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Health Ministry to eradicate preventable blindness

Mar 4 (DN) A significant number of Sri Lankans become permanently blind due to preventable causes. A lot of people become blind due to glaucoma caused by diabetics. Another preventable condition is permanent blindness caused by neglected eye problems naturally arising after the age of 40. Permanent blindness can be caused by various genetic reasons which can be treated successfully, said a Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry spokesman. more..

'Elders render significant service to country'

Mar 4 (DN) The present elders are the past adult generation who sacrificed their everything to bring up children and create doctors, engineers, scientists etc. After doing so they have ended up in elders' homes because of a fault of the society, Social Service and Social Welfare Deputy Minister Lionel Premasiri said. Addressing a special Elders' Community Service Counselling Project at Bera Lake Leisure Park, Premasiri said elders have rendered a significant service to the country through different fields. more..

Bandula threatens legal action against Gas suppliers

Mar 4 (Island) The price formula prepared by the Consumer Affairs Authority and approved by the Supreme Court was violated by the two LP gas suppliers and on the instructions of the Cabinet I will seek legal redress through the Supreme Court, Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunawardhana told a media conference on the gas price formula held at the Trade Ministry auditorium yesterday. more..

Anti-Govt. media speaking for LTTE - President

Mar 4 (Island) Although some sections of the media were attacking the government claiming that it was curbing media freedom, anyone reading the weekend newspapers would know that this is not so, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said at a public rally held in Ratnapura on Sunday. He said those Media institutions that were attacking the government were speaking for the LTTE, but the people who had voted for the government were aware of its policies. more..

East poll signals end of free and fair elections: Ranil

Mar 4 (DM) While warning that the upcoming Batticaloa local polls would signal the beginning of the end of free and fair elections in the country, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday called on all civil organizations and political parties to unite to change this situation. Speaking at a UNP organised awareness programme on the Batticaloa polls, Mr. Wickremesinghe said a number of armed groups contesting the election had created a dangerous situation in the East. more..

Six warned after Gintota school protest

Mar 4 (DM) The principal, vice principal and four prefects of Gintota Maha Vidyalaya were warned and discharged by the Chief Magistrate, Galle when they were produced in courts by Galle police for obstructing the Galle-Matara highway while demonstrating against the lack of repairs to their tsunami devastated school. The accused were charged under the Penal Code with obstructing the highway for two hours on February 27. more..

Mourning resonates from Staten Island to Sri Lanka

Mar 4 (NYT) It sounds like a throwback to another century: A healthy, middle-class woman sickens late in her pregnancy, gives birth and dies two and a half weeks later, leaving her young husband to care for their newborn son alone. Even the new father, Indika S. Arachchige, 34, grieving in their Staten Island home under balloons and streamers that exclaim, “It’s a Boy,” still cannot quite believe that so much everyday American happiness could be swept away so fast. more..

Sri Lanka oil exploration unit hunts for people

Mar 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka's petroleum exploration unit has started to build up its staff as the island waits for offshore exploration work to get underway, a senior official said. The petroleum resources development secretariat (PRDS), set up under the petroleum ministry to search for oil, has begun to look for oil industry professionals as bids for offshore exploration by foreign firms are being evaluated. more..

CEB needs overhaul, says chairman

Mar 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state-run power utility needs a management overhaul with input from finance, legal and information technology disciplines and tariff reforms to shift demand, its chairman has said in a detailed report. Critics have pointed out that Sri Lanka's state energy utilities, both the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation are mis-used by politicians to give 'off-budget' and 'on-budget' subsidies to the public in a bid to buy votes. more..

Sri Lankan fishermen warn Indian fishermen

Mar 4 (SS) Sri Lankan fishermen have warned Indian fishermen of 'dire consequences' if they entered the island nation's territorial waters for fishing from May one. In a pamphlet distributed to some Indian fishermen after blocking their boats in the sea last night, the Island nation's fishermen said that a committee was formed by the fishermen of Lanka's north province "to protect Sri Lankan waters from Indian fishermen", who they alleged were "plundering their sea-wealth". more..

India take thrilling match to claim series

Mar 4 (AFP) India wrapped up the triangular one-day international cricket competition when they beat Australia by nine runs to take an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the best-of-three finals series here Tuesday. The Indians made 258-9 in their 50 overs then restricted the home side to 249 to claim a thrilling win and take the final ever triangular series to be played in Australia. Veteran Sachin Tendulkar led the Indian batting with a fine 91 more..

Military ties with India good: Sri Lankan Army Chief.

Mar 4 (ANI) Visiting Sri Lankan Army Chief, Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, who is on a six-day visit to India to strengthen military ties between the two countries, today said both countries enjoy a sound military relationship. "Militarily we have very good relationships for long time and we hope to continue relationships that we are having right now. We are very happy with that," Lt General Fonseka told media persons more..

Tamil Nadu arrests halt bid to make vessel for LTTE

Mar 4 (IANS) The arrest of two Sri Lankan Tamils in Tamil Nadu on charges of making a huge boat for the Tamil Tigers has crippled for now the rebels' bid to stealthily make sea-worthy vessels in India. One of the men caught Monday in a sweep involving sleuthing by the Intelligence Bureau and Tamil Nadu Police is related to a leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), home ministry sources here said. more..

Sri Lanka says takes Tiger terrain, kills 23 rebels

Mar 4 (Reuters) Sri Lankan troops captured stretches of Tamil Tiger-held terrain in the island's northwest on Tuesday, killing seven rebels in clashes that took the two-day death toll to 23, the military said. Troops took control of a one square kilometer parcel of rebel-held scrubland in the northwestern district of Mannar, as well as a rebel checkpoint and one mile stretch of road, officials said, part of a strategy to gradually retake the Tigers' northern stronghold more..

UNHCR commends govt after boat people rescue

Mar 4 (UNHCR) UNHCR is deeply concerned about the plight of 71 boat people who were rescued by the Sri Lankan Navy yesterday, after they were found adrift in high seas off the island's northern district of Mullaitivu. The boat, carrying 50 Myanmar nationals and 21 Bangladesh nationals, had engine failure and been adrift since 20 February. Twenty of those on board, including 17 Myanmar nationals and three Bangladeshis, reportedly died due to starvation and dehydration. more..

3-month leave approved for ailing Anura B.

Mar 5 (LD) Parliament today approved a three-month medical leave for Anura Bandaranaike who suffers from liver cancer. Bandaranaike is presently being treated at the intensive care unit of Navaloka Private Hospital, Colombo. Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanne moved the motion requesting leave for the ailing National Heritage Minister, which was seconded by Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera. more..

Act with restraint on fishermen issue: India tells Colombo

Mar 5 (UNI) India was "closely monitoring" the developments in Sri Lanka as the interests of the Tamil community there were a matter of "particular significance to us," Mr Mukherjee said in a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha. India's policy towards Sri Lanka was based on the conviction that there was no military solution to the conflict and the way forward "lies in a peacefully negotiated political settlement within the framework of a united Sri Lanka acceptable to all communities, including the Tamils" he explained. more..

Sri Lankan Airlines to launch own loyalty program

Mar 5 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines will launch its own frequent flyer program after the Emirates 'Skywards' program ends with the termination of their management contract in March, the airline said. SriLankan will honour Skywards reward tickets till March next year. "Our new frequent flyer programme will have its own unique identity and logo and its membership will be open to passengers who fly SriLankan Airlines to any destination on our route network of 54 destinations," more..

'Bhoomi Pooja' for Buddha Temple in TN performed

Mar 5 (CO) The 'Bhoomi Pooja' (ground breaking ceremony) was performed for the construction of a new temple for Lord Buddha and Kadhikamam Murugan at Perur Village near here in the presence of Former Sri Lankan Minister Jayalath Jayawardhana and a few prominent Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka. In his address, Mr Jayawardana said the proposed temple would help further strengthen cultural relations between India and Sri Lanka. more..

'Prabhakaran' cleared by censor board for release

Mar 5 (PTI) 'Prabhakaran', touted as the first film on the 25-year-old Tamil ethnic conflict and named after LTTE's elusive chief, has been cleared by the Sri Lankan Censor Board for release. The film delves deeply into the conflict between Sri Lankan security forces and the LTTE, highlighting the miseries of the people affected by the conflict. "Prabhakaran is probably the first film made on the ongoing war in Sri Lanka that devoured thousands of lives.. more..

The LTTE Links with Islamist Terrorist Groups

Mar 5 (LG) The LTTE is known to have an active presence in several informal sectors such as credit card cloning, money laundering and human smuggling in Europe and North America. However, the LTTE has emerged as a formidable force and influence within the informal arms market and such has attracted collaborative arrangements with other terrorist groups. The LTTE has developed close relationships with several Islamist groups operating in such networks in a mutually beneficial manner. more..

This is a very cruel government: Kabir Hashim

Mar 5 (CP) During an interview with THE COLOMBO POST, UNP Kegalla district Parliamentarian Kabir Hashim said that last year they found that the government was moving funds from one head to another without Parliamentary approval and were to go in for foreign loans. He said that the UNP went to courts to stop this but the court refused to give a ruling and referred it to be resolved through Parliament itself. more..

Criticism is double edged

Mar 5 (CP) Last week, saw a few instances of criticism in action and criticism in defence. A visibly irate President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a public rally in Ratnapura singled out a section of the media for their alleged partisanship in reporting the current development efforts by the government in several sectors. Reminding the plea by late President Ranasinghe Premadasa, Rajapaksa too appealed to those criticizing the government efforts to end terrorism on the one hand and forge ahead with development on the other, without having to beg from world donors. more..

President promises 'Tiger Oil' to 'Yakadaya'

Mar 5 (LeN) President Mahinda Rajapakshe yesterday (3rd) promissed 'Yakadaya' (Iron Man) that 'Tiger Oil' (oil from a tiger) could be delivered to him in another two months time. President made this promise when Shanthi Arachchige Jinadasa, a well known character among Sri Lankans as 'Yakadaya' (Iron Man) visited Temple Trees yesterday (3rd). more..

Commissioner 'rejects Commission'

Mar 5 (BBC) Large number of people reported missing have come back to their homes, says the One Man Presidential Commission that looks into the disappearances and abduction of persons. The Commissioner, Mahanama Thilakaratne told a media briefing that there were complaints of missing persons numbering seven thousand one hundred and thirty made to police stations throughout the country. He said investigations were completed in respect of 6543 cases and the Commission has found that 6633 persons have returned to their homes. more..

No begging bowl for MR, only for the public

Mar 5 (ML) Uncannily reminiscent of past tactics, days after President Mahinda Rajapakse met Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and a senior UNP team at Temple Trees last Wednesday (27) he was to boast that a large number of opposition members were beating down his doors pleading to cross over to government. At a public Rally in Ratnapura Sunday (2) he said droves of parliamentarians were crowding the wings but he had shut the doors on pole-vaulters temporarily. more..

Elections and amendments: democratic governance under threat

Mar 5 (ML) In a week’s time the local government elections in the east will have been concluded and preparations will commence for the provincial council elections there. A number of civil society organisations have reported on the ground situation in the Batticaloa district and noted that the elections are taking place in a context of violence, with a pre-determined result, and despite the overwhelming opinion of the people there questioning the purpose and timing of the elections. more..

Grave concern over culture of impunity

Mar 5 (ML) There is grave concern over the prevalent trend of disappearances and abductions and the culture of impunity in the country, a working group of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) said in a report submitted to the on-going UNHRC sessions in Geneva. "The Working Group is gravely concerned at the increase in reported cases of recent enforced disappearances in the country. The Working Group is particularly concerned about the new worrying trend concerning the recently reported cases in Colombo, more..

Preparing for a SAARC Jamboree

Mar 5 (ML) The 15th Summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) scheduled to be held in August in Kandy is estimated to cost over Rs 2.5 billion, The Sunday Leader reported. The heads of state of the eight South Asian nations are expected to attend this regional meeting. Regional groups are considered vital for economic cooperation in the globalised economy which all countries are caught up with but more..

Kosovo and Sri Lanka: Internal dissension leads to external intervention

Mar 5 (TC) Former Thomian chaplain Rev.L.J.B. Fernando had a penchant for pithy comments during his short sermons. “Independence means in dependence of God ” was one. I am reminded of this line as Kosovo made its unilateral declaration of Independence on Feb 17th. Has Kosovo truly gained independence ? or is it in actual terms,” in dependence” of the powerful West? In short is Kosovo an Independent, sovereign state or a protectorate that is virtually a western puppet? more..

Peacekeepers not yet paid

Mar 5 (BL) The government has not remunerated the controversial 108 Sri Lankan peacekeepers who were repatriated from Haiti, nearly four months back, after they were found to have sexually exploited women including minors there. The soldiers were repatriated to Sri Lanka last November on disciplinary grounds after they were accused of sexual exploitation and abuse including paying for sex with Haitian prostitutes, including underage girls. more..

All the President’s men

Mar 5 (BL) The running of the Rajapaksa administration is pretty simple. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has a coterie of advisors/loyalists and favourite ministers, a tightly knit community who can, in the President’s eyes at least, do no wrong. The list is not too long and features names that are almost always in the news – and often for no good reason. Sajin Vaas Gunewardane: Coordinating Secretary to the President, CEO of Mihin Lanka, the government owned budget airline that has been making ridiculous losses since its inception. more..

Govt. undecided on power price hikes

Mar 5 (BL) “The government has yet to decide going ahead with the proposed electricity tariff hike,” said Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle. He said this in reply to Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera’s demand to cancel the electricity tariff increase. “The President is very much concerned about how low income families would be affected by a rate hike and has advised to provide maximum concessions,” Fernandopulle said. more..

Sri Lanka's Army offensives erode rebel potency, Gunaratna Says

March 5 (BN) Sri Lanka's military operations against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are blunting the group's offensive capabilities, terrorism analyst Rohan Gunaratna said. "This does not mean it is a weak organization," Gunaratna, of the Singapore-based International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, said in a telephone interview. As a terrorist group, the LTTE is still able to inflict "very significant damage." more..

'Sri Lanka business should demand better governance not subsidies'

March 5 (LBO) A senior business executive urged Sri Lankan businesses not to ask for subsidies which were needed for a safety net for the poor that is hardest hit by inflation, but ask for better governance and economic management. "What the private sector should ask for is good governance, good macro-economic management and fiscal discipline, not subsidies," former chamber chief Chandra Jayaratne told more..

Appeal of the Diaspora delegation to the President of Sri Lanka

March 5 (SLW) We the undersigned, Sri Lankan Tamils and Muslims belong to the Diaspora Community organizations in Europe are concerned about the situation confronting the minorities in all parts of the island particularly in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. We observe with great concern the dramatic down turn in the security and human rights situation, with particular reference to non-combatants. more..

Who is this K M Sirisena? An appeal for information!

March 5 (SLW) A news writer using a pseudo name of K M Sirusena has written libellous news about me in the Lankaweb news website. The news headlined ‘Jayadevan attacks Sri Lanka after High Commission approved trip to Sri Lanka and vows to damage the image’ was published in the Lankaweb datelined February 29. 2008. The pseudo writer, known to be a well known Sinhalese based in the UK has been so venomous that he felt comfortable to wear the terror coat to more..

Response: The Lost Battle for Tamil Eelam -What Next?

Mar 5 (LG) Satchi Sithanandan writes a very thought-provoking article in the "Sri Lanka Guardian", "The Lost battle for Tamil Eelam". Let me add a few lines to underscore the very sensible sentiments expressed by him, and to ask, what next? Satchi Sithanandan points out that the Colombo Elitist leaders, unconnected with the Tamil people at large, living in arrogant isolation from the lower castes of the rural North and East, gave the wrong leadership. more..

A Brief Summary of the Visit of the Diaspora Delegation to Sri Lanka

Mar 5 (LG) Nine member delegation representing wider views of the Tamil and Muslim Diaspora undertook a visit to Sri Lanka on the invitation of the His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapakse from 17th to 23rd February 2008. Approaches were made to incorporate members of various socio-political organisations in Europe. Friendly approaches were made with EPRLF, EROS, PLOTE, TMVP, TULF, and the London based SLDF (Sri Lanka Democratic Forum). more..

The beginning of the problem

Mar 5 (LG) The so-called national question cannot be solved unless the problem is formulated consistently taking into consideration the historical facts, which are however not independent of theory contrary to the opinion of some who think that facts are sacrosanct. What is required is a consistent whole comprising the question, concepts, theories and other facts. Without formulating the problem in a consistent manner as described above neither a solution nor national integration is possible. more..

Netherlands Sri Lanka Ambassador's 'undiplomatic' behavior denied

Mar 5 (LeN) Sri Lanka Ambassador of Netherlands, who is a senior most diplomat, has uncovered her true personality to the staff of the Sri Lanka embassy of Amsterdam. The Ambassador repatriated one woman to Sri Lanka after 'Lanka-e-News' revealed about two women who were employed in slavery in the diplomatic lady's house. The ambassador has ill-treated the woman before she was repatriated. more..

Batticaloa election and Colombo myth

Mar 5 (LeN) The election for the Batticaloa Municipal Council and eight other local governmental bodies of the district are ahead of six days. UNP and some civil organizations anticipate that this election will not be a free and fair one since the Pillaiyan Group that is contesting under TMVP is armed. The aim of the Lanka-e-News Batticaloa tour was to observe the situation there. We have already posted discussions with the main political groups and hope you have read them. more..

Sri Lanka apparel makers struggle to find workers

Mar 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka's key clothing industry is rolling out a publicity blitz to attract shop floor workers to fill nearly 12,000 vacancies in plants across the island, industry officials said. A 280,000-dollar campaign will hit the local airwaves this week, as a team of recruiters and animators target 150 rural villages to attract young girls to join factories to help cut and sew clothes. more..

Natl. discourse on Mar. 10 for natl. policy by Jathika Sabha

Mar 5 (LD) The Jathika Sabha is to convene the entire nation on March 10th for a national discourse towards the preparation of a national policy as an alternative for the country and for the people who have become dejected by the present regime. This national discourse will be open to all political parties, civil society organizations as well as the general public, Leader of the Jathika Sabha and the UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe says. more..

Protest against monk for alleged assault on mediaman

Mar 5 (LD) Media and civil society organizations staged a massive protest in Matara town yesterday (Mar. 04th) against an alleged assault of ITN correspondent Pankaja Sankalpa by a leading Buddhist monk in the southern province. The Movement Against Media Suppression organized the demonstration over the incident at a function in Matara on February 28th. more..

Rivira Media goes to friend of president’s son

Mar 5 (LD) A 49 per cent stake of Ririva Media Corporation - the publisher of ‘Rivira’, ‘The Nation’ and ‘Bottom Line’ newspapers - have been bought by Sujith Rajapakse, a close friend of president’s son Namal Rajapaksa. Domiciled in Britain, Sujith has several business interests at Beverly Street, according to reports. A cheque (No. 574484) signed by him for Rs. 100 million and sent by Seylan Bank’s Millennium Branch to the publishing house, more..

LTTE continues forced conscription – Military Spokesman

Mar 5 (GDI) At a news briefing this morning in Colombo, Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara saod that the LTTE was still recruiting cadres forcibly. "Innocent Tamil civilians continue to explore avenues to flee the clutches of the terrorists and escape to cleared areas or those under the surveillance of the security forces," he said. "In an incident in Vavunia, school children were being forcibly trained. more..

'Sala Nisala' – Music to heal minds

Mar 5 (GDI) Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition has taken steps to launch the first ever music therapy programme, 'Sala Nisala' in June. The programme was initiated by Dr. Kapila Sooriyaarachchi with the collaboration of Visharada Kolitha Banu Dissanayike and Prominent Musician, Amarasiri Pieris. Dr. Sooriyaarchchi stated that when one thinks of a healthy life, it has to be understood that a person not only needs a healthy body but also a healthy mind and a healthy social environment. more..

Steps taken to make liberation of East more meaningful

Mar 5 (GDI) Defence Spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella addressing the media this morning in Colombo stated that one of the salient issues the people of the north and east faced was communication or the language problem. With this in view, on the instructions of the President, the Government called for applications to recruit Tamil speaking Police Officers. Of 1200 applicants 175 passed out after training on 16th February, he said. more..

Supreme Court dismisses plea to postpone Batti polls

Mar 5 (GDI) Paving the way for local polls in Batticaloa, the Supreme Court yesterday (04) dismissed a petition filed seeking postponement of the polls. Accordingly the election will be held in the district on March 10. The Fundamental Rights petition was filed by the independent election monitoring group, Peoples Action For Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL). PAFFREL filed the fundamental rights petition naming the Elections Commissioner, Defense Secretary and IGP as respondents. more..