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Private bus workers protest 'unreasonable' -NTC

Mar 31 (CT) Inter provincial private bus workers are striking work to protest what they allege unreasonable conditions and fines imposed by the National Transport Commission. Commuters on routes from Colombo to Kandy, Matara and Puttalam have been affected due to this union action. The protestors staged a demonstration in front of the NTC head office in Colombo this morning (Mar. 31). more..

Police fail to locate MP accused of assault & abduction

Mar 31 (CT) Police have so far failed to locate UPFA MP Sarana Gunawardena and two policemen accused of assault and abduction. The parliamentarian has reportedly entered a house in Yakkala, Gampaha assaulted a man and abducted his 12-year-old son. Along with the two police constables, he also faces charges of forced entry, making threats, causing seriously bodily harm and abduction and abduction. more..

2 more suspects in Varsha murder killed

Mar 31 (CT) Two more suspects in the recent kidnapping and murder of a little girl in Trincomalee have died - caught in crossfire between police and a group of suspected LTTE cadres in Kinniya today (Mar. 31). Two policemen have also sustained injuries in the shooting. Previously, the main suspect in the abduction and killing of Jude Reggie Varsha died in police shooting while trying to escape from their custody. more..

War reporter of ‘Rupavahini’ apprehended with goods stolen from terrorists

Mar 31 (LT) The reporter of war news in the programme ’Wanni Meheyuma’ in SLRC ‘Rupavahini channel Saman Kumara Ramawickrema has been apprehended with stolen laptops, digital cameras and archeological artifacts. Mr. Ramawickrema was apprehended at Medawatchchiya Police check point when he was travelling to Colombo from Puthukudyirippu on the 26th afternoon. more..

More preferential votes would not get chief ministerial post – President

Mar 31 (LT) The chief minister for the Western Provincial Council would be decided not on the number of preferential votes but according to the decision of the party said President Mahinda Rajapakse. He said no one needs to struggle for the post of the chief minister. The President said this addressing the electoral organizers of Kalutara District at Temple Trees today. more..

A9 reopens - Next step for the Northern Province

Mar 31 (PISL) The people of Jaffna witnessed an historical event in March as the A9 highway connecting them with the rest of the country was reopened after two and a half years. The night of 10th March 2009 was no ordinary night for the people of Jaffna - a ray of light cleaving through the darkness rekindled hope in them. The Government Agent, his officials and employees were waiting in readiness at the Navatkuly food warehouse to receive the first consignment of goods being transported via the A-9 highway in lorries. more..

The callousness of the international community

Mar 31 (PISL) While doubtless the assaults on the Sri Lankan state will continue, at least until the Tigers can no longer operate either from our shores or elsewhere, I believe the last few weeks have helped us to clarify certain misconceptions. Certainly the problem that is aired accusingly has boiled down to the one simple fact, that there are a number of civilians forcibly kept by the LTTE in the area still under their control, and they will continue to suffer while conflict continues. more..

Situation Report (Mar 31) by SLA

Mar 31 (SLA) AS the final countdown on liberation of terrorist-held areas has already begun, determined troops late Monday (30) moved further into the interior capturing one more earth bund, put up by the terrorists in the general area of THEVEDDI amidst fierce gun battles. The earth bund, about 15 ft in depth and 12 ft in height has been erected to stall the advance of the troops into LTTE concentrations, quite close to the “No Fire Zone”. more..

Battle enters decisive phase

Mar 31 (DN) The Security Forces are poised to push the LTTE totally into the No Fire Zone within the next few hours completely flushing them out from the build up areas in Iranapalai East, Puthukudiyiruppu East as three offensive Divisions further crushed LTTE fighting capabilities on the last leg of the final battle outside the No Fire Zone yesterday. The 58 Division and 53 Division are poised to take control of the last supply route linked to the No Fire Zone today to more..

KO these terrorists, too

Mar 31 (LNP) Shocking news emanated from Yakkala on Sunday. An intra-party tussle of the ruling UPFA had ended in the abduction of a 12-year-old boy, who was held incommunicado for hours before being released. We reported yesterday that according to a complaint lodged with the Veeragula police, a gang allegedly led by UPFA MP Sarana Gunawardena had stormed the house of one of his former employees, more..

Nothing wrong in Rubella vaccine - WHO team

Mar 31 (DN) There was nothing wrong in the Rubella vaccination administered to Peshala Hansani of Matara. The same vaccination from the same batch had been used in six countries including Morocco, Israel and Kazakhstan but not even a single complication had been reported from those countries, the special WHO team which conducted the special investigation had stated in their report a Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry spokesman said. more..

Ban on imports of soya, green gram, cowpea in the offing

Mar 31 (DN) The Government is contemplating a ban on the import of crop varieties, soy, green gram and cowpea in a move to place agriculture development in the Eastern Province on fast track and to benefit all crop farmers by ensuring that they get a fair price for their crops. The Government banned the import of corn about two weeks ago on the instructions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a similar move aiming to uplift the corn farmers. more..

Sarana denies knowledge of attack on driver

Mar 31 (Island) Gampaha District UPFA parliamentarian Sarana Gunawadena yesterday totally rejected allegations that he along with some others had forcibly abducted a 12-year-old boy around 3.00 a.m. on Sunday at Weeragula. According to a complaint recorded by the Weeragula Police, the suspect had abducted a year 7 student. The father of the student, an employee of the suspect, was alleged to have been threatened with death if he did not accompany the MP. more..

Dept. Heads told to release vehicles for polls duty

Mar 31 (Island) Heads of Departments have been requested to submit particulars on the vehicles that could be released for election duties in the Western Province to the Elections Commissioner. A circular has been issued by the Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga to all Secretaries of the Ministries, the Secretaries of the Provincial Councils, Heads of the Departments and the Chairman of State Corporations instructing that the vehicles should be made available for election duty. more..

They are defaming me! – Lakshman

Mar 31 (Island) The UNP’s Lakshman Seneviratne yesterday accused a Sinhala newspaper of defaming him and others who had openly campaigned for the appointment of a new UNP leader. Addressing a news conference in Colombo, he said that it was false to accuse him or UNPers such as Rukman Senanayake, Johnston Fernando, Sajith Premadasa, S. B. Dissanayake, Dayasiri Jayasekera or Ravindra Samaraweera of working for the SLFP. more..

Major sea battles off chalai: Heavy casualties

Mar 31 (DM) Several Sea Tigers and one sailor were believed killed in a fierce sea battle off Chalai and Mullaitivu last morning, the Navy said. It said four Sea Tiger boats were destroyed and at least 26 Sea Tigers on board were killed when Navy’s elite boat squadrons, the SBS and the RABS, based at Chilawatte and Chundikulum, intercepted and engaged two flotillas of Sea Tiger boats with heavy Naval gunfire on Sunday night and last morning. more..

Human rights essay and poster competition

The questionable letters of Golden Key; in hindsight

Mar 31 (DM) In a formal letter on December 18th 2008 which is written to the Board of Directors of the Golden Key Credit Card Co. Ltd., the Founder Chairman of Ceylinco Consolidated, Dr. Lalith Kotelawala had said then that “My decision to retire as Chairman/Director is due to the reason that I consider it time that my peers and subordinates undertake the responsibilities that I have shouldered through these years in order to bring success to the company and more..

Sigiriya Rock closed for visitors

Mar 31 (DM) The Cultural Affairs Ministry has temporarily banned visits to the Sigiriya Rock Fortress following last week’s two wasp attacks. “No visits will be allowed to the rock. But when the tests being conducted confirm that the rock is safe for visitors, then visits to the Rock Fortress will be allowed again,” a Ministry official said. About 50 visitors including schoolchildren were attacked by wasps last Wednesday near the Lion’s Paw more..

School principals protest in Colombo over pay claim

Mar 31 (wsws) More than 1,500 public school principals marched and protested outside the Ministry of Education in Colombo on March 25 to demand an end to longstanding salary anomalies. The demonstration brought together Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim school heads across the ethnic divide that has been deepened by the government's ongoing communal war. As part of the protest, 200 principals handed over symbolic resignation letters to press for their demands. more..

LTTE-Maoists tie-up to disrupt Indian elections?

Mar 31 (ANN) The LTTE is likely to join forces with India’s Maoist guerillas all out to disrupt the upcoming Indian elections, The Times of India reports. The report quoting central intelligence agencies says that the effect of the LTTE support for the Maoists is expected to be felt mostly down South and Southeast though the repercussion could not be ignored in the Central India. The full text of the report titled ‘LTTE help for India’s Maoists?: more..

Supreme court asks collapsed firm, directors, to declare assets

Mar 31 (LBO) Supreme Court has asked Golden Key Credit Card Company, a collapsed financial firm, and its directors to declare assets and for the island's banking regulator to probe the firm, lawyers said. The Supreme Court rejected a payment plan put forward at a lower court on the intervention of Sri Lanka's attorney general Monday, lawyers said, after some depositors went to the island's highest court for relief, more..

'Private sector must enter Jaffna'

Mar 31 (ANN) The Economic Affairs Director of the Government Peace Secretariat said it was crucial that the private sector venture in to the north so that there can be sustainable development and lasting peace. "There has to be more private sector involvement in the economic activities in Jaffna if we are to attain sustainable peace given that 33 per cent of the population is below 18 years and more employment opportunities have to be provided. more..

Sri Lankan Tamils expect India to support their aspirations: LTTE

Mar 31 (PTI) Expressing unhappiness over India's stand on the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, the LTTE on Tuesday said the Tamil community expects New Delhi to extend its support to their "national aspirations", even as it renewed its call for a ceasefire with Colombo. The Tamil Tigers also refused to lay down arms for resuming political dialogue with the Sri Lankan government to resolve the 30-year-old ethnic conflict. more..

Sri Lanka reconstruction after war could stimulate economy: ADB

Mar 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka's economic growth will slow down this year but could revive the next helped by reconstruction activity expected with the end of the war against Tamil Tigers, the Asian Development Bank said. The bank's Asian Development Outlook 2009 report said the island's economic growth is likely to fall to 4.5 percent in 2009 from six percent in 2008. The global recession was having an effect on the economy, with more..

High security for Fonterra plant opening

Mar 31 (Stuff) The official opening of an expansion to Fonterra's main dairy factory in Sri Lanka has become a high level security operation as government ministers are expected to attend. The factory went into lockdown early today as security forces cleared the complex for the official visit by several government ministers, and the wife of a government leader. Tonight the company is due to open a big expansion of its yoghurt plant at Biygama, more..

Defiant Tigers frustrate Sri Lanka's military

Mar 31 (AFP) Two months after President Mahinda Rajapakse vowed that the Tamil Tiger rebels would be defeated within days, fighting rages on in Sri Lanka at the cost of escalating military, rebel and civilian lives. Government forces who were advancing into LTTE territory at the rate of more than a kilometre a day have slowed to a snail's pace. With the rebels now cornered in a tiny but densely populated strip of coastal jungle measuring just 21 square kilometres, the military has been struggling to deliver the final blow. more..

Sri Lankan troops replaced at refugee camps

Mar 31 (AFP) In response to pressure from the United Nations Sri Lanka withdrew its troops from camps for thousands of civilians who have escaped the island's vicious civil war, a minister said Tuesday. About 61,000 people who have fled the combat zone and are housed in a dozen "welfare camps" will instead be supervised by civil servants, Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said. more..

Prabhakaran's no-surrender vow nears last test

Mar 31 (Reuters) Tamil Tiger founder Vellupillai Prabhakaran has done one thing better than anything else for 37 years: avoid capture. Now the 54-year-old guerrilla leader and architect of Asia's longest-running civil war faces near certain defeat at the hands of the Sri Lankan military, and his longstanding vow of no surrender appears near a final test. more..

Sri Lanka inflation drops to 5.3-pct in March

Mar 31 (LBO) Consumer price inflation in Colombo dropped to 5.3 percent in the 12-months to March 2009 from 7.6 percent in February, with prices dropping for six straight months. Consumer prices have dropped absolutely from October 2008, when the revised Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI) registered 207.2 points. In October, prices dropped 0.3 percent, in November 0.7 percent, in January 0.3 percent and in February 0.1 percent. more..

Sri Lankan rebels appeal again for cease-fire

Mar 31 (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels appealed again Tuesday for a halt to fighting in their war against the government, though they denied they were on the brink of defeat despite being backed into an ever-shrinking pocket of land. The appeal for a cease-fire from S. Pathmanathan, in charge of international diplomatic relations for the rebels, comes as the government says it is close to crushing the insurgents and ending 25 years of civil war. more..