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Number trapped in Wanni less than 60,000

Mar 23 (LG) The number of civilians still trapped in the conflict zone is less that 60,000, says the security forces.The LTTE is now restricted to a mere 25 sq. kilometers of which 20 sq. kilometers is part of the government declared Safe Zone, according to security forces. Meanwhile another 1,055 civilians who arrived from the safe zone handed themselves over to the security forces in Puthukudi Irippu. There were 308 men, 376 women and 371 children in the group. more..

Breaking the Deadlock

Mar 23 (LG) Who will blink first – the LTTE or the Sri Lankan Government? It is now as much a war of nerves as it is otherwise. The nerves of tens of thousands of Tamils caught in the crossfire may not be made of the same matter, either. Barring an occasional Diaspora-led street-protest in some western city, the civilian victims now remain a contestable statistic, and just that. more..

Sorry Nadesan, there will be no ceasefire

Mar 23 (LG) Former Tiger Constable-General of the LTTE and currently its political commissar obviously serving the final hours of the Tigers in Sri Lanka is desperate for a ceasefire. It is virtually life and death for them. He must understand that time has run out for him and the monstrous Tigers. Any mercy shown will be at great cost to Sri Lanka if not for the entire Tamil community. more..

'No threats for Sinhalese in the East'

Mar 23 (GDI) We express our unanimous support for the president as a democratic political party “There are no threats for the Sinhala community in the East, and we never dream of living without them. We strongly condemn such mean allegations against us,” Eastern Province Chief Minster Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan said yesterday (22) at Potuwil, Arugambay. more..

UN security Council says: Information- Yes. Bail out plan for Tigers – No

Mar 23 (AT) The sources at the United Nations say that a suggestion by Austria and few other countries to have a briefing on the humanitarian issues in Sri Lanka is being transformed into a Tiger propaganda drive by interested parties. Although the Sri Lanka Government itself has provided information along with UN, OCHA, what the key Council members do not want is for the Tiger propaganda to project this to the diaspora that more..

Concessionary rates & bargains will prevail during New year

Mar 23 (GDI) “During the forthcoming Sinhala and Tami New year, essential food items will be sold at concessionary rates irrespective of current global economic meltdown and many other consumer necessities will be sold at bargain prices for the benefit of the local consumer,” Minister Bandula Gunawardhana said. The Minister was addressing a gathering at the opening ceremony of the Katugampola Cope – City shopping complex at Pannala in the Kurunegala district. more..

Govt. to acquire uncultivated lands

Mar 23 (PSM) Uncultivated lands will be acquired by the State in future under several regulations imposed under the Land Acquisition Act and the Agrarian Development Act and passed in the parliament recently. These regulations include Acquisition of uncultivated land with a view of cultivating crops to face the impending food crisis. Minister Maithripala Sirisena who explained about the new regulations in the House recently said more..

Terrorists versus Civilians

Mar 23 (PISL) It seems as though every man and his dog is worried about Sri Lankan civilians. Opening a newspaper without running into a statement expressing concern at their fate is almost impossible now, and not only in this country. Our civilians are on the minds of the entire world community, apparently from Great Danes to Yorkshire Terriers, and words of concern just keep flooding out of their mouths. more..

Ten more students of ‘Rubella poisoning’ in hospital

Mar 23 (LT) Ten out of the students of St. Thomas’ Girls’ High School who got sick after the inoculation of Rubella vaccination and admitted to Matara Hospital are still being treated in the hospital say hospital sources. Another student from St. Thomas’ Girls’ High School and a student from Grade 8 of Diyagaha West MV who had been inoculated with Rubella vaccination and got suddenly sick were admitted to Matara Hospital on the 21st. more..

Sri Lankan gets jail for fatal road crash

Mar 23 (GT) A Doha court has sentenced a Sri Lankan trailer driver to one year’s imprisonment after finding him responsible for a road accident that claimed the lives of four Omani men. The court also fined him QR10,000 and suspended his driving licence for three months. According to court sources, 12 camels also died in the accident. The families of the Omanis and the owner of the camels can file a civil case to claim compensation, more..

Ambassador's remarks to the European Chamber of Commerce session

Mar 23 (USE) Good evening and thank you for the invitation to speak with you tonight. First, congratulations on organizing this very timely forum. No matter where I go in Sri Lanka, I am asked by businesspeople and policy makers about my country’s perspectives concerning the global economic crisis. The question that I most often hear, especially when I’m visiting with Sri Lankans whose livelihood depends on exports, is more..

Kingswood clinch under 20 Rugby Sevens Title

Mar 23 (LNP) Kingswood College, Kandy drew first blood in the new inter-school rugby season when they clinched the Cup championship with a close 26 points to 17 victory over their home town rivals Trinity College in the all island under 20 seven a side tournament concluded at the Royal College Sports Complex in Reid Avenue yesterday. This tournament which was the curtain raiser for the 2009 inter-school rugby season was more..

Situation Report (Mar 23) by SLA

Mar 23 (SLA) TOUGH gun battles that resulted in the capture of IRANAIPPALAI junction in PUTHUKKUDIYIRUPPU by the Army troops two days ago were followed by clearing operations. Troops after clearing the area along the IRANAIPPALAI - PUTHUMATHALAN road witnessed how the LTTE had converted the IRANAIPPALAI Roman Catholic Government School to a terrorist stronghold, depriving innocent children in the area of their basic right to education. more..

Rubella vaccination inquiry: Action against errant officials

Mar 23 (DN) The Health Ministry said yesterday the full report into investigations into the Rubella vaccination which caused serious complications among students in Matara leading to the death of one will be presented to Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva today. Ministry officials said stern action will be taken against those responsible for this based on the report. more..

Lankan expats to help bring technology to rural children

Mar 23 (DN) The Government is drawing the support of Sri Lankan expatriates to bestow the latest technology to the children in rural areas to keep pace with the modern world, Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayaka said. The Prime Minister was speaking after opening the new computer unit of the Primary School, Millewa, last Friday. The unit was funded by two expatriates in Australia, Hemantha and Surani Punchihewa. more..

‘A Healthy Nation’ program launched

Mar 23 (DN) A massive dengue prevention programme has been launched by the Community Development and Public Utility Service Department of the Kurunegala Preadeshiya Sabha under the concept ‘A Healthy Nation’ within the Kurunegala PS Division covering the 121 Grama Niladari divisions to destroy all mosquito breeding places, in the area. The main objective of the program is to eradicate contraction of dengue from the PS division totally. more..

Over 1,000 people escape in dinghies

Mar 23 (Island) With Sea Tigers almost entirely committed to face the advancing army, the coastline north of Mullaitivu town has become the launching pad for civilians fleeing the LTTE-held territory now down to about 25 sq. km. The absence of a cohesive Sea Tiger deployment in the area has facilitated the getaway of hundreds of families this year. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that the rapid increase in the number of escapees was evidence of the deteriorating LTTE military power. more..

Interview with Udaya Gammanpila, Legal Advisor, JHU

Mar 23 (GV) I interviewed Udaya Gammanpila, the Legal Advisor to the JHU and erstwhile Chairman of the Central Environmental Authority (CEA). Udaya is now a candidate from the Colombo District for the Western Provincial Council elections to be held on 24th April 2009. I interviewed him in January, before he announced his candidature and just after the attacks on MTV and the assassination of Lasantha Wickremetunge. more..

PSC receives list of journalists hired by PANOS

Mar 23 (Island) The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) investigating INGOs and NGOs based in Sri Lanka has received a list of journalists employed by PANOS South Asia to report on what the INGO called conflict issues. The journalists, mostly from the print media, have signed memoranda of understanding with PANOS South Asia for submitting a specific number of articles for Rs. 96,000. more..

Tender dispute keeps e-NICs project grounded

Mar 23 (Island) A scheme launched three years ago to issue electronic national identity card has been delayed due to a dispute over an attempt by a tender board member to grant the contract to print them to an unsuccessful bidder rejected by the Technical Evaluation Committee on the grounds of technical competence. In February 2008, tenders were called for the e-NIC project which commenced on June 2, 2006 and eleven companies made bids. more..

'I am not hiding - depositors harassing me'

Mar 23 (DM) With reference to our story published on Saturday 21st March 2009, under the heading of Ceylinco Deputy Chairman gone hiding?, the Deputy Chairman referred in the article K.A.S Jayatissa had written to us denying that he is hiding but in matter of fact in overseas trying to get some bail out deals from foreign investors. “I am totally disagreeing with some statements published in the article and more..

INGOs, NGOs to be allowed access

Mar 23 (DM) The Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Ministry is expected to sign a MoU with NGOs and INGOs to allow them access into welfare camps and villages in Vavuniya and implement humanitarian projects. At present only UN agencies and the ICRC have been allowed access to these places without restriction. INGOs and NGOs which hope to launch humanitarian programmes for the displaced people should furnish a detailed report to the Ministry on their proposed projects. more..

UNP reforms before polls: Ranil

Mar 23 (DM) Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday the much awaited UNP reforms might be implemented before the Western Provincial Council election on April 25. Mr. Wickremesinghe expressed these views when he responded to a question by a party member during a meeting organized by WPC candidate Lasantha Gunawardene at his residence in Boralesgamuwa. more..

BAM International wins contract for fishery harbour

Mar 23 (NCE) BAM International has been awarded a contract for the design and construction of the fishery harbour in Dikkowita, Sri Lanka, some ten kilometres north of Colombo. Client is the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of Sri Lanka. Royal Haskoning is the Client’s Engineer. The contract value is approximately €44M. BAM International will start on site this month and completion is to be expected in two years. more..

Parliament: One sitting costs taxpayers eleven million rupees

Mar 23 (LNP) A single day's parliamentary sitting costs the taxpayers around Rs 11,490,537.74 (over eleven million) according to the latest statistics (2007) released to the media. Parliament met for 97 days in 2007 and the total amount those sittings cost the state coffers was Rs 1,114,582,161, the Annual Performance Report of the Parliament for the year 2007, presented to the House last week more..

Sri Lanka's top listed firms in Dow index

Mar 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's top listed firms, John Keells Holdings, Sri Lanka Telecom and Dialog Telekom, have been included in a new Dow Jones stock market index for the south Asian region, a Dow spokeswoman said. The global index provider and the South Asian Federation of Exchanges (SAFE) last week announced the new index, known as the Dow Jones SAFE 100 Index. more..

Sri Lankan ceramic firms cutting back production

Mar 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's listed ceramic tile and tableware firms say they have reduced production or may be compelled to do so, and possibly lay off workers, as sales have fallen sharply. They forecast much lower sales this year because of recession in key markets and also because they have become uncompetitive in international markets owing to an over-valued rupee and high domestic costs. more..

Navy kills five Tiger suicide rebels

Mar 23 (AFP) Sri Lanka's navy killed five Tamil Tiger suicide rebels as they tried to mingle with refugees fleeing to government-controlled areas in the north, the defence ministry said Monday. A navy patrol craft detected a rebel boat among three other boats carrying 54 civilians on Sunday. "The navy believes that the LTTE's intention here was to mix with troops on land on the sly and inflict a huge devastation on them," the statement said. more..

ICRC sends supplies to Sri Lanka war zone hospital

Mar 23 (AP) The first shipment of medical supplies in two weeks has been sent to the last remaining major health facility in Sri Lanka's war zone and 500 civilians have been evacuated from danger, the Red Cross said Monday. A lack of medicine and supplies has been blamed by the area's top health official for causing the needless deaths of hundreds of hospital patients caught in the all-out offensive the government has launched against Tamil Tiger rebels more..

Commissioner of Elections to meet media heads

Mar 24 (LT) Commissioner of elections Dayananda Dishanayake has decided to have discussions with all heads of media institution regarding unbiased reporting during the Western PC election campaign. The Commissioner has taken this decision to meet heads of media institutions after the discussion he held with secretaries of political parties where secretaries requested that media institutions should carry out balance reporting on the campaign. more..

Johnston calls for change in UNP leadership

Mar 24 (CT) The UNP should definitely have a change in its leadership if it is to take to the winning path, said party MP Johnston Fernando. A majority of UNP parliamentarians, including himself, is of the view that there should be a change in party policies as well, he told the media. He said, "We are not rebels. We are working for the betterment of the party, for its victory. We want to bring victory for the party. We will continue to do that in the future." more..

Tamil Nadu Govt. to take legal action if Sri Lanka declares islet sacred area

Mar 24 (PTI) The Tamil Nadu Government will not hesitate to initiate legal action if the Sri Lankan Government declared Kachatheevu islet in Palk Straits as a sacred area. Reacting to AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa's Sunday's statement on reports that the Sri Lankan Government has planned to declare Kachatheevu a sacred area, DMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said more..

Sri Lankan Airlines halves flights to India, trims costs

Mar 24 (LBO) State-run national carrier, Sri Lankan Airlines, has slashed flights to India from 100 a week to 51, as part of a cost-cutting strategy and re-aligning of services to conserve cash and maximize yields, an official said. In the first quarter of the financial year starting March 2008, the airline lost almost 50 million US dollars, on core airline operations, chief executive Manoj Gunewardena said. more..

Introducing nanotechnology to industries

Mar 24 (NN) Science and Technology Minister Prof. Tissa Vitarana stressed the importance of introducing Nanotechnology to industries and said fund controllers in the country must extend their fullest co-operation to develop the technology. He was speaking at a seminar on `Tapping the World of Nanotechnology’, organised by the National Science Foundation and Small and Medium Enterprise Developers of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Sri Lanka (FCCISL). more..

Two commit suicide over Sri Lankan issue

Mar 24 (ZN) Two more persons committed suicide today in two separate incidents in Tamil Nadu, allegedly distressed over the plight of Tamils in war-torn Sri Lanka. Marimuthu (60), a former Congress activist, set himself ablaze at Sivakasi in Virudhunagar district and police claimed to have recovered a letter in which he had urged Congress President Sonia Gandhi to intervene and stop the ethnic war. more..

US Senator urges Sri Lanka to protect civilians

Mar 24 (AFP) A key US Senator warned Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday that his government's failure to protect civilians in government safe zones was hurting the country's global standing. "While the Tamil Tigers have committed egregious acts, I am also alarmed by reports about actions taken by the government of Sri Lanka," Democrat John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote Rajapaksa. more..

President invites India to help rebuild railway line

Mar 24 (IANS) Launching a project to restore the railway line to northern Jaffna peninsula after 19 years, President Mahinda Rajapaksa Monday invited India, Pakistan, China and Japan to help rebuild the track. “On this occasion I call upon India, China, Pakistan, Japan and other countries that helped us in our struggle against terrorism to come forward and assist us in this reconstruction, so that terrorism would not be able to raise its head again,” more..

Supreme court halts sale of Ceylinco Consolidated, director's property

Mar 24 (LBO) Supreme Court has halted the sale of assets of Ceylinco Consolidated, an apex firm of the Ceylinco group, a collapsed credit card firm and the personal assets of the firm's directors, lawyers said. A group of 23 customers of Golden Key Credit Card Company who went to court saying the company was operating a finance business that should have been regulated by the Central Bank. They wanted the Central Bank to investigate the firm and find whether more..

Coconut cultivation in top gear in Kalutara

Mar 24 (FP) Coconut Development Board officials in Kalutara have completed an ambitious project by bringing 277 acres in the Kalutara district under coconut cultivation last year. According to the statistics of the Coconut Board nearly 36 acres have been re-planted last year and in 55 acres coconut saplings were planted as under growth of existing coconut plantations. It was also stated that nearly 105 acres of coconut land have been rehabilitated. more..

Indian High Commissioner in Lanka says Indian medical team functioning well

Mar 24 (AIR) Expressing concern about the displaced Tamil civilians, the Indian High Commissioner Mr. Alok Prasad said that the fully equipped Indian medical team with all facilities has been functioning well and so far treated more than a thousand patients coming from the war zone. The Indian Medical facility set up at Pulmoddai started functioning about a week back and is equipped with “fairly modern facilities”, more..

Sri Lanka dangerous for media: watchdog

Mar 24 (BBC) American-based media human rights group Committee to Protect Journalists [CPJ] says that escalating violence in South Asia is putting a growing number of journalists at risk. CPJ said that in its survey of fourteen countries where the authorities had failed to solve murders of journalists, six were in South Asia. It said attacks on media workers had increased in Sri Lanka and Pakistan as the security situation had worsened. more..

Ja-Ela Kapaala Kanda (Mount Calvary) celebrates 150 year anniversary

Mar 24 (AT) The belief has been that Mount Calvary is the place where Jesus Christ was crucified and the word Calvary could be a derivation of Latin word "Calvaria" meaning "a skull". It also has the name “Golgotha” and the meaning could be "mount of execution". Whatever the meaning anything that has any connection with Jesus Christ is venerated by Christians and in Sri Lanka in many areas Catholics used to identify hillocks and cliffs to more..

Japan wants UN briefing, Austria concerned about killing by both sides

Mar 24 (ICP) As Sri Lanka's government continues to ignore UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's month-old call for a suspension of fighting in the north, it also bragged of China's blocking of a Security Council briefing requested by the Council's European Union members along with, at least Mexico and the U.S.. Pro-government media claimed over the weekend that Japan, along with six other Council members including Turkey and Uganda, was also opposed to any briefing of the Council. more..

President summons all-party meet

Mar 24 (Hindu) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has summoned a meeting of all political parties, including the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA), on March 26 for an interaction “on the prevailing political situation”. The initiative is the first of its kind by the government involving any pro-LTTE grouping since abrogation of the Norwegian-brokered 2002 Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) in January 2008. more..

Building resilient communities

Mar 24 (IFRC) As tsunami recovery projects near completion, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society are concentrating efforts on developing a more sustainable and integrated approach to programming that addresses the needs of the most vulnerable communities. Sectors such as health and disaster management will share programme components in order to have a greater impact on reducing vulnerability, more..

Prof. Peiris submits Cabinet Memorandum for insuring investors of RFCs

Mar 24 (AT) Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris has submitted a Cabinet Memorandum entailing providing insurance covers for depositors of Finance Companies. Financial Analysts belief that this is a far reaching move for securing depositors who have been falling prey to large finance companies and especially in the aftermath of the Golden key scandal and also with the cascading effects on the rest of the Ceylinco Group. more..

How did the tiny Jaffna kingdom evolve into a larger Tamil homeland?

Mar 24 (LG) It is widely accepted that there was an independent Jaffna Kingdom in Sri Lanka until 1619 when the Portuguese ended it for good. From the Portuguese, subject to a few complications, it went to the Dutch and thence to the British. Similarly there were two other independent kingdoms in the island, namely the Kotte Kingdom and the Kandy Kingdom. Portuguese succeeded in bringing the Kotte Kingdom under their direct control first and then proceeded to take Jaffna. more..

Govt. henchmen attacked on our office -UNP

Mar 24 (LG) ‘The Government henchmen have been attached on a UNP party office of Provincial Council election candidate Ruwan Wijewardena, located at Ulhitiwela in Biyagama,yesterday,’ sources of the UNP said. There were two other party offices of the UPFA and the SLMC. The UNP office was opened yesterday in close proximity to the other party offices to demonstrate the peaceful co-existence of all parties in the area. more..

Macabre consequence of culture of violence bred by terrorism

Mar 24 (LG) Over three decades of spine-chilling terror breeding headed by the heartless high priest of callous cruelty Velupillai Prabhakaran focused from the beginning on tuition-centre-attending Tamil teenagers has created a culture of inhuman insensitiveness and penchant to indulge in cold-blooded murders and massacres. Impressionable young people were made to believe that an armed rebellion of the type solely dictated by Prabhakaran was a legitimate political action and more..

Yal Devi will show our resolve for unity and coexistence - President

Mar 24 (LG) I have asked the Minister of Transport to run the Yal Devi train at least five more kilometers beyond Vavuniya by the coming April 23, and consolidate the nation’s resolve that our war heroes have shown. It would show our resolve for co-existence. What we are attempting now is to breathe new life into the heart of the nation; to start the journey that would unite the entire nation after 19 years, more..