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‘End of war’ stores up major new conflicts

Mar 28 (CW) The understanding given by the Sri Lankan Army-controlled media that the war is almost finished, and the victory over the LTTE is just a matter of time, is the kind of falsehood practiced in all wars. It is, however, pertinent to emphasise that the LTTE is facing defeat in the present phase of the decades-long civil war. The claims of the army commanders that the battle zone is restricted to more..

Sri Lankan Airlines to wet-lease aircraft to Mihin Air

Mar 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka's national carrier SriLankan Airlines will lease a short-haul aircraft to Mihin Air, a state-run budget carrier, at a below market rate, after extending the dry lease of one of its own aircraft, an official said. Mihin Air is now operating with a single aircraft after it was resurrected with a fresh handout set aside in the 2009 budget. The aircraft is wet-leased for three months at high cost with flying crew and maintenance. more..

Sri Lanka not to rush through for victory, says Bogollagama

Mar 28 (Hindu) Sri Lanka’s “roadmap” for defeating the LTTE “is [being] handled very professionally and with responsibility.” Asserting this, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told The Hindu in Singapore on Friday that India “has been absolutely helpful.” “Humanitarian concerns” were “getting addressed;” and Colombo would “not … rush through for the euphoria of a military victory” over the LTTE. more..

S.B. explains economic crisis of Sri Lanka and the solutions for it

Mar 28 (LeN) UNP national organizer and Central Provincial Council leader of opposition S. B. Disanayaka says that the country will reverse into an era of queues as it will not be able to import at least the essential items if the government does not take the following actions. The government should not cover the economic crisis to the people; increase lending to private sector; reduce interest rates and increase production. more..

Religions and Accuracy of teachings

Mar 28 (LG) With reference to the letter of Dr. S. Abeyesundara on March 23, 2009 where a question appeared as "Is Buddhism, as we are taught today, the authentic preaching of the Enlightened One?" originally raised by Mr. Jayatissa perera in his letter on March 20, 2009, I would like to present the following observations. It should be mentioned here that the question given above is ambiguous for the term Buddhism in the question is qualified by the phrase "as we are taught today". more..

UN’s Holmes outlines LTTE’s disrespect and unconcern forEthnic Tamil civilians in battle zone

Mar 28 (AT) Briefing on the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka to the UN Security Council John Holmes, Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator disclosed the way in which Sri Lanka’s rebel outfit LTTE endangering the lives of the one hundred thousand or more civilian non-combatants, all of whom are ethnic Tamils the outfit had proclaimed fighting for, and more..

Government clarifies and exposes TNA misconceptions and falsehoods

Mar 28 (AT) The Government, today, clarified a series of misconceptions and falsehoods alleged by the 22- Member Tamil National Alliance in its letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday, which were attributed as the reasons for the Party’s inability to meet the President that day to discuss the issues relating to the ethnic question and the war. more..

Academician leaves country after threats

Mar 28 (CT) Academician Prof. Dhammika Ganganath Dissanayake has left the country due to threats to his life following his abduction by an armed group recently. This was confirmed to 'Colombo Today' by a top official of the media unit of the Opposition Leader's Office. Prof. Dissanayake, who is attached to the Mass Media Department of Sri Jayewardenepura University, was kidnapped from his Mattegoda home on March 11th. more..

Senior Economist Says Credibility of Central Bank is Eroded

Mar 28 (CT) A senior economist has warned that the Central Bank’s reactive, defensive and combative role in “talking up the economy” has eroded the credibility of the institution. In a presentation at the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC last week, Muttukrishna Sarvananthan maintained that the “permissive culture of denial and falsehood by the Central Bank” was a “moral hazard”. more..

Pseudo-patriotism that claims this country belongs to Sinhala Buddhists

Mar 28 (TC) In a self-critique of the Muslim community. Nazeeya Faarooq has written a very thoughtful article lamenting the failure of moderate Muslims to speak out against the extremists within the community who are presenting a wrong picture of Muslims and Islam to the rest of the world. "What has replaced the moderate Muslim", says Faarooq, "is a pernicious breed of human beings who would like to be called the only true guardians of the faith. more..

Sangakkara open to 'maverick idea'

Mar 28 (CI) Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara believes John Buchanan's idea of having multiple captains in a team is an interesting concept that opens endless possibilities for the game's future. Sangakkara said that Twenty20, which he called cricket's maverick form, was a good testing ground for such "maverick ideas", which need to be tried and tested for the game to evolve. more..

Honours and the dishonourable

Mar 28 (LNP) This country is self-sufficient in awards and honours besides mobile phones and honorary doctorates. It is sickening to see them bandied about by the unspeakable. The government, after the Sakvithi scandal, suddenly woke up to the conferment by bogus institutions of titles similar to national honours on the crooked desirous of boosting their image to win public trust. more..

TNA places no responsibility on LTTE for deaths, injuries and entrapment of Tamil civilians

Mar 28 (GDI) At a meeting convened by His Excellency the President on Thursday (26) with leaders of parties representing minority communities, at which several Tamil political representatives and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress participated, reference was made to a communication from the leadership of the Tamil National Alliance, dated 25 March, which was subsequently released to the media. more..

Reckless drivers kill over 180 monthly

Mar 28 (DN) Over 180 deaths are reported monthly following accidents due to reckless driving, Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said. “We expect to overcome this with the introduction of the new smart card driving licence,” he said. Over 18,000 people have become disabled annually due to accidents while over 500,000 people are admitted to hospital due to road accidents, the Minister said at a ceremony to launch the smart card driving licence in Werahera yesterday. more..

Beware of saboteurs - President

Mar 28 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa urged the nation to be vigilant of those who would seek to grab power at any cost, even by plunging the country to total economic chaos and bankruptcy. The President gave this warning when he addressed the Ada Wawamu Pelayak - Heta Nelamu Palayak (Will Plant a Tree Today and Harvest its Product Tomorrow) campaign launching ceremony at Temple Trees yesterday. more..

Smart card driving licence will see drop in accidents - PM

Mar 28 (DN) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka said yesterday that the Government has taken a prudent decision to issue a new driving licence despite criticism. Over 2,200 people die annually due to reckless driving by both licenced and unlicenced drivers and those with forged licence, he said. The number of deaths due to reckless driving can be brought down with the introduction of the smart card driving licence, he said. more..

President challenges LTTE to free civilians and face the military

Mar 28 (Island) President on Thursday called upon all Tamil parties to join him to obtain the democratic rights to the people of the North. He challenged the LTTE to release all civilians they are using as a shield and fight in the open. The President was addressing a special meeting he held with all Tamil and Muslim political parties. The TNA, the largest Tamil political party, which has 22 representatives in Parliament, failed to respond to the President’s invitation for the meeting, more..

Polls chief asked to probe call for teacher interviews

Mar 28 (Island) Letters sent to unemployed graduates in the Gampaha district asking them to report for an interview to select teachers, has aroused the suspicion of the Ceylon Teachers’ Service Union. The letters purportedly dispatched by an organization named ‘Tharunayata Hetak’, carried an address at Medaketiya Road, Tangalle and mentioned that a monthly salary of Rs 18,000 would be paid to the selected teachers. more..

SLMC, UNP restrained from suspending Baiz

Mar 28 (Island) Colombo District Court Judge Sampath Wijeratne yesterday issued an enjoining order restraining Hassan Ali, the General Secretary of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, from suspending the party membership of Deputy Minister K. Abdul Baiz. He also prevented United National Party General Secretary Tissa Attanayake from suspending Abdul Baiz sitting in Parliament. more..

Ambassador Blake rejects Weerawansa’s criticism

Mar 28 (DM) US Ambassador Robert Blake said yesterday that NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa’s recent criticism of Norway and the United Nations was misplaced and that they in no way endorsed LTTE terrorism. Ambassador Blake said Norway and the UN are working hard with the US and other members of the international community to urge the LTTE to release the tens of thousands of civilians who are trapped in the safe zone in northern Sri Lanka. more..

'Karuna trying to create a rift between me and Govt.'

Mar 28 (DM) Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan yesterday slammed non cabinet Minister Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman for his “interference” in matters relating to the eastern province. Mr. Chandrakanthan told Daily Mirror that Minister Muralitharan had “no right” to talk about the east as he was not selected as a leader by the people in the area. more..

JVP MP apologises to Ravi in Court

Mar 28 (DM) A defamation case filed by UNP parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake against JVP parliamentarian Sunil Handunnetti was settled at the Colombo District Court when Mr. Handunnetti tended an apology. Mr. Karunanayake who was in Court agreed to settle the matter and drop any claims for damages on the basis of an apology and said he instituted legal action not with the intention of making money out of litigation but as a politician who was anxious to clear his reputation and goodwill. more..

World has 'moral obligation' to stop Sri Lanka killings: Jackson

Mar 28 (PTI) Appealing for peace in Sri Lanka where hundreds of Tamil civilians have been reportedly killed in the ongoing conflict between Army and the LTTE, veteran American civil rights activist Jesse Jackson has said that the world has a "moral obligation" to stop the killings. Rev. Jackson who addressed the diaspora Tamil conference in London on Thursday said that "we [the global community] have a moral obligation to stop the killings" in Sri Lanka, the Pro-LTTE website Tamilnet said. more..

Sri Lanka spends US$240mn in peg defence in Feb09

Mar 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka has spent 240 million US dollars in February 2009 defending a dollar peg in an ill-fated exercise that has already drained two thirds of the country's foreign reserves, the latest official data show. Sri Lanka's gross official reserves, including fiscal balances, fell to 1,415 million US dollars in January from 3.4 billion dollars at the beginning of September. more..

Sri Lankan expats find common ground

Mar 28 (EB) Rayan Ganeshan recalls perfectly the day his father first brought him to Gavi in south Kerala. “I must have been three or four,” he says, holding his newborn war­mly wrapped in layers of clothing. What I remember distinctly is that there were so many children of my age — and all of us were from the same background: Sri Lankan-born Tamils pushed back into India.” Rayan looks around him at the green expa­nse of cardamom carpeting the forest floor. more..

Sri Lanka appeals to rebels to lay down arms

Mar 28 Sri Lanka's president appealed Saturday to the island's Tamil Tiger separatists to lay down their arms, saying it would ensure the safety of tens of thousands of trapped civilians as a 25-year civil war winds down. The civilians are trapped in a "no-fire" zone on Sri Lanka's northeastern coast as the military pushes the rebels — the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam — into an ever-smaller area. more..

Liberation war and the abhorrent violent culture

Mar 29 (TC) Liberation war and the abhorrent violent cultureMar 28 Sri Lanka's president appealed Saturday to the island's Tamil Tiger separatists to lay down their arms, saying it would ensure the safety of tens of thousands of trapped civilians as a 25-year civil war winds down. The civilians are trapped in a "no-fire" zone on Sri Lanka's northeastern coast as the military pushes the rebels — the LTTE — into an ever-smaller area. more..

UK writer follows Lord Rama's footsteps to Sri Lanka

Mar 29 (TC) Martin Buckley embarked on many a train journey while travelling across India more than 25 years ago. Like many of us, he would pass the time reading a book. "As soon as I would take out my book, the other passengers' eyes would immediately light up. That's when I knew that this was no ordinary book, but something much deeper," he recalls. The book Buckley was reading was the country's very own epic Valmiki's Ramayana. more..

Occupied by Extremism

Mar 29 (AT) The LTTE would have us believe that civilian Tamils crowded into the far from safe ‘safe zone’ are there voluntarily, eager to be at the side of the Sun God in his hour of twilight. Tiger political chief Nadesan takes umbrage at the term ‘trapped civilians’: "it is not appropriate to use the word ‘trapped’… They are not trapped; they are still struggling to get their life back in their land with dignity" (Interview with the CNN – 22.3.2009). more..

Ethnic strife, fratricide, and the peace vs. human rights dilemma

Mar 29 (LG) The rapid intensification of the conflict in Sri Lanka during the mid-1980s followed the July 1983 communal violence. Agents of the state perpetrated human rights violations, including attempts at demographic transformation through massacres and the displacement of minority Tamils. The accompanying rise of the LTTE through the brutal elimination of rivals brought another dimension to the conflict. more..

Presidential Sec. releases response to TNA letter

Mar 29 (LG) The Presidential Secretariat today released a response to the letter sent to President Mahinda Rajapaksa by the members of the TNA on Thursday while turning down the invitation from the President to attend a meeting last Thursday. The President met with leaders of parties representing minority communities, for which the TNA was also invited, in which several Tamil political representatives and the SLMC participated. more..

Action vs. reaction

Mar 29 (LG) The TNA has refused the invitation of so called political cohabitation extended by President Mahinda Rajapaksha. The President called for a special meeting with other Tamil and Tamil speaking political parties at Temple Trees on the evening of March 26 to highlight/discuss the new political scenario in the country. All anti-Tiger political parties and the Regime are in political dilemma rather than pro-LTTE parties like the TNA. Is TNA’s decision correct? more..

A note on media integrity

Mar 29 (LG) It is fashionable these days to say there is a conspiracy against journalists and the media in general. In fact the purported lack of media freedom is often referenced as indication of Sri Lanka being a ‘failed state’ and used in legitimizing calls for intervention in our affairs by foreign powers. Some time ago, ‘The Nation’ commenting on atrocious reportage regarding a rumour about LTTE infiltrators in the Southern Province, more..

'No Tamil party asked the President to stop war'

Mar 29 (LG) Peolple's Liberation Organization of Tami Ealam (PLOTE) leader D. Siddharthan says that certain European countries and political parties of Tamil Nadu influence Sri Lanka government to stop war aiming to re-strengthen LTTE. Therefore, it should not be allowed, he says. Participating in an interview with Lanka-e-News, Siddharthan said that PLOTE was against stopping war. more..

IMF loan deals kidney-punch on worker rights

Mar 29 (LB) The government plans a major retrenchment drive in the public service to reduce the number of public servants and supress trade union rights. According to a special gazette notification no.1589/30 issued on February 20, a number of rights enjoyed by government employees have been thrown overboard. Meanwhile, the World Bank, IMF and many other foreign agencies urged the government to reduce the number of government servants, in exchange for granting loans for development purposes. more..

State contemplates action on Holmes call

Mar 29 (LB) The Government is considering the action to be taken over the telephone conversation between UN Humanitarian Chief John Holmes and LTTE arms procurer Kumaran Padmanadan last week. However, Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Palitha Kohona said yesterday that they had no confirmation of a telephone exchange between Holmes and LTTE arms procurer Kumaran Padmanadan, better known as KP. more..

End-games that people play

Mar 29 (LB) That the Rajapaksa government and the UNP’s Ranil Wickremesighe had a great escape the same week, was merely coincidental. Ranil Wickremesinghe owed his great escape to Vajira Abeywardene who got a majority of signatures from working committee members and the UNP MPs urging the eight man committee deliberating on general party reforms to let Ranil stay. Eventually, Vajira Abeywardene won the day. more..

When Vino winds-up TNA disputes

Mar 29 (LB) The disputes simmering within the Tamil National Alliance became apparent when its Wanni district parliamentarian Vino Noharathalingham recently commended the “manner in which the government was taking care of IDPs” in Vavuniya. The pro-government media gave extensive publicity to the remarks made by the MP and some government ministers went on to thank Vino Noharathalingham for speaking out about the IDP camps. more..

Left viewpoint on Tamil issue gaining currency

Mar 29 (LG) The UNP leader has saved his skin. Already, serious damage has been done to the image of the party, by the so-called loyal opposition. It is not clear to many what they were really asking for, other than to change the leader. Surely the personality of a leader cannot be the reason to build an opposition to oust a leader! It is proved once again that the UNP has no other leader with the same level of political intelligence. more..

Never a Commonwealth, only a Common thief

Mar 29 (LG) I just finished reading the ‘Westminster Hall Debate’ of March 24, 2009, on the topic ‘Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth’ and realized that one of the key reasons for the decline of the British Empire must have been the play of low IQ, confusion of fact and rhetoric, high degree of naiveté, wild imagination and paucity of analytical rigor. Post-empire pangs were clearly much in evidence. more..

Anandasangaree lambaste TNA for political duplicity

Mar 29 (AT) V. Anandasangaree, Leader of the TULF lambasted Members of Parliament belonging to the TNA for their political duplicity. He flayed the TNA parliamentarians for failing to force the leadership of the Tamil Tigers to release the two hundred thousand odd innocent Tamil civilians held as human shield by them. He said, as usual the members of the TNA have missed a great opportunity to participate in the forum and air their views on the present political situation in the country. more..

Angelo Mathews gears up for IPL carnival

Mar 29 (CI) Allrounder Angelo Mathews is keen to make most of the opportunity after being selected to represent the Kolkata Knight Riders in the second season of the IPL, which gets underway in South Africa on April 18. "As soon as I heard that I have been selected to play for Kolkata Knight Riders I was surprised and very happy," Mathews said. "At a young age it is a big honour to get into an IPL team which has the cream of international cricketers. more..

'We are trying to defeat the LTTE politically'

Economic war at doorstep

Mar 29 (SL) Whilst the two major parties were generally busy with the forthcoming Western Provincial Council elections last week, other issues took centre stage. More of that later. For the ruling UPFA it is a case of the incumbent President winning it for the coalition. Mega spenders (heaven knows where the money comes from) were vying for space on the walls of the Western Province apparently trying to convince voters that he/she has more money than the rest and therefore has to be more popular and more..

Pity the Politicians?

Mar 29 (SL) So dear readers we return to the sad and sordid tale of Golden Key. Again the details of this sorry story are well established and after three installments of the infamous and seemingly infinite list the tales of human suffering featured weekly have begun to lose their visceral impact. While the tales of woe spawned by Golden Key are legion this week The Leader advises readers to spare a thought for a group whose ‘suffering’ has so far been largely neglected by the media. more..

‘UNP has the best team for the job’

Mar 29 (SL) UNP Kaduwela Electorate Organiser, Attorney-at-Law Sujeewa Senasinghe says that the internal party issues have not had any impact on the UNP’s election campaign for the Western Provincial Council and expresses confidence about victory at the polls. Senasinghe spoke to The Sunday Leader hours after having survived a shooting at his Kaduwela office. Excerpts: more..

Is it the end of the road for the Tamil National Alliance?

Mar 29 (SL) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has missed a golden opportunity to convey the grievances of the Tamils directly to President Mahinda Rajapakse by turning down his invitation for discussions. The conflicting statements issued by a TNA parliamentarian on the IDPs has also led to speculation that the party is suffering from severe internal problems. more..

Difficult raising 30% of cost of doubling refinery capacity

Mar 29 (ANN) In the face of rapidly deteriorating economic difficulties worsened by the global economic meltdown, Sri Lanka is finding it difficult to raise funds required for ambitious project to boost the capacity of the Sapugaskanda oil refinery. Well informed sources said yesterday that this transpired at a recent meeting attended by senior Treasury representatives and members of the Iranian embassy. more..

Challenges and role of statisticians

Mar 29 (LBO) Consciously or unconsciously, we use statistics in everything we do in our day to day life. When we say that it rained yesterday, we simply pronounce a fact we have observed as having happened. When we say that it is raining now, we again mention something that we have observed as happening. When we say that it will rain tomorrow, we are predicting a future event. more..

Vehicle emission tests compulsory

Mar 29 (SO) The Commissioner of Motor Traffic has decided to make compulsory the vehicle emission test to three other provinces, in addition to the Western province. The emission tests are now being made compulsory to all vehicles that need registration (revenue licence) with the Register of Motor Vehicles. (RMV) “We have also decided to extend this to North Western, Southern and Central provinces from next month,” more..