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'People appreciative of Iran's noble gesture-Uma Oya reservior project and modern refinery'

Apr 30 (AT) Two gifts by Iran to Sri Lanka to build Uma Oya reseervior project and a modern oil refinery were the noblest of gifts we have received recently. Sri Lankans are visibly moved by this great gesture said President Mahinda Rajapaksa. A reservoir is the noblest gift one could give the Sri Lankan people. more..

Fresh influx of Sri Lankan refugees worries Indian officials

Apr 30 (IANS) An increased influx of Tamil refugees from across the Palk Straits following fresh violence in northern Sri Lanka is keeping officials in Tamil Nadu on tenterhooks. Official sources revealed Tuesday that 37 displaced people crossed the Palk Straits illegally without any identification papers claiming to be victims of the war between the Sri Lankan Army and Tamil militants seeking a separate homeland. more..

Sri Lanka’s security situation a barrier for bilateral trade

Apr 30 (AT) A high level seminar covering “Business Opportunities in the Emerging Economies n the EU” was held for the first time by the Sri Lanka – Poland Business Council, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in order to create greater awareness of the growing potential, existing for developing trade and investment between Sri Lanka and the emerging economies in the EU. The Seminar was held at Trans Asia Hotel. more..

LTTE to use May Day parade for propaganda

Apr 30 (AT) The Tamil Tigers continue their attempts to carry out propaganda in Europe despite the proscription as a terrorist organization. The latest attempt is to use the May Day rally for the publicity and fund raising for the LTTE. Seelan, head of the Tamil Coordinating Council in Paris, which is a front organization of the LTTE issued a statement urging the Tamils in France assist for the May day parade organized by the TCC. more..

Playing politics with the war

Apr 30 (ML) For President Rajapakse as the Chief Executive, Finance Minister and the Commander in Chief, last week was an unprecedented debacle in every sphere. Even as the government quickly extended an unofficial press censorship to hospitals and funeral parlours full with injured and dead, last Wednesday saw one of the bloodiest and most devastating clashes in recent years. more..

52,000 affected by floods

Apr 30 (ML) The floods and landslides have affected over 52,000 persons and caused the deaths of nine persons in two days. Assistant Director, National Disaster Management Relief Services Center, Jayantha Gunawardena told The Morning Leader that 37 camps have been set up for the displaced in the Ratnapura district to accommodate 613 families who have been temporarily displaced due to the floods and landslides. more..

President throws his lot in with Muslim World

Apr 30 (ML) President Mahinda Rajapakse came out strongly in support of Muslims of the world that they had suffered immensely from war with hundred thousand living in refugee camps due to the Israeli-Palestinian war and other conflicts in the world. The President was speaking on the flagging by the Iranian president of the Uma Oya Development Project and a modern oil refinery yesterday. more..

President Premadasa: A symbol of discipline and commitment

Apr 30 (ML) He was killed because he resisted the LTTE while supporting the rights of the Tamil people. He died defending his country and his people. That made his death a priceless sacrifice. The Hulftsdorf statue was commissioned at a time when the Opposition maligned him in a way no leader in this country was maligned. more..

Air travel discounts for public sector

Apr 30 (BL) In a move which analysts warn could have financial implications, the bleeding national carrier, SriLankan Airlines, fully managed by the government now has decided to give a massive discount of 25% on economy class air tickets and holiday packages to all public servants traveling in it. The government attributed the move as an effort to facilitate and encourage overseas leisure travel among Sri Lankan nationals working for the Government of Sri Lanka, and more..

Eastern polls race hots up

Apr 30 (BL) The build-up to the Eastern Province’s top slots heated up with almost all major political players crying foul over the actions of their enemies. Leading political parties including the United National Party and the JVP predicted the upcoming crucial week as very eventful and incident filled period. The country’s leading election monitoring body, PAFFREL also predicted trouble in the run up to the Eastern Province Provincial Council Elections, scheduled for May 10. more..

LTTE air wing is still intact

Apr 30 (BL) The LTTE has conducted its fifth air bombing of a Sri Lanka military installation, whereas,the Sri Lanka Air Force has been unable to, intercept the Tiger aircraft. On April 25th, two LTTE light aircraft of the type Zlin Z-143L, took off from Mullaitivu, around 1.25 a.m., in total darkness and flew at a low level. Meanwhile, an LTTE light helicopter took off from a location close to Iranamadu, to mislead the Air Force. more..

Rice, war and India’s Sri Lankan Policy

Apr 30 (BL) All of them are in the boiling pot. They are going to affect every Sri Lankan. Rice scarcity is the immediate problem. No government in the world has succeeded in containing prices of staple food commodities, by imposing maximum prices, without leaving a distribution system in place. The Srimavo Bandaranaike government of 1970s, had the backing of the cooperative system, which handled distribution. more..

Is India breaking its silence over Sri Lanka?

Apr 30 (IL) The blessings of the Indian central government coupled with the recent events in India and abroad have brought a sense of hope to Sri Lankans that India will finally break its 18 year silence on the Sri Lankan national question. Sri Lankans hope that the direct mediation of the Indian government will end the ethnic conflict and finally bring peace to Sri Lanka. Sri Lankans do not want any more bloodshed on the island. more..

Sri Lanka eases fishing bans to boost Tsunami-damaged industry

Apr 30 (BN) Sri Lanka eased fishing restrictions in the eastern region captured from the LTTE, as the rebels accused the military of targeting the industry to prevent it recovering from the 2004 tsunami disaster. The government last week extended fishing areas and the hours that boats can operate in Eastern Province, saying it will boost the industry that is worth $685 million annually. Almost half the 30,000 Sri Lankans killed by the tsunami lived in the Tamil-majority north and northeast of the island nation. more..

Morality, the arms trade and Sri Lanka

Apr 30 (LG) Funny things seem to happen in the international media. The BBC recently reported that a British NGO called Saferworld was deeply worried about the Government's purchase of 10,000 missiles from Slovakia. The Sri Lankan Army sometimes uses its weapons indiscriminately and civilians are occasionally caught up in the violence, it said. And the European Union has agreed a code of conduct that prohibits exports under such circumstances. more..

How many deaths will it take?

Apr 30 (LG) There can be little doubt that the bus bomb which killed 26 and injured many more at Piliyandala last Friday, as well as the earlier suicide attack at Weliweriya, were the work of the LTTE. Its leaders keep reminding us that their strategy of seeking a military solution backed up by acts of terrorism and war crimes remains unchanged. While it is true that Tamils in Sri Lanka have suffered injustice and violence at the hands of the state, this does not justify or excuse acts of terrorism aimed at civilians. more..

Cassim new SLMC leader in parliament

Apr 30 (MG) Digamadulla District Parliamentarian Faizal Cassim has been appointed as the new parliamentary group leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC). Leader of the SLMC Rauff Hakeem has intimated the appointment in writing to the acting Parliament Secretary General Dammika Kithulgoda. The SLMC parliamentary group leader post fell vacant after Mr. Hakeem resigned from the parliament in order to contest the Eastern Provincial council election

Sir Nigel Rodley Pronounces

Apr 30 (PISL) The Peace Secretariat is amused at the intemperate reaction of Sir Nigel Rodley, ‘an eminent person from Britain’ as he was described, to the revelation that the eminent Indian head of the IIGEP Justice P N Bhagwati has made it clear that he does not accuse the government of lacking political will with regard to the Commission of Inquiry into several cases concerning Human Rights. more..

PNM President questions Amila Thera's concerns

Apr 30 (LD) A person who failed to carry out his responsibilities and left the movement voluntarily has not right to question decisions of the Patriotic National Movement, President of the PNM Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera says. In a press release, the PNM President was responding to a letter sent by Ven. Dambara Amila Thera, who claims that he is a member of the PNM's Steering Committee. more..

Ranil takes ferry to Kinniya rally

Apr 30 (LD) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday (April 29th) took a ferry from Trincomalee to Kinniya to address an election rally, as the government refused to provide a helicopter for him for the journey. Considering the prevailing security situation of the country, the UNP had requested for a helicopter at the government charges, which had been rejected. more..

Wimal loses party membership if he forms new party - JVP

Apr 30 (LD) Nothing that the JVP would not mind Wimal Weerawansa's forming a new political party, its Secretary Tilvyn Silva has warned the dissident member that he would lose the party membership in accordance with its constitution, if he went ahead with the decision. Mr. Weerawansa is free to join forces with Nandana Gunatilake, Kamal Deshapriya (Kalutara Senevi) or any other person who "gasps for air in the midst of a difficult political journey," more..

Lanka supports Iran's peaceful use of nuclear energy

Apr 30 (LD) Sri Lanka has supported the peaceful use of nuclear energy by Iran, within the framework of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The two sides confirmed the full and non-discriminatory implementation of Article IV of the NPT on peaceful nuclear co-operation, a joint statement issued at the end of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Sri Lanka said. more..

New political alliance from JVP after May 01st

Apr 30 (LD) The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna is to embark on a new political journey after May 01st that is capable of taking the country in the correct direction, its Secretary Tilvyn Silva says. Speaking to the media in Colombo today, he accused the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime being intent only on remaining in power and not giving any regard to public welfare. The country cannot progress forward under president Rajapaksa, the JVP Secretary claimed. more..

Kudu Lal hurt in Dr. Mervyn in road mishap

Apr 30 (LNP) The speeding vehicle in which Deputy Minister Mervyn Silva was returning to Colombo from Plonnaruwa at 4.30 p.m. yesterday collided head on with another vehicle at Aralaganwila and one of the occupants in Silva s vehicle died. The deceased was Kelaniya Pradeshya Sabha Chairman Seevali Lankatillake. Underworld figure Kudu Lal, a close associate of the Deputy Minister, who was in the vehicle with him at time had sustained serious injuries. more..

High tech NIC coming soon

Apr 30 (SAMN) The Registration of Persons Department will introduce an advanced National Identity Card (NIC) by the end of this year. The advanced NIC will be computerised and valid for a period of 10 years. The minimum age to apply for a NIC has been brought down from 16 to 15. The computerised NIC will be issued in December 2008 or January 2009. The computerised NIC would be different to the present NIC as it will include the thumb impression, information in Sinhala, English and Tamil and special security features. more..

Ratnapura leads in child abuse cases

Apr 30 (SAMN) At least four cases of severe child abuse are reported every day, the highest number being from the Ratnapura District, Inspector of Police Manoj Kumara of the Women and Children’s Bureau said at a workshop held on Saturday (26). According to the latest statistics, the Kegalle District recorded the second highest number of child abuse cases and the Chilaw and Anuradhapura Districts were the third and fourth respectively, more..

Norwegian footballs detained by Customs

Apr 30 (SAMN) The Customs Department has detained 3,500 footballs sent by the Norwegian NGO "Right of Play", to its Sri Lankan arm, since it had failed to pay the required duties on the consignment, which the authorities have categorised as commercial items, but the recipient says is for distribution among sports clubs. Informed sources said the footballs, labelled as "Non Commercial", arrived at the Colombo Harbour in January this year. more..

Shortage of drugs for AIDS patients

Apr 30 (SAMN) A delay by a new supplier selected following instructions from the World Bank which is funding the National HIV/AIDS prevention project has resulted in a severe shortage of drugs meant for AIDS patients.However, the National HIV/AIDS programme is hopeful that the drugs could be given out to patients this week. The normal practice was for the project to buy the drugs and give it over to the National STD/AIDS control programme. more..

Circular Road to spur economic development

Apr 30 (DN) A proposed 57 kilometre Circular Road linking Sampur and Nilaweli is expected to propagate economic development in the area in addition to easing traffic in the Trincomalee city. Section 1 and 2 of the road with a distance of 9.8 km would be opened for in public from today. The construction of the Circular Road which links the proposed Export Promotion Zone in Trincomalee has been in operation since November 2006, more..

SriLankan pilots to get tax incentive

Apr 30 (DN) The Government has reduced the income tax rates on employment income of SriLankan pilots with immediate effect. Pilots will not be subject to pay a maximum of 20 per cent in the future for their employment income. The new amendment came as per the committee stage report of recent Income Tax (Amended) Bill. The tax proposal was not made under the budget proposal of 2008 and was not included in the Inland Revenue (Amendment) bill issued of January 28, 2008. more..

Abuse of power hampers progress - Sirisena

Apr 30 (Island) Despite the fact that power and position should be used for the betterment of society and the development of the country, certain officials hamper society’s progress by misusing their powers, SLFP General Secretary, Minister of Agriculture Development and Agrarian Services Maithripala Sirisena said at a seminar in Colombo yesterday to promote maize cultivation in Sri Lanka. more..

Prices drive consumer nuts

Apr 30 (Island) For want of an effective government mechanism to stabilize a volatile market by taking tangible action to meet shortages of essential commodities, the prices of essentials have gone up sharply. The high price of fresh coconuts is a case in point. Although the focus is on the rice market with the government fixing prices on four varieties of rice-samba, nadu, sudu kekulu and rathu kekulu in an unsuccessful bid to stabilise the market, the price of fresh coconuts remains high. more..

May Day celebrations for plantation workers

Apr 30 (DM) Plantation workers development society of the Southern Province Catholic Church has organized a celebration on May Day for the plantation workers of the Deniyaya area. It will be held on May 1 at 9.00 a.m. under the patronage of Rt. Rev. Dr. Harold Anthony Perera, Bishop of Galle, at Deniyaya M.M.V. This is also in commemoration of the second year of the “Navodya” Organization the development of the plantation workers by more..

Sinhala support for Govt.’s military campaign strong: PCI

Apr 30 (DM) The Sinhala support for the Government's military campaign continues to be strong whilst their support for peace talks has dropped to 16.6% according to the results of the March 2008 Peace Confidence Index survey (PCI). This survey is a repetitive public opinion poll begun in May 2001 and conducted by the Social Indicator at the Centre for Policy Alternatives. more..

Murali plans to teach magic to young spinners

Apr 30 (AFP) Record-breaking Sri Lankan bowler Muttiah Muralitharan said Wednesday he plans to team up with Indian counterpart Anil Kumble to coach spinners when he retires from international cricket. "I will do a little bit for the game, not for money but for enjoyment," Muralitharan told the Mumbai-based Daily News and Analysis newspaper. "I've already spoken to Anil and we will try and get together and do some coaching in the spin department. more..

New bout of jungle fighting kills 34 Tamil rebels, 1 soldier

Apr 30 (AP) Fighting between government forces and Tamil Tiger separatists across Sri Lanka's embattled north killed 34 rebels and one soldier, the military said Wednesday. In the latest fighting, the military said army troops pushed into rebel-held territory in the Mannar district early Wednesday, triggering a battle that killed 11 guerrillas. Soldiers backed by artillery and mortar fire advanced into the Tamil Tiger territory and attacked rebel positions in two villages, more..

Rajiv Gandhi assassination: What about MDMA, Rajnath asks UPA

Apr 30 (NIP) In a new twist to the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, BJP president Rajnath Singh on Tuesday accused the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government of sleeping over the functioning of the Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA), which was constituted to investigate and tie-up the loose ends in the assassination case. “Since the UPA Government came to power, not a word has been heard on the MDMA and its progress. more..

Nalini moves to High Court for early release

Apr 30 (MN) NALINI MURUGAN, one of the convicts in Rajive Gandhi assassination case, has moved to Madras High Court for early release. She was convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination plot and awarded death sentence, later commuted to life term on the intervention of UPA chief Sonia Gandhi, who is Rajiv’s widow. Her husband, Murugan, has also been awarded death sentence in this case, though his clemency petition is pending before the President. more..

Sri Lanka April inflation accelerates on food prices

Apr 30 (BN) Sri Lanka's inflation accelerated at the fastest pace in at least four years in April on higher food and energy costs, threatening economic growth. Consumer prices in the capital Colombo rose 25 percent from a year earlier, after increasing 23.8 percent in March, the statistics department said today. The median estimate of 10 analysts in a Bloomberg survey was for a gain of 25.1 percent. more..

Indian prisoners in Sri Lanka's jails appeal for relief

Apr 30 (IANS) Forty-three Indians languishing in Sri Lankan jails have approached an Indian human rights body to help them return to the country, but the Government can do little in the absence of a prisoner exchange treaty with the neighbouring country. They have been convicted under Sri Lankan laws for offences related to drug trafficking and some have spent more than 16 years in jails. more..

Bhagwati letter reveals rift in international panel on Sri Lanka

Apr 30 (NIP) The International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP), which has overseen the proceedings of a Sri Lankan Commission investigating 16 high-profile cases of human rights abuses, quit the country on Wednesday in disarray. Days before the panel’s abrupt end, IIGEP chairman, former Indian Chief Justice P N Bhagwati, broke away from the group and wrote a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, virtually negating the group's trenchant criticism of the Sri Lankan government and its Commission of Inquiry. more..