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Lies, deceit and scams: The Sajin Vaas story

Mar 2 (NS) Every politician in the world needs and has assistants. Their role is simply that: to assist their principal to accomplish various goals – be it political or personal. But the story of Sajin De Vaas Gunawardena is a phenomenally rare one. For, he has taken the friendship and gratitude of one man and abused that generosity to an extent that the political hierarchy of Sri Lanka is at grave risk. more..

Govt. won’t push down the rice price

Mar 2 (Island) Deputy Minister of Agrarian Services Siripala Gamlath yesterday indicated that the government wouldn’t intervene to bring down the price of rice. He expressed the belief that the entire range of rice would remain high as the buying rate of paddy, too, would be much higher than the prices recommended by the government. Gamlath, the Polonnaruwa District MP and the proprietor of Nipuna Rice Productions (Pvt) Ltd, said that the government wouldn’t compete with the private sector to purchase paddy. more..

New Inland Revenue chief in March, president tells unions

Mar 2 (Island) Mahinda Rajapaksa has consented to unions’ call to appoint an efficient and experienced officer to head the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) when the incumbent IR Chief retires on March 8. This assurance was given at a Temple Trees meeting attended by senior representatives of IRD trade unions on Thursday. more..

Cabraal’s hard work erased by ‘Hard Talk’

Mar 2 (Island) Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal has not yet heard from BBC why his interview with the popular `Hard Talk’ show to be aired in connections with Sri Lanka’s 60th Independence Anniversary has been blacked out. But Bell Pottinger, Sri Lanka’s PR consultants in Britain, had been told that the tapes had been accidentally erased, an explanation widely received with more than the usual pinch of salt. more..

The ‘Kelang’ Culture

Mar 2 (Island) Last week, the UNP held a two day seminar for its parliamentarians at the luxurious Heritance Hotel in Ahungalle. It was organized by the UNP media unit comprising of Ariya Rubesinghe, Hemasiri Fernando and Shiral Lankatilleke among others. The seminar was poorly attended with only around 30 MPs of the UNP’s 42, and on the second day only around 20 parliamentarians were in attendance. more..

'Hosting SAARC parley will bring a resurgence to Kandy'

Mar 2 (Island) Foreign Affairs Minister Rohitha Bogollagama presiding at a conference to discuss arrangements for the forthcoming 15th SAARC leaders summit last week emphasized that development projects lined up in connection with this regional parley should be completed by July this year. The conference was held at the International Buddhist Centre of the Sri Dalada Maligawa at Pallekele. more..

Govt restructures state media institutions

Mar 2 (CT) The government plans to restructure its media institutions after several cabinet ministers and trade unions had warned him that the administration of state media institutions was in complete turmoil. Following government's steps Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa has ordered Director-General of the SLRC Sisira Kotelawala to immediately tender his resignation.Chairman of the SLBC Sunil Sarath Perera was removed from the post. more..

Mahinda-Ranil talks: Bubble and babel

Mar 2 (ST) UNP parliamentarians, 32 of them to be precise, gathered in a beach resort in the southern town of Ahungalla, on Wednesday and Thursday to ponder over the formulation of a national policy. Seven of them did not attend. But for those who did, it was a gala event culminating in a 'surprise' birthday party thrown in for the young MP from Matara, Sagala Ratnayaka. It was serious political deliberation by day and karaoke singing by night with young Sajith Premadasa, easily the best vocalist. more..

Modera bomb house: The explosive truth

Mar 2 (ST) At a top-level security conference on Thursday, reports of increased Tiger guerrilla activity in the Modera area of Colombo city became the subject of discussion. However, none thought that the next day, the Police were going to unravel the activities of a man who had planned to unleash violence on a large scale. He blew himself up but the story is still unfolding. It began when men from the Modera Police cordoned off Thunseeya Hetay Watte, or "360 Estate." more..

It’s polls time for the butcher, the businessman and the fisherman

Mar 2 (ST) Armed policemen are seen in every nook and corner of Batticaloa and its surrounding areas in readiness for next week’s local polls. Some of them are tasked with providing security to reluctant candidates who include butchers, businessmen and fishermen. A popular figure from Kulawady, 65 year old former TULF Batticaloa Municipal Council member and small time businessman S. Asirwatham had been approached by an independent group to contest the polls, but more..

Tight control on INGOs

Mar 2 (ST) Tough new measures to further control international non-governmental organisations are to be enforced soon, an official said yesterday. The new regulations, being formulated by the Ministries of Defence, Social Services and Home Affairs, would include visa restrictions, closer supervision and specified limits for their work, Social Services Ministry Secretary V. Jegarasasingham said. more..

Air travel to Jaffna costlier due to closure of A9 highway

Mar 2 (PTI) The closure of the A9 highway connecting Colombo with Jaffna has hit travellers hard with the flight fare from the island nation to Tamil Nadu working out cheaper than travel to the embattled city. According to travel agents, the two-way airfare between Colombo to Jaffna ranges from Rs 18,000 (Sri Lankan rupees) to Rs 19,500, the Sunday Leader Newspaper reported. Tickets between Colombo and Tamil Nadu are available in the range as Rs 13,800 to Rs 17,500 both ways, it said, more..

UK credit card scam could be linked to LTTE funding: MP

Mar 2 (PTI) With an international credit card cloning scam unearthed in UK, a British MP has said supporters of LTTE could be behind the scam to raise funds for the rebels waging a war for a separate state in Sri Lanka. "It has been suggested to me that some of the money may have found its way to the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka possibly to fund," Conservative Party MP Andrew Selous told the House of Commons. more..

Sri Lanka government lacks sincerity, says ex-official

Mar 2 (IANS) Sri Lanka's constitutional advisor, Jayampathy Wickramaratne, has resigned, saying the government does not seem to be interested in devolving power to the Tamil minority. Wickramaratne, who was working on a new power-sharing system for the strife-hit country, told IANS that there was no need for him to be in the government after it decided not to go beyond the devolution formula in the existing constitution. more..

India's security halts bidding for Colombo port terminal

Mar 2 (IANS) India's security has become an issue in the controversial bidding for the new container terminal in Colombo port. One of the parties has been carrying on a thinly veiled campaign in the Sri Lankan media saying that India's security will be threatened if the contract is awarded to Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH), a Hong Kong-based company. The campaign has been successful to the extent that the Sri Lankan government has now cancelled the earlier bids and called for fresh bids 'in the national interest'. more..

Jaffna port workers complain of mismanagement

Mar 3 (TN) The lack of interest by government officials in the North in paying wages in time to workers involved in unloading of goods in the sea ports of Jaffna in a timely manner has resulted in frequent disruption in unloading of loads from the cargo ships, civil sources in Jaffna said. After the eruption of clashes between SLA and LTTE in 2006, the essential supplies and consumer goods for the general population in Jaffna arrive by cargo ships who unload their goods in the harbours in the peninsula. more..

CT Scanning laboratory, nursing student’s hostel opened in Batticaloa

Mar 3 (TN) Computed Tomography (CT) Scanning laboratory built by the Ministry of Health at a cost of Rs.70 million was opened Saturday morning 10:00 a.m. at Batticaloa Teaching Hospital, sources in Batticaloa said. Mr.M.S.M. Ali, Minister for Disaster Relief Services, Dr.V.Jeganathan Health Advisor for North-East provinces, Dr.S.Sathurmugam, Regional Director of Health M.Muruganantham Director of Batticaloa Hospital attended the opening ceremony. more..

Tamil passengers robbed at Fort station

Mar 3 (TN) Two Tamil civilians who arrived in Colombo-Fort railway station Saturday from Vavuniyaa via Madawachchi were robbed of their cash, gold rings and other belongings by three persons in civil who identified them as CID personnel, according to complaints made to Fort Police Station and the Civil Monitoring Committee (CMC). Chelliah Vethamuthu and his relative Ramanathan Manivannan had made the complaints. more..

Foundation stone laid for reconstruction of Kalladi Bridge

Mar 3 (TN) The foundation stone to restore the ancient bridge located in Kalladi, in Batticaloa District was laid Saturday morning. Mr.Rizad Baddiudeen, Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Services, Minister Amir Ali, Batticaloa District Government Agent (GA) Mr.Sunderam Arumainayagam and a number of government officials participated in the ceremony, according to sources in Batticaloa. more..

Kumari fishermen freed

Mar 3 (NIP) The 25 Kanyakumari fishermen ,who were held captive by the Sri Lankan Navy since February 24, have been released. They are expected to reach Thoothukudi on Sunday. A group of 25 fishermen from Thoothur, Vallaviali and Thengapattinam in Kanyakumari had ventured out in two mechanized boats for fishing on February 24. When they were fishing about 40 nautical miles off the Indian coast they were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy and their boats were seized. more..

Prabhakaran may commit suicide, say Sri Lankan leaders

Mar 3 (PTI) Predicting the collapse of the LTTE, some leaders in Sri Lanka have said the elusive Tiger supremo V Prabhakaran will have no choice other than to 'commit suicide' when the Sri Lankan security forces zero in on him. "He (Prabhakaran) will not be alive till the military arrests him. Simply, he will commit suicide. This is the nature of people like him," senior Tamil leader Doughlas Devananda said reacting to the observation by the Jane's Intelligence Review that the LTTE was at its lowest ebb. more..

Rise of 'war monk' sparks fears of bloodier conflict

Mar 3 (SH) LIKE EVERY Buddhist monk, the Venerable Athuraliye Rathana believes in peace, harmony and loving kindness. But unlike most, he believes the best way to pursue such virtues is to fight a war to the death with his enemies. Rathana, mischievously nicknamed a "war monk" by Sri Lanka's press, speaks passionately of harmony but believes it will only come after the Tamil Tigers have all been killed and their political movement decisively crushed by the army. more..

Clashes, bomb blast kill 16 in northern Sri Lanka, military says

Mar 3 (AP) Tamil separatists set off a roadside bomb Sunday in northern Sri Lanka, killing a government soldier, while clashes elsewhere in the region killed 15 rebels, the military said Sunday. The rebels exploded the roadside bomb Sunday in northern Vavuniya district, killing a soldier, the military said in a statement. Separate clashes near rebel-controlled territory in northern Jaffna and Vavuniya districts Saturday killed 15 guerrillas, more..

Prabakaran never came to East, says Shanthan, the TMVP military leader

Mar 3 (LeN) 'Shanthan' is the TMVP military leader of Batticaloa and Ampara districts. He does not contest to the local government election but his wife does. PLOTE charges that he came to their Kalawanchikudi office with arms and threatened. They say that the TMVP military leader is well-known for his ruthless acts. But Shanthan denies the charges. We went to meet Shanthan at his camp located adjacent to a police Special Task Force camp near Batticaloa city. more..

Monks Bhikkus and Quantum Physics

Mar 3 (LG) I have to digress somewhat from the series of articles on Buddhisms Betrayed this week and the next as I have to respond to Dr. Peter Schalk of the Upsala University, Sweden. A Tamil friend of mine has sent me the following comments by Dr. Peter Schalk who is an apologist for the Tamil racists in general and the LTTE in particular, on the series of articles I am presently writing to "The Midweek Review" on Buddhisms Betrayed. more..

Are we ready to shed the BBC media tail of post colonialism?

Mar 3 (LR) The popular BBC programme ‘Hard talk’ by zeinab Badawi on February 4, 2008 with Sri Lanka central bank governor Nivard Cabrall has not bee aired so far. Cabraal flew specially to London for the interview after BBC invited participation at the show at a senior level of government by somebody who’d take all questions. more..

India at SAARC summit doubtful over 13th Amendment

Mar 3 (LD) India has requested the Sri Lankan government through diplomatic channels to implement the APRC proposals for the resolution of the national conflict, before the upcoming SAARC heads of state summit meeting, diplomatic sources say. The present regime has already consented to enforcing the 13th Amendment in accordance with the Indo-Lanka pact on the issue. more..

Repatriated Lankan Maid Claims Torture, Nonpayment of Wages

Mar 3 (AN) A Sri Lankan maid, who was tortured brutally by her employer’s wife, has been forcibly sent home without being paid a year’s salary. “I was tortured severely. The sponsor’s wife burned me with an iron rod, poured disinfectant and gasoline on me and threatened to burn me alive; she also said she would cut my hair to make me ugly,” said Madhuwanthie, the 28-year-old Sri Lankan woman. more..

LTTE launches Euro Television: The new Tamil TV channel

Mar 3 (AT) Sri Lanka Tamil separatist outfit, LTTE has come up with another new Tamil Television channel in Europe. Already they have started the test telecast of the new Tamil TV channel from 1 March and is clearly seen at Eurobird 9 @ 9° East satellite platform. Earlier, French Government banned on last May, the Tamil Television Network - TTN channel run by the LTTE. After TTN channel was banned they came up with another channel called Tharishanam. more..

Sri Lanka Chillies controversy raises new questions

Mar 3 (LBO) A top Sri Lankan advertising agency that stirred up the industry after the Chilies 2008 ad awards has chosen not to go public with its grievances, but the row has raised new questions. Leo Burnet Solutions which bagged 30 percent of the awards, and clinched the second slot created a controversy by boycotting a post even media briefing saying award rules or a 'blue print' has been violated. more..

A British attempt to rescue the LTTE

Mar 3 (LG) The versions of what transpired at the recent meeting between representatives of the House of Lords and the House of Commons and a delegation of the ‘British Tamil Forum’ (BTF) as reported in the press (including several websites that carry news on Sri Lanka), though varied in content and focus, could be summarised as follows:The meeting was chaired by Lord Malloch-Brown, the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom. more..

Is Prabhakaran dead or alive?

Mar 3 (LG) Is Prabhakaran dead or alive? The government would have us believe that he’s dead from the recent deluge of bombs dropped on his hideouts. Most Sinhalese, if not all, want to see him dead. Even the Mahawamsa, it seems, does not have a greater villain plotting against the hearts and minds of the Sinhalese. While I can’t bring myself to believe that he’s dead (history’s biggest tyrants are surprisingly long-lived, from Herod down to Franco and Pinochet in modern times, and more..

TNA condemns SL Ministers' attempt to mislead Batticaloa voters

Mar 3 (TN) The TNA in a media communiqué released Saturday condemned the action of the cabinet ministers of Government attempting to mislead civilians in Batticaloa for their own political gain by falsely claiming the Japan initiated scheme of reconstructing Kallady bridge as “Dawn of the East," whereas the project is part of the ongoing effort Japan's effort to rebuild bridges after tsunami. more..

It’s anti-Indian, living in London and preaching in vernacular

Mar 3 (SLW) Hey, did you know there is a “National Vernacular Commission”? Came to know about it just yesterday, after they handed over a report to the government on “Learning with the Mother Language”. Sorry! It’s their ‘Interim’ report by the way that coincided with the International Mother Language Day, last Thursday. They want the medium of education to be the “vernacular”. more..

The Eelam War on principles

Mar 3 (SLW) The excesses of the LTTE are legion. However, our arrant disgust of the LTTE is matched and even exceeded by the outrageous behaviour of a government that fully embodies, quite unashamedly and without the slightest sense of irony, the very terrorism it seeks to eradicate. From a President with a marked disdain for constitutional governance to the execrable characters related or close to him in his government with a penchant for wanton violence with complete impunity, there more..

Eelam War Rages in North

Mar 3 (SLW) Bodies of 7 LTTE cadres killed during recent fighting in Weli Oya were handed over to the ICRC today in Anuradhapura hospital. For the last two weeks the army has recovered 27 tiger bodies from the Weli-Oya front alone. At least 7 of the cadres killed were from LTTE's Imran Pandiyan regiment. LTTE is now deploying (although not in large scale) its experienced units along the Weli-Oya front to face the 59th division which is advancing towards Nedunkerni. more..

Left in Sri Lanka has an important role at this moment

Mar 3 (SLW) An avatar is haunting the country. It is the avatar of foreign military intervention. In the aftermath of the unilateral withdrawal of the Ceasefire Agreement by the Rajapaksa regime and the growing civilian massacres, destruction and absence of the rule of law, there can be little doubt that the Government’s intention of a military victory is bringing grief and suffering to huge numbers of civilians of all communities of the people of Sri Lanka. more..

JVP & TNA to be invited to join APRC

Mar 3 (LD) The President has decided to invite the JVP and the TNA to join the All Party Representative Committee process. Views and suggestions of all parties are essential in the quest to find a political solution to the national conflict, although offensives are ongoing to defeat the LTTE militarily, the president has said. According to sources at the Presidential Secretariat, the president is due to discuss the issue with the two parties in the coming days. more..

Minister Samarasinghe puts the human rights issue in perspective in Geneva

Mar 3 (GDI) "The main goal of the Government is to secure an environment of peace, prosperity and thereby creating a better future for all Sri Lankans, while guaranteeing their fundamental freedoms within a multi-ethnic, multicultural, multi-religious and multi-lingual nation," Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe said. The minister was addressing the high-level segment of the 7th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today (03). more..

Courses in textile industry commence in March

Mar 3 (GDI) Directress of Department of Textiles Industries Mrs. K.W.T.N.Amaratunga said that recruitment of students for Basic and Final courses in Textile Industries commence in March. For one year Basic course, basic qualification should be at least Grade 8 and for two year Final course minimum qualification G.C.E (O/L), should be completed. Students undergoing training in the Department of Textile Industries schools at Provincial level would more..

Sri Lanka Air Force celebrates 57th Anniversary

Mar 3 (GDI) On gaining Independence from British Domination in 1947, following the Declaration of Independence on February 4, 1948, according to the existing Defence Agreement, the first Prime Minister of Sri Lanka moved in establishing Sri Lanka's Air Force. The U.K responded by sending Group Captain Graham Clerk Bladen who set up office in Colombo in March 1951 at Galle Face Hotel as the first Commander of the Royal Ceylon Air Force. more..

Sri Lankan missions directed to make int. community aware of LTTE's true colours

Mar 3 (GDI) The Government has directed the Sri Lankan missions abroad to strengthen the mechanism of making the international community aware of the true nature of the LTTE, the terrorist outfit banned in many parts of the world including the USA and member states of the European Union. Enforcing the policy of countering the false propaganda of the LTTE and the government's position that the Tamil people were viewed differently from the ruthless LTTE is more..

23 crop varieties to be cultivated under Api Wawamu-Rata Nagamu programme

Mar 3 (GDI) Under the 'Api Wawamu-Rata Nagamu' programme of the Government, the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Services will take steps to cultivate 23 varieties of crops. "Sri Lankans consumed 900,000 metric tons of wheat flour in 2006. This was reduced to 450,000 metric tons by 2007. The main reason for this is to boost the consumption of rice in the country. We cannot depend on foreign countries for ever. more..

Idealists Attacking Democracy

Mar 3 (PISL) Once again the same set of NGOs that launched what was supposed to be a pre-emptive strike against Sri Lanka before the last session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva has returned to the fray. This time their principal target is democracy. They would like somehow to stop the citizens of the east exercising the franchise, a desire they share with the LTTE, which has never been strong on democracy or individual choice. more..

President not prepared to go with begging bowl

Mar 3 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was not prepared to go with a begging bowl to the world, no matter what situation arises in the country. `I am not ready to go with a begging bowl to the world under any conditions that may arise in the country,` the President said. The President also said that there were a large number of people who were ready to crossover to the government, but he was not ready to accept them now. more..

Witness in Sri Lanka`s hospital murder case regains her job

Mar 3 (LNP) L. M. Beatrice, a key witness in Sri Lanka s first ever hospital murder case in which a doctor has been charged with killing of 23-year-old garment factory employee Chamila Dissanayake at the Negombo General Hospital last November has regained her employment after the intervention of the Negombo Labour office, following an expose in The Island. The private janitorial service dismissed her after the majority of doctors at the Negombo hospital had demanded her removal. more..

Foreign Ministry snakes under the grass

Mar 3 (LNP) There is a disease affecting envoys from small nations serving in big countries. It is called the Ambassadorial Syndrome, which means they begin to speak more for their hosts than for their own countries. Inferiority complex and self-advancement are said to be the causes of that diplomatic malady. The most pronounced symptom of the disease is that the infected launch vitriolic attacks on the non-infected. more..

Destroyer of LTTE vessel, Huravee here on short visit

Mar 3 (LNP) Maldivian Coast Guard Vessel Huravee which destroyed Sri krishna, a large Indian fishing trawler commandeered by the LTTE in the Maldivian waters last May had left Colombo after a three-day visit, Navy headquarters said. The vessel was on her way back to the Maldives after undergoing repairs at Chennai. This is her second visit to Colombo, since last October. The 46-meter Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) formerly Tillan Chang of the Indian navy attacked Sri Krishna carrying a consignment of ammunition after more..

MR to decide on TMVP participation

Mar 3 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to decide on the proposed participation of the Tamil Makkla Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) in the proceedings of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) shortly after the provincial council elections in the East. On February 19, the TMVP requested the President in writing to ensure its participation in the APRC deliberations, to raise its voice for eastern Tamils. more..

Teachers to fall sick Tuesday

Mar 3 (SAMN) School teacher unionists said they would to go ahead with their sick note campaign Tuesday, as talks with President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the salary issue failed to iron out differences."We are compelled to go ahead with the sick note campaign as last Friday’s meeting with the president failed to provide results. The president did not agree with our demand to implement the salary increment proposals more..