslims in the Eastern Province. Minister Premajayantha said Moulavi teacher vacancies have not been filled for 16 years in the country and more..

Today is Earth Day

Apr 22 (GDI) Today (22nd) is Earth Day, especially set aside in the calendar to celebrate the bountiful offerings of the natural world, appreciate their worth and to inculcate in all human beings a sense of responsibility in all engagements which directly or indirectly impacts the delicate balance that enable the natural world to sustain itself. The Central Environment Authority is of the view that industriailisation and transportation has a direct bearing on the environment and more..

Batticaloa polling cards handed over to post offices

Apr 22 (GDI) The polling cards for the Batticoloa postal voting were handed over to the post offices yesterday (21st), according to Batticaloa Assistant Elections Commissioner Krishna Nandalingnam who also said that arrangements are in place to make them available to voters today (22). The distribution was carried out through 42 post offices without any hiccups thanks to the support of the security forces and the Police, he said. The process is due to be completed by May 2, he added. more..

'Murder of Fr. Karunaratnam bears hallmarks of LTTE brutality'- SL Army

Apr 22 (GDI) Sri Lanka Army yesterday in a press release stated that the murder of Rev Fr. Karunaratnam bears all the hallmarks of LTTE brutality. The Army while unequivocally condemning the murder of the Catholic priest stated that the assassination points to probable internecine feuds, and flatly rejects the LTTE's shrewd and baseless allegations leveled at the Army which has nothing to do with the killing of an innocent clergyman. more..

UNOCHA says it will not accomplish the aspirations of LTTE against Govt.

Apr 22 (GDI) The United Nation Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) has said that the organization is not associated with anti-Sri Lankan propaganda efforts of the LTTE terrorists. While denying the accusations that some of their representatives had connections with the LTTE and were working to discredit the image of the democratically elected Government of Sri Lanka, more..

Fishing restriction on East eased

Apr 22 (GDI) The Government has relaxed restrictions on fishing imposed along the Muttur and Kinniya coastal belt in the Trincomalee District, following a a discussion that Senior Advisor to the President and Parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa had with a delegation of the fishing community in Muttur during an inspection tour of the region on April 20. The Government had earlier imposed certain restrictions on fishing in this region for security reasons on the recommendation of the Navy. more..

No offensive in Madhu -- Army

Apr 22 (GDI) Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara stated that the offensives carried out by the security forces to liberate the Wanni did not include any operations in and around the Madhu area for they were very concerned about the safety of the shrine, revered by all Catholics and respected by people of all religious faith. The Catholic Bishop's Conference (CBC) in a press release has appealed to the LTTE to adhere strictly and more..

Endless misrepresentation, excessive racism

Apr 22 (PISL) The last few weeks have seen increasing efforts on the part of the LTTE and its surrogates to disrupt the steady progress of the Eastern Province towards peace and multi-party multi-ethnic democracy. Continuous complaints are made about the TMVP, one of the most remarkable examples in the world of a former terrorist group transformed into a democratic political force. Though anti-democratic NGOs wanted the local elections in Batticaloa District cancelled, more..

The tragedy of Tamil Civilians

Apr 22 (PISL) The Peace Secretariat regrets the death of Father M X Karunaratnam, in a roadside bomb attack on the road between Mankulam and Mallavi. The LTTE has blamed what they term a government Deep Penetration Unit for the attack, while the military claims it was the LTTE. Father Karunaratnam was head of what is termed the NorthEast Secretariat on Human Rights, and had been deeply critical of the LTTE as well as of the government, more..

Sri Lankan Troops capture LTTE s Lima Base-3

Apr 22 (LNP) Troops who launched a pre-down attack yesterday captured LTTE s stronghold Lima Base-3 located east of Kattankulam in Mannar. Seven LTTE terrorists were killed while more others received injuries in to this surprise attack launched around 4.35 a.m. A stretch of about 1,300 meters also came under troops control as the LTTE terrorists fled the area in the face of heavy firepower launched by the advancing troops, Army sources said. more..

Hard Talk and not so soft options

Apr 22 (LNP) Is Prabhakaran a man sans gratitude? He celebrates his birthday every year on a grand scale calling it Mahaveer Day and confers honours on his combatants, propagandists and well wishers posthumously. Those men and women may have died for his movement but their contribution to his cause pales into insignificance in comparison with that of a group of persons he has failed to honour all these years despite their vigorous campaigning to take him off the hook whenever he gets into trouble. more..

Rice crisis: Rise to the challenge!

Apr 22 (LNP) The present government is known for thinking after leaping. Having plunged feet first into controlling rice prices without prior preparation, it is now struggling t o remain afloat in a mire of its making. Price control, as we argued the other day, should be a temporary measure and a lot of planning should go into it before its implementation. For, the kneejerk reaction of traders is to hide stocks thus paving the way for a black market and landing consumers in deeper trouble. more..

Rice stocks sold out in Pettah

Apr 22 (SAMN) Wholesale trade of rice in Pettah market is likely to come to a standstill today as stocks were sold out by Monday evening. All the stocks the wholesale traders had were sold out at government controlled price by Monday evening, Old Moor Street Rice Traders Association Chairman K. Palaniyandi said, adding that mill owners will now have to provide them rice at government controlled prices, if wholesalers are to replenish their stocks. more..

Mixture of unitary and federal state

Apr 22 (SAMN) All Party Representative Committee (APRC) Chairman Tissa Vitarana said Monday the committee would propose a mixture of changes to the Constitution including unitary and federal characteristics. Minister Vitarana said parties involved in the talks had reached consensus on 90 per cent of the proposals and added that the final report resolving disagreements would be submitted to President Mahinda Rajapaksa soon. more..

Global warming affecting Sri Lanka

Apr 22 (SAMN) Industrialisation and transportation in Sri Lanka is having a direct bearing on global warming, says the Central Environmental Authority. CEA Director Anil Suneetha said, some of the consequences of global warming in Sri Lanka had been the destruction of crops, especially the paddy crop following unusually heavy rains experienced in the Polonnaruwa district. more..