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Stage set for provincial poll

Mar 29 (Hindu) Nominations for the election to the Provincial Council (PC) in the east, being held after a gap of two decades, will be received till April 3, the Election Commission of Sri Lanka has said. Thirty-five members are to be elected from Batticaloa, Trincomalee, and Ampara districts with two bonus seats. Additional Elections Commissioner W.P. Sumanasiri told the media on Thursday that applications for postal votes and displaced persons would also be accepted till April 3. more..

UNP warns of 'massive protests'

Mar 29 (BBC) The main opposition in Sri Lanka has warned of 'massive protests' if the executive president attempts to 'unlawfully appoint' a top parliamentary official. The UNP urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to re-activate the Constitutional Council (CC) before appointing a new Secretary General for the parliament. The term of current Secretary General of the parliament, Priyani Wijesekara, ends on 31 March. more..

The alchemy of peace

Mar 29 (LG) Certain events between 1972-78 gave the new organisation some popular support and even moral justification. The fourth International Tamil Research Conference was held in Jaffna in 1974. Tamil scholars and delegates from different parts of the world participated in this literary convention. Due to some mishap, the convention ended on a tragic note with the deaths of four participants. more..

An Open Letter Keith Vaz MP

Mar 29 (LG) We have been treated in this way because we fearlessly raise issues relating to the UK proscribed LTTE in this country. We faced some difficulties to meet you few months ago. As the Chairman of Parliamentary Group for Tamils, you are very well aware of our work and our political views and sadly, you have taken a position to disregard us from any engagements for reasons best known and widely spoken about in the Sri Lankan community. more..

Incident analysis: Sinking of SLN Dvora craft

Mar 29 (LG) The sinking of a Sri Lankan Navy Fast Attack Craft P 438 on the night of 22nd March was reported. However, it appears that this incident has not been fully analysed or even if such an analysis was undertaken by the SLN the details have been withheld got obvious reasons. The Sri Lankan Government sources on 23rd March 2008 published a report with headlines ‘ Navy Fast Attack Craft sinks in mystery blast; 6 crewmembers survive ‘ The full report is given below. more..

Jaffna College is not a game of kiddi and thatchi for the Diaspora

Mar 29 (LG) A false impression has been circulated among certain circles of the Jaffna College Alumni overseas that only those who have been past students can be members of the school’s Board of Directors. It has originated from Singapore and evidently its author has not checked his facts properly or has based his assumption on material that is either fallacious or fraudulently fabricated with the intention to deceive the college community, and more..

Peter beats Blake in ‘Cannonball Run’

Mar 29 (LG) It all happened when a shot from a 30-pounder, fired by the British Royal Artillery Company, got deflected after striking against a masonry bridge and landed on the Galle Face Boarding House, (now the Galle Face Hotel). The ball crashed through the roof, ceiling and landed on a drawing room. The commotion it caused was such that it brought governor Sir Collin Campbell rushing to the scene. more..

53% of Sri Lanka's external military training provided by India

Mar 29 (LG) Addressing the large demonstration of the Tamil Protection Movement (TPM), Viduthalai Chiruththaikal Kadchi (VCK, Liberation Panthers Party) President Thol. Thirumavalavan, condemning the Indian government for giving red carpet welcome to Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka, charged that one of the primary objectives of Fonseka's visit to India was to seek a substantial increase in the number of Sri Lankan Armed Forces being trained in India. more..

LTTE Propaganda: The Nitharsanam Unit

Mar 29 (SLW) It is an apparent fact that the LTTE has greater focus on propaganda than the Sri Lanka government. Exactly how they maximize their propaganda is an interesting topic for discussion. The fact that the LTTE has thousands of internet sites, newspapers and other materials does not completely explain their propaganda machine. Many of the web based sources, newspapers etc. require content. more..

Sri Lanka needs transparent telecom rules, lower costs: study

Mar 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka needs transparent telecom regulation and lower costs to encourage the information technology business and become a 'knowledge economy', says a new World Bank study. Transparent and consistent regulation was important to encourage private investment in the IT sector which was important for the development of the industry, knowledge transfer and future economic growth, it says. more..

India must stop LTTE's sinister attempt to threaten sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka

Mar 29 (AT) Letting the disruptive pro-LTTE forces in Tamil Nadu get away with impunity the outrageous acts against the existing Indo-Lanka friendship and cordial relations has been disappointing for citizens of both countries. LTTE in the Eyes of Tamil Nadu It will sow the seeds of dissent that will ultimately threaten the territorial integrity of India, according to most observers who are shocked beyond belief that more..

Sachini: “Acting is my first choice”

Mar 29 (LG) The lass from Kandy wanted to be the Miss World. That was the dream from her childhood. A versatile model, she is also a much-sought-after actress with two movies to her credit. The girl from the cool climes of the central hills has already won the Miss Sri Lanka title and taken part in the Miss World Contest held recently in China. The darling of the Colombo catwalks and now accomplished actress in the silver screen, Sachini narrates her story of the journey into the world of fashion, glamour and acting. more..

The Right to Question

Mar 29 (LG) An important attraction of Buddhism to its followers, specially those of an intellectual frame of mind, is the Right to Question conceded in the teaching of the Buddha. The Buddha declared to his disciples not to accept even what he says without proper scrutiny. Once the Buddha visited a small town called Kesaputta in the Kingdom of Kosala, where the inhabitants have a common name, Kalama. They told the Buddha that recluses and Brahamanas explained to them their own doctrines. more..

Dowries and Marraiges for the East PC

Mar 29 (SLW) The month of March so far had too many departures from life. Former Speaker Anura B and his Deputy Major General Sarath M departed within just two days. And then last week we had the science fiction Guru Sir Arthur C. Clarke departing forever too. He left the glory of his odyssey in Sri Lanka to Sri Lanka itself with the British almost ignoring the man who wrote the fictional novel 2001; Space Odyssey in1968 that eventually became reality within a decade or so. more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa, my role model for taking issues to world – Mano Ganeshan

Mar 29 (LD) Leader of the Western People’s Front Mano Ganeshan says it is none other than incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is his role model for getting the international community to exert pressure on the government whenever human rights are violated in Sri Lanka. MP Ganeshan, who is also Convener of the Civil Monitoring Committee, made this comment while participating in the ‘4th Floor’ talk show of Max Television last night (Mar. 28th). more..

Act to protect victims of crime & witnesses

Mar 29 (LD) Cabinet Spokesman Anura Priyadarshana Yapa says the government will soon enact a bill providing assistance and protection to victims of crime and witnesses. Speaking to the media yesterday, Yapa said the Cabinet had given its approval to present the bill, by the President, in parliament on top priority basis. The Bill prepared by the Legal Draftsman and the provisions certified by the Attorney General as are consistent with the Constitution, the Cabinet Spokesman said. more..

JHU storms Kingswood College

Mar 29 (LD) The principal of Kingswood College, Kandy has been threatened by the Jathika Hela Urumaya for allowing the school premises to be used for a prayer service organized by the National Christian Association. The Department of Education had given prior permission for the event on March 15th, principal of the school Ranjith Chandrasekara said. He has complained to the Kandy Police that after the prayer service, a group led by more..

No UNP recognition of parliament sec.-gen. without CC consent

Mar 29 (LD) The United National Party has refused to recognize a Secretary General of Parliament who will be appointed outside the Constitutional Council process. The present Secretary General Priyani Wijesekara retires on March 31, but no successor has yet been nominated. UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella told the media yesterday (Mar. 28th) that functions of Parliament would face a grave crisis due to this situation. more..

Lanka to lose GSP+ over HR charges – Prof. Peiris

Mar 29 (LD) Minister of Export Development and International Trade Prof. G.L. Peiris says Sri Lanka is in danger of losing the GSP+ facility from next year. He claims the existence of a conspiracy to prevent renewal of the system that had been in place for a three year period from 2005. Perpetrators of this plot are telling the world that the Sri Lankan government violates international human rights charters and that these charters are not recognized by the Sri Lankan law. more..

Sri Lanka inflation not oil related or imports: IMF study

Mar 29 (LBO) Most of Sri Lanka's inflation is not 'imported' or caused by oil, a major new International Monetary Fund research study has found, indicating that the mainly home grown price rises and could be slashed with better economic policies. A new IMF study released Saturday that covers a steep rise in Sri Lanka's inflation in 2006 and 2007 found that external 'shocks' such as oil prices - which are often touted as the reason for inflation by politicians - are not significant in explaining inflation. more..

Prime Minister completes successful visit to Israel, Palestine and Jordan

Mar 29 (GDI) During his visit Prime Minister adn his delegation met the leaders of the three countries and discussed bilateral issues. They also promoted business and investments in Sri Lanka. A special highlight of his visit to Palestine was that he was greeted by the Mayor of Ramallah at Mahinda Rajapaksa Mawatha. This is the first time that a street in Palestine has been named after a foreign Head of State. more..

7 million grant from Netherlands to develop SME sector

Mar 29 (GDI) A total of 7 million Euros has been granted by the Royal Government of Netherlands to be distributed among 60 entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka's Small and Medium Sector Enterprise (SME) sector. The Netherlands Government has granted this donation to boost the country's SME sector by helping them to increase their productivity, capacity and efficiency. more..

Police arrest phone porn seller in Sri Lanka

Mar 29 (LNP) Police yesterday arrested a pornographic film seller along with 70 porn DVDs and 300 films burned into a computer hard drive at Gasworks Street, Colombo. According to OIC Maradana IP J.A.N.S.Jayawardana, following a tip-off a police team from Maradana Police Division Crime Intelligence Information Bureau was deployed to arrest a person selling porn movies to schoolchildren. more..

Left Front and TNA to hold rally

Mar 29 (SAMN) The Left Front led by Dr. Wickramabahu Karunaratne along with the TNA, Western People’s Front and socialist parties are to hold a rally on April 3 at Ratmalana against the scheduled PC election in the East. Dr. Karunaratne said “All parties who are not contesting in the election will be represented in the rally and we hope to follow it up with a series of protests against the demerger of North and East”. more..

SLMC not to disclose political strategy

Mar 29 (SAMN) SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem said the party had decided not to disclose its decision whether it would go alone or ally with another party to contest the Eastern Provincial Council as a political strategy. Hakeem made this point when he addressed the SLMC membership in Muttur in the Trincomalee District on Thursday evening. He said most of the party members from many parts of the country have requested the party to contest alone. more..

Govt. to complete school reconstruction

Mar 29 (SAMN) The government has decided to complete the reconstruction work of the Gintota Maha Vidyalaya by awarding the contract to the State Engineering Corporation (SEC) after students had earlier demonstrated against the non-reconstruction of the school. “UNICEF has agreed to donate Rs.125 million for reconstruction of basic facilities,” Education Minister Susil Premjayantha said in his Cabinet paper, which was approved by the Cabinet. more..

Biz confidence regains lost ground: LMD

Mar 29 (SAMN) Business confidence improved from its four-month low in February, to above the average for the last 12 months, LMD reports in its forthcoming (April) issue. “But the economic outlook continues to be one of relative doom and gloom. There’s a storm warning in the US, the world is bracing itself for a period of belt-tightening and a war is raging in the north of our once resplendent isle,” LMD observes. more..

Commercial agriculture in Ampara, Moneragala

Mar 29 (DN) Hayleys Group and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will partner in a ground-breaking pilot project to revive and advance the potential for linking farmers in two poorer districts to commercial agriculture, states a US Embassy press release. The six-month pilot project commencing on April 1 will benefit 120 farmer families in Ampara and Moneragala districts through more..

New species of hikmiya found in Lanka

Mar 29 (DN) A new and endemic species of shrew Crocidura hikmiya, has been found in Sri Lanka. The new shrew is presently only known from mid montane and lowland rainforests of Sinharaja. This shrew was previously identified as Ceylon Long-tailed Shrew (Crocidura miya). However the latter species is now believed to be confined to the montane forests of the central hills. more..

Plot to kill Gota hatched in Mutwal

Mar 29 (Island) Police investigating an attempt on Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s life at Colpetty in December 2006 have established that terror strike had been planned by a group of senior LTTE members led by a priest at Mutwal. It has also been found that the trishaw used in the attack had been fitted with a bomb at a religious place in Mutwal. The police have ascertained details of the abortive assassination bid from a group of LTTE cadres including more..

Only STF, troops allowed to carry arms – STF chief

Mar 29 (Island) The Special Task Force will provide optimum security during the run-up and conduct of the forthcoming Eastern Provincial Council elections, the newly appointed STF Commandant, DIG, K. M. L. S. Sarathchandra said. He said he visited the Eastern Province recently and instructed the STF personnel in the province to do everything possible to ensure that the election campaign and the elections are conducted fairly and freely according to the election laws. more..

Top commanders brief President on current security situation

Mar 29 (DM) Top commanders of the three forces both in the Wanni and Jaffna battlefields yesterday briefed President Mahinda Rajapakasa on the current ground situation in the operational areas, after they were summoned for a special Security Council meeting at President’s House in Colombo. “The President was briefed with first hand information about the ongoing security situation in the Vavuniya, Mannar, Welioya and Muhamalai in Jaffna,” more..

No military control over state TV: Minister

Mar 29 (DM) The government yesterday denied charges that the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation was being militarised with the appointment of a retired Major General as Director General (Administration). “It is not militarisation, it is not an unusual appointment, there are many instances where retired military personnel hold several such positions in some private media groups,” Cabinet spokesman, Anura Priyadharshana Yapa told journalists. more..

Soldiers kill 10 Tamil rebels in fresh fighting in Sri Lanka's north

Mar 29 (AP) Government soldiers destroyed two Tamil Tiger rebel bunkers along the front lines in northern Sri Lanka Saturday after a battle that killed 10 rebels, the military said. In a pre-dawn attack army troops pushed across the front lines and captured a 700-meter-wide (765-yard-wide) strip of rebel territory near Adampan village in the northern district of Mannar, said Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara, the military spokesman. more..

LTTE women cadres cut music disc depicting conflict

Mar 29 (PTI) An LTTE women music group has cut a disc titled 'Sparks of earthquake' that highlights through a song the protracted conflict in Sri Lanka. The cassette was released recently at rebel stronghold of Kilinochchi in Northern Sri Lanka. The cassette relating to the LTTE war was unveiled at a function at the Kilinochchi Vatakatchi Ramanathapuram west government tamil school, a media report said. more..

Buddhist Visitors Bring No Peace

Mar 29 (Tehelka) Sinhalese delegation that included many prominent Buddhist monks recently laid foundation stones for several Buddhist places of worship in Tamil Nadu. The visiting delegation held dedication events for Buddhist temples at Perur village near Trichy and at Alangulam in Tirunelveli district. In addition to the monks, the delegation included the main opposition United National Party (UNP) MP Jayalath Jayawardena. more..

'Just a true Canadian': alleged Tiger bagman

Mar 30 (NP) Prapa Thambithurai lives in a suburban duplex north of Toronto, near the looping roller coaster tracks and fake theme park mountains of Canada's Wonderland. "I'm just a true Canadian," is how he described himself. But police allege the 45-year-old satellite dish installer, who emigrated from Sri Lanka two decades ago, is also a bagman for the Tamil Tigers, the guerrilla group that pioneered suicide bombings. more..

Malinga a doubt for IPL start

Mar 30 (AFP) Sri Lanka paceman Lasith Malinga has admitted he is struggling to be fit for the start of the Indian Premier League, which gets under way next month. Malinga has been troubled by a niggling knee problem which has kept him out of Sri Lanka's ongoing tour of West Indies. The 24-year-old was signed by Mumbai Indians at the IPL players' auction in February but more..

Sri Lanka Army chief visits battle zone

Mar 30 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's Army Commander Sarath Fonseka visited the battle zone in the island's north on Saturday amid escalating conflict between government troops and Tamil Tigers rebels, defense officials said Saturday. Fonseka visited the Vavuniya district where the Security Forces Headquarters of Wanni (referring to the general area partly controlled by Tamil Tiger rebels) was located, officials said. more..

Why we all must support the 13th amendment?

Mar 30 (LG) The 13th amendment implementation for the North and East is currently creating much turmoil and controversy both, in Sri Lanka and in the diaspora. Politically, it is groups of vocal activists abroad, plus the pro-LTTE Tamil parliamentarians with their 22 seats and the JVP in Sri Lanka who oppose the implementation. The United Party and its leader Mr. Wickramsinghe support it. more..

EPDP Threatened the Indian Government

Mar 30 (LG) The EPDP member and its French operational head Arumugam have threatened the Indian government for expressing its concern over Sri Lanka over the military pilling up arms to fight its long standing internal strife with the LTTE. EPDP (Eelam Peoples’ Democratic Front) is a partner in the present government and its leader Douglas Devananda is holding a cabinet portfolio. more..

Sri Lanka's Policy Challenges within the International Dimension

Mar 30 (LG) Straddling the whole spectrum of Sri Lanka's policy in respect of its economy is a sharp change of focus from receipt of aid to relationships involving trade and investment. Sri Lanka's economy grew last year by approximately 6.5%. One of the most significant growth areas was the export sector. The improvement with regard to export performance in 2007, as compared with 2006, was about 14.%. more..

Adhaalath official blames Sri Lanka for drugs problem

Mar 30 (MVN) An official from the religious Adhaalath Party appeared to hold the Sri Lankan government responsible for the drugs problem in Maldives in a speech made at the party’s general meeting on Friday night. At the meeting, held at Malé’s Ghiyasudhin School and attended by over 500 people, party treasurer Ibrahim Muthalib said that “possession of drugs is not illegal under Sri Lankan law.” more..

e-NIC’s another flop, $ 50 Million down the drain

Mar 30 (LB) The Electronic National Identity Cards (e-NIC) project is poised to be another flop as a two decade- old technology is to be used to produce e-NICs. The e-NICs produced under this technology can be easily forged and the Government will waste five billion rupees on this project. The Tender document which was given to bidders last Friday does not ask bidders to manufacture e-NIC with the latest available technology in the world to avoid forging IDs. more..

A well-informed President

Mar 30 (LB) Deputy Minister of Social Services Lionel Premasiri organised an event in Galle last week to gift robes to 1,800 Buddhist monks. Worried that there might be more monks attending than were invited, Lionel turned up at the function with 2,000 robes. But it transpired that 2,300 monks participated! Predictably, this placed the organisers in a quandary. Nevertheless, Lionel managed to wriggle out of a sticky situation by making gifts of such items like dictionaries to the monks. more..

SLC auditors query Dharmadasa’s TV deal

Mar 30 (LB) SJMS Associates, official auditors of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) who are in the process of finalising the audit for the year ended December 31st 2007, have raised several questions with regard to the signing of controversial Taj TV deal by former Cricket Interim Committee Chairman Jayantha Dharmadasa. They have sent the following letter to Duleep Mendis, the CEO of SLC. more..

FM intervenes, Thushara renounces fast

Mar 30 (LB) The embattled Sri Lankan film director Thushara Peiris, gave up his fast last Friday evening (28), after Foreign Affairs Minister Rohitha Bogollagama promised to intervene and get back the negative of his original film “Prabhakaran” which is at the Gemini Studio, Chennai in South India. Thushara whose film, depicts the fate of forcible conscription of children, more..

Govt. takes over national carrier on Tuesday

Mar 30 (SL) In an atmosphere of declining business and insecure staff the Government of Sri Lanka will take over the management of SriLankan Airlines on Tuesday, April 1. Precipitated last December by the failure of the national carrier to accommodate 35 members including President Mahinda Rajapakse on a fully booked flight from London to Colombo which would have resulted in off loading commercial customers, more..

Move to impeach the President and the eastern imbroglio

Mar 30 (SL) While civil society moved to lobby parliament for the impeachment of President Mahinda Rajapakse last week over his refusal to appoint the Constitutional Council under the 17th Amendment, both the government and the opposition set their sights on the Eastern Provincial Council election, which is seen as a prelude to a general election. For some time now civil society as well as the opposition have urged President Rajapakse to appoint the Constitutional Council and more..

'I've seen a gradual decline in Parliament'

Mar 30 (SL) The Secretary General of Parliament, Priyanee Wijesekera will end her long and distinguished career as a top public servant tomorrow, March 31. Wijesekera, the first woman Secretary General of Parliament counting 18 years of service to the legislature itself conceded in an interview with The Sunday Leader that hers was a challenging job albeit an exciting one. A constitutional lawyer who won the coveted Zonta International Award as a woman of achievement for her distinguished career in law and public service, more..