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China denies supplying heavy weapons to Sri Lanka

Mar 21 (IANS) China has reportedly denied supplying heavy weapons to Sri Lankan armed forces fighting Tamil Tiger guerrillas, a Tamil MP said Thursday. The denial, reported in the Tamil media Thursday, came during a meeting between Chinese ambassador Dabo Ye and Tamil MP and rights activist Mano Ganeshan here Wednesday evening. “The ambassador told me that his government was well aware of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, and that it wished that the people here lived in peace and harmony with each other. more..

Ranatunga wants Hair to umpire all matches

Mar 21 (Reuters) Controversial Australian Darrell Hair should be allowed to umpire all international matches, Sri Lankan Cricket Board chairman Arjuna Ranatunga said on Thursday. Hair, who has fallen out with Sri Lanka and Pakistan during his career, was reinstated as a test and one-day umpire by the ICC on Tuesday. The 55-year-old had been dropped from the ICC's elite umpires' panel for his role in the Oval test between England and Pakistan in August 2006. more..

Militarizing the Media Mahagedera?

Mar 21 (GV) The news that a retired SLA General is considered as chairperson of Rupavahini (SLRC) comes as a terrifying antidote to the remaining freedom of expression in the decomposing democracy in Sri Lanka. The background leading to this decision and the way the current regime has decided to respond is a decisive reflection of the strategies preferred by the rules of Lanka and their advisors. more..

Evolution of the LTTE and Prabhakaran’s role in the Tamil nationalist struggle

Mar 21 (GV) Lionel Bopage speaks on the evolution of the Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam (LTTE) and Prabharakan’s role in making the outfit what it is today. Lionel Bopage was a former General Secretary of the JVP and was involved with the party since 1968 until his resignation in 1984. Other related contributions by Lionel Bopage to Groundviews can be found here. more..

The uniqueness of Buddhist view of Anatta (Not-self/No-soul)

Mar 21 (LR) Almost all main religions including Christianity, Islam and Hinduism are based on concept of self or soul. Buddhism stand unique that it is the only philosophy that not only clearly reject the concept of “self/soul” as a false view, but also consider this false view as a major cause of suffering of individuals as well as one of the root cause of problems in the society as whole. more..

First photos of rare mouse-deer - Is it a new Species?

Mar 21 (WLE) One of Sri Lanka’s least known mammals, the mouse-deer found in the highlands of Sri Lanka has been photographed. It is believed that this is the first time it has been photographed in the wild. For many years it was believed that Sri Lanka had one species of Mouse-deer, which was shared with Southern India. British taxonomist Colin Groves published a paper in June 2005 in The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology that distinguished three species of Mouse-deer from Sri Lanka and India. more..

Situation Calmer at GFA’s Bible College in Sri Lanka

Mar 21 (JC) A politician leading a campaign to shut down a Gospel for Asia Bible college in Sri Lanka remains in police custody and was expected to answer charges against him Tuesday. Winton Appuhamy, an elected member of the local provincial council, was arrested early Sunday morning after attacking a security guard at the college. The security guard is still in the hospital. more..

Printing press sealed after "Mahinda's polls rigging" Poster

Mar 21 (LeN) "Mahinda's polls rigging with Wanni Tigers in 2005; with Batticaloa Tigers in 2008" was the slogan of a UNP poster stuck in Colombo and suburbs in the past few days. Police surrounded the Samanala Graphic printing press of Weli Para, Nawala since yesterday 9 PM and searched it this afternoon (20). Police ordered to suspend all print runs and kept two police officials to guard the press until this afternoon. more..

Withdraw the STF camps in East; Pillaiyan urges the government

Mar 21 (LeN) Pillaiyan Group has asked the government to withdraw all Police Special Task Force (STF) camps prior to holding Provincial Council elections in the Eastern Province. Pillaiyan Group has announced that it would not support the government at the election if the STF camps were not withdrawn. UNP media unit chief Lakshman Kiriella exposed this at a press conference held today at the official residence of the Opposition Leader. more..

Take leadership in Sri Lankan Conflict, Mano Ganesan tells Canadian High Commissioner Angela Bogdan

Mar 21 (AT) Canada which is home to largest Tamil Diaspora has the global standing and rationale grounds to lead the international community in the Lankan issue. Such a lead role should help to push the Lankan ethnic conflict towards a political solution which meets the reasonable aspirations of the Tamil community, suggested Western Peoples Front Leader and Civil Monitoring Commission Convener Mano Ganesan to Canadian High Commissioner Angela Bogdan. more..

The myth of a traditional Tamil Homeland unmasked; when did the tradition begin?

Mar 21 (AT) Secession is not a remedy for every ethno-religious conflict in the world. It is certainly not the solution for the armed conflict in Sri Lanka, which is viewed by some as an ethnic conflict. However, the roots of the conflict lie in poverty and underdevelopment. Sri Lanka Ambassador in the U.S., Bernard Goonetilleke, explained that Sri Lanka Tamils’ cause was later hijacked by the LTTE, in aiming to more..

Police allegedly torture young man to extract confession

Mar 21 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the alleged torture of a young man by the Godakawela Police on 7 February 2008 in Sri Lanka. The police allegedly tortured him to confess to a crime to which he later maintained his innocence. Upon forcing a confession from him the police allegedly fabricated a case against him. more..

The Only Option

Mar 21 (LG) The Sri Lankans have been fighting each other, sporadically, for two thousand years. These same people have at times married among themselves and integrated permanently. Some castes in Jaffna, notably the ‘Koviyars’, which sounds resoundingly , like Goviyas, and the Nalavas, have Sinhalese histories long ago. Prabakaran himself is from a community who have been migrants in the Island for thousands of years from various parts of Asia and beyond. more..

Helping turtles, not trees, in Sri Lanka

Mar 21 (TMG) Things do not look good for Jonah. The poor little guy had a good start in life. His mother, a green turtle, managed to lug her 250kg body up the beach, carefully dig a whole and lay her 100 or so eggs one beautiful sunset. The next morning a passing fisherman found the nest and took them to a turtle conservation centre. A few years ago the hatch would have been taken to the market to sell for turtle egg omelette or dug up by hungry stray dogs. more..

Annual fest on isolated island cancelled again in war-torn North

Mar 21 (UCAN) The Feast of Saint Anthony is an opportunity to meet and pray together for Tamil fishermen and their families on both sides of the Palk Strait that separates Sri Lanka from India. The festival is normally celebrated in March on a deserted island off the Jaffna peninsula, but the governments of both Sri Lanka and India, citing increased hostilities, have banned travel to the island this year. more..

Sri Lanka paddy crop under water; quality drops and high prices likely: official

Mar 21 (LBO) Torrential rains lashing across Sri Lanka during the crucial period of harvesting are likely to reduce the quality of rice but keep prices high in the domestic market, an official said. "In some districts around 50 percent of the crop has been harvested and the remaining 50 percent has to be harvested," C. Kudagamage, Director General of the Department of Agriculture said. more..

Mervyn Silva may have to count crows on Crow Island

Mar 21 (SLW) Mervyn Silva, the Minister for whatever that he is in the Sri Lankan Cabinet of a Hundred Clowns has set the pace for brutal political sadism, another arm of terrorism that reigns supreme in the country. Sadly, President Mahinda Rajapakse seems nonchalant and indifferent to his antics when he should have been the first person to take this itinerant minister to task. more..

LTTE builds massive trench

Mar 21 (SLW) Military Intelligence sources confirmed to DefenceWire that the LTTE has constructed a large trench to prevent Main Battle Tanks and Armoured Personnel Carriers from the Armoured Corps and the newly formed Mechanized Infantry Division from crossing into LTTE's 2nd Forward Defence Line in Muhamalai and Nagarkovil. Mechanized Infantry T63/YW 531 APC, The 1st FDL of the Tigers was captured in a combined operation launched by the 53 and 55 Divisions on 30th January 2008. more..

Good Friday and its significance

Mar 21 (LG) On Good Friday Christians remember the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. He had preached for a mere three years when he was arrested in Jerusalem by a crowd of Jews led by Judas one of his disciples. His other disciples wanted to defend him with swords but he forbade them to do so and even healed one of the mob, whose ear had been cut-off by Peter. After his arrest his disciples fled leaving him to face his trial. more..

Sri Lanka shipping community sounds alarm over new port, equipment delays

Mar 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka's shipping community is getting increasingly concerned over delays in upgrading Colombo port equipment, building a new birth and the opening of another entrance for navigation. Further delays could endanger Colombo's status as south Asia's transshipment hub especially with India expanding its own ports and building new ones to cater to the cargo boom, shipping industry officials said. more..

Shall participate at PC elections for East for the task of defeating terrorism and establishing democracy – JVP

Mar 21 (LT) The JVP says it decided to contest the Provincial Council Elections for the East in order to prevent separatists from realizing their separatist objectives and to defeat the attempt to use the victories achieved by the heroic Security Forces and the ordinary masses in the country in liberating the east making immense sacrifices by the government in its political agenda. more..

Chandrapala Liyanage to be removed from PMU

Mar 21 (LD) The President has decided to remove Chandrapala Liyanage from the Presidential Media Unit, sources from the Presidential secretariat say. After removing Liyanage from his director post in the media unit, the President has decided to send him off to a special post at the Sri Lankan embassy in Italy from May 01st. Currently, Chandrapala Liyanage, Mahinda Ileperuma, Newton Gunarathne, Sudath Silva and Lucien Rajakaruna make up more..

Mervyn lashes out at ‘Sirasa’ yet again

Mar 21 (LD) Labour Minister Mervyn Silva, notorious for threatening media personnel, yesterday has lashed out yet again, on a group of ‘News First’ journalists of the Maharaja Media Network. The journalists had come to report the latest progress of the Kelaniya flyover. Addressing the journalists, he has said, “I am neither indebted to you, nor do I have anything to do with you and am not afraid of you. You are the most vagrant, despicable media institution in the country.” more..

Govt requests observation of one minute silence tomorrow to honour Sir Arthur.C.Clarke

Mar 21 (GDI) The Government while extending deepest condolences on the demise of Arthur C. Clarke kindly requests that all media institutions in the Island would as a mark of respect observe 1 minute silence from 3.30 -3.31 pm tomorrow Saturday the 22nd of March 2008. Though already all Television channels, Radio stations, News papers both state and private have recognized him for his contributions we cannot forget the fact that more..

CPC Gas by May, with cylinder costing Rs. 200 less

Mar 21 (GDI) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has planned to launch an islandwide programme to provide domestic gas to the consumers at concessionary rates with effect from May this year. According to Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Development Minister A. H. M. Fowzie, the consumers will able to obtain Gas for Rs. 200 less than the current market price through the new CEYPETCO gas cylinder to be introduced by the CPC. more..

SAARC model village at Mahavilawatta

Mar 21 (GDI) The Government has made arrangements to establish a fully-fledged SAARC Village at Mahavilawatta estate, Ulapane in the Nawalapitiya electorate to mark the 15th SAARC Summit scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka in July this year. As the initial stage, 100 houses will be constructed within this SAARC village by depicting the theme and the identities of the SAARC movement. more..

Japan tea trade vows to continue patronising Sri Lanka black tea

Mar 21 (GDI) Takeshi Kamigouchi, Chairman of the Japan Tea Association and President of Unilever Japan KK at the annual get-together networking reception held recently in Tokyo between the tea trade members of Sri Lanka and Japan, pledged to maintain their strong support for Pure Ceylon Tea which he termed as top quality. Sri Lanka currently dominates the Japanese black tea market with a 65% share. more..

Tigers keep their dead away from families

Mar 21 (LNP) Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara yesterday said that the LTTE was now disposing of the bodies of their cadres killed in battle without handing them over to the parents. `The depleted LTTE is adopting this ruse because a large number of Tiger cadres have been killed in confrontations with the security forces and if their bodies were handed over to the parents or their families, as in the past it would hamper their recruitment drive,` he said. more..

TNA withdraws from EP poll at Prabhakaran`s instance

Mar 21 (LNP) LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran has ordered Tiger proxy TNA not to contest the upcoming Provincial Council elections in the Eastern Province. He issued this order when TNA Parliamentarians were attending the funeral of slain colleague Sivanesan. LTTE political wing leader Nadesan had reiterated to the TNA MPs the LTTE unwavering commitment to a Tamil homeland in the North and East and that their objective will be achieved in the near future. more..

Over 7,000 Sri Lankans go overseas annually for studies

Mar 21 (LNP) Around 7,000 students go abroad for higher education annually but the Higher Education Ministry does not keep records or register students going abroad for higher studies privately, Ministry Secretary Mrs. P. B. G. Abeyratne said. However, the Controller of Immigration and Emigration P. B. Abeykoon said there may be more than 7,000 who go abroad annually for studies but around 20,000 passports are issued purportedly for those leaving the country for higher education. more..

PC polls are coming, are Jumbos ready?

Mar 21 (LNP) Time is ticking away. Most parties are ready for the elections to the Eastern Provincial Council scheduled for May, while two are in a dither. The ruling UPFA, the TVMP, the JVP, the SLMC, the JHU, the EPDP etc. have already made their decision to contest the May polls known. The UNP and the TNA are still in two minds. Procrastination is the thief of not only time but opportunity as well. more..

STF counsel hits out at IIGEP

Mar 21 (SAMN) S.L Gunesekera, the lawyer representing the Special Task Force (STF) in the Trincomalee killings case, hit out at the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) yesterday, asserting that foreign intervention was tainting the commission of inquiry. “It seems like these proceedings are controlled by outsiders. The witness is taken out and brought back as they please. more..

STF chief among 14 DIGs transferred

Mar 21 (SAMN) STF Commandant DIG Nimal Lewke is among the 14 Deputy Inspectors General of Police transferred with immediate effect. Lewke has been transferred to the Western Province Operations unit and his place as Commandant STF has been filled by M. L. Sarathchandra. Among the transferred DIGs were H. D. A. Gunatilake (Moneragla-Operations), Prasanna Nanayakkara (Wayamba –Western Range), more..

Boost for development of vision impaired

Mar 21 (SAMN) Social Services and Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda will allocate Rs. 4 million to the 'Vision Impaired Fund' from the budget for development activities of the vision impaired, such as, medical assistance, launching of creative works, self employment assistance, educational assistance, university student grants, etc. No government so far has allocated such a large quantum of money to the 'Vision Impaired Fund' more..

STF withdrawn from camps in East

Mar 21 (SAMN) With heightened military activities in the North the Defence Ministry has decided to withdraw the Special Task Force (STF) from more than ten camps in the East and Mannar, and deploy them in LTTE threatened areas in Welioya, beginning next week. “The Ministry has decided to withdraw the STF from some camps in the Ampara and Akkaraipattu and deploy them in LTTE threatened villages in Welioya, including Kebithigollewa, shortly,” more..

Seized goods sold for song

Mar 21 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has issued instructions to the Finance Ministry Acting Secretary Sumith Abeysinghe to conduct an immediate investigation into an attempt by certain elements in the Customs to release a huge consignment of sugar at a grossly undervalued price on the pretext that the sugar was unfit for human consumption. According to the Presidential Media Unit, surreptitious moves have been unearthed of certain elements in the customs attempting to more..

Each national situation is unique vis a vis human rights - Minister

Mar 21 (DN) With Human Rights issues taking centre stage in recent times, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe addressing the UN has emphasised that the policy of "one size fit's all" when dealing with such issues is untenable. When it comes to promotion and protection of human rights the focus should be on facilitating capacity building to formulate and implement home grown policies, without undermining the national institutional framework of the relevant country, more..

Private bus service to be made passenger friendly – Dallas

Mar 21 (Island) Transport Minister Dallas Alahapperuma said yesterday that the new system to monitor private buses would commence in the first week of April. As the first step of the project, long distance buses on the southern coastal road will be monitored. The Minister said existing time tables and route systems are out dated. The Transport Ministry is making a move to make the private bus service passenger friendly. more..

SL a transit point for fake Indian currency

Mar 21 (DM) Indian intelligence agencies are probing a massive racket involving the transfer of huge amounts of fake Indian currency to Tamil Nadu via Sri Lanka with Pakistan believed to be the base for these operations, Indian news agencies reported. According to reports an intelligence document from the Indian Home Ministry has revealed that the illegal consignment is first sent to Dubai from Pakistan then Sri Lanka before finally landing in Tamil Nadu. more..

Practical tests for general exams

Mar 21 (DM) The Department of Examinations has decided to introduce practical tests as a part of the general examinations. Addressing a seminar in Galle, the Commissioner General of Examinations Anura Edirisinghe said the colossal expenditure on education would serve no purpose if the parents entrust the private tutors with the education of their children. He also said it is pathetic to see the children in primary classes attending tuition classes nowadays. more..

West Indies and Sri Lanka seek to end long wait

Mar 21 (CI) At the launch of West Indies' home season earlier this month, a senior official of the West Indies Cricket Board said its goal was to "regain the pinnacle of world cricket by 2012." Given West Indies' current form, and their results over the last ten years, they are probably a bit behind schedule. Yet if they are to start now, the portents are favourable: their last series victory against strong opposition, with due respect to Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, was in 2003 more..

Military says 30 killed in latest fighting

Mar 21 (AP) Sri Lankan troops ambushed ethnic Tamil rebels with a roadside bomb, overran bunkers and engaged in firefights across the island's restive north, killing 29 insurgents, the military said Friday. Meanwhile, a soldier was killed by rebel mortar fire Thursday in Welioya, the military said in a statement. Soldiers set off a roadside bomb that killed five rebels traveling on a tractor trailer Thursday in a rebel-controlled part of Vavuniya district, the military said. more..

Growing Govt.- TMVP relationship jolts UNP

Mar 21 (Island) In the aftermath of the breakaway LTTE faction TMVP sweeping the recent local government elections in the Batticaloa district, the government was planning to enhance its hotly disputed relationship with the group, political sources said. Government sources said an alliance with the group was on the cards ahead of the forthcoming elections to the Eastern Provincial Council. more..

Checking Indian hegemony will be JVP's election plank

Mar 21 (IANS) The JVP, an ultra nationalist Sri Lankan party, will contest the provincial elections in eastern Sri Lanka to stem what it said was India's bid to impose its 'hegemony' on the region. JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe was quoted in the media Friday as saying that India was trying to set up a 'puppet regime' in the largely Tamil-speaking eastern province through the elections due in May. more..

Sri Lanka to re-deploy elite police against rebels

Mar 21 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will re-deploy thousands of elite police commandos from the country's east and move them north to help combat Tamil Tiger rebels as civil war fighting intensifies, security forces said on Friday. Around 2,000 Special Task Force police, or STF, would move from formerly Tamil-controlled eastern provinces, now held by government troops, to areas threatened by Tiger fighters in the north, the military said. more..

The Kosovo Effect

Mar 22 (LG) The recent Declaration of Independence by the legislature of Kosovo and the prompt “recognition” of the new State by USA and many EU governments have the potential for far-reaching and not-too-desirable effects on many other similar situations and “separatist” movements around the world. Of immediate international consequence would be the effect on Taiwan (which is holding its referendum on 22 March 2008). more..

Plodding daily from Sithankerny to Vaddukoddai

Mar 22 (LG) A childhood mystery beyond comprehension to me at that time was why children from Vaddukoddai walked to Sithankerny to attend Hindu College and we from Sithankerny walked to Jaffna College at Vaddukoddai. This question plagued me into my adolescent years. Educational institutions should serve neighbourhood communities, offer adequate opportunities to all children irrespective of their roots and backgrounds and help in the creation of an egalitarian society. more..

Has Buddhism an answer to our problems

Mar 22 (LG) We are in a whirlpool of problems — problems within you, family problems, social problems, problems with children, parents, in-laws, environmental problems, problems at workplaces, problems within problems and this vicious circle goes on and on engulffed in problems wide and varied and in diversity. Has Buddhism an answer to these problems? Ofcourse it has; if one only studies and follows the Dhamma and apply to each and everyone of these problems as more..

Confronting the Truth, even when it hurts

Mar 22 (SLW) “He would have died, and he thought about this, and he swallowed, realizing the words that had been on his tongue at the moment that misdirected bullet was fired: O God, it's not me, I'm not even Tamil.” This sentence is from my first novel, Love Marriage. The incident is based on a story that a relative told me long ago. The character, Kumaran, an ethnic Tamil, is riding the bus in Sri Lanka. Soldiers stop the bus because they are looking for someone Tamil. more..

Numbers game clouds Sri Lankan war

Mar 22 (BBC) Troops and the Tamil Tigers continued to face each other across the front lines that fringe territory held by the separatists in the north. There were sporadic confrontations and the military said 35 Tiger fighters were killed as well as two soldiers. But some have doubts about the casualties being reported. "If you add up all the figures given by the government from the beginning of the separatist war until now, it would have wiped out the population of the north twice over," more..