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The verdict sans representation

Mar 17 (GV) The Jury’s verdict comes in. “Guilty” is the call of the day. And next you proceed to execute the sentence. So it is that in a country that hardly executes convicted criminals, we are executing after a trial where the accused was not represented. Let us look at what this court case is, which seems extra-ordinary. As accused, we have “combatants” of a pro-scribed organization. Well the verdict is clear-cut right? “Guilty” we shout in unison, but wait… more..

Cruelty of disinformation

Mar 17 (TN) TamilNet Sunday published news and photographs on the plight of pregnant mothers, newborn babies and babies in the wombs affected by the inhuman shelling and bombing by the Colombo government on the 'safe zone' declared for civilians. This information on hard truth has stirred Colombo's disinformation agencies to discredit TamilNet by bringing in trivial matters such as the camera time-settings of the photographs taken in the makeshift-hospital. more..

Release U.N. staffer, family, LTTE told

Mar 17 (Hindu) The United Nations on Monday said it holds grave fears for the safety of a U.N. national staff member and three dependent family members who were forcibly recruited over the weekend by the LTTE, inside the government-declared No-Fire Zone. “The forced recruitments included the 16-year-old daughter of a UN national staff member. “The UN in Sri Lanka has protested to the LTTE that UN national staff, as well as children in general, more..

As Army doctors land in Lanka, a family remembers a son killed while saving lives

Mar 17 (IE) When he heard last week that an Indian armed forces medical team was headed for the war zone in Sri Lanka, Amolak Kanva was baffled. The retired school principal says the island north is no place for India to venture in again — his eldest son, an Army doctor, was killed by LTTE sniper fire over two decades ago as he tended to the wounded on the battlefield. “The LTTE has no respect, no remorse. They have only one aim and that is to kill. more..

Defence Secretary meets relatives of fallen war heroes

Mar 17 (MoD) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapksa along with a team of senior defence officials yesterday met with the families of war heroes who had made their ultimate sacrifices for the motherland. The meeting took place at the Sri Lanka Army Gajaba Regiment Camp, Saliyapura, in Anduradhapura last morning. Defence Secretary Rajapaksa personally looked into grievances of the family members of the fallen soldiers during a cordial discussion he had with them. more..

Ambassador calls on LTTE to release UN staff member and the children

Mar 17 (SLE) The Ambassador for Sri Lanka to the United States, Jaliya Wickramasuriya today called on the LTTE terrorists to immediately release the United Nations staff member and three dependent children who were forcibly detained over the weekend in the conflict zone in Sri Lanka. "The LTTE does not respect any international law, or even the rights of human dignity," said the Ambassador. more..

Sri Lanka defaulters get one month window

Mar 17 (LBO) Defaulters in Sri Lanka whose leased assets have been seized by financial institutions will be given a one month window to pay a quarter of their outstanding debt and get back assets without penalties, officials said. When the Central Bank presented to the cabinet of ministers a bailout package to stabilize finance companies and protect depositors whose own savings were tied in finance and leasing firms, politicians wanted to score with defaulters as well. more..

Sri Lankan government seeks IMF bailout

Mar 17 (wsws) Confronting a worsening foreign exchange crisis, the Sri Lankan government is seeking a $US1.9 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to bail out the country. The island's foreign reserves fell from $3.5 billion last July to just $1.7 billion in December as export earnings fell, foreign investors pulled out and the Central Bank spent millions of dollars to stem the depreciation of the rupee. more..

Elephants uproot Ashraff Nagar residents

Mar 17 (PSM) Residents of Ashraff Nagar at Addalaichenai Pradeshiya Sabha division are compelled to leave their houses due to the increased havoc played by encroaching elephants in this area. After the recent harvest, nearly 40 – 50 elephants have encroached this area and smashed houses of residents and their cultivations. Nearly 11 people have been killed by the elephants and the Ashraff Nagar residents are afraid of leaving their houses in the night. more..

No-confidence motion against Ranil

Mar 17 (LeN) A no confidence motion urging Ranil Wickramasinghe to quit immediately from the posts of party and opposition leader was proposed at the UNP parliamentary group meeting held this morning (17). UNP Assistant Secretary Nadulla district MP Lakshman Senevirathna proposed the no confidence and Monaragala district MP Rajith Madduma Bandara seconded it. more..

Mother of all despicable manipulators

Mar 17 (AT) The editor of the Tamilnet, has been hurt by the exposure of his much-cherished photographs of the suffering civilians by the Asian Tribune. So, he started pouring scorns over us by the pipette of guilt; a very laborious task indeed. He has defended the use of photographs and the thorny issue of the old date – 23 Aug 2007 - on which they had been taken, has been blamed on the camera used to take the photographs. The editor makes an excuse that is much feeble than the poor child who had her shrapnels removed more..

'Sri Lanka experiencing inter- monsoonal showers'

Mar 17 (GDI) The country is currently experiencing Inter-monsoonal showers in the evenings, Department of Meteorology sources said. According to the sources, it ruled out a depression in the atmosphere being the cause of it, but the showers are brought on by winds blowing across the island. There is no change in the temperature experienced. Colombo has recorded an average temperature of 31 celsius, sources said. more..

SCOPP Secretary General responds at UN dialogue on IDPs

Mar 17 (PISL) Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary General of the Peace Secretariat, spoke in the debate on the report of the Special Representative on the Rights of Displaced Persons in Geneva today. His comments in response to interventions by states and non-governmental organisations are carried below. Sri Lanka is grateful to those countries and NGOs that raised questions about the situation of the internally displaced in Sri Lanka, more..

Ranil to be interrogated regarding delivering military and communication equipment to LTTE

Mar 17 (LeN) The special police team that questioned Gamini Aberathna alias Taxi Abe, former director of the Airport and Aviation Authority are likely to record a statement from the Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe as well soon. The interrogation is about delivering imported military, communication and other equipment to LTTE in Vanni and Aberathna has divulged certain information regarding the matter. more..

Trinco killer gang involved in more crimes

Mar 17 (CT) Police believe that the killer gang responsible for the murder of a six-year old girl in Trincomalee had committed in more than 25 killings, abductions and bribe-takings in the area. Police have received information that the gang had killed a cinema hall manager, a businessman and a bus conductor previously. It has been found that the leader of this five-member gang is connected to the TMVP. more..

Situation report (Mar 17) by SLA

Mar 17 (SLA) SPECIAL Forces (SF) troops serving the west of PUTHUKUDIYIRUPPU had a narrow escape late Monday (16) afternoon when an LTTE suicide bomber, clad in Army-type uniforms as a Sergeant blew himself up while trying to infiltrate the Security Forces, held areas. Army troops on full alert in the area were busy making preparations for receipt of more and more displaced civilians, but the sudden appearance of the ‘Sergeant’ in Army camouflage uniforms more..

Children send school items to peers in war-torn north

Mar 17 (UCAN) Thousands of children from the south recently donated school stationery and prayed for their wounded and displaced peers affected by civil war in the north. As government troops advanced for a final showdown with the separatist LTTE, children wearing white school uniforms and carrying flags flocked to the national Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka in Tewatta, carrying books and other school items. more..

Democratic states as terror backers

Mar 17 (LNP) The US-led forces are wreaking havoc on Afghanistan in search of their terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks and the London bombings. No sooner had the World Trade Centre collapsed in a terror strike than the US gave Pakistan Hobson`s choice in tracking down Al Qaeda terrorists. Pakistan, told in no uncertain terms by Washington either to hunt down Al Qaeda or be prepared to pay for defiance, was left with no alternative but to fall in line. more..

'For international aid We won't bow down'

Mar 17 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa vouched that his Government would not yield or be subjected to any conditionality to obtain monetary assistance from international agencies. Tthe President said that some parties, without aligning with the Government to fight and resolve the crisis, are striving to obtain political leverage. They are seeking to mislead the nation, utilising all means at their disposal and more..

Govt targets 7 to 8 pc economic growth

Mar 17 (DN) The Government hopes to achieve an economic growth rate of seven to eight per cent in the medium term. The Government’s way forward to achieve such growth is by adopting pro-poor and pro-growth strategies, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka said. “Sri Lanka’s achievements are considered rather exceptional for a country with a GNP per capita of US $ 1,600. All these achievements have been made despite our resources being debilitated by a scourge of terrorism and a natural disaster, the tsunami of 2004. more..

Inspiring pride and passion among schoolchildren

Mar 17 (DN) To inspire pride and passion about Sri Lanka and to begin a dialogue among schoolchildren about what it takes to contribute positively and be a patriotic Sri Lankan, the Mother Sri Lanka Program will begin a program of debates and dialogue among the schools of the Southern Province in 2009. “Through the small changes made every day by single individuals, including tiny schoolchildren, great changes can be made in society,” more..

House sleeps on AG’s critical report on public finance

Mar 17 (Island) Auditor General S. Swarnajothi yesterday said that action hadn’t been taken on his annual report, which revealed major shortcomings in the State financial sector, even though it had been submitted to Parliament late last year. Responding to The Island queries, at a press briefing yesterday, Swarnajothi said that his findings should be taken as constructive criticism with tangible action to rectify faults. more..

Survey Dept. lacks manpower

Mar 17 (Island) The Survey Department has hit a manpower low with hundreds of surveyors seeking greener pastures abroad or in private sector institutions, internal sources of the department said. This lack of qualified surveyors had become one of the causes delaying some of the mega development projects of the government. By December 2008, 243 government trained surveyors had resigned. The Government needed at least 800 more surveyors as more..

Wimal reveals conspiracy against Sri Lanka

Mar 17 (DN) There is reliable information about a UN engineered conspiracy to level war crimes charges against the Government. This conspiracy is being hatched on the compulsion and intervention of the LTTE, said NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa. Weerawansa said it had been a normal trend among world powers to level baseless allegations against a sovereign Government whenever it got ready to crush terrorism. more..

Heed psycological needs of IDPs, Paramedics tell Govt.

Mar 17 (Island) A special programme should be implemented to stabilise the mentality of internally displaced persons in welfare camps after their ordeal with the LTTE, President of the Joint Council of Professions Supplementary to Medicine Ravi Kumudesh said yesterday. He said that there had been a certain degree of resentment by the Northern based health officials towards the health workers from South. more..

Ranil slams govt. allies for delay

Mar 17 (DM) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday the objections raised by government allies over two people nominated to the Constitutional Council had caused a fresh crisis preventing the early implementation of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution. Mr. Wickremesinghe who addressed the launching of the UNP’s Election Management Fund at the party headquarters Siri kotha said the parties objected to a Tamil who was nominated to the CC by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake and himself. more..

Bank security guards foil daylight robbery

Mar 17 (DM) An attempt by a gunman to rob a customer who withdrew Rs.700,000 from a private bank in Kohuwela in broad daylight yesterday was foiled by the bank’s security guards. Police spokesman Ranjith Gunasekara said the customer was shocked when a bystander suddenly pointed a gun at him and grabbed the money. The customer had immediately handed over the cash to the armed robber who had then tried to flee but alert security guards pounced on the robber and overpowered him. more..

'Park and Ride' begins with just two passengers

Mar 17 (DM) The ‘Park and Ride’ service began its operation yesterday with just two passengers taking the service that was operated from Katubedde to Fort. However, the Manager of the Park and Ride complex, Mr. Sarath Gunawardene said it was too early to assess the service from the first day and he expected to have a better response after a month. At present the service operates from 6.30 a.m. to 8.30 a.m. on weekdays. more..

Wife told of hubby's death at funeral

Mar 17 (TS) The wife of the city's latest murder victim was in Sri Lanka attending the funeral of a family member when she received the devastating news that she is now a widow. Rajeswaren Saravanamuthu, 39 and a father of two young children, was found beaten and stabbed to death Thursday in his scrap metal shop -- Tiga Metals -- on Norfinch Dr., Toronto Police said. His killer remains on the loose. "It's going to be a very difficult time for them," more..

Breakfast with the president

Mar 17 (IoC) Lasantha Wickrematunga faced his last moments at an unusual time at an unusual place. From the moment he left home the day he was murdered, he was aware that he was being tailed. He informed his friends of this fact on the phone. One friend had advised him to immediately go to a safe place. Lasantha’s reply was ‘…at most, I will be killed’. He had realised that if he had gone to a safe place, it would only be postponing his death for a few more days. more..

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka Part 04

Sri Lanka confident of selling most of US$200mn bond

Mar 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka will sell "most of" a dollar denominated bond issue, a top official said amid tight conditions in capital markets that is making commercial dollar debt increasingly scarce. Sri Lanka advertised to sell a 200 million 2-year Sri Lanka Development Bond, paying a premium above the 6-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) ahead of a 215 million dollar bond maturing issue this month. more..

Sri Lanka in state audit clean up

Mar 17 (LBO) A new national audit bill expected to be presented for legislative approval shortly will grant the government's chief audit officer and his department greater autonomy, officials said. It will increase the powers of the Auditor General's (AG) Department to clean up government departments with weak internal controls that will save billions of tax payer rupees, they said. "We are fine tuning the bill, the final draft will be sent for treasury approval in two to three months," more..

Lankaputhra Bank to get bailout

Mar 17 (LBO) A Sri Lankan state-run bank that has lent money to a controversial state airline will get a 400 million rupee injection from the Treasury which will strengthen its balance sheet, an official said. Chairman of Lankaputhra Bank Sarath Silva said the Treasury will inject "about 400 million rupees" in settlement to advances given to Mihin Air, a loss-making state-budget airline that is eating up billions of rupees of people's money. more..

A shameless abuse of power and office

Mar 17 (DM) The relationship between the Labour MP Keith Vaz and Sean Mireskandari, a convicted conman with bogus legal qualifications, has carried a bad smell since it was first exposed by the Mail last Autumn. As we reported at the time, the pair became so close that Mr Vaz was even prepared to send a letter to the High Court asking for the delay of a legal dispute that was threatening Mireskandari's law firm with financial ruin. more..

Fonterra seeks $17m lawsuit against newspaper

Mar 17 (NZH) Fonterra is seeking a billion rupee (about $17 million) gagging writ over a Sri Lankan newspaper allegation that its milk products have been adulterated with palm oil or other vegetable oil. Fonterra Brands Lanka has sought a court order to stop daily newspaper Heladiwa Irida Sangrahaya and its editor Dharma Sri Kariyawasam from re-publishing the claim. It is asking for a billion rupees as damages if the claim is again published. more..

Two die after self-immolation over Sri Lankan issue in Tamil Nadu

Mar 17 (IANS) Two political activists who attempted self-immolation during anti-Sri Lankan government protests in different parts of Tamil Nadu succumbed to their burn injuries on Tuesday, police said. Identified as N. Anand, 23, of the VCK, and M. Rajasekhar, 24, of the PMK, the two had attempted self-immolation at Cuddalore and Ariyalur, respectively, police said. With these deaths, the death-toll through self-immolation on the issue has reached 11 since December.

‘500 TN fishermen killed by Lankan army’

Mar 17 (ENS) The Sri Lankan army has killed over 500 Tamil Nadu fisherman charged MDMK general secretary Vaiko. Vaiko told jounalists that Seeman did not say anything more than what many other politicians had said about the genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka. “So far, 500 fishermen from Tamil Nadu have been killed by the Sri Lankan army, but till now, nobody has even condemned the killings,” more..

Sri Lanka rejects EU appeal for cease-fire

Mar 17 (AP) Sri Lanka firmly rejected a European Union appeal for an immediate cease-fire in the island's civil war on Tuesday, saying any deal would allow the besieged Tamil Tiger rebels to regroup. Meanwhile, fighting raged around the last rebel enclave in the island's war-ravaged north on Monday, leaving at least 36 guerrillas dead. The EU urged the government and LTTE to allow urgent humanitarian aid into a northern "safe zone" where a largely Tamil civilian population is supposed to be shielded from the fighting. more..

More flee as Sri Lanka rebels mount suicide attack

Mar 17 (Reuters) Tamil Tiger separatists counterattacked with a failed suicide bombing in heavy clashes that killed at least 14 rebels, as hundreds more refugees fled Sri Lanka's war zone, the military said on Tuesday. The suicide attacker, who wore a Sri Lankan military uniform, blew himself up on Monday a few meters from an army frontline in the last town held by the LTTE in the Indian Ocean island nation's northeastern corner. more..

Sri Lanka say no conditions for IMF emergency loan

Mar 17 (AP) Sri Lanka will not accept any conditions on emergency loans it receives from the International Monetary Fund, the island's president was quoted Tuesday as saying. Sri Lanka announced earlier this month that it had become the latest nation to seek help from the IMF to help it through the global economic downturn. "We are absolutely clear. We will not pawn or sell our motherland to obtain any monetary aid from the IMF or any other international agency," more..

End of the road for Rajapakse incorporated also?

Mar 18 (TC) While it is generally believed it is the end of the road for Prabakaran and the Tigers, many Lankan watchers believe equally the days of the Rajapakse regime appears to be numbered as well – economically and politically. Sarath Fonseka is "almost there" in his once-more delayed endeavour in presenting a "final military victory" to his political Buddhist-Sinhala boss. But the more important "winning the hearts and minds of the Tamil people" - must necessarily wait for another occasion – if at all. more..

Internally displaced Jaffna Muslims have right to return and/or resettlement

Mar 18 (TC) Muslims were living in more than 153 locations in fairly large numbers in the Jaffna District. Jaffna town had the largest concentration of nearly 90 percent of the total Muslims in the peninsula. Moor Street of Jaffna was an educational and cultural centre of the Muslims. Moor Street had 17 mosques, six government schools, four large Quran and Arabic Madrasas (Schools) and many other institutions, fostering Muslim religion and culture. more..

Stamford doctor lobbies for Sri Lankan minority group

Mar 18 (SA) Every night after work, Ellyn Shander sits on her computer for hours, corresponding with people around the world and trying to save friends caught in a conflict between the government and rebel groups in Sri Lanka. Her family members died in the Holocaust. And now, she fears, her Tamil friends are in similar danger in the South Asian island country. Tamils are a minority group in Sri Lanka, and the Sinhalese make up the majority of the population. more..

The story of Cricket's greatest bowler

Five Sri Lankan boats seized

Mar 18 (EB) Indian Coast Guard, in an air- sea co-ordinated anti poaching operation, apprehended five Sri Lankan fishing boats with 28 crew onboard, fishing illegally in Indian waters. Consequent to the apprehension of four Sri Lankan boats by Coast Guard ship Lakshmi Bai on Sunday last, Coast Guard Regional headquarters launched an anti poaching, combing operation to sanitize the Indian EEZ. more..

For those who escape the Vanni region, there is nothing to do but wait - and worry about those left behind

Mar 18 (MSF) During the first two weeks of March, relatively few people seem to have been able to flee from the Vanni region. Communication with people inside the Vanni remains incredibly difficult, but the accounts given by the few who have managed to escape in recent days confirm that civilians continue to be trapped in the conflict and that it is practically impossible for them to leave as they risk getting shot. more..

Training, job, PR status...all lies

Mar 18 (AO) An advertisement in a Sri Lankan newspaper caught Mr Rohan Rubera's eye. In bold print, it read: 'STUDY & JOB TRAINING'. It listed six diploma courses run by private schools in Singapore. Mr Rohan, 45, called the telephone number listed. A recruitment agent told him if he signed up for a six-month casino management course in Singapore, priced at $8,000, it would come guaranteed with a six-month training stint with pay in a casino on board a cruise liner. more..

Marine resources - SL’s most important treasure

Mar 18 (ANN) Sri Lanka is surrounded by the sea which is its greatest resources. The sea will be the treasure of the country in the near future provided its resources are exploited prudently. The Valachchihenai Fisheries Harbour which was devastated by the war and tsunami will be rehabilitated for fishing. It has cost Rs.330 million. Fishermen will be provided with fishing nets, boats, fishing rods and an insurance scheme because more..

Progress made to achieve development goals

Mar 18 (GDI) The objective of the Review is to track the progress made in achieving the realization of the internationally agreed Development Goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2015 target date, Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition Nimal Siripala de Silva said at the Press Conference of ECOSOC Regional Ministerial Meeting on Financial Strategies for Health Care held at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel today (17). more..