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They want to see peace in Sri Lanka

Mar 27 (Hindu) Braving scorching sun, dust, humid and the vehicles zooming past at high speed on the national highway, four visually challenged youths, carrying a banner demanding ceasefire in Sri Lanka are taking out a padayatra from Chennai to Kanyakumari. When K. Veerappan (34), N. Marisamy (36), S. Arumugam (40), all now settled at Chennai, and M. Sakthivel (34) of Coimbatore started their padayatra from the Marina in Chennai on February 28, more..

'India has not extended military aid to Sri Lanka'

Mar 27 (Hindu) Admiral Sureesh Mehta, Chief of Naval Staff, has said that the Indian Armed Forces, including the Navy, have not extended military assistance to Sri Lankan forces battling the LTTE. Addressing a press conference after commissioning the INS Parundu, a full-fledged naval air station at Uchipuli near here on Thursday, he said Indian forces had no role in the ongoing military action against the LTTE. more..

'Coercion is not the beginning for a lasting solution'

Mar 27 (TN) “Intimidation and coercion of Tamils and their political leaders can never be a good beginning for any lasting solution. The fundamental point is that the powers don’t want to see parity to Tamils in the negotiation. They want to confirm Colombo’s position that there is a post-LTTE phase and the Tamils to negotiate from a post-defeat position. Above all, they don’t want to recognize the national liberation perspectives of the Tamil struggle,” more..

Why Sri Lanka burns

Mar 27 (LG) Recently, I wrote about the current slaughter in Sri Lanka— tens of thousands of civilians killed because neither side will let them leave the battlefield. In response, one reader called my "evenhandedness" "insipid." He ascribes to the party line that the LTTE are freedom fighters justified by decades of Sinhala oppression against the Tamil people. That's one of two positions common in the Sri Lanka conflict. The other is that the LTTE are just terrorists who have taken up arms against the lawful and just Government. more..

Blasts of lies from Canada Multicultural Radio – CMR

Mar 27 (LG) TNA MP S. Kanagaratnam, unlike his brother Sellakili is a tame and passive man. Sellakili was one of those involved in the Tinnevely blast of July 1983 and on account of him, Kanagaratnam has been visited by the police during that time and even have had third degree treatments. When many people in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts were frightened to be named for public offices, Kanagaratnam who did not have high school education was persuaded to be a TNA parliamentarian. more..

The abandoned Tamils of Sri Lanka must derive strength in isolation

Mar 27 (LG) It is somewhat heartening to note that the mainstream media in Canada, at least now, has started noticing the humanitarian catastrophe playing out in a far off island once described as the pearl of the Indian Ocean. Those desirous of seeking out the truth should have no difficulty discerning the fact that there is no "chicken or the egg" quandary here. The root cause for the blood bath being witnessed is indeed oppression of a minority race with more..

Scapegoatism: how effective is the Church in Sri Lanka with its tactics?

Mar 27 (LG) What are the Tamil grievances from a Tamil Point of view and what could it be for Sinhalese majority in Sri Lanka? Can these Tamil grievances be attributed to psychological characteristic of their isolation as a separate community living in this country? Is it a kind of antagonism, which can be interpreted as a genuine desire to feel, share and enjoy the socioeconomic and cultural security and the freedom what other communities are privileged to possess? more..

Two editors ordered to pay compensation

Mar 27 (LG) The Colombo District Court yesterday ordered the editors of the Daily News and Dinamina newspapers to pay Rs. 30 million as compensation for publishing news items defaming a programme director of the Independent Television Network (ITN). Priyantha Fernando, Colombo district judge issued this verdict after considering a petition filed by programme director of ITN, Mahasen Morawaka. more..

Attempt to pay compensation to employees & close down ‘Salu Sala’

Mar 27 (LT) The government has decided to pay compensation to those employees who are willing to retire and close down ‘Salu Sala’ after and removing others. Minister of Textiles Mahinda Ratnatileke has said the only solution for ‘Salu Sala’ that is confronting a financial crisis is to pay compensation to employees who wish to retire early and he expected instructions form President Mahinda Rajapakse at the discussion scheduled to be held on the 31st. more..

Person in possession of two tusks arrested

Mar 27 (LT) A person has been arrested for possessing two small tusks. The arrest was made by Hungama Police when they found the suspect hiding two small tusks among his clothes while travelling in a bus bound to Colombo from Kataragama. The suspect was arrested at a police check point at Ranna when passengers were being checked. The suspect is a resident of Maggona.

New driving license launched amidst opposition by owners of driving schools

Mar 27 (LT) Office of the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles has stated that the new driving license of international standard would be introduced from today (27th). The driving license would be priced at Rs.1700.00 for one class of vehicles, Rs.2000.00 for two classes and Rs.2250.00 for three classes of vehicles. Rs.1700.00 would be charged to transfer the old license for the new and Rs.1700.00 to extend the period of the license. more..

Deva-Sanga duel while Mahinda looks on

Mar 27 (LT) President Mahinda Rajapakse was an onlooker when EPDP leader Dougles Devananda and TULF leader V. Anandasangari were engaged in a verbal battle at a meeting presided by President Mahinda Rajapakse. The meeting of representatives of Tamil and Muslim political parties convened by the President was held yesterday and when Mr. Anandasangaree complained regarding atrocities committed in the North by various paramilitary groups Minister Devananda had intervened. more..

Sri Lanka Mask Dancers perform at US Kennedy Theatre

Mar 27 (GDI) Dancers from Southern Sri Lanka will perform varieties of mask dance on April 11 at US Kennedy Theatre. Southern mask dance performances, a mix of demons, animals, kings and queens, are interwoven into masked performances that convey traditional values and contemporary concerns to villagers in marketplaces, village centers, private courtyards, and sometimes tourist sites in Sri Lanka. more..

'I will assure you that the democratic rights of all the minorities of the North will be restored'

Mar 27 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa met Tamil and Muslim Party leaders at the Temple Trees last night and assured minority political parties that their democratic rights will be restored. The President made this assurance following a request from the minorities as to whether Local Government elections could be held in the Vanni District to which the President had assured that he will respond to the request following his consultations with the Commanders of the Security Forces. more..

Higher education plays a vital role in economic development

Mar 27 (GDI) Higher education plays a vital role in economic development in the SAARC Region. While facilitating this role SAARC countrreis have to face many common challenges. Conferences such as this will help us to work out common strategies. With a rapidly increasing demand for higher education one of the challenges faced by the authorities in SAARC countries would be to maintain a high quality in the education imported. more..

Sri Lankan forces do not target no-fire zone, Foreign Minister tell Denmark

Mar 27 (GDI) “SL armed forces are one of most disciplined and their advances are carefully planned. And, especially inside the no-fire zone, servicemen never resort to armed confrontation. Even though the LTTE test our patience by way of incessant artillery fire, servicemen never returns even at the stake of their own lives as civilian protection is the first priority,” Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said. more..

Sri Lanka’s economy to grow around 5.5% in 2009

Mar 27 (GDI) Deputy Director, Institute of Policy Studies, Dr Dushni Weerakoon said thta Sri Lanka’s economy is expected to grow around 5.5 percent in 2009 following the measures taken by the government to improve the liquidity of the financial sector, introduction of the stimulus package and further strengthen domestic demand. She was speaking at the launch of the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2009 at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute in Colombo yesterday. more..

US Senator Lugar, Secretary Clinton stress non-combatant civilian

Mar 27 (AT)Senator Richard Lugar the Ranking (Republican Party) Member of the Foreign Relations Committee and former chairman of the same committee when Republicans had a majority in the Senate was concerned about the safety of the non-combatant civilians in Sri Lanka’s battle zone in the north and their departure from the zone to safety when Sri Lanka’s ambassador to U.S. Jaliya Wickramasuriya called on him to make representations about the situation in Sri Lanka this week. more..

Situation Report (Mar 27) by SLA

Mar 27 (SLA) Suspected Tiger Infiltrators Arrested: TRINCOMALEE: TROOPS on general duties with the Police in UPPUVELI, TRINCOMALEE on Thursday (26) arrested two suspects carrying four hand grenades and one shotgun and two ammunition cartridges with them. Police maintain that those two suspects, believed to be from the LTTE might have infiltrated the area to carry out crimes against Security Forces in the area. more..

Lankans set to usher in new year

Mar 27 (TP) The Sri Lankan community in Qatar will hold a singing competition as part of its traditional New Year celebrations in April. Auditions for the competition will be held on April 3 and only three singers will be selected to perform for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, “Bakmaha Ulela 2009”, to be celebrated on April 17, at the Al Hambal Boys Secondary school grounds. The number of songs per singer will be determined by the organising committee, more..

Laws to ban haphazard awarding of honorary titles

Mar 27 (CT) A cabinet paper that has recently been submitted calls for the immediate introduction of laws to ban the awarding of honorary titles by various individuals and organizations. A special committee appointed by the cabinet has made the recommendation after inquiring into complaints by intellectuals about the haphazard awarding of such titles. Mahinda Bandusena, secretary to the prime minister, heads this committee, more..

Rubella vaccine substandard - health TUs

Mar 27 (CT) The Health Services Trade Union Alliance has questioned the interim report that has been submitted to the Health Ministry in connection with the faulty rubella vaccines that claimed the live of one schoolgirl and left more than 50 others sick. HSTUA president Saman Ratnapriya told 'Colombo Today' that they would write to the Health Minister and the Health Secretary, calling for a proper inquiry into the vaccine. more..

An attempt to drown democracy in the Thames

Mar 27 (LNP) One may have lost whatever respect one had for the British Parliament after reading a report on the proceedings of a debate on Sri Lanka on Tuesday. It was not so much because of prejudice that some MPs exuded in their speeches oozing with loathing and bile against Sri Lanka or their bias for the LTTE. The reason was that they ventured to debate something that they were not au fait with and thereby cut very pathetic figures. more..

Mathews, Pushpakumara help Basnahira North to title

Mar 27 (CI) In-form batsman Angelo Mathews and allrounder Muthumudalige Pushpakumara fashioned a comprehensive three-day victory for Basnahira North in the four-day final against Wayamba played at the R Premadasa Stadium. The performances of these two promising stars proved too much for Wayamba, who managed modest totals of 223 and 181 to hand Basnahira North a comfortable ten-wicket win shortly before tea on the third day. more..

LTTE holds to 1 sq km

Mar 27 (DN) Security Forces on the verge of completing the humanitarian operation in the Vanni, have confined the LTTE to one square kilo metre in the battle field. The fight against terrorism is going on successfully. The LTTE cadres are restricted to a mere 21 square km and 20 square km out of the 21 square km was demarcated as a No Fire Zone by the Government. Therefore, the LTTE cadres have been isolated to One square km, Defence Affairs spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. more..

Golden key case: suspects refused bail

Mar 27 (DN) Mount Lavinia Chief Magistrate Harsha Sethunga yesterday refused applications for bail in respect of 15 suspects who had been remanded in connection with the Golden Key Credit Card alleged fraud and remanded them till April 23. The Judge reserved the order in respect of the bail application of Chairman Lalith Kotelawala for April 23. The Judge also directed Prison authorities to produce the suspects on April 8 to extend their remand orders. more..

Tougher action to address garbage problem

Mar 27 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has directed Environment and Natural Resources Minister Champika Ranawaka and Urban Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardena to step up action to address the country's growing garbage problem at a special meeting held at Temple Trees. The President has asked the two Ministers to take all relevant measures to see that solid waste disposals are managed on a firm footing, Environment Ministry sources said. more..

CEB to settle part of debts

Mar 27 (Island) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) which owes Rs. 20 billion to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, plans to settle some of its debts shortly through short term borrowings. CEB Chairman E. A. S. K. Edirisinghe told The Island that they will be going for short term borrowing within two weeks from the People’s Bank and the National Savings Bank. He said from the two banks they would get Rs.1.5 billion and Rs.5 billion would come from the CEB funds. more..

'Suspect in school girl killing operated with fake media ID'

Mar 27 (Island) Defence spokesman and Minister Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday said that one of the suspects in the killing of school girl Jude Mary Varsha, had produced a false identity card to police and pretended that he was a media person. Rambukwella said the suspect now in police custody had produced an identity card claiming that he was working for a radio station called Sigaran FM and his name was indicated in the identity card as Xavier Danny Reginald of Trincomalee. more..

Ministry accuses NGOs of fraud

Mar 27 (DM) Only 14 out of 1,301 INGOs and NGOs operating in the country have been allowed to carry out welfare and humanitarian work in the North as the performance of the rest has been found wanting, Social Services Deputy Minister Lionel Premasiri said. He charged that after the tsunami ravaged our shores in December 2004 most of these organizations had made use of the catastrophe to collect huge sums of money abroad. more..

LTTE leadership in crisis as Prabhakaran suffers bouts of manic depression

Mar 27 (DM) With the Sri Lankan Army advancing into their last stronghold, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are facing grave difficulties in their attempt to slow down the army’s progress in what could be safely termed the last phase of the Eelam war. Among the many difficulties assailing the LTTE are shortage of arms and trained cadres, lack of proper military planning and especially the weak leadership. more..

Wijepala admits he did not see seriousness of fraud

Mar 27 (DM) Former Deputy Commissioner Value Added Tax (VAT) branch, A. A. Wijepala, admitted that he did not see the seriousness in Rs. 2 Billion fraudulent refunds made by the VAT branch enough to inform the Police or to even carry out an internal audit. He said this while testifying at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to inquire into the alleged fraudulent VAT refund of the Inland Revenue Department. more..

Ceylinco chief ready to pay Rs. 14.5 bn

Mar 27 (Island) Deputy Solicitor General Sarath Jayamanne yesterday told the Mt. Lavinia Chief Magistrate that Ceylinco Chief Lalith Kotelawala through C. R. de Silva, PC, had informed the Attorney General’s Department that he was ready to credit Rs. 14.5 billion to the proposed Trust set up under the AG’s Department to refund the depositors of the ill-fated Golden Key Credit Card Company. But no final decision had been reached, he said. more..

Church of England clergy wanted for war-torn Sri Lanka

Mar 27 (CT) Clergy from the Church of England are being invited to provide respite for Sri Lankan priests in the war-torn country. Clergy will be asked to take over from Sri Lankan clergy in safe regions, so that those clergy can provide respite for their countrymen in conflict zones. Lanka Nesiah, speaking on behalf of Bishop Duleep de Chickera, in the Diocese of Colombo, explained: "There is a great need to provide relief to our clergy in the north and east. more..

Sri Lanka seeks Rs5.7bn for stake in Seylan Bank

Mar 27 (LBO) Central bank has called for proposals from investors to invest 5.7 billion rupees (about 50 million US dollars) to take a 33 percent stake in Seylan Bank, part of the troubled Ceylinco group. Expressions of interest (EOI) have been invited from local or foreign parties interested in becoming a "strategic partner" of Seylan Bank, the island's fifth largest commercial bank in terms of assets with a seven percent market share. more..

Sri Lanka removes gas tax for industries

Mar 27 (LBO) The government said it has decided to remove a new tax on liquid petroleum gas (LPG) providing badly needed relief for industrial users like ceramic exporters. A government statement said the Cabinet of ministers had approved a finance ministry proposal to remove the excise duty rate of 27.50 rupees per kilo for gas used in bulk form in manufacturing. The move came after protests by ceramic exporters who had warned that the new tax, more..

Thailand tells Sri Lanka it won't allow its soil's use against Colombo

Mar 27 (PTI) Amid reports that embattled LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran may escape to Thailand, the southeast Asian nation has assured the government here that it would not allow its territory to be used to destabilise friends like Sri Lanka. "Sri Lanka's call for measures to counter terrorism that may spill over to the region and beyond following the military defeat of the LTTE in Sri Lanka received strong support from Thailand," the Foreign Ministry here said. more..

Amnesty slams violence by army and Tamil Tigers against civilians

Mar 27 (AN) Amnesty International has appealed to the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels for an immediate humanitarian truce to help civilians and allow them to flee the war zone. The appeal by the London-based human rights group confirms the gravity of the situation displaced people are facing in the northern part of the country, an issue repeatedly raised by Christian and civil society groups. more..

LTTE may still have an aircraft left: Report

Mar 27 (PTI) Tamil Tigers may still have an aircraft left in their arsenal and this has triggered a high alert over the capital, where recently a Kamikaze air strike by the rebels was timely foiled, a media report said on Friday. A Czech made Zlin Z 143 light aircraft may still be left with the LTTE contrary to the reports that it had no more aircraft after losing two of them last month, the report said. more..

Postmaster 'let down' by job loss

Mar 27 (BBC) A postmaster from Nottingham who refused to serve customers who could not speak English says he feels "let down" after losing his job. Sri Lankan-born Deva Kumarasiri worked at the sub post office on Sneinton Boulevard before being moved to another branch in Netherfield. He claimed non-English speakers made it difficult to do his job properly. On Thursday, Mr Kumarasiri was told by the agency that employed him that his contract would not be renewed. more..

Sri Lanka military says it pushes back rebels

Mar 27 (AP) Sri Lanka's military said Thursday it had brushed off a Tamil Tiger counterattack by killing 30 guerrillas, pinning the rebels in a rapidly shrinking area and moving closer to ending the quarter-century-long civil war. Ethnic Tamil lawmakers, meanwhile, rejected the president's invitation for talks, urging the government to first ensure the safety of civilians trapped in the war zone. more..

U.S. accuses Sri Lanka of shelling civilian areas

Mar 27 (Reuters) The United States accused Sri Lanka on Thursday of breaking promises to stop shelling a no-fire zone where thousands of civilians are trapped by fighting between separatists and government forces. Sri Lanka rejected the allegation, saying the Sri Lankan military was not using heavy weapons to attack the separatist-held, no-fire zone in northern Sri Lanka. more..

UN in call for Sri Lanka 'pause'

Mar 27 (BBC) The UN, backed by the US and Britain, has urged the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels to back a "humanitarian pause" in fighting. A senior UN official said the civilian population trapped in the conflict zone in the north was not being allowed out. The UN was pressing the authorities for access to the combat area, he said. Troops and rebels have been engaged in intense fighting in the north for weeks and the army has driven the Tigers from most of the territory they held. more..

Grasping at straws leaving the tail: diaspora activist on Holmes' brief

Mar 28 (TN) UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes, who briefed the UN Security Council for a second time on Thursday "didn’t say anything new in his latest briefing other than reflecting on the escalation of the crisis and the pathetic impotency of the UN in handling the situation," Roy Gardiner Wignarajah, a spokesman of the Canadian Tamil activist group, more..

LTTE has to free civilians & discuss modalities for weapons surrender

Mar 28 (AT) Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador HMGS Palihakkara, told members of the Security Council that there is general agreement, both nationally and internationally, that the only way to bring an end to this terminal phase of the conflict is for the LTTE to free the civilians and to discuss modalities for surrendering weapons and cadres. more..

Democratic rights will be restored soon: President Rajapaksa assures 11 minority political parties last night

Mar 28 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa last night assured eleven minority political parties that their democratic rights will be restored soon. In wide ranging discussions at a meeting which commenced at 6.30 pm and lasted over two and a half hours, President Rajapaksa had made this assurance following a request from the minorities as to whether Local Government elections could be held in the Vanni District to which more..

Western Province election & democracy

Sri Lanka refutes UN casualty figures

Mar 28 (CSM) A diplomatic row is escalating over civilian casualties in war with the Tamil Tigers. The two sides are in the midst of a military showdown in a coastal strip of jungle in the island’s northeast corner. Western nations are calling for a pause in the fighting to allow for the evacuation of up to 180,000 trapped people, but Sri Lanka is pushing back. In particular, the government is challenging the United Nation’s assessment of suffering among this cornered population. more..

Lanka bid to woo Bahraini tourists

Mar 28 (GDN) SRI Lanka's Deputy Tourism Minister Faiszer Musthapha is to visit Bahrain this week as part of a tour to attract tourists to his country. He will address a Destination Promotion Road Show 2009 at the Golden Tulip Hotel at 7.30pm on April 1. The event is being organised by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau in collaboration with SriLankan Airlines. More than 400 Bahraini tourists visited Sri Lanka last summer, more..

Rs. 200 billion printed since September 01

Mar 28 (LeN) Economists say that the depth of the financial crisis of Sri Lanka is uncovered by the statements of several Ministers that say the loan is not a 'bail-out' package but a 'stand-by' arrangement. Stand-by arrangements are temporary measures meant for the countries that are facing extreme balance of payment crises. In 2001, President Chandrika Kumarathunga's government applied for a similar stand-by arrangement in 2001 to cover the balance of payment temporarily. more..