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Hotels told of financial gains of cleaner production

Mar 20 (LBO) Sri Lankan hotels stand to make financial gains by adopting cleaner production methods if done in a systematic manner, the head of the hotel trade body has said. Srilal Miththapala, president of the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka, said many hotels have embarked on some form of energy conservation and energy auditing, but so far it has been mostly limited to reduction of electricity. more..

Election commissioner has violated fundamental rights- SC

Mar 20 (LG) The Supreme Court ruled today that the Elections Commissioner had violated fundamental rights by not registering political parties without citing reasons to do so. The Supreme Court made the ruling on two fundamental rights petitions challenging the refusal of the Elections Commissioner for not registering the United People's Front and Peratugami Party without citing reasons for the refusal. more..

Sri Lanka to declare Kachchativu island as sacred area

Mar 20 (IANS) The Kachchativu island, lying midway between India and Sri Lanka, is to be declared as a sacred area, a minister has said. Minister Dinesh Gunawardena made this announcement about the island in the Palk Strait off Rameshwaram in parliament Thursday. Parliamentary sources said the minister made the announcement while answering verbal questions raised by the radical Marxist JVP with regard to the current status of the 285-acre island and its safety. more..

Canada investigating waving of LTTE flags at Toronto rally

Mar 20 (IANS) With thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils waving the flags of the banned LTTE at a rally here Monday, Canadian authorities have launched an investigation whether their action violated the nation's new anti-terror laws. The current Conservative government banned the LTTE in 2006 for using suicide bombers and child soldiers in its goal for an independent nation for Sri Lankan Tamils. more..

Sri Lanka to protest pro-rebel demonstrations

Mar 20 (AP) Sri Lanka said Thursday it will protest to Canada, Belgium and Switzerland over pro-Tamil Tiger demonstrations that used the flag of the banned separatist group and displayed pictures of its leader. "This is taking place in countries which have banned the LTTE," Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said, referring to the LTTE rebels, which are blacklisted as a terrorist group in the United States, the European Union and Canada. more..

Religious visit the refugees, prisoners in the camps

Mar 20 (AN) Children abandoned and separated from their parents, injured people without assistance, refugees held prisoners in the camps, dramatic health conditions. Nine members of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors (CMRS) have written to the bishops' conference of Sri Lanka about what they saw during their three-day visit to the refugees in Vavuniya. From February 26-28, they visited one of the areas hit hardest by the twenty-year conflict between the army and Tamil rebels, more..

Experienced Catholic writers share tips with budding scribes

Mar 20 (UCAN) It was only 5 a.m., but a young Catholic woman was already preparing to board a public bus for a three-hour ride to Colombo and a Church-run workshop on Christian writing. Wathsala Priyangika Herath, who was accompanied by her mother, made her way from Gonawila, in Chilaw diocese, to Joe Neth Studio on the premises of the Archbishop's House in the capital. "I have a dream to be a Christian writer," the 21-year-old told other young Catholics at more..

Sri Lankans take civil war despair on to the streets

Mar 20 (NZH) Tamil community and resident Sinhalese will give opposing views at vigil and demonstration. Two Sri Lankan groups demonstrating in Auckland tomorrow will present conflicting views on who is responsible for the suffering in their island homeland's civil war. After a 10,000-strong Tamil demonstration outside the UN's European headquarters in Geneva this week, the local Tamil community will be staging a vigil at Aotea Square more..

Tamil cricketers defy the odds

Mar 20 (BBC) A former top Sri Lankan cricketer has launched what he says is the first training camp to integrate young Tamils from the north into the national team. Aravinda de Silva said he was highly optimistic that Tamils from the area would play international cricket soon. He spoke to the BBC after returning to Colombo from a "talent search" in the war-torn Jaffna Peninsula. The civil war and ethnic divisions have meant that few northern Tamils have played in the national side. more..

Train derails in Sri Lanka

Mar 20 (Xinhua) A train derailed Thursday evening in the northern suburb of Sri Lanka's capital Colombo but no passenger was injured, railway authorities said. Officials from the Railway Department said the locomotive of a passenger train departing from Colombo to the northern town of Chilaw derailed around 7:15 p.m. at Ja Ela station. They said no passenger was injured in the accident, but train services to Chilaw, about 100 km north of Colombo, were temporarily disrupted. more..

EU offers more aid to battle-scarred Sri Lanka

Mar 20 (EUB) The European Commission on Thursday announced an additional three million euros funding for the Red Cross to help tackle the growing humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka's strife-torn north. "I am appalled by the humanitarian catastrophe in the north of Sri Lanka. Thousands of civilians trapped in the conflict zone have died and more are dying every day, not only from repeated shelling but also from lack of food, water and medical care," said EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel. more..

A response to my (many, many) Tamil-Canadian critics

Mar 20 (NP) Yesterday, I put up a blog post denouncing the pro-Tamil-Tiger protestors who were part of the demonstration that paralyzed downtown Toronto on Monday. "The rally that took place in Toronto on Monday was not just, as organizers claimed, an expression of support for Tamil civilians in war-torn Sri Lanka," I wrote. "Many of the participants carried flags of the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist group that practices suicide bombings and abducts children to use as soldiers. more..

Sinhalese for Tamils

Mar 20 (AT) Will you put up your hand to elevate the Tamil People or the Tamil Politicians? Sinhalese will raise both hands with sincerity in favor of the Tamil People. Not merely raise hands; they will clap with both the hands in support. Such is the bonhomie that prevails presently in Sinhalese electorates as they see flashes on the television screen, the helping hands of the security forces bringing the captive Tamil civilians to safety. more..

Major civilian exodus: Colombo

Mar 20 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan government on Thursday claimed that till date, 45,519 civilians had crossed into government-controlled areas from the LTTE-held territory. The figures made public by the government suggest the exodus of civilians from the shrinking Tiger territory has considerably picked up in the last few days. As per the military, the area under the LTTE control has shrunk to 28 sq. km. Over a month ago, the government had estimated there were over 70,000 civilians stranded in the Tiger-held territory. more..

Domestic workers promised new deal in Kuwait

Mar 20 (IPS) Will a new agreement between licensed labour recruiters in Sri Lanka and Kuwait protect the rights of domestic workers who face serious abuse in the Gulf state? No, says one of Sri Lanka’s biggest groups working for the welfare of migrant workers which pins responsibility on shadowy sub-agents who enlist thousands of women every year as foreign domestic workers. more..

Dire times in Sri Lanka's war zone

Mar 20 (Guardian) R Sabesan, a humanitarian worker for CARE Sri Lanka, died yesterday after being struck by a shell which partly severed his leg. He was one of dozens of aid workers trapped in the conflict zone in the north of the country, known as the Vanni. Medical facilities are practically non-existent there and so Sabesan died of his injuries later that day as a consequence. According to the ICRC there are also as many as 150,000 other civilians, also stuck in the Vanni, more..

Cricket fans in Los Angeles unite to ‘Bat Against Terrorism’ rally

Mar 20 (MN) At the expansive South Lawn of Los Angeles City Hall, Cricket fans, diplomats, and members of local cricket organizations of Southern California joined hands at a solidarity rally held on March 14, 2009, to protest the recent terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan national cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan. Among the dignitaries participating in the ‘Bat Against Terrorism’ rally were Mr. Ananda Wickramasinghe, Sri Lankan Consul General in Los Angeles, more..

Human Rights Minister nails canard on medical supplies to the IDPs

Mar 20 (AT) Human Rights and Disaster Management minister Mahinda Samarasinghe nailed a canard by destructive elements which alleged that 300 patients who were Internally Displaced Persons had died in hospitals due to the lack of drugs in hospitals. The Minister told a news conference that a letter which was allegedly sent by the Director of Health Services in Mullativu Dr Vartharajah which claimed that 300 civilians had died which had been widely circulated in the local media was a damp squib. more..

Will Sri Lanka get the IMF loan?

Mar 20 (AT) We understand that the government has asked for a loan of 1.9 billion dollars from the IMF and has proudly stated that it will be on no conditions attached. The party giving the loan always lays down conditions. I suppose what the government meant here was that conditions other than purely financial would not be acceptable. I wish the government had stated it explicitly because we soon expect explicit conditions to be implicitly understood. more..

On Sri Lanka in UN Council, China blocks march 26 meeting

Mar 20 (ICP) The day after the UN involuntarily admitted counting 2,683 civilian killings in Sri Lanka from January 20 to March 7 of this year, efforts to hold a second UN Security Council meeting on Sri Lanka were described to Inner City Press by a range of Council diplomats. Non-permanent Council members including Austria, Mexico and Costa Rica have requested the meeting for March 26, under the heading "Other Matters" since Sri Lanka is still not a formal item on the Council's agenda. more..

Civilian misery in northern Sri Lanka

Mar 20 (BBC) While war rages in north-eastern Sri Lanka, aid agencies say that the outside world is still largely ignorant of the miserable conditions endured by civilians caught up in fighting between the security forces and Tamil Tiger rebels. Tens of thousands of civilians have been trapped in the conflict zone in the Mullaitivu district, and relief agencies say they are being subjected to continuous shelling, forcing them to hide in bunkers in constant fear of injury or death. more..

Brother seeks answers in Sri Lanka arrest

Mar 20 (NP) Suba Nadesapillai has hardly slept for three weeks, not since the night he learned his younger brother, a prominent newspaper editor, had been forced into a white van in Sri Lanka. Now, when night falls on his newly minted subdivision, Mr. Nadesapillai gets on the phone to Colombo, hoping to prevent his brother, Vithyatharan Nadesapillai, from becoming another casualty of Sri Lanka's civil war. more..

LTTE in dire straits: Original dummy of the original has fled

Mar 20 (LG) “Who said the LTTE is headed by Velupillai Prabhakaran? He was only the visible front of the hidden back and it’s the “Back” that is very powerful; only the back exists now. This “Back” of the front is overseas,” said Machan Markandu of Montreal now on a holiday unknown to his relatives in Manipay. One can gather therefore his name is not Machan Markandu. more..

International community must end and prevent a slaughter

Mar 20 (CT) The already severe humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka is on the brink of catastrophe. It will take the quick arrival of humanitarian relief and high-level international political muscle to bring the nightmarish situation to an end and prevent a slaughter. An estimated 150,000 civilians are now trapped in a tiny pocket of land between Sri Lankan military forces, whose artillery shells regularly fall among them, and the rebel LTTE, who shoot at them if they try to escape. more..

Twin allegations against Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Mar 20 (CT) It was a curious and revolutionary decision taken by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, this decision to appoint Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka as our Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, in 2007. A public intellectual, a political scientist and a most effective and eloquent communicator, the President would have certainly known where Dr. Jayatilleka stood concerning issues relating to domestic politics and foreign policy. more..

'It is a shame to Sri Lanka that the IDP camps have become like Hitler's concentration camps'

Mar 20 (LeN) Counsel Nimalka Fernando said at a press conference held yesterday (19) that the government's programme regarding the IDPs is against UN principles and humanitarian laws and cannot be recognized. She says that this takes place in a time the people observe their relatives die in shell attacks and the traumatized Tamil people are fleeing to the government-held areas from the conflict zone. more..

Suicide bomber of Akuressa was a disabled beggar

Mar 20 (LeN) A street book vendor in Mathara bus stand has informed police yesterday that the person who launched a suicide attack at the mosque in Godapitiya, Akuressa was a disabled man earned a living by begging in Mathara bus stand. The book vendor has told the police that he met the person publicized through posters as the suicide bomber nine days ahead of the incident as he was begging in busses. The suspect was around 25 years old, said the book vendor. more..

Is Pulmoddai Indian hospital another Trojan horse?

Mar 20 (LT) There are many suspicions surfacing regarding the Indian hospital located inside the mineral sands factory at Pulmoddai. One of the main issues is the questioning of all patients that come for treatment by the Indian hospital staff. According to our reporter at Trincomalee questions such as where are tiger terrorists hiding at the moment? In which areas do the security forces carry out their operations? more..

LTTE urges China to consider Tamils plight at UN

Mar 20 (TN) Political Head of the LTTE, B. Nadesan, on Friday urged Chinese government to allow Tamils plight to be discussed at the UN Security Council for a second time. "The Sri Lankan state is not only denying the Tamil sovereignty, but it is waging a genocidal war against them of catastrophic dimensions," said Mr. Nadesan adding that Colombo was engaged in a propaganda campaign saying that the conflict is an internal matter. more..

Mother had written not to vaccinate her daughter

Mar 20 (LT) Peshala Alledeniya (12), one of the girls admitted to Matara Hospital after being sick following vaccination against Rubella died this morning. She was among 26 students admitted to Matara Hospital from Grade 8 of St. Thomas’ Girls School at Matara when they got sick after an immunizing programme carried out in the school for about 300 girls. The dead girl had been given the Rubella vaccination despite more..

Malaka Silva’s vehicle & driver apprehended with dugs

Mar 20 (LT) A person possessing drugs has been taken into custody from the vehicle of Malaka Silva’s vehicle when he arrived at the election office of UPFA candidate for Western PC election Duminda Silva at Maharagama. Malaka Silva is Minister Dr. Mervin Silva’s son. When officers from ‘City Branch’ at Maharagama arrived to search the vehicle on information received Malaka Silva had fled and more..

Dinesh admits transfer of Trinco police chief

Mar 20 (LT) Minister Dinesh Gunawardene has admitted in Parliament that the senior police officer in Trincomalee carrying out investigations into the murder of Dharsha, the 6 year old girl who was murdered after demanding a ransom from her parents by members of the TMVP to raise funds for a radio station to be started has been transferred. He admitted this in response to a question posed by JVP MP Anura Dissanayake more..

Pottu Amman’s driver captured

Mar 20 (LT) The driver of Pottu Amman, the head of the intelligence unit of tiger terrorist organization, was taken into custody yesterday by the 58 Division of S.L. Army. He had arrived in Army controlled area from Pudumathalan area hiding among civilians. He had told security personnel that he had been Pottu Amman’s driver for more than three years. He had fled when SL Army carried out an artillery attack on a hideout of Pottu Amman and more..

'We want to strengthen the public sector weakened by UNP'

Mar 20 (GDI) Sri Lankans, as a patriotic nation, can never forget the sacrifices made by the heroic soldiers to protect the sovereignty of the nation allowing them to live in a united country, said Media Minister Anura Priyadhrshana Yapa at the parliament. The minister made the above statement when the house took into debate the Widow & Orphans Pension Fund (armed forces) and Widowed Husbands & Orphans Pension Fund (armed forces) bills with proposed amendments. more..

Australia donates Rs. 4 mn for rural development

Mar 20 (GDI) The Australia Government has grant Rs 4 million to five small scale development projects in different parts of the Island. The projects were awarded funding under the Direct Aid Program (DAP), which aims to provide grass root level assistance to needy communities throughout Sri Lanka. DAP projects are designed to provide immediate benefits to the recipients who are fully involved in the identification, design and management of the project activities. more..

'Child rights are our major concern'

Mar 20 (GDI) “As a political party engaged in popular mainstream politics, TMVP will never entangle itself with child soldier issues, and if there is an issue remaining, it will be resolved within three months,” Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan said today (19). The Chief Minister was briefing a group of journalists in Trincomalee and more..

Sigiriya Museum to be open before April

Mar 20 (GDI) The newly established Sigiriya Museum scheduled to be open to the public before the Sinhala and Hindu New Year, Cultural Affairs Ministry sources said. The museum has established under a two and a half year technical cooperation project for the development of Culture-Oriented Tourism (COTS) in Sigiriya and it has been built at a cost of Rs.48 million provided by Japan International Cooperation Agency more..

'Public sector should lean new immerging methods'

Mar 20 (GDI) The public sector should learn all new immerging methods of new financial management systems to improve management and transparency, which is prerequisites for our economy, efficiency and effectiveness, the Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs Dr. Sarath Amunugama said at the inauguration of National conference in Colombo today (20). more..

New bureau to assist expatriate Sri Lankans world over

Mar 20 (GDI) In a fresh bid to upgrade public relations between the Sri Lankan expatriate community and Foreign Ministry, a new programme is implemented and a special bureau has been set up in this regard. Consequently, Sri Lankan expatriates can forward their inquires, requests, or complaints to the new bureau. They can keep in touch with the bureau via telephone (over 0112424599 or 0115861937) or fax (fax no -0112424999). more..

Empowering war-ravaged communities on psychosocial issues

Mar 20 (GDI) A seminar on psychosocial issues will be held in the Trincomalee District Secretariat auditorium on March 23. This seminar is organized by the National Reconciliation Programme Unit attached to the Constitutional Affairs and National Reconciliation Ministry. The seminar will be on throughout the day instructing officials on helping communities battered by the war ravaged North and East. more..

Grave shock for a President who loves children

Mar 20 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered a complete halt on further vaccinations of rubella injection, and directed Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva to present a complete report with immediate effect. Seemingly shocked, the President directed Presidential Secretary Lalith Weerathunga to pay Rupees five hundred thousand as compensation for the parents of Pashala Hansala, the 12-year old school girl who died on March 19 immediately after hospitalization. more..

Hear no evil, see no evil and report no evil!

Mar 20 (LNP) Our national trait of punishing the messenger dates back to time immemorial. Those who ran errands for ancient kings ran the risk of having their noggins chopped off for no fault of theirs if the tidings they brought were not to the royalty`s liking. The tradition continues and messengers perish at a rate today. On Wednesday, in Parliament messengers were hauled over the coals for reporting a minister`s statement that the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had been roughed up at more..

Situation Report (Mar 20) by SLA

Mar 20 (SLA) ARMY troops advancing further interior into PUTHUKKUDIYIRUPPU confronted pockets of Tiger terrorists in the general areas of AMPALAVANPOKKANAI, PUTHUKKUDIYIRUPPU east and MULLAITTIVU north during Thursday causing heavy damages to the terrorists. Search operations that followed confrontations found eleven dead Tiger terrorists, eighteen T-56 weapons, eighty-six hand grenades, five repeater shotguns and six radio sets from PUTHUKKUDIYIRUPPU area. more..

'Ceasefire agreement bolstered LTTE strength'

Mar 20 (MoD) Mass Media and Information Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa yesterday charged that the Ceasefire Agreement, sponsored by the then UNP Government in 2002, had bolstered LTTE strength in many ways, including the formal establishment of their 'baby brigade'. "Though the use of child soldiers by the LTTE had been noticed previously, it became a focus of attention following the 2002 CFA agreement," he said. more..

Civilian cross-overs exceed 47,000

Mar 20 (MoD) The number of civilians who crossed over to Government controlled area was 47,241 up to date; Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said. Addressing the media yesterday at the Presidential Secretariat, the Minister said 5,006 people arrived in the government controlled area during the last six days. He said civilians have escaped from the LTTE facing shootings and numerous difficulties. more..

Fighting rages around terror final stand off

Mar 20 (MoD) Sri Lanka Army offensive division have now encircled the last standoff of the LTTE terrorists located west of the No Fire Zone, in the Puthukkudduyiruppu East, reveal battlefield sources. Troops of 58 Division, spearheading the battle yesterday (Mar 19) withstood intense resistance from the terrorists but continued piercing terror defences inflicting heavy damages to the enemy. more..

Sri Lanka’s battle for global hearts and minds and scrutinizing The 'mindset' of the West

Mar 20 (AT) The United States and Western Democracies, international community interested in Sri Lanka’s national crisis, the United Nations agencies dealing with humanitarian and human rights issues, global rights organizations mostly funded by Western Democracies have long been kept ‘informed’ by the international wing of activists, professionals and front organizations of secessionist LTTE that more..

The Great NGO Game

Mar 20 (PISL) Some time back I wrote an article about what I termed the interlocking directorates of non-Governmental organisations which, while pretending to be objective assessors of aid work, ended up giving each other lots of money. As it turned out, I did not then know the half of it. Discussing with a distinguished ambassador of another country the changing face of the UN, the preponderance of white as it were, I was introduced to another dimension when more..

Conspiracy to murder HC Judge

Mar 20 (DN) A conspiracy to assassinate Provincial High Court Judge Malanie Gunaratne while reporting to the Panadura High Court has been unearthed by Panadura Police. Twelve suspects including three women together with a Prison Guard of the Kalutara Prison were arrested and remanded by Panadura Magistrate Thushara Rajasinghe pending further investigations. When the suspects were produced before the Magistrate with ‘B’ reports, more..

Mohammad Khalil comes in April

Mar 20 (DN) Meher Mohammad Khalil, the driver of the coach that drove the Sri Lankan cricket team to the safety of the Gaddafi stadium when they came under attack during the Lahore 3/3 terror has got a 10-day family visa to visit Sri Lanka, reported ANI news agency yesterday. The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd (ANCL) invited him and his wife for a week’s fully paid holiday in Sri Lanka on March 5, 2009 just two days after the attack. more..