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IMF loan without any unacceptable conditionalities says Cabraal

Mar 9 (AT) Sri Lanka is expected to conclude its negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a US$ 1.9 b standby loan in the coming month or so, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said here. Mr Cabraal, on his way to a meeting of Asian financial secretaries and central bank governors called by Asian Development Bank (ADB) dismissed criticisms that the IMF loan is being sought despite tough conditions being demanded by the IMF. more..

Who will become Sanga’s deputy?

Mar 9 (DM) Speculation is rife that a junior player Chamara Kapugedera is tipped to succeed Kumar Sangakkara as the vice captain of the Sri Lanka cricket team, the Daily Mirror learns.The vice captaincy slot became vacant following Sangakkara’s elevation as captain in the aftermath of Mahela Jayawardena’s exit. But some analysts argue that thrusting Kapugedera into the vice captaincy post is too premature and more..

I have important things to do at home: Rajiva

Mar 9 (DM) Secretary General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process and Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights, Prof Rajiva Wijesinha told the UN Human Rights Council he has "important things to do back at home rather than playing Sherlock Holmes in a cold and comfortless Geneva; finding out the origins and the rationale for falsehoods." Prof Wijesinha told the council that he should be working on rehabilitation and more..

'TMVP cadres not keen to join army '

Mar 9 (DM) Though Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan was hopeful that cadres of the now disbanded TMVP military wing would join the security forces, he said most of them were reluctant to do so. He told Daily Mirror on Saturday that out of the 2,000 TMVP cadres some 200 were willing to join the security forces. “But the others have not made up their minds about joining the security forces because of the existing ethnic conflict,” more..

A minister writes economic sense

Mar 9 (LBO) One day a wealthy Englishman travels to Italy on business. While there he decides to buy a hand-crafted cupboard to furnish his new summer home in Spain. He visits an exclusive store in Rome, which sells furniture sourced from a small carpentry workshop in Morocco. This furniture is fabricated from wood imported from a sustainable wood plantation in Brazil. The Italian store-owner is sipping a cup of fine Sri Lankan tea, which he discovered while visiting a friend in Russia, more..

Ideas for Sri Lanka after the war

Mar 9 (LBO) I have been asked why I do not write about the war. I did not, because I could not see the clear value addition. But now, as the LTTE’s 18-year control of territory is about to end, things must change. And ideas can play an important role. There has been consensus across the political spectrum, except at the lunatic fringes, that the legitimate demands of the Tamil speaking people must be addressed. more..

Low income customers can use mobiles more for business: study

Mar 9 (LBO) Sri Lankans low income customers of mobile communications, used phones least for business related activities in the region, potentially opening up a new marketing opportunity for celcos, a new study has found. The so-called bottom-of-the-pyramid (BOP) mobile customers in Bangladesh used phones most for business, financial or work related activities a new study by the policy think tank, LirneAsia has found. more..

Hydro storage fall below 300 million units

Mar 9 (LBO) Hydro storage at state-run power utility fell below 300 million units or 24 percent of capacity, with the firm offering to pay large customers to generate their own power. A newspaper advertisement by the Ceylon Electricity Board said inflow to its reservoirs during the past five months was the lowest in 5-years, following a failed north east monsoon season. This makes it difficult to supply power to everyone during the night peak. more..

Pakistan women surprise Sri Lanka

Mar 9 (BBC) Pakistan bounced back from defeat by India with a 57-run win over Sri Lanka at the Women's World Cup in Sydney. It was their first win in 19 matches against Sri Lanka and gave them an excellent chance of making the Super Six phase of the tournament. Pakistan totalled 161-7 from their 50 overs and then bowled out Sri Lanka for just 104, with medium-pacer Qanita Jalil taking 3-33 from eight overs. more..

Lankan Defence secretary visits China

Mar 9 (PTI) Sri Lanka and China have discussed military cooperation during the Lankan Defence Secretary's recent visit to the Communist country. "Secretary Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa made an official visit to the People's Republic of China from 28th February to 6 March 2009," a Defence Ministry statement said here today. The minister held discussion with the Chief of the General Staff and Vice Minister of the Ministry of National Defence, more..

TMVP Disolve there military wing

Conflict risk alert: Sri Lanka

Mar 9 (ICG) The humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka’s northern Wanni region is rapidly becoming a catastrophe. An estimated 150,000 civilians are trapped in an ever shrinking space, forcibly held back by the LTTE and exposed to indiscriminate attacks by the Sri Lankan military. Thousands have already been killed and many more wounded, and tens of thousands are facing death or injury due to fighting and lack of food, water and medicine. more..

Jayalalitha fasts over Sri Lanka war

Mar 9 (Reuters) A regional Indian party chief went on a day-long fast on Monday in solidarity with Tamil refugees trapped in the Sri Lanka war, but analysts said the move was made with an eye on the upcoming Indian general elections. J. Jayalalithaa, head of the opposition in the southern Tamil Nadu state, also began a drive to raise funds for rehabilitation of Sri Lankan war refugees, saying the conflict was a "genocide" against the Tamils there. more..

Sri Lanka says 150 rebels dead in weekend fighting

Mar 9 (AFP) The Sri Lankan military said Monday its troops have killed at least 150 Tamil Tigers in a weekend of fierce fighting inside the rebels' shrinking fiefdom in the northeast of the island. Army spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara said the Tigers, boxed into an area of less than 50 square kilometres (19 square miles), launched a series of attacks against advancing troops in the district of Mullaittivu. more..

Essential supplies ship attacked by suspected LTTE: Army

Mar 9 (PTI) Suspected LTTE rebels on Monday launched heavy artillery attacks on a government ship carrying 500 metric tonnes of food and rations for the displaced people in the embattled North. The ship MV Bintan carrying CGS Cargo from Trincomalee to Putumatlan in Mullaittivu came under heavy shelling by suspected LTTE militants during unloading, the army said. The ship had cast off from Trincomalee on Saturday with with the biggest shipment dispatched since more..

'Lahore attack: Needle of suspicion on LTTE'

Mar 9 (PTI) A top Sri Lankan official has said that the needle of suspicion for last Tuesday’s attack on the country's cricketers in Lahore was also on the LTTE. The Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona said it was possible that the Tamil Tiger rebels were trying to distract the government’s attention from the ongoing offensives against the guerrillas. more..

Cambodia mulls probe of foundation supporting LTTE

Mar 10 (Xinhua) The Cambodian government was considering to investigate the actions of a local foundation which allegedly supported Sri Lanka's separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, said national media on Monday. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has sent a letter to Interior Minister Sar Kheng to request him to do so, said English-Khmer language newspaper the Cambodia Daily. more..

US attempt to rescue LTTE leaders should be defeated - Wimal

Mar 10 (CT) NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa has urged the government against giving into what he called a US attempt to rescue LTTE leaders on the pretext of saving Tamil civilians trapped in the Wanni. He was responding to a question raised by a journalist while speaking to the media today (Mar. 09). Mr. Weerawansa said what actually was needed at this hour was to defeat the Tigers and to liberate northern people who are being held captive by the banned organization. more..

SC to consider objection to president's secretary as respondent

Mar 10 (CT) The Supreme Court has decided to consider an objection filed against the naming of the Secretary to the President as a respondent in the case pertaining to appointments to the Constitutional Council. The SC panel, headed by Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, fixed the 05th of May to take up the submission, filed previously and raised by the state counsel today (Mar. 09). The court was hearing a fundamental rights petition filed by university lecturer Sumanasiri Liyanage and attorney Ravi Jayawardena. more..

13 women prisoners, including minister's wife, pardoned

Mar 10 (CT) The president has pardoned all women aged over 60 years serving life jail terms at Welikada Prison under a special pardon in view of International Women's Day yesterday (Mar. 08). A senior official of the Prisons Department told 'Colombo Today' that 13 women had been freed under this amnesty. They include Monica Fernando, the wife of Minister Milroy Fernando. more..

Tamil liberation and Prabhakaran are far apart

Mar 10 (LG) July 31, 2007 published the following interview of Satchi Sithananthan by the editor of Sri Lanka Guardian, Nilantha Ilangamuwa. In this exclusive interview Satchi Sithananthan stressed the utmost importance for the country to seek a federal solution and also avoid flirting with all kinds of overseas interests. He emphasized that the LTTE has grossly failed the Tamils, more..

Celebrating the contribution of Women

Mar 10 (WB) Women in Sri Lanka are unsung heroines in their contributions to Sri Lanka's economy. Working as migrant workers, tea pluckers, and in garment factories, many women have made significant sacrifices in order to invest in the education of their children and the well being of their families and society. The effects of the global financial crisis have begun to be felt in local employment markets. more..

Ex-rebel commander sworn in as minister

Mar 10 (IANS) Former Tamil Tiger commander Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, well-known as Karuna Amman, Monday took oath before President as the minister of national integration, minutes after joining the ruling SLFP. 'At least 1,750 Tamils from the east, both men and women, including a large number of former (rebel) cadres who left the leadership of Prabhakaran with Karuna's defection a few years ago, joined the SLFP at a special event at more..

Sri Lanka says no Indian hand in Pakistan attacks

Mar 10 (AFP) Sri Lanka on Monday rejected reports that neighbouring India may have been involved in the militant attack against the island's national cricket team in Pakistan. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said Pakistan has promised an interim report on last Tuesday's Lahore assault, in which seven players and the assistant coach were injured and six Pakistan policemen and two civilians killed. more..

Relief ship "not targeted" - ICRC

Mar 10 (BBC) The ICRC says that a ship carrying its flag came close to being hit by artillery shells in north-east Sri Lanka. After arriving with food supplies and aid for civilians, the ship, anchored off the coast at Puthmatalan, was unloading its cargo on to small boats when, the ICRC said, shells fell two- to three-hundred metres away. Carla Haddad, Deputy Head of communications of ICRC said that that the ship had unloaded 144 metric tons of essential supplies since it arrived in Puthumatalan on Sunday. more..

Indian medicos, aid arrive in Sri Lanka to help war-hit civilians

Mar 10 (IANS) Indian physicians, surgeons and para-medical staff, technical staff and medical equipments arrived in Sri Lanka on Monday to help treat the war-affected, internally displaced civilians in the north, diplomatic sources here said. "A plane carrying the first batch of medical staff and luggage arrived in here on Monday and the second flight is expected tomorrow. They will be setting up a field hospital in Pulmoddai and will be ready to receive internally displaced patients from Friday," more..

Jayalalithaa's fast with an eye on LS polls, says Karunanidhi

Mar 10 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Monday charged AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa with going on a day's fast on Sri Lankan Tamils issue with an eye on the Lok Sabha polls. "The opposition leader is making noises only because Lok Sabha polls are round the corner," Mr. Karunanidhi said. He said Ms. Jayalalithaa, who has levelled allegations against UPA and DMK governments on Sri Lankan Tamils issue, had earlier herself said India had no right to interfere in the island nation's internal affairs. more..

State, Centre failed to stop killing of innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka: AIADMK

Mar 10 (Hindu) Hundreds of AIADMK cadre observed a fast here and in Gobichettipalayam on Monday protesting against the killing of innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka. In Erode, the party workers gathered in front of the Veerappan Chatram Municipality under the leadership of former Minister S. Muthusamy. In his interaction with the reporters, Mr. Muthusamy said the party was holding the fast in Chennai and all the district headquarters protesting against the killing of innocent Tamils. more..

Sri Lanka: "Don’t Abuse the Displaced"

Mar 10 (HRW) The scenes witnessed in the Vanni are devastating: Dead bodies of civilians lie strewn along dusty roads. Hospitals, playgrounds and houses stand ravaged by heavy artillery and rockets fired from multi-barrel launchers. Civilians who remain in the conflict zone come under fire running for cover. Those who manage to flee the fighting lie wounded and dying without adequate medical care in hospital wards or militarized "welfare centres". more..

An exclusive interview with Eastern Province Chief Minister Pillayan

Mar 10 (GV) Q: Have all the powers in the 13th amendment been given to the Provincial Councils? A: It is not possible to say that. It should have been implemented fully as soon as it was enacted. Unfortunately, the North Eastern PC stopped functioning and the PCs in the other parts of the country didn’t care- this could be the reason why PCs did not work. The current govt has established the Eastern PC and is going to est the Northern PC. more..

Jayalalithaa accuses DMK and UPA for attack on Tamils in Sri Lanka

Mar 10 (ANI) Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who heads the AIADMK, accused United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the Tamil Nadu Government for the genocidal attack on Tamils in Sri Lanka. Jayalalithaa expressed these views in Chennai on Monday while addressing the media at a spot where she and her party volunteers undertook hunger strike as a mark of protest against Sri Lankan atrocities on Tamilians. more..

'Tamils issue will have impact on outcome of polls'

Mar 10 (Hindu) AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa said on Monday that the Sri Lankan Tamils issue would have a “definite impact” on the the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls, claiming all sections of the people in Tamil Nadu were greatly distressed at the killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka. Asked whether the Sri Lankan Tamils problem would be a poll issue, Ms. Jayalalithaa, said the election results would speak for themselves. more..

Mastermind of Lahore attack on cricketers identified

Mar 10 (IANS) Pakistani security agencies have identified a little-known militant, Muhammad Aqil, as the mastermind of the audacious attack on Sri Lankan cricketers here, but police have failed to nab him. Security agencies conducted raids at several places after identifying Aqil, who has links to a banned militant group. However, the name of the group was not revealed, The Nation reported. Talat and Aqil had been living a in flat near the Liberty traffic roundabout, where the Sri Lankan team was attacked more..

Christians, Buddhists share concerns over anti-conversion bill

Mar 10 (UCAN) Christian and Buddhist leaders have expressed concern over a pending anti-conversion bill, with some saying it would hamper Christians' social service work among the mostly Buddhist population. The Prohibition of Forcible Conversion Bill is due to be debated and voted on in parliament soon. Local media reported that according to the bill, the offer of a gift, cash or any other incentive to convert or attempt to convert a person from more..

'The military situation is comparatively satisfactory'

Mar 10 (LG) Q: Greetings Professor Wijesinghe. Please tell us briefly how you view the current political- military situation in Sri Lanka? A: The military situation is comparatively satisfactory, in that the LTTE is on the verge of military defeat. However, since they managed to prepare a defence line of human shields, with no one bothering about preventing this when it might have been easy, our forces now have to move very carefully, which means very slowly. more..

'Prophet Mahmud’s wisdom brings to light non violence as the best way'

Mar 10 (GDI) “This year we celebrate Milad-un Nabi after establishing democracy in the East, and liberating the North is in the offing. This underlines the fact that Islamic followers living in the East and North have something to be more hopeful in their celebrations,” President Mahinda Rajapaksa said in a message on Prophet Mahmud’s birthday. President’s Message: It’s with pleasure that I extend my warmest greetings to the devotees of Islam, more..

Tiger End Game: How to keep wealth within the family?

Mar 10 (LG) As the end is getting closer Tamil Tiger fronts in the Diaspora are in a war to decide who owns what? Millions worth property in Greater Toronto area are to be in for grab. Deciding who gets what is depending on who receives Vanni support. Vanni support is dependent on whether the person belongs to the “karayar” caste and he or she be a Prabakaran’s closest relative? more..

Does ICRC think it is just child’s play?

Mar 10 (LG) The LTTE, being the brutal terrorists that they are, fired artillery at the Bin Tan ship, which was anchored in the Mulaitivu seas, ready to unload the food that was sent for the use of the LTTE-trapped civilians. A news item appeared in the BBC news portal in connection to this with the headline reading as follows: “Relief Ship not targeted-ICRC” ‘After arriving with food supplies and aid for civilians, the ship, more..

'To people of Jaffna opening of A9 is like opening gate to heaven'

Mar 10 (LG) Transport of essential goods to the North along the A-9 route commenced today, the 9th of March 2009 from the Co-operative Wholesale Establishment premises, Welisara at a function headed by Douglas Devananda, Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare with the noble aim of dawning a “New Era” to the Sri Lankan Tamil Speaking People in the North through honourable peace more..

Coldblooded Tigers desperate for Tamil casualties in the thousands

Mar 10 (LG) The shocking element in the final drama of Tiger terrorism that plagued the country for three decades and a half is the surreptitiously executed project “March of the Human Shield” involving persuaded and or forced march of the people of Wanni towards Mullaitivu. When the troops entered the region all that they encountered were ghost townships and farm villages and empty bunkers of varying depths. more..

Wayamba close in on Basnahira North at the top

Mar 10 (CI) Basnahira North clung on to a narrow two-point lead at the top of the points table with a draw against Wayamba in Dambulla. But it was second-placed Wayamba who had the better of the exchanges and first-innings points helped them narrow the gap. A feature of the Basnahira North batting was the excellent form of Angelo Mathews who completed his second century of the tournament to help his team reach 374 in the first innings after they chose to bat. more..

Cricket chief plays down weather concerns

Mar 10 (CI) Sri Lanka will resist any move to shift this year's ICC Champions Trophy out of the country due to concerns over adverse weather. The ICC has called for a teleconference of its Chief Executives' Committee (CEC) on Wednesday to discuss the issue but Duleep Mendis, the CEO of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), said he was confident Sri Lanka would remain the host. The ICC board had in January decided to move the event out of Pakistan to Sri Lanka, more..

'Public service should go from local to global'

Mar 10 (GDI) With a well expanded system of governmental departments, agencies and employees, Sri Lanka’s public service reaches the people from all over the country. And, the government must nurture an educated, insightful, and proactive group of public servants in this context, Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama said. He was addressing new recruits to the Sri Lanka Administrative Service at the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration, Colombo recently. more..

Chinese experts to share core skills with Sri Lankan businessmen

Mar 10 (BOI) The recent visit of a 50-strong Chinese trade and investment delegation to Sri Lanka opened up new avenue for economic co-operation between the two countries. During his stay in Sri Lanka, Mr. Wang Schicheng, the Vice President of the Light Industry Association of China who headed the delegation stated that Sri Lanka is an excellent location for investment. He also commended the BOI for organizing a forum where more..

BOI Gliricidia outgrower project will assist rural farmers

Mar 10 (BOI) The Board of Investment granted investment approval to Aus Agri and Sheila Baxter Training Centre. Mr. Dhammika Perera, signed the agreements on behalf of the BOI and formally presented the BOI Certificate of Registration to the investors. The investment agreement signed with Aus Agri is for a pioneering project to manufacture animal feed using leaves and green stem of the Gliricidia plant, which will supplement the income of rural outgrowers. more..

'I have no weapons; Pillaiyan handed over arms hiding revolvers'

Mar 10 (LeN) MP Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna says that it suspicious if the TMVP surrendered all of its weapons. He questions if TMVP has handed over a single revolver. Muralitharan said to Lanka-e-News that the TMVP has hidden its revolvers as robberies, abductions, ransom taking and assassinations are carried out in Eastern Province at revolver gunpoint. more..

Women must come forward to build a ‘people’s economy’

Mar 10 (LT) The economic policies followed by all governments including the present one has dragged the country towards an abyss and this fall has been hastened by the global economic crisis that has engulfed most of the countries in the world said Information Secretary of the JVP Vijithe Herath. “The present government has asked for US$1.9 million from the IMF as the foreign reserves of the country have dwindled and more..

'Separatists have already grabbed power in Sri Lanka’s govt'

Mar 10 (LT) Separatists have captured power of the government of Sri Lanka and they have a strong lobby within the government says General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva which influences a policy advantageous to separatism. Separatism that has been defeated militarily is being strengthened and this group is taking measures to bring victory to separatism politically with the authorization of the President said Mr. Silva. more..

Why the Lahore attack on SL Cricket team broke my heart

Mar 10 (TC) I thought I was immune to tragedy. I thought I was used to death. I thought that having seen my country move from military authoritarianism to civilian dictatorship, past Kargil and Kashmir would be enough. I thought the blood spilled in Marriott and Red Mosque and Waziristan would suffice. I thought seeing Pakistan slide from a judicial crisis to Musharaf’s ousting to the Swat “peace” accord to the Sharif brothers’ debacle would somehow shield me from the sad realities of our world. more..

Mahinda Samarasinghe interviewed by Stephen Sackur for BBC "Hard Talk"

Mar 10 (TC) SS: Given your government’s intention to destroy the Tamil Tigers, is it safe to assume that the offensive continues unabated? MS: Well, I must tell you very categorically that this humanitarian operation that we have launched is to liberate the civilians from the clutches of extreme terrorism. The fight is to eradicate terrorism and to liberate the civilians and give them a future within a democratic framework. more..