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Businessmen hail opening of A-9 road

Mar 20 (DN) The local business community said that the A9 road has opened many business opportunities and this will contribute to the country’s economic development. “With the dawn of peace in the country and the opening of the A9 road there is free access for markets in these areas. There is an economic crisis around the globe. However, with these new markets opening the business community will get an opportunity to stabilize their business in these areas,” more..

'Kiribathgoda flyover cost Govt. an exorbitant sum'

Mar 20 (Island) JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake told parliament that the government had spent Rs. 500,000 per square metre for the newly constructed Kiribathgoda flyover. This exorbitant cost had to be borne because the government had decided to use English expertise and material imported from England. He pointed out that there were local engineering companies ready to construct the flyover for a lesser cost using more..

New water tariff displeases Minister

Mar 20 (Island) Parliament was told yesterday, by none other than the Minister of Water Supply Mahinda Amaraweera, that as a consumer himself he was not happy with the new tariff rate which is a 300 per cent increase.Minister Amaraweera was answering a question raised by JVP MP Lakshman Nipunarachchi for oral answers. Nipunarachchi said that 118,000 persons do not have a 24-hour water supply but they too are compelled to pay the new tariff which was about 300 per cent more. more..

Minister’s wife sentenced to death and drug smugglers released

Mar 20 (Island) Mary Juliet Monica Fernando, the wife of Public Estate Management and Development Minister Milroy Fernando, sentenced to death by the Colombo High Court on March 2, 2005 for abducting and murdering Charlotte Teresa Fernando, believed to be Milroy’s mistress and her domestic aide Susanhewage Teckla alias Seelawathie, was released on March 8 in view of the International Women’s Day. more..

Cops were lazing at home during attack on Sri Lanka team

Mar 20 (PN) A high level probe into the security lapse during the terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team has revealed that all three Superintendents of Police (SP) who were entrusted to look after the security arrangements during the Lankan convoys movement didn’t reported on duty on the day the attack took place, and were in their residences. It has been learnt through an enquiry conducted by more..

Yal Devi

Mar 20 (DM) Even the name of the train brings back a whole host of nostalgic memories for many. Yal Devi was the culture bridge between the North and the South which inspired Sinhala youth to pen poetry on the beautiful damsels of Jaffna in the good old days. It was the key catalyst in promoting strong bonds between literary figures, artistes and even ordinary people in the North and the South. more..

Trapped civilians turn against LTTE’s forcible recruitment

Mar 20 (DM) As the operation areas of the LTTE -- in the last remaining sections in the Mullaitivu district -- are further reduced due to the military advance, civilians who had been denied an escape by the Tigers now openly attack armed LTTE cadres in order to get away from the area. Between 55,000 to 65,000 people are reportedly trapped within a small land area of 17 square kilometres, which had been demarcated by the government as a ‘Safe Zone.’ more..

Finance companies sit out cash crunch

Mar 20 (LBO) Balance sheets of Sri Lanka's non bank financial firms have shrunk over 10 percent in two months as jittery savers took cash out, but the sector as a whole is still rolling over most of their deposits, officials said. "Our experience has been that 90 percent of deposits will be renewed," says Shirley Perera, who heads the Finance Houses’ Association, an industry grouping. "That rate has decreased to 50 in some companies." more..

Axe over Duleep?

Mar 20 (DM) Rapid moves are afoot at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to get rid of its charismatic Chief Executive Officer Duleep Mendis, sources told “Daily Mirror” yesterday. SLC’s new interim committee headed by D.S. de Silva had conducted an unofficial discussion on the future of Mendis recently and has decided to remove Mendis, alleging that the experienced CEO was a hindrance to operations at SLC, sources added. more..

Sri Lanka's Cricketers counselled by guru after Lahore attack

Mar 20 (AFP) Sri Lanka's cricketers on Friday wrapped up a post-trauma course of deep breathing and yoga taught by an Indian spiritual guru to overcome the shock of the Lahore attack. Swami Sadyojathah, from the Bangalore-based Art of Living Foundation, taught the 23-member squad special breathing techniques and meditation to "unlock the stress" after the deadly assault. more..

UN saddened by death of aid worker in ‘no-fire’ zone

Mar 20 (UN) The United Nations said today it was saddened to learn of the death of an aid worker with the non-governmental organization CARE in the so-called “no-fire” zone in Sri Lanka’s strife-torn north. R. Sabesan, a national staff member with CARE, died of injuries sustained as a result of shelling inside the zone, compounded by a lack of sufficient medical care, according to a statement issued by the UN in Colombo. more..

78 Sri Lankan fishermen in Indian custody

Mar 20 (PTI) Seventyeight Sri Lankan fishermen are currently held in Indian prisons for straying into the waters of the country, a minister of the island nation has said. Sri Lanka's Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Felix Perera told the Parliament here that as many as 498 fishermen have been taken into custody in foreign countries since 2000 and 79 are still in prisons. more..

Central Bank sees more rupee rate flexibility

Mar 20 (Reuters) Sri Lanka expects greater flexibility in the rupee exchange rate after an expected $1.9 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan comes through, a top cental bank official said on Friday. Sri Lanka's central bank this month said negotiations are under way for a $1.9 billion IMF loan that is expected to be signed by the end of the month, after the terms and conditions are agreed. more..

Sri Lanka introduces new computerized driving license

Mar 20 (TT) The Sri Lankan government will issue a new driving license in accordance with international standards with effect from March 27. The new license will contain a microchip that will carry the driver’s information, including personal data, digital photograph, fingerprint and digital signature, and the individual's record of traffic offences stored in it. more..

Sri Lanka troops find abandoned rebel naval base

Mar 20 (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers have found an abandoned rebel naval base as fierce fighting between troops and Tamil Tigers defending their last remaining northern enclave left 11 rebels dead, the military said Friday. The army has ousted the Tamil rebels from all but one of their strongholds in an all-out offensive the government hopes will soon end the island's 25-year-old civil war. more..

Australia for political deal to end Sri Lanka crisis

Mar 20 (AFP) Australia on Friday called on Sri Lanka to present "credible political reforms" to end ethnic bloodshed, and expressed grave concern over the worsening humanitarian crisis in the island's north. Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith also asked Tamil Tiger rebels to lift all restrictions on civilians living in rebel-held areas amid allegations that the guerrillas are holding them as human shields. more..

Schoolgirl dies, 27 more hospitalised after vaccination

Mar 20 (IANS) A schoolgirl died and 27 more had to be hospitalised after receiving vaccination against Rubella in Sri Lanka's southern Matara province, officials here said Friday. M.D. Wanninayakka, media secretary for the health ministry, said the dead girl was among the group of students who fell ill and were hospitalised after being vaccinated against Rubella Thursday. "Such an incident has never happened before in Sri Lanka. more..

Are Sri Lankans guilty of war crimes?

Mar 21 (UPI) Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, last Friday described the war situation in Sri Lanka as “absolutely desperate,” and suggested that both the Sri Lankan armed forces and the separatist LTTE could be found guilty of crimes against humanity for their wartime actions. "Certain actions being undertaken by the Sri Lankan military and by the LTTE may constitute violations of international human rights and humanitarian law," Pillay said. more..

Red Cross provided permanent homes and livelihood support for 48 tsunami affected families

Mar 21 (RS) 48 families in Lunawa, Moratuwa, who lost their homes during the tsunami 2004 and up to now living in temporary shelters, became the happy families that moved in today to new permanent houses built by the Red Cross. 48 apartments in six blocks comprising of common amenities such as water supply, electricity and roads is a project initiated by the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society and more..

More voices on Tamil protest

Mar 21 (TS) I was one of the several thousand peaceful Tamil protesters in Toronto Monday and I want to take this opportunity to offer my sincere and unreserved apology to our fellow Torontonians whose daily routines were disturbed due to the huge gathering. But the Tamil community collectively feels helpless, infuriated, frustrated and depressed about the genocide of our brethren in the northern Sri Lanka. more..

Interim order against CMC garbage disposal tender

Mar 21 (CT) Colombo District Court judge Sampath Wijeratne issued an interim order in respect of a petition that seeks to restrain granting tender by the Colombo Municipal Council to dispose garbage to two urban divisions. The court issued the order after considering a petition filed by Municipal Councilor Milton Liyanage, who claims that granting tenders by the CMC is inconsistent with the prevailing government tender procedure. more..

Sri Lanka prohibits ship breaking

Mar 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka has ruled out ship breaking as an industry under its efforts to promote the island as a maritime hub, going against the trend in the region, according to a new national port and shipping policy. The policy, the draft of which was released this week, cited environmental concerns and lack of tidal differences for the decision. Previous shipping policies have mentioned ship breaking as one of the maritime sector industries that more..

Govt. acts against PB loan defaulters

Mar 21 (CT) The government says it has taken measures to recover the loans from individuals and companies who have defaulted payments obtained by them from the People's Bank. A total of 5,512 court cases have been filed against such defaulters, said Finance and State Revenue Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya in Parliament yesterday (Mar. 19). more..

'Charge or release' Sinhala Tigers

mar 21 (BBC) The Supreme Court has ordered authorities to file charges against the 14 suspects known as 'Sinhala Tigers' within a month or release them. A three member panel chaired by the Chief Justice Sarath N Silva ordered the Attorney General to take action after considering petitions filed by the suspects. The counsels appearing for the suspects pointed out that the AG pledged to charge the suspects within a month, more than a month ago, but has failed to implement it. more..

TNA, MP Vinodharadhalingam praises the government‘s effort to IDP’s

mar 21 (GDI) Wanni district TNA MP Vinodharadhalingam commented at the parliament session the government effort to resettle all the IDPs in the recently liberated of the North from the hands of the LTTE. He further added that he has personally visited the Kadiragamapuram welfare camp and has witnessed for himself the manner in which, the Government is taking care of the displaced persons. more..

UPFA launched new web site

mar 21 (GDI) United People's Freedom Alliance launched a new web site ( under the patronage of Mahinda Rajapakse. He inaugurated this web site by using video conference system, the coordinator of the newly launched wed site told today (20). This is the official website of the Campaign Centre of the United People's Freedom Alliance, undoubtedly the broadest coalition of progressive forces in the country. more..

A profile of human rights and humanitarian issues in the Vanni and Vavuniya

mar 21 (CPA) This report focuses on the human rights and humanitarian situation resulting from the conflict in the North of Sri Lanka, between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE, currently concentrated in the Mullaitivu District. This report is the result of a field trip undertaken by CPA to Vavuniya on 7-8 February, as well as follow up interviews, reports and articles, and a discussion held in Colombo on 13 February. more..

Confession not voluntary - Tissa

mar 21 (BBC) A confession made to anti-terror unit of Sri Lanka police was not made voluntarily, a detained Sri Lankan journalist told the open court. JS Tissainayagam told Colombo High Court that he handed over a written statement, in Tamil, to a police officer on the officer's request. Therefore, he does not accept his own confession, Mr. Tissainayagam said. Mr. Tissainayagam is charged by the Attorney General (AG) under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). more..

Sri Lankan postmaster who refuses to serve non-English speakers faces calls from Muslims to be sacked

mar 21 (DM) The postmaster who banned customers who can't speak English from his branch today faced calls for him to be sacked from angry local Muslims. Sri Lankan-born Deva Kumarasiri introduced the ban this week because he believes all immigrants in Britain should learn the language and take pride in the new homeland. Mr Kumarasiri, who runs Sneinton Boulevard Post Office in inner-city Nottingham, more..

Exodus from fighting accelerates

mar 21 (BBC) The Sri Lankan military says the number of civilians escaping the war zone in the north-east has increased significantly in recent days. Military spokesman Brig Udaya Nanayakkara said in the last two days alone, more than three-thousand people had fled from the shrinking area of territory held by the Tamil Tigers. The government says nearly fifty-thousand civilians have now come out of the zone and are being housed in special camps. more..

Navy rescues 131 Tamil civilians

mar 21 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government said its Navy rescued 131 Tamil civilians fled from Tamil Tiger rebels' controlled area in the north on Friday. The government said the group of 65 adults and 66 children were rescued by the Navy in the seas of Chundikulum in the Mullaittivu district. The civilians were found on board eight white flag-hoisted dinghies while attempting to flee the LTTE controlled areas of Mullaittivu, the government said. more..

AISB in Sri Lanka

LTTE threat to Kerala airports; security tightened

Mar 21 (PTI) Security was on Friday stepped up in all the three international airports in Kerala following an alert about LTTE threat to the key installations, police sources said here. The Air India security office here received the alert message from its Mumbai office, they said. The CISF, incharge of airport security, has stepped up vigil at the airports in Thiruvananthapuram, Nedumbassery (Kochi) and Karippur (Kozhikode). more..

Civilians come trickling in again

Mar 21 (DW) The flow of civilians into Army's hands has again increased thanks to the efforts of the 55 Division. This week alone some 8,000 civilians escaped the LTTE's clutches. 1,400 escaped and handed themselves over to the Army today. Some of these civilians have escaped with gunshot wounds caused by LTTE attack teams along the way. The IDPs often have blood-chilling experiences to tell. more..

FBR grants 100% concession on imports from Sri Lanka

Mar 21 (DT) Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has granted 100 percent concession of customs duty on products imported from Sri Lanka under Pak-Sri Lanka Free Trade Area (PSFTA), according to a notification issued here Friday. At the enforcement of PSFTA Pakistan had allowed 100 percent customs duty concession on import of 225 products importable from Sri Lanka. However, 149 products were subject to tariff rate quotas and more..

Imagine and innovate to honour Sir Arthur C Clarke!

Mar 21 (GV) During his illustrious career spanning over 60 years, Sir Arthur C Clarke received a large number of honours, awards and accolades from scientific, academic and literary bodies worldwide. At one time or another, he won all the top science fiction literary awards. He received honorary doctorates from universities in the east and west. In 1998, Queen Elizabeth II knighted him for his ’services to literature’. more..

The moderate Muslim: An endangered species?

Mar 21 (GV) There is an endangered species out there – strangely it is not an animal, or bird or plant but is in fact a human being - it is the moderate Muslim. Many hundreds of years ago, the moderate and modern Muslim was alive and well and vocal. It was they who engineered and flourished in the great Islamic empires of old. Education, Science, literature, astronomy, architecture, travel, mathematics and other spheres of knowledge blossomed and prospered under the moderate thinking Muslim. more..

Tigers and their apologists at the UN

Mar 21 (AT) The Comical story of LTTE’s Nadesan who cannot communicate even with his own supremo Prabhakaran offering to negotiate with China typifies the extent to which the Tigers are in disarray. Nadesan’s UN "intelligence" is based on a South Bronx blogger who runs a site called Inner City Press. Nadesan is attempting to use Inner City fiction to white wash the Tigers. more..

'WHO expert to probe Matara Rubella death and catastrophe'

Mar 21 (AT) The Government has requested the World Health Organisation to send a top expert to Colombo to probe how a 12 year-old St. Thomas Matara Girls’ College schoolgirl died this morning and how 29 others were hospitalised following the administration of the Rubella injection for Japanese Encephalitis. "I have personally ordered the WHO to sent and expert to probe this as this is the first and only time this happened in this country," more..

Sri Lankan Conflict: Global economic crisis must instill a sense of urgency to find a political solution

Mar 21 (AT) There are several schools of thought in Sri Lanka and outside about the existence, nature and a solution to the conflict. Some are of the view that there is no conflict. This view is shared mostly by Sinhala people. For them, since there is no conflict, the nature of a non existent conflict, and therefore finding a solution, is superfluous. From all accounts this view is that of a minority of Sinhala/Sri Lankan people. more..

Tamil Tigers 'finished', says former leader

Mar 21 (Guardian) The LTTE, a rebel army that has fought a 25-year civil war against the Sri Lankan state, is "finished", having lost more than 90% of its fighters, the group's former military commander said yesterday. In an interview with the Guardian, Colonel Karuna said around 1,500 surviving rebels, who have made their last stand on a sliver of the north-east coast, are surrounded by 65,000 troops of the Sri Lankan army, more..

SEP candidate addresses power workers in Sri Lanka

Mar 21 (wsws) A meeting of power workers in Sri Lanka called to discuss legislation that sets the stage for privatisation has highlighted the political gulf between the Socialist Equality Party's perspective and that of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). The "open dialogue" for Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) workers on Tuesday was convened by the JVP-affiliated Ceylon Electricity Workers Union (CEWU) and its umbrella organisation, the CEB United Trade Union Front (UTUF). more..

D.S. de Silva may not last long as Sri Lankan cricket head

Mar 21 (TC) The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been dismissed by his critics as a puppet. The opposition claim that he is a powerless figurehead, who is controlled by the Congress Leader Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. As Dr. Manmohan Singh faces elections, a puppet may have been made the head of Sri Lanka Cricket. DS de Silva was appointed as the Chairman this month. He will lead yet another interim committee. Some people fear that DS may be a proxy for others. more..

Governments must not only enforce rule of law but also adhere to it

Mar 21 (TC) "In the face of our acquiescence to anti-democratic tendencies within the community, our plea for democracy becomes a meaningless exercise. Many individuals and young persons who voiced criticism of the political forces have been victimised, driven away, or killed while we looked on." The above is an apposite comment on the state of our society today. But in fact it was written over twenty years ago in a public statement issued by over fifty academics of the University of Jaffna. more..

Health Ministry vehicles & staff heavily engaged in election campaign

Mar 21 (LT) Reports reaching us state Minister of Health Nimal Siripala de Silva has engaged vehicles belonging to the Ministry of Health and its employees in the UPFA campaign for the Western PC election. Health employees and others who have close connections with the minister have been assembled at the Ministry of Health this morning and are being sent to various places in the Western Province with leaflets and instructions to carry out propaganda for the UPFA. more..

Minister responsible for girl’s death – Health union

Mar 21 (LT) The Minister of Health Nimal Siripala de Silva who supported importing sub-standard drugs to this country should take the responsibility of the death of one student and the state where 27 more students of St. Thomas’ Girls School fell sick due to an allergic state after the inoculation of Rubella vaccine and he should be brought before the law states All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU). more..

Broadcasting in Norwegian style

Mar 21 (LG) Norwegian media’s studied silence of the Sri Lankan war on terror was suspended around three months ago. The silence was maintained as a real-politics necessity. Which means; to keep the Norwegian folk, ignorant of what’s happening in the island? Now the issues have overtaken, and a new reality has dawned. The impending annihilation of the LTTE terrorist is keeping the UD nervous. Understandably UD’s terrorist allies need lots of oxygen presently. more..

Sir Arthur C. Clarke Remembered

Mar 21 (AT) “Since 1956 Sir Arthur C. Clarke who came to Sri Lanka to explore the waters of our sea as a scuba diver, had continued his mental exploration of the universe from Sri Lanka right up to his demise last year. "Professor Tissa Vitarana reminisced the “Father of the concept of extra terrestrial communication through geo-stationery satellites", at the ceremony held to commemorate the first death anniversary of Sir. Arthur C. Clarke, more..

Probes on two cases of child abuse

Mar 21 (LG) Extensive investigations have been launched into two cases of child abuse, says the National Child Protection Authority.“Two girls, subject to abuse by close relatives, have already been taken into the protection of the Authority,” says Jagath Wallawatte, Chairman of the Authority. Information has revealed that one victim is a girl of ten years and a resident of Colombo. Two persons have been arrested, produced before court and subsequently released on bail over the offence. more..

Canadian Outrage: Genocide and a 7-year old

Mar 21 (LG) Toronto Monday March 16, 2009 was another one of those days chosen by the Pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora to flex their muscles for the Great Eelam Cause. A working day was chosen instead of Saturday or Sunday to attract the greatest possible attention, at the greatest possible nuisance to perpetrate the greatest possible fraud – The Genocide. This was supposed to be a demonstration to highlight genocide against the Tamils, their kith and kin in Sri Lanka who have long ceased to be of any concern to them. more..