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Govt. urged to save Ceylinco Sussex Colleges

Mar 25 (Island) The troubled Ceylinco managed Sussex College network, too, is experiencing severe difficulties with K. A. S. Jayatissa, Deputy Chairman, Ceylinco Tax and Financial Consultancy Group in charge of the overall administration leaving the country following death threats by angry investors. Well informed sources told The Island that the financial turmoil at the Ceylinco Group had caused immense problems at its schools. more..

EC team visits welfare camps

Mar 25 (DM) A fresh batch of around 2000 internally displaced persons who entered the cleared areas were accommodated in the welfare camps set up in Vavuniya yesterday, Government Agent of Vavuniya P.S.M. Charles said yesterday. These IDPs were provided with basic facilities such as tents by the government upon arrival in the welfare camps. Meanwhile, a European Commission (EC) delegation also visited the welfare camps in Vavuniya yesterday more..

Vegetable farmers in predicament due to costs

Mar 25 (DM) Thousands of vegetable farmers in the dry zone who depended on wells for cultivation and irrigation facilities are in a predicament due to the increasing costs. At present they meet more than 75 per cent of the requirements of vegetables at Dambulla, Thambuttegama, and Meegoda economic centres. They cultivate onions, green chillies, bitter gourd capsicum, ash pumpkin, cucumber and several upcountry varieties including carrot, butter beans, and cabbage. more..

Tea crop recovers, prices head down

Mar 25 (LBO) Tea prices have weakened with the end of the Western quality season, although the better quality offerings still fetched higher prices at the last auction. Brokers said rains have been reported from most tea planting districts and crop intakes have shown a slight increase in certain areas. Supply will remain tight in the next few auctions because of the effects of prolonged drought but recover by mid-April with prices likely to weaken. more..

Yal Devi-Timely and entertaining, captivates Sri Lankans in LA

Mar 25 (IL) Dr. Sumedha Jayasena’s production “Yal Devi” would not have timed its debut better as the opening of the actual Yal Devi train re-run-over 250 miles long to Jaffna begins it maiden journey in Colombo soon. The anguished dilemma of a Tamil father, Yoga torn between the tumultuous ethnic past and patriarchal feelings for his daughter, as portrayed brilliantly by veteran entertainer and actor Bhadraji Mahinda Jayatilaka more..

In Sri Lanka, wasps send 20 tourists to hospital

Mar 25 (IANS) A colony of wasps Wednesday attacked a group of tourists at a fifth century rock fortress in central Sri Lanka, leading to 20 people being hospitalised, officials here said. At least 20 people were rushed to hospital while several others were trapped inside the rock fortress following the ambush by the angry swarm of wasps at the 200 metre-high fortress of Sigiriya, more..

At end of Sri Lanka's long war, siege is best hope

Mar 25 (Reuters) If the last act in Sri Lanka's 25-year war is now playing out, the only question left is whether it ends in siege or slaughter. There is little doubt Sri Lanka's military will shortly destroy the LTTE as a conventional fighting force. But fears abound for tens thousands of civilians held inside a 25 square km (10 sq miles) patch of coastal scrubland, all that remains of the Tigers' dreams for a separate state for Tamils. more..

TNA to decide on President’s invite this evening

Mar 25 (AT) Orphaned by the loss of contact with LTTE, their God-Father, the TNA lawmakers are on horns of dilemma about their future in general and on President Rajapaksa’s invitation for an interaction on March 26. "We are tossing the issue. This is the fourth invitation. We do not know how to handle it. May be by today (Mar 25) evening, we will arrive at a consensus decision", TNA chief whip, Mavai S Senthirajah, MP, told the Asian Tribune more..

Besieging Involuntary Martyrs

Mar 25 (SP) As the army advances into long held LTTE territory, the government has found ample evidence of how foreign aid groups (NGOs, non-governmental organizations) had become part of the LTTE war effort, while pretending to be neutral providers of humanitarian aid. The government accuses the NGOs of continuing that effort by falsely accusing the army of deliberately targeting civilians in the final battle with the LTTE. more..

Tiger intelligence chief's hideout overrun

Mar 25 (AFP) Sri Lankan government troops have overrun a hideout of the Tamil Tiger rebels' feared intelligence chief, the defence ministry said Wednesday. But there was no sign of Pottu Amman, who along with LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is believed to have either fled the island or still be hidden in a narrow strip of jungle. "The safehouse was used by both Pottu Amman and (his deputy) Kapil Amman, two of the most-wanted terrorists," more..

Air Force choppers escape LTTE missile attack

Mar 25 (IANS) The Tamil Tigers Wednesday fired surface-to-air-missiles (SAM) at two Sri Lankan Air Force helicopters over the northern battle zone but the choppers narrowly escaped the attack, military authorities here said. 'Two Air Force helicopters, engaged in assisting evacuation of army casualties in Puthukkudiyiruppu had a miraculous escape this morning when the Tigers inside the 'No Fire Zone' fired anti-aircraft missiles on them,' more..

Devolve power to Tamils, India tells Lanka

Mar 25 (UNI) India has urged Sri Lanka to fulfill its commitments to the Tamil population there with proper devolution of powers to the provinces, according to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. In a letter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK President M Karunanidhi, Dr Singh said India also asked Sri Lanka to fulfill its commitment of ensuring equality and equal rights for Tamils as is the case of other citizens of Sri Lanka. more..

More than 1,500 civilians flee Sri Lanka war zone

Mar 25 (AP) An exodus of civilians fleeing the fighting in northern Sri Lanka has picked up, with more than 1,500 escaping in the last day, the government said Wednesday. Tens of thousands of terrified civilians are trapped in a sliver of jungle and beach along the island's northeast coast where government troops are battling to dislodge remnants of the Tamil Tiger separatist rebels. more..

First vocational technical training university to be open

Mar 26 (GDI) The first ever Vocational Technical Training University in Sri Lanka will be opened in Rathmalana on March 31, said Vocational and technical Training Minister Piyasena Gamage. He pointed out that Levels 07 of the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) has been introduced to the vocational training. This will be considered as the degree level of the course. more..

Stern action against errant traders during festive season

Mar 26 (GDI) Traders who exceed government stipulated selling prices of essential items during the festive season will be confronted legally. The government has fixed selling prices in the government gazette, and any malpractices will be dealt severely. The above decision was taken at the meeting of the Ministerial Sub-Committee appointed for the reduction of cost of living yesterday (24). more..

'We are a nation with a conscience, never forget soldiers who protected our motherland'

Mar 26 (GDI) Heroic soldiers have been unmoved in the face of death to protect our motherland and there are many of them who are still waiting to purchase a stretch of land to build their own houses. And, it’s our social responsibility to lend a hand to such souls who merely forget their own wellbeing and travelled to battle fields to protect our own land. I expect all concerned citizens to participate in this event to help them build their own houses, more..

To be or not to be; is that the question of the finale?

Mar 26 (LG) In the backdrop of Sri Lankan Forces closing in on the Tigers in Mullaitheevu, the Diaspora Tamil community seems to be increasingly paranoia stricken. The Tamil Diaspora is relatively keen on protecting the “Tigers” from extinction rather than protecting the civilians who are caught between the LTTE and the Forces. As usual the Tamil Diaspora has used the affliction of the victims of war to justify the LTTE’s struggle without more..

Genocide, war criminals, devolution and diaspora

Mar 26 (LG) There is lot of discussion these days on genocide, war criminals and of course devolution. Interestingly the discussion is among the usual crowd, namely the diaspora, the human rights people in the NGOs INGOs as well as united nations organisations and western diplomats. Some countries naturally backed by USA and UK and some other western countries are trying hard to bring the human rights situation in Sri Lanka before the security council of the United nations. more..

'We will not transform our land into a colony'

Mar 26 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa pledged that his Government would not yield or be subjected to any conditionality to obtain monetary assistance from international agencies, at the ceremony to present appointment letters to new accountants of the State sector. He noted that certain parties are seeking to mislead the nation, utilizing all means at their disposal and deprive the country of international aid. more..

We need no INGO and NGO volunteers in Sri Lanka

Mar 26 (LG) Many efforts are hardly necessary to discover the kind of impacts Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) have made in Sri Lanka since independence. Decades ago the NGOs played a key role in the anti-slavery and women’s suffrage movements in the United States. Once the United Nations was set up, the NGOs received some form of recognition worldwide. more..

LTTE media blitz failed to stick a genocide label on armed forces

Mar 26 (LG) It must be recorded that LTTE’s recent deceptive media blitz which tried its utmost to stick a genocide label on Sri Lanka failed miserably as the disciplined Sri Lankan armed forces stood firm in their commitment to civilian safety. No genocide ever took place as international observers took stock of the situation in Wanni. All this provided a strange backdrop to what may be termed U N’s reluctance to brand LTTE as ruthless terrorists as done by the United States FBI last year. more..

Responding to growing international concerns on the Eelam war

Mar 26 (TC) Is the LTTE easing its rigid stand on talking peace in the last few days? It would seem so from the political head of the LTTE, Balasingam Nadesan’s e-mail interview published in the Sunday Times, London on March 22. He spoke of the insurgent group’s readiness for talks with the government “without pre-conditions.” The Sri Lanka government was quick to turn down the offer. more..

Watford Tamils appeal for emergency food

Mar 26 (WO) Tamils from across Watford came together to light a celebratory oil lamp yesterday as they prepare to send sacks of rice and vital medicines back to their native Sri Lanka. Thousands of Tamils have been caught up in fighting in the northern part of the South Asian island. The UN had estimated almost 3,000 civilians have been killed during fierce fighting in Sri Lanka, with an estimated 150,000 more people trapped in the war zone. more..

Spectrum: New magazine in Sri Lanka

Northumberland College aids Sri Lanka tourism industry

Mar 26 (NPL) SRI LANKA'S tourism industry is set to benefit as a new partnership with Northumberland College's travel and tourism department takes off. Recently the college played host to a visit by three lecturers from the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) in Colombo, here on a fact-finding mission on the region's tourist industry and training. more..

Lahore attack 'to change cricket'

Mar 26 (BBC) The new Sri Lankan cricket captain says the attack on the team in Pakistan has changed the players' approach to participating in future tournaments. Kumar Sangakkara told the BBC that the players would first assess security arrangements and talk to their families before committing to any tournament. Gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team bus on its way to Lahore's Gaddafi stadium for a Test match on 3 March. more..

A desperate depositor of F&G attempts suicide

Mar 26 (LT) A depositor of Finance & Guarantee (F&G) desperate at his and his family’s plight after the company refused to repay the money he had deposited in the company tried to commit suicide by setting himself on fire. He was accompanied by his wife and child and those gathered at the office of F&G Chairman Mervyn Jayasinghe’s office stopped him before he set himself on fire after pouring petrol over him at about 11.45 a.m. today. more..

Sri Lanka tea factories clamour for loan concession

Mar 26 (LBO) The Sri Lanka Tea Board has received applications from more than 470 tea factories seeking approval to get government concessions on loans, a senior official said. But the tea companies have complained that they have got no funds yet. Tea Board chairman Lalith Hettiarachchi said the manufacturers are seeking support for working capital loans promised by the government to help them get over the present economic crisis. more..

Shelling kills 54 civilians in Sri Lanka

Mar 26 (AP) Shelling killed 54 civilians Wednesday in a supposed "no-fire" zone in Sri Lanka's war between the government and separatist Tamil rebels, and the exodus of people fleeing the fighting picked up pace, officials said. The victims were among the tens of thousands of terrified civilians trapped in a sliver of jungle and beach along the island's northeast coast where government troops are battling to dislodge remnants of the Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Aid organizations deny siding with rebels

Mar 26 (VoA) International charitable organizations, accused of siding with the rebels in Sri Lanka's civil war, are denying the charge. The country's defense ministry has stated aid groups find continued bloodshed there "a lucrative business" and want terrorism to prevail in the South Asian island nation. One of the international aid organizations working in Sri Lanka is rejecting the military's accusation it is part of a "vicious coalition" seeking to prolong the country's civil war. more..

'I am not fond of LTTE, it killed my father'

Mar 26 (IANS) Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi Wednesday said he was not 'particularly fond' of Tamil Tigers because they killed his father Rajiv Gandhi. He told a press conference here: 'The LTTE is a terrorist group. I am not particularly fond of LTTE myself. It killed my father.' A LTTE woman suicide bomber assassinated former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi at an election rally near Chennai in May 1991. more..

Preliminary Lahore attack report shared with Sri Lanka

Mar 26 (Dawn) Pakistan on Wednesday shared with Sri Lanka the findings of preliminary investigations of Lahore suicide attack on Sri Lankan cricket team, which, indicated complete security lapse and involvement of foreign hand, sources in the interior ministry told Dawn. Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik handed over the report to Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Pakistan, Jayalath Weerakkody. more..

Church-run workshop stresses value of life to counter suicides

Mar 26 (UCAN) On March 22, arts student Raveenthiran Sutharsana entered her hostel's toilet, poured kerosene over herself and set herself ablaze. The 23-year-old woman from Batticaloa, eastern Sri Lanka, died from her injuries. But this was not her first attempt at killing herself. Media reports, on this latest incident of a young person committing suicide, say Sutharsana had twice tried to kill herself before. more..

GMOA Cannot Save Their Man

Mar 26 (AT) Anyone who saw the GMOA spokesman on television could not have failed to see his excitement and anger against the government over the Rubella tragedy. In response to the minister who said that all instructions with regard to the administration of the Rubella vaccine have been printed in two places the GMOA replied that nowhere has it been stated that a person who has allergies should not be given the vaccine. more..

Actions of some state agencies, seems detrimental to foreign investment

Mar 26 (AT) The Government is desperate to overcome a huge financial crisis and have been seeking Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) for quite sometimes and in this regard the government has been proclaiming that these investors are facilitated to set up their businesses without any hindrances once the formalities are met. The task of handling the foreign investors has been the usual business of the Board of Investment. more..

ILO to mark its 90th Anniversary with a range of events in Sri Lanka

Mar 26 (AT) To mark the 90th anniversary of the International Labour Organization (ILO) the ILO Sri Lanka has organized a range of coordinated national and regional events which will included a high-level national event to be held at the Presidential Secretariat, Colombo on 28 March and also a workshop on "Communicating Social Dialogue on Decent Work for a Fair Globalization" to be held on 30 March at Galadari hotel. more..

Myanmar appreciates Sri Lanka’s support in aid of cyclone victims

Mar 26 (LG) The Myanmar Ambassador in Sri Lanka, Tin Oo Lwin has thanked the Government and people of Sri Lanka for their spontaneous and generous assistance provided to the people of Myanmar in the wake of the cyclone Nargis which struck his country in May 2008. He expressed his appreciation at a function held at the Foreign Ministry at which Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama handed over a cheque to the value of Rs. 2.5 million to more..

Navigating our peoples’ struggle through uncharted territories

Mar 26 (LG) The loss of territories held by the LTTE to the Sri Lankan state in an atrocious war at a very high cost to the Tamil civilians, particularly in Vanni. This has naturally caused angst and anger among the Tamil communities everywhere. Once the emotions subside and the desire to overcome the disastrous phase in our peoples’ lives takes over, many among the Expatriate communities are beginning ask the questions that should have been asked long, long ago. more..

Uthayan newspaper attack condemned

Mar 26 (BBC) Free Media Movement (FMM) in Sri Lanka has condemned Tuesday's attack on the Uthayan newspaper office, Jaffna. "An attack happening at a place which is under police protection raises serious questions about the freedom of media in Sri Lanka", says the convenor of the FMM Chulawansa Srilal. According to media reports, the grenade attack took place on Tuesday night around 11.00 p.m. more..

Maha Kalasuri Dr. Lester J. Pieris

Mar 26 (AT) America’s Hollywood records Cecil B. De Mel as its greatest Movie Director, England recorded as David Lean, India presented Satyajith Ray while Sri Lanka crowned Dr. Lester J. Pieris carving their great names in golden letters as greatest Noblemen of World Cinema; as worthy glorifying men’s contribution in recorded history of Cinema. more..

Dengue "breeders" beware

Mar 26 (LG) Legal action will be taken against home owners and institutions that make way for the breeding of dengue mosquitoes, says the Ministry of Health.“This step is being taken in order to prevent the spread of dengue,” said Dr. Paba Palihawadana, director of epidemiology unit of the ministry and added that during the current year alone, more than 2,600 cases of dengue had been reported. more..

'Cannibalism of govt's henchmen'

Mar 26 (LG) Addressing the media today, UNP M.P. Lakshman Kiriella said, referring to the recent rape and killing of the six year old girl in Trincomalee allegedly by the TMVP members, an ally of the Govt. said, this occurred because the Govt. did not heed the repeated warnings of the main Opposition party, UNP. The Govt. which allowed the TMVP groups, the erstwhile confirmed terrorists (part of the LTTE) to carry illegal arms and more..

Govt. thugs attack & destroy 5 JVP election offices

Mar 26 (LT) Five election offices maintained by the JVP for its Western PC election campaign have been attacked and destroyed and those who were in the offices were threatened by an armed gang of thugs last night states the media unit of the JVP. A gang of about ten thugs armed with T-56 riles had arrived in a double cab (Reg. No. PB 6148) and a jeep (Reg. No. GG 2226) to carry out the attacks and threats. more..

SARRC Higher Education Conference

Mar 26 (GDI) SARRC Secretary General Dr. Hill Kant Sharma is supposed to visit Sri Lanka on March 25. Dr. Sharma travels from SARRC Chief Secretariat in Kathmandu, Nepal, and he expects to take part in SARRC Higher Education Ministers’ Conference. Dr. Sharma, a veteran officer attached to the Indian Foreign Service, had served in India for a long time. And, in the interests of SARRC countries, he is the authorized officer who implements decisions taken by SARRC institutions. more..

'Conspiracy behind evicting people from Trincomalee'

Mar 26 (LT) Eastern Provincial Council is taking steps to evict people from several villages in Trincomalee District said JVP Parliamentarian for Trincomalee District Jayanthe Wijesekera. Speaking at the adjournment debate in Parliament yesterday Mr. Wijesekera said there is a conspiracy behind removing people from certain villages in Trincomalee. more..

More sea freights carrying food to Mulathivu

Mar 26 (GDI) Within the last two days in March, another sea freighter will sail to Mulathivu carrying 1000 metric tons of food, and arrangement have already being made, Essential Services Commissioner S. B. Divarathna revealed. This will be the largest shipment to the North so far, he said. The government intends send ample supplied of food to the North during the forthcoming Sinhala and Tamil New Year. more..

'Sri Lanka no threat to international security, no nagging concern to UNSC'

Mar 26 (AT) Sri Lanka is no threat to international security and there should not be any nagging concerns to the United Nations Security Council on the Sri Lankan affairs which are largely internal, Ambassador of the Russia Federation to Sri Lanka Vladimir Mikhaylov said. "Russia, China and some benevolent countries to Sri Lanka do not see the need for the frequent preparation of frequent reports on Sri Lanka as we do not see the Sri Lankan state of affairs as a threat to international security and peace," more..

President donates monthly salary and ‘malu banis’ to farmers attacked by LTTE

Mar 26 (GV) Elite black tiger commando units of the LTTE carried out an attack last night on farmers who may or may not have produced the vegetables and eggs that caused 270 people including 202 students to be hospitalised for suspected food poisoning in Trincomalee yesterday. Leader of the LTTE’s political wing P Nadesan who himself was the victim of food poisoning from kottu roti told reporters that he will personally hunt down the bacteria responsible for the calamity, more..

Bridging comedy and conscience

Mar 26 (GV) Violence does not make me laugh. Yet humour has not only survived nearly two and a half decades of exposure to violence, brutality, intolerance, discrimination, corruption and abuses of power, it has preserved my sensitivity and been a soft padding that shielded me from the hard blows of reality. It has been a key to our resilience as a nation and a safer platform for us to speak truth to power. more..

Central Bank "Indifference" on protecting interests of the public

Mar 26 (TC) About twenty years ago, a number of finance companies failed almost simultaneously. Even Mercantile Credit Ltd, which was very highly regarded at the time and was also one of the largest, not only failed to pay most of its depositors but went into oblivin, with all the shareholders moneys, too, going into a bottomless pit. Did the officials of the Central Bank learn any lessons from these failures and more..