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Foreign media banned from East - CAFFE

May 8 (LD) The government has declared the eastern province out of bounds for the foreign media wanting to cover the May 10th provincial council polls there, the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections alleges. In a letter to the Elections Commissioner, CAFFE said a journalist from the Associated Press had been turned back from the east, and that he had been told that permission was needed from the Defence Ministry to enter the province. more..

Dr. Kohona presents the donation to the Myanmar Ambassador

May 8 (AT) Ambassador of the Union of Myanmar Tin Oo Lwin met Sri Lanka’s Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona at the Ministry, this afternoon. Foreign Secretary on behalf of the Government and people of Sri Lanka expressed deepest condolence to the victims who lost their lives by the cyclone that hit Myanmar on Saturday (03rd). Ambassador Lwin briefed the Secretary on the massive devastation caused by the cyclone in which over 22,000 lives have been lost more..

President opens a new suspension bridge in Kotuwegoda today

May 8 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will ceremonially open the new suspension bridge in Kotuwegoda, Matara which leads to Parevi Doowa and will plant a sapling of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi at the Uposathagara premises to mark the occasion this afternoon (8) at 2 pm. The ceremony has been organized by the Sri Rohana Sagha Sabha. This event will also mark the conferring of honorary title, Lanka Pragna Pradeepa (Light of wisdom, Sri lanka) on more.., a new window to development of East

May 8 (GDI) A new website was launched by the Government of Sri Lanka as the international information gateway to the Eastern Reawakening Programme that includes a wide spectrum of social outreach programmes such as resettlement of internally displaced people, landmine clearance, rehabilitation and awareness programmes as well as massive infrastructure development projects. more..

Boost for sugar cane, cashew cultivation in East

May 8 (GDI) The Government has launched several projects for Plantation Crops Development in the Eastern province parallel to other major projects. The development programmes were inaugurated to enhance productivity in the plantation sector, increasing income through by-products and promoting the plantation enterprises and plantation products. The Sugarcane Research Institute (SRI), Sri Lanka Cashew Corporation (SLCC) and more..

Minister Bogollagama appraises UN Chief of situation in Sri Lanka

May 8 (GDI) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as part of the Government's policy of maintaining regular dialogue to apprise the United Nations of recent developments in Sri Lanka, particularly with regard to the unfolding of the road map for restoration of democracy in the Eastern Province. He also briefed the Secretary General on the Task Force set up to expedite development of the North, foreign media reported on Thursday (08). more..

SL tourism headquarters for Middle East to be located in Dubai

May 8 (GDI) Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) will setup its Middle East Headquarters in Dubai as part of its efforts to consolidate the strong growth from the region which increased by 80.6% in the first quarter of 2008. The announcement was made on the opening day of Arabian Travel Market 2008, the Middle East's premier travel and tourism event in Dubai. more..

Anandasangaree - Will Talk with LTTE alone solve the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka?

May 8 (AT) V. Anandasangaree, President of the TULF has posed a most pertinent question to the Heads of Diplomatic Missions in Sri Lanka, Will Talk with LTTE alone solve the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka? He said that a resolution was unanimously adopted on the 24th of April at the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, calling upon the Central Government of India to intervene and to help to initiate talks between the two warring parties, to bring back Peace to Sri Lanka. more..

Sinhala thugs threaten, rob Piliyandala Tamil traders

May 8 (LNP) Tamil traders in Piliyandala are living in constant fear as Sinhala goons daily threaten them and rob their stocks of goods from their establishments. This has been going on since the Piliyandala bus bomb blast, media sources said. Sinhala goons Monday robbed goods displayed by Tamil traders on pavements in Piliyandala. In another incident a group of Sinhalese came in a tractor Tuesday morning forcibly removed goods from shop belongs to a Tamil trader in Piliyandala town. more..

Police begin clean up of polls propaganda material

May 8 (LNP) From midnight yesterday the police commenced removing all election related posters, placards, cutouts, banners and propaganda painted on roads in the Eastern Province, which were in violation of the Elections Act, Police Headquarters said. The European Union, Commonwealth and the United Nations have declined the Elections Department s invitation to send observers to monitor the May 10 polls for the Eastern Provincial Council. more..

That prorogation rabbit out of President s hat

May 8 (LNP) This country may be short of anything but issues. They crop up at such a rate that people are at a loss as to how to cope with them. They simply don t have time and energy to concentrate on each and every issue. Therefore, they tend to treat even serious matters perfunctorily and fatalistically. Public focus shifts from issue to issue and as a result there doesn't occur, virtually on anything, a substantial public debate effective enough to shape public opinion for or against it. more..

Now, Ratnapura hospital nurses strike

May 8 (LNP) Almost he entire nursing staff, bar a few, went on strike from noon yesterday at the Ratnapura hospital in protest against the transfer of a male nurse who was the centre of controversy last week. The male nurse, the leader of a JVP backed union, was alleged to have verbally abused a lady doctor and disobeyed the orders of the hospital s director. He was yesterday transferred to the Kegalle hospital after a disciplinary inquiry. more..

'Rightist UNP should be defeated'

May 8 (SAMN) The Democratic Left Front (DLF) in a press release yesterday said the rightist and anti-people UNP should be defeated at the forthcoming Eastern Provincial Council Elections. A release signed by DLF Secretary Vasudeva Nanayakkara said democratic forces were happy that the Government had created an environment suitable for an election in the East where its people had undergone suffering on account of the war. more..

Indian intervention only if LTTE agrees

May 8 (SAMN) India should intervene in the conflict in Sri Lanka only if the LTTE agrees to it, an influential former Chief Justice of India said yesterday but expressed scepticism of such a move as a majority of the population in Tamil Nadu are Tamils. The Government Peace Secretariat however said Sri Lanka had no intention of inviting India to actively take part as mediator nor does India have any intention of doing so after its involvement in 1987 which had adverse repercussions. more..

Fake bomb on Sri Pada summit

May 8 (SAMN) A hoax bomb planted on the summit of the sacred Sri Pada causing panic among hundreds of devotees was control- blasted by the Bomb Disposal Unit last evening. The alarming detection of an unattended parcel on the sacred peak caused high panic among hundreds of rushing devotees around 2.30 p.m. Wednesday. The Nallatanni police was informed of the ‘bomb’ and a special team from the Nallatanni police accompanied by more..

IDPs brought down from other areas: UNP

May 8 (SAMN) The UNP alleges that supporters of a Muslim Minister had brought down around 300 Wanni IDPs from the Puttalam and Medawachchiya camps in buses to Trincomalee, Mutur and Kinniya on Tuesday to rig the provincial council poll in the East. Trincomalee District, Assistant Commissioner of Election, M. S. K. Bandara Mapa, this has been the practice in all the elections held so far in this country. more..

Roads to prosperity in the East

May 8 (DN) The Eastern province was praised for its natural beauty before terrorism emerged. This region was best known for agriculture and fishing sectors, being one of the prominent agricultural districts in the country. Terrorism disrupted the development of the East and its future turned into a question mark due to terrorism. The Government is now rebuilding the entire province after it was liberated from the control of LTTE. more..

An open letter to Western envoys

May 8 (DN) A foreign journalist who phoned a head of a European Mission in Colombo, after the terrorist attack at Piliyandala, had inquired as to whether the position of his Government and that of other Western Governments had changed with regard to the war against the LTTE terrorists, and the response, as recorded, has been as follows: "Our position on the need to suspend the war and to engage in talks remains the same.........". more..

East was reawakened by DS - Ravi

May 8 (Island) Though the Government was talking about reawakening of the East it was the first Premier D. S. Senanayake who had reawakened the Eastern Province, Colombo District UNP parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake told The Island yesterday (7). He said it was the UNP leader D. S. Senanayake who had started the rehabilitation of the irrigation systems in the East and settled farmers in a number of areas in the East reviving agriculture in the region. more..

Sumithrayo refutes charges

May 8 (Island) Sri Lanka Sumithrayo, a non-profit making voluntary organization helping the mentally stressed had continued to extend its hand of friendship to a large number of people, but there was a campaign unleashed against it by some parties recently, Sumithrayo management said at a press conference held at its headquarters in Colombo. Among the charges levelled against Sumithrayo in the media recently were mismanagement, corruption and inefficiency, but more..

Ministry to issue new circular

May 8 (DM) The Education Ministry has shelved its decision to introduce new parliamentary legislation to admit children to Grade I classes in schools on grounds that it is a time-consuming exercise. Instead the Ministry has now planned to issue a new circular on May 15 for the admission of children for 2009. Following the admission crisis in 2008, Minister Susil Premajayantha earlier said that he would present a Bill in Parliament by May in more..

Move not connected to polls, says Govt.

May 8 (DM) The Government yesterday said the prorogation of Parliament was not connected with the Eastern Provincial Council polls and was a pre-planned move which had been delayed because a few finance Bills had to be tabled and passed before the prorogation. “There is no special reason for the prorogation and it has nothing to do with the forthcoming election as well,” Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said more..

A chance at life

May 8 (BG) Hasi, as the little girl from Sri Lanka is known, has slipped effortlessly into her new American lifestyle. She lives in a big house with a huge lawn in a new development in Groton. She loves mashed potatoes. She calls all cartoons "Scooby-Doo," and she gets sloppy kisses from her family's frisky old Weimaraner. "She's amazing," said Liz Smith, an apparel-industry consultant who is sponsoring the 3-year-old girl's indefinite stay in America. more..

Apollo plans Sri Lanka re-entry with majority control

May 8 (LBO) Apollo Hospitals group is planning to re-enter Sri Lanka after losing control of its first venture in the country which was listed in the stock market with only minority control, a media report said. "We have written to the Sri Lankan government and this time around, we will have 51 per cent or more stake," Apollo chairman Prathap Reddy was quoted as saying by the Economic Times newspaper in India. more..

Sri Lanka party pushing for Muslim chief minister

May 8 (Dawn) Sri Lanka’s chief Muslim party, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), which represents the country’s 7 per cent Muslim population and is contesting the provincial council polls in the volatile east, say they are pushing for a Muslim chief minister in the war torn region. The party is also demanding a “non-contiguous Muslim majority power sharing unit” in the eastern province. more..

Sri Lanka hopeful of Indian help to overcome rice crisis

May 8 (IANS) Sri Lanka has expressed hope that neighbour India would relax its decision not to export non-basmati rice and thus rescue the island nation from a looming rice crisis. 'If there is severe rice shortage in Sri Lanka, India would definitely offer its assistance. India has 2.5 million tonnes of rice in their stores now and helping Sri Lanka in this regard will not be a problem for them at all,' more..

'My daughter, the terrorist'

May 8 (AT) In Sri Lanka's brutal civil war, some rebel women end their lives as suicide bombers that have killed hundreds over the years. A Norwegian documentary film that follows two 24-year-olds training to do just this has enraged the Sri Lankan government, but raises important questions about the conduct of war and its consequences. The women are from the LTTE, a rebel group that has been fighting for an independent homeland for the Tamil ethnic minority since the 1970s. more..

Sri Lanka links conflict to war on terror

May 8 (TS) Returning to Colombo after several years, one is struck by the military checkpoints at key crossings where visitors are waved on but young Tamil males are not. The fortified capital is pasted with war posters – a map of Sri Lanka, with an eye in the middle and a caption: "Are you alert? If you are, your village and your country are safe." The media are uniformly bellicose: "Military makes advances." "There's no unwinnable war: Only a mission to crush terrorism." more..

Committee to promote Gandhian ideals in Sri Lanka

May 8 (PTI) With an aim to promote mahatma Gandhi's concept of non-violence in Sri Lanka, a 19-member committee, comprising representatives of various religious groups, has been formed in the war-ravaged country. Ela Gandhi, grand-daughter of mahatma Gandhi, today said that “the committee will promote non-violence, the only means through which the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka can be brought to an end.” more..

Ranil Wickramasinghe slams Lankan Govt.

May 8 (PTI) A fuming Sri Lankan Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe has slammed the government for "quietly" proroguing Parliament alleging it wanted to avoid any discussions on the immminent Provincial Council elections. Wickramasinghe, former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka looked quited disturbed when he went to attend the Parliament proceedings on Wednesday and found the House was prorogued. more..

Four charged in Britain with helping Tamil Tigers: police

May 8 (AFP) British police have charged four men with conspiring to support Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels, Scotland Yard said Thursday. The four were arrested under anti-terror laws and are accused of owning computers, radio equipment and high-power magnets for terrorist purposes. They were to appear in court in London later in the day, said a spokesman. The men were arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 in the last two weeks as more..

Colombo tests anti-rebel campaign at elections in multi-ethnic districts

May 8 (AFP) Sri Lanka’s tense east votes in local elections on Saturday in what is seen as a key test of the government’s strategy to go all-out for a military victory against Tamil Tiger rebels. Nearly 1mn people are eligible to elect 35 officials in the multi-ethnic districts of Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara - areas that included sizeable rebel pockets prior to a major offensive in July last year. more..

Military bars foreign media from polls

May 8 (AP) Sri Lanka's military barred foreign journalists Thursday from covering weekend elections in the east that are seen as a test of confidence in the government, which seized the region from Tamil Tiger rebels last year. Maj. Gen. Palitha Fernando said any foreigner not registered as an election observer cannot be in Eastern province during the polls. An Associated Press reporter and a photographer were stopped at a checkpoint and were asked to go back. more..

Sri Lanka: Traveler's surprising delight

May 9 (ET) A large part of the attraction of traveling abroad is to see how different it is from your own country. This works particularly well if you are traveling to Iceland or Argentina. At breakfast you are presented with strange delectations, and you feel a glow of satisfaction after you have mastered the intricacies of turning a tap or crossing a road. This becomes trickier when you travel to Sri Lanka, especially if you’ve lived in South India. more..

Sri Lanka's paper degrees and learning culture; Degree or education?

May 9 (LBO) As an educator, I have found the economic transaction at the heart of education to be deeply problematic. If I was selling bread, and gave the customer less than what she paid for, she’d be outraged and haul me before the Consumer Protection Authority, if not worse. When in the course of "selling" education, I cancel a class without giving a makeup, my "customers" do not complain; they are overjoyed and begin to think I'm a nice guy, after all. So I never do. more..

Sri Lanka Amba Research taps top talent

May 9 (LBO) Amba Research, an investment research outsourcing firm, says four of its employees won gold medals at the convocation of the University of Colombo. Kushantha Perera won the award for the best student in statistics and best final year Project in Statistics and Sha Razeek won the best student in statistics with computer Science. Anfas Hamza won the best final year project in statistics with computer science and more..

Port project dredging underway, new terminal bids to be called

May 9 (LBO) The Asian Development Bank has agreed to change conditions on a loan to the Sri Lankan government to build a new deep-water harbour next to Colombo port, dredging on which is already underway, ADB and government officials said. Fresh tenders are to be called to build and operate the new port's first container terminal known as the south terminal after the original bids were cancelled last year amid much controversy. more..

'We are with Mannar Bishop over case of Madhu'

May 9 (LG) I was fortunate to listen to Jatika Hela Urumaya’s Ven. Medananda Thero. Hon Member of Parliament Ven. Thero spoke about the prevailing situation at Madu church in Mannar. He started by saying that Madu Church was once a Buddhist temple later became a Hindu temple. He claimed that the Portuguese demolished the Hindu temple and built this Madu church. more..

Sri Lanka tableware maker steps into Germany

May 9 (LBO) Sri Lankan tableware exporter Dankotuwa Porcelain has made inroads into Germany market, which it said has great potential given the size of the population and their sophistication. Dankotuwa, which already supplies other European markets, will shortly make its first shipment through Michael Fischer oHG, one of the largest distributors in Germany, a company statement said. more..

Buddha smiling in tourist circuit

May 9 (ET) The Buddha is smiling, again. For years, the Buddhist travel segment has been lagging but things are looking up, say travel agents specialising in the segment. According to estimates, Buddhist travel accounted for about 10-12% of the total of 4.63 million tourists who visited India in 2006-07. As infrastructure in the Buddhist circuit gets better, the interest of pilgrims from Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Korea and now, even Mainland China, is growing. more..

NPC: Eastern election must not lead to further alienation

May 9 (FI) On Saturday May 10 the people of the Eastern Province will cast their vote at crucial elections that will have a bearing on the future course of politics in the country, and especially with regard to the ongoing ethnic conflict. The election can be historic as it will represent for the first time the hopes and opinion of the people of the east through an electoral process that is confined to the Eastern Province alone. more..

Behind the espionage game in Sri Lanka (Part 01)

May 9 (LG) No doubt our intelligence network is not working as an independent unit without political intervention. It totally depends on the ruling political parties. The UNP and SLFP have been playing with this heart of the country’s security in the past and continue to do so in the present. As a subject, military intelligence should not for a toy doll in the hands of rowdy politicians. more..

China in Sri Lanka

May 9 (LG) India's renewed focus on relations with Sri Lanka appears to be a course of action designed to strengthen Indo-Sri Lankan ties due to an expanding Chinese presence in the South Asia region. The country is reconfiguring its military policy toward Sri Lanka and is exhibiting a more supportive stance toward the government's efforts against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). more..

The real winner of the Eastern Provincial elections!

May 9 (LG) Provincial government system is something thrust upon Sri Lankans by our big brother India. Tamil separatists were fighting a political battle to divide the country even before the independence. GG Ponnambalam’s infamous 50/50 demand was one such attempt done in the open. However most of the separatist attempts were carried out behind the screen with the participation of foreign elements. more..

500 staff, 50 vehicles of SLPA in govt. campaigning -Mangala

May 9 (LD) Leader of the SLFP (M) Mangala Samaraweera has alleged that the government was using for its eastern election campaign around 500 staff and 50 vehicles of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, released purportedly for the Oluwil Harbour project. Mr. Samaraweera said these fulltime as well as part time wharf and other clerical staff, welders and computer assistants are staff who are not needed for initial construction work of a harbour. more..

Military says it captured small territory in battle that killed 10 rebels

May 9 (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers seized a small patch of territory from Tamil Tiger rebels Thursday after a fierce battle that killed 10 insurgents and a soldier, the military said. Troops took control of a 2-square-kilometer (1.2-square-mile) area in northern Mannar district, the military said in a statement. The fighting came a day after the military said it killed 17 rebels in scattered fighting in Mannar and nearby Vavuniya district. more..

De Silva confident Tests will survive

May 9 (C365) Sri Lanka legend Aravinda de Silva is confident Test cricket will never die out despite the rising popularity of shorter formats of the game such as Twenty20. The 42-year-old is preparing to manage a Sri Lanka team at the Cricket Sixes World Series in Singapore in July and even though he is a firm supporter of cricket's shortest form, he believes the five-day version is here to stay. more..

Sri Lanka court rejects postponement of eastern poll

May 9 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's Appeal Court on Thursday rejected a plea by a Tamil political party to issue an interim order postponing Saturday's election for the Eastern Provincial Council. Court officials said the request made by the People's Liberation of Tamil Eelam had been refused. The election to be held on Saturday would appoint 35 members to the newly created eastern provincial council after the province was de-merged from the Northern Province in 2006. more..

The regime is challenged in the Eastern polls

May 9 (LG) The Eastern Provincial Council elections are around the corner and as Easterners and the rest of the nation await the outcome of the polls not much can be gained by speculating regarding its outcome. However the situation in the East raises issues that will remain long after the polls are over and pose challenges to the government at the centre and the winners of the provincial polls. more..

The Rajapakse Presidency (Part 03)

May 9 (LG) The first months of the Rajapakse Presidency were a time of waiting, for the war that the LTTE was intent on unleashing. The Tigers had enabled the victory of Mahinda Rajapakse because they needed an enemy who could be convincingly depicted as Sinhala chauvinist. The Tiger plan was to make manifest the new regime’s latent Sinhala supremacism, thereby turning Eelam War IV into a contestation between Tamil people and Sinhala state. more..