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Sri Lanka boosts blast probe capabilities

Mar 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka's capacity to counter and investigate bomb blasts has been boosted with new equipment from the United States, the island's police chief said Tuesday. "We were waiting for this type of post blast investigation equipment," Inspector General of Police Victor Perera said after receiving a stock of hi-tech equipment from the United States at its embassy in Colombo. more..

Centralized purchasing saves millions if rupees for SLTB

Mar 18 (GDI) Several millions of rupees have been saved by the Sri Lanka Transport Board following measures to centralize the purchasing of spare parts and short listing its suppliers from January this year. According to the Minister of Transport, Dullas Alahapperuma, there have been 322 suppliers of spare parts worth Rs. 800 million annually that had led to a huge waste of funds and all manner of malpractices. more..

600 local staff for construction project in Qatar

Mar 18 (GDI) The Ministry of Construction and Engineering Service has selected six hundred construction labourers for a construction project in Doha, Qatar. The Ministry is currently in the process of filling the other vacancies for this project which requires 800 to 1000 labourers. According to a Ministry media release this project will generate about 1,600 employment opportunities for Sri Lankan professionals and skilled and unskilled labourers. more..

Anura's death: Foreign Minister condoles

Mar 18 (GDI) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagma in a message of condolence on the death of his Parliamentary colleague, the late Anura Bandaranaike, said that Mr. Bandaranaike will always be remembered as a liberal thinker and a strong advocate for democratic rights. The full text of his message is as follows: It is with deep sadness that I learned of the passing away of Hon. Anura Bandaranaike, M.P. more..

Sri Lankan Delegation meets European Troika

Mar 18 (GDI) A Sri Lankan delegation headed by Dr. Palitha Kohona, Secretary Foreign Affairs met up with the European Union Troika (current Presidency is Slovenia, future Presidency is France and the European Commission), yesterday. A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affaires revealed that during the meeting, EU re-affirmed the commitment towards Sri Lanka in finding a solution to the conflict and also in its efforts with respect to reconstruct and rehabilitation activities, in particular in the Eastern Province. more..

Tiger cadre who asked for meal arrested

Mar 18 (LNP) Police and Army arrested a Tiger cadre at Buddangala on Sunday afternoon when he had gone to a house and requested something to eat. Police recovered a T-56 weapon, an Identity Card issued by the LTTE and two cyanide capsules. He was dressed in the LTTE uniform.Police said he could be around 18 years of age. He had emerged from the jungle and gone to the backyard of a house. more..

Bus owners to pull out of three routes

Mar 18 (LNP) The Lanka Private Bus Owners Association will discontinue bus operations on three routes unless they are provided with adequate space to park buses. The Dam street police station has prohibited Minuwangoda Colombo (265), Gampaha- Colombo (200) and Nittabuwa- Colombo (180) buses from parking at the usual places and has instructed them to park inside the Gunasinghepura bus stand, the LPBOA said. more..

Into eternity steps a gentleman

Mar 18 (LNP) Gone is a gentle giant in Sri Lankan politics with the untimely demise of Anura Bandaranaike, MP. Born in the purple, yet not fated to rule, he stood head and shoulders above other politicians of his day. His impressive political career spanned four eventful decades which saw many an up and down in his life. Elected to Parliament in 1977, he went on to become an Opposition Leader, Minister, Speaker and Prime Ministerial candidate. more..

Ananda win by three runs

Mar 18 (LNP) The 34th annual Battle of the Maroons between traditional rival Ananda and Nalanda Colleges, Colombo ended in dramatic fashion as Ananda were declared winner by 3 runs according to the Parabola system played at SCC grounds, at Maitland Place, on Sunday. The match was restricted to 32 overs per side due to overnight rain. Nalanda won the toss and put the opposition in and in return Ananda made 178 runs for the lost of 8 wickets in their allotted 32 overs. more..

Southern highway workers on strike

Mar 18 (SAMN) Around 1,500 workers attached to three worksites on the Southern highway at Kurundugahahethepma, Pinnaduwa launched a strike demanding highers wages. They demand that the salaries be increased by Rs 3,000 according to the cost of living, extension of contract employment by one year, attendance payments calculated at 25 days a month and payment of salaries before 10th of every month. more..

Polls chief to present recommendations

Mar 18 (SAMN) Commissioner of Elections Dayananda Dissanayake was expected to present his final recommendations on Parliamentary and Provincial elections to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms, Chaired by Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in Parliament today, Deputy secretary General Of Parliament Dhammika Dissanayake said Monday. The Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms was to decide on when more..

JHU wants TMVP in APRC

Mar 18 (SAMN) The Jathika Hela Urumaya has decided to suspend its participation at the All Party Representative Committee until the Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Party (TMVP) is enroled to participate in its proceedings. Propaganda Secretary of Jathika Hela Urumaya, Nishantha Warnasingha said Monday, the Jathika Hela Urumaya has proposed that the APRC includes the TMVP in its deliberations in a bid to find a political solution to the national problem. more..

SLRC under Military Control?

Mar 18 (SAMN) Sri Lanka state-owned television station, Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) is now running under the controller of military after the management declared a "holiday" Sunday night to pre-empt a strike, union workers said. On Monday, the premise was barricaded and only a few selected staffers manning essential services were allowed in, television workers said. more..

Record in highway development

Mar 18 (DN) The Highways and Road Development Ministry completed work on the prefabricated flyover in Peliyagoda within 61 days. A Ministry Spokesman said this is a new record in the development of the Sri Lankan highways and roads development sector. "This construction is a world record since the assembling of the prefabricated flyover was completed within 61 days," he said. The record was earlier held by the Philippines. more..

Indigenous food production drive going apace - Minister Sirisena

Mar 18 (DN) Agriculture Development and Agrarian Services Minister Maithripala Sirisena yesterday stressed on the importance of the national food production drive “ Api Wawamu Rata Hadamu (Let’s grow to build the nation) launched by the Government to promote the country’s indigenous food crops that has turned into vigorous national campaign during the past six months. more..

Tariff hike gives CEB Rs 43 bn a year

Mar 18 (Island) With the recent tariff revision the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) would earn an annual revenue of rupees 43 billion, CEB Chairman Udaya Kariyawasam said yesterday. He told The Island yesterday, "We are working on the budget according to existing tariffs." He said the CEB does not have a separate project management division even though it handles the largest projects in Sri Lanka. more..

President petitioned to implement language policy

Mar 18 (Island) An E-mail petition, urging President Mahinda Rajapakse to take immediate steps to implement the language policy of Sinhala and Tamil and restore the rights of the citizens of the country, was signed in Kandy on Friday (14) afternoon. The signatures of a large number of those who attended an awareness seminar at Hotel Tourmalene were collected for the petition. The programme was organised by the foundation for co-existence. more..

Govt. creating a second Perumal: Ranil

Mar 18 (DM) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday warned the government would create a second Varatharajah Perumal soon by handing over the East to the TMVP Leader, Pillayan. He recalled the incident where the former North-East Province Chief Minister, Perumal declared an independent state of Eelam after assuming duties in 1989. Mr. Wickremesinghe at a meeting with the officials of the party’s trade union wing, Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya at his Cambridge Terrace residence, said more..

SC takes up reference to ICCPR Act

Mar 18 (DM) The Supreme Court yesterday (17) took up the reference forwarded by President Mahinda Rajapaksa seeking court’s opinion on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Act as to whether the rights recognized in the said Covenant are justiciable through the medium of legal and constitutional processes prevailing in Sri Lanka. The matter came up before a panel of five judges comprising Chief Justice Sarath N.Silva, more..

‘Unstable’ Kuwaiti stabs Lankan to death

Mar 18 (ATO) A Kuwaiti has allegedly murdered a Sri Lankan expatriate in his thirties by stabbing him four times in his stomach at Sabahiya Monday morning. Security sources revealed that the Operation Rooms of the Ministry of Interior received a call that a murder has taken place in a house in Sabahiya and immediately, security agents and medical emergency team rushed to the location. The medical team tried to resuscitate the Sri Lankan but he succumbed to his injuries. more..

Concern in RS over stepped up attack on Tamils in Lanka

Mar 18 (PTI) A CPI member in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday expressed serious concern over increasing military offensive against Tamils in Sri Lanka and said India should not do anything in a clandestine manner to help the army there. Raising the matter during Zero Hour, D Raja said the Indian government had not uttered a single word against it. Alleging that "secret training" was given to Sri Lankan army personnel in India, he wanted to know New Delhi's policy. more..

Violence hits Bible College in Sri Lanka

Mar 18 (MNN) The volatile situation at Gospel for Asia's Sri Lanka Bible College is escalating as a local elected official and a small group of Buddhist monks are falsely accusing the school of being a front for a Sri Lankan terrorist group, the Tamil Tigers. The Tigers are fighting to divide Sri Lanka along ethnic lines. Founder and President of Gospel for Asia KP Yohannan describes what happened over the weekend. more..

It matters more how one comes across in public

Mar 18 (KT) I HAVE never seen a Sri Lankan politician sneezing or blowing his nose in public. Whenever they appear in public, they are surrounded by scores, if not hundreds of media photographers and cameramen. But none has so far brought a photograph of a politician blowing his nose so that editors could carry it on page one. During a journalism training programme in Britain years ago, our trainer told us a story of more..

12 Tamil rebels, three soldiers killed in new fighting

Mar 18 (AP) Fighting across the dense jungles of northern Sri Lanka has killed 12 Tamil Tiger rebels and three government soldiers, the military said Tuesday. An army patrol searching a road for buried mines was hit early Tuesday by a roadside bomb in the northwestern Mannar district that killed one soldier, military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said. Mortar fire on the northern Jaffna peninsula killed another two soldiers Monday, he said. more..

Sri Lanka growth probably eased as rates hit spending

Mar 18 (BN) Sri Lanka's economic growth probably slowed for the first time in a year in the fourth quarter as the highest interest rates since 2002 curbed spending. The $27 billion economy expanded 6.6 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31 from a year earlier, compared with 7 percent in the third quarter, according to the median estimate of 10 analysts in a Bloomberg survey. The statistics department is due to release the data next week in Colombo. more..

Floods displace thousands in east Sri Lanka

Mar 18 (Reuters) Floods triggered by torrential rain have forced more than 7,000 people from their homes in eastern Sri Lanka, with some taking shelter in schools and mosques, officials said on Tuesday. Flooding and ensuing mass displacement are common in Sri Lanka, often fuelled by monsoon rains. The latest flood victims included families living in basic camps, who had already been displaced by renewed war between the state and Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Tamils are slaves in India: LTTE leader

Mar 18 (IANS) A leader of the Tamil Tigers has alleged that Tamils in India are not a free people but are slaves of the Indian state, according to a media report Tuesday. 'In ancient times the whole of India was a Tamil land. And the Chola kings (from Tamil Nadu) ruled over Sri Lanka for 70 years. Today, the Tamils are slaves in India and are fighting for their liberation in Sri Lanka,' Tamil daily 'Sudar Oli' quoted Thamilendhi as saying. more..

Sri Lanka plantation privatization, branding behind export surge

Mar 19 (LBO) The privatization of Sri Lankan tea estates and branding were largely responsible for the industry's export earnings exceeding a billion dollars last year, a top business chamber said. The effectiveness of the Colombo tea auctions and storage and brokerage services also played their part, said a statement by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, which has been associated since its inception in 1839 with the industry. more..

India installs radar system to curb LTTE infiltration and smugglings

Mar 19 (GDI) The Indian Air Force has installed sophisticated radar with all modern systems available for aerial surveillance. It is reported that the main objective of installing this surveillance system is to prevent smuggling and infiltration operations of the LTTE exploiting the Gulf of Mannar to Sri Lanka. Southern Air Command, Air Vice-Marshal Y.R. Rane said that that the new radar has eight antennae which could cover the entire Gulf of Mannar region. more..

"Human rights factor for GSP+" says EU

Mar 19 (BBC) European Union says all countries who wish to continue benefiting from the Generalised System of Preferences plus-scheme (GSP+) will have to re-apply by October. It noted that the human rights situation could have an impact in the reapplying process. The application process, which had not yet started, would be based on an objective assessment, it confirmed. The linkage between trade preferences and human rights is clearly spelled out in the legal provisions of the agreement, more..

Fear grips Sri Lanka's state television after wave of mysterious attacks

Mar 19 (AP) Workers at Sri Lanka's state television channel fear they are being hunted. In the past two months, staff members have been stabbed, threatened and beaten by unknown assailants. The violence has grown so bad that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had to give employees at the station, Rupavahini Corp., a personal promise of protection to prevent a walkout that would have likely forced it off the air. more..

Naushad Majid as UNP’s chief minister candidate for east

Mar 19 (LD) The United National Party has taken a decision at unofficial level to field Naushad Majid as the party’s candidate for the post of chief minister at the forthcoming elections in the eastern province, according to party sources. The UNP is expected to make his nomination official at its politburo meeting scheduled for 3.00 pm today (Mar. 18th). Naushad is presently serving as the party’s leader in the east, and represents province’s interests at the politburo, sources say. more..

Fuel crisis hits Jaffna public transport

Mar 19 (TN) Sri Lanka Electricity Board (SLEB) which supplies fuel and oil to Jaffna Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) informed Thursday that it may have to suspend supplies to Jaffna SLTB if the arrears of 51 million rupees due is not paid, Koa'ndaavil SLTB head office sources said. 7 million rupees, being rent for 10 buses used by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in Jaffna peninsula had not been paid to Jaffna SLTB but had been paid by the Defence Ministry to SLTB Colombo head office. more..

No military solution to ethnic conflict in Lanka: Indian PM

Mar 19 (PTI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said there was no military solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. "The way forward lies in a peacefully negotiated political settlement within the framework of a united Sri Lanka acceptable to all communities, including Tamils," he said in reply to a letter from MDMK Chief Vaiko. The interests of the Tamils in Sri Lanka was of particular significance to India in the country's dealings with the island nation, he said. more..

Sri Lanka launches bilingual training to ease rising ethnic tension

Mar 19 (VoA) Sri Lanka's Sinhalese-dominated government recently launched a program to spur thousands of its public servants to learn the Tamil language. It is seen as a bold step to ease tension between the country's Sinhala and Tamil ethnic groups. Raymond Thibodeaux reports for VOA from Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. It is hard for some to imagine that Sri Lanka's 25-year war between the mostly Sinhala Sri Lankan army and Tamil militants is partly rooted in language differences. more..

Soloist sings for posterity

Mar 19 (TS) peaceful paradise of Sri Lanka, a lone classically-trained singer reminded the island's majority Sinhalese as well as Muslims and Tamils in a rousing song that the island's peoples are all one family. The song, Api Okkoma Rajawaru, Okkoma Vasiyo (We are all Kings and We are all Countrymen) was as uplifting as it was a rallying cry. It evokes powerful emotions even today. more..

Telling it like it is

Mar 19 (AT) Comprador knives are out to still the brave voices of Lanka with the guts to say it like it is. For long, Western powers and power blocks have been exerting growing pressure on Sri Lanka to halt the war against domestic terrorism waged on her soil against her people by the LTTE – the world's most diabolical fascist terror group – which commands the allegiance of some ethnic Sri Lanka Tamils in the West. more..

EU says it has 'very serious concerns' over alleged Sri Lanka human rights abuses

Mar 19 (AP) The European Union said Tuesday it has "very serious concerns" about reported human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. Abductions, enforced disappearances and unexplained killings have increased in the country since December 2005, when hostilities reignited between Sri Lankan government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels after a cease-fire brought relative calm for more than three years. more..

Anura Bandaranaike: The Crown Prince who was never Crowned King

Mar 19 (TC) The saying “Always the bride’smaid never the bride” applied appropriately to Anura Priyadarshi Solomon Dias Bandaranaike who passed away on Sunday March 16th at the age of fifty - nine. Anura as he was popularly known, was always the “Crown Prince” waiting to be crowned. But coronation never came and now he has departed uncrowned as the prince who never became King. more..

Two cats out of the bag at the discussion with the President

Mar 19 (LeN) Several trade union representatives that took part in the discussion with the President yesterday (17) said to Lanka-e-News that yesterday's happenings proved that the Minister Mervin Silva was behind the intimidation of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) while the executive President was defending him. The discussion with the President Mahinda Rajapakse commenced on 5.45 PM yesterday (17) and ended around 7.15 PM. more..

Elections and the Muslim factor

Mar 19 (ML) Amidst a blitzkrieg of protests and condemnations against the government by a large number of nations over human rights violations, the LTTE continued to pander to the international community by expressing its willingness to talk. Warning not to take its offer as a sign of military weakness as the Tigers were well prepared to meet the military challenge, LTTE Political Head P. Nadesan told a group of 13 TNA parliamentarians early March, the LTTE was prepared to commence negotiations under a temporary ceasefire. more..

Parliament faces disruption warns Ranil

Mar 19 (ML) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday warned that parliament will come to a stand still unless the appointment of a new secretary general is done in accordance with the law and this means, by the Constitution Council (CC). Wickremesinghe told parliament that the incumbent Secretary General of Parliament, Priyanee Wijesekera was due to retire in end March, and unless the new appointment is in resonance with the Seventeenth Amendment and made through the CC, such more..

Janaka Perera ready to enter politics

Mar 19 (ML) Former Army Chief of Staff and diplomat, Major General Janaka Perera yesterday said that he would consider entering politics if invited by a political party of repute with a clear agenda for the development of the nation. He was responding to a query raised at a media briefing held yesterday at the OPA Headquarters, Colombo to announce the launch of Lak Jaya Foundation, an organization to assist the displaced and the war affected in multiple ways. more..

Customs detain research book

Mar 19 (ML) A research book published by a Sri Lankan author and freely available on the internet has been detained by customs to verify the inclusion of ‘anti-government’ content, according to the writer, Muttukrishna Sarvananthan. "I have not been informed when the copies with customs will be released," Sarvananthan an internationally recognised researcher said. The detention took place on March 17 when he went to the main Post Office in Colombo to collect complimentary copies sent to him. more..

Hair cleared to umpire tests and ODIs

Mar 19 (Reuters) The International Cricket Council (ICC) restored controversial Australian Darrell Hair as a test and one-day international umpire on Tuesday and decided to shorten the 2011 World Cup. Cricket's governing body also said a "full independent security assessment" would be made before violence-hit Pakistan staged the Champions Trophy in September. more..

Here comes the ‘permanent’ leader of the opposition!

Mar 19 (BL) At the Royal Thomian big match every year, former classmates and schoolmates make full use of the opportunity to heckle and tease politicians who claim one of the two schools as their alma maters. This year, UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was welcomed into his tent with this announcement: “And now ladies and gentlemen, here comes the permanent leader of the opposition.” more..

Mahinda, Nivard get updated on Malaysia’s financial success

Mar 19 (BL) The architect of Malaysia’s financial success, Tun Daim Zainuddin was in Sri Lanka for a short visit to meet President Mahinda Rajapakse and the Governor of the Central Bank. Economist, businessman, politician and former Finance Minister of Malaysia from 1984 to 1991, and again in 1998 to 2001, Tun Daim Zainuddin says that he is glad to visit Sri Lanka at this time of its history when the current Government’s efforts to bring back normalcy to the country is gaining ground. more..

New Board on SriLankan Airlines

Mar 19 (BL) The crisis at the national carrier deepened yesterday after the Chairman and Board of Directors of SriLankan Airlines resigned on instructions of the government to pave the way for a new board to be appointed. SriLankan Chairman Harry Jayawardane, along with his fellow directors Sanath Ukwatte, Raju Chandiram and Nishantha Wickremasinghe forwarded their resignations Monday night, less than two weeks before the national carrier’s agreement with Dubai based aviation giant Emirates expires on March 31. more..

LTTE’s political and military strategy

Mar 19 (BL) About four weeks before he was killed, LTTE’s former political chief S.P. Thamilselvam was interviewed by a Tamil broadcasting station in Europe. He was asked: Why are you taking all this beating and not going on the offensive? The essence of his reply was: Our leader wants to go along with the international community. They are accusing us of being intransigent. We want to tell them, No. We are not obstinate. more..

“Heavy beating” for Tigers: Colombo

Mar 19 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan military on Tuesday claimed that the LTTE had “received heavy beating” during clashes along the Wanni and the Jaffna Forward Defence Lines (FDLs). Three soldiers had been killed, it said. According to a Defence Ministry statement here, in the Wanni theatre, clashes continued on the Vavuniya, Mannar, and Welioya battlefronts throughout the day. On the Vavuniya front, several confrontations took place in the general area of Kallikulam when troops advanced further towards LTTE territory. more..