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Sri Lankans warily vote in eastern city of Batticaloa

Mar 10 (AP) Sri Lankans trickled to the polls Monday in the turbulent eastern city of Batticaloa to vote in the first municipal elections since government forces seized control of the east last year from Tamil Tiger rebels. Though thousands of police officers and soldiers patrolled the streets, many residents only warily came to polling stations in this city, which has been plagued by chaos and violence attributed to armed militia groups vying for power in the wake of the rebel defeat. more..

Maharoof out of West Indies tour

Mar 11 (CI) Farveez Maharoof, the Sri Lankan allrounder, has been ruled out of the West Indies tour with a side strain. Maharoof, 23, suffered the injury during the recently-concluded CB Series in Australia, but was named in the 15-member Test squad for the two matches against West Indies starting later this month. Selection committee sources stated that Maharoof had failed to recover sufficiently from the injury and would miss the tour. more..

China and Pakistan lauds Govt. efforts to safeguard Human Rights

Mar 11 (GDI) While welcoming the statement made by Dayan Jayatilleka, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to United Nation that the Government will not encourage the establishment of any UN Human Rights missions in Sri Lanka, the Government of China and Pakistan have decided to back Sri Lanka on the issue. The Pakistan representative Mahood Khan criticizing the outgoing High Commissioner Louise Arbour for not highlighting the efforts taken by the Government to protect rights and more..

No election-related incidents -- PAFFEREL

Mar 11 (GDI) Contrary to speculation from some quarters, including certain media institutions, no election-related incidents had been reported by the time polls closed today, according to Kinsley Rodrigo of the election-monitoring outfit PAFFEREL. Speaking to the, the Official Government News Portal, Rodrigo said that more than 51% of the total eligible voters in Batticoloa have caste their vote at the election. more..

Have Sri Lankans lost their appetite for change?

Mar 11 (AN) I originally sat down to write this blog in late January, planning to reflect on a symbolic period for Sri Lanka and the region. The end of January marked 60 years since the death of Indian freedom hero Mahatma Gandhi, and the beginning of February was the 60th anniversary of Sri Lanka's independence. Maybe it was just me, but I sensed some sort of hope and anticipation in the air. more..

Sri Lanka advertising industry eyes the web

Mar 11 (LBO) Advertising agencies are struggling to convince clients to use the web as internet penetration increases in Sri Lanka, but poor awareness among clients and users alike, hinder these efforts, officials said. As the demand for web advertising in the world increases the local ad agencies says there is a need to shift their focus on to the web, if the island is to keep pace with global developments. more..

TMVP of vote rigging in local poll in Batti – party claimed

Mar 11 (LG) The Eelavar Democratic Front (EDF), the political wing of EROS has accused the TMVP of vote rigging at the local election polls today. The TMVP and the EDF have contested head on head and tensions between the EDF and the TMVP have been rife, according to the Party sources. Nesan Shankar Raji, senior leader and spokesperson for EROS stated in a communiqué that he had credible information from his members who more..

The LTTE in Crisis

Mar 11 (LG) In the past few weeks there have been many media reports that point to the prevalence of confusion and disarray among the LTTE in the face of heavy losses inflicted by the armed forces of the Government of Sri Lanka. Apart from many references to injury sustained by the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in the course of an aerial bombardment in November 2007, there was some speculation that he may even have died. more..

Ruins of a medical cente found from Thissamaharamaya

Mar 11 (LeN) The ruins of a medical center believed to belong to a period between 03 BC and 10 AD have been excavated from Thissamaharama by a German-Sri Lanka archeological exploration project. Several ancient lavatory systems that are made with large clay pots resembling to modern commodes are amongst the unearthed ruins. Ruins were excavated from Sarvodaya Waththa of Athurugoda, Thissamaharamaya adjacent to Thissa Weva more..

Travels in a Militarised Society - 7

Mar 11 (GV) I enter Odel from the car park side with echoes of the student protest and the rubber bullets in my ears. I wet a hankie with my water bottle and wipe the tears from my eyes. Odel is bedecked with pre-Christmas colours: this old white colonial mansion is decorated with classy, elegant peacock coloured angels, birds and fairy lights. The day is hot as usual. As I cross the threshold, a soft mist of water from above the door baptises me; a gentle moment of luxury courtesy of the management. more..

Reality of meat consumption in post colonial period in Sri Lanka

Mar 11 (LR) Sri Lankan culture has been evolved for over over two thousand years in harmony with our soil, climate and geographical realities. From time to time we were influenced by Indian sub continent. Some of the influences came in the form of friendly missions and there were occations that the influence was in the forms of invasions. However, Sri Lankas were able to buid independent culture and tradition with Sri Lankan identity. more..

Election in Eastern province and the role of Gobels

Mar 11 (LR) Today we witnessed the successful completion of local government election in Batticolo district. This has been reported as an election with least amount of violence and closer to fifty percent of voters have cast their ballot to strengthen the democracy. This election sealed the defeat of LTTE terrorists in the Eastern province and created a new avenue to establish democracy. more..

India risks indictment in war crimes, cautions LTTE

Mar 11 (TN) LTTE from its Head Quarters in Vanni on Monday released a statement condemning the Indian "State welcome" extended to Sri Lanka Army Chief Lt. Col. Sarath Fonseka and the statements made by Indian military chiefs in this context. "[The] Indian State must take the responsibility for the ethnic genocide of the Tamils that will be carried out by the Sinhala military, re-invigorated by such moves of the Indian State," the statement said. more..

50% turnout, paramilitary manipulates voting in Batticaloa

Mar 11 (TN) Voter turnout within Batticaloa municipal council was low till Monday noon, according to the sources in Batticaloa city. However, turnout at rural areas was above 50%. Despite the presence of a reasonable number of monitors, there were reports of fraudulent activities as paramilitary personnel were actively engaged in transporting voters to the booths. The TMVP paramilitary has heaped up anti-Muslim campaign warning Tamils that non-participation in local elections would benefit the Muslims. more..

Tough times continue for Jaffna residents

Mar 11 (IRIN) The evening of 11 August 2006 is etched in the minds of those who live in the northern Jaffna peninsula. At around 5.30pm, the LTTE attacked the front lines that separated government-controlled Jaffna and areas under Tiger control farther south. The onslaught prompted the closure of the A-9 highway, the only land link between the peninsula and the rest of the island. About 100km of the A-9 runs through LTTE-controlled areas and it has not opened for civilian traffic since, leaving Jaffna residents isolated. more..

NPC: Assassination is the antithesis of democratic rule of law

Mar 11 (FI) The assassination of TNA Member of Parliament for the Jaffna District, K Sivanesan on his way home to his family and four children after in voting in Parliament is an abominable crime. He was killed in a claymore mine explosion within LTTE-controlled territory in the Wanni where his home was. The National Peace Council condemns this assassination of an elected Parliamentarian. more..

US State Department trains Sri Lankan police officers in counter terrorism

Mar 11 (AT) A reputed Counter terrorism school in the United States trained mid level and senior police officers in Sri Lanka to combat the LTTE at the Police Training School Kalutara under State Department Funds during February. “Mercyhurst College Intelligence Studies Department Chair Jim Breckenridge and Assistant Professor Dave Grabelski recently returned from Kalutara, Sri Lanka, where they delivered counterterrorism training to Sri Lankan law enforcement, more..

Sri Lanka foreign reserves move to US$3.2bn

Mar 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka's foreign reserves had increased to 3.4 billion dollars by March 06 with the monetary authority collecting 366 million dollars since the beginning of the year, the central bank said. The Central Bank had been heavily intervening in the inter-bank foreign exchange market in a bid to keep the Sri Lanka rupee down against the US dollar after money printing was reduced and the rupee started to appreciate. more..

Why are they all ganging up on Sri Lanka

Mar 11 (KT) EITHER the world is ganging up against Sri Lanka or there is something wrong in the country where President Mahinda Rajapaksa is at the helm of affairs. In recent weeks, the International Commission of Jurists, the Amnesty International, the Human Rights Watch and top UN officials fired salvo after salvo on Sri Lanka, putting the government on the back-foot to defend itself. more..

Government-backed ex-rebels win east S.Lanka poll

Mar 11 (Reuters) Government-backed former Tamil Tiger rebels accused of abductions and killings have won a landslide in a Sri Lankan local election that critics say was marred by the threat of violence, officials said on Tuesday. The TMVP, made up of fighters who defected from the mainstream Tigers in 2004 and helped the government evict their former comrades from the east of the island, polled first in all nine local contests in Monday's vote. more..

Violating the Constitution Continues From J.R to M.R.

Mar 11 (FI) President Jayewardene fathered the 1978 Constitution. He saw to it that, as President, he would be endowed with all powers other than to carry out sex changes, i.e. “to turn a man into a woman or vice versa”, as he himself put it. Towards this objective, he had Article 35 (l) of the Constitution worded as follows by a bunch of sycophantic constitutional lawyers without a protest from even one of his gutless party members: more..

Lankans to get 100,000 more jobs in Qatar

Mar 11 (GDI) Sri Lanka will be sending 100,000 Sri Lankans for employment in Qatar following an agreement reached during the talks between Qatar's Minister of Labour Dr. Sultan Al Dawsary and Sri Lanka's Minister of Foreign Employment and Welfare Development Keheliya Rambukwella. This will boost the number of Sri Lankan employed in Qatar to 230,000. more..

LTTE men collecting funds in the UK

Mar 11 (SLW) After being inactive for over fifteen months, the LTTE cadres have started a sudden campaign to collect fund in London. The fund collectors are said be previously unknown new faces and they are said to be using lists of names of Tamils to visit Tamil house. The fund collectors are said to aggressively targeting Tamil retail businesses and in some cases they have threatened dire consequences if payment is not made. more..

'The APRC does not seem to address the core issues of the conflict'

Mar 11 (LG) The Sri Lankan government on the one hand is constrained form any any option that will divide the island nation and destroy its sovereignty , on the other however, it also fails in putting forth any form of package to firmly and truly deal with the ethnic Tamil issue, Dr. Geeta Madhavan said in an interview with Sri Lanka Guardian. Dr Geeta Madhavan is an Attorney with specialisation in International Law. more..

SC bans pacts among shareholders in SLT share sale

Mar 11 (LD) While giving the green light for the sale of Telecom shares by NTT of Japan in a transparent manner, the Supreme Court today (Mar.10th) prohibited shareholders from entering into agreements among them. Hearing the petition filed by the late MP Sripathi Sooriarachchi, the SC permitted NTT to sell its shares to Malaysia’s Maxis in accordance with accepted regulations, but said that any discrepancy could be brought to the attention of the court. more..

Jathika Sabha vows to restore lost glory

Mar 11 (LD) The Jathika Sabha, comprising the UNP and the SLFP Mahajana Wing, yesterday vowed to restore lost values in politics, legal and administrative professions and various sectors through national consultation and policy. Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his opening remarks to national consultation for policy development initiative at New Town Hall said politicians in the past, no matter which party they belonged to, were widely respected and were never charged of any crime or corruption. more..

Antiquity, languages and politics of Sri Lanka

Mar 11 (CP) Sri Lanka, as we call her today, is an ancient land with an unfathomable history stretching into the mists of time. The attempt to understand her history, beyond the past few centuries, would be akin to the efforts of the proverbial five blind men to figure out an elephant. Sri Lanka, a tropical isle with plenty of rainfall, a hot and humid climate, and teaming with all sorts of creeping and crawling life, makes preserving ten-year-old books difficult even in modern homes! more..

President thanks all parties dedicated to a free and fair election

Mar 11 (GDI) While thanking all the parties involved in conducting a free and fair election in the District of Batticaloa and for the successful implementation of the Government's policy of restoring democracy in the East President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday (10) said "The successful completion of the local government elections in the East held today would bring satisfaction to all those who value democracy. more..

‘Srilankan’ carried the highest passenger volume in its history in 2007

Mar 11 (GDI) Sri Lankan Airlines which become the first foreign carrier to operate 100 flights per week to India last November and is now serving 11 cities there said that the airline had carried 3.2 million passengers in 2007, up 100,000 from the previous year, the largest volume of passengers it had carried since its creation in 1979. The biggest improvements were in traffic to and from Frankfurt, Bahrain, Doha, Bangkok, and Singapore. more..

SCOPP Quarterly Newsletter Launched

Mar 11 (PISL) "When the Ceasefire Agreement was abrogated at the beginning of this year, people asked us whether this will be the end of the peace process. We said absolutely not. Our position is that this will only strengthen the peace process. In the political solutions now being canvassed, we see elements that move towards peace.” said Professor Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary–General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) more..

Bilateral Discussion in Geneva re the British Position on Democracy, Terrorism and Human Rights

Mar 11 (PISL) In the course of a series of bilateral meetings with Ministers from different countries attending the High Level segment of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Sri Lankan delegation headed by Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights, met Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, Minister for State for Africa, Asia and the United Nations of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. more..

Was Sri Lanka President s son or route patrol the target?

Mar 11 (LNP) According to the Police the explosive device that was set off in Wellawatte yesterday might have targeted President Rajapaksa s son who uses the route to go to school or a routine military route-clearing patrol scheduled to pass that way. Police bomb disposal squad officials said it was a claymore mine weighing some two kilogrammes and had been exploded using a remote control device. It had been hidden inside a flowerbed on the island in the middle of Galle Road. more..

All Lankans must enjoy equal facilities, privileges - President

Mar 11 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa stressed the need of providing all facilities and privileges enjoyed by the people in the South of the country, to our fellow citizens in the North and East as well. President Rajapaksa made this observation when he addressed the third Annual Conference of the Sri Lanka Independant Professionals` Organisation at Temple Trees last Friday. more..

President inaugurates Sri Lanka Savings Bank

Mar 11 (LNP) Marking a milestone in the annals of the indigenous banking history, President Mahinda Rajapaksa ceremonially opened the State-owned Sri Lanka Savings Bank (SLSB) in Borella yesterday. Addressing a simple opening ceremony at the bank, President Rajapaksa noted that this too was an integral part of the Mahinda Chintanaya, the budget and the banking policies of the Government, being fulfilled and seeing the light of day, more..

Environment Minister takes tough stand

Mar 11 (SAMN) The Environment Ministry which is conducting a full probe into the recently exposed major gene smuggling racket had strongly rejected several attempts by some foreign diplomatic missions in Sri Lanka to intervene or influence the process. Environment Minister Champika Ranawaka said it was natural that these issues gained a lot of international exposure as these smuggling rackets were linked to international trade of medicine and related fields. more..

PC to look into Estate activities

Mar 11 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has appointed a commission to look into the development activities in the government tea Estates which are being managed by the private sector on lease following a Cabinet Memorandum by Plantation Industries Minister D.M. Jayaratne. The commission has also been directed to inquire into the labour disputes in the estates and make necessary recommendations to the Government. more..

JVP says polls not totally free, but …

Mar 11 (SAMN) The JVP Monday said that though the Local Government elections in the east could not be a 100 percent democratic exercise, it was at least the first step towards reviving democracy in the Eastern Province. JVP Parliamentary Group Leader Wimal Weerawansa said his party was happy that were held, but he believed that it could be totally free and fair as certain groups were seen carrying arms, but it was a start. more..

Compensation scheme for hit and run victims

Mar 11 (DN) The National Council for Road Safety (NCRS) has commenced a compensation scheme on behalf of hit and run accident victims. Under the Hit and Run Road Traffic Accident Victims Compensation Scheme Rs. 50,000 compensation will be paid on behalf of a person who dies as a result of a hit and run road accident and Rs. 30,000 compensation for those who suffer grievous injury. more..

Disaster response network through local bodies

Mar 11 (DN) The Provincial Council and Local Government Ministry has completed the fourth phase of the project to establish a disaster response network within selected Local Government authorities with the distribution of 27 fire-fighting equipment and rescue vehicles among 11 local bodies. These fire and rescue supported vehicles were handed over yesterday at the Colombo Fire Brigade premises by more..

Docs in North, East strike today

Mar 11 (Island) Members of the Government Medical Officers’ Association, serving in hospitals in the North and East, will launch a token strike today in protest against the Health Ministry’s delay in finalising their annual transfer list. Doctors in Trincomalee, Ampara, Batticoloa and Weli-Oya will be participating in the token strike. The GMOA has also made representation to the government to entrust the responsibility of the administration of doctors in the North and East to more..

Principals dragging feet over Grade 1 admissions

Mar 11 (Island) Amidst allegations of bribery and corruption by principals of certain leading schools, several parents have complained that admissions to Grade I, in such schools, for the current year had not been finalized up to the second week of March. Parents said that hardly one month remained for the first term school vacation while the education officials and principals were dragging their feet on the admission of children to Grade I in a number of schools. more..

Specialists probe Madlina’s death

Mar 11 (DM) The Health Ministry yesterday launched a probe on the death of young Manoharan Madlina, who died at the Ragama hospital after being bitten by a Russell’s viper last week. There been allegations of negligence by hospital authorities in treating the victim. A statement by the Health Ministry said a team including medical specialists were probing the incident and action would be taken against those found guilty no matter what their designations may be. more..

Parents storm Kandy education office

Mar 11 (DM) More than 100 parents stormed the Education Department in Kandy yesterday to protest their children’s names being cut from the Kandy district national schools list despite the children scoring high marks at the interview. Children of security forces personnel engaged in battle front operations and children of those killed during operations too were present at the protest. more..

Sri Lanka Cricket chief fears player exodus

Mar 11 (AFP) Young cricketers may soon opt out of playing for their country because of the huge amounts of money available in the sport, Sri Lanka's cricket chief Arjuna Ranatunga said on Tuesday. Ranatunga, Sri Lanka's World Cup-winning captain in 1996, said he was worried about the future of younger players who could be tempted to join the cash-rich Twenty20 leagues in India. more..

Bajaj emerges as leading motorbike in Sri Lanka

Mar 11 (PTI) Indian auto giant Bajaj is emerging as the leading motorcycle player in Sri Lanka amidst fierce competition from other global players, according to auto experts. "Bajaj may be competing more fiercely in maintaining its supremacy in the motorbike segments in India than in Sri Lanka, where it is selling like hot cakes due to fuel efficiency and other factors", the experts said. more..

Sri Lankan pilots eye growing Indian aviation market

Mar 11 (IANS) With the opening up of Indian aviation to foreigners, pilots from Sri Lanka have been eyeing the expanding Indian job market. At least 15 of them, including three or four expatriates, have joined one Indian airline or the other in recent months, a spokesman of the Sri Lankan Pilots Association told IANS. 'Jet Airways and Kingfisher are offering high salaries to get recruits from Sri Lanka. more..

LTTE links to boat-building a new threat

Mar 11 (NIP) The Tigers are on the prowl in Kerala backwaters. With the LTTE outsourcing its boat-building works to the obscure boat-building yards in Kerala, the state government has woken up to a new threat. The recent incidents in Munambam near Kochi and Azheekkal in Thrissur district in which the authorities have `seized' two boats allegedly being built for the Tigers indicate that the outfit has its presence or agents in Kerala. more..

TMVP sweeps Batti polls

Mar 11 (SAMN) The Tamil Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP), a group of former Tamil Tiger rebels won the Batticaloa local government elections Monday, securing eight of the nine local bodies. However, the key Batticaloa Municipal Council was won by the ruling coalition, the UPFA. Residents in Batticaloa voted for the first time in 14 years, after the government recaptured the area from the Tigers last year. The poll took place amid high security. more..

LTTE lashes out at India for hosting Lankan army chief

Mar 11 (PTI) The LTTE has criticised India for hosting the Sri Lankan army chief despite the scrapping of a 2002 ceasefire by Colombo, saying such moves will "reinvigorate" the island's military which was carrying out "ethnic genocide" against Tamils. In a statement circulated here, LTTE said it "strongly condemns" India extending a "state welcome" to the military chief Maj Gen Sarath Fonseka of the "Sinhala State" which has more..

Opposition MPs join campaign against media repression

Mar 12 (LD) Politicians from several opposition parties joined five media rights organizations in staging a major demonstration in front of state-owned Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) in Colombo today (Mar. 11th) as part of a wider campaign to call for safeguarding media freedom and protecting the lives of threatened staffers of the SLRC. Protestors representing five media organizations including the Free Media Movement, more..