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Power failure hits Katunayake Airport

Apr 24 (LD) The Katunayake Bandaranaike International Airport is facing a power failure since 2.00 am today (April 24th), reports reaching ‘Lanka Dissent’ said. Though a temporary supply sufficient to power the lights has been restored, air-conditioning and all computer systems are yet to return to operation, reports add. The cancellation of two SriLankan Airways flights to Mumbai and Trivandrum has severely inconvenienced some passengers. more..

Local media groups condemn threats to ‘Thinakural’

Apr 24 (LD) The Free Media Movement-led five local media rights organizations have condemned the reported threats and intimidations targeting Jaffna daily ‘Thinakural’ by the army-supported paramilitaries. A joint statement by them said they have focused their attention on continuous threats and intimidation by the army and the paramilitaries against media personnel and media institutions in Jaffna. more..

Bribery Commission faces severe backlog

Apr 24 (LD) The Bribery Commission is facing a severe backlog of more than 100 cases left for future course of action after investigation. No cases have been filed in court after February 19th when the commission’s Director General Piyasena Ranasinghe was transferred in an unexpected move. Officials of the commission point out that the acting Deputy Director General, who has no legal powers, oversees only the financial and administrative aspects. more..

Hakeem alleges massive misuse of state property

Apr 24 (LD) Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauff Hakeem is alleging a massive misuse of state property for campaigning at the Eastern Provincial Council polls. It has now become a common sight to see government ministers and MPs traveling in vehicles belonging to state corporations, departments and statutory boards on their campaign work, he said. more..

'Certain media distorted Jaffna clashes'

Apr 24 (LD) Defence Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella has charged that certain media has distorted details of the clashes between government troops and the LTTE in Muhamalai and Kilali in Jaffna. Neither the troops nor the government is facing a debacle as being claimed by these media, he told a news conference in Colombo today (Apr. 24th). Giving details of the battle that erupted on the night of April 22nd, Mr. Rambukwella said that 43 soldiers were killed and more..

Ex-army officer Janaka Perera is a civilian now - Keheliya

Apr 24 (LD) Defence Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella has made light of a government order that bars retired Major General Janaka Perera from Army camps, and said that the ex-military officer has become an outsider, a civilian, now. Mr. Rambukwella noted that even the commander of the army becomes an average citizen after retirement. When journalists pointed out that Maj. Gen. Perera had earlier been permitted access to Army camps, the Defence Spokesman said that it should have been a mistake on the part of respective heads of camps. more..

Tamils have opportunity to appoint a Tamil Chief Minister to East

Apr 24 (LNP) Tamileela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) political chief, Shivaneshdorai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan said that the Tamils in the East now have the opportunity to elect a Tamil Chief Minister to the Eastern Province. Speaking at an election rally held at Eravur in Batticaloa yesterday, Pillayan assured that no one would be able to stop this become a reality if the people in the East back his party at the upcoming Provincial Council elections. more..

Nine organisations support editors’ code

Apr 24 (SAMN) The Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) says that nine media associations in Sri Lanka have pledged their support for the revised Editors’ Code of Professional Practice that has also been adopted by the Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka. The editors’ code was revised in February this year by the Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka for the first time after it was unanimously approved by editors of national newspapers in 2001. more..

Govt incurs over Rs.350m loss due

Apr 24 (SAMN) The government incurs a direct loss of more than Rs.350 million a year and indirect losses valued 10 times more due to lightning, a top lightning expert said adding that 70 people were killed each year due to lightning in Sri Lanka.“Lightning kills many people every year and destroys a lot of equipment and machinery. This has posed a great problem for the government as each time lightning strikes it destroys valuable equipment and the government incurs a minimum loss of Rs. 30 million as a result,” more..

Bogollagama denies arms deal with India

Apr 24 (SAMN) The Government of Sri Lanka vehemently denied existence of a secret arms deal between Sri Lanka and India as claimed by MDMK chief Gopalswami (Vaiko) in Tamilnadu, according to Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. Bogollagama’s comments came at a media briefing held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday. “Vaiko’s sound has been heard for quite some time so his comments are not significant at this point of time,” more..

China to expand investments in Lanka

Apr 24 (SAMN) Since the Sri Lankan Government has been able to create a peaceful environment in the country, the Chinese Government has decided to expand its investments, said Vice Governor of Zhejiang Province Zhong Shan when he met Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka Wednesday. He also cited other fields such as tea industry and manufacture of canned fish which the Chinese Government wishes to promote. more..

FM calls for increased economic cooperation with Zhejiang

Apr 24 (LG) Foreign Minister, Rohitha Bogollagama has sought increased investment from, and enhanced market access for Sri Lankan exports to the Zhejiang Province in China. He made this call during a meeting with a high level delegation led by Mr. Zhong Shan, Vice Governor of the Zhejiang Province of China, which is currently visiting the island on an invitation of the Minister, made during the Minister’s visit to the Province in December 2007. more..

Abusing media freedom to promote terror and attack its opponents

Apr 24 (PISL) In the last couple of weeks I have been faced with two bizarre examples of what seems calculated falsehood in the cause of terror. Neither is direct, but both instances show how media freedom can be abused by the amoral, so as to suggest much more support than they really have for their insidious causes. The first instance arose with regard to the Conference on Peace and Reconciliation in South Asia organized in Oslo two weeks ago by more..

The hypocrisy and culpability of Action Against Hunger

Apr 24 (PISL) The Peace Secretariat is astonished at the effrontery of Action Against Hunger (ACF) which claims it has no trust in a government investigation into the massacre of 17 of its workers two years ago, and has therefore closed its Colombo office and left the country. The decision was taken to leave after questioning at the investigation made clear the manner in which the agency had forced its local staff, more..

Livelihood Assistance to Tsunami Affected Women

Apr 24 (PISL) A sum of Rs. 300, 000 (Three hundred thousand Rupees) granted by the Rotary Club of Windward Oahu (Hawaii) via the Rotary Club of Colombo North was distributed to 06 Tsunami affected women in Trincomalee through the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Trincomalee in the form of loans to develop their businesses. The Peace Secretariat (SCOPP) handed over the cheque for Rs 300,000 obtained from the Rotary Club of Colombo North to more..

The plodding nature of the International Eminent Persons

Apr 24 (PISL) The Peace Secretariat notes with sorrow the claims of the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) that ‘Colombo lacked the political will to investigate grave rights abuses.’ It was claimed also that the government was ‘blocking efforts to ensure minimum standards were maintained in probing serious abuses’ and that ‘the government's tone "was becoming increasingly disrespectful (of the experts)." more..

7th C'wealth Youth Ministers' Conference in Colombo

Apr 24 (DN) The Secretariat of the Commonwealth countries will hold its 7th Commonwealth Youth Ministers' conference in Sri Lanka. It will be held from April 27 to 30 at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo. This decision was taken at the 6th conference held at Bahamas Island in 2006 on a proposal by Land and Land Development Minister Jeevan Kumaranathunga, who represented Sri Lanka at the conference. more..

Dengue Control Week aims to combat killer disease

Apr 24 (DN) A Dengue Control Week will be implemented throughout the country from April 28 to May 3 jointly by the Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry and the National Dengue Control Unit. A series of programmes would be undertaken throughout this week to combat dengue and awareness programmes to educate the public especially schoolchildren on measures to prevent the spread of the disease would be a highlight among them, more..

Lalith Athulathmudali: A leader snuffed out in his prime

Apr 24 (DN) Lalith Athulathmudali, a smart and intelligent scholar, sportsman, academic, legal luminary and a very popular politician and parliamentarian, who like all the social revolutionists and talented leaders of the world, sad to mention, was cruelly assassinated and is no more with us. The politically unstable climate that prevailed in Sri Lanka during this very unfortunate period prompted, more..

President recalls all MPs for May 10 polls

Apr 24 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has recalled all Ministers, MPs and elected members who had gone overseas and directed them to remain in the country until the campaign for the May 10 Eastern Provincial Council polls was over, Presidential Secretariat sources said yesterday. This directive from the President went out with the campaign hotting up among the main parties in the Eastern Province. more..

Local farmers spend too much on cultivation - Ministry

Apr 24 (Island) Sri Lankan farmers spend much money on unnecessary inputs for agriculture when compared to their counterparts in the neighbouring India. This fact was revealed by a farmer who went to India on a study tour in 2005/2006 and it was quite true, Secretary Ministry of Agriculture T.M. Abeywickrama told the Island. He said the production costs of local farmers were much higher than that of the Indian farmers and it had resulted in higher prices for whatever more..

Woman gives birth to quadruplets

Apr 24 (DN) The Castle Street Hospital witnessed the birth of quadruplets for the second time in its history yesterday, when Damitha Nadishani (25) gave birth to four daughters. Her husband Nayanajith Mutukumara (31) is unemployed and works part time driving vans. The low income parents who hail from remote Navitigala in Wettawa near Matugama in the Kalutara district have another daughter aged five whose birthday is today. more..

Wimal’s fate decided at next CC meeting

Apr 24 (DM) The JVP will take an ex-parte decision on its Parliamentary Group leader Wimal Weerawansa and ten dissident group members at the next Central Committee (CC) meeting scheduled for this week, party strong man Parliamentarian K.D.Lalkantha said. He said they had clearly violated the party’s conventions, traditions and policies and did not respond to the charges levelled against them. more..

Sri Lanka regulator urges finance firms to monitor liquidity, risk

Apr 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's financial regulator Thursday told finance companies to carefully monitor liquidity and be more aware of risks to ensure they survive the current financial markets turmoil. This was because the collapse of one firm could have a domino effect on the whole system, Central Bank governor Ajit Nivard Cabraal warned. Sri Lankan companies cannot see themselves as being isolated or immune from the financial turmoil in the world markets today, more..

Lanka says it will push ahead with efforts to destroy LTTE

Apr 24 (AP) Sri Lanka's government said on Thursday it will push ahead with its efforts to destroy the Tamil Tiger rebel group this year despite a devastating battle that left at least 76 soldiers dead or missing. The military said it killed 100 guerrilla fighters and seized a small strip of territory in the battle on Wednesday along the front lines in the Jaffna peninsula. The rebels said they killed more than 100 troops and lost only 16 fighters. more..

Let's be clear --Tamil Tigers are the terrorists in Sri Lanka

Apr 24 (NP) Iread with both amusement and sadness the column by Manjula Selvarajah in yesterday's National Post ("Sri Lanka Has Failed to Protect All Of Its Citizens"). Ms. Selvarajah is a misguided Sri Lankan living in Canada. One cannot compare the democratically elected government of Sri Lanka to a ruthless terrorist organization such as the Tamil Tigers (LTTE), which has killed thousands of innocent Sri Lankan Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims, Malays and Burghers. more..

Lanka reacts defensively to TN assembly resolution

Apr 24 (NIP) Sri Lanka has reacted defensively to the Tamil Nadu assembly's resolution calling upon the Government of India to get the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE to abandon the path of war and begin talks to resolve the ethnic conflict in the island. "I do not wish to comment on the internal matters of a foreign government. But I would like to say that the Sri Lankan government has consistently worked towards finding a negotiated solution to the conflict in the island,” more..

Sri Lanka war set for long haul, analysts warn

Apr 24 (AFP) Sri Lanka's hopes of a quick victory over Tamil separatists looked shattered Thursday after Tamil rebels inflicted the heaviest losses on security forces since pulling out of a truce, analysts said. The military leadership began 2007 by withdrawing from the 2002 ceasefire and vowing to crush the LTTE in six months. But diplomats and analysts underlined that Wednesday's debacle in the north showed they seriously under-estimated the guerrillas, more..

Sri Lanka strikes back with air attacks as losses mount

Apr 24 (AFP) Sri Lanka carried out retaliatory air strikes against Tamil Tiger rebels Thursday, a day after intense artillery battles left hundreds killed or wounded, according to officials on both sides. Military jets pounded a suspected hideout of the LTTE in the coastal district of Mullaitivu where the guerrillas have their main military bases, the defence ministry said. more..

Media analysis and the chutzpah of the Sri Lankan government

Apr 25 (GV) The quality of chutzpah has been described vividly as a boy who murders his parents and pleads with the judge for clemency on the basis of being an orphan. In the BBC interview aired April 16, 2008, the arguments of Central Bank governor Nivard Cabraal aptly lived up to this vivid portrayal of chutzpah. To say that the Sri Lankan media analysis of this interview was mixed, is to put it mildly. “Nivard gets foxed by straight talk” announced the Sunday Leader on April 20. more..

Mongooses being used to sniff out buried explosives

Apr 25 (Mirror) Mongooses are being taken for walks through minefields by remote control robots - because they are brilliant at sniffing out buried explosives. Researchers in Sri Lanka have trained mongooses, who have an acute sense of smell, to stop stand up and sniff the air when they detect explosives. A small video camera on the robot is then used to film the area so the precise location of the mine can be marked. more..

Peace Promotion Tour to Japan

Apr 25 (PISL) Since the liberation of the Eastern Province from the clutches of terrorism in 2007, development activities sponsored by the Government of Sri Lanka have been implemented on a large scale across the Province. As part of the development process, there have been several activities and attempts to engage the youth of the Province in a range of ongoing work, thus enabling integration, building of ethnic harmony and economic development. more..

Discussions in The Netherlands on Democracy and Human Rights in Sri Lanka

Apr 25 (PISL) Several meetings with regard to democracy and human rights in Sri Lanka were held during the recent visit to the Netherlands of Secretary-General of the Peace Secretariat in Sri Lanka, Professor Rajiva Wijesinha. His main programme involved the 5th anniversary of the Dutch 3rd Chamber, an aid advisory group to which he had belonged in 2004. However the Sri Lankan Embassy in the Netherlands also arranged a series of briefing visits in The Hague on Friday April 18th. more..

ICG repatriates five Indian fishermen released by Lanka

Apr 25 (UNI) The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) today repatriated five Indian fishermen, arrested by the Sri Lankan authorities for trespassing into the Lankan territorial waters recently. A spokesperson of the ICG said the Indian fishermen, namely Franklin (owner of the country boat), Antony Rayappan (21), Kumar (18), Nagaraj (22) and Palsamy (25), hailing from Thangatchimadam coastal hamlet, had ventured into the sea for fishing in a country boat on April six. more..

Asoka de Silva promoted to Elite Panel

Apr 25 (CI) The Sri Lankan umpire Asoka de Silva and Steve Davis of Australia have been promoted to ICC's Elite Panel, following the body's decision to expand the pool from 10 to 12 umpires. de Silva, the former legspinner who played 10 Tests and 28 ODIs between 1985 and 1992, was one of eight full-time umpires selected for the ICC's Elite Panel when it was first introduced in 2002. more..

'Place Madhu Statue in cleared area'

Apr 25 (GDI) Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Felix Perera requested the leadership of the Catholic clergy to assist the endeavour to place the sacred statue of Our Lady of Madhu in an area controlled by the Government so that people of all communities could worship it freely without any security concerns. Minister Felix Perera in a statement issued yesterday (23) said the Madhu Church was a sacred area venerated by not only Catholics but all Sri Lankans from ancient times. more..

Sri Lanka strengthens ties with Members of European Parliament

Apr 25 (GDI) The Sri Lankan Embassy in Brussels has strengthened a programme to actively engage Members of the European Parliament (MEP) representing the Member States, as well as the respective European Political Groups, a media release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Accordingly Ambassidor Ravinatha Ariyasinghe held consultations with leading MEPs of the South Asia Delegation in the European Parliament, as well as MEPs who have shown interest in developments in Sri Lanka in recent times, more..

Film 'Prabhakaran' will be screened in Sri Lanka and Internationally

Apr 25 (GDI) The movie 'Prabhakaran' will be screened in Sri Lanka from the 25th of this month (April), Film Producer Saman Thanthirige told The producer has been able to make 16 copies of the film in Italy. The English subtitled version of the movie will also be screened internationally from the 27th of this month. The Director of the movie Thushara Peiris was assaulted by a group of pro- LTTE thugs when he was in Chennai to more..

CG calls for intervention to help Sri Lankan Tamils under LTTE threat

Apr 25 (LG) The Sri Lankan Consul General in Toronto, Bandula Jayasekera has sought the intervention of Canada’s Shadow Foreign Minister Robert (Bob) Keith Rae, to help Canadian Tamils of Sri Lankan origin in the Toronto area who are harassed and threatened by the LTTE and its sympathizers. He made this call during a meeting with the Opposition Liberal Party MP in Toronto last Monday, (21st April 2008). more..

Ranil discusses solutions to country’s economic distress with Singapore Finance Minister

Apr 25 (LG) Leader of Opposition, Ranil Wickremesinghe met Singapore Finance Minister Dharman Shanmugaratnam today (24 Apr). The lengthy discussion centred on the global food and economic crises. Views were exchanged as to how the countries in the region can move towards finding solutions. Specially, this discussion aimed at strengthening trade and economic ties among the countries, Singapore, India and Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka: On track to eliminate malaria

Apr 25 (IRIN) Sri Lanka, once among Asia’s worst affected nations for malaria, is now close to eliminating it. The sharp drop in the number of reported cases to 196 in 2007 - with no deaths - demonstrates that the national malaria control programme has been effective even in the traditionally disease-prone northern districts, portions of which are controlled by Tamil Tiger separatists. more..

Govt. trying to elect Indian stooge as East CM - JVP

Apr 25 (LD) JVP politburo member Anura Kumara Dissanayake has alleged that the government was plotting to ensure that an Indian stooge is appointed chief minister of the eastern province. “The people of the east will gain nothing by electing Pillayan who dances to the tune of India or Hakeem who had earlier signed pacts with the LTTE as chief minister,” he said. India has by now directly or indirectly taken hold of most of the land area in the province, more..

JVP & PNM leaders visit injured soldiers

Apr 25 (LD) Leaders of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and the Patriotic National Movement visited Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital this afternoon (Apr. 24th) and inquired into the wellbeing of the soldiers who were injured in the northern battlefront who are receiving treatment there. Ven. Dambara Amila Thera and popular singer Senanayake Weraliyadde of the PNM accompanied JVP MPs Vijitha Herath, Jayantha Wijesekara and Sunil Handunnetti in the visit. more..

LTTE hands over 28 SLA bodies to ICRC

Apr 25 (LD) LTTE's NGO and UN Liaison Officer, M. Pavarasan handed over 28 dead bodies of the Sri Lanka Army soldiers located by the Tigers in the Northern Fronts of Muhamalai and Kilaly to ICRC representative Franche Roy at Kilinochchi Central Playground at 12:45 pm today (April 24th), reports ‘Tamil Net’. Later, the ICRC handed over the bodies to the SLA at the Omanthai entry/exit point. more..

Toddlers not too young to start building ethnic, religious harmony

Apr 25 (UCAN) A priest in central Sri Lanka is working to build a "just society" by weaning children on ethnic and religious harmony from the time they learn to walk and talk. Oblate Father Kelum Niroshan Dias, assistant parish priest of St. Joseph Church in Medawachchiya village, has taken the popular pedagogical maxim of "catching them while they are young" to heart. He mixes children aged 3 to 5, irrespective of the religion, creed or color of their parents. more..

IIGEP episode, AG's department becoming prosecutor and defender at the same time

Apr 25 (AHRC) The hottest topic in Sri Lanka this week is the press statement given at a meeting by the International Independent Group of Imminent Persons (IIGEP), in which the chairperson, Justice P.N Bhagwati, a former chief justice of India, Sir Nigel Rodley, a reputed international lawyer, and Professor Yozo Yokota, a former member of the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (2000-2006), participated. more..

“We deal with the Government of India”

Apr 25 (Hindu) The Sri Lanka government chose not to comment on the resolution adopted by the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Wednesday urging the Centre to arrange for talks between the two “warring factions in Sri Lanka to establish peace.” An official of the Sri Lanka Foreign Office told The Hindu: “It is a resolution adopted by a provincial Assembly. We deal with the government of India. Sri Lanka has excellent relations with India and more..

Targeting the LTTE’s Global Network

Apr 25 (LG) A global onslaught against the international network of front organisations of the LTTE appears to be coinciding with the domestic reverses the rebels are suffering within Sri Lanka. Australia, the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, France and the United States (US), which account for the major chunk of the roughly 750,000 strong Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora, and from where the outfit accrues its greatest financial and propaganda support, more..

Police arrest 3 Sri Lankan Tamils at Chennai airport

Apr 25 (TOI) Three Sri Lankan nationals were arrested in Chennai airport on Wednesday on different charges. While one person was arrested for possession of a fake passport, the other two were caught trying to cheat immigration officials at the airport. Y Vasantharajan, 35, a native of Kozhikandi in Sri Lanka was intercepted by immigration officials as he was suspiciously moving around the check-in counter. more..

Sri Lankans hail pact

Apr 25 (GDI) SRI Lankans in Bahrain yesterday welcomed an international agreement which promises them a brighter future. The agreement was signed on Wednesday in Colombo by Sri Lanka Welfare Minister Keheliya Rambukwella and Bahrain's Labour Minister Dr Majid Al Alawi. It guarantees security and welfare of Sri Lankan expatriate workers in Bahrain and includes improving their service conditions. more..