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Senior Rupavahini producer flees country to save life

Apr 3 (LD) Fearing for the safety of his life, Waruna Lelwala, a Senior Programme Producer at state-owned Rupavahini Corporation has fled the country, reports said. Mr. Lelwala, one of the 21 SLRC employees blacklisted by the Criminal Investigation Department for investigation after the infamous Minister Mervyn Silva episode, left the country in the early hours of yesterday (Apr. 02nd). more..

Kitulgoda defends his appointment

Apr 3 (LD) Upon assumption of office yesterday, acting Secretary General of Parliament Mr. Dhammika Kithulgoda defending his appointment, said that it was legal. Speaking to the media, Mr. Kithugoda noted that he had earlier served in the same position on permanent basis for three years, and that he would not have accepted it had it been against the law. However, the 17th Amendment requires the Constitutional Council, which is yet to be appointed, to make the appointment of Secretary General of Parliament for a period of 14-days or longer. more..

Masses rally together to topple Rajapaksa brothers company - Ravi K.

Apr 3 (LD) Masses are rallying together with the United National Party to topple the company of Rajapaksa brothers that is burdening the public with a skyrocketing cost-of-living, party parliamentarian Mr. Ravi Karunanayake said. He was participating in an agitation in Kotte that was part of a campaign launched across the island, where pots and pans were smashed to protest against the present regime’s failure to curb high inflation. more..

'No more purchasing of rice for animal feed'

Apr 3 (GDI) Agriculture Minister Hemakumara Nanayakkara said yesterday (02) that several companies have purchased over 40,000 metric tons of rice to produce animal feed and that this had contributed to the overall shortage of rice in the local market. He added that the Government will not allow this practice to continue in the future, and assured the public that no room will be left for a rice shortage inthe local market during the forthcoming festive season. more..

Vigorous Campaign to deprive Sri Lanka of GSP+ benefits

Apr 3 (GDI) The government has been following closely developments during the last few weeks regarding the sustained and vigorous campaign here as well as abroad to deprive the country of GSP+ benefits and believes that the public is entitled to the fullest information about current developments in this regard, according to a Media Communique issued by the Department of Government Information. more..

"My Daughter, the Terrorist" justifies suicide bombers- Foreign Ministry

Apr 3 (GDI) The Sri Lanka embassy in Washington has urged the authorities of the State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to take appropriate measures in preventing screening of "My daughter the terrorist," a movie on LTTE suicide bombers scheduled to be shown at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Durham, North Carolina, on April 4, 2008, an official of the Foreign Ministry told more..

Govijana Udanaya expo from today

Apr 3 (GDI) Govijana Udanaya, an agricultural exhibition organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, will be held countrywide in line with the Government's "Api Wawamu Rata Nagamu" national food production drive. The first stage of this Govijana Udanaya agriculture exhibition will be held at St. Anthony's College, Baddegama, Galle from April 3 toApril 5, Agriculture Minister Hemakumara Nanayakkara said. more..

Only tie-up with Govt. can ensure security of Muslims -- Hisbullah

Apr 3 (GDI) SLMC strongman M.L.M. Hisbullah said that it was only by joining hands with the Government that the Muslims of the East could aspire to have a Chief Minister from the Muslim community. Hisbullah said a gathering of Muslim politicians, Ulamas (religious leaders), scholars and other eminent persons from the Muslim community had decided to contest the forthcoming Eastern Provincial Council election jointly with the UPFA to elect a Muslim Chief Minister for the Eastern Province, under the Betel Leaf symbol. more..

Action plan to reduce imports of food that can be grown locally

Apr 3 (GDI) An Action plan will be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Services to reduce the imports of food that can be grown locally such as potatoes, onions, maize and kurakkan. Accordingly steps will be taken to expand the area under the above mentioned crops by 50,000 hectares. The Government would also take steps to obtain currently fallow land in a number of districts and provide incentives to farmers to cultivate such lands. more..

Gemini labs refuses to hand back `Prabhakaran`

Apr 3 (LNP) Chennai`s Gemini Colour Laboratory refused to hand back the Sinhalese and Tamil language negatives robbed from the Director of the controversial film entitled Prabhakaran. Pro-LTTE political activists robbed the negatives of the full length feature film named after the LTTE leader Prabhakaran when the Director of the film Thushara Peiris was there at the Colour laboratories attending to the processing of the film. more..

Ranil has rented party symbol to turncoat SLMC leader Sirisena

Apr 3 (LNP) In the latest political fiasco, the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has rented out the party symbol elephant to a political turncoat SLMC leader Rauf Hakim to contest the Eastern Provincial Council after continuing to lose election after election from 1994, spokesman of UNP rebel group R.A.D.Sirisena told The Island yesterday (2). Wickremesinghe had entered into a political marriage with a person notorious for gaining his own ends by more..

Protests as a form of public entertainment

Apr 3 (LNP) The government and the Opposition may look, to an independent political observer, two canines we hope those lovely animals will forgive us for drawing that analogy snarling at each other over a bone. Two dogs at the same bone, they say, seldom agree. Hence, they are eternally at each other s jugular. At an election we throw a bone at them and they keep fighting, one trying to retain it and the other to grab it. more..

President directs full strength to East

Apr 3 (SAMN) With the Eastern Provincial Council Election campaign gathering momentum with the handing over of nominations today, President Rajapaksa has directed all ministers, members of parliament, chief ministers of provinces and provincial council members to go to the East and take charge of election work in the area. Three operations committees have also been appointed for the three districts. more..

Underweight child births on rise

Apr 3 (SAMN) Surveys reveal that malnutrition and underweight childbirths are increasing in rural areas chiefly due to underage marriage of girls, a Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry spokesman said. He said Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva revealed these findings recently and according to the findings most rural women get married early and have children as soon as they get married. more..

Rain water harvesting can reduce bills

Apr 3 (SAMN) Water is classified as one of the most basic human needs. Although it covers 2/3 of the earth’s surface giving the allusion that it is an infinite resource we are about to be proved wrong as the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) claims that they are unable to supply water 24 hours to urban areas due to the rapidly rising demand. “We are already suffering from a water shortage this year as it is difficult to accommodate the growing demand. more..

'UNP-SLMC decision: No impact on govt'

Apr 3 (SAMN) Agriculture Minister Hemakumara Nanayakkara yesterday said the decision taken by the SLMC to jointly contest with the UNP at the upcoming Eastern Provincial Council election will not have any impact on the Government. Whatever political group jointly contesting with the Government will definitely win the election, the Minister told a media briefing Wednesday. The Minister said "earlier the SLMC left the Government and sat in the Opposition. more..

Sri Lanka's triumphant government

Apr 3 (Economist) FOR a quarter of a century, Sri Lanka’s bloody ethnic conflict between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils has sputtered on, with periods of all-out war and low-intensity insurgency, ill-observed ceasefires and frequent terrorist atrocities. It had become conventional wisdom that there was no military solution. The government could not be ousted and the LTTE, which had brutally monopolised the Tamil struggle, could not be defeated. more..

Lankan book among Impac shortlist

Apr 3 (DN) The shortlist for the world's largest literary award, the International Impac Dublin prize, was announced yesterday with a selection of eight novels that further reinforce the prize's already strong international credentials. With only two of the shortlisted novels - Irish writer Patrick McCabe's psychological chiller, Winterwood, and Australian Gail Jones's technophile rhapsody, Dreams of Speaking - originating from the English-speaking world, more..

Moves to import milch cows from India

Apr 3 (DN) The Livestock Development Ministry on a proposal by the Livestock Development Board is planning to import 15,000 high-bred milch cows from several countries including India. The plan will be completed in five years. The Ministry has called for bids to import 1,599 cows under the plan's first phase. Under the proposed plan in addition to getting down quality milch cows, arangements are being made to subject these animals for breeding and upgrade farm facilities to suit such activities. more..

SPC PAC probes language teaching racket

Apr 3 (Island) The Southern Provincial Council’s Public Accounts Committee has commenced a high level probe into allegations that funds had been collected from parents on the pretext of teaching their children the Tamil, English and Japanese langauges. Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Provincial Council Member Nalin Hewage, has been inundated with complaints that funds have been collected from hundreds of parents that such classes would be conducted after school hours. more..

Open economy reason for high cost of living – Minister Sirisena

Apr 3 (Island) Dashing pots and pans on the ground against the rising cost of living by the United national Party (UNP) is ridiculous, as it is the UNP that discouraged local production by introducing the open economy, Agriculture Development and Irrigation Minister Maithripala Sirisena said at a seminar at Gannoruwa on Monday 31, to discuss the release of water for cultivation of paddy in the forthcoming Yala season. more..

JVP chooses its candidates

Apr 3 (DM) The JVP, which intends going it alone at the Eastern Provincial Council elections, has named Kantale Pradeshiya Sabha Member Wimal Piyatissa, a school teacher by profession, as its chief ministerial candidate. Party sources said Mr. Piyatissa would lead the party in the Trincomalee District and Mohamed Ibrahim in the Batticaloa District. The party’s Digamadulla district leader will be Krishantha Priyadarshana. more..

LTTE extorts money from businessmen: CCD

Apr 3 (DM) The LTTE had employed its cadres to give threatening calls to certain leading Colombo businessmen to extort money, Colombo Crime Division (CCD) officers informed the Colombo Chief Magistrate. The CCD report said the anonymous callers had asked the businessmen to provide accommodation to their operatives in their houses or to pay money to the LTTE. The callers had ordered the businessmen to deposit the money in bank accounts. more..

Sri Lankan refugee camps under police scanner

Apr 3 (Hindu) Sri Lankan refugee camps, particularly those in southern and central Tamil Nadu, are under the police scanner in view of United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s visit to Karaikudi on Saturday. She will participate in the inaugural function of an auditorium constructed by Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram for Alagappa University and attend a rally at Karaikudi. There are about 108 Sri Lankan refugee camps in the State. more..

Jayawardene eyes cleansweep

Apr 3 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, says his team will not sit back on its 1-0 lead and will aim for a 2-0 result when the Test series concludes in Port of Spain from Thursday. "It is important that we go for a win in the second Test," Jayawardene told AFP. "This is the way we play cricket. We want to win every match in which we play. This is the attitude with which we play whether we are playing at home or away." more..

A lasting peace settlement for Sri Lanka

Apr 3 (RSI) The LTTE, better known as the Tamil Tigers have been fighting for a homeland for ethnic minority Tamils in Sri Lanka since 1983. Over the years, the separatist conflict is reported to have killed about 70,000 people. A ceasefire that was brokered by Norway in 2002 formally ended in January this year. And the Tamil Tigers and government security forces have clashed several times, killing and wounding hundreds. more..

Elections Quicker Than Resettlement

Apr 3 (IPS) In the last one year Sri Lanka’s eastern Batticaloa district has seen two rounds of mass displacements as hundreds of thousands of people fled warfare between Tamil militants and the armed forces of the country. In late 2006 and early 2007, frightened civilians, mostly ethnic Tamils, fled their homes in areas held by the LTTE as the Sri Lankan army fought its way in to dislodge the militants. more..

India requested to allow rice exports to Sri Lanka

Apr 3 (IANS) Hit by soaring prices of rice, the Sri Lanka government has requested New Delhi to exempt the island nation from its recent curbs, including hike in rice export duties. 'President Mahinda Rajapaksa is directly speaking to the governments of India, Pakistan and Burma, with the aim of importing rice from these countries. We hope there would be a positive outcome,' Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Bandula Gunawardena told IANS Thursday. more..

LTTE accuses Army of initiating clashes

Apr 3 (PTI) Denying that it has deployed arms around the historic Madhu Church in north-western Mannar, the LTTE has accused the Sri Lankan Army of initiating clashes within the premises of the famous Christian place of worship. The Sri Lankan Army (SLA), it alleged, "makes false accusations" by reporting that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has deployed its guns near the 400-year-old church. more..

Sri Lanka military says kills 57 rebels in north

Apr 3 (Reuters) Sri Lankan troops killed 57 Tamil Tiger rebels in two days of fighting in the northern part of the island where the military has stepped up an offensive against guerrillas, the government said on Thursday. The LTTE, who are fighting for a separate homeland for minority Tamils, however, said they lost only one fighter, and instead said 25 soldiers were killed in the gunbattles that erupted along the northern frontlines. more..

Sri Lanka credit rating cut by Fitch

Apr 3 (BN) Sri Lanka's credit rating was cut by Fitch Ratings on concern the island's ability to repay debt may be affected by rising inflation, a large fiscal deficit and record oil prices. Sri Lanka's long-term foreign and local currency ratings were reduced by one level to B+, four levels below investment grade, from BB-. The cut puts Sri Lanka's credit rating on a par with Mongolia and Jamaica. The outlook for the rating is stable, Fitch said in its report published today. more..

Sri Lanka defends itself against warcrimes allegations

Apr 3 (AFP) Sri Lanka's government on Thursday defended itself against fresh allegations it was involved in a cover-up over the massacre of ethnic-Tamil employees of a French charity. The island's human rights minister, Mahinda Samarasinghe, said Colombo was determined to "show results" from its probe into the murders and a string of other cases, rejecting allegations the government wanted to bury the crimes. more..

Shelling exchange forces removal of Madhu statue

Apr 4 (LD) The Our Lady of Madhu statue has been removed to safety following heavy exchange of shelling between the security forces and the LTTE, area residents said. A team from the church, comprising seven clergy and eight laypersons, took the statute to Mulangavi in Kilinochchi, 35 kilometres away from Mannar this afternoon (Apr. 03rd). The church has now been completely deserted. more..

War Clouds in Sri Lanka

Apr 4 (WSN) The Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) sojourn in Sri Lanka from 1987 to 1990 is an unfortunate episode in the history of Sri Lanka. It was a sad tale of mismanagement by all concerned. The sensational revelation recently made by Major General Harkirat Singh, who was the first commander of the IPKF, has again evinced interest in this unique battle. In his book he has revealed that the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo, Mr. J. N. Dixit ordered him over the telephone to kill Prabaharan, the LTTE leader, when more..

Sri Lanka disputes Fitch's sovereign downgrade

Apr 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka has disputed a sovereign credit downgrade by one notch to 'B+' by Fitch ratings Thursday, saying it was based on the rating agency's pessimistic views and was not in line with economic fundamentals. "The downward revision of ratings is based on Fitch’s pessimistic views on the security situation, inflation and foreign currency borrowings," Sri Lanka's central bank said. more..

Emirates starts flying first class to Sri Lanka

Apr 4 (LBO) Emirates airlines said it had started first class services to Sri Lanka on selected flights after it started operating new Boeing 777 aircraft on the Dubai-Colombo run from March 31. On Mondays and Thursdays the airline will make available up to 14 first class seats. "The return of First Class services on Emirates flights departing Colombo after more than nine years would be welcomed by many of our frequent flyers," more..

MAS fabric park signs up renewable power

Apr 4 (LBO) Sri Lankan apparel exporter MAS Holdings has signed up with a hydro power firm to buy electricity for an eco-friendly plant in a bid to reduce fossil fuel based energy use, an official said. Under a five year deal, Nilwalabase Hydro Power Limited will supply between 2.5 to 4.0 million units of electricity to the MAS Fabric Park in Thulhiriya. MAS group is hoping to cut down on fossil fuel energy at its industrial park and more..

Summary of the Cabinet decisions

Apr 4 (GDI) Cabinet has granted approval to a memorandum submitted by the Minister of Land and Land Development, Jeevan Kumaranatunga to obtain the services of the private sector to survey land in the 'Bimsaviya Project' under the supervision of Surveyor General to expedite the process. These private surveyors will complement the work components performed by Govt. Surveyors. The Cabinet also granted approval to make payments based on rates submitted by those surveyors for surveying of each portion of land. more..

Birth of a Black Tiger

Apr 4 (LG) I had a rare opportunity to come to know closely of the details of a Black Tiger Thurairathinam Kalairaj (Ilam Puli), who became a Martyr, when the Anuradhapura Air Base was attacked by the LTTE. Ilama Puli was born on 13 October 1981 in a fishing village called Myliddy. His father was a prosperous fisherman, who owned a big motor boat. Ten people were employed by him and he led a very comfortable life having his own stone built house, a motor cycle and all the other paraphernalia that go with prosperity. more..

"Rice! No More Rise"

Apr 4 (LG) Agriculture Minister Hemakumara Nanayakkara said yesterday (02) that several companies have purchased over 40,000 metric tons of rice to produce animal feed and that this had contributed to the overall shortage of rice in the local market. He added that the Government will not allow this practice to continue in the future, and assured the public that no room will be left for a rice shortage inthe local market during the forthcoming festive season. more..

'Suppress press freedom is the best way to cover the truth'

Apr 4 (SLW) Government says that there is media freedom though there are some incidences for which the government is not responsible. Sri Nissanka of Lakbimanews reports "the Rajapaksa government is talking about untrammeled media freedom in the country. President Mahinda Rajapaksa speaking at the Ruhunu Artists Forum, said there is absolute media freedom in the country but that the government is not answerable for isolated incidents as and when they occur" more..

Top Buddhist monk shuns non-violence for quick end to war

Apr 4 (VoA) The leader of Sri Lanka's Buddhist monk political party is calling for a resolution to the country's 25-year war between government forces and Tamil militants. The monk, who heads a party in Sri Lanka's parliament, supports using the military to do it. Raymond Thibodeaux reports for VOA from the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo. Many have suffered in Sri Lanka's war, one of the world's longest-running, that has left 70,000 people dead and left nearly a half-million more homeless. more..

Naushad to take oaths on Apr. 08th

Apr 4 (LD) A.M.M. Naushad will take oaths as a member of parliament on April 08th to fill the post that fell vacant following the resignation of SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem from his parliamentary seat. Naushad is a son of M.I.M. Majid, former MP representing the Akkarapattu electorate in Ampara. Naushad told ‘Lanka Dissent’ that he would leave for Sammanturai soon after the swearing-in to join the campaign by the UNP and the SLMC for the May 10th polls for the Eastern Provincial Council. more..

Rauff Hakeem’s security fully withdrawn

Apr 4 (LD) The security provided to SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem has been completely withdrawn. However, he will be given security as a candidate at the eastern provincial council elections. The withdrawal of Hakeem’s security came in a motion filed by the Attorney General on behalf of the IGP and the Defence Secretary, in response to a fundamental rights petition by Hakeem, that was taken up today (Apr. 03rd). more..

Pots and pans smashed at Nugegoda to protest the curse of the 'Satake'

Apr 4 (LeN) UNP launched a protest campaign against the 'Satake Sapata' at 120 electorates since today (03). The protestors smashed pots and pans as a symbolic protest to the rising cost of living. The UNP says that the protest against corruption, terror and malpractices of the Rajapakse family will be continued until the government is sent home. The major campaign of the Colombo district was held near Nugegoda junction with the patronage of the MP Ravi Karunanayaka. more..

LTTE activists exploit First Amendment rights of U.S. Constitution to promote terrorism

Apr 4 (IL) When one pauses to consider, it is incredible how wily terrorists are able to exploit the freedoms granted by democracies, to citizens of the land. Take, for instance, the current situation in the U.S., where the LTTE, described by the FBI as being "among the most dangerous and deadly extremists in the world," is seeking refuge in the "freedom of expression" granted by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, to promote terrorism in the U.S. more..

Gerald Perera’s torture case: Assassins of torture victims are rewarded by court

Apr 4 (AHRC) Gerarld Perera was a torture victim recognized by the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. Attorney General filed action against 6 police officers for the torture of Gerald Perera. A week before Gerald Perera was to give evidence before court, he was assassinated while travelling by bus. The purpose of this assassination was to prevent Gerald Perera from giving evidence in court and identifying those who tortured him. more..

Arrest highlights vulnerability of journalists -NPC

Apr 4 (FI) The arrest and detention without charge of a senior journalist, Jayaprakash Tissainayagam for nearly a month is matter of grave concern that highlights the vulnerability of journalists to accusations of having links with the LTTE. The Supreme Court, which has granted him leave to proceed with a petition of fundamental rights violation, has declined an application for interim relief to release Mr Tissainayagam on any condition deemed fit after a confidential report was submitted to it by government lawyers. more..

Safegurad Madhu shrine from war -NPC

Apr 4 (FI) The ongoing military battles in the north are now threatening the security of one of the country’s most sacred religious sites, the Madhu shrine. For more than 400 years the shrine has served the spiritual needs of Sri Lankans from different communities and different parts of the country. For the past two decades the shrine area has also been host to tens of thousands of persons displaced from their homes due to conditions of war. more..

Ranjith Page clinches top award of 'Business Leader of the Year'

Apr 4 (CT) Ranjith Page, Chief Executive Officer at Cargills (Ceylon) Ltd was honoured with the ‘Business Leader of the Year’ (Large Scale Organisation) Gold Award at the glittering CIMA Janashakthi Pinnacle awards held at the Cinnamon Grand on Wednesday 02 April 2008. The most distinguished honour on offer, this national level award is held in high esteem by the business community and more..