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'Even world’s cruelest terrorists spare religious sites as targets'

Mar 11 (GDI) “Even the cruelest observe religions and avoid violence inside religious sites, but the LTTE is none of that. They have proven that they are an exception by making Matara, Godapitiya Muslim mosque as their tenth target,” Media Minister Laxman Yapa Abeyawardhan said addressing a press briefing at the Government Information Department today (11). more..

Power consumers respond to the request

Mar 11 (GDI) Power and Energy Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne stated that paying heed to the request made by him, electricity consumers had conserved power consumption resulting in a saving of 200,000 units per day. "Eliminating unnecessary wastage, consumers had rendered a service national wise which is appreciable, the Minister said. "If the consumers continue to assist by consuming lesser units, there would be no necessity to think of a power cut," more..

Dengue raises its head in Batticaloa District

Mar 11 (GDI) A large number of people, including children in the Batticaloa and Kathankudi districts were seeking medical treatment for dengue and about 400 people were under treatment in the Batticalao and Kathankudi hospitals. The Government had already taken action to destroy mosquito breeding places in Batticaloa District. Pahalamuna Ariyampathi village had been badly affected by dengue and health authorities had turned a blind eye to it. more..

President visits Colombo National Hospital

Mar 11 (LP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited the Colombo National Hospitals yesterday (10) to inquire into the health of Minister of posts and Telecommunication Mahinda Wijesekara and other people who were injured due to an LTTE suicide bomb attack on the Milad-un-Nabi Muslim Festival. President has instructed the hospital staff to take speedy measures to provide all required facilities to injured. more..

Kotelawala's bail application rejected

Mar 11 (CT) The Colombo High Court judge Deepali Wijesundara today (Mar. 11) rejected the bail application filed by Lalith Kotelawala, who was recently remanded for a fraud amounting to Rs. 230 million in his Golden Key Credit Card business. Mr. Kotelawala was appealing against the Mount Lavinia Chief Magistrate's directive to remand him. Former Attorney General, C.R. De Silva appeared on behalf of the petitioner and more..

‘Ensure devolution of power’

Mar 11 (Hindu) The 4th State Committee of the Federation of Indian Trade Union (FITU), which met here recently, has urged the Sri Lankan Government to immediately initiate a democratic exercise to ensure the devolution of powers to Tamils-dominated provinces and also empower Tamils with equal rights. Expressing anguish over the unfortunate developments in the island nation, the State Committee insisted that India and other countries should take strong steps to more..

Situation Report (Mar 11) by SLA

Mar 11 (SLA) Despite stiff resistance, being offered by terrorists, now restricted to a demarcated area, valiant troops of the 55, 57, 58, 59 Divisions and Task Force-VIII continued their forward march in the past twenty-four hours, ending Wednesday (11) afternoon. Heavy rounds of fighting in PUTHUKKUDUYIRUPPU, MULLIYAVELI, KUPPILANKULAM, PUTHUMATALAN and near MULLAITTIVU town caused damages to the enemy and recovered forty hand grenades, three T-56 weapons, more..

Sri Lanka welcomes UN Working Group condemnation of non-State actors

Mar 11 (PISL) Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary General of the Peace Secretariat and Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights, intervened in the General Debate following the Reports of Special Rapporteurs and the Working Group on Disappearances in Geneva yesterday. His comments welcoming their condemnation of non-State actors are carried below. more..

Fleeing civilians shot and hacked to death

Mar 11 (MoD) This was what Soosai Jeyamarasa Jenistan, 20, had to say after being rescued by Security Forces in the shallow waters North of Chalai, while desperately fleeing from LTTE. He now feels fortunate to have defied probable death, hopes to start a new life and return home once LTTE is wiped. Jeyamarasa, his 48 year old father Isador Soosai and the Principal of the Therumurikandy Government School Asirwadan Soosainadar, 42, are more..

A-9 MSR facilitates passage of first food convoy

Mar 11 (MoD) The first consignment of food and other essential items for Jaffna civilians was dispatched along the A-9 Main Supply Route (MSR) yesterday (10 March) after it was brought under full control of the Security Forces during their Humanitarian Operations in Wanni recently. A special ceremony giving prominence to religious rites was held at the Wanni Security Forces Headquarters, Vavuniya on Tuesday (10) morning at 10.00 a.m. more..

Diaspora prepares to send relief to forsaken civilians in Vanni

Mar 11 (LNP) The Tamil diaspora in Britain is organising a direct `mercy mission` taking food and medicine to the civilians of Vanni, forsaken by the conscience of the International Community, said Dr. V. Arudkumar from London, on Tuesday. Prominent humanitarian personalities are expected to participate in this mission. The expedition will be supported and participated by diaspora Tamil professionals in the medical field. more..

A show of brutality on a holy day

Mar 11 (LNP) Yesterday`s dastardly suicide terror attack on the national Milad-un Nabi celebrations at Godapitiya, Matara, which left 15 dead and over 40 others injured, has demonstrated once again that the LTTE will never give up violence. If it does not heed calls from the international community to eschew terrorism, bid farewell to arms and enter the democratic mainstream at a time it is about to be decapitated, never will it change. more..

Defence clearance must for any national event

Mar 11 (PSM) The defence ministry has imposed restrictions on all national functions following yesterday's deadly suicide blast at Prophet Muhammad's birthday ceremony (Meelad-un-Nabi) in Godapitiya Akurassa which claimed 14 lives and injured more than 60. Public functions at national level should have defense ministry clearance hereafter. Yesterday's suicide blast by the LTTE has been widely condemned by all religious and political leaders. more..

Ehelapola: ‘Prince of Kandy’ in Mauritius

Mar 11 (DN) We drove from ‘Port Louis’, Capital of Mauritius, going North about 18 km. Once you enter the town, Arsenal, we continued, another 500 metres and at the end of forest by the side of the dual carriageway, a monument I wanted to visit - Monument of Ehelapola. Reasonably maintained, needing a coat of paint, the monument had its abode since 1829. Mauritian National Heritage Law, cares it well... more..

Order reserved in Sakvithi case

Mar 11 (DN) Nugegoda Chief Magistrate Wasantha Jinadasa reserved order in two bail applications filed by two suspects in the 'Sakvithi Scam' for March 16. The CID probing the massive financial racket alleged to have been carried out by the "Sakvithi Ranasinghe Construction Company" took several suspects into custody, including the two suspects Rohitha Abeyratne of Polonnaruwa and Inspector Pushpakumara. more..

Lankan migrant workers ‘not hit by global economic crisis’

Mar 11 (DN) There was no major impact on Sri Lankan migrant workers due to the global economic crisis, said DGM Welfare and Research, SLBFE M. Deshapriya. Around 25,2021 Sri Lankans secured foreign employment last year compared to 21,8459 in 2007. There is no decline in the demand for foreign employment, he said. However, we noticed a slight decline in the number of departures last month due to an issue with foreign employment agents. more..

How to look stupid

Mar 11 (Island) The Government ended up with a rather unattractive splash of egg on its face last week. After months of denying the need for a loan from the IMF, it had to admit that negotiations were underway. And the confession was all the more embarrassing given that these ever so passionate rebuttals had been preceded by what had seemed like years of denouncing the organisation. But foreign reserves are apparently dangerously low, and no other sources of finance have presented themselves. more..

Six ruling party LG members killed

Mar 11 (Island) Among those killed in yesterday’s LTTEattack in Godapitiya, Matara were Chairman of Devinuwara Pradeshiya Sabha Linton Abeydheera, Deputy Chairman of the Akuressa Pradeshiya Sabha Upali Sarathchandra, Deputy Chairman of Kamburupitiya Pradeshiya Sabha Tilak Dammika Wijesekera, Member of Matara Municipal Council I. H. Sirisena, Member of Thihagoda Pradeshiya Sabha Rohana Beddage, more..

Genocide blamed by LTTE ‘an expression exceedingly going too far’

Mar 11 (Island) Ronald Burke, BBC’s former Colombo correspondent making an appearance in a radio debate between the Sri Lankan and pro-Tamil Tiger parties in London and answering a question whether there was any truth in the charge by pro-LTTE section about a ‘genocide’ in Sri Lanka, said it was exceedingly an ‘expression going too far’. Burke said undoubtedly some civilians were getting killed in the war, but more..

LTTE collapse imminent

Mar 11 (DM) The sinister motive of the LTTE in keeping a section of the Wanni civilians hostage is apparent now. In preventing any attempt to evacuate those civilians by either the government or an international mission even at this late stage, the Tigers have displayed to the world that they are holding on to the people for propaganda purposes and as the final shield to protect the LTTE leadership from more..

Ranil says Government delaying CC

Mar 11 (DM) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday that the government is betraying the sovereignty of the country which the security forces are sacrificing their lives to safeguard by failing to appoint the Constitutional Council (CC). He said he has already named nominees to the Constitutional Council while the minority parties are also nearly coming to a consensus on their nominee. more..

Nihal on BBC: part 1

Tiger’s love for Muslims

Mar 11 (DM) When the former LTTE ideologue Anton Balasingham tendered an apology to Northern Muslims for the LTTE eviction in 1990, twelve years after the episode, many doubted the genuineness of his declaration. The sudden interest by the LTTE in mending fences with the Muslims after the long overdue apology, was seen as a move aimed at giving a much needed facelift to the LTTE at a time it was preparing to enter peace talks. more..

'LTTE not a threat in Cambodia'

Mar 11 (Xinhua) Local and U.S. officials in Phnom Penh have downplayed the threat of the non-profit Tamil Foundation, which allegedly had ties with Sri Lanka's separatist Tamil Tigers, the Phnom Penh Post reported on Wednesday. "We got a note from the Treasury, and it's something we are required to distribute to the local government. It's just a heads-up. It's not something serious here," the English-language daily newspaper quoted U.S. Embassy spokesman John Johnson as saying. more..

British Government condemns mosque attack in Sri Lanka

Mar 11 (APP) The British Government has condemned suicide attack on a mosque in southern Sri Lankan town of Matara during a festival celebrating Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) birthday which killed at least 14 persons. The FCO Minister for Asia Lord Malloch‑Brown in a statement said: “All such cowardly attacks on civilians are abhorrent and the targeting of a religious festival even more so.” more..

Minister recovering after suicide blast

Mar 11 (AFP) A Sri Lankan minister critically wounded in a deadly suicide bombing blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels was in an improved condition in hospital Wednesday, officials said. Postal Services Minister Mahinda Wijesekera, 66, suffered head injuries in the attack in the southern town of Akuressa and was airlifted to the capital where he underwent four hours of surgery. "The life support system has now been taken off and there is an improvement in his condition," more..

Q+A: Is Sri Lanka's war at its end?

Mar 11 (Reuters) Sri Lankan troops are fighting the LTTE separatists in a war zone now measuring just 37 square km (15 square miles) and are confident of winning a conflict that is Asia's longest-running. Here are some questions and answers about what happens now: IS THE END OF THE WAR NEAR? As far as a conventional war goes, definitely. The military has the Tigers surrounded with their backs to the Indian Ocean. more..

Sri Lanka tightens security after suicide blast

Mar 11 (AP) New security measures will be implemented across Sri Lanka in the aftermath a suicide bombing that killed 14 people and critically wounded a government minister, the government said on Wednesday. Media Minister Anura Yapa said the attack, in the southern town of Akuressa, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Colombo, showed that even remote parts of the country far from the civil war raging in the north, were vulnerable to terror attacks. more..

52-member Indian medical team to treat Sri Lankans

Mar 11 (IANS) A 52-member Indian medical team including physicians and surgeons left here Wednesday for Sri Lanka's east to treat civilians wounded in fighting between the military and the Tamil Tigers. The team will establish a medical unit including a full-fledged hospital at Pulmoddai in Trincomalee district to supplement the Sri Lankan health ministry's efforts in that area for the displaced people. more..

Sri Lanka says killed 15 Tiger rebels

Mar 11 (AFP) Government forces repulsed Tamil Tiger attempts to breach army lines in northeastern Sri Lanka and killed at least 15 rebels, the defence ministry said. Sporadic clashes have erupted along military defence lines in the district of Mullaittivu, where the LTTE have been penned into a narrow stretch of coastline, the ministry said in a statement. A total of 15 Tigers have been killed by security forces in the area since Tuesday afternoon, more..

Ceylinco to sell iconic landmark

Mar 11 (LBO) One of Sri Lanka's most enduring landmarks, Ceylinco House, has been put up for sale by the troubled Ceylinco group as it struggles to raise cash to pay depositors of a collapsed unlisted subsidiary. Ceylinco House, built in 1961, was the capital Colombo's first high-rise and the island's tallest building at the time. It is sited on prime property overlooking the seafront in the heart of Colombo's financial district. more..

UN accuses Tamil Tigers of misusing food aid

Mar 11 (AFP) The United Nations on Wednesday accused the Tamil Tigers of siphoning off food meant for severely malnourished children in Sri Lanka's embattled north. The UN said a high energy food supplement known as "BP-100" found on a Tamil Tiger rebel killed in ongoing fighting was sent for children in the region in June 2007. "The United Nations deplores that such life saving items, destined for severely malnourished children, were diverted from their intended purpose," more..

Pace of refugees fleeing Sri Lanka fighting picks up

Mar 11 (Reuters) Almost 400 people escaped Sri Lanka's fast-shrinking war zone and a cabinet minister lay in a critical condition after a suicide blast blamed on the rebel Tamil Tigers, officials said on Wednesday. Sri Lanka's military has encircled the LTTE in a mere 37 sq km (15 sq miles) on the island nation's northeastern coast and is fighting to finish a separatist war that has raged off and on since 1983. more..

SEP media conference announces election campaign

Mar 12 (wsws) The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Sri Lanka held a media conference at Nippon Hotel on March 9 to announce its campaign for the Colombo district in Western Provincial Council elections to be held on April 25. While the Colombo print media boycotted the event, journalists from various radio and television stations attended, including Siyatha/Real Radio, Sirasa TV, Deepam TV, Hiru FM radio and TV Lanka. more..

The war in Sri Lanka: the political and class issues

Mar 12 (wsws) The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) demands an immediate end to the criminal war being waged by the Sri Lankan government against the country's Tamil minority and the unconditional withdrawal of all security forces from the North and East of the island. President Mahinda Rajapakse and the entire Colombo political establishment are responsible for the 25-year conflict that has created a catastrophe for the Tamil population and for working people throughout the island. more..

All UNP candidates to declare assets

Mar 12 (CT) The UNP's top political figure in Colombo Ravi Karunanayake says the 46 party candidates contesting upcoming western provincial council polls from the district will declare their assets before the election. Details of all their personal assets will be made public through newspaper advertisements and other media, he said. Any party candidate from Colombo failing to do so should not be voted a councilor, he said. more..

Ceylinco Group barred from selling assets

Mar 12 (CT) The Ceylinco Group, owned by Lalith Kotelawala, has been issued with a court injunction against the sale of any of its assets. Mt. Lavinia chief magistrate Harsha Sethunga's order applies to all subsidiaries of the Group that have investments of the defunct Golden Key Credit Card Company. He also ordered the further remand of Mr. Kotelawala until March 26. In another order, the chief magistrate extended the warrant for the arrest of Cecile Kotelawala, more..

Ceylinco chief Lalith Kotelawala still in remand

Mar 12 (LBO) Ceylinco group chairman Lalith Kotelawala remained in remand over fraud charges at an unlisted subsidiary that has collapsed with a court Wednesday also ordering a halt to the firm's assets. The magistrate of the Mount Lavinia court, south of Colombo, refused to consider the application for bail by Kotelawala on the grounds that it was under consideration in a high court case that was continuing. more..

National programme to plant 2 million crop plants

Mar 12 (GDI) Two million crop plants will be planted under ‘Api Wawamu, Rata Nagamu,’ a concept uplifting local agricultural sector. Six million corporative movement members will take part in the process under the patronage of Trade, Market Development, Cooperative and Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunawardhana. President Mahinda Rajapaksa takes part in the inaugural festival on April 14, 2009 to mark the national event. more..

14 years ago: Memories of the Big Match

Mar 12 (GV) 14 years ago there was cricket, but no SMS. The challenge then was to communicate a ball-by-ball account of Royal’s tawdry batting and its inevitable and ignominious defeat to an enthusiastic Thomian old boy network outside the grounds and abroad on the days of the Big Match. Things were simpler then. A few of us had a bottle of Mendis Arrack stashed in a safe place, ensconced in more newspaper than was necessary (a broken bottle was to be avoided at all costs), and more..

'Pulmoddai Hospital takes form of Indian military hospital'

Mar 12 (CT) The Pulmoddai Hospital that is to be built by the Indian medical team of dispatched at the request of President Mahinda Rajapaksa will take the form of Indian military hospital, Secretary of the JVP, Tilvyn Silva said. He said that intelligence personnel could also be among the fifty-member Indian military officers. 'All these show that the liberated areas have come under the Indian rule. At present, a 675 sq. km area in Trincomalee are operating as a special Indian economic zone. more..

UNP berates on the Governments fiscal policy and current monetary situation

Mar 12 (AT) The UNP today charged that the UPFA Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa was bankrupt and rock bottom without the IMF, which it unreservedly condemned while in Opposition. "The Government members are outright hypocrites as they said that the they would never seek the assistance of the international donor community but they had to go to the IMF with the begging bowl, the very same IMF which it chased out of Sri Lanka three years ago, more..

Genocide in Sri Lanka: Who’s responsible? : Pirapaharan or Gotabhaya

Mar 12 (AT) Sri Lanka’s LTTE or Tamil Tiger outfit led by Velupillai Pirapaharan has activated its international wing in Western nations to convince the international community and the United Nations two issues closest to the latter’s’ political agenda: that the government of Sri Lanka is indiscriminately using its military power to endanger the lives of the Tamil civilian population trapped in the country’s northern region, more..

D.S. De Silva : New Cricket Chief

Mar 12 (AT) Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge has appointed former Sri Lanka right ram leg spinner D.S. De Silva as the new Chief of Sri Lanka Cricket and as the Chairman of the new Interim Committee today but the full committee will be appointed and announced by 11am tomorrow. "I am happy with the Committee but there are some differences of opinion among the Committee members and that is why the full Committee will be appointed only tomorrow. more..

Sangakkara appointed SL captain for World Twenty20

Mar 12 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara has been named captain of Sri Lanka for the World Twenty20 tournament in England this year while Muttiah Muralitharan has been appointed Sangakkara's deputy in the provisional 25-member squad announced by the national selection committee. Sangakkara, 31, who was vice-captain for three years and has played 80 Tests and 246 ODIs, was always the frontrunner to succeed Mahela Jayawardene, more..

Sri Lanka must stop treating Tamils as terrorists

Mar 12 (FP) A British defence attache in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, who had been in Malaya, as Singapore and Malaysia were then called, during the only truly successful anti-guerrilla campaign, once asked me how many men I thought it took to be an effective guerrilla force. His response to my incorrect guess astounded me. "It takes 10," he said. "You can do a lot of damage with 10 men." more..

Russia deplores terror strike in Sri Lanka

Mar 12 (PTI) Russia today ‘resolutely´ deplored the suicide attack by suspected LTTE cadre at a mosque in Sri Lanka and reiterated its backing for the government in combating terrorism and separatism. However, Moscow called for the political solution to the ‘existing´ problems of the island nation. “Moscow resolutely deplores this barbaric crime and expresses heartfelt sympathies with the bereaved families and victims of the terrorist act,” more..

Sri Lanka says senior Tamil rebel has been killed

Mar 12 (AP) A senior Tamil Tiger rebel leader was killed Wednesday in a government attack on the insurgents' shrinking territory, the Sri Lankan military said. Sabaratnam Selvathurai is the second major insurgent figure to be killed in 16 months. His death could be a boost for the government as it battles for the last rebel stronghold in the north and appears poised to defeat the group after more than 25 years of civil war. more..

'Even elders are not spared by LTTE'

Mar 12 (Hindu) Sri Lanka military on Wednesday charged the LTTE with forcibly recruiting young boys and girls from temporary shelters for crash course and explosives use and turning them into suicide bombers as its last line of defence against the advancing security forces. The Defence Ministry in a statement, on the basis of interaction with civilians fleeing from the last remaining territory under the control of the Tigers, also alleged that the Tiger cadres are indiscriminately firing at fleeing civilians. more..

'Policy on Sri Lanka finalised without Cabinet approval'

Mar 12 (Hindu) PMK founder S. Ramadoss on Tuesday accused the Centre of finalising the foreign policy on Sri Lanka without the approval of the Cabinet. He was addressing a meeting organised by the Sri Lankan Tamils Protection Movement (SLTPM) here to demand a ceasefire by the Sri Lankan government and initiation of peace talks with the LTTE. Dr. Ramadoss said several of India’s foreign policies had not borne fruit and the present policy on Sri Lanka would go the same way. more..