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Nuclear waste at Colombo Port

Mar 1 (Island) The Chairman of the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) Dr. W. Abeywickrema yesterday said he had directed officials from the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and Sri Lanka Customs to take prompt action to move out a trans-shipment container of highly dangerous nuclear waste from the Colombo Port. The Director General of Customs (DGC) Sarath Jayatilleke admitted that he had been informed by his officers that a container suspected to contain nuclear waste was lying in the transshipment yard of the Mega city project and more..

SC judge queries “Api Wenuwen Api” reality

Mar 1 (DM) The Supreme Court yesterday issued an interim order suspending the letter requiring former Security Forces (East) Commander Parakrama Pannipitiya to vacate the staff quarters at Summit Flats. The Bench comprising Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, Justices N. G. Amaratunga and Jagath Balapatabendi also issued another interim order allowing him to retain vehicles and escorts he was entitled to as Commander of the Security Forces (East). more..

MiG deal probe going on: Guruge

Mar 1 (DM) Preliminary inquires into high profile complaint of the MiG deal had been completed by the time Bribery Commission’s Director General Piyasena Ranasinghe was removed from his post, the Commission’s Investigation Unit Director Neville Guruge said yesterday. “The Commission which is conducting investigations against 15 politicians had recorded statements from 10 Air Force personnel including commanders of the Air Force over the Mig probe. more..

Supreme court judge calls for end to discrimination

Mar 1 (LBO) A Supreme Court judge said society discriminates against its members despite pledging allegiance to a human rights charter, and called for equal treatment for marginalized sections. "If you take a simple issue of race, it is the duty of the majority of the Sinhalese to reach out to the minority," Justice Shirani Thilakawardene told the members of the Sri Lanka Cancer Society of which she is a vice-president on Friday. more..

Colombo rejects plea to call off polls

Mar 1 (Dawn) The government on Friday denied allegations that the local government elections to be held in the volatile eastern Batticaloa district would be affected by violence and dismissed an appeal by several non-governmental organisations to call off the polls. “We will go ahead with the elections and take every measure to see that the polls are free of violent incidents,” a government official said shortly after the civil society organisations made a written appeal to call off the polls. more..

SPC to manufacture pharmaceutical products locally

Mar 1 (GDI) As a solution to the growing demand for pharmaceutical products in the country, the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) has stepped into the process of manufacturing several pharmaceutical products locally which are required in higher quantities in State Hospitals. The local manufacturing of these products will avert the frequent shortage of several widely used pharmaceutical products in hospitals. more..

Sri Lanka and Turkey finalise extradition treaty

Mar 1 (GDI) Placing particular emphasis on terrorism-related offences, the Government has finalized the process of preparing a bilateral Extradition Treaty with the Government of Turkey, Foreign Ministry said today(29). The statement also added that the Treaty provides for extradition of fugitive offenders who are wanted for prosecution, trail, imposition or enforcement of a sentence in either country. more..

Unity among Govt. servants is a must to achieve expected goals – President

Mar 1 (GDI) While appreciating the contribution rendered by the Inland Revenue Department to reach the development goals of the country, President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday (29) addressing the officials of the Department said that to make the Government vision a reality consensus among Government servants is a must. The President pointed out that they have a major role to play in implementing the Government policies for the betterment of the country. more..

Prabhakaran has gangrened leg that could be amputated

Mar 1 (ANI) Velupillai Prabakaran, the reclusive leader of Sri Lanka's rebel LTTE is reported to be suffering from a badly gangrened leg, which could be amputated. According to an Asian Tribune report, Prabhakaran is holed up in a highly secret location in Wanni that has been declared out of bounds for senior LTTE cadres, including Pottu Amman, the intelligence Chief and Sosai, the head of the Sea Tigers. more..

Sri Lanka military, rebels trade death toll claims

Mar 1 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's military and the Tamil Tigers on Saturday each claimed fresh kills against their foe, contradicting each other amid a propaganda war raging parallel to a new phase in a 25-year civil war. The military said troops killed 22 Tiger rebels for the loss of one soldier in the island's far north on Friday, while pro-rebel Web site quoted the Tigers as saying they had killed 11 soldiers and wounded many the same day. more..

Murali to quit ODIs to pursue thousand Test wickets

Mar 2 (IANS) Muttiah Muralitharan will soon quit one-day cricket so that he can achieve his goal of reaching the milestone of 1,000 Test wickets, but he will do so only after overtaking Wasim Akram's world record of 502 wickets in the shorter version of the game. Murali is following in the footsteps of another legend Shane Warne who quit one-day cricket to prolong his Test life. more..

Illegal immigrant hidden in luggage compartment nabbed in Singapore

Mar 2 (AHN) Security was heightened at the Woodlands Checkpoint in Singapore on Friday when immigration officers found an illegal immigrant hidden in the luggage compartment of a travel coach. The immigrant, who was arrested, is a Sri Lankan man in his late 20s. He was discovered when security officers were conducting routine checks on vehicles leaving the country. The Malaysian bus driver, conspiring with the Sri Lankan stowaway, was also arrested. more..

Sri Lanka:Tamil mothers waiting for their sons

Mar 2 (IL) Further to my telephone conversation with your colleague, I am sending this letter to you to bring to your notice the concerns of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Paris on the programme which portrays a one-sided view of the situation in Sri Lanka. The English Service of the France 24 is a news channel which is generally seen as a reputed news channel which has gain grounds during the short period it has been on the air. more..

Angela Kane visit: Mercury rises in UN glass house over Sri Lanka

Mar 2 (TC) “Is Angela Kane bringing a cane to Sri Lanka”? was how a website speculated on the eve of the visit by the ,UN Assistant Secretary -General for Political affairs to Sri Lanka last week. The senior UN official was in Sri Lanka on a six - day visit from February 20th to 26th. The German national joined the UN in 1977 during the time Kurt Waldheim of Austria was secretary - general. more..

The abrogation of the CFA

Mar 2 (LG) The abrogation of the non-operative Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) has been criticised by certain local and foreign politicians and leaders. There is no justification for such criticism and they have not been realistic in doing so. In February 2002, the UNP Leader, as the then Prime Minister, entered into the CFA with the LTTE though he had no power to do so. It was the President, the head of State, who could have legally and constitutionally, entered into such an agreement. more..

Has Mahapola failed its objective?

Mar 2 (LG) Today, virtually every Sri Lankan student studying at a state university here gets the Mahapola Grant. Whether hailing from a rich or poor family, they get it So much so, that it had become a right. A right not only to receive it, but periodically demand an increase to what they had hitherto received - sometimes maybe with arrears! And in return, they don’t undertake to do even such necessary (but unfulfilled) conditions such as wildcat strikes, more..

A clash of cultures

Mar 2 (LG) In 1838, the then Governor of Ceylon, Sir J.A. Stewart Mackenzie, wrote to the Sultan of Maldives, Muhammad Imad-ud-Din, acknowledging receipt of a letter received from him through the Maldivian Ambassador in Colombo. It said: I have received, by Your Highness’s Ambassador, Your Highness’s friendly Letter, and I much rejoice to hear of Your health and Your continued friendship for the British Government and for myself. more..

Henry, Manel and Bertolt Brecht

Mar 2 (LG) For many of my gradually vanishing generation, to think of Henry Jayasena is to remember Azdak in the stage play Hunuwateye Kathawa, Piyal in the film Gamperaliya and Sudu Mama in the episodic teledrama Du Daruwo. Henry gave enduring life to those characters and imprinted them indelibly on our minds. As long as memory lasts we will remember them and ipso facto, Henry Jayasena. more..

Nuwara Eliya blooms in all corners (Travel)

Mar 2 (LG) Nuwara Eliya is known for its salubrious climes and for its exotic flower gardens. Flowers and Nuwara Eliya go together, in fact. And never so much as in April, the month of flowers, the time when Nuwara Eliya goes overboard with flowers. There is a particular class of people who firmly believe that if you are not in Nuwara Eliya in April, you might as well crawl into a hole and die. It is the done thing. The fashionable thing. more..

Theory of self determination & good governance

Mar 2 (LG) May I commence by thanking the members of the Citizens Movement for Good Governance for inviting me to be the patron of this association. It is indeed a great honour and an esteemed privilege, considering the valuable contribution your movement has made in the recent past in generating public interest on the need to make radical reforms in our political system and political culture if we are to remain a vibrant democracy. more..

Pillayan and the APRC

Mar 2 (LB) The All Party Representat-ives Committee (APRC) which met last week discussed whether they should accommodate a request by acting TMVP leader Pillayan for his party to be included in their deliberations. The issue had cropped up after Pillayan recently sent a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa - with a copy to APRC Chairman Tissa Vitharana - pointing out that there was no representation for Eastern Tamils in the APRC. more..

President must take more time and do the right thing

Mar 2 (LB) Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa in an interview with LAKBIMAnEWS staffer Namini Wijedasa says, “India did not force his brother’s government to agree to a full implementation of the 13th Amendment.” Excerpts: Ln: Is the government going ahead with the 13th Amendment? BR: That’s what the APRC proposed and the government has accepted it. The UNP has also accepted it. It is part of constitution. more..

'An ideology of violence and war promoted in our media'

Mar 2 (LB) Kumar Rupesinghe counts a degree in Sociology and Economics at the London School of Economics and PhD at the City University, London. Among his many achievements is his establishment of a network of scholars and activists in Asia for the Sasakawa Peace Foundation on a Programme of Ethnicity, Identity and Culture. Dr Rupesinghe initiated the National Anti War Front (NAWF) with presence in all districts of Sri Lanka, more..

Year one admissions still in disarray

Mar 2 (LB) Grade one admissions to Government schools has been one mistake after another and this year it has taken a turn for the worse. After having gone back and forth with the criterion for selection, and amidst cries from parents over injustices, schools have finally re-opened, but the problems persists. “We went to Royal College, because according to one of the circulars, we have to register our son in a particular school that is within close proximity to our residence,” said Hussain Issadeen. more..

Tell Sri Lanka to find a political solution, CPI urges Centre

Mar 2 (Hindu) The State unit of the Communist Party of India (CPI) has urged the Union Government to press the Sri Lankan Government to find a political solution to the ethnic crisis in the island nation. With the cease-fire agreement being revoked by the Sri Lankan Government, internal strife has risen again in the island nation. The CPI strongly believed that military action was no answer and only a political solution, arrived through talks, could end the ethnic strife. more..

Mahinda Rajapakse faced with army battle as threat of impeachment mounts

Mar 2 (SL) While simmering discontent within the security forces manifested in the form of a fundamental rights application to the Supreme Court last week, President Mahinda Rajapakse was put on the backfoot by both the opposition and religious leaders across the board over his failure to appoint the Constitutional Council bringing with it the possibility of an impeachment motion. more..

Milking the country dry Chinthana style

Mar 2 (SL) The government, in the latest of the Chinthana tender benders is moving to accept a Rs. 3 billion offer from an Australian company to import 15,000 cattle heads and upgrade the farming infrastructure of the National Livestock Development Board (NLDB) despite the Board itself advising to the contrary. This saga began with the approval of Cabinet Paper No. 07/1043/352/012 submitted by Livestock Minister C.B. Ratnayake on June 20, 2007. more..

The President's dance with the Tamil diaspora

Mar 2 (SL) Even as British Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Lord Malloch-Brown told one group of London Tamils last Monday he had conveyed to both President Mahinda Rajapakse and Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama that Britain did not find the political process credible or serious, another group of London Tamils specifically brought down to Colombo by the government was to unwittingly find themselves part of the general tomfoolery. more..

Karu panics as govt. gears for election

Mar 2 (SL) Since the budget presentation last year, the political scene in the country has undergone drastic changes and President Mahinda Rajapakse's government is faced with many issues. Several countries have already announced their decision to hold back aid to Sri Lanka. The UN too has raised serious concerns over the country's deteriorating human rights situation. more..

Kosovo independence: A lament for Yugoslavia and no cheer for ethnic states

Mar 2 (FI) Kosovo’s declaration of independence on 17 February provoked a range of worldwide reactions, some recognizing Kosovo, others rebuking it, and a few remaining silent. Although the opposing responses were seen as illustrating the clash of the principles of sovereignty and self-determination, they were not based on any principle but mainly on expediency and/or self-interest. more..

Ruthless Economics and Destructive Politics

Mar 2 (AT) It was a record. During the United Front government of 1970-77 Sri Lanka’s death rate increased for the first time since Independence. This unprecedented rise of the death rate in 1974 and 75 was primarily a result of economic misgovernment. A rash of short sighted policies caused a severe food crisis characterised by persistent shortages and exorbitant prices. Other signs too pointed to a general decline in societal health and wellbeing: school dropout rates increased; school enrolment rates declined; morbidity levels went up. more..

National Security and/or Human Rights

Mar 2 (GV) The global war against terrorism has lead to a situation where the use of force, pre-emptive strikes, display of military power are justified in the name of defeating evil and protecting national security. In the wake of 9/11 and the death and devastation, the global war against terrorism was fuelled, with only one goal in place: to defeat terrorism. In this single minded drive to eradicate ‘evil’ there was no space for issues such as human rights, fundamental freedoms and civil liberties. more..

All Set for Eastern Provincial Council Elections

Mar 2 (AT) Ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal led by Pillaiyan alias Sivanesathurai Chanthirakanthan and number Muslims groups are expected to contest the Eastern Provincial Council elections under the United People’s Freedom Alliance banner. At the same time United National Party and Tamil National Alliance have already decided not to contest in the forthcoming Eastern Provincial Council Elections. more..

Sri Lanka fined for slow over rate

Mar 2 (AP) The Sri Lankan cricket team has been fined by the International Cricket Council for maintaining a slow over rate during the one-day tri series match win over Australia at the MCG on Friday night. Match referee Jeff Crowe imposed the fine after Mahela Jayawardena's team was ruled to be one over short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration. Under the ICC code of conduct regulations, Jayawardena was fined 10 per cent of his match fee with each of his players receiving five per cent fines. more..

Chappana Sutta ; The Six Animals

Mar 2 (SLW) "Suppose that a man, wounded and festering, were to go into a swampy jungle. Its sharp-bladed grasses would pierce his feet; its thorns would scratch his festering sores. And so, from that cause, he would experience an even greater measure of pain and unhappiness. In the same way, there is the case where a certain monk, having gone to a village or to the wilderness, meets up with someone who upbraids him: more..

Shell shocks of people

Mar 2 (SLW) From midnight yesterday (29 Feb), the Govt. has raised the price of a 12.5 kg domestic cylinder by Rs. 261 to an incredibly high price of Rs. 1749! This price hike is the second in two months. It is the view of the people who are hard put even to eke out a living ;unable to manage even a single square meal, that this `shelling` by the Govt. is worse than the immediate deaths following actual shelling. more..

The lost battle for Tamil Eelam

Mar 2 (SLW) The battle for Tamil Eelam was lost many years ago when the various leaders of the political parties that served the Sri Lankan Tamil community like the All Ceylon Tamil Congress, the Federal Party, the Eela Thamilar Ottumai Munnetram (ironically neither united nor progressive), the maverick C Suntharalingam’s Adanga Thamilar Party and even finally the TULF never had the foresight to press into their respective parties intellectuals, political visionaries and more..

'SLFP, on the pretext of forming civil defense committees, attempt to create a group of goons'

Mar 2 (LT) Forfeiting national safety and on the pretext of forming civil defense committees, the SLFP is attempting to create a gang of goons says JVP Parliamentarian Bimal Ratnayake. Mr. Ratnayake made this observation when ‘Lankatruth’ queried him regarding certain revelations that have come up on the formation of civil defense committees by the government. more..

Wanni operations reaching expected targets ahead of time! – Army Commander

Mar 2 (LT) Security Forces that are engaged in Wanni operations are reaching their targets ahead of the expected time says Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka. He said this addressing the media after a visit to Wanni today. The visit of the Army Commander to Wanni was to observe ground conditions and welfare of the troops engaged in operations. The Army Commander said troops operating from Mannar have reached areas adjacent to Madhu Church and more..

FM silences diplomats

Mar 2 (SAMN) The Foreign Ministry has issued a stern warning to all its foreign missions abroad ordering them to obtain prior permission from Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona before issuing public statements. The circular, issued late February under Kohona’s signature, banned all Sri Lankan missions abroad, including heads of missions, from making any public statements without prior permission from the Foreign Secretary. more..

OPA hints at impeachment possibility

Mar 2 (SAMN) The Organisation of Professional Associations of Sri Lanka (OPA) dispatched a strongly worded letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday (29) hinting at the possibility of impeaching the Chief Executive for the non-appointment of the Constitutional Council (CC). OPA President, Elmore M. Perera in his letter clearly stated that there was no reason to not appoint the CC which may tantamount to a willful violation of the constitution and more..

Toll on private vehicles entering city

Mar 2 (SAMN) Some 200,000 private vehicles enter the city daily causing heavy air pollution and traffic congestion—and plans to encourage these private vehicle owners to use public transport will be ready within the next three months, an official said Saturday. National Transport Commission Chairman Amal S. Kumarage said the plans would include the imposition of a toll on private vehicles and the improvement of the public transport service. more..

Jungle rumble: The battle goes on

Mar 2 (SAMN) The duel between man and beast does not seem to have an end and the situation seems to be worsening by the day. The result is that both man and beast die in the confrontation. While an elephant at Dighawapiya area in Ampara district was killed in early February, on the 26th of last month a wild elephant killed a farmer in Ruhunugama village. more..

TMVP in or out...

Mar 2 (SO) The EPDP said that they were contented with the UNP's pledge to support the government to implement the 13th Amendment to give more power to the people and to end terrorism. In an interview with the 'Sunday Observer', EPDP leader and Social Services and Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda said that his party had proposed this some time back and the new move by the UNP would be a kick start to solve the national problem. more..

Govt grants massive relief for 2.7 m consumers

Mar 2 (SO) Around 2.7 million electricity consumers islandwide whose monthly consumption is less than 90 units will be granted a massive relief by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) on the directive of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The new electricity tariff increase report, which was prepared by a special CEB panel after consultation with several public organisations will be handed over to Power and Energy Minister W. D. J. Seneviratne on March 15. more..

Rs. 20m profit targeted from banana exports to ME

Mar 2 (SO) CIC Agri Businesses targets a profit of Rs. 20 million this year from its exports of banana to the Middle East markets, said CEO, CIC Agri Businesses, Keerthi Kotagama. He said the company started cultivating on an 80-acre block in Palwehera last year and earned Rs. 15 million from exports. The cultivation has helped farmers in the North Central Province to increase their income levels through a profitable market. more..

Legal action against 11 'financial' companies

Mar 2 (SO) The Central Bank has filed legal action against 11 fraudulent investment companies which had obtained million of rupees in deposits pledging unrealistic interest rates. Some investment companies had pledged a monthly interest of Rs. 6,000 per Rs. 100,000 which is allegedly paid only in the first few months, said a spokesman for Non Bank Financial Institution (NBFI) Central Bank. more..

Anura rushed to ICU

Mar 2 (NS) Former Speaker and Minister Anura Bandaranaike was rushed to the Nawaloka Hospital on Thursday evening as his health took a turn for the worse. The ailing former Minister is currently warded at the hospital’s Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICH). The unit treats patients with acute life threatening conditions. In early January, Bandaranaike was flown to Singapore for specialised treatment as his health condition had deteriorated. more..

New bullet-proof BMW for Ranil

Mar 2 (NS) The personal security officer of Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was in for an unpleasant surprise when he received a tongue lashing from President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week. The incident had occurred on Tuesday night when the President was walking Wickremesinghe out after their nearly one-hour long meeting at Temple Trees, when a Minister had pointed at Wickremesinghe’s BMW vehicle and said that it was a vehicle in dire need of repair. more..

UNP-SLFP meeting: No tangible outcome

Mar 2 (NS) President Rajapaksa’s position at last week’s meeting was no different: the President observed that a Parliamentary Select Committee was studying matters pertaining to the Constitutional Council, and any action regarding the Council would have to await the Select Committee Report. Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe must have had a sense of déjà vu as he went along to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday. more..