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'Muslim Congress MPs resigning their seats, sure indication of govt's success in liberating the East'

Apr 4 (AT) Basil Rajapakse, Member of Parliament said that Rauff Hakeem, Basheer Segu Dawood and Hassan Alili from the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress by resigning their parliamentary seats and coming forward to contest in the provincial Council elections has vindicated the position of the Government. He added, that shows that the liberation of the east is now working in the way government expected and democracy has dawned in the East. more..

Sri Lanka calls for better trade and market access to achieve UN's development goals

Apr 4 (AT) The 192-member General Assembly held a two day thematic debate on the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) -- focusing on its successes and failures. The meeting also consisted of panel discussions on poverty, hunger, education, and health-- four of the eight MDGs. Addressing the General Assembly, Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, more..

Dilshan and Silva spark recovery

Apr 4 (CI) The first day of the second Test at the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad, began and ended in similar fashion: with West Indies bowlers bowling a poor line and length and the Sri Lankan batsmen scoring at a fast clip. In between the two wayward periods, Fidel Edwards and Jerome Taylor bowled with hostility to take five quick wickets but a counterattacking partnership after tea between Tillakaratne Dilshan and Chamara Silva more..

WNS ropes in Malinga as brand ambassador

Apr 4 (BS) WNS Global Services, India’s second largest business processes outsourcing company, has signed on Sri Lankan fast bowler Lasith Malinga as its brand ambassador. It has thus become the first Indian IT services firm to have a brand ambassador. Accenture, a multinational company, is another one that has ace golf player Tiger Woods as its mascot. “We have appointed Lasith Malinga as our brand ambassador for recruitment and employee engagement programmes,” more..

Tobago cricket fans angry at no WI A vs Sri Lanka match

Apr 4 (TN) Tobago cricket fans were bitterly disappointed and angry at the last minute cancellation of the first high quality international cricket match to be hosted at Shaw Park in years. Their anger was even more infused with the frivolous reason given for the cancellation, as many viewed it as an insult to their intelligence. The official reason given by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) for the cancellation of the game was the unavailability of confirmed airline tickets for the West Indies A team. more..

'Sinhala regime transforming holy land into battlefield': LTTE Political Head

Apr 4 (TN) LTTE Political Head B Nadesan in a statement issued Thursday from Ki'linochchi strongly condemned the indiscriminate shelling on the Madu Church and urged the International Community and Human Rights organizations to condemn the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) for 'barbarically' transforming a sacred shrine that offered refuge to displaced people into a battlefield. more..

Country heading towards disaster says Ranil

Apr 4 (SLW) Opposition and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing the Media yesterday (02 April) said that the Govt. is continuing to mortgage the country taking commercial loans at exorbitant rates of interest. These mortgages are going on endless and are perennial: primary, secondary, tertiary mortgages are also not enough to meet its fiscal bungles and blunders. Ultimately, it is the people who have to carry the debt burdens, he added. more..

Bona fides of all-party parliamentary group for Tamils

Apr 4 (SLW) The All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPGT) is like any other All Party Groups in the British Parliament. It is a registered group and its details are included in the Register of All-Party Groups which is compiled by the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. APPGT came under severe criticism from the section of the Tamil community in the UK for lack of transparency in its dealings and for promoting the cause of the UK proscribed LTTE through its front organisation British Tamil Forum. more..

Six nominations rejected in forthcoming PC poll

Apr 4 (LG) The nominations submitted today by the Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front, Muslim Liberation Front, Tamil Democratic Party and United Democratic Alliance for the Trincomalee district were rejected by the returning officer for the noncompliance of nomination regulations. In the meantime the nominations of an Independent Group, the Ruhunu Janatha Party and United Democratic alliance for Batticaloa District were also rejected by more..

Contradicting the fundamental basis of the whole Tamil struggle

Apr 4 (LG) I chose to write this essay as an open letter addressing you, after reading the news item “Grave concern over STF pull out from East; TULF” in the online edition of the DM on 22nd March, that quotes you very much on that issue. As a prelude to this essay, let me go on record that I respect you as a Democrat who stands for a politically negotiated settlement of the “ North-East War” though I have my own reservations on how you approach it. more..

Sri Lanka Telecom mandatory offer announced by UT group

Apr 4 (LBO) Malaysia's Usaha Tegas (UT) group, which acquired a big stake in Sri Lankan Telecom on Tuesday, April 1, has announced a mandatory offer to buy all the remaining shares held by other shareholders of SLT. Global Telecommunication Holdings (GTH), a Netherlands incorporated unit, through which UT bought the SLT stake, said in an announcement to the Colombo Stock Exchange that it now owns a 35.19 percent stake in SLT. more..

CEB ordered to cut down annual expenses by Rs. 5 b

Apr 4 (LD) Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne has ordered the Ceylon Electricity Board to cut down its annual expenses by Rs. 5 billion. Mr. Seneviratne’s instruction to directors of the CEB is aimed at improving the productivity of the loss-making state institution, thereby minimizing its losses. He has also appointed a three-member committee to oversee the productivity improvement. more..

'Unconvincing resignation drama of Muslim Congress will fail to persuade voters in the East'

Apr 4 (AT) Minister Ameer Ali speaking to Asian Tribune said that the resignation drama staged by the Rauff Hakeem and the other two members of the SLMC will not have any impact on the provincial council election. He said that UPFA would win convincingly despite the unconvincing drama staged by the SLMC leadership. He cautioned the Muslims and Tamils not to fall headlong into the traps of the UNP–SLMC combine, more..

Removal of sacred statue of 'Our Lady of Madhu' orchestrated by LTTE?

Apr 4 (GDI) The continuous shelling of the LTTE terrorists have forced the priests in the Madhu Church to remove the sacred statue of 'Our Lady of Madhu' to a safer place, according to sources. Defence sources point out that troops have always honoured commitments given regarding the "No War Zone" associated with the Church. This removal of the holy statue from the shrine has now created space for the terrorists to come further forward and infiltrate areas meant for pilgrims. more..

Govt. expedite eastern development and demining in the East

Apr 4 (GDI) The Government has allocated a total of Rs. 2 billion for the development of infrastructure and de-mining operations in the Eastern Province, sources of the Ministry of Nation Building said yesterday (03). So far 5000 trained persons have been deployed in the process of de-mining under the supervision of the Sri Lanka Army. Meanwhile several human resource development projects have also been launched in the province and more..

Largest shopping mall in the country to come up in Havelock Town

Apr 4 (GDI) The largest shopping mall in Sri Lanka is to be built in Havelock Town, Colombo, following an agreement signed between the Board of Investment and Havelock City (Private) Limited for the construction of the "Commercial Complex". Mr. Dhammika Perera, Chairman / Director General, signed the Agreement on behalf of the BOI. Dr. Sarath Amunugama, while Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion formally presented the investor with the BOI Certificate of Registrations. more..

Integrate country to the world economy while keeping our identity intact -- President

Apr 4 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, addressing SriLankan Airlines employees at the Colombo International Airport on the occasion of taking over the management from Emirates Airline yesterday (3) stated that the Government is integrating the country to the world economy keeping its identity intact unless those who divested the national airline by embracing the new world economic order in to two. more..

Mahinda Samarasinghe leads delegation to 'Universal Periodic Review' in Geneva

Apr 4 (GDI) Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe will lead the Sri Lanka delegation to Geneva, Switzerland to participate at an interactive secession with the Human Rights Council at the Universal Periodic Review scheduled to hold in May 13, weeks after the conclusion of the seventh secession of the Council. more..

Seminar on ‘Conflict in Sri Lanka: Road Ahead’

Apr 4 (PISL) The Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS), in collaboration with the CSA (Center for Security Analysis), an independent, non- profit think tank based in Chennai, India hosted an international seminar titled “Conflict in Sri Lanka: Road Ahead” on the 26th and 27th of March 2008 at the BCIS auditorium. The seminar was attended by nearly 60 participants including high level government officials, members of civil society and BCIS faculty and students. more..

The International Eminent Persons and their Assistants

Apr 4 (PISL) At the session on ‘International Dimensions’ during the Seminar on Conflict in Sri Lanka: Road Ahead, held at the Bandaranaike Centre for Ethnic Studies, March 26th & 27th, the following question was asked, with regard to an issue receiving much publicity at the time - Now some of the actions initiated by the Sri Lankan Government have backfired on the government, so as this is a relevant platform I would like to ask the panel about one of them. more..

More Concern for the Victims? - ACF Statement on the UTHR Report

Apr 4 (PISL) The Peace Secretariat notes, with hopes that it will lead to greater regard in all respects for the victims, what seems to be a statement of Action Contre le Faim UK (which appears on Alertnet, attributed to Action Against Hunger – UK) on the most recent report issued by the Jaffna University Teachers for Human Rights about the killing of 17 aid worker in Mutur in August 2006. more..

President claims not a single word of the Mahinda Chintana has been changed

Apr 4 (LNP) President Rajapakse has emphasised that not a single letter of the Mahinda Chintana had been altered in the midst of many challenges. He pointed out that terrorists who had been labelled as the most dangerous in the world are suffering heavy defeats. The President observed that it is of no use in blaming the past, the management or its discrepancies. Lessons can be learnt from the past. more..

Let Easterners have equal opportunity

Apr 4 (LNP) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has, in a statement announcing its boycott of the Eastern Provincial Council election (EPCE), inveighed against President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his government, the JVP, and the JHU for promoting ultra Sinhala nationalism. We neither endorse nor dispute this view. Instead we wonder how the TNA would describe itself. Isn t it less ultra nationalistic than the SLFP-JVP-JHU combine? more..

Govt. to probe UTHR allegations

Apr 4 (SAMN) The Defence Ministry has been requested to investigate allegations raised by the University Teachers for Human Rights (UTHR-J) which recently named military and police personnel as alleged perpetrators in the ACF massacre. UTHR’s recent report on the killing of 17 aid workers in Muttur also raised questions about the effectiveness of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the matter. more..

More school buses for new school term

Apr 4 (SAMN) Five hundred and fifty new buses will be added to the school bus service with the commencement of the second school term under the Sisu Seriya project Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said. The Minister was speaking at a ceremony to handover 46 new buses for the school bus service countrywide including the North and East at Isurupaya, Battaramulla, yesterday. He said the 550 buses will comprise 350 SLTB buses and more..

New concessionary milk powder pack

Apr 4 (SAMN) The government will launch a new milk powder pack called “Candy” at a concessionary rate of Rs.245 (400g) to the market to provide relief to consumers, said Trade, Marketing Development, Co-operative and Consumer Services Minister Bandula Gunawardana. Candy milk powder packs will be available in Sathosa branches and Co-operative shops islandwide. more..

Lotteries Board revamps tickets, prizes

Apr 4 (SAMN) Following a survey conducted by the Development Lotteries Board to monitor the views of their consumers, as well as sales agents, the Jayoda Lottery was released in a new format with more prizes, the Development Lotteries Board said recently. The special feature of this new Jayoda Lottery ticket is that prizes can be won by matching the selected numbers in any order. It will be issued to the market on Mondays in Yellow and in Orange on Thursdays. more..

No Constitutional amendments needed for GSP+

Apr 4 (DN) The Government yesterday categorically stated that no Constitutional Amendments are needed to qualify for GSP Plus status from the European Union. “The Government has rejected this view consistently and unequivocally. The Government’s position is now amply vindicated by an authoritative ruling of the Supreme Court that the rights in question are firmly embedded in our legal system and are enforceable through the judicial process in Sri Lanka,” more..

Small and medium scale industrialists honoured

Apr 4 (DN) Small and medium scale industrialists could achieve their targets through correct guidance of the Ministry and the Industrial Development Board, said Rural Industries and Self Employment Promotion Minister S.B. Navinna yesterday. He said small and medium scale industrialists performed a significant contribution to the country without being a burden to the economy. more..

MRI administration accused of under spending

Apr 4 (Island) The Acting Director of the Medical Research Institute is alleged to have become a law unto herself as she has returned the Health Ministry’s annual budgetary allocations meant for repairs to buildings and official vehicles. Reports on the tests of blood samples of security forces personnel sent from the North and East are delayed as the work on nearly 17 laboratories has been blocked as a result, the All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU)said. more..

Health Ministry scuttles drug policy discussions

Apr 4 (Island) A high profile two-day workshop, planned to discuss the proposed national drug policy, failed to take place due to a lackadaisical attitude of the health ministry officials. The discussion, which was to be sponsored by the WHO country office, was expected to take place on the 3rd and 4th of this month in Colombo. The standing committee, convened in this connection, which includes representatives of the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA), more..

Church wants school admission guidelines to be followed

Apr 4 (DM) The Director of the Catholic Schools has filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking an order with regard to the admission of Roman Catholic children to religious schools in Hanwella. In his petition, Rev. Fr. Ranjith Madurawela has asked court to direct the Education Ministry to adhere to the stipulated basis for admitting Roman Catholic children to schools. more..

Govt. says President made the right move

Apr 4 (DM) In the face of growing controversy and opposition over the recent appointment of Dhammika Kithulgoda as the acting Secretary General of Parliament, Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena yesterday said President Mahinda Rajapaksa had the sole authority to make such an appointment. The Minister said Mr. Kithulgoda, who is also the Secretary to the Constitutional Council was well qualified to hold the post of acting Secretary General of Parliament as he had been in the legal sphere as a judge and lawyer. more..

Fighting in Sri Lanka kills 32 Tamil rebels, 9 soldiers

Apr 4 (AP) Battles, roadside bombings and mortar attacks across Sri Lanka's turbulent north killed 32 Tamil Tiger rebels and nine government soldiers, the military said Thursday. The newly reported fighting Wednesday took place along the front lines separating government-controlled territory with the rebels' de facto state in the north, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said. more..

Gov't resettle over 50,000 families in east

Apr 4 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government said Friday that over 50,000 families displaced in clashes in the east when situation deteriorated there in 2006 have now been resettled. "During the last 10 months we have managed to resettle 17,938 families in Trincomalee and 31,343 families in Batticaloa," A. M. Razick, the secretary to the Ministry of Re-settlement told reporters. Razick said this represents over 150,000 individuals, adding that over 8,000 families are yet to be resettled. more..

China Film Festival opens in Sri Lanka

Apr 4 (Xinhua) The China Film Festival 2008 opened Thursday night in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo with officials from the two countries stressing the need to promote cooperation between the film industries. Sri Lankan Cultural Affairs Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana said in the opening ceremony that the festival, coming after last year's signing of a memorandum of understanding between China and Sri Lanka on international awareness on films, would more..

International experts pull out but government backs human rights inquiry

Apr 4 (IRIN) The pull-out of an international expert group supervising a key human rights investigation has dented the credibility of the inquiry, said activists, but the government is confident the perpetrators will be brought to justice. The International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP), headed by former Indian chief justice P. N. Bhagwati, withdrew from its watchdog role on 31 March. more..

400-year Mary statue moved from war hit shrine in Lanka

Apr 4 (IANS) As fighting rages in Sri Lanka's north, a famous statue of the Virgin Mary has been removed from a Catholic shrine and taken to a safer place - the first time in 400 years that it has moved. The statue, known as 'Our Lady of Madhu', was removed Thursday night as incessant shelling continued in the northwest district of Mannar where government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels have been fighting for the last 15 months. more..

CJ tells Hakeem to challenge if he feels security is reduced

Apr 5 (LD) Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva has advised Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauff Hakeem to challenge in court if he feels that his fundamental rights have been violated through a reduction of his security. Taking up a FR petition filed by the SLMC leader today (Apr. 04th), the CJ however, did not give a ruling on a motion regarding his security, moved by the Attorney General the previous day. more..

The war strategy — some comments

Apr 5 (LG) In the past two decades in the war against Northern terrorists, successive governments have displayed very poor strategy, resulting protracted war and losing thousands of lives on both sides of the line. This exercise has caused the country irreparable loss in billions of rupees in expenditure in the maintenance of a very large security force. This also has strengthened the terrorists and built them up from a band of insurgents to a ferocious conventional force. more..

Govt. 'threatened' by SLMC

Apr 5 (BBC) The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) says the President Rajapaksa's government is 'threatened' by the decision by their parliamentarians to contest the local polls. SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem told BBC Sandeshaya that the authorities are seem to be trying to use 'different strategies' to defeat the threat posed by SLMC in contesting eastern Provincial Council (PC) elections. more..

JVP 'suspends' Weerawansa

Apr 5 (BBC) President Mahinda Rajapaksa's political ally, JVP, has decided to take displinary action against one of their most senior leaders. JVP has decided to suspend the membership of Propaganda Secretary and parliamentary group leader, Wimal Weerawansa, on 21 March, media reports said. The party, it is reported, has decided not to make public the decision until after the eastern Provincial Council (PC) elections. more..

Sri Lanka seeks fresh crude oil supplies, finance from Iran

Apr 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka is seeking to renew its long-term crude oil supply contract with Iran and wrap up financing to expand its refinery during a visit this week by senior government officials to Teheran. Treasury Secretary P B Jayasundera and Ashantha de Mel, chairman of the state-oil refiner Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, are to hold talks with Iranian government and oil industry officials over the weekend. more..

An education to die for

Apr 5 (GV) The students of the Trincomalee campus face an uncertain future if government plans to move their campus to an insecure location are realized. Students of the Eastern University’s Trincomalee campus have begun protests against the government’s plans under the Nagenahira Navodya programme to shift the campus to an unprotected area in Nilaveli. The students claim that such a move which they believe to be politically influenced would not only jeopardize their chances for an education but also place their lives in danger. more..

Public Servant or Public Sahib?

Apr 5 (GV) I used to think that every little trip away was a wonderful respite from the madness most of us living in Sri Lanka are subject to. A respite whence one can return with an energized and renewed spirit. I’m rethinking this now. It is a respite. But rather than returning with renewed energy to chip away at the rock that is Sri Lanka’s ailment, I came back to a near nervous breakdown. more..

Police illegally detain a man over a civil case

Apr 5 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the case of illegal arrest of a man by Payagala police on 18 January 2008 in Sri Lanka. The Officer-in-Charge (OIC) allegedly forced him to sign a statement by detaining him. When he tried to seek help from senior police, the OIC harassed him and filed a case against him. Hiriyage Gratian Lasantha Prasantha Perera's job was polishing wood furniture. more..

West Indies fight hard for lead

Apr 5 (CI) Sri Lanka and West Indies fought hard to try and gain the upper hand but the second day's play at the Queen's Park Oval ended with neither team earning a decisive advantage. The battle for the first-innings lead was closely contested and West Indies finished ten runs short of Sri Lanka's 278 with three wickets in hand. West Indies had the better of the first two sessions and by tea they were superbly placed to go past Sri Lanka. more..

Veteran journalist passes away

Apr 5 (AT) Veteran Sri Lankan Journalist Mallika Wanigasundera passed away early Friday April 4 after a prolonged illness. She was 81 and single. Mallika who passed out as a arts graduate from the former University of Ceylon, joined Lake House in 1956 after working briefly as a press officer for the then Health Minister A.E. Nugawela. She first joined the Sinhala language Janatha when Esmond Wickremesinghe was Lake House Chairman. more..

'Democracy will flourish after fascism is defeated in the North'

Apr 5 (AT) Minister for Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama predicted that before long Sri Lanka would wipe out Fascism from the island nation’s Northern Province and re-establish democratic institutions there. Foreign Minister told BBC’s Asia Today TV channel that similar to our flushing out terrorists from the island's sprawling Eastern Province and re-establishing democratic institutions there, the North will also see the dawn of freedom from terrorism. more..

Moothoor resettled lack basic facilities-TNA

Apr 5 (TN) Resettled families sheltered in schools at Pallikudiruppu and Amman Nagar in Moothoor east in Trincomalee district are undergoing serious difficulties without basic facilities and other relief, since their return, K.Thurairatnasingham, Trincomalee district TNA parliamentarian said in a complaint to Resettlement Minister Rishard Badiudin. About 200 families have been resettled in Pallikudiduruppu and 70 families at Amman Nagar close to Arafat Nagar, about one km off from Moothoor east. more..