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CAFFE reports 21 poll incidents in East

Apr 23 (LD) A local election monitor has reported receiving 21 complaints of incidents of poll-related violence in the run up to the Eastern Provincial Council election. Among them are four killings, seven assaults and eight incidents of intimidation, attorney Shiral Laktilake of the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE) told the media in Colombo yesterday (Apr. 22nd). more..

The Regime is only feeding the people with lies and camouflages

Apr 23 (LG) Ravi Karunanayake, UNP parliamentarian speaking to the Media on today (22 Apr) said the whole objective of this Govt. is to perpetuate itself in power feeding the people with lies, deceits, camouflages and suppression of the truth. Ministers like Fowzie and Bandula Gunawardena are exceptionally qualified to bolster this aim of the Govt. while more..

NWPC councilor resigns following death threats

Apr 23 (LD) K. Radhakrishnan, a SLMC councilor in the Northwestern Provincial Council, has resigned following death threats reportedly from a group having links to the government. Mr. Radhakrishnan has tendered his letter of resignation to Chairman of the NWPC Dharmasiri Dassanayake, who has accepted it and referred it to the Commissioner of Elections. Earlier, three of the five SLMC councilors in the provincial council crossed over to the opposition. more..

Ratnapura facing chickungunya outbreak

Apr 23 (LD) The Heath Ministry has reported a rapid outbreak of chikungunya in the Ratnapura District. The Ministry says that a large number of suspected patients found from Eheliyagoda, Kuruwita and Kiriella have admitted to the Eheliyagoda Hospital. Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has instructed his Deputy Director General (Public Health), Palitha Mahipala to investigate the matter and submit a report. more..

Sri Lanka rejects Vaiko’s call for ceasefire

Apr 23 (LD) A call by a South Indian politician for a 60-day ceasefire between the Sri Lankan troops and the LTTE is intended to allow the Tigers obtain fresh arms supplies, Colombo has claimed. According to ‘Divaina’ newspaper, the Sri Lankan government has intimated this to the Central Indian government yesterday. MDMK party leader Vaiko has told Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee that the people in the island’s Northern Province were starving and more..

EU decides to proscribe Internet use by terrorist organisations including LTTE

Apr 23 (GDI) European Union, at a conference attended by Justice and Interior Affairs Ministers has agreed to proscribe the use of Internet by terrorist and armed outfits in the world, including the LTTE. The decision was reached at a conference attended by Justice and Interior Affairs Ministers. It is not a secret that terrorist organisations were raising funds and carrying out their propaganda through the internet. The meeting was held in Luxembourg. more..

Discussions underway to change university education system

Apr 23 (GDI) Discussions are underway between a team of educationists led by the Minister of Higher Education Professor Wiswa Warnapala and a group of World Bank educationists headed by Benoit Millot on bringing in changes to the present university educational system. According to the Ministry of Higher Education the meeting is scheduled for 3 pm at the Higher Education Ministry. more..

Job market widens in Bahrain for Sri Lankans

Apr 23 (GDI) Bahrain's Labour Minister Dr.Majeed Bin Mohideen Al Alavi,who is visiting Sri Lanka will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Sri Lanka's Minister of Foreign Employment and Welfare Keheliya Rambukwella today (23) which will result in an expansion of job opportunities for Sri Lankans in Bahrain. Bahrain's delegation met President Mahinda Rajapakse and Mr. Rambukwella at Temple Trees yesterday. more..

'Ceylon Tea' to be showcased at 14th ATM in Dubai

Apr 23 (GDI) Sri Lanka will participate at the 14th annual Arabian Travel Market (ATM 2008) which will be held at the International Exhibition and Convention Centre. Tourism delegates headed by the Deputy Minister of Sri Lanka Tourism, Faiszer Musthapha, will set off for Dubai on May 6th. Sri Lanka Tourism attending the event for the fifth consecutive year, will participate in the meetings, seminars, press conferences and making use of social networking opportunities along with key market players from six continents. more..

Sinhala and Tamil New Year a spectacular cultural showcase - Canadian PM

Apr 23 (GDI) Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a special message on the occasion of Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations organised by the Sri Lanka-Canada Association in Ottawa recently commended its efforts in fostering unity within the community. The Canadian Prime Minister lauded the Association for organising this special celebration and for its unwavering commitment to fostering unity among and within the communities. more..

'Eastern goals a reality only under President`s leadership'

Apr 23 (LNP) Housing and Common Amenities Minister Ferial Ashraff said that the people in the Eastern Province can achieve their goals only under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Government. She said for the first time after one and half decades people in the Eastern Province were preparing for a Provincial Council election. Ashraff commended President Rajapaksa for liberating the Eastern Province from LTTE terrorists and restoring democracy in the province. more..

CAA takes 65 errant rice traders to Court in Sri Lanka

Apr 23 (LNP) The Consumer Affairs Authority has filed action against 65 traders, both wholesale and retail, for hoarding and selling rice above the controlled price, CAA Chairman Rumy Marzook said yesterday. The errant traders were nabbed in all parts of the country in raids conducted during the past three days. Eighty price control inspectors were involved in the raids with the assistance of area police, Marzook said. more..

Price control: Is the govt. buckling under pressure?

Apr 23 (LNP) That the government, in slapping a price control on rice, bit off more than it could chew is now clear. It may have done so in good faith to deal with profiteers fleecing the public. But, the government finds it difficult to administer that ad hoc remedy. There are signs of its capitulation to millers and wholesalers who are behaving like the proverbial vagabond who deceived a stingy old lady into granting ingredients for a soup on a winter night. more..

Govt. misusing state property: PAFFREL

Apr 23 (SAMN) A leading elections monitoring body alleged Tuesday that the government was misusing state property for elections campaigning, as violence related to the upcoming Eastern polls began to see a steady rise. Peoples’ Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) identified an influential presidential advisor as being involved in the activities, saying he had used a state vehicle to transport Buddhist monks for an election rally. more..

ACF will seek justice from world court

Apr 23 (SAMN) The French humanitarian organisation Action Contre La-Faim (ACF) or Action Against Hunger Tuesday reiterated its commitment to seek justice for its 17 local staff brutally killed in Mutur in 2006 despite the decision to withdraw from Sri Lanka. ACF media officer Lucile Grosjean said the Paris based organisation had lost confidence in the Sri Lankan judicial system regarding the conduct of the Muttur case and more..

Training to curb bio-smuggling

Apr 23 (SAMN) The Customs Department has introduced a special training programme for investigators attached to its Bio Diversity Unit, to upgrade their knowledge of genetic smuggling. The intention is to curb such crimes in the future. This programme was introduced after a local higher academic recently attempted to smuggle plant genes out of the country. The attempt was foiled when it was detected by the airport authorities. more..

CEB to probe excessive advertising

Apr 23 (SAMN) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has appointed a committee to look into minimising future expenditure incurred in excessive advertising, a CEB spokesman said. He was responding to allegations made by Citirights, an organization which looks into the interest of small investors and minority stakeholders, about excessive advertising by CEB published in state run newspapers. more..

No rise in milk powder prices

Apr 23 (DN) The Government will not permit an increase in the price of a 400g milk pack, Trade, Marketing Development, Co-operatives and Consumer Services Minister Bandula Gunawardana declared yesterday. He said this decision was taken due to several reasons such as the stabilisation of the rupee, a drop in the price of milk powder in the world market and the Government's successful distribution of three special milk powder packs at concessionary rates through the Co-operative sector. more..

Copper valued at over Rs. 20 m confiscated

Apr 23 (DN) Close on the heals of detecting a container load of cattle hide at the Colombo Port on Tuesday, Customs sleuths bared yet another fraud at the same venue by confiscating a load of copper worth over Rs.20 million ready to be smuggled out of the country. Deputy Director of Customs L. M. Nelson told the Daily News that the load ready to be smuggled out of the country on the pretext of exporting copper bars recognised as a value added product was seized by officers yesterday. more..

Paddy farmers getting a raw deal

Apr 23 (Island) Although the Paddy Marketing Board had set a floor price of Rs. 22 per Kilogramme of paddy, middlemen and millers offered Rs. 25 for Samba, leaving the farmer with only a marginal profit, Wijedasa (45), a farmer from Medirigiriya, told The Island in a telephone interview yesterday. He said that even if the middlemen and millers purchased paddy at 30 rupees per kilogramme they could sell rice at 65 rupees without incurring any loss. more..

Jeyaraj missed close associate’s 600-guest 50th birthday bash

Apr 23 (Island) Despite the April 6 assassination of Highways and Road Development Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, a mega-bridge building project launched by the assassinated Gampaha District strongman is on track. Highways Minister T. B. Ekanayaka is overseeing Fernandoplle’s work in an acting capacity. Believed to be the largest single bridge building project undertaken in Sri Lanka, the scheme is funded under a credit package from the British Government through more..

Goons loot Madhu shrine area

Apr 23 (DM) The Catholic Church said yesterday that some goons had got into the shrine area in looted it. It said the church was helpless with the ongoing hostilities around the Madhu Shrine area, Former Madhu Church administrator, Fr. J. B. Devarajah, who participated in the prayer service and the peaceful march in Fatima Church Maradana, yesterday, said some goons had entered the shrine area and taken some belongings of the church. more..

Sri Lanka has failed to protect all of its citizens

Apr 23 (NP) In the editorial Taking On The Tamil Tigers (April 15), the National Post praised the Canadian government for taking a tough position on the Tamil Tigers (LTTE). Unfortunately, while focusing solely on the actions of the LTTE, general news coverage of the conflict has neglected the recent and historical atrocities that the Sri Lankan government has committed against the minority Tamil population. more..

US wants free and fair polls in East Lanka

Apr 23 (PTI) The United States has asked Sri Lanka to ensure free and fair elections to the crucial Eastern Provincial Council next month as government liberalised the dates for postal voting for larger participation of voters. The US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Don Camp met Sri Lankan leaders and lauded measures to end child soldiers recruitment. more..

Sri Lanka ethical trade deal at risk

Apr 23 (FT) Accusations of human rights abuses by Sri Lanka’s government against ethnic Tamil separatists are jeopardising a special European Union ethical trade deal that has helped its garment industry survive competition from China. Sri Lankan ministers and clothing industry executives have been trying to persuade Brussels not to withdraw duty-free access to the EU market, a privilege that comes up for renewal this year. more..

TN Assembly passes resolution to resolve ethnic crisis in Sri Lanka

Apr 23 (CO) The Tamil Nadu Assembly today passed a resolution urging the Centre to initiate steps for restoration of talks to find a political solution to the ethnic crisis in Sri Lanka, after the Congress and PMK, constituents of the DMK-led DPA, locked horns over the issue. The resolution, moved by Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, also urged the Centre to take steps to bring the two warring factions in Sri Lanka to the negotiating table to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. more..

52 rebels, 15 soldiers killed in fierce battle in northern Sri Lanka

Apr 23 (AP) Tamil rebels and government troops waged a fierce battle along the front lines in northern Sri Lanka early Wednesday, killing 52 guerrillas and 15 soldiers in the deadliest clash between the warring sides this year, the military said. Other clashes Tuesday killed 10 Tamil Tiger rebels and one soldier, the military said. Wednesday's battle broke out about 5:30 a.m. when rebel forces overran the front lines in the Muhamalai area of the Jaffna peninsula, more..

The Church demonstrates and prays for the protection of the shrine of Madhu

Apr 24 (AN) At Fatima Church in Maradana, Colombo, a long period of prayer was held yesterday followed by a demonstration to ask for both of the parties in conflict to restore safety around the shrine of Our Lady of Madhu, so that the statue of Mary, venerated all over the country, can be brought back. "We don't want war anymore, and we are asking for a political solution for peace", Fr Rohan Silva (OMI), coordinator of the event and director of the centre for society and religion, explains to AsiaNews. more..

How does one BECOME Sinhalese or Tamil in Sentiment?

Apr 24 (GV) My interpretation of the present impasse in the politics of Sri Lanka, determined as it is by the competitive jostling-cum-conflicts between the three main ethnic groups (where “Muslim” is ‘ethnic’ by virtue of its relationship of opposition to “Sinhalese” and “Tamil” in the same sentence), leans towards an emphasis on how one should address present circumstances. Though I am a historian, I believe that delving into ancient history is of limited value for any exercise in rapprochement. more..

Paddy at Rs. 20 and Rice at Rs. 60 - What is the mystery?

Apr 24 (GV) It is hardly a secret that the rapidly increasing price of rice has now become an unbearable burden for the masses, with both Colombo and its immediate suburbs and even paddy cultivating areas displaying this trend. Many people feel the Government has hitherto been unable to arrest this trend, due to the political patronage enjoyed by these mill owners who are able to increase the price of rice arbitrarily. more..

Danish diplomats meet Mano Ganesan

Apr 24 (LD) Danish Foreign Minister’s representative and human rights ambassador Hans Grunnet and deputy head of mission of the Danish Embassy Danny Annan met Western People’s Front Leader and Civil Monitoring Committee Convener Mano Ganesan yesterday (22nd April). Mr. Ganeshan’s Office said in a statement that discussions centered on the prevailing human rights and political conditions in the country. more..

TN CM flays Lankan Tamil groups for fighting among themselves

Apr 24 (CO) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today slammed infighting among Sri Lankan Tamil groups, saying they were more "determined in eliminating each other only" than "showing interest in asserting the rights of Tamils" in the island nation. Coming down heavily against the infighting among the armed Tamil groups in Sri Lanka, Karunanidhi, without naming them, said their violent approach "weakened the Tamils cause" as they were more "determined in eliminating each other only." more..

An open appeal: Mano Ganeshan must be fair

Apr 24 (LG) In the climate of fear and threats facing Tamil politicians, Western Province People's Front (WPPF) leader, Mano Ganeshan, plays a difficult role to expose the human rights violations by the government and its agents. His critical comments have been widely published and he has been found to be one of the rare outspoken politicians to stand up and raise issues (though limited) in a public way. more..

Congratulations, You’re Excellency!

Apr 24 (LG) Congratulations Brave Heart! On the war front you are doing a great job at slaughtering the enemy. Your kill rate will leave George Bush green with envy. Leave no stone unturned in achieving your objectives because ‘the end justifies the means.’ Sacrificing young blood by the thousands — both Sinhala and Tamil — is only a small price to pay for the attainment of peace. more..

Spelling errors land Sri Lankan refugee into trouble

Apr 24 (LG) Twenty-four-year-old Shivanandam Tisen, a war refugee from Sri Lanka, got a fake passport and visa, which had spellings different from the way the French Consulate spells English words, leading the Mumbai police to cross verify and arrest the man. He had the perfect plan to get out of the country except for a few spelling errors. And it were those additional 'R's and 'N's that led to his arrest. more..

American Soul And Hip Hop Tour Sri Lanka

Apr 24 (AT) The American Embassy in Colombo and Jazz at Lincoln Center present American soul and hip hop artists "The Maya Azucena Band at two great shows titled The Rhythm Road in Sri Lanka. Performance dates are Monday, April 28th at 6:00pm at the Galle Town Hall in Galle, and Wednesday, April 30th at 6:30pm at the New Town Hall in Colombo 7. Entrance to both shows is totally free! Passes for the Colombo show can be picked up at the American Center, more..

Lal Kantha - The brain child of UNP media front

Apr 24 (LR) Once UNP lost the presidential election in November 2005, they realized that they are no longer going to win the heart of people over UPFA government under Mahinda Rajapaksa. In 2005, Mahinda Rajapaksa won the election without any support from his own party leader Chandrika Kumaratunga or his deputy nominee from his party Anura Bandaranayke. When key members form Mahinda Rajapaksa’s own party was secretly campaigning against him, it was JHU and JVP that come to support him. more..

English as a Life Skill

Apr 24 (MN) MISGUIDED BY anti-English zealotry for over half a century, the Sri Lankans have now finally realised what they had been missing, the opportunity to bring in business to their shores through the use of that very language. Their reaction was typical. When a colonial power grants its colony political freedom, the subject country over-reacts to everything colonial and gets rid of its last vestiges, lock, stock and barrel. more..

Sri Lankans celebrate Sinhala Tamil New Year in solidarity in Toronto

Apr 24 (CDTCA) History has shown, time and again, that though forces of fanaticism, intolerance and extremism may dominate in the short run, ultimately it’s moderation, reasonableness, and sobriety that prevails. Because human beings – no matter what their backgrounds are – are innately fair-minded, decent and reasonable. Human beings are also pragmatic and rational. No matter what horrendous atrocities are committed – ultimately sanity will prevail. more..

The eldest brother ready to pocket Rs. 519 million too

Apr 24 (LeN) The Minister of Ports and Aviation Chamal Rajapakse, who inherits the 'Mahinda Chinthanaya' from family, seeks cabinet approval tomorrow (24) evening to pocket Rs. 518.9 million from a tender to purchase 15 rubber tired gantry cranes for Sri Lanka Ports Authority. There were serious doubts over the deal from the moment the approval was obtained for the cabinet paper in this regard. more..

Over 200 slain in Sri Lanka's bloodiest battle in 18 months

Apr 24 (AFP) Tamil rebels killed at least 100 Sri Lankan soldiers in the nation's bloodiest battle in 18 months on Wednesday, the separatists said, as the military claimed more than 100 rebels died in the fighting. The Tamil Tigers claimed they killed more than 100 government troops and had recovered 30 of the bodies, which will be returned to the families. The rebels said they lost 16 of their fighters. more..

Sri Lankan New Year calls for precision timing

Apr 24 (TMG) For those of you who can remember seeing out the Old Year and welcoming in 2008 at Hogmanay, you will probably recall nothing but booze-drenched chaos. In Sri Lanka it is very different. Aurudu or New Year is celebrated when the sun leaves Pisces, the last Zodiac sign in its cycle. This year it fell on 13th April. It is an important time for Sri Lankans when everything must be done correctly to ensure good fortune for the year ahead. more..

Arms cache found in Colombo

Apr 24 (LT) A large haul of C-4 explosives, claymore bombs, weapons and hand grenades has been unearthed from a tiger terrorists’ safe house in Colombo. A special police team raided the house at Kathiresan Street in Pettah in Colombo yesterday on information received from several tiger terrorist suspects in custody and found the cache cleverly camouflaged in a pit. Police believe the explosives and arms may have been hidden by tiger terrorists to carry out major attacks in Colombo, more..

Behaviour of in Sri Lanka Parliamentarians

Apr 24 (LG) Recently the Speaker said that the people should elect suitable representatives to Parliament. He said this, because of the problems he is confronted with certain Members of Parliament in respect of discipline during proceedings. But it is the responsibility of all political parties to screen and select responsible and educated persons to represent the party at the elections in the various electorates. more..

Iran to Train Sri Lankan Intelligence & Army Officers

Apr 24 (LG) President Mahmud Ahmadinejad of Iran is to visit Sri Lanka for two days from April 28,2008, in response to an invitation from President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had visited Iran in November,2007. His engagements will include the inauguration of the construction of the Iranian-funded (US $ 450 million) Uma Oya hydroelectricity project at Wellawaya in the Monaragala district. When completed, the project is expected to produce 100 megawatts of electricity. more..

UPFA will record landslide victory: Azwer

Apr 24 (MG) The UPFA will record a landslide victory at the May 10 Provincial Council polls in the East, President's Advisor and former Muslim Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs Minister A.H.M. Azwer said yesterday. He said a large number of prominent personalities who worked tirelessly for Sri Lanka Muslim Congress have joined the Government to back UPFA candidates. This situation arose following the visit of Senior Presidential Advisor and Parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa to the East, he said. more..

Saudi Prince keen on investing in Lankan hotel industry

Apr 24 (MG) Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of Kingdom Holding Company, said he was interested in investing in Sri Lanka's hotel industry. Receiving the new Sri Lankan Ambassador Abdul Ageed Mohamed Marleen at his office in Riyadh last week, the Prince also said he was ready to accept an invitation from the Sri Lankan Government to visit the island at a convenient date. more..

SLMC believes Govt. behind police raid on "Darussalam"

Apr 24 (MG) The Police Crimes Division yesterday afternoon raided the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress headquarters, Darussalam, at Vauxhall Lane but later apologised saying it had been case of mistaken identity. However, the SLMC’s senior deputy leader Mr. Farook Majeed was not convinced. He expressed concern over the raid saying he believed that the government was behind the raid in an attempt to cause embarrassment to the party and its leadership in the run up to the Eastern Provincial Council polls. more..

'Govt. won’t allow IIGEP to follow conspiring mandate'

Apr 24 (LD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa told International Independent Group of Eminent Persons Chairman P.N. Bhagwati that the government would not tolerate any attempt by the IIGEP to overstep its mandate and follow a conspiring mandate. The president has also said that the IIGEP had no right to accuse the government of being politically-uninterested in probing human rights violations. more..

2 Ex-top army officers barred from army camps

Apr 24 (LD) Two former top Army officers - Major General Janaka Perera and Colonel Jayavi Fernando have been barred from entering all army camps in the country with immediate effect, reports say. Officers in charge of military camps and bases countrywide have been instructed not to allow the two officers to enter their premises and not to give them any details on ongoing military missions. Any officer who defies these orders will face serious disciplinary charges, more..