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President’s Iranian invitee in for a shock

Apr 6 (LB) A woman who was a member of the first group of Iranian tourists who visited Sri Lanka in response to President Mahinda Rajapakse’s call when he toured Iran was assaulted and robbed of cash amounting to Rs.16800 at the very same star class hotel where she was staying. The incident occurred last Monday. Roshida Mubaraque (36) an Iranian architect by profession arrived in Sri Lanka as a member of a group of 450 Iranian tourists on March 27. more..

A lesson in terrorism

Apr 6 (LB) Among the politicians who met the visiting group of British parliamentarians were JHU leaders. Andrew Lodge, a member of this group, asked the JHU how they proposed to solve the ethnic conflict. Replying, Ven Ellawala Medananda Thera maintained firmly that there was no ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka and that the only problem Sri Lanka faced was terrorism. “Britain laid the foundations of this conflict,” he said. more..

Politics? No way! - Sunethra Bandaranaike

Apr 6 (LB) A thunderstorm is raging outside, fat droplets of rain lashing noisily against the windows. I’m seated in Sunethra Bandaranaike’s lounge, comfortably discussing US politics while waiting for the van that would take me home. I had known Ms Bandaranaike for all of two hours but she chatted with an engaging familiarity that put me at ease. Our interview had just ended. more..

Kuruwita Prison escape: Prison Chief cites shortage of staff and irresponsibility

Apr 6 (LB) Two prisoners armed with T-56 weapons who escaped from the Kuruwita prison after a confrontation with prison officers were still at large, while investigations were continuing. “We have stopped search operations because we have lost track of the area within which they could be hiding. However, we are still on the lookout and hope to capture them shortly,” said General Vajira Wijeygunawardena, Commissioner General of Prisons. more..

'Lanka Dissent' stands by its report on Wimal Weerawansa suspension

Apr 6 (LD) 'Lanka Dissent' stands by its article published yesterday (Apr. 04th) that the JVP has suspended the party membership of Wimal Weerawansa, its politburo member and Propaganda Secretary. JVP MP K.D. Lal Kantha told 'Derana TV' today that media reports regarding Mr. Weerawansa's suspension were incorrect. His statement comes after the television station gave wide publicity today to same through its SMS News Alerts. more..

Those who act to govt.’s whims have no room in the JVP - Vijitha Herath

Apr 6 (LD) If a JVP member acts to put the purposes of the President or the government into practice or to steer our party according to his political whims and fancies, such people are not wanted in the JVP, said JVP MP Vijitha Herath. He thus elaborated his ideas at an interview with Lakbima journalist, Sunethra Athugalpura, answering questions on whether an internal conflict existed within the JVP and on the controversy surrounding Wimal Weerawansa. more..

LTTE losing control of Madu area, says Army Chief

Apr 6 (Hindu) Sri Lanka’s Army Chief has claimed that the shifting of of the statue of Our Lady by priests of the Madu Church under LTTE pressure, was an indication that the Tigers had lost control of the area. Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka told the state-owned Daily News: “They [the priests] took away the statue as they were under LTTE pressure.” According to the him, the statue was taken to Vellankulam, some 20 km north of Mannar, by the priests on Thursday evening under LTTE pressure. more..

Geoffrey Bawa inspires new style of leisure architecture

Apr 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's famed architect, Geoffrey Bawa has inspired a new trend of boutique type hotels in Sri Lanka that are attracting high-end tourists, that is now spreading its wings abroad. A leisure architectural style that is now sweeping across India and Indonesia had its origins nearly half a century earlier. The Bentota Beach Hotel was one of the first hotels designed by Geoffrey Bawa in the late 1960s after more..

Maid jailed over false rape claim

Apr 6 (GDN) A PREGNANT housemaid who falsely claimed to police that she had been raped has been jailed for a month. The 35-year-old Sri Lankan woman lied to try to cover up the fact that she had been sneaking her Indian lover into her female Bahraini sponsor's Adliya home, the Lower Criminal Court heard. She pleaded guilty to registering a false report of rape and of sneaking her lover into her sponsor's house without her permission. more..

Gang demands Tamil exiles pay ransom for kidnapped relatives

Apr 6 (TI) For some refugees, finding asylum in Britain is not the end of the nightmare, but the beginning. And no one knows this better than Tamils such as Ariyathas Pushpathas. Ten years ago, as a 17-year-old, he fled Sri Lanka after his sister died in an air-raid. Six months ago, his brother and cousin were kidnapped in Colombo by "agents" claiming to act on behalf of the island's Karuna Faction militia, now a de-facto extension of Sri Lanka's intelligence services. more..

Sri Lanka Calls to boycott Indian films

Apr 6 (LG) The Chairman of the Local Film Producers Association Dilman Jayaratne called for the boycott of Tamil and Indian films as a tit-for-tat move against the holding up of the movie ‘Prabhakaran’ by the Indian authorities. Refuting claims that the film was taken to India in violation of Indian Immigration and Emigration regulations, he said that the Film Corporation had given green light to take the negatives to Tamil Nadu. more..

Muslim factor in Forthcoming PC Poll

Apr 6 (LG) The unique ethnic equation in the Eastern Province is a double- edged sword. It is a strength, yet could also be a liability. To put it into perspective, three main communities live in the province in equal proportions. The ethnic composition of the Eastern province is Sinhalese: 25%, Sri Lankan Tamils 41% and Muslims 32%, according to the census in 1981, which is the last time a population survey was conducted Island wide. more..

No faith motion against Dhammika Kitulgoda

Apr 6 (LD) Several political parties in the opposition are preparing to move a no-confidence motion against Acting Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Kitulgoda, claiming that the president had appointed him in breach of the law. Commenting on the appointment, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake alleged the posting had been done in complete violation of the constitution of the country. more..

Bill to tax those pollute environment to be moved on Apr. 8

Apr 6 (LD) The draft bill proposed in the 2007 budget for imposing a special tax on those who pollute the environment will be tabled before parliament on April 08th, Environment Minister Champika Ranawaka said. It has been formulated by the Ministry of Finance under the guidance and supervision of the Ministry of Environment. It will be moved in accordance with Clause 16 of Rio Declaration, to which Sri Lanka is a signatory, that says that those who pollute the environment should pay for the damage. more..

LTTE entry welcomed by Sri Lanka`s political parties

Apr 6 (LNP) Political parties across the spectrum welcomed an LTTE entry into electoral politics `if this is genuinely the case`. The Leader of the TULF V. Anandasangari said yesterday there was a sinister move to keep the Tamil youth divided into various groups. All these militant groups were registered as individual political parties at a time when there was a requirement by the Elections Department that to register as a political party one of the members should be a Member of parliament, an ex MP or a Senator. more..

British MPs cautioned against LTTE sympathisers

Apr 6 (LNP) TULF leader V. Anandasangaree has urged the visiting British Parliamentary delegation which is now on a fact-finding mission in the island to be cautious of LTTE sympathisers in the United kingdom and not to get carried away by their false propaganda on the Lankan situation. As the leader of the newly formed Tamil National Democratic Front (TNDF) comprising the TULF, PLOTE and the EPRLF (Naba) Anandasangaree met the British Parliamentary delegation along with more..

Lanka on rice hunt for New Year

Apr 6 (SAMN) With just a week to go for the National New Year, Sri Lanka’s staple diet rice is in crisis and confusion, with reports of rationing while the government takes urgent steps to import stocks from Myanmar, India and Pakistan. Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunawardena who headed a delegation to Myanmar Saturday finalised a contract to buy 50,000 tonnes of rice while more..

MR exasperated over FM’s globetrotting

Apr 6 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa appeared to be openly exasperated by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama’s never-ending globetrotting when he told a minister last week, “When Rohitha goes abroad, it takes him a decade to return.” The statement was made at the weekly cabinet meeting when the statue issue of former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar came up. more..

UK proposes HR monitors for Sri Lanka

Apr 6 (SAMN) Britain has suggested that Sri Lanka accept a UN presence on the ground to monitor human rights. Foreign Secretary David Miliband suggested that Britain would like to see such a presence in keeping with the report of UN Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour, informed sources said. Miliband said so during talks with Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama who is now in Cairo having concluded a four-day visit to Britain, more..

Illegal abortion pills widely used in SL

Apr 6 (SAMN) Two potent drugs smuggled from India are now being widely used for illegal abortions in Sri Lanka, medical sources warned last week. Though unregistered, the two Indian-made brands, Mifeprostone and Misoprostol are being sold in many pharmacies across the country, they asserted, adding "The heavy demand and the hefty profit are an incentive to push the two drugs, prescribed mostly by quacks running illicit abortion clinics.” more..

Betrayal of our community not my forte - Hisbullah

Apr 6 (SO) The forthcoming elections to the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) have turned into a political ‘tussle’ with the dramatic moves by the SLMC heavyweights with its leader Rauf Hakeem turning more ‘green’ and the former Deputy Minister and member of the high command of the SLMC, M.L.A.M. Hisbullah turning ‘blue’. Accusing each other for betraying the Muslim community both are eyeing for the Chief Ministerial post. more..

One million tourists targeted this year

Apr 6 (SO) The Tourist Industry, the fourth largest foreign exchange earner, targets one-million tourists this year. India, UK, the Middle East and Russia have been identified as high potential tourist markets by the Ministry of Tourism. Acting Minister of Tourism Faizer Mustapha told a delegation of Middle East businessmen and media personnel that special publicity campaigns have been already launched to capture those markets. more..

Task force to expedite agriculture development

Apr 6 (SO) A Presidential Task Force has been appointed to expedite the three-year Agriculture Development Project "Api Wawamu - Rata Nagamu", which commenced last September, said Minister of Agriculture Development and Agrarian Services Maithripala Sirisena. The "Api Wawamu - Rata Nagamu" project targets to achieve self sufficiency in agricultural produce in all varieties including rice, onions, chilies, fruits and green gram within three years. more..

War on Waste

Apr 6 (SO) There was a great scurry of activity, at my place, as hoards of accumulated plastic bags, glass bottles and other such junk were sorted and prepared to be loaded on to a garbage truck of the municipal council, that was assured to pass our way. Money was already being collected for a neighbourhood scale distribution of compost recycling bins. ‘Garbage’ is a subject much talked about, at a time when all are conserned about being eco-friendly. more..

US to cold-shoulder Colombo response

Apr 6 (NS) The US State Department is likely to snub Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama’s recent response to the State Department’s 2007 Annual Report on Human Rights Practices, which severely criticised the Sri Lankan Government’s alleged involvement in gross human rights violations. Response of the GOSL to the US State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, which was released by Minister Bogollagama last Monday, more..

A stirring contest

Apr 6 (NS) What is on the cards in the eastern provincial poll therefore is a battle between the UPFA and UNP by proxy: two Muslim leaders with considerable popular support in the region, Hisbullah and Hakeem pitted against each other and caught up in the rivalries of the two major parties in the country. Hisbullah will have the might of the government behind him although it is doubtful whether the TMVP will do much to enhance his prospects, more..

GL battles Ranil on GSP+

Apr 6 (NS) The cabinet on Wednesday dwelled into the intricacies of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP+) after International Trade Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris appraised the ministers on the looming dangers associated with non-securing its extension. Minister Peiris told the cabinet that both the LTTE and the opposition are involved in a sinister campaign to scuttle Sri Lanka’s prospects of securing GSP+. more..

President defers new Parliamentary act on Grade 1 admissions

Apr 6 (NS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday deferred a move by the Education Ministry to introduce a new Parliamentary act on admissions to Grade 1 in government schools. When the matter came up before the cabinet for discussion, it was stated that this act was drafted in compliance with an order made by the Supreme Court. However, the President said that it was not necessary to rush into bringing legislation on the matter, since schools admission was purely an administrative matter. more..

Polls chief to meet party bosses and agents

Apr 6 (Island) Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake has summoned the secretaries of 12 political parties and authorized agents of 56 independent groups to a meeting t the Elections Secretariat on Tuesday to discuss ways and means of ensuring that the Eastern Provincial elections will be free, fair and peaceful. For the first time the LTTE’s Tiger symbol will be on the ballot papers, political analysts noted. more..

Unfair attacks on professional foreign service and career diplomats

Apr 6 (Island) The relentless attacks on members of the foreign service, who are heads of Missions, have gone without a response for only one reason, namely because the persons subjected to these vitriolic attacks cannot reply; not because what has been unkindly stated is true but because, they being public officials, cannot, in terms of the AR and the Establishment Code that governs all persons on the payroll of the state, reply on their own. more..

Digamadulla will decide who will take Eastern PC

Apr 6 (Island) The final result of the first ever elections to the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) would mainly depend on the battle for Digamadulla electoral district where the UNP-SLMC combine has a comfortable edge over the government led alliance, political sources said. The winner of the Digamadulla District would have a better chance of taking control of the EPC as the allocation of the two bonus seats would solely depend on the highest number of votes polled by the winning party, more..

Matara super-highway construction workers end strike

Apr 6 (Island) More than 1,500 workers handling the construction of the proposed Kottawa-Matara super-highway are expected to report for duty tomorrow, ending a 23-day strike. "We will be back at work because our primary demand for a Rs. 3,000 wage increase has been granted", Road Development Authority (RDA) union leader Susil Bopage said. He said another round of discussion was held between the workers and the contractors before Labour Commissioner L. M. S. Dissanayake on April 3. more..

Bishop defends shifting of statue as Madhu war hots up

Apr 6 (ST) What the Government's political leaders have been longing for - the long drawn out military campaign to gain control of the Madhu Church and its environs, sacred to the country's Catholics -- is now so close and yet so far. This week, troops advancing on a flank east of the Giant's Tank, have come to within a kilometre of the Church. This is by reaching Madhu Road at a location south of the Church. more..

Minister Bogollagama’s land filling halted

Apr 6 (ST) The illegal filling of the Diyawanna marsh at the end of Samarakoon Garden by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama as part of a massive urban land grab of several acres was abruptly halted this week when the Special Investigations Unit of the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation delivered a strongly worded letter calling on an immediate halt to the operation. Urban Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardena who ordered this action after more..

UNP-SLMC alliance holds edge in east

Apr 6 (ST) Twenty-four-year-old Inpanathan Rushikanthan, a mason, his wife and their four-year-old daughter left the once Tiger guerrilla stronghold of Kokkadicholai soon after the December 2004 tsunami. He thought there were greener pastures in the Government-controlled Batticaloa district where recovery work was under way. He joined his relatives in a newly built housing complex in Ariyampathi in the Kattankudi Police area. more..

Police call on schools to ban mobile phones

Apr 6 (ST) Police are appealing to principals to ban students from carrying mobile phones to school, following a series of complaints of misuse of phones on school premises. Out of a long list of complaints lodged, eight are under investigation, Chief Inspector Buddhika Balachandra, officer in charge of the Bureau for the Prevention of Abuse of Children and Women, told The Sunday Times. more..

Jeyaraj Fernandopulle’s assassination a cowardly and vile act of terrorism – Govt.

Apr 6 (GDI) Responding to the assassination of Chief Government Whip and Minister of Highways and Road Development, Jeyeraj Fernandopulle this morning in Weliveriya by an LTTE suicide bomber, the Director of Government Information, Anusha Palpita condemned without reservation the “vile and cowardly act of terrorism that took the life of the minister and 11 others”. The full text of the statement is as follows: more..

Death Wishes of Jeyaraj Fernandopulle

Apr 6 (AT) Asian Tribune was in touch with Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle. He used to call Asian Tribune almost every other day and discuss the political development in the country. Some conversations were off the record. Ony those meant for publication appeared in print. Asian Tribune recorded his interviews judiciously. The last time Asian Tribune spoke with the late Minister was on Saturday (April 5th) around 9.30 PM. more..

Sri Lanka's coach and Olympic marathon runner killed in suicide attack

Apr 6 (AP) Sri Lanka's national athletics coach Lakshman de Alwis and former Olympic marathon runner K.A. Karunaratne were among those killed in a suicide bomb attack Sunday. The bomber struck at the start of a marathon, killing a government minister and 11 other people. Dozens were wounded. Minister of Highways and Road Development Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, who was opening the race 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Colombo, was among those killed, more..

IAAF condemns bombing of marathon in Sri Lanka

Apr 6 (IAAF) The IAAF is saddened to receive the tragic news of the bomb blast today at the start of a marathon in Sri Lanka which among others killed a government minister, a former Olympian and a national coach. On Sunday morning (6 April), scores of runners and onlookers gathered at the starting line of the marathon in Weliweriya, about 20 kilometres from the capital Colombo, as part of the national celebrations of the upcoming Sinhalese New Year. more..

Govt led by President Rajapakse is using war for their political agenda – JVP

Apr 6 (LT) Mahinda Rajapakse and his government are using the war for their political interests and this has been confirmed to the country now said Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe. Mr. Amarasinghe making the key note address at the 37th April Heroes Commemoration held at open air theatre of Viharamahadevi Park in Colombo yesterday said the country needs a correct review of the ’71 struggle. more..

Rajapaksa condemns minister's killing

Apr 6 (IANS) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa condemned the killing of his senior cabinet minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle in a suspected suicide attack Sunday, calling it as 'an act of savagery'. At least 12 people and over 90 wounded were killed in a powerful bomb blast in Gampaha district. The incident took place at Waliweriya in the Western province, about 30 km from here. more..

Suicide bomber kills senior Sri Lanka minister at marathon

Apr 6 (AFP) A suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber killed Sri Lanka's highways minister as he opened a marathon Sunday in an attack that left 11 others dead and nearly 100 wounded, police and officials said. Senior minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, 55, was killed in the town of Weliveriya outside of the capital when the blast ripped through the large gathering at the event, police said. The minister had walked up to the starting line where more than 100 athletes had lined up and at the count down a huge blast shattered the occasion. more..

Minister Jeyaraj Killed in a Bomb Blast

Sri Lanka tests internet based remote diagnosis system for crop diseases

Apr 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka is setting up an internet kiosk network in agrarian areas to help farmers identify crop diseases and find quicker remedies government officials said. "Farmers can go to a cyber unit with a disease affected leaf and show it to an officer there who will in turn take a digital image of the leaf and e-mail it to officers of the Department of Agriculture," said Director Projects of the Ministry of Agriculture, L.K. Hathurusinghe said. more..

China hands over Red Cross complex to Sri Lanka

Apr 7 (Xinhua) The Red Cross Society of China on Sunday handed over a Red Cross Complex to Sri Lanka as part of its tsunami rehabilitation operations in Sri Lanka. The complex built, which was undertaken in December 2006, is a fully equipped, four storied administration building and a training center for the Galle branch of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS). more..

Tributes paid to Karu and Alwis

Apr 7 (BBC) The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has condemned the bombing of a marathon in Sri Lanka. KA Karunaratne, Sri Lanka's only Olympic marathon runner and the national athletic coach, Lakshman de Alwis, are among those killed in Sundays' suicide bomb blast in Weliweriya, Gampaha. "The IAAF is saddened to receive the tragic news of the bomb blast today at the start of a marathon in Sri Lanka which among others killed a government minister, a former Olympian and a national coach," more..

Sri Lanka suicide assassin may have been marathon runner

Apr 7 (AFP) A suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber killed Sri Lanka's highways minister as he opened a marathon Sunday in an attack that left 11 others dead and nearly 100 wounded, police and officials said. Senior minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, 55, was killed in the town of Weliveriya outside of the capital when the blast ripped through the large gathering at the event, police said. more..

Sarwan ton helps WI square series

Apr 7 (CI) Each time West Indies or Sri Lanka took the upper hand in the second Test in Trinidad, the other team clawed back to bring the match into balance. It took an innings of exemplary application from Ramnaresh Sarwan to decisively swing the closely-fought contest towards West Indies on the fourth day, and his partnership of 157 with Shivnarine Chanderpaul levelled the series, ensuring Sri Lanka's quest for a maiden series triumph in the Caribbean remained unfulfilled. more..

Killing of George Fernandopulle: A lesson for all the politicians in Sri Lanka

Apr 7 (LR) Mr. Fernandopulle is one of the most popular politicians in Sri Lanka. He has been the esthetic worrier in the parliament in the recent past. He never promotes politics based on hatred. He believed only in democracy and unconditionally fought against terrorism in whatever form. His only weapon in politics was use of words, and even during fierce debates in the parliament, he was seen smiling with an open heart. more..