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Captives, hostages, devious priests and Tiger deserters!

Mar 3 (LG) As we go to the press we have the news of terror attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore a few hours ago. In view of this cowardly and dastardly act, it is all the more necessary for the entire world to commit itself against all types of terrorism. Even more it is more important President Mahinda Rajapakse should persist in ensuring terrorism of all forms are wiped out in Sri Lanka now that he is at it with sheer determination. There can be no ceasefire of any sort in Wanni. more..

What is Wrong with Sri Lanka?

Mar 3 (LG) By now, many of us know that something is wrong on the island prominently referred to as Sri Lanka. The 25-year-old civil war between the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Government of Sri Lanka is at the height of its crisis. Keeping the LTTE cornered inside a few hundred square kilometers of jungle, the real war of the Government of Sri Lanka is waged on the Tamil people. more..

'Riots in 1983 were not due to patriotism'

Mar 3 (GDI) Many guess that Prabhakaran had a long term plan to change the ethnic balance of Sri Lanka by bringing down 10 million Tamils from Tamil Nadu and settling them here, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Felix Perera said. “UNP was responsible for the riots in 1983 and the attacks on Tamils were not launched due to patriotism. President J.R. Jayewardene purposely remained silent on the matter for seven days without ensuring law and order in the country. more..

Dengue on the rise again

Mar 3 (GDI) Dengue is on the rise. Though not in epidemic proportions there has been a sharp increase of the disease in the first two months of 2009 in comparison to the figures of 2008, The Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition sources said. The Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry has supplied all state hospitals with necessary drugs. But the prevention, not the treatment is most important in containing this disease sources said. more..

Boost for estate sector education

Mar 3 (GDI) Keeping with its 'education for all' policy, the government has taken steps to upgrade the standard of education in the plantation sector to offer equal opportunities for the children of plantation workers as given to children in other parts of the country. Under this programme, Rs. 322.5 million has been allocated for the improvement of basic infrastructure in plantation sector schools. more..

Rs. 23m to reconstruct road in Sri Pada

Mar 3 (GDI) The Government will take steps to reconstruct the seven kilometre stretch of road from Nallathanni to Sri Pada temple at a cost of Rs. 23 million on a special request by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Highways and Road Development Minister T.B. Ekanayake said. He pointed out that the stairway from Nallathanni to Seetha Gangula will be reconstructed at a cost of Rs. 9 million as the first phase of the project. more..

Halpita, another model village under Gama Neguma

Mar 3 (GDI) Halpita, in the Kesbewa Divisional Secretariat, has been earmarked by the government under Gama Neguma program as a model village this year. This is with the Government's initiative to have a fully developed village in each Divisional Secretariat Division. All infrastructure facilities such as pipe borne water and electricity will be provided to such villages. more..

President condemns cowardly terrorist attack on cricketers

Mar 3 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa unequivocally condemned the cowardly terrorist attack targeting the Sri Lankan Cricket Team in Lahore , Pakistan , today emphasizing that the Sri Lankan team had gone to Pakistan as ambassadors of goodwill. The President, who is at present in Nepal , has instructed that immediately action be taken to bring back to Sri Lanka all members of the team, ensuring their safety and security. more..

Govt. to employ disabled personnel

Mar 3 (GDI) The Government has decided to recruit 3 per cent of disabled personnel for employment in the public and private sector, since it had been found that there was discrimination in the recruitment procedure. The new legislation in this regard, approved by Parliament will come into effect shortly, Labour Relations and Manpower Minister Athauda Seneviratne said. more..

'President should be informed of the names of appointees to Constitutional Councils'

Mar 3 (LT) The names of six representatives for the Constitutional Council to be appointed with the agreement of the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition were presented to the Supreme Court yesterday and the SC ordered that they be sent to the President in writing with the signatures of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. The names presented by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition were more..

We are not satisfied with govt’s handling of economy – JHU

Mar 3 (LT) At the moment inflation has been reduced and it has happened not due to the competence of the government states Ven. Hadigalle Wimalasara Thero, Member of the Central Committee of the JHU. He said this participating at ‘Janahanda,’ a live political discussion telecast live by TNL. Speaking further Thero said whatever the government’s role in the military front the JHU has no appreciation of the government’s mediation in the economy in the country. more..

CEB employees ‘sick’ today

Mar 3 (LT) Employees of Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) have applied sick leave and keeping away from their duties today in protest of the Sri Lanka Electricity Draft Bill that is to be presented to Parliament today (3rd) said Member of United Trade Union Alliance of Port, Railways, Petroleum workers and General Secretary of All Ceylon Electricity Employees Union Ranjan Jayalal. more..

What we do now will be remembered

Mar 3 (GV) The scene is reminiscent of a scene straight out of a movie. The scene is full of blood and gore. Except the zombies who are in the movies are not there and none of those who look like zombies are after you. This is the picture of what you will find in the hospitals where the civilians and soldiers from the war front are brought to. And those are not zombies; they are shocked, traumatized humans with missing limbs and some dying or dead. more..

Bad Buddhists, good Buddhists and true Buddhists

Mar 3 (GV) The purpose of this article is to discuss very briefly a few contemporary issues on preaching, interpretations and practices of the Lord Buddha’s teaching from an expatriate’s point of view. First of all I would like to insist that Buddha never preached Buddhism but expounded Dhamma. Discussing these issues is important due to three main reasons. Firstly, from a religious view point such a debate would arouse our own Buddhist cultural thinking, more..

The rational appeal of the Indian Foreign Minister

Mar 3 (PISL) There seems to have been some confusion over the most recent statement by the Indian Foreign Minister, with some media outlets claiming that he was calling for a Ceasefire. Such confusion is perhaps understandable, with such a finely worded statement, and it was necessary to point out that that interpretation was inappropriate in the context of the Government's determination, shared with the Indian Government, to eradicate terrorism. more..

'JVP prepared to give leadership to gain ultimate victory to the country'

Mar 3 (LT) The JVP would give leadership to the country until it gains ultimate victory says Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe. The task of the JVP does not depend on the number of counselors or votes said Mr. Amarasinghe adding that the role of the JVP towards the country would never be lessened. Mr. Amarasinghe speaking at a meeting held in Kotte for the candidates of the JVP for Western PC election under the theme more..

Situation Report (Mar 3) by SLA

Mar 3 (SLA) A MASSIVE haul of weapons, ammunition and other warlike military hardware recovered from Tiger terrorists in UDAYARKATTU village by 572 Brigade troops during search operations within a matter of only a week is now kept for display from today (3) under the instructions of its Brigade Commander Colonel SENARATH BANDARA. Those warlike items kept for display include three 130 mm artillery guns, one 122 mm artillery gun, six 122 mm artillery trailers, more..

Bogus kachcheri near A’pura police station raided

Mar 3 (DN) The District Vice Squad of the North Central Province DIG’s office raided a bogus kachcheri and arrested a suspect and took a large number of forged documents into custody. The detection was made by ASP Jagath Saram on the directions of North Central Province DIG Asoka Wijetilake who had acted on a tip-off. Police have taken into custody a large consignment of printed forms used in various branches of the kachcheri and more..

Appointment letters for 729 doctors

Mar 3 (DN) Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva will handover appointment letters today to 729 doctors who have completed their post-internship. From today the largest batch of doctors (376) will be deployed in all State hospitals in the North and East, a Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry spokesman said. He said that 376 doctors from this batch will send to serve in State hospitals in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. more..

Water levels receding fast

Mar 3 (Island) Water levels at the major reservoirs are dropping at an alarming rate and by yesterday noon the capacity was 27 per cent, according to senior sources of the Ceylon Electricity Board. A senior CEB official told The Island yesterday that the 27 per cent is sufficient for 342 GWh which could produce only 342 million units of electricity. Usually there is a maximum of around 1,200 million units. more..

The jinxed jumbos

Mar 3 (Island) Defeat is the mother of all intraparty battles. Some UNP stalwarts are out for their leader's scalp. Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, they believe, is jinxed; he loses elections at a rate. They seem to think that if they manage to smoke him out, hey presto, the party will start winning again. Is Ranil the only problem the UNP is faced with? Ranil, as our political correspondent pointed out on Sunday, is a seasoned survivor––like all other politicians. more..

M.I.A’s father speaks out, says peace may be illusive

Mar 3 (DM) Hip hop sensation and British songster M.I.A’s father, Arular Arudpragasam, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Mirror expressed his interest to offer his services as an independent mediator of the ethnic conflict to the government. Speaking, while in Sri Lanka on a visit, Arudpragasam, said that his 30 years experience in Sri Lanka’s conflict, would be the primary reason for his inclination. more..

Pakistan PM calls President to regret cricket team attack

Mar 3 (APP) Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday telephoned Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and expressed his profound regrets over the terror attack on Sri Lankan cricket team. The Prime Minister commiserated with the Sri Lankan President, currently in Kathmandu on an official visit, and said the incident was a well‑planned conspiracy meant to create terror. more..

Election posters trigger visual pollution: CEJL

Mar 3 (DM) A writ application was filed in the Court of Appeal yesterday challenging the Central Environmental Authority and the IGP for their inaction to remove unauthorized election posters and banners which have caused environmental pollution in a way of visual pollution. The Centre for Environmental Justice (Guarantee) Limited (CEJL), a non-governmental organization concerned with the implementation and enforcement of the laws relating more..

Wife 'in a daze' after Sri Lanka cricket shooting

Mar 3 (KN) The wife of former Kent cricket coach Paul Farbrace – injured when gunmen opened fire on the Sri Lanka national cricket team yesterday – says it is a “blessing” he escaped with his life. Mr Farbrace, 41, from Harrietsham, was hurt when the Sri Lanka team coach was attacked as the team made its way to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore to face hosts Pakistan in a Test match. He scrambled to safety after the terrorist outrage under a hail of bullets and rockets. more..

Attack stuns as Sri Lanka is no one's enemy

Mar 3 (HS) IT WAS cricket's September 11 - and it will change the game forever. What makes it doubly galling is that Sri Lanka is the Switzerland of Asian cricket. India and Pakistan might hate each other, but they both admire Sri Lanka, which is no one's enemy. In the hotbed of Asian cricket, Sri Lanka has been like a wartime hospital ship ploughing through choppy waters. And now we have seen the hospital ship gunned down. Unbelievable. more..

Sri Lanka launches media campaign on child soldiers

Mar 3 (OW) As the star cricketer on his school team, Sitha would always count the days until Saturday and the morning of his next match. It was his weekly moment of glory, a time when all the other boys in his village in northern Sri Lanka came to watch him take out his bat, put on his cricket helmet and stride to the wicket. But on one particular Saturday, as he slid his helmet on, tears rolled down his face. A year earlier Sitha, had been abducted by an armed group. more..

CPI-M condemns attack on Sri Lankan cricketers

Mar 3 (IANS) The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Tuesday condemned the terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, saying it 'highlights the grave security situation in Pakistan'. A statement from the CPI-M described the attack that killed six Pakistani policemen and wounded half-a-dozen Sri Lankan players as 'heinous'. It expressed satisfaction that none of the players was seriously injured. more..

Zardari, Gilani condemn attack on Sri Lankan team

Mar 3 (IANS) Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani Tuesday strongly condemned the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore and ordered an immediate enquiry. Zardari asked the authorities concerned to immediately investigate the incident so that the perpetrators are identified and their motives exposed. 'He directed that best possible medical treatment be provided to the injured,' Geo TV reported. more..

Sri Lankan high commission releases names of injured players

Mar 3 (IANS) Six Sri Lankan players and the team official were injured in an attack by armed gunmen in Lahore's Gaddafi stadium Tuesday. The Sri Lankan High Commission said in a statement: "The following members of the Sri Lankan Cricket Team have received minor injuries including Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Suranga Lakmal and Thilina Thushara and Assistant Coach Mr Paul Farbrace. Thilan Samaraweera and Tharanga Paranavitana have been admitted to the Lahore Hospital." more..

Rajapaksa cuts short Nepal visit, sends minister to Pakistan

Mar 3 (IANS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa cut short his three-day state visit to Nepal Tuesday after the attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore and asked his Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama to proceed to Pakistan. Bogollagama, who accompanied the 63-year-old president to Nepal, told the media Tuesday that the Sri Lankan delegation was returning to Colombo in view of the attack in Lahore city in which six players were injured and more..

I was hit by shrapnel, reveals Sangakkara

Mar 3 (IBN) Kumar Sangakkara, one of the players injured during the terror attack in Lahore, said that he does not regret coming to Pakistan despite the attack. Sangakkara said that some players received minor injures and no one was seriously injured. "Everyone is safe. There are a few injuries but all the players are out of danger. There is shock. Thilan (Samaraweera) has a bullet shot in his leg but he is fine. more..

Sri Lankan response to attack

Mar 3 (BBC) Charith Senanayake, the Sri Lankan cricket team marketing head, has given his reaction to the attack on the team in Pakistan. Five cricketers, and their assistant coach, were injured during the attack by gunmen in Lahore, and five local policemen were killed. He said on hearing the news that the board were 'pretty shaken up' and they had not expected this reaction to the team's tour. more..

The attack on Sri Lankan cricketers

Mar 3 (OI) Six players of the Sri Lankan cricket team, which had arrived on a visit to Pakistan, are reported to have been injured and four policemen killed when 10 or more persons wielding hand-held weapons, including hand-grenades, attacked a bus in which the team was going to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on the morning of March 3. The attack has been recorded on closed circuit TV and should enable the Pakistani authorities to identify the terrorists and more..

Broad hailed as hero during machine gun attacks

Mar 3 (DM) Former England Test opener Chris Broad risked his life to protect a colleague injured during attacks by a dozen gunmen in Lahore. Broad, the match referee for the second Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, was in a minibus pounced upon by the attackers close to the Gaddafi Stadium. Seven Sri Lanka players were injured when their team bus was targeted on the way to the match. more..

Many Sri Lankan Tamils giving up on country

Mar 3 (AP) The assailants broke in after the fighting between ethnic rebels and the military erupted again into full-scale war, storming through his family's home and calling his name. Thanabalasingham Surendran, a member of Sri Lanka's Tamil ethnic minority, fled to the capital, Colombo. But unknown "messengers from military intelligence" kept calling and demanding extortion money. So the shop owner paid a smuggler to get him out of Sri Lanka. more..

Attack on Sri Lankan Cricket players

Stunned umpires caught up in attack

Mar 3 (Reuters) Match referee Chris Broad walked around in a blood stained shirt while umpires Simon Taufel and Steve Davis looked dazed, just hours after an attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team touring Pakistan on Tuesday. While they're used to dealing with incredible pressure in the cauldron of international cricket, nothing prepared the officials for this. "It was horrifying. There were bullets flying around us and we didn't know what was happening," more..

Q+A: Who could have attacked Sri Lanka's cricketers?

Mar 3 (Reuters) Gunmen attacked a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Tuesday, wounding six players, officials said. A senior Pakistani official said the raid bore the hallmarks of the same militants who attacked India's financial capital Mumbai in November. India and the United States blamed the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba for the three-day assault on Mumbai. more..

Sri Lanka driver: 'All hell broke loose'

Mar 3 (SKY) The Sri Lanka cricket team's driver has described how a rocket just missed their coach during a terrorist attack that left eight people dead. Mehar Mohammad Khalil drove the team to the Gaddafi stadium after coming under fire from around a dozen unidentified gunmen. At least six players were injured, along with their British assistant coach Paul Farbrace. Six police officers and two civilians - one the driver of a second coach travelling behind the team bus - were killed. more..

Sri Lanka comes under IMF microscope

Mar 3 (LBO) The International Monetary Fund has sent a mission to Sri Lanka to look at the country's "near-term outlook", the global monetary watchdog said, as the island is grappling with the worst balance of payments crisis in a decade. "An IMF mission is currently in Colombo to hold discussions with the authorities on current economic conditions in Sri Lanka, the country's near-term outlook and the authorities' macroeconomic policies," more..

Gunmen attack Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan

Mar 3 (AP) At least a dozen men attacked Sri Lanka's cricket team with rifles, grenades and rocket launchers Tuesday ahead of a match in Pakistan, wounding seven players and an assistant coach from Britain in a brazen assault on South Asia's most beloved sport. Six policemen and a civilian were killed. The players' and the coach's injuries were not life-threatening, officials said. more..

Sri Lanka captures key crossroads from rebels

Mar 3 (AP) Sri Lankan troops captured a key crossroads outside the last rebel-held town Tuesday after fierce fighting with Tamil Tiger guerrillas, the military said. The capture of the junction outside the town of Puthukkudiyiruppu came as government forces battled to destroy the rebel group and end the country's 25-year-old civil war. The intense battle over the crossroads killed scores of rebels, the defense ministry said in a statement. more..

India says will not buckle under Tamil Tiger rebel threat

Mar 3 (Xinhua) India said on Tuesday it will not buckle under any threat from the LTTE rebels, who warned New Delhi with consequences for demanding a safe passage of civilians caught in the fighting between government forces and LTTE. A senior Indian government official said on condition of anonymity that Tamil Tigers' warning to India not to help Sri Lanka to "uproot" civilians from their land shows the desperation of LTTE more..

Sri Lanka assistant thankful to be alive after attack

Mar 3 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's British assistant coach Paul Farbrace said he was thankful to be alive after five policemen and a driver were killed in an attack on his team's bus on Tuesday. "It was very frightening," Farbrace, who was wounded along with six players, told the BBC. "That panic when you lie on the floor hearing gunfire and you can hear the bus being hit, you just pray one of them doesn't hit you. more..

'Cricket won't be played in Pakistan in the forseeable future'

Mar 3 (CI) Reactions to the attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore, which has put in doubt Pakistan's status as an international sporting venue. "It's very unfortunate that this has happened. Everything had gone on very well until this morning, but it just goes to show that nothing is as it seems. I don't regret coming here to play cricket because that's what we have been doing all our lives. more..

Pakistan avoid attack thanks to late change of plan

Mar 3 (Guardian) Pakistan's cricketers came within a whisker of being caught up in the terrorist attack in Lahore this morning and owed their near-miss to a last-minute change of plan, according to the team's coach. Intikhab Alam said that the captain, Younis Khan, decided not leave for the stadium at the same time as the Sri Lankans as they had previously. According to Alam, both teams usually departed together at about 8:40am, but that did not happen this morning. more..

Sri Lankan cricketers injured in terror attack

Mar 3 (CI) Terror struck at the heart of cricket when masked gunmen attacked the bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. Five cricketers, including Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan captain, and his deputy Kumar Sangakkara, received minor injuries. The attack also left six security men and two civilians dead. Ijaz Butt, the PCB chief, said the Test has been called off. more..

Who carried out the Lahore attack?

Mar 3 (BBC) Details of the attack in Lahore are still sketchy, but the video footage is a stark reminder of the November attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai, in which about 10 suspected militants held the city hostage for three days. On Tuesday, a similar number of men staged an equally audacious attack. They ambushed the bus that was taking the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team to the stadium for a match with Pakistan. more..

They were just firing everywhere: Lahore eyewitness

Mar 3 (IANS) "They were just firing everywhere," an eyewitness said on Tuesday of the terror attack on the Sri Lankan team bus that killed eight people, including six Pakistani policemen, and injured six players and their assistant coach. Qasim, a resident of Lahore, told he heard the first blast at 8:30 a.m, while he was in his office that was located near the attack site. A grenade was thrown at the bus landed about 20 feet away. more..