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'Sri Lankan economy has been progressing well'

Mar 18 (GDI) The answer submitted by Deputy Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya to the questions of order raised by the Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasingha on March 06, 20009. Prior to the aggravation of the global economic crisis into this critical stage, Sri Lankan economy has been progressing effectively with gaining momentum in due of our strategic planning to counter it in advance. more..

Tasty chocolate aiding terrorists

Mar 18 (GV) Tasty Chocolate Manufacturers Pvt Limited is being investigated for assisting the LTTE’s aerial attack on Colombo on February 20 according to sources within the security forces. More than ten bars of chocolate were found in the LTTE plane shot down over Katunayake while investigations are being carried out on the wreckage of the second plane which crashed into the Inland Revenue Building to prove that Tasty Chocolate was being carried in both planes. more..

'Disease risk in Sri Lanka war zone'

Mar 18 (AFP) Tens of thousands of people trapped by fighting in Sri Lanka's north are facing serious risks of disease due to shortages of clean water and sanitation, the Red Cross said Tuesday. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said the humanitarian situation was deteriorating fast as civilians still living in the rebel-held territory endured daily attacks and an increased danger of epidemics. more..

Medical supply shortage causes deaths

Mar 18 (AP) More than 500 patients have died since January in two areas in northern Sri Lanka ravaged by civil war due to a lack of medical supplies, the regions' top health officials said. In a letter to the Ministry of Health, the two said just 5 percent of the needed drugs and dressings were received in the last quarter of 2008 and the first part of this year. The letter, seen Tuesday by The Associated Press, was signed by the health officers of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu. more..

Strategic junction ahead of last LTTE stronghold captured

Mar 18 (IANS) Advancing Sri Lankan troops captured a strategically important junction lying ahead of the last stronghold of the Tamil Tiger rebels, the defence ministry said Tuesday. Troops engaged “in the final phase of military offensive to free entire country from LTTE have marked a decisive milestone” by reaching the Irunapalai junction, a strategically vital junction in Puthukkudiyiruppu built-up area in the north-eastern Mullaitivu district,” it said. more..

Colombo's secret war on terror

Mar 18 (FEER) The Sri Lankan government is on the cusp of achieving what once seemed impossible. Its armed forces are crushing the LTTE on the battlefield, having pushed the rebels out of their northern stronghold and surrounded them in a few coastal villages. The administration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa hopes that destroying the Tigers’ organization will bring an end to the 26-year civil war that has claimed more than 70,000 lives. more..

'India played major role in bringing down terrorism'

Mar 18 (PTI) Brushing aside Opposition criticism that Sri Lanka has compromised its sovereignty to India on the ethnic Tamils issue, Colombo on Tuesday said New Delhi has played a major role in bringing terrorism under control in the island. "India has played a major role with its help and support to bring terrorism in Sri Lanka under control," Health Care and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva told Parliament. more..

Sri Lanka in new Dow Jones south Asia index

Mar 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka has been included in a new stock market index by Dow Jones and the South Asian Federation of Exchanges (SAFE) for the south Asian region. The Dow Jones SAFE 100 Index is the first index created to measure the performance of blue-chip companies in five of the eight member states of SAFE, the global index Provider said in a statement. Sri Lanka has the smallest country weighting in the new index at 2.57 percent, with India having the heaviest allocation at 53.48 percent, more..

United Nations is not the place for Navi Pillay to serve

Mar 18 (LG) United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay is sure that the situation in Wanni is absolutely desperate. In fact she herself had stated that in a statement recently. But then she dramatically flees into an unacceptable tangent of compromise overlooking the actuality that human rights violations in this respect has been brought about by the LTTE, when it mercilessly herded up the civilian population of Wanni, more..

On Tiger happenings and demonstrations in Canada

Mar 18 (LG) David Poopalapillai the extra energetic effervescent LTTE champion in Canada appears to have evidence that would be vital to any possible war crimes inquiries in respect of Sri Lanka now that the $1000 a day US Attorney Bruce Fein has announced action against Sri Lanka’s Army and Defense chiefs who are believed to hold US Green Cards. This attorney is reported to have appeared for the opposite side before. more..

How many of the demonstrators sought refuge in Canada blaming only the Tigers for their plight?

Mar 18 (LG) Written by “Sadith” a letter reproduced below is one of the many reactions to the ultra pro-LTTE demonstration held in Toronto yesterday. It was reported by the eternal media fraud Tamilnet as attended by 75,000 demonstrators which included a large number of children who are enjoying their one-week March Break holidays. As one youngster reacted, it was a great picnic for him but more..

Sri Lanka and Myanmar reiterate the closeness of their ties

Mar 18 (LG) Sri Lanka and Myanmar are bound by ancient and historical links, reinforced by the common Buddhist heritage that unites the peoples of the two countries. This sentiment was articulated by the visiting Foreign Minister of Myanmar, U Nyan Win, who called on his Sri Lankan counterpart, Rohitha Bogollagama. The Myanmar Foreign Minister is in Sri Lanka, leading his country delegation to the three-day ECOSOC Regional Ministerial Meeting on Financing Strategies for Healthcare, more..

The meeting to decide the fate of the UNP Leader postponed for today

Mar 18 (AT) The UNP members of parliament who participated in the morning session urged the meeting to continue yesterday at Sirikotha at 5 pm, for an immediate decision on the no-confidence motion against the Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, but it was postponed as majority of the MPs failed to attend the said meeting. The proposed afternoon session to decide the fate of the UNP leader was postponed for today, as more..

'Banks urged to support rural projects to reduce the burden of foreign debts'

Mar 18 (AT) "The General Motors of United States of America have curtailed 60% of their motor vehicle production now. This has resulted in reducing the demand for Sri Lanka tyres and other rubber products. Exports of tyres by Loadstar too have been severely affected." Professor Tissa Vitarana, Minister of Science & Technology revealed at a ceremony held in Kalutara, organized by the People’s Bank Regional Office in Kalutara District more..

How can a Ceasefire release Civilian Hostages?

Mar 18 (AT) To the OHCHR, the UN, the Peace Activists, the NGOs/INGOs and all those who steer the bandwagon of ceasefires is asked a simple question - how can a ceasefire release civilian hostages especially those being forcefully kept by the LTTE and condensed to It will be very interesting to hear how they propose to have these captured civilians released from LTTE control. more..

Norway supports demining project in Sri Lanka

Mar 18 (AT) Norwegian Embassy in Colombo in a press release reported that on Tuesday Nanda Godage, Head of the Demining Unit in Milinda Moragoda Institute and Mr. Tore Hattrem, Ambassador of Norway, signed an agreement about support for humanitarian demining activities. According to the Embassy statement, "For the year 2009, the Government of Norway will provide Rs. 140 million to Milinda Moragoda Institute for People’s Empowerment, Sarvatra and more..

Sri Lankan national charged with threatening flight crew

Mar 18 (freep) A 40-year-old Sri Lankan national, who U.S. authorities have twice tried to deport, was in federal court today charged with throwing a tantrum and threatening the flight crew of a London-bound Northwest Airlines jet last month during his removal. Sarath Dhanayakage, who entered the country on a fake Singapore passport in July 2007 and was caught two days later trying to enter Windsor, Canada, screamed to the flight crew that “everyone was going to die,” more..

Unlearning what Gunadasa Amarasekara taught us with a sense of gratitude

Mar 18 (TC) Gunadasa Amarasekara turned 80 last year. In an attempt to re-evaluate him as a writer, his publisher has named this year "the year of revisiting Amarasekara". But Dr. Amarasekara is more than a writer. He is one of most influential and authentic intellectuals of our time. Book publishers come up with various projects to promote their publications and to keep their business going and growing. more..

Sri Lankan SEP to hold election meeting in Colombo

Mar 18 (wsws) The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Sri Lanka will hold a public meeting on March 24 as part of its campaign for the Colombo district in the Western Provincial Council election. The speakers will address the central issues confronting working people: how to end the government's criminal war against the Tamil minority and the never-ending assault on the democratic rights and living standards of the working class as a whole. more..

Toronto: Mass protest against Sri Lankan state’s racist war

Mar 18 (wsws) Tens of thousands of Tamil Canadians took to the streets of Canada's largest city Monday afternoon to protest against the murderous assault the Sri Lankan army is mounting against the largely defenceless Tamil population in the north of the island state. The demonstrators, who formed a 7-kilometer human-chain stretching across much of downtown Toronto, included workers, students and entire families. more..

Paris meeting advances socialist program to end war in Sri Lanka

Mar 18 (wsws) A meeting organised by the World Socialist Web Site and the International Committee of the Fourth International was held in Paris on Sunday, March 15. The event was part of a worldwide campaign by the WSWS and ICFI to demand the withdrawal of the Sri Lankan army from the Tamil-populated east and north of the island. The meeting advanced a socialist and internationalist solution to the 25-year-long civil war that has claimed over 70,000 lives. more..

Protest letters against LTTE threats

Mar 18 (wsws) The World Socialist Web Site has received further letters in response to the March 9 statement "Oppose LTTE campaign of threats and violence against SEP supporters in Europe!" We urge our readers and supporters to send protest letters demanding the LTTE immediately cease its attempts to suppress political debate within the Tamil community and end all threats against Socialist Equality Party members and supporters. more..

French judicial investigation into financing network of Tamil Tigers

Mar 18 (TC) The French Judiciary will be the first in Europe to look into the financing networks of the Tamil rebellion in Sri Lanka. Paris anti-terrorism Judge in charge of the case Philippe Coirre ended his investigations and should hand over the file to the Public Prosecutor at the end of March for summing-up. Leading cadres of the LTTE in France and henchmen were imprisoned in 2007. Justice accuses about twenty people of having racketed the Tamil Diaspora through threats and abductions. more..

Will Tamils and Sinhalese "never lose an opportunity to lose an opportunity?"

Mar 18 (TC) What is the challenge? To reach the goal of victory and reunification while avoiding the traps set for Sri Lanka . What are these traps and what are our tasks? Sri Lanka stands accused in some quarters of inflicting casualties on civilians, and in others, of the related charge of not agreeing to the international humanitarian evacuation of these civilians trapped in the Wanni pocket. more..

Shameless foxes

Mar 18 (LG) Liam Fox was in Colombo recently and it is not certain whether he has gone back to his homeland. He was one of the many diplomats, especially western, who had visited the country recently. These diplomats are good Samaritans and are concerned with the so called trapped people in Mulativu. It is not difficult to come to the conclusion that they wanted the government to declare a ceasefire or even a temporary stop to the operations that the armed forces are engaged in, more..

Colombo looks beyond Delhi

Mar 18 (LG) Precisely 20 years after the Indian Peace-Keeping Force left Sri Lanka, Indian soldiers from a military field hospital re-entered the country low profile in civilian clothes last week. It has sparked a minor controversy with some Sri Lankans depicting it as an invasion. Just how fragile is India’s neighbourhood diplomacy and diminishing clout, especially in the last five years, while chasing the chimera of big power status, more..

Will Self Immolation bring solution to conflicts?

Mar 18 (TC) "Thich Quang Duc self-immolated himself in protest of persecution of Buddhism in South Vietnam in 1963. I was to see that sight again, but once was enough. Flames were coming from a human being; his body was slowly withering and shriveling up, his head blackening and charring. In the air was the smell of burning flesh; human beings burn surprisingly quickly. more..

Booming fishing industry in Jaffna

Mar 18 (GDI) The increasing numbers of fishermen entering the Jaffna lagoon indicates a thriving industry, and this is all due to relaxation of the fishing restrictions that had been imposed on Jaffna fishermen, the military said citing Jaffna Fishermen' Association authorities. Some 1,800 fishermen on more than 250-300 fishing boats with outboard motors and 200 locally made boats (Theppam and Vallam) enter the lagoon for everyday except on Sundays. more..

New year, new syllabuses, and new text books

Mar 18 (GDI) There exists a need for 31 million school text books for the coming year, and the quality and content of the books will be much improved. However, the end of lessen practical exercises remain as it was, Education Ministry sources reveal. Consequently, year 9 books, under new syllabuses for the coming year, will be reprinted. Concurrently, a selection of books ranging over 34 subjects will also be reprinted, more..

Situation report (Mar 18) by SLA

Mar 18 (SLA) A combined cordon and search operation was conducted by the Army troops and the Police in AKKARAIPATTU area following information about the presence of suspected LTTE pistol men in the area this morning (18) between 6.00 and 10.00 a.m. During the operation being conducted in KANNAGIPURAM area, an LTTE pistol man in hiding fired a few rounds at the Police personnel injuring one of them. more..

'Salutations to soldiers who laid their lives to the motherland'

Mar 18 (MoD) A special meeting was held Tuesday at the Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment (VIR) Headquarters in Boyagane, Kurunagala between Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Public Security, Law and Order Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the relatives of the family members of the soldiers who laid their lives to the motherland. During this meeting Secretary of Defence expressed his gratitude to the brave soldiers who laid their lives to the mother country. more..

'Stop destruction of sand dunes at Magama, Kirinda'

Mar 18 (LT) People’s Movement for the Protection of Mineral Resources (PMPMR) has expressed its fervent protest against the selling of sand dunes at Magama in Kirinda to an Indian company. Issuing a press release PMPMR states the sand dunes are a national wealth and it is the duty of the government to protect it. The press release issued by convener of the PMPMR JVP Parliamentarian Bimal Rathnayake states: more..

Maldivian defence minister thanks Army commander

Mar 18 (MoD) Minister of Defence and National Security of the Republic of Maldives Hon. Ameen Faisal who is on a brief visit to the island called on Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka at Army Headquarters Tuesday (17) morning. Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka after receiving the visiting Maldivian Minister and his retinue explained to them the developments related to ongoing Vanni humanitarian operations which have almost reached its winning stage. more..

Govt. threatens farmers to sell paddy using fertilizer subsidy

Mar 18 (LT) Farmers who cultivate in large irrigation schemes and Mahaweli areas have been ordered by Ministry of Agricultural Development & Agrarian Services Development to make available 500 kg per hectare from their harvests to Paddy Marketing Board at government certified rates. They have been informed that those who fail to abide by this directive would not get the fertilizer subsidy for the ‘Yala’ season. more..

'Out of Rs.92620 million of Tsunami aid only Rs.66520 million spent'

Mar 18 (LT) Rs.92620 million was received as tsunami aid from foreign countries and organizations while only Rs.66520 million has been spent said Chief Government Whip Minister Dinesh Gunawardene in Parliament yesterday. The minister said when Tsunami occurred the government had a debt of Rs.252,280 million to be paid and Rs.1360 million the country owed to China and Italy was written off by those two countries said Minister Gunawardene. more..

Police shoot two extorters – villagers say they are innocent

Mar 18 (LT) Two extorters who had threatened a doctor in Urubokka area with death and demanded a ransom of Rs.500,000 from him have been admitted to hospital with injuries when police fired on them. A ‘gulkatas’ pistol the exorcists possessed and the three wheeler they had arrived to demand the ransom have been seized by the police. Meanwhile, a group of villagers engaged in a protest campaign against more..

Kelaniya students’ petition against police assault to be inquired

Mar 18 (LT) The Supreme Court has allowed the inquiry of a fundamental rights petition filed regarding an incident where a female student of Kelaniya University was brutally assaulted. The SC made this provision considering the petition filed by two students of Kelaniya University including a female student against the police assault on them. Several police officers including the SSP of Peliyagoda and the OIC of Kiribathgoda Police have been named as respondents in the petition. more..

NCP doctors in token strike to protest police inaction

Mar 18 (CT) Doctors in north central province are on a token strike campaign to protest police inaction regarding the assault on the provincial director of health services over a month ago. All doctors serving in state hospitals in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa districts are joining the union action, said GMOA secretary Dr. R.M. Aruna Palitha. The health services director Dr. W.D. Atapattu was assaulted on February 06th, but more..

'Indian military hospital, threat to natl. security'

Mar 18 (CT) The setting up of a field hospital by the Indian military in Pulmoddai is a serious threat to integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka as well as to national security, said JVP parliamentary group leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake. He told Parliament yesterday that according to the media, a team of 52 Indian military medical personnel had arrived in the island on March 11 to open a field hospital at Pulmoddai. more..

First ever English novel on Vanni by a writer of Vanni

Mar 18 (TN) Veteran writer Balamanoharan has come out with another first of its kind piece of writing of him recently. His Bleeding Hearts is a first ever novel based on the settings of Vanni, written in English. More than three decades ago, when Balamanoharan wrote Nilakki’li, it was widely appreciated for the ‘scent of earth’ it was emanating and was acclaimed as the first Tamil novel coming from Vanni. more..

The UN shamed

Mar 18 (LNP) The LTTE has graduated from taking UN workers hostage to forcibly recruiting their offspring as cannon fodder. It has already conscripted a 16-year-old daughter of a UN staffer. If the UN workers and their children are not safe from the LTTE, the vulnerability of others goes without saying. Ironically, the forcible conscription of the UN worker`s precious child has come at a time the LTTE activists are protesting in Geneva against the war and UNICEF is campaigning to save child soldiers. more..

Bloomfield rout Tamil Union

Mar 18 (LNP) Bloomfield clinched the SLC Coca Cola Premier limited overs cricket title when they completely outplayed Tamil Union by a convincing margin of 115 runs in the final worked off at the R. Premadasa Stadium yesterday. Bloomfield rattled up a competitive 244 for 9 from their 50 overs after electing to bat first and then produced a tremendous performance on the field to skittle out their opponents for a paltry 129 runs in the 35th over. more..

Differing objectives of Indian and Sri Lankan Tamils

Mar 18 (BL) India’s external intelligence agency Research & Analysis Wing (RAW), which started the process of destabilising Sri Lanka in 1981, is now worried that its opponent, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), is training Tamil and Muslim insurgents to destabilise South India, particularly Tamil Nadu. The current strengthening of the security of the southern coast, though India claims that it was intended to prevent the Tigers escaping to India, more..

Sri Lanka produces a mixed scorecard on managing poverty

Mar 18 (BL) Sri Lanka has failed to manage its poverty alleviation challenge during the past 10 years compared to other low and middle income economies according to a recent World Bank survey titled “Moving out of Poverty: Success from the Bottom Up.” According to the four year study, 24.5% of households moved out of poverty in Sri Lanka, which was ranked seventh, behind Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Uganda. more..

From garbage dump to intimate lingerie quality controller

Mar 18 (BL) She was one and half months old when she was left abandoned in a garbage dump in Gampaha. The start may have been dismal but W.A. Dhammika’s life has been an extraordinary tale of overcoming the odds. Selected as one of MAS Holding’s Empowered Woman for the year 2008, she is now a quality controller at the MAS Slimtex factory which produces higher fashion intimate lingerie to US. She started with no name and no family, but more..

Positive sign, says Ban Ki Moon

Mar 18 (DN) The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and President Mahinda Rajapaksa had a telephone discussion yesterday evening on the humanitarian situation in the North, efforts of the Government to ensure the supply of food, medicines and other assistance to the IDPs, conditions in the IDP villages, political initiatives by the Government and the recently published statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR). more..

War of words over CC

Mar 18 (BL) The government yesterday described the Constitutional Council (CC) as a “distraction” and insisted that its main focus was ending the scourge of terrorism in the country. UPFA Gen Secy Susil Premajayantha addressing a media briefing insisted that all attention of the government was focussed on bringing the war to a successful conclusion parallel to the expectations of the people and that the appointment of the CC was secondary in such a situation. more..

Yala paddy crop 50 percent more

Mar 18 (DN) Agriculture Development and Agrarian Services Minister Maithripala Sirisena told Parliament yesterday, paddy production of the 2008 Yala season has shown a 50 per cent increase compared with the 2007 Yala paddy harvest, due to moves taken by the Government to cultivate a large extent of fallow paddy lands under the Government’s national food production drive Api Wawamu Rata Nagamu. more..

'IMF loan will be on concessionary rates'

Mar 18 (DN) Finance and State Revenue Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya told Parliament yesterday it is advantageous to obtain this IMF loan at a concessionary rate in the prevailing economic environment. The Minister said the entire world is battered by the severe financial crisis. "Therefore, this will be the best opportunity for Sri Lanka to obtain this loan on a low interest rate," he said. He said the interest rate would be below two percent for this loan. more..

Drunk on nationalist spirit

Mar 18 (Island) Politicians seem to be getting madder by the week. No sooner do we recover our poise after laughing at one party for its foolishness than another steps in with an equally ridiculous statement. Democracy has brought an awful lot of odd characters into positions of influence, and only elections can return them to the insignificance that they so keenly deserve. The latest joke came from the JVP. more..