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President Rajapakse has got India on his side

Mar 6 (FI) “What allows this government to survive ?” This question wasn’t asked one year ago, in the same tone and seriousness, it is asked today. Today, much has changed, locally and internationally in relevance to the present regime. Today, much has changed politically within the government and in the Opposition, within and without parliament. To whose advantage and to whose disadvantage are all these happening ? Very simply, to the advantage of the regime and to the disadvantage of the people. more..

I am doing for Tamils what Mahinda did for Sinhala people in 1989

Mar 6 (TC) The victims of human rights violations during the 1989 period are activists, supporters and family members of JVP. It was a well known fact. Mahinda Rajapakse fought on behalf of their plight. That did not make him a member of JVP. He fought for the human rights of the people. JVP attacked sacred Dalada Maligawa. They threw bombs inside the Parliament. They killed Buddhist monks, politicians, police, security forces and their family members. more..

Rs. 150,000 spent to cross to government controlled territory in a boat

Mar 6 (LeN) Army spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkkara said that 113 LTTE cadres were killed by security forces in attacks in several places in North and East last week. Seven Army personnel also were killed and 45 were injured in clashes while ten civilians were injured in LTTE bomb explosions. Security forces recovered 1643 anti personnel mines, 22 claymores and two suicide kits during the past week, said the Army spokesman. more..

Arbour to leave UN in June

Mar 6 (LD) United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, told her staff yesterday (Mar. 05th) that she would leave at the end of June. In her talk to the staff, Arbour gave no reason for not seeking a second term when her four-year mandate runs out on June 30th. Her decision has been accepted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Arbour is expected to make it public in a speech to the UN Human Rights Council tomorrow. more..

Pillayan Group won’t be tolerated - TNA

Mar 6 (LD) TNA parliamentarian Mavai Senadhiraja has vowed that the Pillayan Group would not be allowed to dictate terms to rights of Tamils in the east. Speaking in Parliament yesterday (Mar. 05th), Senadhiraja called on the entire Tamil community to act unwaveringly with restraint and determination, until normalcy is restored to the province. He also urged the people of Batticaloa to boycott local government polls there on March 10th. more..

CTU displeased with CJ’s remark

Mar 6 (LD) The Ceylon Teachers Union has expressed its displeasure over a remark by Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva who vehemently criticized teachers for having resorted to a sick note campaign on March 06th. Issuing a statement, the CTU which did not join other unions in the trade union action, said the CJ’s alleged statement on punishing the teachers was against their right to engage in trade union action. more..

Jeyaraj admits he had made overtures to UNP

Mar 6 (LD) Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle says that leader of the SLFP (M) Mangala Samarweera will finally have to seek refuge in the UNP. Responding to a remark by Samaraweera in Parliament this morning, Fernandopulle also admitted to having conducted two rounds of talks in the past with the UNP with the intention of joining that party. Earlier, the SLFP (M) Leader told the House that the present Chief Government Whip had made overtures to the UNP in the past. more..

Forces not involved in abductions or disappearance - Chairman PCIAD

Mar 6 (GDI) The Chairman of the Presidential Commission Inquiring into Abductions and Disappearances (PCIAD), Mahanama Thilakartne, in a report said that the Commission has so far not found any armed forces or police personnel guilty of alleged abductions or disappearances or linked to unidentified dead bodies and unexplained killings in the country. Thilakaratne further states that of the 7130 complaints lodged with the Police over the disappearances and more..

President's Maha Shiva Rathri Day message

Mar 6 (GDI) Today, Hindus in Sri Lanka and abroad celebrate the Maha Shiva Rathri, one of the most important festivals in the Hindu religious calendar. This festival observed in honour of Lord Shiva, marks the day he is believed to have married Parvati and the night when he performed the dance of primordial creation and preservation. The many rituals associated with this festival include fasting, night long vigil at temples, making of offerings to Shiva, the lighting of lamps and singing hymns in praise of Lord Shiva. more..

'Public vigilance helped foil LTTE attempts to kill civilians'

Mar 6 (GDI) Commending the vital public assistance extended to security forces to ensure safety of civilians Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said in Parliament yesterday that public awareness of LTTE's acts of terrorism has helped thwart disruptive initiatives planned by the LTTE targeting civilians. He said that Armed Forces were fighting the terrorists in the North while the LTTE, facing defeat, was trying to divert the attention of the forces by committing acts of terrorism. more..

"Lord Brown's criticism unfair" - Minister Samarasinghe

Mar 6 (GDI) Exercising his right of reply to the issues articulated by British Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Mark Malloch-Brown, Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights, Mahinda Samarashinge said that the Government regrets the misconceived approach of Lord Brown in his address to the Human Rights Council in August. more..

Bunker babies: Latest Tiger ruse in Sri Lanka

Mar 6 (LNP) The LTTE has resorted to new tactics to tarnish the Security Forces` image by allowing their female cadres to take their children to bunker lines on the Forward defences, Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said yesterday. The Brigadier added that the LTTE`s latest tactic was evident from the recoveries made by the Security Forces after capturing LTTE bunkers in the Uyilankulam cross loading point in Mannar yesterday. more..

I tried to prevent a crime

Mar 6 (LNP) A 12 year-old boy who claimed he attempted to prevent a crime was arrested for possessing a locally made handgun, Elpitiya police said. According to the police the young boy also had at least seven cartridges in his possession at the time of the arrest. HQI Elpitiya police O. K Gunadasa said the weapon was recovered from the suspect when he was checked by police who were suspicious of a parcel he was carrying. more..

Jaffna census nears completion

Mar 6 (LNP) A-follow-up meeting that was designed to review and evaluate the progress of the ongoing population census in the Jaffna peninsula took place last Saturday at Jaffna Security Forces headquarters premises. It was attended by Divisional Secretaries, Grama Seva Officials, Statisticians, Civil Coordinating Officers, Senior Army and Police Officers and other administrative officials, attached to the Jaffna District Secretariat, more..

On the fast track to hell

Mar 6 (LNP) Judicial activism is, no doubt, anathema to ruling politicians and their cronies bent on keeping democratic institutions under their dirty thumb. But, it is a blessing for the ordinary people who are suffering in silence. It is also the best way to defeat autocratic tendencies of rulers of all hues and decelerate a country s slide towards anarchy consequent upon arrogance of power as well as the attendant public anger and disillusionment with democratic institutions. more..

Armed men abduct 2 teenage girls in Vaazhaichcheanai

Mar 6 (TN) Fatigue uniform clad armed men who came in a white van abducted a 16-year-old girl student Monday night around 11:30 from her house in Karungkaalichchoalai in Vaazhaichcheanai police division in Batticaloa district and another 16-year-old girl student from the same area Tuesday night around same time from her house. The armed men had also tried to abduct a young woman from another house in Karungkaalichchoalai but had let her go when more..

Public servants in line for free medical

Mar 6 (SAMN) Public servants numbering about one million will be given free medical checkups and treatment if necessary in a new healthcare programme launched by Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry, Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said Wednesday. This follows a study conducted by the ministry on the health condition and productivity of the public servants which has been a concern for policymakers as the productivity in the public sector was not up to the expected standard, more..

Govt violated UN convention: UNP

Mar 6 (SAMN) The UNP charged in Parliament Wednesday that Sri Lanka had violated the norms of the UN convention against corruption since the government had arbitrarily removed the Bribery Commission’s Director General Piyasena Ranasinghe. Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera, in a statement to the House, said that Sri Lanka had also failed to strengthen the goodwill expected among members of the judiciary so as to leave no room for corruption. more..

Living with Indian aid, Opp confusion

Mar 6 (SAMN) “What allows this government to survive ?” This question wasn’t asked one year ago, in the same tone and seriousness, it is asked today. Today, much has changed, locally and internationally in relevance to the present regime. Today, much has changed politically within the government and in the Opposition, within and without parliament. To whose advantage and to whose disadvantage are all these happening ? Very simply, to the advantage of the regime and to the disadvantage of the people. more..

President issues tips for hospitals

Mar 6 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has directed the relevant health sector authorities to place appropriate and adequate staff in the provincial hospitals, following a systematic study to meet exacting needs. The President pointed out that patients seeking treatment at the Provincial hospitals were experiencing innumerable problems due to the deficiences and shortcomings prevalent in them. more..

Five banks in the fray for syndicated loan

Mar 6 (DN) Five major banks - Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and Citibank have expressed their willingness to raise a syndicated loan following a call for proposals by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) from 14 selected international banks/investment houses and two local State banks to raise upto US$ 300 million in the international debt market through a syndicated loan. more..

ICRC resumes patients’ transport out of Jaffna

Mar 6 (DN) The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) resumed its flights between Jaffna and Colombo on Monday when it transported nine patients requiring specialised medical care, accompanied by two doctors and five bystanders, said an ICRC news release. It said: Since September 2006, the ICRC had chartered weekly flights for the transport of patients whose conditions require specialised surgery, medical investigations or treatment not available in the Jaffna peninsula. more..

‘Disappearances’ by security forces a national crisis -HRW

Mar 6 (HRW) The Sri Lankan government is responsible for widespread abductions and “disappearances” that are a national crisis, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. Human Rights Watch urged the government to reveal the whereabouts of the “disappeared,” immediately end the practice, and hold the perpetrators accountable. Since major fighting between the government and the LTTE resumed in 2006, more..

Doctor in trouble over jab

Mar 6 (Island) Mystery surrounds the action of a doctor, a specialist, attached to the Ratnapura General Hospital. He is alleged to have forcibly administered an injection to a trainee nurse at Ward no.13 on Monday. The young trainee, who fell ill after the injection, is currently undergoing treatment at Ward 7 of the same hospital. She has been identified as Miss H. C. Jayaweera. Ratnapura Police have opened an investigation into the incident following a complaint by the trainee nurse’s sister. more..

Land grabbers use political clout

Mar 6 (Island) A group of thugs and a Grama Niladhari who were close associates of a high ranking Municipal Councillor and a woman councillor of the Anuradhapura Municipal Council, are reported to have forcibly occupied a land belonging to The Island and Divaina special Anuradhapura correspondent Cyril Basnayake and were obstructing the Police from performing their duty to bring about a settlement to the issue. more..

Registered drugs list not published, GMOA complains

Mar 6 (DM) The Government Medical Officers Association is at odds with the Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry for not publishing drug information which is vital for the safety of patients, while hampering the availability of new drugs: thereby putting the lives of millions patients at risk. “Publishing the list of registered drugs, at least annually, is essential, so that doctors may obtain correct information on the drugs they prescribe and know about new drugs entering the market. more..

No evidence, no select committee: Speaker

Mar 6 (DM) The controversial MiG 27 deal issue came up in Parliament yesterday with Speaker W.J.M Lokubandara admitting that he did not appoint the select committee because the MP who asked for it did not produce any evidence. The UNP castigated the Government for the alleged cover up of the investigations into the MiG 27 deal by removing Bribery Commission Director General Piyasena Ranasinghe. more..

LTTE spreading wings in Kerala?

Mar 6 (TOI) A vessel being constructed for use by LTTE at a Kochi dock was seized by Kerala police on Wednesday. The boat was seized from a private entity, Sudhas Marine Engineering, during a joint inspection by the state police and cops from the 'Q' branch of Tamil Nadu, sources said. The Q Branch had nabbed two LTTE sympathisers, both Sri Lankans, in Trichinappally on Tuesday. Their interrogation led the police to Kochi and to the boat that was being made in Munambam. more..

Colombo overcomes language problem

Mar 6 (Hindu) After a gap of several years, the government has succeeded in recruiting a number of police officers proficient in Tamil language. It was announced here on Wednesday that 175 such police officers were recruited to serve in Eastern Province as a solution to the problem faced by the Tamil-speaking people. Defence spokesperson and Minister Keheliya Rembukwella told a news conference here that each police station in the East would get at least one police officer. more..

Eminent persons' group quits Sri Lanka rights abuse probe

Mar 6 (IANS) A group of eminent international personalities who had been overseeing the Sri Lankan government's efforts to curb human rights abuses Thursday resigned from their role. Complaining of a lack of will on the part of the government to investigate the abuses, the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) headed by former Indian chief justice P.N. Bhagwati said in a statement that most of its suggestions in regard to the functioning of the government's Commission of Inquiry (COI) had been ignored or rejected. more..

Tamil Tigers say Sri Lanka army kills MP with bomb

Mar 6 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers said on Thursday an Army special forces unit blew up a rebel-backed member of parliament in their northern stronghold with a roadside bomb, and a party colleague confirmed his death. It was the latest in a string of attacks inside rebel territory using Claymore mines as roadside bombs that the rebels have blamed on government troops, who are using the Tigers' own deadly methods against them as a 25-year civil war escalates. more..

Human rights group accuses Sri Lankan forces and armed allies of abducting hundreds

Mar 6 (AP) A U.S.-based human rights group accused Sri Lankan security forces and allied militias Thursday of abducting hundreds of people in the past two years as the country's civil war escalated. The report from Human Rights Watch came as a senior official acknowledged that recent fighting with the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels killed twice as many government forces than had previously been announced. more..

Sri Lankan truckers to strike in protest against port delays

Mar 7 (LBO) Container transporters in Sri Lanka Thursday announced plans for a protest action and work stoppage that could disrupt the flow of cargo to and from Colombo port. The Joint Council of Transporters (JCT) said in a statement their members would commence a protest combined with work stoppage from March 10 to protest against lengthy delays in getting containers into the port. more..

Sri Lanka starts work on two ships for India

Mar 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka's top shipbuilder has started work on a 36.6 million dollar contract to supply two vessels for the Indian territory of Lakshadweep, officials said. Colombo Dockyard Plc, a unit of Japan's Onomichi, will build each vessel capable of carrying 250 passengers and 100 metric tonnes of cargo, the Indian High Commission said. A ceremonial keel laying ceremony took place on Wednesday under the auspices of Lakshadweep administrator B. V. Selvaraj. more..

'We still search for our son'

Mar 7 (BBC) Jude (not his real name) is a young Tamil man who disappeared in the north of Sri Lanka in February 2007. Ever since then his family have been desperately searching for any clue to what might have happened to him. My son has been missing for one year. We have been searching for him for all over the place. We never really stop looking. One day he just failed to come home. He and his friend went to the local town on a motorbike. more..

Caught in a civil war

Mar 7 (NP) Anton Soosaipillai rode his motorbike to the northern Sri Lankan city of Vavuniya on Jan. 16, but he never came home. Three days later, a government-backed paramilitary group phoned the Tamil building contractor's house, demanding money for his safe return. The family tried to come up with the ransom of three million rupees, almost $30,000, but fell short. They pleaded with the kidnappers, but to no avail. more..

A Buddhism primer

Mar 7 (KMC) Dr. Sunil Goonasekera, 60, is a visiting professor in his second year at Bowdoin College, where he teaches four Asian religions, including Buddhism. His specialty is anthropology of religion. He graduated from University of California at San Diego. He has taught there and at a major university in his native country, Sir Lanka. He and his wife live near San Diego, Calif., and each has a law degree. more..

Parappakandal under army control, 23 killed in Lanka clashes

Mar 7 (PTI) Sri Lankan army on Thursday brought the entire town suburb of Parappakandal in Mannar district under its control even as 22 rebels and a soldier died in clashes in other parts of the embattled Northern region of the country, the army said on Thursday. "Parappakandal, one of the major town suburbs to the north of Uyilankulam, was completely brought under the troops this morning, giving another severe setback and humiliation to the Tiger militants who had kept the area under siege," more..

Ravi promises to pay back the defrauded money

Mar 7 (LeN) Rotten Vander, a company belonged to UNP MP Ravi Karunanayaka came to a settlement with Anthonian P. Stramiks, a European, to pay back a sum of Euro 144,000 (Rs. 22 million) belonged to Mr. Stramiks, the company was accused of misappropriating. Mr. Karunanayaka's father-in-law Janesha Mahsri Jayawardhana is the Chairman of Rotten Vander Company. more..

Rupavahini Corporation staff in a token strike; Chairman slips off

Mar 7 (LeN) Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) staff launched a two-hour token strike today (06) from 12.30 to 2.30 PM urging the government to mediate immediately to halt the continuous intimidation of SLRC workers by unidentified persons. All the staff members sans the essential services staff took part in the walk out. SLRC Chairman's sneaking off from his office and the absence of entire management in the SLRC premises was a notable incident. more..

Lanka aims to stop food imports

Mar 7 (AA) Sri Lanka will aim to reduce and eventually stop the import of food items by 2010, a visiting Sri Lankan minister said. Sri Lankan minister of agriculture and agrarian services Maithripala Sirisena told a conference here that Colombo would progressively augment its domestic food grains production to reduce its dependence on imports. Mr Sirisena was speaking at the first Saarc conference on "science-based agricultural transformation towards alleviation of hunger and poverty" more..

‘Sivarathri’-the spiritual night of Lord Shiva

Mar 7 (HA) Mahasivarathri (”great night of Lord Shiva”) is celebrated on March 6th this year; it always falls on the fourteenth day of the lunar fortnight. Mahasivarathri is considered the most important day for the devotees of Lord Shiva, and there are special celebrations at Sivan temples throughout the island. The festival known as Sivarathri means “the spiritual night of Lord Shiva”-Lord Shiva, who actually has 1,008 names, being the God of Destruction of evil and ignorance. more..

Sri Lanka denies allegations

Mar 7 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai denied allegations that the Sri Lanka Navy had opened fire on two fishermen from Tamil Nadu in which one person was killed. An official statement on Thursday said when the media reports about the attack was taken to the knowledge of the Sri Lanka Navy and after thorough investigation the Sri Lanka Navy informed that their vessels were not operating in the area of the incident at that particular time. more..

An Invitation to all Old Nalandians

Mar 7 (IL) Nalanda College Old Boys Association of America (NCOBAA) will be holding a General Meeting on Saturday March 8th, 2008 at Los Angeles Buddhist Vihara in Pasadena to discuss future activities of the organization. This meeting will also be geared to gather all Old Nalandians in the greater Los Angeles area to reunite under one association to focus on multiple activities that will benefit both Nalanda College in Colombo as well as Sri Lanka. more..

Cool tag for a premium cuppa from tea country

Mar 7 (TS) In the verdant hills of central Sri Lanka, local and foreign visitors witness undulating carpets of green, occasionally bisected by moist, brick-brown pathways, rail lines or narrow asphalt tracks meant for trucks and tractor- trailers that haul mounds of freshly- picked tea. In the mornings, as the soft sun peeks above the hills, and as dusk falls, the mist rolls by and the cool weather begins its embrace. more..

Jailed Tamil warlord has deadly influence on election

Mar 7 (GN) The last time Chandrakanti Nanthakumar saw her husband alive was when he disappeared for his daily walk down a sandy lane shaded by palm fronds on a balmy evening in January. The body of Parasuraman, a popular local teacher, was found in the night dumped in a paddy field in Batticaloa, a town on Sri Lanka's eastern coast. more..

A hit team funded by Norway to interfere in countries?

Mar 7 (LT) United Nations has put together a top ‘mediation team’ with some of the world’s leading experts and they are now on standby to help resolve crises around the world. This was announced by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs of the UN B. Lynn Pascoe. Pascoe, announcing the formation of the team, said the new UN Mediation Standby Team would strengthen the ability of the UN’s Department of Political Affairs to help prevent conflict through assistance to diplomacy. more..

Defeating terrorism is the only genuine peace act – S. L. Gunasekera

Mar 7 (LT) There are various fine words such as ‘peace process’ etc. but according to what Manel Mal Movement (MMM) believes defeating tigers is the only honest act that could be carried out at present said senior Lawyer and Convener of MMM S. L. Gunasekera. He made this observation at a ceremony held to distribute Electricity generating tables to 50 members of Civil Defense Corp under ‘Ranaviru Neth Pahana’ project. more..

Privatisation & loyalty in the war on terror

Mar 7 (GV) A recent post by Indi on the correctness of allowing people with foreign interests to hold high military office got me thinking about the whole private military contract business. Coincidentally, I had just finished reading The Road to Hell by Brian Geddes, a British mercenary (or private military contractor as they are now called) in Iraq. more..

Travels in a Militarised Society - 5

Mar 7 (GV) I do not remember how many times I crossed the Boralla Junction in my life but I do know that this relatively small area of less than two square kilometres has been a kind of cooking pot of much Sri Lankan culture, politics and intellectual life. When I pass the Boralla Cemetery, my mind goes back to many small incidents and key moments in Sri Lanka’s post-Independence history. more..