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Threat of closure of industries looms

Mar 3 (SAMN) Industrialists and the business community are immeasurably shocked on the decision of the Government to increase the electricity tariff. They feel that the government is going for the ‘kill’ – ‘killing the goose that lays golden eggs’ as if the electricity tariff is increased as proposed most of the industries would have to be closed down. The business community in general and the industrialists in particular are continuing against tremendous odds such as more..

Govt. reluctant to stop CEB tax scam

Mar 3 (SAMN) Despite the Auditor General pointing out the irregularity in the CEB workers being exempted from PAYE tax, the government hasn’t acted on the AG’s findings and recommendations. Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne Sunday said a three-member committee headed by an Additional Secretary to his ministry had been appointed to scrutinise the entire gamut of issues including the payment of workers’ PAYE tax by the CEB and an assortment of allowances made available to the workers. more..

Network of Sri Lankan Professionals Takes Shape

Mar 3 (AN) Image building of Sri Lanka in the comity of nations, formalizing a network of the island’s professionals and promote relations with Saudi Arabia through various social, cultural and professional events are among the objectives of the Network of Sri Lankan Professionals, which held the second meeting of its pro tem committee here over the weekend. The network will have coordinators in various regions and major cities of the Kingdom, more..

Ex-armed groups happy to embrace political process

Mar 3 (DN) As Batticaloa braced for local polls after a lapse of 14 years, former armed groups including the TMVP who are in the fray say they are fully prepared to forego their violent past and convert their parties to fully fledged political entities to fulfil the aspirations of the people with regard to peace and prosperity. According to Mayoral candidate of the Batticaloa Municipal Council Edwin Krishnandaraja alias Pradeep Master who more..

Over 31,000 families resettled in Batticaloa

Mar 3 (DN) A total of 31,215 families numbering 104,678 persons displaced in the conflict in five Divisional Secretariat Divisions in the Batticaloa district have been resettled, Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Minister Rishad Badiudeen said. Accordingly 8,028 families numbering 27,575 persons in the Wavunathivu Divisional Secretariat Division, 3,107 families numbering 10,520 persons in the Chenkalady Divisional Secretariat Division, more..

Revenue collection: Treasury Chief calls for fresh approach

Mar 3 (Island) Treasury Chief Dr. P. B. Jayasundera said taxpayers were scared of the Inland Revenue Department. While calling for a fresh approach, Jayasundera emphasised that if taxpayers’ fear could be allayed, IRD would be able to collect more revenue. The need, he asserted, was to inspire taxpayers to volunteer their payments on mutual understanding.r more..

Lanka at world's largest ICT show

Mar 3 (Island) Sri Lanka will be one among the 75 exhibitor nations participating in the world's largest Information Communication Technology (ICT) exposition, CeBIT 2008. The country and its potential in the field will be showcased with the patronage of Sri Lanka Export Development Board. The exhibition show will be held from 4th March at Hanover,Germany. CeBIT is accepted as the biggest and the world's No. 1 trade show and market place for ICT sector worldwide. more..

IP and PA arrested for LTTE activities

Mar 3 (DM) A police inspector and a police assistant who had allegedly aided and abetted the LTTE and also been involved in the recent suicide blast at Modera were arrested by special police teams in Ampara and Grandpass. The inspector, who is reportedly a Muslim, had been arrested by Police Special Task Force personnel in Mahaoya on Friday, while he was on his way to attend to his duties at the Akkaraipattu Magistrates’ Courts, and handed over to the Colombo police. more..

HQI transferred for dozing at meeting

Mar 3 (DM) The HQI of the Matara Police station has been transferred by the IGP for sleeping during the Matara District Civil Defence Committee meeting, despite Minister Dulles Alahapperuma having him awakened on several occasions. The action has been taken following a complaint made by Mr. Alahapperuma to the police chief, a ministry spokesman said. The meeting was held on February 20th and attended by several cabinet and non-cabinet ministers, more..

President re-assures the Nation of eradicating terrorism

Mar 3 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing the crowds at a massive gathering yesterday (03) in Rathnapura vowed that he would free the country of terrorism and would not put an end to operations in LTTE sticken areas until country was rid of terrorism. President Rajapaksa stated that while engaging in anti –terrorism combat the government went ahead with development work in rural areas in particular in addition to those in liberated areas. more..

Sri Lanka tea growers set for party as prices soar

Mar 3 (AFP) The tea industry in Sri Lanka, the world's second biggest exporter of the crop, is looking forward to good times again as prices soar on a global commodities boom. Mounting productions costs and growing demand are combining to reverse a three-decade old trend toward lower prices, according to industry officials, and that means drinkers will likely have to pay more for their brew. more..

Fighting in northern Sri Lanka kills 22 rebels, two soldiers

Mar 3 (AP) A series of battles between government forces and rebel fighters in northern Sri Lanka killed 22 guerrillas and two soldiers, the military said Monday. The battles Sunday were part of a heavy increase in fighting along the front lines of the Tamil Tiger rebels' de facto state as the government vowed to crush the separatist group. In one fierce clash in the Welioya area south of rebel-held territory, troops killed eight rebels while two soldiers died, more..

Sri Lankan Navy rescues 71 drifting at sea for 11 days

Mar 3 (DPA) The Sri Lanka Navy rescued 71 illegal immigrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh suffering from dehydration on a wooden trawler found drifting off the northeast coast following engine trouble, a navy spokesman said Monday. At least 20 - 17 Myanmarese and three Bangladeshi - had died during the trip and their bodies thrown into the sea before the boat was rescued 150 nautical miles off Mullaitivu, 260 km northeast of Colombo. more..

Canadian assistance to set up a youth training facility in Hambantota

Mar 4 (GDI) A youth training facility will be set up in Hambantota with the assistance of the Kamloops Municipal Council of Canada, has to provided Rs. 50 million by way of initial investment, according to BOI sources. Construction of the training centre has already commenced and the Canadian Rotary Club has provided equipment. The training facility will consist of five buildings. more..

China, Sri Lanka celebrates conclusion of friendship year

Mar 4 (Xinhua) A gala dinner and a cultural extravaganza were held by the Sri Lankan Embassy in Beijing here Monday night to celebrate the successful conclusion of the China-Sri Lanka friendship year and the 60th anniversary of the independence of Sri Lanka. The event, named "Sri Lanka - Beyond Your Dreams", draw First Lady of Sri Lanka Shiranthi Rajapaksa, China's Vice-chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Gu Xiulian, more..

Conflicting perceptions in war reporting by Sinhala and Tamil media

Mar 4 (TC) “The Sri Lanka fighter jets have destroyed a place in Jayapuram in Killinochchi where some senior LTTE leaders had assembled”. “Reports from Killinochchi say that seven civilians have been seriously injured in an attack by the SLAF bombers”. These are two lead sentences of two news items appearing in two newspapers on January 18. But do not misunderstand, these were not two incidents. These news items referred to one and the same incident. more..

Provincial councils must get agrarian services powers back

Mar 4 (FI) There is renewed interest in the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The Government states that it is keen to ‘fully implement’ the Thirteenth Amendment. Even those like the writer who agree with Prof. G.L.Peiris’s oft-quoted statement made in the nineties in the course of the Navaratnarajah Memorial Oration that the Thirteenth Amendment is ‘fundamentally flawed’ and who believe that any solution offered to the Tamil people must go beyond more..

Several Sri Lankan diplomatic appointments finalized

Mar 4 (AT) Names of Daya Perera and Senaka Walagampaya the new appointees as High Commissioners have already been submitted to the Parliament’s High Post Committee for necessary perusal and approval. Daya Perera PC is to take over as Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in Ottawa. During the UNP regime Perera served as Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. Senaka Walgampaya PC, a SLFP Lawyer is to take over as High Commissioner to Australia. more..

Relax Somawansa; Manmohan Singh will not do a Rajiv-type R2P

Mar 4 (AT) I love Manmohan Singh and India. His predecessors of course constitute a different kettle of fish. They not only didn’t check terrorism but actually nurtured the menacing evil. Rajiv Gandhi paid with his life for the naiveté and, arguably, the arrogance. That was a different time, a different world. True. That was a time where the rules were different; a time when electoral realities won over principle and integrity to stated political position, a time when double-standards did not come under scrutiny. more..

LTTE arms stock gone to the hands of a political group in South

Mar 4 (LeN) State intelligence has commenced a thorough investigation following information received that a group in South has obtained a stock of arms left by the Tamil Tigers before retreating through a politician in the Eastern Province. This group prevented police and security forces searching an office of this group situated in Maharagama through political influence and later shifted something that was hidden there secretly, the investigation team has learnt. more..

'APRC ineffective' advisor resigns

Mar 4 (BBC) The present parliament of Sri Lanka is incapable of finding a political solution to the ethnic problem, says a leading constitutional expert who stepped down from the post of senior advisor to the Sri Lankan Government. Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne sayS that he completely lost faith on the All Party Representative Committee [APRC] formulated by the government to find a political solution to the ethnic problem. more..

The continuing violation of the seventeenth amendment

Mar 4 (GV) It is pertinent at this moment to examine why even now the 17th Amendment to the Constitution is not implemented. The media has reported that President Mahinda Rajapaksa told Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe during their meeting this week that he could not move forward in this regard because a parliamentary select committee is looking into deficiencies in the 17th Amendment. more..

Hindus traumatized by civil war join way of the cross

Mar 4 (UCAN) Thousands of Tamil Hindus have joined Catholics in making the Way of the Cross this year, praying for their safety in the face of violence and abductions in the capital and elsewhere in the country. One Hindu woman praying on the two-kilometer route from Our Lady of Sorrow Church in Colombo's New Chetty area to St. Lucia's Cathedral found parallels between Jesus' death and her son's killing last year. more..

Sri Lanka construction firms form consortia to bid for Gulf building projects

Mar 4 (LBO) Sri Lankan construction companies which visited the Middle East to bid for a share of the building boom there are forming consortia to pool their resources, an industry official said. The firms will form joint stock companies which will be managed by the Chamber of Construction Industries (CCI), its secretary general Dakshitha Thalgodapitiya said. more..

The source of Sri Lanka’s crisis lies in a “Stolen History”

Mar 4 (TC) International Crisis Group's (ICG) recent report on Sri Lanka is another repeat of a standard interpretation of Third World conflicts as no more than internal tribal war. In Sri Lanka, its to be seen as a contest between Sinhala Buddhist Nationalism and Tamil Nationalism, the former with exclusive claims to a unitary state and the latter for a partition of it. “Hardening nationalism” as the cause and “stymieing peace solution” as effect is the crisis identified. more..

The challenge of building a racism-free united Sri Lanka

Mar 4 (FI) The word united is common, but often seen to be ineffective where people are gathered together in organizations, groups, clubs, associations, societies etc. This is basically due to the lack of co - operation in these gatherings where insufficient knowledge of human behaviour is predominant; and this in turn causes disharmony and chaos that can hamper the progress of a nation in general, and increase the number of unsatisfied minds who more..

Monk accused as LTTE supporter begins fast-to-death campaign

Mar 4 (TN) The chief priest of Batticaloa Mangalaramaya Vihara, Ampitya Sumanarathna Thero commenced a fast-to-death campaign Monday morning from 7:00 a.m., demanding that Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) parliamentarian Ellawela Thero withdraw the complaint lodged at Batticaloa police station accusing him as a supporter of LTTE. Ampitya Sumanarathna began his campaign on a specially constructed stage opposite the Vihara and demanded that Ellawela Thero publicly apologize for the false allegation. more..

Goons intimidate HRC officers in Kandy

Mar 4 (TN) Tamil female high official attached to Kandy Regional Human Rights Commission (HRC) coordinating office and confiscated her National Identity Card (NIC) near Kingston College in Kandy, accusing her of suspicious presence in the school environment, sources in Kandy said. Police officers from Kandy police station receiving notification from the thugs through the emergency 119 number, had later gone to the HRC office and more..

Authorities blind to sexual abuse of minors in SLA controlled Jaffna

Mar 4 (TN) Government officials meant to look after the interests of minors turn a blind eye to sexual abuse of young girls which has risen at an alarming rate in Jaffna peninsula in recently, civil society groups in Jaffna peninsula said. Climate of war, continuing economic restrictions, poverty, lack of employment, restriction of free movement, and calculated plans of cultural decadence witnessed especially after the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) closure of the A9 more..

Price of prejudice

Mar 4 (LG) During my school days when I was still not a teenager, I remember cycling to the neighbouring village one Saturday morning. It was about three miles away on the other side of the fields where most of our village folks cultivated food crops and watched over their goats and cattle. It was a beautiful countryside to cycle with vast open lands on both sides and friendly people along the path warmly greeting me. more..

Ex- Academics & Anti Intellectualism

Mar 4 (LG) For the benefit of the readers of the "Midweek Review" let me repeat excerpts from Dr. Peter Schalk's article to the "Circle Digest". Dr. Schalk in his eagerness to defend Dr. Seneviratne's book which he thought was reviewed by me had said: 'I have a folder on my harddesk called "Sinhala ethnonationalists". There, I keep the writings of Sinhala ethnonationalists for the future. more..

Terrorism: Cancer of the Modern World

Mar 4 (LG) I am delighted to be present at the inauguration of the South Asia Regional Joint Defence International Humanitarian Law Course and wish to thank the organisers for inviting me to make the opening remarks. At the outset, I would like to welcome the Course instructors and foreign delegates to Sri Lanka. I hope that as much as you would gain an in-depth knowledge and insight from the course, you would also find the time to travel around the island and more..

Why the Special Forces so deadly?

Mar 4 (LG) A Sri Lanka Army Special Forces team that posed with President Mahinda Rajapakse in Vakarai many months ago, demonstrates why the SLA Special Forces are a force to be reckoned with. Hardly ever known to advertise its capacity, the unit shows-off for the first time what deadly power they carry into the battle field. For example, the Officer in the picture below is carrying what appears to be a Heckler and Koch MP5SD Sub Machine Gun (SMG). more..

A British attempt to rescue the Tigers (Part 02)

Mar 4 (LG) It has, in fact, been asserted that the president attempted at this time to initiate a dialogue (kept secret from his main ‘nationalist’ allies?) with the Vanni high-command in order to curtail the rising tensions and lead to a resumption of the peace talks. One could speculate that the exercise of caution and restraint by the president, even at the risk of creating dissension within the government parliamentary group and more..

Speaker to refer House’s concerns to President

Mar 4 (LD) Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara is to submit a report to the President regarding parliament’s concerns over the delay in the implementation of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution and appointing the Constitutional Council. The speaker announced the decision to submit this report after Chief Government Whip Joseph Michael Perera raised the two issues in the House this morning (Mar. 04th). more..

Schools affected by teachers’ sick-note campaign

Mar 4 (LD) Functions of many schools island-wide have been disrupted due to today’s (Mar. 04th) sick-note campaign by three teacher unions. Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers Service Union (CTSU) Mahinda Jayasinghe says that the aim is to protest the non-implementation of agreements reached for the elimination of salary anomalies of teachers. However, a spokesman for the Ministry of Education said that school functions were largely unaffected by the trade union action. more..

Objections to Indian role a misreading of international politics

Mar 4 (LD) The recent meeting between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has been hyped as a summit meeting by those who are hopeful of a bipartisan political approach to addressing the multiple crises the country faces. Although the constitutional power vested in the institution of the executive presidency has given President Rajapaksa the appearance of invulnerability, more..

Mega Investment Zone in Colombo

Mar 4 (GDI) A mega Investment Zone is being constructed on the outskirts of Colombo under a public-private partnership, whereby John Keells Holdings (JKH), the developer, will reclaim and develop 459 acres of land neighbouring the proposed Colombo South Harbour. The project is a joint venture between John Keells Holdings and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), with each taking a 45 percent stake. The balance 10 percent is to be contributed by an institutional investor. more..

Cement imports from Pakistan to ease shortage

Mar 4 (GDI) The Government will import cement from Pakistan through the recently set up State Trading Co-operative Wholesale Company Limited to meet the islandwide cement demand and counter the shortage created by errant traders concealing their stocks, a spokesman of the Trade, Marketing Development, Co-operatives and Consumer Affairs Ministry said yesterday. The agreement is expected to be signed shortly with a company in Pakistan and a bag of cement would be priced less than Rs. 700, he said. more..

No cause for postponing Batti elections –PAFFEREL Chairman

Mar 4 (GDI) Chairman of the People's Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFEREL), Kingsley Rodrigo said that holding elections in Batticaloa was a part of the democratic process and that there were no strong reasons to put off elections in Batticaloa. Addressing the media yesterday (3), Rodrigo also mentioned that there had been worse situations under which elections had been held. He cautioned however that instances of violence and political clashes could not be ruled out. more..

Australia to provide equipment to 19 hospitals

Mar 4 (GDI) The Austrian Government will provide medical equipment worth Rs. 1,120 million to 19 hospitals in Sri Lanka on a request by Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, according to Health Ministry sources. The following hospitals are to benefit: Colombo National Hospital, Kurunegala Karapitiya, Ragama, Kalubowila, Peradeniya, Kandy, Ratnapura, Batticaloa, Anuradhapura, Badulla Teaching Hospitals, more..

Foreign Minister praises forces for upholding humanitarian law, rights

Mar 4 (GDI) Rohitha Bogollagama, Foreign Minister, inaugurating the South Asia Regional Joinr Defence International Law Course in Colombo yesterday (3), said that even as operations continue to flush out the LTTE from pockets in the Wanni, the security forces have demonstrated an admirable commitment to and sense of responsibility in upholding international humanitarian law. more..

LTTE extortionists caged, Ilangkowan - Arrested IP was LTTE agent

Mar 4 (LNP) Four LTTE extortionists who worked hand in glove with the recently arrested senior activist of the group Mutusamy Ilangkowan, were arrested in a Colombo lodge by the Mutwal police a few days ago. Investigations revealed that the foursome, all in their youth, had abducted a number of Tamil businessmen in the South to extort money for the LTTE. They had worked together with Ilangkowan, a leading fund raiser for the group and a close associate of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. more..

Strange things do happen in Sri Lankan politics

Mar 4 (LNP) IN SRI Lankan folklore, there is a story of a king who loved to play the fool with everyone. One day when the king, Yasalalaka Tissa, noticed that the guard at the entrance to his court resembled him, he decided to play a practical joke on his ministers. He told the guard they must exchange roles for one day meaning the king would stand guard at the entrance while the guard would sit on the throne. The king wanted to laugh at his ministers when they bowed to the guard thinking that he was the king. more..

Stoning the press in the City of Gems: Some musings

Mar 4 (LNP) Among the many uses of the free press is the purpose it serves as a punching bag for political potentates. It receives, punches, kicks and head butts relentlessly but it is always politicians who grow tired in the end. The game of media bashing is as old as the hills. And that will go on so long as politicians inhabit this planet. If given a choice between creating a world without terrorism and a world without a free media, politicians would opt for the latter. more..

HSBC one of super 10 employers in Sri Lanka

Mar 4 (LNP) HSBC received a gold award and was adjudged one of the best employers at the recently concluded HRM awards super ten. Designed to showcase excellence in human resources practice, the awards were aimed not only to reward outstanding achievement, but also to stimulate higher aspirations across the industry. HSBC s participation in the HRM awards 2007 was a result of the bank s quest to support the country's employment need and attract more Sri Lankan citizens into the banking industry in general. more..

Navy seizes mystery boat

Mar 4 (SAMN) The Foreign Ministry has begun an extensive probe following the seizing of a vessel within Sri Lankan waters and is looking into the possibility of LTTE involvement in what appears to be a human smuggling operation via the Indian Ocean. The Navy Monday rescued 71 Myanmar and Bangladeshi survivors on a large wooden trawler which had set off from Cox’s Bazzar bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh and was adrift in the Indian Ocean just off the East coast of Sri Lanka. more..

Largest manpower deployment for Batti

Mar 4 (SAMN) The Police and Election authorities are to undertake the largest ever manpower deployment for a single district, in the history of Local Government polls to ensure a free and fair election in Batticaloa set for next week. The poll is being held after a lapse of 14 years. According to DIG (Elections) for Batticaloa, H.M.D. Herath 6,425 officers are to be deployed for duty on election day, out of which 1,800 officers are from outstations, more..

Court issues notice on WP Governor

Mar 4 (SAMN) The Court of Appeal has issued notice on the Governor of the Western Province, the Chief Minister, the Director General of the Department of Management Service, and a few other respondents following a Writ Application filed by the Urban Council of Kolonnawa. The Petitioner had challenged the Management Service Circular No. 16 and 16 (1) dated October 1, 2002 and October 10, 2002 issued by the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and the General Secretary to the Treasury. more..

Business confidence plummets: LMD

Mar 4 (SAMN) Business confidence shed 17 basis points in February, to 81, the latest edition of LMD reveals. This, it notes, means that the unique index – the only one of its kind here, in Sri Lanka – “hasn’t crossed the century mark for 10 months on the trot”. LMD’s BCI commentary contends: “Whilst the Government’s CFA annulment seems to have been given the thumbs down by war-weary men and women in white collars, our armed forces may make a difference in the medium term by winning its war on terror.” more..