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US State Dept. donates $220,000 worth anti-terrorism equipment to police

Mar 17 (GDI) The United States Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Office of Antiterrorism Assistance will donate approximately $220,000 worth of equipment to the Sri Lanka National Police (SLNP) in a brief ceremony Tuesday, March 18, 2008 at 9:00 a.m. at the American Embassy. The purpose of the equipment is to sustain and enhance the critical capabilities of the security forces of Sri Lanka in their efforts to fight terrorism, more..

Rupavahini employees to have special discussion with President today

Mar 17 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is scheduled to hold a special discussion with the Rupavahini employees today on issues pertaining to their security. Although the President instructed relevant authorities to take necessary action to ensure the security of Rupavahini media personnel, there have been a number of attacks on individuals over the past several weeks. The President had already held a special discussion with more..

Increased student intake for North and East Universities

Mar 17 (GDI) Plans have been made by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to admit more students to the Eastern University in Batticaloa given the improvement of the security situation there. "We will not confine the universities in these two provinces only for Tamil and Muslim students. We will also send Sinhala students there," stated the Chairman of the UGC, Prof. Gamini Samaranayake. more..

'Green Channel' for doctors traveling to Mannar and Vavuniya

Mar 17 (GDI) With the aim of reducing the delays and complexities faced by the doctors who are traveling to Mannar and Vavuniya through the Medawachchiya check point, the Ministry of Defence will introduce a special 'green channel' from today (17) for medical practitioners, according to Health Ministry sources. Doctors serving in the areas have complained to the Ministry of Health that they have to undergo difficulties because of the roadblock both on their way to more..

Foreign Ministry takes issue with US State Department's Human Rights Report

Mar 17 (GDI) Minister of Foreign Affaires, Rohitha Bogollagama in a detailed discussion with the US Ambassador in Sri Lanka Robert Blake, explaining the Human Rights situation in Sri Lanka, expressed strong protest against the recently released US Department's Human Rights Report, claiming that the report "presents a distorted view of the actual situation in Sri Lanka during the year 2007 and is unfortunately a litany of unsubstantiated allegations, innuendo and vituperative exaggerations". more..

Heavy rain, floods, landslides warning

Mar 17 (SAMN) Heavy rains accompanied by floods and earthslips, wreaked havoc in several parts of the country, with the Meteorogical Department forecasting further showers specially in the East, Uva and North Central provinces. More than 2,000 people were displaced by Sunday in addition to two deaths being reported from Badulla. Extensive damage to property and crops has also been reported from several areas, while Maha harvesting has also being severely affected in the North Central and Eastern areas. more..

National Schools’ Software competition

Mar 17 (SAMN) The Computer Society of Sri Lanka (CSSL) is conducting the National Schools’ Software Competition for the 19th consecutive year, and is endorsed by the ICTA, and supported by ESOFT Computer Studies (Pvt) Ltd. as its Strategic Partner. Winners of this competition conducted at the National School Level including provinces, will be sponsored to attend the SEARCC Competition which is to be held in India. more..

LTTE not within church premises: Bishop

Mar 17 (SAMN) The army wants Bishop of Mannar Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph to persuade the LTTE to withdraw four artillery and mortar positions, which, it says, are located within the Madhu church area. The military said the LTTE had repeatedly fired their big guns at the troops deployed in the area but the army had refrained from retaliating out of respect for the much venerated shrine. more..

LTTE promises Kosovo-type solution

Mar 17 (SAMN) The LTTE, now struggling to stop a relentless army advance into its territory, amidst mounting loss of men and material on the Vanni, Weli Oya and Jaffna fronts, is expecting the West to come to its rescue. Authoritative government sources said LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran had expressed confidence in what he called a Kosovo-type intervention by the international community, when he met with a senior TNA MP in the Vanni recently. more..

More parties to join the fray for PC poll

Mar 17 (DN) More political parties are expected to join the fray for the Provincial Council elections in the East slated for May 10 in the backdrop of the successful conclusion of the Batticaloa Local Government polls. Major political parties including the UNP and TNA withdrew from the race in Batticaloa citing security concerns, but according to all accounts the poll concluded peacefully with reported cases of election violations being at an all time low. more..

'Private healthcare system should be developed'

Mar 17 (DN) The private healthcare system should be improved to keep pace with the Government health sector. This would help provide a better health service and to address global challenges, Healthcare and Nutrition Minster Nimal Siripala de Silva said. “For the past several decades the burden of Sri Lanka’s healthcare system is on the Government, but the Government’s policy now is to encourage private medical healthcare as more hospitals develop to international standards. more..

Pillayan hails implementation of 13th Amendment in full

Mar 17 (DM) Decentralisation of power, with the provincial council as the unit of devolution, will resolve many burning problems in the country, and the government’s attempt to resolve the national problem through the APRC by implementing the 13th. Amendment in full deserves to be welcomed with open arms by the people, TMVP acting leader Pillayan said yesterday. more..

Building in vicinity a threat to Parliament security

Mar 17 (DM) The Kaduwela Pradeshiya Sabha is in hot water for giving permission to put up a three storied building in the vicinity of the Sri Jayewardenepura Parliament complex which is reported to be a threat to security. UPFA Western Provincial Council Member Raja Balasuriya said the building was clearly a threat to the security of the Parliament as it is not permitted to put up a three storied building near the Parliament for security reasons. more..

HR Minister visits detained journalist

Mar 17 (Island) The Sunday Times columnist J. S. Tissanayagam, who has been held by the Terrorist Investigation Division of the Police since March 7, had an unexpected visitor last Tuesday – Human Rights and Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe. Samarasinghe confirmed that he had visited the detainee to make sure that he was not being ill treated and told The Island that Tissanayagam, who is permitted visits by his wife and meals from outside had said he was well treated. more..

Jathika Sanga Council warns Mahinda of dire consequences

Mar 17 (Island) The Jathika Sanga Council yesterday warned President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government of dire consequences if they turned a blind eye to a violent campaign against Rupavahini workers following an incident Minister Mervin Silva and his bodyguards created at the Rupavahini Corporation. Referring to Singalowada Sutta, Ven. Dutuwewe Lankananda, the Secretary of the Council said that the ruling coalition would have its imaged irreparably damaged, should it allow more..

Editorial: Sri Lanka's recurring fever

Mar 17 (BL) ALL TOO many regions of the contemporary world are afflicted with recurring outbreaks of warfare between nation-states and ethnic or sectarian minorities. One of the worst has been festering for the past quarter-century in Sri Lanka, where 70,000 people have perished in intermittent fighting between a government dominated by a Sinhalese Buddhist majority and minority Tamils, who are mostly Hindu. more..

Sri Lanka and Pakistan help each other in gem trade

Mar 17 (APP) The governments of Sri Lanka and Pakistan singed a memorandum of understanding where by Sri Lanka agreed to provided technical assistance to develop Pakistan Gem Industry covering all its various fields. As an initial step, the Pakistan High commission in Sri Lanka with the coordination of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Recourse of Pakistan and Ministry of Enterprises Development & Investment Promotion of Sri Lanka organized a more..

Spreading the news to IDPs

Mar 17 (IRIN) People receiving emergency relief rarely know exactly what is available for them, or how to access it. For many people escaping violence in Sri Lanka's war zones and stuck in camps, information on basic services or job and education opportunities could be vital. Lifeline, a project administered by Internews Network, an international media development NGO, is trying to fill that gap by offering news and information to displaced people in Sri Lanka, more..

Family of threatened journalist seriously injured in attack

Mar 17 (IFJ) The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns an attack on the family home of journalist Munusami Parameshwari in which her father and sister were seriously injured. According to the Free Media Movement (FMM), an IFJ affiliate, several intruders armed with clubs forcibly entered the home in Gampola, in the Kandy district, on March 14. The attackers reportedly surrounded the house and prevented family members from seeking urgent medical attention. more..

Journalists Fight a Separate War

Mar 17 (IPS) While Sri Lanka’s armed forces battle Tamil Tiger rebels in the north, sections of the country’s media are embroiled in a war of a different kind -- a fight to pursue their mission as journalists. Three unrelated events involving men and women working for television, print and an on-line publication have brought this dire situation into sharp focus. In all cases, spread over the past two weeks, media practioners have been under fire, triggering outrage from local and international media rights groups. more..

The plight of Sri Lanka’s enslaved Mothers, Daughters and Sisters

Mar 17 (ML) Sri Lanka, the pearl of the Indian Ocean, is seen as a tropical island paradise by many. Though beautiful, its troubles, both political and economical, mean that there has been an efflux of migrants for many years. In countries such as Canada, Australia & New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, Sri Lankan migrants from the upper middle classes form a prominent sector of the communities settled there. more..

Asia Cup may be shifted to Sri Lanka

Mar 17 (KT) The once rescheduled Asia Cup cricket tournament which is to be played in Pakistan from June 24 to July 6 may be shifted to Sri Lanka owing to security concerns, according to Lankan media reports. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chief Arjuna Ranatunga will discuss among other issues this summer’s Asia Cup during his meeting in Lahore with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials this week. more..

Sri Lanka military says 27 Tamil rebels, 3 soldiers killed in new fighting

Mar 17 (AP) A new wave of fighting between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels across Sri Lanka's embattled northern region has killed 27 rebels and three soldiers, the military said Monday. Reports of fighting have increased in recent months amid government promises to capture the rebels' de facto state in the north and crush the group by the end of the year. Diplomats and other observers say, however, that the army has faced more resistance than it expected. more..

Seized boats meant for LTTE expose state’s vulnerability

Mar 17 (KT) THE recent seizure of two boats, suspected to be built for the LTTE, from two boatyards near Cochin and Trichur has put the Kerala police in a tizzy. The cops have been sitting over warning sounded by Intelligence agencies as well as Navy that the LTTE might shift their operations, especially drug trafficking and arms running, in the wake of tighter vigil on the Tamil Nadu and Konkan coasts. more..

Sri Lanka state television on 'holiday' over worker attacks

Mar 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state-run Rupavahini television station was running with a skeleton staff Monday after the management declared a 'holiday' overnight to avert a strike, union workers said. Sri Lanka Rupavahini Workers Union, whose president Anurasiri Hettige was attacked by club-wielding thugs last week, said only a few selected workers were allowed into the TV station after the night shift left work in the morning. more..

Police intelligence operatives filming SLRC demonstration

Mar 18 (CP) According to media reports an unidentified man was seen lurking around the demonstration that was being staged by Rupavahini employees and filiming certain portions of the demonstration, according to reports the man and his accomplice were later identified as being intelligence operatives of the police. The inital incident fo Mervyn SIlva assaulting the News Director of SLRC ended with the minister being held hostage by enraged Rupavahini staff. more..

'No union action' on SLRC

Mar 18 (BBC) Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) workers have decided not to take any inductrial action after President Mahinda Rajapaksa agreed to their demands on Monday. Chairman of SLRC producers union, Kanchana Marasinghe, told BBC Sandeshaya that the president agreed to their demands apart from sacking minister Mervyn Silva. The minister was called upon by the president as the meeting progressed, Mr. Marasinghe said, adding that the union leaders did not strongly pursue the sacking of the minister as more..

Basic democratic rights for media personnel

Mar 18 (TC) Recent news reports about the continuing harassment and arrests of media persons are both disturbing and frustrating. Today the focus of the whole Nation is on the brazen and systematic violence against several Rupavahini media persons, and the recent arrest and indefinite detention without access to lawyers of a group of journalists associated with a news web site and printing press. more..

"Life is precious" - Government appeals to suicide bombers

Mar 18 (ML) A series of unusual posters have appeared in some of Colombo`s localities. Predominantly seen in Wellawatte and Kotahena, the posters call on the sensibilities of possible suicide bombers. Questioning the rationale of dying for a cause that itself is on the brink of collapse, the posters remind its audience that LTTE`s terror leader Prabhakaran is facing an imminent loss. more..

Ambassador Hemantha Warnakulasuriya Thwarts LTTE TV Channel from Broadcasting Vicious Propaganda

Mar 18 (AT) Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Italy stopped the LTTE in their tracks trying to spread false information. Ambassador to Italy Hemantha Warnakulasuriya met with Italy’s Ministry of the Interior officials, Dr. Daniela Mengoni, Deputy Head of Department, and urged them to prevent the up linking of LTTE video material from its base stationed in Milan to the Eurobird Satellite. more..

Now all eyes on the new political Eastern identity - TMVP

Mar 18 (AT) Although quite q few parties decided to boycott the local government elections in the east, there seems to be hectic political activities in the province as most of the political parties are interested in entering the fray this time to wrest power in the Eastern Provincial Council. Nomination for the Eastern Provincial Council is to be accepted from 27 March to April 3rd and polling is to be held on 10 May. more..

Hope amidst utter hopelessness

Mar 18 (CP) Local Government elections have been held in the East and the TMVP has emerged the winner as desired by the government. The question whether this result would prove desirable for the people of the East, will be answered in the coming months. How the TMVP will use its new-found power, will determine how the drama will play out. The election results were a foregone conclusion, and ‘well designed’. However, it is a result and reality the people of the East have to live with. more..

Serialising Part Eight of J.B. Muller’s ‘The Burghers’

Mar 18 (CP) The beginning of the Burgher Community in Jaffna, then known as Jaffnapatnam, began with the Portuguese occupation of the Peninsula led by Dom Andre Furtado de Mendoça in 1591, and that was further consolidated by its annexation in 1619 under Dom Filipe D’Oliveira. One of the factors that aided the Portuguese from 1619 to 21 was the presence of a pro-Portuguese native Catholic group in Jaffnapatnam that helped the Portuguese to end the so-called Jaffna kingdom said to have begun in medieval times. more..

Kuwait ambassador chased stranded Sri Lankans away from the embassy for complaining the Minister Keheliya

Mar 18 (LeN) There are 240 female housemaids stranded at the Embassy. In addition there are 19 males who have stayed at the Embassy for about two months due to problems at the work places. These Sri Lankan men have come to Kuwait paying Rs 120,000/- for various agents in Sri Lanka. Most of them have sold their properties to collect funds. On arrival they were not paid the agreed salary and not provided with the facilities as per labour contracts. more..

Canadian man charged with aiding Tamil Tigers

Mar 18 (VS) On Saturday RCMP arrested a man they suspect has been raising funds for a Sri Lankan-based terrorist organization known as the Tamil Tigers. Prapaharan (aka 'Prapa') Thambithurai was remanded in custody on Sunday, March 16 and is scheduled to appear in Vancouver Provincial Court on Tuesday, March 18th, 2008, according to a statement issued by the RCMP. It is alleged that Mr. Thambithurai committed an offence under Section 83.03(b) of the Criminal Code of Canada, more..

Sri Lanka make most of inexperienced attack

Mar 18 (AFP) Malinda Warnapura and Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene warmed-up for the first Test against West Indies later this week when they took advantage of an inexperienced Guyana Cricket Board President's Select XI attack on Monday. Warnapura retired out on 132 and Jayawardene was dismissed for 99, as the visiting Sri Lankans reached 343 for five when stumps were drawn on the opening day of their three-day, non-first class, tour match more..

Nuns, priests, brothers gather to promote peace through truth

Mar 18 (UCAN) Nuns from various Catholic women's congregations stressed the need to inform the public about the truth on this troubled island rather than leave them to rely on the "lies" of the media. The Women's Desk of the Inter-Congregational Conference gathered 350 nuns, 100 priests and brothers, and 160 laypeople to discuss the civil war and how to improve the chances of peace through better communication and an emphasis on the truth. more..

Bayliss touts Murali as series winner

Mar 18 (AFP) Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss has identified off-spin bowling legend Muttiah Muralitharan as the player that will make the difference in Sri Lanka's two-Test series against West Indies in the Caribbean. Muralitharan has captured 70 of his World record 723 Test wickets against West Indies at 17.34 runs apiece in 10 Tests. "Murali's record speaks for itself and I'm sure if he bowls well we are going to be right in the game, no doubt about it," more..

Politically French, culturally Tamil: 12 Tamils elected in Paris and suburbs

Mar 18 (TN) An emerging picture in recent times in Europe and North America is the active and successful participation of Tamils in the local politics. The new impetus seems to be coming from the younger generation of Eezham Tamils. Twelve candidates of Tamil origins have been elected to the local bodies of Paris and suburbs in the local government elections concluded last Sunday in France. more..

Bail denied for Maheswaran murder suspects

Mar 18 (TN) Chief Magistrate Raveendra Premaratna Monday denied the bail appeal submitted on behalf of Francis Sutharsan, the second accused charged in connection with the assassination of T.Maheswaran, Colombo district United National Party (UNP) and Member of parliament, legal sources in Colombo said. The magistrate instructed the police to continue to keep the suspect in detention until further notice. more..

Sinhala Sangha and the concept of a nation

Mar 18 (LG) The Order of monks established by Arahat Mahinda was popularly known as Sinhala Sangha. It belonged to the Theravada school. On different interpretations and analyses of knotty points of the Dhamma which arose from time to time separate centres such as Abhayagiri and Jetavana took roots in Anuradhapura. They were purely creations of the Sihala Sangha. Into these establishments penetrated influences of Indian Bhikkhus of divergent views and expanded the horizen of Buddhist thought and learning. more..

Let us Protect our Friend

Mar 18 (LG) Good friends are different from covert enemies in that friends help each other to stay away from danger by giving prior advises. Maybe a lot of Sri Lankans do not know that the US Department of State is a silent but genuine friend of Sri Lanka. Let me quote one example that I know for sure. US Department of State has been continuously empowering Sri Lanka to develop effective approaches to detect and remove anti-personal landmines. more..

(Extra) Judicial Killing

Mar 18 (LG) Peering ‘between the blinds’ of our justice system, I was reminded of the eighteenth century French statesman Marie Joseph Lafayette’s considered view on capital punishment: "Till the infallibility of human judgment shall have been proven to me, I shall demand the abolition of the death penalty." In the Sri Lankan context, it is not merely the fallibility of human judgement, but the parlous state of the three pillars of our democracy, more..

Federalism? Do not forget the Kandyans

Mar 18 (LG) Sri Lanka turned into the 21st Century and we note a complexity of problem viz. ethnic, economic, social and constitutional. We are a confirmed unitary state by all connotations. Like a bolt from the blue, we have turned 180 degrees and are running in the direction of FEDERALISM. Our politicians are exceptionally clever to change position overnight and argue with beautiful oratory "THEIR" new thinking. more..

President & Pillayan to discuss East polls

Mar 18 (LD) Representatives of the Pillayan Group are to meet the President at Temple Trees today (Mar. 18th). President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Pillayan are to hold a special discussion regarding the upcoming Provincial Council elections in the East, sources at the Presidential secretariat said. The meeting takes place after the swearing-in of the members elected to the Batticaloa Municipal Council and the eight Pradeshiya Sabhas that went to the polls on March 10th. more..

Tissanayagam files FR petition

Mar 18 (LD) J.A. Tissanayagam, columnist for ‘The Sunday Times’ and Chief Editor of ‘Outreach’ website filed a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court yesterday against his illegal arrest and detention. Tissanayagam was arrested by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) on March 06th along with a colleague, when they visited the TID to inquire into the wellbeing of owner of Outreach Multimedia and Equality Printers W. Jaseekaran and his wife, who were being held by the TID. more..

Mervyn refuses president an assurance over SLRC issue

Mar 18 (LD) Minister Mervyn Silva has refused to give an assurance to President Mahinda Rajapaksa that employees of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation would not be harmed or intimidated in the future, claiming that he had nothing to do with the spate of attacks against them. President Rajapaksa yesterday (Mar. 17th) summoned Minister Silva during a meeting with SLRC trade unions and other senior government officials. more..

Eyewitness implicates STF to Trinco massacre

Mar 18 (LD) At yesterday’s public hearing by a Commission of Inquiry into the killing of five Tamil students in Trincomalee on January 02nd 2006, the testimony by a key witness implicated the STF of being behind the incident. One of the two survivors of the incident, Pararajasingham Kokularaj was scheduled to give evidence via live video conference from an undisclosed location with the expectation of unveiling the identity of the perpetrators. more..

Sri Lanka raises cigarette taxes

Mar 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka is hoping to raise one and half billion rupees from a hike in tobacco taxes which has increased retail prices of most cigarette brands by one rupee, officials said. "The bulk of the revenue from the price increase would to the government," Dinesh Dharmadasa, Corporate Affairs Director of CTC told LBO. He did not reveal the exact portion of revenue that would remain with CTC. more..

Sri Lanka petroleum workers call off strike: Union Official

Mar 18 (LBO) Workers at state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has called off a strike following discussions with the management, a union official said. Ananda Lakshman, president of the CPC general workers union said chairman Ashantha de Mel had agreed to get a letter from the Treasury agreeing to some of their demands. The unions wanted salary increases, settling salary anomalies, a formal system for filling vacancies and more..