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WHO team arrive today

Mar 22 (SO) Two World Health Organisation vaccine experts from the WHO regional office, New Delhi, Dr. Suchard Geheart and Dr. Madhav will arrive in Colombo this afternoon on the request made by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva who is also the Chairman, WHO to make their own investigation into the death of Hansini, Healthcare, Nutrition and Uva Wellassa Development Ministry Secretary Dr. Kahandaliyanage said. more..

Food prices drop in North

Mar 22 (SO) The Chamber of Commerce comprising a sizeable number of big and small-time traders in the Jaffna peninsula is in full praise for the Government in sending essential items to Jaffna and thus putting an end to shortages. Prices dropped drastically in the North according to the Commissioner General of the Essential Services, S.B. Divaratne. Arrangements have been made to send a second convoy of twenty five lorries carrying 320 metric tons of essential items to Jaffna on Thursday more..

Time running out for LTTE

Mar 22 (SO) The public attitude towards the ongoing humanitarian operations by the Security Forces is changing very fast. They have become the keenest observers of this drama. Sometimes their observations are much advanced than those of the people who are really involved in this process and extra sensitive towards any incident taking place there. What they want is to see an end to the war very soon. more..

Interview with Prof Sisira Jayasuriya

Minister Devananda assures IDPs of improved facilities

Mar 22 (SO) The Internally Displaced People who are currently sheltered in various IDP centres in Vavuniya described the LTTE leader Prabhakaran as a monster when the Minister of Social Services and the Chairman of the Northern Special Task Force Douglas Devananda met them yesterday. Minister Devananda who is currently in Vavuniya visiting the IDP centres met the IDPs at Gamini Vidyalaya welfare centre yesterday. more..

Costly embassies may face the axe

Mar 22 (NS) Foreign Ministry officials are perturbed over a decision to fill the ambassador’s post in Poland as this station was earmarked for closure considering the huge cost involved in maintaining it while that country hardly buys anything from Sri Lanka other than some tea. The last ambassador in Warsaw Clarence Chinniah suddenly died in January of a heart attack and the position there had remained vacant ever since. more..

Baiz faces expulsion

Mar 22 (NS) With the SLMC determined to take tough disciplinary action against Deputy Livestock Minister Kamarudeen Abdul Baiz, for accepting SLFP membership, he is likely to lose his Parliamentary seat. The SLMC high command is expected to meet today in Colombo to discuss the course of action to be taken against Baiz. During the North Western Provincial Council election held recently, Baiz was offered the SLFP membership and it was given wide publicity. more..

Leadership struggle within the kraal

Mar 22 (NS) The circus that is now the UNP is, apparently, going from one performance to another - this week saw the umpteenth leadership struggle to oust Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, and the appointment of yet another committee, to try and sort out the resulting mess. From what transpired during the course of this week, only two issues are certain. Firstly, Ranil Wickremesinghe is hell bent on staying put, no matter what more..

Sri Lanka to declare Katchativu a sacred area

Mar 22 (AT) Sri Lanka is considering to declare Katchativu, a sacred area and pilgrims from India is to be issued with entry visa for short stay, to participate in the St. Anthony’s church feast, normally held in the last week of February or in the first week of March, every year. Katchativu, is a small island located in the Palk Bay, a mile long, three quarter mile broad at its widest and area-wise less than half a square mile. more..

Clergy expects to recover Golden Key money

Mar 22 (NS) With increasing criticism about Buddhist monks and Catholic priests depositing colossal sums of money in the controversial Golden Key Company, Chief Incumbent of Sri Naga Viharaya, Kotte Ven Dr. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera said they decided to deposit all funds belonging to the Naga Viharaya Development Fund (which was received by the Dayaka Saba) in Golden Key to obtain a decent interest to develop the temple and the dhamma school. more..

Lankan HC protests over bid to send shipment to Vanni

Mar 22 (Island) The Sri Lankan High Commissioner in London Justice Nihal Jayasinghe, has protested to Admiral Lord West, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Home Office, against the shipment of food, medicine and money to be sent to the Vanni by pro-LTTE Tamils in the United Kingdom without the permission of the Sri Lankan Government. more..

Artillery pounds wounded Tamils trapped on beach

Mar 22 (Times) A Thousand amputees were among the wounded and dying waiting to be rescued from a beach in northeast Sri Lanka yesterday, according to aid agencies. Frightened Tamil families, the latest victims of the country’s 26-year civil war, were hiding in makeshift trenches as they came under artillery fire while waiting to be evacuated from Puthumathalan beach. Last week the International Committee of the Red Cross removed 460 injured and their families from the area, more..

Indian board to stage IPL abroad

Mar 22 (Reuters) The Indian cricket board will stage the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 tournament abroad this year due to security issues, the country's cricket chief said on Sunday. "Because the government ... are not in a position to provide security, we were forced to take the decision to move the event outside of India," Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Shashank Manohar told a news conference. more..

39 names including long servers before High Posts Committee

Mar 22 (Island) The Parliamentary Committee on High Posts has invited public representations by April 6 for 39 senior public sector appointments including two of Secretaries to Ministries, the Chairman of the People’s Bank, Sri Lanka Ports Authority and Mihin Lanka. Several of those whose suitability will be examined by the Parliamentary Committee have been in office over a long period and include Lake House Chairman Bandula Padmakumara, SLBC Chairman Hudson Samarasinghe etc. more..

Golden Key depositors dismiss plan to re-calculate interest paid earlier

Mar 22 (Island) A formula to settle Golden Key depositors after deducting a percentage of the interest paid to them earlier, has been forwarded by the company as part of the proposed re-payment plan, DSG Sarath Jayamanne said. The re-calculation of the interest paid to depositors on the basis of current market rates has been proposed to reduce the collapsed Ceylinco subsidiary’s liability of Rs. 26 billion to around Rs. 19-20 billion, he said. more..

UN split on Lankan issue

Mar 22 (ST) A move spearheaded by Austria, Mexico and Costa Rica -- and backed by the United States -- to bring the issue of civilian killings in the war-torn Wanni district of Sri Lanka before the United Nations Security Council is being strenuously warded off by at least seven countries led by China and Russia. The 15-member UN Security Council remains divided over a proposal to hold an informal "briefing" on more..

Rampant Rulers

Mar 22 (Island) A progeny of Mahinda Chintana, the Lankaputhra Bank, will be bailed out by the Treasury to the tune of Rs. 400 million, to make up for the (irrecoverable) loan it gave to another Mahinda Chintana progeny, Mihin Air. That transaction is symptomatic of the financial thinking and praxis of the Rajapakse administration. But the government is not the sole culprit. The Auditor General is on record expressing his dissatisfaction with the parliament for failing to act on his 2007 Report which more..

'More breaking news' soon, says Lanka PM

Mar 22 (PTI) Confident that Sri Lankan troops will achieve bigger success in their battle against the LTTE, the Prime Minister, Mr Ratnasiri Wickremanayake has said there would be “more breaking news” on the war front soon as security forces killed 38 rebels in fierce fighting in the north. “In a few days there will be more breaking news. The civilians are unfortunately getting trapped between the LTTE and security forces,” more..

UNP faces yet another revolt

Mar 22 (ST) With three weeks to go for the National New Year, if there is one word that would encapsulate the preoccupation of Sri Lankans in the past many months, it is 'war'. In the battlefields of the north-east, Tiger guerrillas, holed up in some 25 square kilometers of land, are continuing to offer resistance. Prime Minister, Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, told Parliament the war would "be over within days." more..

Presidential pardon bypasses legal process

Mar 22 (ST) A decision by President Mahinda Rajapaksa last year to commute the death sentence being served by the wife of Minister Milroy Fernando for a double murder to life sentence helped him circumvent a lengthy legal process that needs to be followed with regard to pardoning a person on death row. Mary Juliet Monica Fernando was among 13 women whose death sentences were commuted last year and who were freed recently on a Presidential pardon to mark International Women’s Day. more..

Jayalalithaa slams Sri Lankan govt's move on Kachchativu

Mar 22 (PTI) AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa on Sunday flayed the Sri Lankan government's move to declare Kachchativu, an islet ceded to it by India in 1974, as a 'sacred area', saying it belonged to India and demanded its retrieval. Kachchativu, situated in the Palk Straits between Sri Lanka and India, has been in the limelight in recent past as fishermen from Tamil Nadu at times are attacked allegedly by more..

IMF team here today to hold talks on crucial loan

Mar 22 (ST) An IMF team is due in Colombo today to continue discussions and finalise the request by Sri Lanka for a $1.9 billion standby loan facility to prop up the country’s dwindling foreign exchange reserves, Central Bank (CB) officials said. They said Governor Ajit Nivard Cabraal who went to Washington on Thursday for talks with the IMF in addition to other work, would be back tomorrow or on Tuesday. more..

Resentments in Sri Lanka reflect challenges to peace

Mar 22 (NYT) The homeless Tamil refugees camped in shanties here provide a hint of the difficulties and divisions that lie ahead as the Sri Lankan government fights what it says is a final battle to end a 25-year separatist insurgency. Ethnic Tamils who fled an earlier round of fighting three years ago, the refugees still live in uncertainty, surrounded by barbed wire, and their resentment against the majority-Sinhalese government has grown. more..

TNA parliamentarian reiterates his political stance

Mar 22 (TN) S. Vino Noharathalingam, TNA Vanni parliamentarian, released a report to the media Sunday in which he condemns and rejects certain malicious misreporting and misrepresentation of his speech in the Sri Lanka Parliament Thursday, making himself clear on his unwavering commitment to the struggle of the Tamil Nation. The following is the English translation of his media report: more..

Sri Lanka's economic troubles mostly home brewed: economists

Mar 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka's current balance of payments troubles are mostly home brewed and an expected return to an International Money Fund bailout is simply a new cycle in a long history of economic mismanagement, economists said. "This is a home brewed macro economic crisis," Razeen Sally from the London School of Economics, said in Colombo. "It is not a result of global forces for the most part." more..

Sri Lankan military says 1,200 flee war zone

Mar 22 (AP) Nearly 1,200 civilians have fled fierce fighting in northern Sri Lanka as government troops capture more territory from Tamil Tiger separatists, the military said Sunday. About 1,055 of the civilians, including 380 children, reached military-held areas over the last 24 hours near Puthkkudiyirippu, where battles between government troops and the rebels have been raging for weeks, military spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara said. more..

Prabhakaran is alive, leading the war in Lanka: LTTE

Mar 22 (CNN) Prabhakaran is alive and leading the war in Sri Lanka – the LTTE's political wing chief Nadesan tells CNN-IBN in an exclusive e-mail interview. He also says the LTTE doesn’t consider India its enemy. CNN-IBN: How do you respond to Sri Lanka government's claim that the LTTE is blocking a safe passage for civilians trapped in your areas? Nadesan: First of all, it is not appropriate to use the word "trapped." more..

'LTTE wanted a huge Tamileelam state'

Mar 22 (ZN) The LTTE led by its supremo V Prabhakaran had aspired to carve out a big Tamileelam state extending from near Colombo to the southern part of Sri Lanka, the island nation's top defence official has said. "The large built up of its naval, air force and ground fighters including the suicide cadres was suggestive of the LTTE ambitions," Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the Defence Secretary said. more..

Sri Lanka IPL offer turned down

Mar 23 (BBC) Sri Lanka offered India to host the troubled Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament, officials say. Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), D S de Silva, told BBC Sandeshaya that President Mahinda Rajapaksa authorised SLC to assure Indian cricket board of full security if the IPL is played in the island. Mr. de Silva said he learnt that Indian board has, however, approached few other countries. more..

Medicine arrives in Puthumatalan

Mar 23 (BBC) The last-remaining major health facility inside rebel-controlled territory in Sri Lanka has received a consignment of essential medicines from the Sri Lankan government. A senior health official inside the conflict zone in north-eastern Sri Lanka, Dr T Varatharaja, said that more than fifty essential medical items, including vaccines for children, were delivered to the hospital in Putumatalan in the Mullaitivu district more..

Legendary American Jesuit Fr. Henry Miller leaves Batticaloa for New Orleans

Mar 23 (TC) On a recent quiet afternoon as a breeze began to blow through the large windows of his office located in the attic of St. Michael's College, Father Henry Miller looked back on a life-time in Batticaloa."I have been able to do things that no one would dare to do; I could go and raise a clamour and I’ve done that many times," he mused from behind his desk, littered with pencils, sea shells, and rusty staplers. more..

Who is a terrorist? confounding Canadian law

Mar 23 (TC) At least some of the Tamils who rallied in downtown Toronto earlier this week consider the LTTE a liberation movement, not a terrorist group, and their leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, a freedom fighter. Flying flags of the Tamil Tigers – or ones that looked very similar – they demanded that Ottawa help establish a Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka. "The Tigers are my freedom fighters," rally organizer Aranee Muru, a Canadian-born York University student, told The Star. more..

Modern mysteries of education

Mar 23 (LG) Prof. J.E. Jayasuriya, in whose honour and memory we are meeting today, was a man of outstanding gifts of intellect and character. He laid the foundation of the academic education profession in Sri Lanka. As a university don, he had a lasting impact on hs colleagues and students. He also made wide-ranging contributions to the formulation of education policy in the country during his tenure as the Chairman of the first National Education Commission, more..

TamilNet can surprise

Mar 23 (LG) In statement made to the Court Friday, senior Tamil journalist J.S. Tissainayagam who has been held in detention for more than a year under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), said: "I was and am still an advocate against terrorism. I have criticized terrorism in whatever form. I never advocated violence, my objective was to generate non violent means of resolving the conflict, my research, writings and work was towards achieving this." more..

With UNP becoming chauvinist minority votes in PC polls may go to left parties

Mar 23 (TC) All parties are eagerly looking forward to the provincial council elections. Anyone looking at these campaigns might conclude that all the parties are committed to the provincial councils and the devolution of power. If these institutions are not equipped with sufficient power to rule, it is futile for anybody to spend millions of rupees to get into them. more..

‘End of war’ stores up major new conflicts

Mar 23 (LG) The claims of the army commanders that the battle zone is restricted to an increasingly small geographical area with the LTTE operations confined to between 30 and 50 square kilometres, is only one interpretation of the reality on the ground. To think that the war with the LTTE – a heavily armed guerrilla force - will come to an end with such strategies is like believing Jehovah’s Witnesses predictions about the end of the world. more..

Pro-LTTE Tamil university students advocate terrorism

Mar 23 (LG) Canadian-born York University student Aranee Muru probably Murugesu or Murugamoorthy or whatever but that is immaterial. Reported as the pro-LTTE Monday March 16 rally organizer Aranee stated, “the Tigers are my freedom fighters.” This appeared in the Toronto Star today March 21. On this very day in Wanni northern Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Navy rescued 473 civilians held hostage by Aranee Muru’s freedom fighters as more..

Promoting LTTE terrorism in New Zealand

Mar 23 (LG) We have seen newspaper reports that the Tamil diaspora in New Zealand are out in the Auckland streets again, to express their support for Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka. This type of protests are being carried out by some Tamil groups in New Zealand since 04 February 2009. The observers claim that they were not just, as organizers claimed, an expression of support for Tamil civilians in war-torn Sri Lanka. more..

'Majority of UNP powers to be devolved to Political Committee'

Mar 23 (AT) The eight members Committee of the United National Party, appointed to make recommendations for party’s reforms will recommend that a majority of the powers be devolved to the Party’s Political Affairs Committee. This will be the cornerstone of the proposals which will be presented to the Party’s working committee which will meet at the Party’s Siri Kotha headquarters at 3 pm tomorrow (23), more..

I'll be back, vows the patriotic postmaster

Mar 23 (DM) The patriotic postmaster who banned customers who refused to speak English has vowed to return after being forced out of his branch. Local Muslims started a campaign against Deva Kumarasiri, who says immigrants should take as much pride in the UK as he has since moving here from Sri Lanka 18 years ago. He has now been moved from the inner-city branch to one in a predominantly-white area. more..

UAE warns its nationals against visiting Sri Lanka

Mar 23 (IANS) The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sunday urged its citizens not to visit Sri Lanka except for 'urgent matters', due to security conditions in that country, WAM reported. The government also urged its citizens living in Sri Lanka to register with the UAE's embassy in Colombo, a foreign ministry official said Sunday. Fighting between Sri Lankan security forces and the Tamil Tiger rebels has intensified more..

Surrender fires, talks later - LTTE told

Mar 23 (AT) Government flatly rejected an appeal by the LTTE for an unconditional talks. Earlier, B. Nadesan called for an urgent ceasefire, saying the Tigers would enter negotiations with the government "without pre-conditions". He has made this appeal in an interview with the Sunday Times published from the United Kingdom. When Asian Tribune contacted a Governmnet spokesman on the latest appeal by Nadesan, he said that this was a last minute desperate appeal to safeguard V. Prabakaran, more..

Sri Lankan fans shocked over shifting IPL out of India

Mar 23 (IANS) The decision by the Indian cricket board Sunday to shift the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament to another country outside Asia has evoked shock and dismay among Sri Lankan fans who fear the move would deprive them of watching the game live on TV due to time difference. The BCCI announced Sunday that the second edition of the Twenty20 IPL will be played outside the country because more..

Sri Lankans face humanitarian crisis trapped in 'no fire zone', warns UN

Mar 23 (Guardian) More than 150,000 people are being shelled daily and are running short of water and medicine in a Sri Lankan-government declared "No Fire Zone", according to witness reports and United Nations briefing documents obtained by the Guardian. Tens of thousands of people are caught between the last 1,500 fighters of the LTTE and the advancing troops of the Sri Lankan army. more..

How long can India especially Tamil Nadu remain silent about Sri Lanka?

Mar 23 (TC) The Sri Lankan media prediction that the war against the Tigers will soon come to a successful conclusion has not happened. It is becoming a protracted struggle. What is more, the war is taking a heavy toll of innocent civilians, who are trapped between the ruthless army and inhuman Tigers. Since media and humanitarian agencies have no access to the war zones, the estimate of casualties naturally is only guess work. more..

Sri Lanka looks to Chinese for post-war tourism boost

Mar 23 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka has pinned its hopes on Chinese visitors to boost the island nation's flagging tourism industry, which has been badly hit by years of civil war and the global financial crisis. Milinda Moragoda, minister of tourism for Sri Lanka, identified China as the main market for his country when he flew in to meet with Shao Qiwei, director of the China National Tourism Administration. more..

Mahela Jayawardene interview

'Maximum attention will be focused on the basic needs of the people'

Mar 23 (GDI) The Maximum attention will be focused on fulfilling the basic needs of the general public. Sri Lanka has now embarked upon a victorious path in moulding a new country. The President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. The President issuing a message to the national ceremony held in Colombo yesterday in connection with the International water day stated that Sri Lanka, at such a moment, has made arrangements to provide pure drinking water to the masses. more..

International Meteorological Day Today

Mar 23 (GDI) The national celebration of the World Meteorological Day 2009 will be held at the Auditorium of the Department of Meteorology, Colombo, and today. This year theme of the Meteorological Day is “Weather, climate and the air we breathe”. Each year, on 23 March, the World Meteorological Organization, its 188 Members and the worldwide meteorological community celebrate World Meteorological Day around a chosen theme. more..

'The Government's priority is to set free the trapped civilians'

Mar 23 (GDI) Though the LTTE has invited the Government to hold unconditional peace talks, the Government’s priority is to set free the trapped civilians first, and to demand the LTTE to lay down arms and proceed with the peace process or come into a conclusion benevolent to trapped civilians, Minister of Media Lakshman Yapa Abeyawardana said at the media conference today (23). more..