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Fallow lands to come under the plough

Mar 25 (SAMN) The Agriculture Development and Agrarian Services Ministry has commenced re-cultivating 3,000 acres of fallow paddy lands in the Wet Zone for the forthcoming Yala season under the programme initiated by the Ministry to ensure the security in the rice crop while uplifting the living conditions of the farmer community. According to the programme implemented to increase the paddy production and the re-cultivation of fallow paddy lands in the Wet Zone, more..

Eastern PC nominations begin on Thursday

Mar 25 (DN) While political parties were busy trying to strike up alliances contesting the Provincial Council polls in the East, the Elections Department said yesterday that all measures had been finalised to receive nominations from Thursday. The deadline for filing nominations is April 3. All major political parties are expected to join the fray in a contest where 37 members which includes two bonus seats, would be chosen out of a total of 44 from three districts, more..

Henarathgoda Botanical Gardens to get a facelift

Mar 25 (DN) The historical botanical gardens of Henarathgoda, Gampaha will get a facelift at a cost of Rs. 50 million under a concept of Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister Karu Jayasuriya, sources revealed. Accordingly the main New Year festival sponsored by the Public Administration and Home Affairs Ministry will take place on April 6 in parallel to the opening of the first stage of the modernisation project. more..

Govt. denies offering Chief Minister post to Pillaiyan

Mar 25 (Island) The government yesterday denied claims that it had offered to appoint TMVP leader Pillaiyan as the Chief Minister of East. General Secretary of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance, Minister Susil Premajayantha said "We have not offered the Chief Minister-ship to anyone. We will take a decision on it only after the elections to the Eastern Provincial council are completed." more..

Widening rift between CBK, Govt. revealed at Anura’s funeral

Mar 25 (Island) Differences between former President and SLFP leader Chandrika Kumaratunga and the government had emerged at MP Anura Bandaranaike’s funeral at Horagolla, where SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena was denied the opportunity to deliver President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s condolence message, well informed sources said. A furious Kumaratunga had said the message should be read by Minister D. M. Jayaratne. more..

ACF probe marred by controversy

Mar 25 (DM) The inquiry into the killing of 17 aid workers in Mutur in August 2006 took an unexpected turn yesterday when President’s Counsel Desmond Fernando allegedly claimed a Cabinet Minister in a confidential discussion with him said the Minister was aware who the perpetrators were. Mr. Fernando said he no longer wished to participate in the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the killing of Action Contra La Faim (ACF) workers because he was privy to such information. more..

UNP to woo breakaway group

Mar 25 (DM) The UNP has started a campaign to win over its members who broke ranks with the party and joined the government due to various reasons. The party’s MPs, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera and Sarath Ranawaka have been entrusted with the task of negotiating with the members in the UNP Democratic Group which is now with the ruling coalition. more..

Veteran Lankan film-maker’s work to be screened

Mar 25 (GT) THE Sri Lankan film, Aganthukaya (The Outcast), directed by Vasantha Obaysekara, is to be shown today at Doha Cinema, as part of the ongoing 14th Doha Bank-Pravasi Asian Film Festival. The film features Saumya Liyange, Chandani Seneveratne and Sanath Gunathilake. Aganthukaya, the latest film by the veteran film-maker, is the story of a man who upholds moral principles against a corrupt establishment more..

Rs. 7.1 Million for those marooned by torrential rains

Mar 25 (RW) Incessant heavy rainfall during the past few days created havoc in 10 districts causing immense hardships to people in the area. As a result of this natural calamity, 8 persons have been recorded dead and 6 persons have sustained injuries. 2 persons each from Bibile and Passara, 01 person from Haputhale and 03 persons from Divulapitiya have died. 03 persons from Badulla and 03 persons from Divulapitiya have been reported injured. more..

Mission failure

Mar 25 (FL) SRI LANKA suffered a major blow on March 6 in the midst of the ongoing war between the security forces and the LTTE. The International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP), headed by Justice P.N. Bhagwati, former Chief Justice of India, and 10 other prominent citizens from various parts of the world, announced its decision to terminate its operations in the island with effect from March 31. more..

Showcasing a success

Mar 25 (FL) ON the evening of March 11, heads of foreign missions based in Colombo received an invitation from the Foreign Ministry to gather at the office of Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama the following day at 11 a.m. for a briefing on the just-concluded local body elections in Batticaloa district. Similarly, members of the local and international press corps were called to his office for another briefing on the elections. The invites raised several eyebrows. more..

LTTE has links with terror groups: PM

Mar 25 (PTI) Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka has alleged that the Tamil Tigers maintain links with international terror groups such as PKK and certain affiliates of al-Qaeda. "According to some experts on terrorism, they maintain contacts with other terror groups such as PKK, Taliban, Islamic groups in the Philippines and even some affiliates of al-Qaeda," he said. more..

Sri Lanka navy, air force strike at Tiger rebels

Mar 25 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's navy battled a Tamil Tiger insurgent fleet early on Tuesday as troops killed 13 separatist fighters and air force planes bombed a rebel supply dump, the military said. Just days after the Tigers sank a navy patrol boat with 10 crew still missing and feared dead, the navy said fast attack ships fought a fierce battle with a small fleet of rebel boats trying to slip past off the northeast coast. more..

India will never allow a separate Tamil state: PM

Mar 25 (PTI) India will never allow a separate independent state for Tamils to be carved out from Sri Lanka, the island's Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka said here. "It should be borne in mind that India will never allow a separate independent state for Tamils in Sri Lanka because such a development will have a disastrous effect in India," Wickremanayaka, who is the first Sri Lankan Prime Minister to visit Israel, told a gathering. more..

ISSE in US supports Sri Lankan demonstration

Mar 26 (wsws) The following letter was sent by Joe Kay, convenor of the International Students for Social Equality (ISSE) in the US, in support of a demonstration and meeting held in Sri Lanka to demand the release of left wing Iranian students. See accompanying article. Dear comrades, I am writing on behalf of the International Students for Social Equality in the US to welcome your demonstration protesting the Iranian government’s arrest and more..

Sri Lankan ISSE meeting to demand release of jailed Iranian students

Mar 26 (wsws) The International Students for Social Equality (ISSE) held a public meeting in Colombo on March 10 to demand the immediate release of members of the Students for Freedom and Equality imprisoned by the Iranian government in December. The ISSE and Socialist Equality Party held a demonstration on same day in front of the Iranian Consulate and campaigned at the busy Fort Railway Station. more..

'We would like more pace and bounce' - Sarwan

Mar 26 (CI) Ramnaresh Sarwan says West Indies have been done no favours by a Providence Stadium pitch more typical of Sri Lankan grounds than Caribbean conditions. Sri Lanka have dominated the first Test in Guyana and Sarwan, who battled through 199 balls for his 80, said more pace and bounce would have been welcome. "The surface here is very similar to the ones they play on in Sri Lanka," Sarwan said after the third day's play. more..

Kandy dropped from India's tour

Mar 26 (CI) The Asgiriya Stadium in Kandy will not host the visiting Indian team during their tour to Sri Lanka in July. This will be the first time India will not play at the Asgiriya Stadium while taking part in a three-Test series in Sri Lanka. "There will be two Tests in Colombo, with one in Galle," Samantha Algama, spokesman for Sri Lanka Cricket, told AFP. The Asgiriya Stadium is India's most successful venue in Sri Lanka. more..

Vaas planning retirement in a year

Mar 26 (AFP) Chaminda Vaas has plans to end his distinguished international career for Sri Lanka in a year's time. The left-arm fast-medium bowler collected three wickets for 45 from 22 overs to help his side restrict West Indies to 269 for nine, replying to Sri Lanka's first innings total of 476 for eight declared, on the third day of the opening Test at the Guyana National Stadium. more..

UNP decides to contest east polls

Mar 26 (LD) The UNP has finalized its decision to contest the May 10th elections for the Eastern Provincial Council, party General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said. The UNP’s Working Committee that met today (Mar. 25th) appointed a committee headed by party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to prepare a list of candidates that would be fielded at the polls. It also comprises party Chairman Rukman Senanayake, General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, Joseph Michael Perera and legal experts Shibly Aziz and Daya Pelpola. more..

South Africa urges Lankan govt, LTTE to return to peace talks

Mar 26 (PTI) Expressing "deep concern" over the escalating violence in Sri Lanka, South Africa has urged the island nation's government and the LTTE to return to the negotiating table to try and end the two decade-old ethnic conflict. "The South African government is concerned that negotiations between the two principle parties in the conflict -- the LTTE and the government of Sri Lanka -- have come to a close," more..

Sri Lanka conflict raises human trafficking risk: UN

Mar 26 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's protracted and increasingly bloody civil war is making the country more vulnerable to human trafficking, a senior United Nations official said on Tuesday. People fleeing conflict-torn areas in Sri Lanka's north and east, where fighting between Tamil Tiger rebels and state security forces has raged since 1983, opened the door to people smugglers keen to profit from the vulnerable, the United Nations said. more..

Tigers get ready to face the mechanized infantry of the Army in North

Mar 26 (TC) An important militaristic development is unfolding in the Northern theatre of war!. The 57, 58 and 59 divisions of the army continue to battle it out with the LTTE within the Mannar, Vavuniya and Mullaitheevu districts in the North - west, south and South - east of the Northern Province while the 53 and 55 divisions are engaging in combat along the Kilaly - Muhamaalai - Nagar Kovil axis inside the Jaffna peninsula. more..

Sri Lanka tourist arrivals fall 5.8-pct; UK tops February

Mar 26 (LBO) Foreign visitors to Sri Lanka fell 5.8 percent in February with a steep fall of Indian tourists and UK generating most visitors to the island, data from the tourist promotion office showed. Total arrivals fell to 40,551 from 43,051 in the sale month of 2006 with the top generating market of Western Europe falling 4.9 to 18,762, and South Asia falling 13.4 percent to 8,787. more..

TN politician resigns over Lanka

Mar 26 (BBC) A cabinet minister rank official in the State Government of Tamil Nadu has resigned his post in protest against the Indian Government Military support to the government of Sri Lanka. Vijaya T. Rajendar a film personality and leader of the Lakshiya Dravida munnetra Kazaham (LDMK) , a political ally of the ruling DMK in Tamilnadu has resigned his post of Vice chairman of the State Small Savings Organisation. more..

Rajapakse’s judicial and eastern entanglement

Mar 26 (ML) Even as the government prepares to face the May 10 provincial council elections in the east with the help of paramilitary groups, President Mahinda Rajapakse may also face possible impeachment over the non appointment of the Constitutional Council. The Organisation of Professional Associations (OPA) which has already slammed the President in several hard hitting letters for not implementing the constitution of the country which would ensure independent commissions for more..

Sangaree asked to guide Mahinda on correct path

Mar 26 (ML) I have been to Trincomalee where I was born and bred, on a holiday for two months, after a lapse of two years. My impression is that everything has deteriorated to the maximum, except Mother Nature, which is at her pristine best. The sea beach has improved, thanks to the local council. I used to spend at least two hours everyday in the mornings from 7 to 9 a.m. looking at the changing beauty of the blue sky and the gentle breeze, more..

Consensus at APRC for N-E merger with Muslim unit

Mar 26 (ML) A consensus emerged at the All Party Representative Committee on Monday for a merged North-East province with a separate Muslim majority unit. The Morning Leader learns all parties present at the APRC presided by Science and Technology Minister Tissa Vitharana agreed to the proposal forwarded by Sri Lanka Muslim Congress representative, Attorney Nizam Kariappar. more..

Property market staggered by state of economy

Mar 26 (ML) The latest sector to be hit by the country’s swelling economic crisis is the Colombo real estate market, which has been plagued by a cocktail of negative developments. After an unprecedented 176 companies were forced to close in 2007 (the highest ever in this decade) redundant corporate offices now up for sale have flooded the market, and buyers are scarce. more..

Police should retrieve weapons given to politicians - CJ

Mar 26 (BL) Chief Justice Sarath N Silva yesterday declared that all illegal weapons should be retrieved by police, including those handed over to politicians. He made this statement while granting leave to proceed with a Fundamental Rights Case against six police officers of the Welikada Police, filed by a businessman who claimed that police tortured him and solicited a bribe. more..

TMVP sticks to its guns on CM post

Mar 26 (BL) The TMVP that swept through eight of the nine local bodies in the March 10, local polls in Batticaloa, will not enter into any pact with the government to contest the forthcoming provincial polls, unless the government nominated a TMVP candidate, for the post of Chief Minister. This decision was taken by the party’s politburo last week, in Batticaloa, and the decision is to be conveyed to the government shortly. more..

Ranil says only UNP can curb corruption

Mar 26 (BL) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe vowed that only a UNP government could end corruption and lessen the cost of living. Addressing a Jana Bala Sena Programme yesterday, he said that Rajapaksa government has ruined the country and therefore, it is the UNP that could bring the corruption and skyrocketing cost of living under control. “In year 2002, the UNP government was able to strengthen the value of the rupee and was able to control the prices of essential goods,” Wickremesinghe said. more..

Rising inflation bugs Central Bank

Mar 26 (BL) Central Bank appears to be perhaps hapless and helpless over rising inflation, judging by its latest assessment on the macro economic situation. The significant rise in international food prices, further exacerbated by the spiraling prices of crude oil, has exerted upward pressure on the inflation of many countries, particularly from the second half of 2007. more..

Sri Lanka hold advantage over spirited Windies

Mar 26 (CI) A refreshingly positive West Indian response to a record target of 437 from 113 overs has set up a most intriguing final day's play at the Providence Stadium. The day belonged to Sri Lanka who, thanks to fifties from Malinda Warnapura and Thilan Samaraweera, declared at 240 for 7 but Dwayne Bravo and Ramnaresh Sarwan's 74-run stand in 18.3 overs gave West Indies a flicker of hope. more..

Keheliya angry over Lankadeepa, Leader and Lanka e News

Mar 26 (LeN) Defence Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella criticized Lankadeepa, Leader and Lanka-e-News website for disseminating news that affected the security forces. Lankadeepa was criticized since one of its articles said that the Army Commander Sarath Fonseka first said that the war would be ended after Wanni and Kilinochchi were captured but now he says that eliminating terrorists is worthier than capturing ground. more..

Batticaloa Elections: Rejecting CFA, ISGA and P-TOMS

Mar 26 (AT) The Batticaloa District Local Government elections were a strong indicator that after nearly 35 years of the ethnic war, life was returning to normalcy to an area that had missed it. Given the right circumstances, the Batticaloa District and the Eastern Province in general should now progress rapidly. The region could become as the Western Province - having both high growth rates and multiculturalism. more..

Nedumaran to visit London to raise funds

Mar 26 (AT) India’s pro-Tamil Tiger leader Pazha Nedumaran is scheduled to visit London to be engaged in fund raising activities of the proscribed terrorist group the LTTE, sources close to Mari Amma Temple in Tooting London, said. “Nedumaran is scheduled to address a gathering at the LTTE owned temple, March 29, but his visa has yet to be cleared by the British authorities,” the sources further indicated. more..

LRRP: D.B.S. Jeyaraj responds to Brigadier V.U.B. Nanayakkara

Mar 26 (TC) Clarification on feature ‘LRRP Infiltration Demolishes Impregnable Tiger Terrain Myth’ in your March 12, 2008 issue: 1. Your kind attention is drawn to the above article written by Mr. D.B.S Jeyaraj, in which he has compiled a catalogue of killings and retaliatory attacks that have been attributed to a so-called ‘Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol of the Army.’ more..

Lanka Milk Foods invests in new liquid milk plant

Mar 26 (LBO) Lanka Milk Foods (LMF), the milk powder packer which is part of the Distilleries group, said it has invested 625 million rupees in setting up a new liquid milk producing plant. The new factory at Ambewela will have a production capacity of 9.5 million litres of cow milk by 2009, LMF said in a statement to the Colombo Stock Exchange Wednesday. more..

Hambantota in drive to lure more tourists

Mar 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka's southern coastal city to Hambantota has launched a new drive to draw more visitors in, with the area already acquiring a name for wildlife, historical sites and a 150 kilometre stretch of beach. "Our key objective is to promote the Hambantota district as a highly desirable tourist destination from an environmental, historical, social and an economic perspective" more..

Sri Lanka needs changes to build knowledge economy: World Bank

Mar 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka needs to improve access to broadband communications and the internet and reduce costs to become a 'knowledge economy', the World Bank has said. If not, the country risks creating a 'digital divide', a new divide between haves and have-nots, economist Ismail Radwan said in a new study on building Sri Lanka's knowledge economy. The country should position itself to harness knowledge for faster development as more..

Sri Lanka HSBC lead arranges power plant loan

Mar 26 (LBO) HSBC Sri Lanka said it has arranged 152.2 million euros (230 million US dollars) in debt for a 300 MegaWatt thermal power plant in the island, from US and European export credit agencies. The credit has a 100 percent unconditional guarantee from the government of Sri Lanka. The rates were not disclosed. HSBC said it was the largest export credit agency funding in the island and runs up to 14 years. more..

Today's Foreign Service: Confronting the Challenges

Mar 26 (LG) Sri Lanka's Foreign Service is one of the oldest public sector institutions in the country. It was initially headed by the Prime Minister and later by a Foreign Minister. It has long been a glamourous career option for the best and the brightest. The Foreign Service has, in the past, earned a reputation for performing well in defending and advancing the country's interests overseas. more..

State & Racism

Mar 26 (LG) The western Christian states and the Muslim states are more racist than the Sri Lankan state though the Sinhala Buddhists are accused of being Chauvinists while the Sri Lankan state is accused of being racist by the westerners as well as so called educated Muslims. In a country with a history, where currently, though not necessarily in history, there are more than one ethnic group living as citizens of the country, the state is bound to be racist to a degree, more..

Is it one again Mervyn Work?

Mar 26 (LG) President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa opened the flyover at Thorana Junction, Peliyagoda today (25th) at 7.00 am. It was auspicious time for opening according to President’s horoscope. The Sri Lanka Guardian correspondent was travelling on the new flyover at Widyalankara Piriwena in Paliyagoda when President Mahinda and other key officials were seen walking to cross over the flyover. more..

Old Wine in New Bottles - Virakesari editorial

Mar 26 (SLW) Twenty years ago there was a Provincial Council election for a merged north-east under the Indo-Lanka Accord. But, now, the government proposes to hold polls for the Eastern Provincial Council in a de-merged north-east. The proposed polls are a political drama to split the traditional homeland of the Tamils. When the north - east provincial council was formed with Varatharja Perumal as the Chief Minister under the Indo-Lanka Accord, more..

Queen of the Sinhala Cinema to pursue a new chapter in her life

Mar 26 (AT) In an essentially self-centered world, rare is the person who takes time to dwell on the broader needs of a profession in terms of posterity. Malani Senehalatha Fonseka, dubbed ‘Queen of the Sinhala Cinema,’ who, during her recent tour in the U.S., spoke wistfully, yet with determination, of her dreams for the future of Sinhala cinema. more..

Global Peace Support Group in UK Exposed As Proxy of LTTE

Mar 26 (AT) The clandestine affairs of the Global Peace Support Group in UK masquerading as peace activists are coming to light as their International seminar held in London recently, had permitted only pro-LTTE people in to the premises and prevented other participants from entering the building at the University of East London on March 22nd. According to Nesan Shankar Raji, Senior Leader of EROS, British member of Parliament Stephen Timms, more..

NPC defers police transfers in Trinco

Mar 26 (LD) Deferring a decision by IGP Victor Perera to transfer three police officers in charge of election duties in Trincomalee, the National Police Commission (NPC) has ordered relevant officials to return them to their former posts immediately. The order was given after a written notice issued by Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake, who said that public officers cannot be transferred during an election period, as it violates certain provisions of the 17th Amendment. more..

‘Prabhakaran’ film director assaulted in TN

Mar 26 (LD) Thushara Peiris, the director of the controversial film ‘Prabhakaran’, has been assaulted in Tamil Nadu, media reports from the South Indian state say. Peiris has gone to the Gemini Studios in K.K. Nagar in Tamil Nadu to obtain the final print copies of his film, when the incident took place, reports add. Criticizing the film, Tamil organizations in Tamil Nadu had held protest demonstrations in front of the Gemini studios. more..