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Expecting hostile diaspora to buttress a collapsing state

Mar 24 (TN) "Engaging the diaspora for any solution is possible only when humanitarian assistance and protection reach their brethren, war is called off, Tamil self-determination in the island of Sri Lanka is recognized and the LTTE is de-proscribed. Above all, accepting the reality of the crisis that it is a national liberation struggle and seeking solutions not insisting on a united Sri Lanka will tremendously help to ease the situation and even reconciliation," more..

Colombo, New Delhi fall back on lure in fighting the diaspora

Mar 24 (TN) Frustration arising from failure in the military annihilation of the Eezham Tamil struggle led by the LTTE, mounting global opinion in favour of the oppressed, determination of the diaspora and electoral urgency in India are impelling the war partners in Colombo and New Delhi to explore alternative tactics in achieving their goals. While conferences are planned in Singapore and Bangalore to hoodwink the diaspora and Indian public, more..

New economic centre to Ratmalana

Mar 24 (GDI) The Dedicated Economic Centre (DEC) will open on March 28 at the Food Department stores complex in Ratmalana, which is the second such facility in Colombo. This will provide essential items at concessionary rates to the public in Dehiwala, Mount Lavinia, Ratmalana and Moratuwa areas. The Centre will be divided into two segments. The first segment will be reserved for the sale of rice and other essential food commodities and construction work has already been completed more..

Kitul (juggery) industry to be a national pilot project

Mar 24 (GDI) The Government has taken steps to develop the Kitul (juggery) industry as a national pilot project by allocating Rs. 3 million initially and the main objective of this project is to encourage youth to engage in the Kitul industry, The Ministry of Rural Industry and Self Employment Promotion sources said. According to sources, the Ministry has decided to launch this project jointly with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and Ministry of Science and Technology. more..

WPC elections: winning party’s preference votes to be counted first

Mar 24 (GDI) The winning party will get the priority when counting preferential votes in the forthcoming WPC elections, the Commissioner of Elections said. In the event that no members have been elected from a particular party, the preference votes will not be counted of that party, he revealed. This is a measure taken to prevent overcrowding at counting centres. more..

'Sri Lanka’s stand in humanitarian operations is legitimate'

Mar 24 (GDI) “We are engaged in a legitimate military and humanitarian operation aimed at liberating our people from a cruel terrorist organization, and it’s not just leave out our people in danger,” Sri Lanka told the United Nations Human Rights Council last Monday. Further clarifying the situation, Deputy Solicitor-General Yasantha Kodagoda said that there is no genocidal situation in Sri Lanka addressing the session of the UN Human Rights Council. more..

Mahapola Scholarships for 32,000 University Students

Mar 24 (GDI) Approval has been granted by the Board of Trustees of Mahapola Higher Education Scholarships for 32,000 students on the recommendations of the University Grant Commission, since last three years. Accordingly, 10,500 schlorships granted for the university students in year of 2006 and 2007 and it increased by 500 in 2008. Scholorships installment was increased by another Rs.500.00. more..

Purchasing paddy has been systematized under zonal basis operations

Mar 24 (GDI) “Already 1800 metric tons of paddy have been purchased, and the process has been speeded up and systematized under a new scheme that functions on zonal basis,” Paddy Marketing Board Deputy General Manager Vajira Perera said. According to the newly introduced zonal system, purchasing of paddy is not hindered because of oversupply. These zones are Anuradhapura, Pollonnaruwa, North West, South and the East. more..

President asks foreign countries for aid Unions offered but Dulles rejected

Mar 24 (LT) President Mahinda Rajapakse has said aid from India, Pakistan, China and Japan was necessary for the reconstruction of the rail road to Jaffna. The President said he expected countries that helped the war against terrorism would help in the reconstruction of the rail road and also prevent re-emergence of terrorism in the country. ‘Yal Devi’ the rail service to the Jaffna peninsula from Colombo, has been closed since June, 1990. more..

SRI LANKA: East has become Bihar-like

Mar 24 (AHRC) Sri Lankans looked at their TV screens and newspapers last week with shock and shame as the story of the abduction and killing of six year old Varsha Jude Regi of Trincomalee came to the attention of the entire nation. Although much has been talked and written about this horror story, the real societal meaning has been glossed over. The abduction has taken place in an area where abductions for ransom are now quite common. more..

Hostages escaping from the Tigers - What do the numbers say?

Mar 24 (LG) The continuing drama of the hostages held by the Tigers in the jungles of Mullativu (Mooladoova) has led to a level of unforeseen political agitation in the usually quiet, snow-laden streets of Toronto, Canada. Expatriate Tamils have carried the banners of the banned Liberation Tigers of Eelam (LTTE), and photos of the Tiger supremo Prabhakaran, defying the laws of the Land. more..

Body of LTTE pilot still at Negombo hospital

Mar 24 (CT) The body of the pilot of one of the two Air Tiger planes that were downed in Colombo over a month ago is still being kept at Negombo District Hospital, as no one has come forward to claimed it. Seeduwa Police informed Negombo chief magistrate Jayakee de Alwis yesterday that the body was being given police protection. The chief magistrate granted permission to the police to keep the body at the hospital further, and fixed June 08th as the next date for the hearing. more..

Order prevents TRO directors from leaving country

Mar 24 (CT) In an order given today (Mar. 24), the Colombo chief magistrate prevented eight directors of Tamil Rehabilitation Organization from leaving the country. Chief magistrate Nishantha Hapuarachchi also issued warrants for the arrest of seven of them, who were absent in court in connection with a case in which TRO is accused of raising funds for the LTTE. more..

Minister Amarasiri Dodangoda seriously ill

Mar 24 (CT) Minister of Justice and Law Reforms Amarasiri Dodangoda has taken seriously ill and admitted to Colombo National Hospital's intensive care unit. The minister has been connected to an artificial respirator, as he has developed breathing difficulties. He is being treated at CNH for several days now, hospital sources said.

3,000 principals to resign over unresolved issues

Mar 24 (CT) Three thousands school principals attached to the Association of Educational Professionals are to resign from service to protest their grievances left unresolved for a long time. Gathering in front of Education Ministry tomorrow (Mar. 25), they will handover their resignation letters to Education Secretary Nimal Bandara, and ask that they be integrated as teachers. more..

'Give unused estate land to unemployed youth'

Mar 24 (CT) The government should take all possible steps to distribute and hand over all bare land in estate areas among unemployed estate youth, leader of the Upcountry Peoples' Front, minister P. Chandrasekaran said. He said that the President has responded positively to his suggestion, which was proposed with the objectives of initiating self employment as well as farming aimed to prepare for a possible food scarcity. more..

LTTE waits for Vaiko as Special Forces do their antics

Mar 24 (DW) Military Intelligence has uncovered evidence to indicate that Velupillai Prabhakaran, Poddu Amman and many of the other senior members of the LTTE are holed-in along with the civilians. "Colonel" Swarnam's leg has been amputated and a large number of cadres in the "Lt. Colonel" rank have died in recent battles. In many ways the second, third and fourth rung of the LTTE cadre has suffered heavily. more..

Situation Report (Mar 24) by SLA

Mar 24 (SLA) A ROAD picket run by airmen of the Sri Lanka Air Force in TRINCOMALEE came under an LTTE fire attack early Tuesday (24) morning at about 5.30 a.m. injuring one airman on duty. Terrorist firing directed from a distance has been carried out by several Tigers who had infiltrated the area disguised as civilians, Police maintained. One airman sustained injuries into his abdominal area was rushed to TRINCOMALEE hospital for treatment. more..

Interview with the Sunday Leader

Mar 24 (PISL) SCOPP Secretary General Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha gave an interview to the Sunday Leader this week. His comments in response to their questions, largely about the statement by UN Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, are carried below. Q: UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay has accused both the government and the LTTE of possibly having committed war crimes. What is your response? more..

Hambantota Port to be ready ahead of schedule

Mar 24 (DN) Sixty-five percent of the work on two break-water alms (east and west) of the Hambantota Port has been completed and excavation and dredging is in progress for the channel across the Karagamlewaya. The project can be completed before the estimated time in 2011, Chief Engineer Southern Port Development Janaka Kurukulasuriya said. He said that the port will be developed initially to cater to the industrial and service sectors and later for container traffic. more..

Rubella vaccination incident: Ministry blames local team

Mar 24 (DN) Negligence on the part of the medical team for failing to pay due attention to the ‘cautioning letter’ by the mother and absence of an emergency response team, had caused the death of the 12- year- old girl of St. Thomas’ Girl’s High School in Matara, Deputy Director General (Public Health) Dr. P.G. Mahipala concluded in his report, a Health Ministry spokesperson said. more..

‘More people getting involved in food drive’

Mar 24 (DN) “Sri Lanka is an agricultural country and was self-sufficient in food production in the past. Even today the people are engaged in the food production drive and the Government is providing free agriculture equipment to encourage people to participate in the agriculture drive and grow more food,” said Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe delivering the keynote address at more..

Now, trouble hits another Ceylinco venture

Mar 24 (Island) Close on the heels of collapse of Golden Key Credit Card Limited, another Ceylinco venture, Ceylinco Building Society (CBS), has moved into severe crisis with investors demanding their money back. A senior government official yesterday told The Island that the CBS established in 1997 had lured prospective clients by falsely claiming government approval under the National Housing Development Act. more..

Counselling for Eastern Uni. Students stepped

Mar 24 (Island) University authorities have stepped up counselling to over 30 students from Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi attending the Eastern University at Vantharamoolai following the death of a 3rd year Arts student from Mullaitivu by self immolation on Sunday. It was only last month that a Sub- Warden, a resident of Batticaloa attached to the Eastern University committed suicide in her room before a first year female student from Mullaitivu committed suicide by hanging. more..

Why battered Tigers are suing for peace

Mar 24 (Island) In 2006, a haughty LTTE turned its back on a delegation the government sent to Geneva to have talks with the outfit. A few months later Prabhakaran resumed war by launching terror attacks on the armed forces personnel and the police and capturing the Mavil Aru anicut. In his heroes' day speech in November 2005, a few days after the installation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prabhakaran had promised to plunge the country back into a bloodbath. more..

Registration of Tamils in WP commended

Mar 24 (DM) The Western Province based Tamil political party Democratic People’s Front (DPF) yesterday said the registration of the Tamils within the province on Sunday had gone smoothly except for few problems in some police stations. DPF General Secretary Dr. A. N. Kumara Guruparan told Daily Mirror that there was an issue at the Modera police station where the authorities there had wanted all Tamils who had remained in the area for more than five years to register. more..

Don’t privatise universities: JVP, NFF

Mar 24 (DM) The JVP said yesterday it opposed the policy of having private universities because it would destroy the chance of some students obtaining higher education though the main opposition UNP supported the government on this matter. JVP front-liner Bimal Ratnayake said UNESCO believed that the most important single factor for a country’s development was education and the party was of the opinion that the establishment of private universities could lead to large scale corruption. more..

'Tissanayagam’s article does not harm communal harmony'

Mar 24 (DM) Senior Politician Vasudeva Nanayakkara yesterday said in his opinion the article that appeared in the Magazine “North Eastern Monthly” would not harm communal harmony among different religious sects and ethnic groups. Testifying before Colombo High Court Judge Deepali Wijesundera in the case against Journalist Tissainayagam, Nanayakkara said that he was an Attorney- at law by profession and a former Parliamentarian. more..

US, China and the war in Sri Lanka

Mar 24 (wsws) Diplomatic skirmishing in the UN Security Council between the US and China over the war in Sri Lanka underscores their growing rivalry in every corner of the globe. Both powers are intent on staking out their claims in Colombo as the 25-year conflict on the island reaches its climax. Last week UN Security Council members Austria, Mexico and Costa Rica, backed by the US and Britain, called for an informal briefing on the humanitarian crisis more..

HRW is now trying to block the IMF loan

Mar 24 (MoD) The New-York based Human Right Watch released another disinformation report on Monday saying that despite the assurances given by the government of Sri Lanka the Army continues to shell the no-fire zone where thousands of civilians are held as human shields by the terrorist outfit, LTTE. HRW citing new information from the region said that they have received reports of civilians being killed and wounded daily in the no-fire zone, while the Sri Lankan government continues to deny the attacks. more..

No let-up in Army shelling of civilians

Mar 24 (HW) The Sri Lankan army, despite government denials, is indiscriminately shelling the "no-fire zone" in northern Sri Lanka where thousands of civilians are trapped by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Human Rights Watch said today, citing new information from the region. More than 2,700 civilians have reportedly been killed over the last two months, and the number of casualties rises daily. more..

Sri Lanka to host telecom confab in April

Mar 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka will host an international telecom forum of network standardization in April together with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the Commonwealth Telecommunications Union (CTO), the telecom regulator said. The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRC) said the 'Next Generation Networks Standardization Forum' will run from April 07 to April 10. more..

Sri Lanka's love affair with currency crises

Mar 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's latest balance of payments crisis has differed substantially from earlier ones in the excruciating detail in which every step was predicted and followed in the financial media. From late September LBO in particular had documented the crisis as it unfolded. Fuss-budget had previously explained how a pegged central bank causes a currency crisis (read Thrift Column – Currency Crisis). more..

Conditions worsen for women workers

Mar 24 (IPS) Ramani, 26, sits inside her small, dimly-lit boarding house room, cutting vegetables, in this industrial town outside Colombo. She plans to return to her rural village in May to get married. "Most girls generally work for five years in garment factories and return to their villages to get married," she says. Thousands of young women, employed in garment factories spread across Sri Lanka, now face an uncertain future due to lowered demand for their products. more..

Five men convicted for burying body of compatriot

Mar 24 (GT) Five Sri Lankan men have been convicted of secretly burying the body of a compatriot who died after a drinking bout in December 2007. While three of them who appeared in the court were handed down a year’s imprisonment, two of the accused who had left the country were sentenced to three years jail in absentia. According to court sources, the deceased, in his late 20’s, was buried by his friends in a deserted area in Wukair on December 20, 2007. more..

BJP rules out support to LTTE

Mar 24 (PTI) The BJP on Tuesday said any support to the LTTE in Tamil Nadu would hurt the cause of Sri Lanka Tamils, as the image of the banned outfit has suffered a "setback" in the state following its involvement in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. The State BJP president L Ganesan said some persons from Tamil Nadu were vocally supporting the outlawed unit in the name of backing Sri Lankan Tamils and their actions went against the sovereignty and integrity of the nation. more..

Ranil stays UNP Leader as he celebrates 60th Birthday today

Mar 24 (AT) In a meeting which has been described as the longest meeting of the UNP Working Committee lasting a record six hours last night, it was unanimously agreed that UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya remain in their respective posts. The proposal of the 8- member Committee headed by Party Chairman Gamini Jayawickrema Perera to create the post of Senior Leader and Leader was rejected by more..

Sri Lanka says 50,000 civilians flee rebel-held areas

Mar 24 (BN) Sri Lanka said 50,000 civilians have fled to government-controlled areas since January as the army tries to defeat the rebel LTTE in its last strongholds in the north. The number was reached when a group of 1,164 people arrived in Puthukkudiyiruppu in the northeast, the government said in a statement on its Web site yesterday, citing the Ministry of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services. more..

'Govt is betraying the land won by war to separatism'

Mar 24 (LT) The territory liberated by the heroic security forces is being handed over to separatists through the 13th amendment, the Foreign Minister has made a statement to the media regarding a devolution that goes beyond the 13th amendment and as the President has not contradicted this claim it is confirmed that the government is going in for a devolution says chief ministerial candidate of the JVP for the Western PC election Waruna Rajapakse. more..

Thousands flee conflict-hit north

Mar 24 (IRIN) Thousands of civilians escaped fighting in the north over the weekend, according to official sources, as the UN warned of deteriorating conditions for those still trapped in the combat zone. More than 3,000 people crossed into government-controlled areas in the Puthukkudiyiruppu area. On 21 March alone, more than 1,100 civilians fled, many of them children, according to the ministry, despite heavy artillery and mortar fire in the area. more..

India may expand hospital facility in Lanka war-zone

Mar 24 (PTI) India, which has set up a hospital in Sri Lanka's embattled north to provide medical aid to displaced Tamil civilians, may expand the 115-bed facility to accommodate more patients. The Indian authorities are considering expanding the 115 bed set-up near the Eastern Trincomalee district in the event of an increase in the patients from Wanni. Meanwhile, the life of a Tamil civilian was saved by timely intervention of Indian doctors, more..

Indian PM's secretary to visit Sri Lanka

Mar 24 (IANS) The principal secretary to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is due to arrive in Colombo Wednesday to exchange views on 'developments in the field of public administration in the two countries', authorities said here. T.K.A. Nair is arriving in Colombo on the invitation of Lalith Weeratunga, the secretary to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the president's office here said Tuesday. more..

One dead, 107 hospitalised in Trinco after bakery food poisoning

Mar 24 (AT) Sri Lanka was struck with her second major health sector tragedy within a week, when one person died this morning with a further 107 admitted in the Trincomalee Hospital following their eating buns from two bakeries. This follows 29 school girls admitted to the Matara hospital last Thursday following the Rubella vaccine in which a 12 year old school girl from the St. Thomas Girls School died and 29 others were hospitalized. more..

President invites pro-LTTE party for peace talks

Mar 24 (PTI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has invited pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA) along with all Tamil and Muslim parties for a meeting on Thursday to discuss the ethnic conflict in the Island country. "President Mahinda Rajapaksa intends to discuss a political solution to the ethnic conflict in the North with the TNA MPs at the meeting," a release by the Presidential Media Unit said. more..

Sri Lanka accuses aid groups of supporting war

Mar 24 (AP) Sri Lanka's military on Tuesday accused "a vicious coalition" of international aid groups of harboring terrorists and seeking to prolong the island's civil war for economic gain. The military has come under increasing international criticism as it pushes to end the decades-old war with the Tamil Tiger rebels, who are pinned in a shrinking war zone in the island's northeast. Aid groups have accused the military of shelling "no-fire" zones set up to harbor the tens of thousands of civilians trapped by the fighting, a charge the military denies. more..

Asylum applications soar

Mar 25 (BBC) The UN says the number of people seeking asylum in Western countries has risen sharply due to increased conflict in countries like Afghanistan, Somalia and Sri Lanka. The UNHCR says more than three-hundred-and-eighty-thousand people sought asylum in Europe, the US and other industrialised nations last year; twelve per cent more than in 2007. Asylum applications soared not only from Afghans, Somalis, and Sri Lankans, but also from Nigerians and Zimbabweans. more..

Constructions of Irakkandi Bridge nears completion

Mar 25 (GDI) The 300 m long Irakkandi bridge that links Trincomalee and Pulmodai has been almost completed. This opens the road upto Pulmodai, and Irakkandi bridge is said to be the third largest structure of its kind along this highway. The other bridges are Puduwaikattu and Yanoya. The project aims at replacing permanent steel structures where Tsunami destructed old bridges. more..

Purchasing paddy has been systematized under zonal basis operations

Mar 25 (GDI) “Already 1800 metric tons of paddy have been purchased, and the process has been speeded up and systematized under a new scheme that functions on zonal basis,” Paddy Marketing Board Deputy General Manager Vajira Perera said. According to the newly introduced zonal system, purchasing of paddy is not hindered because of oversupply. These zones are Anuradhapura, Pollonnaruwa, North West, South and the East. more..

Emirates launches facility for mobile devices

Mar 25 (LBO) Emirates, the Dubai-based international airline, has launched a facility to let customers access their website from mobile devices called Mobile Visitors to the site may check-in online up to 24 hours before departure, select a favourite seat or request a special meal and check real-time flight status and view global timetables. Travellers who access from a mobile browser, on their phone or PDA, will be automatically redirected to more..

Rohitha Bogollagama and RAW

Mar 25 (TC) Interesting information has been revealed in the Indian media about the “connection” between Sri Lankan Foreign affairs minister Rohitha Bogollagama and India’s espionage and intelligence agency the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). According to an article written by Saikat Datta in the prestigious Indian news magazine “Outlook India” the Sri Lankan minister’s daughter was admitted to an Indian higher educational institution to pursue medical studies through the efforts of RAW. more..