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Sri Lanka allays private sector fears over trade deals

Mar 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka's government recognises private sector fears of non-tariff barriers in bilateral trade deals and will not open up the economy against its wishes, a senior minister said. "The government will not agree to anything against the wishes of our own private sector," Gamini Lakshman Peiris, minister of export development and international trade, said. more..

'Economic revitalization and rehabilitation of combatants top priority in post war period'

Mar 30 (Island) Soon after the completion of successful military campaign to defeat terrorism the government would engage in economic revitalization and fostering reconciliation through transition of former combatants in its post war programmes that would ensure a durable peace in Sri Lanka, Human Rights and Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said last week. more..

LTTE suicide attack thwarted in V'niya as Tigers retreat on M'tivu front

Mar 30 (Island) An LTTE suicide cadre targeting a senior police or military official based in the Vavuniya area had committed suicide on Saturday (28) afternoon after soldiers shot and wounded him, an army official said. The army had mounted a clearing operation at Varikottoruwa, Vavuniya after receiving information of the presence of LTTE cadres in the area, he said. After seeing troops, two unidentified persons had started running away, more..

JVP, UNP unions sound war signals

Mar 30 (DM) The JVP and UNP-led trade unions yesterday sounded war signals against an extraordinary gazette notification under which some privileges of the union representatives is alleged to be curtailed. The JVP-led All Ceylon Trade Union Federation said in a statement that they would be compelled to take action if the government did not withdraw the gazette notification. more..

Task force to probe plantations companies

Mar 30 (DM) A Cabinet Sub Committee (CSC) headed by Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara has recommended the appointment of a Presidential Task Force to probe allegations that 20 plantation companies had defaulted commercial banks of Rs.10.13 billion and the government of Rs.291 million. The Sub Committee had also recommended that state land policy be revamped. The high powered four-member CSC, in its report revealed that more..

Move to clip Mendis’ wings in a big way

Mar 30 (TI) A move to sideline Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chief executive Duleep Mendis appears to be gaining momentum with the new chairman, Somachandra de Silva, reportedly “keen” on appointing an additional chief executive. “Mendis and the chairman (one-time teammates) just don’t see eye to eye... So, either he accepts being marginalised or puts in his papers... Mendis doesn’t have support in the recently-constituted interim committee either,” more..

Govt servants among the IDPs

Mar 30 (DM) While revealing that several government servants are among the IDPs in the North, the Democratic People’s Front (DPF) yesterday called on the government to release them from the IDP camps and give them some appointments in suitable areas. DPF General Secretary A. N. Kumar Guruparan told Daily Mirror that Mullaitivu Education Director Kulakularaj, Assistant Director Murugawali and more..

Pak gunbattle: echoes of Sri Lanka cricket attack

Mar 30 (AFP) The assault on a Pakistani police academy Monday that has so far claimed 20 lives echoes the brazen attack on Sri Lanka's cricket team -- and before that to the deadly Mumbai siege. All involved multiple gunmen striking in seemingly coordinated fashion and fixing on high-profile targets. Their brazenness is also a marked feature -- these were not random suicide bombings favoured by some militant groups, more..

Sri Lankan coaches' contracts extended till 2011 World Cup

Mar 30 (CI) The contracts of Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss and his assistant Paul Farbrace have been extended until the next World Cup in 2011, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) authorities announced on Sunday. "We have decided to extend the contracts of the coaches," Nishanta Ranatunga, the SLC secretary, said. "We did an evaluation on their performance and the feedback we got was fairly good. They are doing a good job and we want them to continue." more..

Sri Lanka agro firm helps combat mealy bug menace

Mar 30 (LBO) A Sri Lankan agro firm has set up a help desk to combat the spread of 'mealy bug' which is sweeping through home gardens in the island's capital Colombo, and is threatening several agro areas. Hayleys Agro Products says about 60 crops that can be affected by mealy bug (Pseudococcidae family) have been identified. These include milky sap plants such as temple trees, jackfruit, breadfruit, papaw, rambutan, crotons and more..

Problem of plenty for Sri Lankan School

Mar 30 (TP) Admissions for the new academic year at Stafford International, the Sri Lankan School in Doha has increased in large numbers and forced the administration to put many students on the waiting list. The school is facing an accommodation crisis said Sithy Aysha Rahuman, Principal, Stafford International School. “The admissions have increased by 75 percent and we have put around 50 students on waiting list as we face a space problem. more..

'Golden Key’ had Govt. sponsorship

Mar 30 (LT) The Golden Key Credit Card Company collapsed recently and investors that deposited money in this company were severely distressed. There had been a fraud of Rs.26 billion and the Judiciary recently ordered that its assets worth Rs.14.5 billion should be sold and depositors paid back their money. Relevant to this incident Sri Lanka Central bank stated Golden Key Credit Card Company was not a registered financial institute. more..

'We’re ready for humanitarian ceasefire'

Mar 30 (LT) The government was prepared for the humanitarian ceasefire proposed by the Security Council of the UN and other international bodies if the tiger organization was prepared to release civilians who have been detained in the ‘no war zone’ of 20 sq. kilo meter area states media spokesman for national security Minister Keheliya Rambukwella. more..

MP’s gang abducts child over dispute with employee

Mar 30 (ANN) A dispute between UPFA MP Sarana Gunawardena and one of his employees, Primal, over the latter switching allegiance to Prasanna Ranatunga, contesting the forthcoming elections to the WPC yesterday led to the abduction of the employee’s 12-year-old son. According to a complaint lodged with the Gampaha police, the Attanagalle organiser and three other persons allegedly stormed Primal’s residence and attacked the occupants. more..

Sri Lanka says 55 rebels killed in fighting

Mar 30 (AP) At least 55 Tamil Tiger rebels have been killed in land and sea battles on Sri Lanka's northeast coast as an army offensive moves forward in a bid to end 25 years of civil war, the military said Monday. Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said 26 rebels were killed in a sea battle Monday off Chalai. Four boats belonging to the LTTE were sunk in the battle, which lasted about four hours before dawn. more..

UNHRC hops onboard Tamil Tigers’ bandwagon

Mar 31 (MT) Much of the fodder that the UN rights body offered as its own diligently cross-checked facts was the same self-serving pap the Tamil Tiger propaganda machine is spewing out on the Internet. ONE of the less appreciated side-effects for anyone dispatched to the tropics on United Nations related business is that the good life which comes with the job—with a fair share of it spent in the more..

Conditions and Pre-conditions

Mar 31 (LG) As was only to be expected, the four-party TNA has not responded positively to President Mahinda Rajapakasa’s invitation for talks. To cite the worse than abject civilian conditions in the war-zone to stall whatever little hope of whatever mitigation was possible under the larger conditions of has become the branded response of the TNA, over the years. This, it says, is doing in the name of the larger Tamil community. more..

LTTE claims the Crown of Commonwealth

Mar 31 (LG) Humanity, justice and fairness have won a remarkable uplift recently. The Masters are going to expel Sri Lanka from the exquisite membership of the club of old colonies. We need to keep this membership so that we can keep celebrating being colonized, don’t we? The aftershocks of colonization peaked in 1983 and is continuing to this day in grandiose of mayhem, suicide bombing. Why should not we celebrate? more..

Presenting a theme to perfection is creative art

Mar 31 (LG) “During my visits to Sri Lanka, which have always been memorable, I have always felt deeply saddened by the situation,” Nandita Das, award-winning Indian independent film actress and filmmaker, said on present situation in Sri Lanka in an exclusive interview with Sri Lanka Guardian. Nandita Das was born in New Delhi. Her father was the celebrated Indian painter, Jatin Das, originally from Orissa, and her mother was a writer, Varsha Das. more..

LTTE must let civilians go, says Lankan envoy

Mar 31 (LG) If the LTTE releases the civilians it is holding in captivity, the government will consider implementing a mechanism to look after the civilians, says Sri Lanka’s ambassador to the UN, H. M. G. S. Palihakkara. He was addressing the media subsequent to an informal discussion on Sri Lanka at a recent UN Security Council meeting. The meeting was posted on the UN website. more..

Sri Lanka IMF talks stretch to second week

Mar 31 (LBO) The rupee closed at 115.20/45 against the greenback, with the country's reserves running low as talks with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout package, stretched to a second week. The Sri Lanka rupee broke the Central Bank's defended peg level of 114.25 last Thursday. The IMF team began talks with authorities on March 23, and was expected to wrap up talks in the same week to reach a 'staff level agreement' and more..

India offers more help for IDPs

Mar 31 (BBC) The Indian government has offered more food and medical aid to Sri Lanka, India's Foreign Secretary said. Shiv Shankar Menon told journalists in Delhi that India has already increased the size of the Indian funded hospital in Pulmudai and sent an additional batch of doctors last week. The Indian government has already shipped more medicine and food supplies for the internally displaced people (IDPs) in the conflict zone in northern Sri Lanka, he said. more..

U.S. donates medical supplies for hospitals in North

Mar 31 (USE) The USAID today donated equipment and basic medical supplies to the Ministry of Health to treat 50,000 civilians at hospitals in the North. James R. Moore, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy, made the symbolic presentation to Hon. Nimal Siripala de Silva, Minister of Health Care and Nutrition. The U.S. donation, valued at $77,000 (Rs 8.77 million), includes five kits with basic medical care items such as bandages, medicines, supplies and equipment. more..

Sri Lanka 'could halt fighting'

Mar 31 (BBC) The Sri Lankan government says it is considering a humanitarian pause in the offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels in the north-east of the country. The pause would allow civilians caught up in the fighting time to escape. A senior foreign ministry official told the BBC that the details for a halt would be worked out shortly. Earlier, the Sri Lankan military said more than 50 Tamil Tiger guerrillas were killed in land and sea battles in the north-eastern region. more..

South India hunt for fleeing Tamil Tiger rebels

Mar 31 (Reuters) Heavily armed commandos locked down a stretch of the southern Indian coast on Monday and began a house-to-house search for a group of suspected Tamil Tiger rebels from Sri Lanka, police said. Jacob Punnoose, police chief of Kerala state, told Reuters the police had information that LTTE rebels were trying to flee impending defeat at the hands of Sri Lankan troops in their bloody 25-year civil war. more..

PM Singh sends special emissary to President Rajapaksa

Mar 31 (AT) A high level emissary of Indian Prime Minister has made a quite visit to Colombo with a personal message to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, it is reliably learnt. There is no official word from the Indian side though the visit had taken place on March 25. Some sections billed the visit as exchange of views on "developments in the field of public administration in the two countries." more..

Sri Lankan prelate says peace still reachable

Mar 31 (Zenit) Faced with increased violence in Sri Lanka, the archbishop of Colombo is affirming that peace is still attainable. Archbishop Oswald Gomis said this in an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, released today, in the wake of escalated conflict that left over 50 dead in the country. He noted that the Church, by keeping good relations with all people, is well-placed in order to more..

1st Asia media award for press freedom: In memory of Lasantha Wickrematunge

Mar 31 (TC) Sonali Samarasinghe Wickrematunge, widow of slain Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge, would have wanted to be at a media conference here to accept an award on behalf of her late husband. But fresh threats to her life have prevented her from doing so. "Yes, I am under serious threat. I have been strongly advised that my life and liberty are in serious jeopardy so I live from day to day assessing the situation," more..

More challenges now for rebuilding battered Sri Lanka

Mar 31 (FI) The mere absence of the war that has destroyed many lives (more than 70,000 - no firm estimate is available), displaced tens of thousands of families from their habitats and inflicted untold suffering on virtually the entire population for more than two decades does not mean the return of lasting peace. This requires essentially, the elimination of the root causes that led to the violent conflict. more..

Basnahira South maintain winning streak

Mar 31 (CI) Basnahira South, led by Sri Lanka's stand-in Twenty20 captain Tillakaratne Dilshan, maintained their winning streak in the Inter-Provincial Twenty20 tournament with victories over Basnahira North and Schools Invitation XI over the weekend. Former Sri Lanka Under-19 cricketer Lahiru Thirimanne starred in their 13-run win over Basnahira North at the SSC, scoring an elegant 70 off 46 balls to push the total to 158. more..

Lankan forum to join new year celebrations

Mar 31 (GT) The Sri Lanka Community Benevolent Fund (SLCBF) has announced it will participate in the forthcoming new year celebrations organised by the Sri Lanka Co-ordinating Committee which will take place on April 17. SLCBF - the financial and welfare wing of the Sri Lanka Co-ordinating Committee (SLCC)- will organise and operate the food stall at the event. “This is a major task as this food stall should provide more..

SAARC in negotiations to liberalise trade in services

Mar 31 (ANN) South Asia has commenced negotiations in to incorporating trade in services to the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) but a lack of data could slow things down, a senior economist said. "So far there have been three meetings and the possible initial lists for exchange have been identified without any commitments," Dr Saman Kelegama, Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) told the Island Financial Review. more..

Dialogue with Sri Lankan diaspora - Dr. Palitha Kohona

Mar 31 (AT) Welcoming the Sri Lankan Tamil diasporas other day at the Mt. Lavania Hotel, Dr. Palith Kohona said, "As the LTTE's delusion, fades into history, the Government is rightly calling on our Tamil brothers and sisters living overseas to return to the warm embrace of mother Lanka and seek a common future with all her other children, whether they be Muslims, Sinhalese, Mukkuvars, Malays, Burghers, etc. more..

Violence against women

Democratic rights cannot be curtailed , says Ranil

Mar 31 (LG) Democratic rights of the people cannot be curtailed under the guise of military operations, says Ranil Wickremasinghe, Opposition leader. He said that terrorism had to be completely eradicated and no one should be allowed to engage in terrorism. “Security measures should be taken. There is no question about that. By doing that, if the country has to experience a long lasting peace, then we say that a political solution acceptable to all should be found. more..

'No ceasefire under any circumstances'

Mar 31 (AT) The Government will not go in for any ceasefire with the LTTE under any circumstances, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. "We will not cave into pressures from any international quarters locally and internationally and will not stop until the war was completely over," he said. He said that the delay in finishing the remaining parts of the war was due to the Security Forces being asked to exercising restraint in the conflict zones which has civilians. more..

Apply adequate pressure on Colombo for ceasefire and negotiations: LTTE

Mar 31 (TN) The LTTE is not a movement believing that war is the only means to achieve the aspirations of the people it represents. But, political solution needs an environment conducive to it. The IC can play a positive role by adequately pressurizing Colombo for ceasefire and by promoting negotiations between GoSL and the LTTE as equal partners with due recognition, said Selvaraja Pathmanathan, more..

Supreme Court discards Ceylinco assets declaration

Mar 31 (LG) The Supreme Court ordered today that a report be submitted on all assets of companies incorporated in the Ceylinco Group of Companies prepared in association with the Attorney General and the Central Bank. The Supreme Court made the order refusing to accept the assets declaration of the Ceylinco Group of Companies submitted by its chairman in accordance with a previous directive of the Supreme Court. more..

'Govt. did not heed UNP’s warnings against fiscal bungling'

Mar 31 (LG) UNP M.P. Kabir Hashim said, the UNP had been consistently warning the Govt. against its lopsided fiscal polices and backstreet politics. The Govt, which has been concealing the country’s true dire economic position assuming that it can carry on this way regardless and forever, has led the people into the worst economic plight never witnessed before by the masses in SL’s history. more..

UNP warns against rabble rousing politicians and journalists

Mar 31 (LG) Addressing a media briefing at the UNP media unit, UNP M.P. Lakshman Seneviratne said, UNP is the only party since its inauguration has not changed its policies, color or symbol unlike other parties for political or other gains; and so are its present members. Hence, regardless of what insidious attempts are made by interested Opposition politicians and media sections ,UNP cannot be dismantled or de stabilized, he added. more..

Cease the cries for ceasefire

Mar 31 (LG) From a considerable number of organizations there are loud cries for ceasefire. That itself is not a bad idea. Any reasonable person (This excludes LTTE and its supporters.) would want to save civilians. What I cannot see-may be due to lack of military expertise and not being privy to sufficient information- how can a ceasefire save even a single civilian life if the LTTE does not agree to release the civilians during a well determined ceasefire? more..

'Allow citizens to remain where they wish to, instead of detentions camps'

Mar 31 (LG) Allow citizens to remain where they wish to, instead of detentions camps says Former Attorney General of Sri Lanka & Chairman of Australians for Human Rights of the Voiceless , Shiva Pasupati in an appeal to Navi Pillai, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Full Text; We are Australian citizens who share a deep concern about the escalating civilian crisis in Sri Lanka. more..

Ethnic relations in Sri Lanka: conflict or concord?

Mar 31 (LG) I have all along been aware that the author of the article referred to above is a highly acclaimed writer. His exposé of holiday brochures last week was no doubt intended to serve the innocuous purpose of giving us yet another dose of light entertainment for which he has acquired considerable fame. Yet his not-so-humorous comment on Sri Lanka prompted me to engage in the usual ‘surfing’ in order to learn a little more about him. more..

Sri-Lanka commits genocide

Mar 31 (LG) Tamils have been campaigning for a ceasefire for a long period. Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) was intransigent. It couldn't see the forest for its trees. Having ruined Jaffna citizen’s life by their military rampage which had been widely reported, it went on its war path to Vanni. Having erased Vanni and its head quarters Kilinochchi where the fighters had their de facto government when they signed the famous ceasefire agreement of 2002, more..

PSM denies interruption of activities

Mar 31 (PSM) Board of Directors of the Peace Secretariat for Muslims has denied reports that the main funding agencies including the Norwegian Government suspended their contributions due to financial mismanagement and wastage of funds. Member of the Board of Directors Mr. M.T. Hasen Ali MP told that the donor agencies have agreed to continue funding after they submitted the audit reports. more..

People in East still feel insecure - SLMC

Mar 31 (PSM) “Muslims in the Eastern Province are yet to get the sense of security since the groups that claimed to have returned to the mainstream are still in possession of arms and they are aligned to the government. As a result, not only the Muslims but the Tamils who are against this group are also living in fear. They made a big show that they have given up arms. more..

Sri Lanka and Nepal consider air links via New Delhi

Mar 31 (GDI) “The joint tourism package, suggested by Nepalese government during President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s recent visit to the Himalayan kingdom, seems setting new trends in the industry between two countries,” International Trade Minister G. L. Peris said. “In scheduled tours, tourist destinations alternate between Himalayan hikes and enjoying blue waters of the Indian oceans in Sri Lanka,” the Minister said. more..

More avenues for higher education to Youth

Mar 31 (GDI) This is an opportunity to open more avenues for higher education especially to Sri Lankan youth who have limited opportunities to benefit from the conventional university system and the new University of Vocational technologhy (UNIVOTEC) which is another important step in the enhancement of teritary education in the country, the President Mahinda Rajapakse said at the inaguration ceremany of the first university of Vocational Technology. more..

Steps are taken to improve the quality relevance of the Technical Training sector

Mar 31 (GDI) The Ministry of Vocational and Technical Training took steps to improve the quality relevance and recognition of the Technical and Vocatuional Education and Training sector, Minister Piyasena Gamage said at the inaguration ceremany of the first university of Vocational Technology. The university will commence two degree courses at the outset. They are Training Technology and Industrial and Vocational Technology. more..

More buses for 400 rural routes - NTC

Mar 31 (CT) The National Transport Commission says that more buses will be deployed in 400 rural routes as an initial measure to enhance transport services in rural areas. A total of 100 villages will be covered with each bus covering four villages, Chairman of the NTC, Prof. Amal Kumarage said. This transport service, which will be implemented through the SLTB, will cover routes that lack buses. more..