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Sri Lanka, Maldives to host S Asian Football Championship

Mar 1 (Xinhua) The South Asian Football Federation Championship for 2008 is scheduled to be held in the Maldives and Sri Lanka in the early part of June, a leading Sri Lankan English newspaper said Friday. According to the Daily News, the opening ceremony will take place in the Maldivian capital of Male on June 3. The opening ceremony will also see the match between the Maldives and Pakistan while on the same day India will take on Nepal. These four teams are in group A. more..

Central bank warns pyramid scams re-appearing

Mar 1 (LBO) The Central Bank Friday warned that new 'pyramid schemes' that have been banned are making an appearance in different parts of the country. Those taking part in such schemes are in danger of losing their money and are also committing an offence under the banking law, it said in a statement. It rejected claims that it said were being made in pyramid scheme 'classes' that they are approved by the central bank and said those making the claims would be brought to justice. more..

President slammed by anti-corruption watchdog

Mar 1 (LBO) The Sri Lanka unit of Transparency International has strongly criticised President Mahinda Rajapakse for removing a senior official of the government's anti-corruption organisation. The anti-corruption watchdog said in a statement the move smacks of political interference in the workings of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption. more..

5 media orgs. condemn attempted attack on SLRC cameraman

Mar 1 (LD) Five media organizations, led by the Free Media Movement, have strongly condemned the attempted attack on Piyal Ranjith, Assistant Director of the News Camera Division of the Rupavahini Corporation. They said in a statement that four assailants had come in a trishaw and tried to enter Ranjith’s house at Kotte on February 28th on the pretext of seeking him for video filming a wedding. more..

The Attacks on Civil Society Organizations

Mar 1 (GV) Dr Pradeep Jeganathan’s dinner experience in Delhi with a French anthropologist reminded me a recent meeting I happened to have with a European high level diplomat in Sri Lanka. Referring to the recent events in Sri Lanka, he said: “I would be worried if similar things have happened in Balkans or even in India, but I am not worried at all for what is happening in Sri Lanka”. more..

Sri Lankan refugees in India

Mar 1 (GV) I remembered John Denver’s passionate song dedicated to the refugees called “Fallen leaves”, as I sat in the Chennai airport, trying to make sense of what I had seen and heard and my own feelings, recalling my visit to Sri Lankans who had fled to India in fear of their lives and live in camps as refugees. One of the lines from the song that kept coming back to me was what I had put as the title to this reflection. more..

Withdraw from East since March 10, LTTE issues order

Mar 1 (LeN) Non Governmental Organizations active in the Eastern Province have received a warning letter to printed on a LTTE letterhead that orders all the International and local NGOs must suspend their projects since March 10. The letter dated February 25 has been signed by one Keerthi identifying himself as LTTE intelligence wing leader of the Eastern Province. There is a telephone number in the letter but the phone is switched off. more..

SL EDB to Participate Vietnam Expo 2008

Mar 1 (LeN) The Embassy of Sri Lanka in collaboration with Sri Lanka Export Development Board is making arrangements for Sri Lankan Companies to participate at the Vietnam Expo 2008, to be held from 9th - 13th April 2008 in Hanoi. EDB expects to bring a delegation of experts representing Sri Lankan companies in areas such as tea and beverages, spices and essential oils, agricultural products, healthcare, personal care and health preparations, leather products, more..

'Provide security' to SLA general

Mar 1 (BBC) The Supreme Court in Sri Lanka has ordered authorities to provide secure accomodation for a senior Sri Lanka Army (SLA) officer. In an interim order, a three-member bench chaired by the Chief Justice ordered SLA Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka to provide an official residence in Summit Flats for Major General Parakrama Pannipitiya. Rejecting Gen. Pannipitiya's request to reinstate him as the Eastern Commander, the bench also ordered Gen. Fonseka to provide him with adequate security. more..

Government 'lying' on CC

Mar 1 (BBC) The main opposition in Sri Lanka says President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government is lying over reasons not to appoint the Constitutional Council (CC). Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Micheal Perera told BBC Sandeshaya that the government is looking for excuses not to re-activate the powerfull CC. The former speaker and United National Party (UNP) strongman was also of the opinion that the government was 'moving towards a dictatorship'. more..

Sri Lanka Army chief to pay six-day visit to India

Mar 1 (IANS) Sri Lanka's army chief Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka, who has vowed to crush the Tamil Tigers, will pay a six-day visit to India from Sunday to deepen military cooperation between the two countries. Details of Fonseka's programme have not been divulged, apparently over security considerations. The defence ministry has only said that he will briefly interact with the Indian Army here Tuesday. more..

Colombo urges U.K. to ban LTTE “front” organisations

Mar 1 (Hindu) Sri Lankan authorities here have urged the British government to ban fund-raising activities of what they described as “LTTE’s front organisations” alleging that the money collected by these groups “ostensibly” for charitable purposes went into the “coffers” of Tamil Tigers. They said that although LTTE was banned in Britain a number of organisations claiming to be “charities” were working for it. more..

Crisis and militarization in Sri Lanka

Mar 1 (AHRC) One of the latest incidents highlighting the situation of Sri Lanka is the removal of the Director General of the Bribery Commission, who is the only person legally authorised to sign indictments relating to charges of bribery. Thus, by removing the authorised signatory the possibility of signing indictments has been neatly prevented. Observers have pointed out that this has happened in a background in which the Commission was investigating the possibility of corruption in the purchase of outdated Mig fighter planes. more..

Update: White powder found in package at post office

Mar 1 (YLG) Cooking flour sent from Sri Lanka caused a security alert at Sutton sorting office this morning. Police were called to the depot in Grove Road after post office sorting staff intercepted a package containing suspicious white powder. Some deliveries were delayed by nearly an hour as Met officers trained to deal with hazardous substances attended the scene. The substance found in the mail from Sri Lanka to an address in Sutton was found to be non-toxic and the all-clear was given shortly after 10am. more..

‘Mother of Sri Lanka’ (Part 01)

Mar 1 (LG) “It’s going to be a hot day” Devika pulls the curtains apart to see the weather outside and mumbles to herself while getting ready to go to work. The clear blue sky is decorated with wandering soft white clouds moving in slow motion. The street is nearly empty as it is only about seven in the morning, but would be noisy and crowded in no time. The man next door is playing reggae music, loud as usual. Devika puts the audio tape on and goes to the bathroom. more..

Hinduism in ancient Lanka

Mar 1 (LG) This is a review of a review. The original `A0review appeared in Thamil in the Quarterly of All Ceylon Hindu Congress, no. 3 (2005). The reviewer was the distinguished retired justice C. V. Wigneswaran. The author of the reviewed book is Prof. S. Pathmanathan, a well known academic. I wish that the book had been written in English so that it could have had a wider readership. more..

The ethnic conflict in retrospect

Mar 1 (LG) Never before have we seen sensational idiom, academic jargon, and catch phrases fly around the need to preserve unitary status, territorial integrity, escape foreign forces etc. We have gone through several constitutions: 1931, 1947, 1972 and 1978. They have had their strengths and weaknesses. Constitutions must change with time. The last Presidential Election, 2005, debated unitarism, Buddha Sasana, patriotic ideals, and the public sector. more..

Ex-Navy Area Commander’s appeal dismissed

Mar 1 (LG) The Court of Appeal on Thursday dismissed a case filed by former Southern Naval Area Commander Commodore T. M. J. Mendis (now retired) against imposing a loss of seniority from the rank of Commodore by a Court Martial conducted against him for the failure to avert the LTTE attack on the Galle Navy Base in 2006. On October 18, 2006 the LTTE attacked the Galle harbour causing a death of one and injuries to 15 naval personnel and extensive damages to Naval ships and craft. more..

Batti LG elections at a glance

Mar 1 (LG) By January 25, six political parties and 22 independent groups had handed in their nominations for the election of 101 members to nine local government bodies in the Batticaloa District, Eastern Province. The elections are scheduled to be held on March 10. The Local Government Elections in the Batticaloa District were due in 2006, but elections were held only in respect of three local bodies while the elections in respect of the remaining nine bodies were cancelled owing to the war situation in the area. more..

LG Poll under the gun

Mar 1 (LG) Batticaloa, the now scared city of the “singing fish”, is on the ready for the local polls. The efforts to restore ‘democracy’ under the gun are palpable in the region. One can feel the intensity of the military presence in the region as one enters Valachenai - an eastern gateway town located 30 km away from Batticaloa. The polls are slated to be held on March 10 in the Eastern province to elect members to nine local bodies after the government recaptured the territory from the clutches of the LTTE last year. more..

Sri Lankan firm makes building panels from straw

Mar 1 (LBO) Durra Building Systems, a new Sri Lankan firm has begun making building panels out of waste straw, providing an alternative building material and boosting the incomes of paddy farmers, officials said. The company set up a manufacturing plant in Minneriya, the hub of paddy cultivation in the island's north central province, at a cost of 200 million rupees and produces 8,000 square feet of panels a day with the capacity to handle increased demand. more..

A page from Pakistan's elections for Sri Lanka

Mar 1 (SLW) The authoritarianism of Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf, backed by the world's most powerful superpower the United States, was severely bashed in Monday's general election. This was the result of efforts by the Pakistani judiciary lead by Chief Justice Iftekhar Chowdhury and many senior judges, and also by an electorate that despite all draconian limitations imposed on them decisively determined the outcome of the election. more..

EROS following LTTE politics?

Mar 1 (SLW) According to news filed in the, on February 26, 2008 numerous telephone calls have been received by a political activist and a lawyer S M M Bazeer in London from Batticaloa threatening dire consequence for writing critical about the EROS. Threat was made following publication of news and views by S M M Bazeer about the EROS over some critical and incorrect comments made by its member in Canada about the Muslims in the East. more..

Govt violating constitution says Lakshman K

Mar 1 (SLW) Lakshman Kiriella, UNP M.P., addressing the Media at the UNP Media unit today (29 Feb) said that the atrocious and unconstitutional conduct of the President deliberately delaying the establishment of the Constitutional Council is a blatant violation of the Constitution. Under section 42 of the Constitution the President is responsible to the Parliament, he emphasized. more..

Sex workers save Colombo 7 from LTTE

Mar 1 (SLW) At least 07 persons including 04 police personnel were injured in a Suicide Bomb blast inside a house in Modara this morning,police said. Team of police men visited the house early morning after they received credible intelligence on the suspect,who believed to be the main distributor of weapons and explosive of the LTTE for their covert operations in Colombo. Before visited the suspect's house police able to found haul of explosive nearby undisclosed location and more..

Mother Of Sri Lanka’ (Part 02)

Mar 1 (LG) How simple a question for Samantha, but giving an answer doesn’t seem to be easy. The telephone is ringing. One of Devika’s sons is on the phone and she can hear her little fellow Ravi wailing away very loudly in the background. “What is the matter?” Devika is panicking as she hears her son crying. She always worries about them when they are at home alone during the holiday, although son Segar is about fourteen and very sensible. more..

Are our government advisers stupid?

Mar 1 (LG) Our advisers instead of changing the time to suit the children by delaying the opening of schools by half an hour, in their stupidity are trying to change the Sri Lanka Standard Time to turn the clock forward. Countries of the whole world determine their standard time on the basis of its Meridian based on their geographic position. In 1996, it was the scientists and technologists who advised the government to advance the Standard Time by half an hour on the basis of its meridian to take full advantage of its daylight hours. more..

Blast from the past: Praba Interviewed by Anita in 1984

Mar 1 (TC) Anita Pratap is the Indian scribe who has been granted the most number of interviews with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leader Velupillai Prabakharan. We reproduce an interview given in 1984. Many of the views expressed provide an insight into the tiger supremo’s mind and are relevant even today: Q: What made you opt out of a conventional system and spearhead a liberation movement which you knew would be outlawed? more..

Present Tamil plight mainly due to Ultra-Nationalism of SJV

Mar 1 (FI) As an aging Tamil who has observed Tamil-Sinhala politics since the 1940s, I cringe to see the continued repetition of simplified and historically incorrect hurling of accusation, even by people who recognize the need for building bridges between communities. People of younger generation do not know that politicians like D. S. Senanayake (DS) tried to create a “Ceylonese” nation. more..

Radhika Coomaraswamy resigns from GCR2P advisory board

Mar 1 (PISL) Since misleading reports have appeared in both English and Sinhala language newspapers concerning the involvement of the Peace Secretariat in the ICES controversy, it seems desirable to issue publicly the statement made by SCOPP Secretary General to the CID when it was investigating the original complaint to the police. more..

Lankan embassy in Paris lied - Mano Ganeshan

Mar 1 (LD) Western People’s Front leader and parliamentarian Mano Ganeshan alleges that the Sri Lankan Embassy in Paris had lied to the French media about his security arrangements. Ganeshan says in a statement that Sugeeswara Senadhira, Minister Counselor at the embassy, has, by his e-mail sent to ‘France 24’ TV channel, has said that the Sri Lankan government has provided eighteen security personnel to Ganeshan. more..

FMM concerned over Rama Mani episode

Mar 1 (LD) The Free Media Movement (FMM) is both surprised and disturbed to learn that the CID has taken into custody a computer used by Dr. Rama Mani, the former Executive Director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES), to check for “controversial” correspondence, as reported by The Sunday Times on 24th February 2008. The events leading up to and surrounding Dr. Mani’s forced and hurried departure from Sri Lanka and more..

500 campus lecturers ‘missing’ after overseas studies

Mar 1 (LD) Minister of Higher Education Prof. Vishwa Warnapala has alleged that 500 lecturers of 15 local universities had not returned from their postgraduate studies overseas during the past decade. However, Vice Chancellors of universities say that the lecturers were unwilling to come back, as they have secured highly-paid jobs abroad. The total number of psychologists in the entire island was less than the number of Sri Lankan psychologists serving at hospitals in England alone. more..

President frowns at planned teachers’ strike

Mar 1 (LD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has reportedly frowned at a sick note campaign planned by teachers of government schools on March 04th. He had told Mahinda Jayasinghe, Secretary of the JVP-affiliate Ceylon Teachers Services Union, to obtain treatment from a doctor to their sickness and take a medical report to the Education Ministry Secretary. At a meeting at Temple Trees yesterday, trade unions informed the President of their planned action. more..

8 kgs of C-4 explosives found from Kalpitiya

Mar 1 (LD) Eight kilogrammes of C-4 high explosives, that were meant to be for an LTTE activity, were found from Puttalam yesterday, Police said. Puttalam SSP Roshan Fernando said that eight cans, each containing one kg of explosives, were seized in an operation following a tip off given by a suspect. The suspect, Arumugam Kanapathiraj, was arrested by the police investigating the blowing up of an electricity transformer at Mangalaeliya in Kalpitiya recently. more..

Rupavahini’s DG ordered to resign

Mar 1 (LD) Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa has ordered Director-General of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation Sisira Kotelawala to immediately tender his resignation. Yesterday, Chairman of the SLBC Sunil Sarath Perera was removed from the post. The moves are said to be part of efforts by the President to restructure the state media after several cabinet ministers and trade unions had warned him that the administration of state media institutions was in complete turmoil. more..

Sangha Nayake assaults ITN correspondent

Mar 1 (LD) Matara Police are investigating an alleged assault of Pankaja Sankalpa, the ITN correspondent there, by Chief Adhikarana Sangha Nayake of the Southern Province Ven. Getamane Siridhammakitti Thera. Sankalpa had gone to Anura Vidyalaya, Matara on a request to cover an event by the students of the school on February 28th. When the Thera was called upon to light the traditional oil lamp, he had reportedly abused the journalist and ordered him out. more..

State in debt of Rs.50 million rupees to LTTE Ilangovan

Mar 1 (LeN) It is revealed that M. Ilangovan who was arrested at Kochchikade on February 25 identifying him as the second-in-command of the LTTE shipping network has been a businessperson who leased ships to the Essential Services Commissioner. He came to an agreement with the Essential Services Commissioner on February 11, 1995 to lease ships from his Singapore-based company. more..

'We are not bankrupt to seek awards from a govt that smashes heads of workers'

Mar 1 (LT) Their trade union movement is not bankrupt to receive awards from a ruler of a government that smashes the heads of workers who come to the streets to win their rights said JVP Parliamentarian and President of National Trade Unions Centre Lal Kanthe. He said this addressing a summit of trade union leaders called to reactivate the decision taken by trade unions for a one day token strike to be held on the 5th of this month protesting against nonpayment of the basic salary as stipulated in circular 062006. more..

'Sri Lanka only country that feeds enemy'

Mar 1 (LNP) It could be said that Sri Lanka is the only country that feeds its enemies, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickreamanayake said, at a ceremony held to present air tickets to Singapore to students who scored best results in the GCE O/L Exam, on Thursday. `Is there any other country in the world that supplies food free of charge to its enemy force? We continue to provide food to the uncleared areas in the North though we know that the LTTE would get hold of them and attack our soldiers in return,` the Premier asked. more..

Parents of Sri Lanka`s war heroes to receive 25% of pension

Mar 1 (LNP) Additional Defence Secretary Sunil S. Sirisena last week said that parents of security forces personnel who have laid down their lives for country s defence will receive 25% of the pension and other allowances will be paid to their widows. This will be effective from 21 November 2007 Sirisena said. Parents of bachelors who died in action received the full pensions and other allowances. more..

Throwing the baby out

Mar 1 (LNP) Our national trait for throwing the baby out with the bath-water is truly remarkable. At times, we even throw out the baby and retain the bath-water. Then, we throw up our hands in horror and desperately look for the baby down the drain. When the UNP opened up the economy in 1977, it threw caution to the winds. Instead of discarding the outdated economic policies selectively and adopting new ones to keep pace with the changing world, it debilitated the state enterprises post-haste and drove most of them to an economic mass grave. more..

2,200 school PC labs

Mar 1 (SAMN) The Ministry of Education has taken steps to establish 2,200 School Computer Laboratories throughout the island while 50,000 teachers are scheduled to undergo a training programme on Information Technology, Minister of Education Susil Premjayantha said Friday at the awards ceremony for `Innovative Teachers’, conducted jointly by the Microsoft Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Education. more..

Automated data base for NGO secretariat

Mar 1 (SAMN) NGO secretariat under the Ministry of Social Services and Social Welfare introduced an automated data base system for operations in the NGO sector including registration supervision, monitoring, visa and work permit matters and other activities concerning the NGOs. The data base was developed by the Computer School of University of Colombo and funded by the Asia Foundation. more..

LTTE asks IC to recognise Tamil rights

Mar 1 (SAMN)The official organ of the LTTE, Viduthalai Puligal in its latest issue has requested the international community to recognise the rights of the Tamils to autonomy as it did in the cases of Montenegro, East Timor and recently Kosovo. Congratulating the birth of Kosovo as the latest nation in the world, the Viduthalai Puligal in its editorial says that the newest country blossomed in the world map has given hope and enthusiasm to the nations that are struggling against oppression. more..

Sri Lanka equipped to face bird flu

Mar 1 (SAMN) Sri Lanka is ready to face a possible threat of Avian Flu. The Epidemiology Unit has conducted preparedness programmes and set out guidelines and procedures to follow, Deputy Epidemiologist Dr. Paba Palihawadana said Friday. "We have a national plan and a technical committee to provide facilities while training of hospital staff is carried out. Stakeholders in this issue, such as the Animal Production, Environment Ministry were also involved in preventive activities," she said. more..

Unending stream of devotees pay homage to Sacred Buddha Hair Relics

Mar 1 (DN) An unending stream of devotees flocked to the Matara Weherahena Poorvarama Raja Maha Vihara on Thursday and Friday to pay homage to the Sacred Hair Relics of Buddha when it was brought in a colourful motorcade from Colombo on its way to the Kataragama Kiri Vehera premises. The exposition which began on Thursday afternoon continued till after midnight. The exposition which began yesterday morning for the second day was expected to continue till midnight. more..

Govt empowering Co-op Movement - Trade Minister

Mar 1 (DN) A number of pledges given at the budget 2008 for the empowerment of the Co-operative Movement as a sustainable people's enterprise have been fulfilled by the Government, said Trade, Marketing Development, Co-operatives and Consumer Service Minister Bandula Gunawardana. Addressing a press-briefing in Colombo, the Minister said several budget proposals presented by President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Finance and Planning Minister are being implemented to provide greater relief to consumers by strengthening the Co-operative system. more..

Rift within Left on APRC outcome

Mar 1 (Island) Indicative of a growing rift within the decision-making organs of the LSSP over the inability of the APRC to present to the Government, what is described as, a preliminary report of its deliberations, in addition to the proposals to implement in full the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, senior LSSPer and Constitutional Affairs specialist, Dr. Jayampathy Wickremaratne resigned from his position as Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs yesterday. more..