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'CPS system will make Lanka a regional economic hub'

Mar 4 (DN) "Higher liquidity in the payment and settlement system of Sri Lanka will induce rapid economic activity and assist the Common Payment Switch (CPS) system. This would assist Sri Lanka to realize its goal of being a regional economic hub," Head of Operations Lanka Clear (Pvt) Ltd, Harsha Wanigatunga said. He was making a presentation on "CPS The Way Forward" at a function at the Ceylon Continental Hotel, recently. more..

Sri Lanka is at medium risk from global fall out: IMF

Mar 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka is among low income countries (LICs) at "medium" risk from global economic turmoil, and some nations were at "high" risk needing foreign aid as commercial markets dry up, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said. Direct financial transmission of the crisis was spreading to countries like Ghana and Sri Lanka who have begun to access international capital markets, the IMF said in a report titled more..

Sri Lanka seeks insurance after Pakistan attack

Mar 4 (AFP) Sri Lanka on Wednesday called for bids to insure the national cricket team, a day after a gunmen ambushed their bus in Pakistan, leaving seven players and an assistant coach injured. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said it was looking for an insurance policy to cover group travel, medical and personal accident insurance during the coming year. The team's current travel insurance worth some 40 million rupees (350,000 dollars) runs out on March 13. more..

'Abolition of executive presidency: Govt. backtracking on election promise'

Mar 4 (Island) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake yesterday told Parliament that his party would support the government to muster a two-third majority to abolish the executive presidency. MP Karunanayake, participating in the debate on Sri Lanka Electricity Bill at its second Reading, challenged the Government to bring an amendment before Parliament if possible. more..

Lahore attackers were home-grown terrorists, say editorials

Mar 4 (IANS) The attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team is proof that 'the writ of our state is threadbare' and signals the requiem for international sporting events in Pakistan, a leading English newspaper said Wednesday, with another saying the assault 'highlights the folly of negotiating with those bent on destroying our way of life'. Both editorials were trenchant in their criticism of the government, saying more..

'Centre should ask Sri Lanka to end war'

Mar 4 (UNI) PMK chief Dr S Ramadoss today urged the Centre to ask Sri Lanka to immediately end the ongoing war between its forces and LTTE. Dr Ramadoss also urged the Centre to convene an all-party meeting of national political parties on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. He alleged that Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa was killing innocent people in the island nation while certain leading English newspapers in the state were supporting the Sri Lankan Government. more..

Lahore attack: Families in tears

Mar 4 (DM) Family members of the injured Sri Lankan cricketers expressed deep shock after reports flooded in that the Sri Lankan cricket team had been shot at while on their way to the Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore yesterday morning. Most who were choked up with emotion said they were deeply concerned and sad at the incident and only wanted the cricketers to return home safely. The wife of Thilan Samaraweera - one of the two players who received gun shot injuries more..

Key watch dogs paralyzed: JVP

Mar 4 (DM) The JVP charged yesterday that the two vital parliamentary bodies monitoring public finances in state institutions -- Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) were unable to meet on several occasions for want of a quorum. JVP front-liner Sunil Handunetti said it was really unfortunate that COPE had not met on four occasions. “The situation is similar with PAC. Parliament must ensure the proper functioning of more..

Nepal, Lanka highlight joint efforts for peace, stability

Mar 4 (ISRIA) President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav has said that as fellow SAARC members, Nepal and Sri Lanka have been working together to bring sustained peace, stability and development in the region. President Dr. Yadav made this remark while addressing the dinner hosted in honour of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his spouse Saranthi, who arrived here Monday, in connection with their three-day visit to Nepal. more..

'Sri Lanka troops close to finishing off Tigers'

Mar 4 (AFP) Sri Lankan security forces are on the verge of establishing complete control over territory held by Tamil rebels after killing "scores" of guerrillas, the defence ministry said on Wednesday. Government forces were consolidating their position in the last urban area held by the Tamil Tigers, the small town of Puthukkudiriruppu in the northeast, following heavy fighting on Tuesday. "Scores of terrorists were killed in the fighting and as many injured," more..

'Security cover for Test series was relatively relaxed'

Mar 4 (IANS) Tillakaratne Dilshan, who narrowly escaped the Lahore terror attack, said Wednesday that the security cover for the two-match Test series was relatively relaxed when compared to the one-dayers. Dilshan paid a tribute to the Pakistani bus driver for virtually saving the lives of all the cricketers bravely, as terrorists attacked the team bus with rocket launchers, grenades and gunfire more..

The Attack in Lahore and the Response Online

Mar 4 (NYT) For the latest developments on the commando-style attack on the Sri Lankan national cricket team and its police escort in the Pakistani city of Lahore today, please keep returning to the main news article on our site, which Jane Perlez and Waqar Gillani will continue to update from Pakistan throughout the day. Here on The Lede, we will let you know what other Web sites are reporting and bring you a sample of the reaction online. more..

Conspiracy theories abound post-Lahore attack

Mar 4 (IANS) Did the police in Pakistan's Punjab province warn that Indian spy agency RAW would stage an attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team? Was the attack linked to the action being taken against jehadi outfits in the wake of the Mumbai mayhem? This apart, who was the unknown individual who made a telephone call that prompted a change in the route being taken by the bus carrying the Sri Lankan players, taking them directly in the line of fire of the attackers? more..

Sri Lanka situation 'grim', says UN official

Mar 4 (DPA) The humanitarian situation in northeastern Sri Lanka has become 'extremely grim', a senior UN official in the Asian country said Wednesday. Gordon Wiess, the spokesman for the UN's operations in Sri Lanka warned that some 70,000 to 200,000 were trapped in a tiny enclave between a lagoon and the sea front, desperate for food, shelter and drinking water. He said it was 'unacceptable' that civilians were cut off from aid. more..

Sri Lanka negotiating US$1900mn facility from IMF: Central Bank

Mar 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka has asked for a 1,900 million US dollar balance of payments support facility from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the central bank said. Sri Lanka's foreign reserves have fallen from 3.4 billion US dollars in September to 1.7 billion US dollars in December. The Central Bank said the first tranche is expected to be disbursed this month. The full statement is reproduced below. more..

'I felt a bullet fizz past my ear'

Mar 4 (CI) As I dictate this article we are preparing to fly home. It's been a long day and we can't wait to return home to our families. We were shaken badly, obviously. Pakistan has a reputation for being unstable in the recent past, but we never expected to be caught up in something like this. I am still shocked that a sports team could be targeted in this manner. We had always felt pretty safe in Pakistan, to be honest. more..

Pakistan arrests suspects in attack

Mar 4 (AP) Police detained several suspects in the attack on Sri Lanka's cricket team in Pakistan, but said Wednesday they had made no progress in tracking the group of gunmen that wounded seven players and killed six police guarding them. Tuesday's attack in the eastern city of Lahore came at a time of mounting political turmoil in the nuclear-armed country and will add to fears it is losing the battle against Islamist extremists blamed for a series of high-profile attacks. more..

Crimes Against Conscience

Mar 5 (LG) In 1948, the American historian and jurist Raphael Lemkin (of Polish-Jewish extraction), felt strongly that new kinds of international law was essential, to restrain or prevent genocide. Lemkin in 1944 coined the term genocide - he viewed genocide, like homicide, is a recurring phenomenon, in the way in which human groups treat each other. Loss of any one society and culture through genocide, Lemkin believed, is a loss to all humanity. more..

Vanni: The "most ignored human tragedy"

Mar 5 (LG) "There were dead women and children all around, I saw that and I began to strike my cheeks and cry. I won't forget this until the day I die," Kalaivaani said. Who was narrowly escaped from Sri Lankan government ruthless bombardment for the civilian safety-zone in Vanni. "If we had been on the government designated safety zone already, we'd probably be dead right now," she says, still fighting to hold back tears. more..

Lahore Motive

Mar 5 (LG) 3rd of March 2009 was indeed a fateful day for Sri Lanka. At home, the LTTE terrorists lost their last designated terror base in the island to the advancing Sri Lankan troops. Elsewhere in the world, the Sri Lankan Cricket contingent was deliberately targeted by a group of well-organized terror squad, equipped with automatic weapons, rocket launchers and grenades. Eye witnesses claimed that the terrorist group first blew off the tires of the bus and then fired a rocket at it but missed it completely. more..

Lahore Q&A

Mar 5 (OI) I have received a number of questions from readers with reference to my article of March 3, 2009, on the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. I answer some of them in this article. What are the similarities and differences when one compares the Lahore attack with the earlier terrorist attacks in Kabul on February 11, 2009, and in Mumbai on November 26, 2008? more..

LTTE, JVP and campus politics

Mar 5 (LG) Though it sounds as a banal statement, it is not a tautology to say that the LTTE and the JVP has differences as well as similarities. The LTTE is a product of Tamil racism that was created by the Dutch and the British and nurtured by the latter while JVP is a product of the Marxist movement in Sri Lanka. Both the LTTE and JVP have been established in order to fight for the "downtrodden" as recognised by their parental movements namely Tamil racism and Marxism. more..

Former bigwigs still use PC vehicles for their campaigns

Mar 5 (LT) The vehicles given to former ministers, leader of the opposition, chief opposition whip and leader of the house to be used as official vehicles are being used by certain ministers and bigwigs for their election campaigns. The following vehicles have been used today. 1. WPKA 9986 vehicle given to Deputy Leader of the House. 2. WPKC 8006 vehicle given to former minister of cooperatives. 3. WPKD 1810 (Montero Jeep) given to former chief minister Reginald Cooray. more..

Sri Lankan beer company profits down

Mar 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Lion Breweries December quarter profits have taken a hit from increased finance costs on loans taken to raise fresh capital and secure their 22.5 percent stake in Indian brewer, South Asian Breweries (SAB), analysts said. December quarter profits fell by 34 percent or 20.3 million rupees, to 39.6 million. "The SAB stake was financed through borrowings," an analyst said. more..

Economical and family oriented rest houses and holiday resorts

Mar 5 (AT) In keeping with the Narambamu Sri Lanka project launched by the Ministry of Tourism, in partnership with Sri Lanka Tourism, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has initiated a campaign to refurbish the existing, SLTDA owned rest houses and holiday resorts. The Narambamu Sri Lanka project singularly aims to spur interest in domestic tourism, and encourage Sri Lankans to travel within our own country, more..

'Sri Lanka not ruling out LTTE role in Lahore attacks'

Mar 5 (AFP) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said Wednesday he could not rule out the possibility that Tamil Tigers were involved in the attack on his country's cricket team in Lahore. Seven Sri Lankan players, along with an assistant coach, were injured while eight Pakistanis, including six policemen, were killed in the attack launched as the team bus was heading to the stadium on Tuesday. more..

Dishani Gunawardena wins CIMA World Prize

Mar 5 (AT) An old girl of Mueseus College and a first year undergraduate of the Colombo University, Ms Dilshani Gunawardena is the latest Chartered Insitue of Management Accountants (CIMA) World Prize Winner for Finance Accounting and Tax Principals at the examinations held last November. Dilshani is one of the many world prize winners to emerge from Sri Lanka in the past year and has brought her country pride while more..

Media lament cricket attack

Mar 5 (BBC) The attack launched on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan on 3 March, in which seven people were killed and six cricketers injured, has raised doubts about the future of international cricket in Pakistan. The media in the world's cricket-playing nations have been discussing the implications for the future of the game. The Australian and Indian cricket teams had previously cancelled tours to Pakistan because of security concerns, more..

Indian forces will set up hospital in Lanka

Mar 5 (AA) India is likely to soon establish a field hospital at Pulmodi in northeastern Sri Lanka to provide medical treatment for civilians injured in the bloody conflict raging in that country. The hospital will be established at Pulmodi which is on the northeastern coast and the security will be provided by the Sri Lankan Navy. The field hospital will be staffed by 52 Indian armed forces personnel comprising doctors and nurses. more..

Stop deporting to Sri Lanka, immigration committee asks Canadian gov't

Mar 5 (SM) Parliament’s immigration committee is calling on the government to halt deportations to Sri Lanka and speed up the handling of sponsorship applications, saying the country is just too dangerous to send people back. “Turmoil in Sri Lanka is accelerating,” said Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis who proposed the motion. “Family class sponsorships are taking a long time, particularly in the area in the danger zone. more..

TV footage shows terrorists escaping after Lahore attack

Mar 5 (IANS) A Pakistani TV news channel on Wednesday aired dramatic visuals of the terrorists who attacked the Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore escaping from the spot on motorcycles and on foot. The four sets of visuals Geo TV aired were captured by CCTV cameras in the lanes around the Liberty market area near the Gaddafi Stadium where a group of terrorists, said to number 12, sprayed bullets on the Sri Lanka team bus. more..

If war ends, can a divided nation heal?

Mar 5 (CSM) The long, bloody civil war never came to this market town, deep in the tea-growing highlands. No suicide bombings. No Army massacres. But the anger and alienation that fed a generation of revolt by Tamil minority still burn here, far from the battlefields of the north. Everyday hassles, not the struggle for self-rule, are largely to blame: racial profiling by abusive police; few Tamil-speaking bureaucrats; official documents issued only in Sinhalese, the language of the majority. more..

Terrorists of Lahore attack escaping

Sri Lanka’s trauma

Mar 5 (CMS) A small group of women wander down a quiet country road, holding umbrellas against the sun. A charming picture of tropical life. But these women are on their way to a funeral – of a young man, just 25 years old, murdered in cold blood by an unidentified gang. Yaharajah, a Tamil, was from a village near Batticaloa in the east of Sri Lanka, once under the control of the LTTE, or Tamil Tigers, now a high-security zone under the control of the Sri Lankan government. more..

Sri Lanka: Urgently Evacuate Civilians

Mar 5 (HRW) The Sri Lankan government and the separatist LTTE should immediately agree to a plan of action to allow civilians trapped in the Vanni to leave the conflict area, Human Rights Watch said today. Some 150,000 civilians are at grave risk from fighting and aid shortages in the shrinking war zone in northeast Sri Lanka. "A humanitarian evacuation of civilians is desperately needed right now," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. more..

PM rules out ceasefire with rebels

Mar 5 (Xinhua) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of a truce with Tamil Tiger rebels amid ceasefire call from India and the international community. "We will not trust the terrorist group and go for a ceasefire," he told parliament. His response was the first government reaction to a statement by Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee that the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE must negotiate a ceasefire to provide for safety of civilians trapped in the war zone. more..

Pakistan, SL resolve no conspiracy to undermine relations

Mar 5 (PT) Pakistan and Sri Lanka have resolved that no conspiracy can undermine the relations between the two countries. This was the crux of series of meeting held between President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani with the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohita Bogollagama on Wednesday. The Sri Lankan Foreign Minister is visiting Pakistan as special envoy of the Sri Lankan President in the wake of Lahore terrorist attack on Sri Lankan team. more..

Sri Lanka reposes full trust on Pakistan`s investigation

Mar 5 (PT) Sri Lanka has expressed full confidence on Pakistan in connection with investigation into Lahore attacks saying Pak-Sri Lanka friendship journey will continue and no attempt to isolate Pakistan will be allowed to succeed. This was said by visiting Sri Lankan foreign minister during a joint press conference along with his Pakistani counter part foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. more..

Murali questions security lapse

Mar 5 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan has questioned whether the terrorists who perpetrated Tuesday's attack on the Sri Lankans had received inside information as to the team's movements. In a chilling account of the Lahore shootout, Murali said the precise timing of the attack suggested the terrorists could have been tipped off about timing and security arrangements. "Somehow in this incident there were no police with guns on the bus," Murali told Australian radio. more..

Sri Lanka to give one month money to banking system

Mar 5 (LBO) Central bank said it will extend the term of its liquidity facilities, which are now limited to only overnight money, to one month for commercial banks and primary dealers who have persistent liquidity shortfalls. The monetary authority operates an 11.75 percent window with restricted access and a 16.50 percent window with free access which now sets the ceiling on short term rates. more..

Catholics pray for Sri Lankan cricketers following attack

Mar 5 (UCAN) Sri Lankan Catholics are praying for their cricket heroes injured in an attack in Pakistan, even as they express concern over terrorism. The Sri Lankan cricket team was on its way to play its second day of a test match in Lahore, Pakistan, on March 3 when it was ambushed. Eight players were wounded in the shootout and six policemen and two civilians were killed. Three of the injured cricketers are Catholics. more..

Sri Lanka says foreign investment US889mn in 2008

Mar 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka had received 889,9 million US dollars of foreign direct investments in 2008 which includes a 136.72 million US dollar loan, the island's investment promotion agency said. The Board of investment said the investments in ventures approved by it were up 21 percent from the US dollars 734 million recorded last year. Telecoms led the tables with 553.09 million US dollars, followed by power generation at 87.86 million and housing 19.854 million. more..

Canada’s Tiger gang sheds crocodile tears

Mar 5 (LG) Pro-LTTE Tamil activists of Toronto have made a habit of demonstrating against the Sri Lankan Cricket Team whenever they have been in this region of the world from the Caribbean to Canada. At the last World Cup, there was an unsavoury pro-LTTE demonstration by one guy who flew all the way from Canada to Caribbean to show off his stand for the kind of terror politics LTTE practices. When the Sri Lankans played at King City, even a small aircraft was chartered to spit foul defiance on the team. more..

SCOPP Secretary General addresses UNHCR meeting in Geneva

Mar 5 (PISL) Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary General of the Peace Secretariat and Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights, addressed the 44th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the UN High Commission for Refugees in Geneva yesterday. His response to a presentation by Janet Lim, Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, is carried in full below. more..

New CEB Act will strengthen 13th Amendment

Mar 5 (PSM) “The newly passed CEB Act would strengthen 13th Amendment. Recently Eastern Province Chief Minister had made a request from CEB to build two power stations with a capacity of 50 MW each. When making this request he had clearly stated their intention of getting cheaper power from the proposed Indian power station at Sampur.” Convenor of JVP-affiliated CEEU of the CEB said. “The CEB GM said that they rejected his request. more..

Tooth Relic exposition: Security strengthened

Mar 5 (GDI) Security arrangements have been finalized for the exposition of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy. Nearly 2,000 police personnel will be deployed to provide security to the devotees visiting the city during the exposition days, Inspector General of Police Jayantha Wickramaratne said. He revealed this when he paid a courtesy call on Most Ven. Thibbatuwawe Sumangala Mahanayake Thera in Kandy to receive his blessings. more..

SCOPP Secretary General exercises right to reply at UN Human Rights Council

Mar 5 (PISL) Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary General of the Peace Secretariat and Secretary to the Ministry of Human Rights and Disaster Managment responded to comments made by the British and French representatives at the High Level Segment of the 10th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday. His remarks are carried in full below. more..

News from DGI now on your Mobitel

Mar 5 (GDI) Department of Government Information (DGI) recently joined hands with Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel the National Mobile Service Provider to provide news alerts and special SMS based information services such as election results, via SMS to Mobitel Subscribers. The exchanging of agreements took place in the presence of Hon. Anura Priyadarshana Yapa Minister of Mass Media and Information. more..

Glaucoma, a great menace in Sri Lanka

Mar 5 (GDI) “Glaucoma, an adverse eye condition, caused about 15,000 to go blind in Sri Lanka. When a patient is over 60 and have been wearing spectacles or have eye problems, the chances of falling victim is more,” said Dr. Palitha Mahipala, deputy director general of Public Health. The most threatening aspect of the disease is that it is extremely difficult to identify the symptoms especially during the initial stages. more..

President condoles with families of slain Pakistan Policemen

Mar 5 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa directed Foreign Minister, Rohitha Bogollagama to call on Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and convey Sri Lanka's deepest concerns to the families of the Pakistani security officers and civilians killed in Tuesday's attack. Foreign Minister also stressed the importance of binging the perpetrators to justice. During the meeting Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari expressed his sympathies to the players, more..