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Indian Tamil lawyers indicted for violent clashes with police over Sri Lanka

Mar 6 (Xinhua) India's Supreme Court-appointed commission on the Madras High Court violence Friday severely indicted the lawyers and absolved the police of the violent clashes in the court premises in the southern state of Tamil Nadu on Feb. 19. In its report, the one-member Justice BN Srikrishna commission has said that it was the unruly behavior of the lawyers that led to the clashes, more..

Black tigress found in Sri Lanka

Mar 6 (DM) The carcass of a black tigress was found today in Deniyaya after it got caught to a poacher’s snare, the Wild Life department said. Its length from head to tail is three feet 7.5 inches. Height two feet. The tail alone had measured up to 2 feet 4 inches. "From a distance, its colour is jet black and when inspected from a closer distance, spots are vaguely visible," Wadawalawa “Athathun Sevana” more..

Massive demo against Golden Key

Mar 6 (DM) Depositors and employees of Golden Key Credit Card Company staged another protest yesterday demanding that their deposits be returned. About 1000 demonstrators headed towards the Liptons Circus in an attempt to get near the National Hospital where Ceylinco Group Chairman Lalith Kotalawela is warded. The employees claimed their salaries for February and overtime payments for January were more..

Top leasing firm in talks to buy Ceylinco firm

Mar 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's largest leasing company is in talks to buy a leasing company in the island's Ceylinco group, a listed investment bank in the group said in a stock exchange filing. Seylan Merchant Bank is in talks with People's Leasing Company, a unit of state-run People's Bank, to sell a controlling stake in Seylan Merchant Leasing, and had signed a non-disclosure agreement, the company said. more..

State bank unit in talks to manage Ceylinco Savings Bank

Mar 6 (LBO) Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka, (MBSL) a unit of state-run Bank of Ceylon, said it was in talks with the regulator to manage and rehabilitate Ceylinco Savings Bank, a member of the island's troubled Ceylinco group. Bank of Ceylon is already overlooking the affairs of Seylan Bank, a Ceylinco group firm, after the listed bank was placed under its care by the Central Bank, which is the island's banking regulator. more..

Children paying a heavy price in conflict

Mar 6 (IRIN) Children caught in the intensified conflict in the north of the country are paying a severe price in death and injury and being traumatised, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UNICEF have warned. “The Secretary-General is extremely concerned over the deteriorating situation for civilians trapped in northern Sri Lanka,” Ban’s office said in a statement released on 5 March. more..

Automatic ceasefire, if LTTE lays down arms

Mar 6 (MoD) If the LTTE lays down their weapons tomorrow, there will not be any reason for us to fight. There will be an automatic ceasefire. As long as the LTTE is using weapons, as long as the LTTE is not allowing the civilians to leave, their freedom of movement being restricted, the civilians being shot and killed in cold blood and massive human rights violations being committed against the civilian population, more..

'Sri Lanka acts on troubled Ceylinco financial group'

Mar 6 (LBO) Central bank said it is looking for managing agents for two registered finance companies in the troubled Ceylinco group and a management shake-up is on the cards for another. Managing agents were being sought for Asian Finance and Ceylinco Investment and Realty under central bank monitoring while the Finance and Guarantee Company had entered into a deal with the Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka (MBSL). more..

Sri Lankan newspapers offer Pakistani driver holiday package

Mar 6 (IANS) Describing a Pakistani driver as 'hero of our time' for bravely saving the lives of Sri Lankan cricketers during the terror attack in Lahore, the state-run English newspapers have offered him a fully-paid holiday package as a token of appreciation. The state-run Daily News and the Sunday Observer have invited Meher Mohammad Khalil, who drove the Sri Lankan cricketers straight into more..

Pakistan wrapping up cricket attacks probe

Mar 6 (AFP) Pakistani police said Friday they would wrap up an interim report within 24 hours into the deadly Sri Lankan cricket attack, after authorities said the perpetrators had been identified. Pakistan has faced mounting international concern about poor security for the Sri Lankan team with questions raised about the nuclear-armed nation's ability to combat Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants. more..

Q+A: Where is Sri Lanka's rupee heading?

Mar 6 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank is negotiating a $1.9 billion loan with the International Monetary Fund, and that has left the rupee currency market without a clear direction since hitting an all-time low last week. Here are some questions and answers about where the rupee is and where it could be headed: WHY HASN'T THE RUPEE FALLEN YET? The central bank has been defending the rupee since August, and more..

Rectification of pension anomalies to cost Govt Rs 15 bn

Mar 6 (Island) Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardena said that the government has to spend a massive Rs. 15 billion to rectify the pension anomalies of retired public sector employees. The Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs had asked the Treasury for that amount. The issue had been forwarded to the National Salaries and Cadre Commission for its recommendations, more..

Sri Lanka's safe route plan to go ahead

Mar 6 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's military on Friday said it killed dozens of Tamil Tiger separatists mounting a heavy counterattack and was moving ahead with plans to create safe routes for civilians to flee the war zone. Soldiers have trapped the LTTE in less than 45 square km (17 sq miles) of the Indian Ocean island's northeast and are fighting to end Asia's longest-running war by wiping them out. Combat has grown more intense in the past few weeks, more..

'All NGO assistance should link with the govt'

Mar 7 (LeN) Media spokesman on national security Keheliya Rambukwella says that the government welcomed the humanitarian assistance the UN has offered. However, the influences that the aid should be channeled through international and local non-governmental organizations for infrastructure and other development work would be resisted since Sri Lanka is a sovereign state, he said. more..

'Drought has harmed farmers'

Mar 7 (LT) JVP Parliamentarian Samanthe Widyaratne asked the government to provide relief to the farmers who have their fields and farmlands devastated by the drought. Speaking in Parliament yesterday (5th) Mr. Widyaratne said, “We are discussing an issue confronted by the farmers who are the majority in this country. A large number of highland farmlands have been devastated by the drought. more..

Vigil for Tissainayagam in London

Mar 7 (BBC) Amnesty International has called on the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels to stop harassing journalists. Amnesty issued the appeal at a vigil outside the Sri Lankan High Commission in London to mark the continuing detention of the journalist Jayaprakash Sittampalam Tissanaiyagam. Many other international pressure groups took part in fridays vigil. more..

Indian medical team to arrive on Monday

Mar 7 (Hindu) A medical team from India will arrive here on Monday to provide emergency care to civilians displaced by the fighting between security forces and LTTE in the north. India is sending the team based on an agreement made during the recent visit of the Foreign Secretary, Shiv Shankar Menon, to participate in the SAARC Standing Committee meeting. The Indian High Commission here said the team would establish an emergency medical unit, more..

Sinhalese and Tamil youths clean hospital together

Mar 7 (UCAN) While the Sinhalese government battles Tamil rebels in the country, Catholic youths from the two communities recently came together to clean up a village hospital in central Sri Lanka. "This is my first time working with Sinhalese," said Sagaya Mary, from the minority ethnic Tamil community as she scrubbed the floors and cleaned the beds in the wards of the Bogawanthalawa government hospital on March 1. more..

Ambassador Blake’s remarks at the Foundation for Co-Existence Youth Conference

Mar 7 (USE) Good morning and thank you for the invitation. It’s always a pleasure to speak at events organized by the Foundation for Coexistence and by my friend, Kumar Rupasinghe. I have worked with Kumar on a number of projects together to promote peace in Sri Lanka and I am honored that he invited me to hold a discussion with you. more..

Chandrika condemns terrorist attack on Sri Lankan Cricket Team

Mar 7 (AT) The former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has strongly condemned the last Tuesday’s terrorists attack on the Sri Lanka Cricket Team in Lahore, Pakistan. "I condemn without reserve this reprehensible act of terror," she wrote. In a letter to Mahela Jayawardene, the Skipper of the Sri Lanka Cricket Team, President Chandrika Kumaratunga wrote, "I rejoice with all Sri Lankans and doubtlessly the entire cricketing world that you have been spared from serious injury." more..

Pakistan 'can't rule out foreign involvement' in attacks

Mar 7 (AFP) A top Pakistan official Friday refused to rule out foreign involvement in the Sri Lankan cricket attacks despite international warnings that the nation faced serious internal dangers. The attack has subjected nuclear-armed Pakistan, teetering on political and economic crisis, to mounting international concern about its ability to combat Taliban- and Al-Qaeda-linked militants and provide security to foreigners. more..

China fuels Sri Lankan war

Mar 7 (JT) Sri Lanka, the once self-trumpeted "island of paradise," turned into the island of bloodshed more than a quarter-century ago. But even by its long, gory record, the bloodletting since last year is unprecedented. The United Nations estimates that some 1,200 noncombatants are getting killed each month in a civil war that continues to evoke a muted international response even as hundreds of thousands of minority Tamils have fled their homes or remain trapped behind the front line. more..

‘True friends’ coordinate prodding civilians into barbed wires

Mar 7 (TN) Colombo plans to open two routes to prod Tamil civilians chose to stay under the protection of the LTTE into its barbed-wire internment camps, according to news reports, Friday. One route will be leading to north towards Chalai and the other towards south through Mullaiththeevu, the reports indicated. Meanwhile, India is likely to establish a field military hospital at Pulmoaddai, in the coast south of Mullaiththeevu to treat evacuated civilians more..

'Scourge of terrorism cost Sri Lanka US $ 200 billion'

Mar 7 (AT) We need to convey the correct impression about Sri Lanka by its Foreign Missions thereby they could be helpful to develop the country’s economy, said Dr Palitha Kohona, Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs speaking at the Key Persons’ Forum organized by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) held at JAIC Hilton Hotel. more..

Waste Management - Private Sector shows the way

Mar 7 (AT) Waste management has become a grave problem in Sri Lanka as it has been found that state agencies and private sector not heeding the environmental norms which now threaten the lives of the people. While most of the countries have managed waste and turned it into money which saves the environment, Sri Lanka lagged behind. Concerted efforts are being made by various institutions to strike a balance in the waste management in the country. more..

What ails main opposition party?

Mar 7 (AT) Hot on the heels of every election defeat it has become customary to call for the removal of the party leader. How much can the opposition leader be faulted for the UNP’s dismal performance at the provincial council elections? Is it his choice of poor provincial council candidates or have the voters lost faith in the UNP, its leader & its candidates in general? It is important that in analyzing the fate of the UNP, that we do not separate the party from the political needs and more..

Abeywickrama approved as replacement for Seneviratna

Mar 7 (CI) Sanduni Abeywickrama, the middle-order batsman, has been approved by the event technical committee of the 2009 Women's World Cup as a replacement for allrounder Chamani Seneviratna in Sri Lanka's squad. Seneviratna had sustained an injury during her team's first warm-up match against New South Wales at Old Kings. She has been an experienced player for Sri Lanka, representing her country in 47 ODIs. more..

LTTE's old tactics no match for the 'new' SL Army

Mar 7 (DW) Heavy fighting ensued south of Chalai in general area Mulaitivu when a wave of LTTE infiltrators and attack teams targeted a weak point in the forward marching divisions last morning. The infiltrators were first spotted by the 55 Division as they targeted the boundary of two brigades of the 55 and 58 Divisions. The exact casualties to both sides will be revealed later. more..

Australia thanks Sri Lanka for facilitating safe return of Australian nationals

Mar 7 (LG) The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs,Stephen Smith has thanked the Government of Sri Lanka for facilitating the safe return of 3 Australian members of the Sri Lanka national cricket team,which came under attack by terrorists in Lahore last Tuesday. The Minister conveyed the Austalian Government's deep appreciation, when he telephoned his Sri Lankan counterpart, Rohitha Bogollagama in Colombo today. more..

Implement 13th Amendment and APRC proposals - US Envoy

Mar 7 (PSM) "The government should actively support the implementation of the 13th Amendment by overcoming the obstacles that have prevented implementation for 20 years. This includes particularly the reluctance of Ministers and other leaders at the center to cede control over finances and appointments that are important sources of power and patronage for them, said US Envoy to Sri Lanka Robert Blake more..

'Sri Lanka Air Force protected our motherland from high skies'

Mar 7 (GDI) Sri Lanka Air Force at all times safeguarded our motherland’s unity, dignity and sovereignty in each and every adverse circumstance. And, the heroic forces, unassailable in high skies, undefeatable in the battlefield, and courageous in the task entrusted, totally demolished the much-feared air power of the LTTE terrorists President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. more..

Loans as a percentage of GDP down

Mar 7 (GDI) Trade aMinister Bandula Gunawardena told Parliament yesterday that the loans obtained by the Government as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which was 105 per cent during the former UNP Government has come down to 85 per cent. The intention of the Government is to reduce this existing figure to 65 percent in the near future. Therefore the Opposition should extend its support to the Government to bring down this figure to 65 per cent, more..

Tea prices rise as output falls

Mar 7 (LBO) Sri Lankan tea prices rose at this week's Colombo auctions mainly because of a shortfall in crop as well as improved quality, brokers said. Prices are likely to remain strong if the present dry weather continues and curtails the crop, they said. About 50 invoices of high grown teas from regional plantations company estates fetched prices over Rs350 a kilo and a few even over Rs400 a kilo on strong demand from buyers, more..

Women's Day celebrates tomorrow

Mar 7 (GDI) Sri Lanka and the world celebrate the International Women's Day tomorrow. This year's theme is 'United to end gender based violence'. The national ceremony will be held at 10.00 am at the Navarangahala, Royal College, Colombo 7. First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa, Child Development and Women's Empowerment Minister Sumedha G. Jayasena and several other guests will take part in the national ceremony. more..

President orders bigger shipments to assist displaced civilians

Mar 7 (GDI) Government sea freighter Win Tang leaves for Mulathivu with 500 MT of food and rations for the displaced civilians at 3.00 pm today (07). This is the biggest shipment dispatched since the beginning of the humanitarian war in the North so far, as the previous shipments have been so meager in relation carrying around 10 – 15 MTs of food, Commissioner of Essential Services S. B. Divarathna said. more..

'LTTE Responsible for Suffering of Tamil Civilians'

Mar 7 (AT) "The Tamil Tigers by trapping the civilians (in the battle zone in north of Sri Lanka), by continuing the conflict are just increasing the sufferings of the Tamil people. So it is very much time for them to allow safe passage for them to allow these people to leave," Richard Boucher, U.S. State Department’s assistant secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs told a group of journalists here Friday, more..

Sri Lanka no match for England

Mar 7 (Sportal) Claire Taylor struck a superb century to help England cruise to a 100-run victory over Sri Lanka in Canberra on the opening day of the Women's World Cup. The 33-year-old's eighth ODI ton - 101 from 95 balls - and a more pedestrian 50 from opener Caroline Atkins helped England post 5-277 after being asked to bat first. The Sri Lankans were then limited to 7-177 from their 50 overs, more..

In the Aftermath of Kamikaze attacks by Black Air Tigers

Mar 7 (TC) For quite some time the limited air assets of LTTE have been in the news and did create a sensation quite disproportionate to their capabilities. The full details of the Tiger air force and the Czechoslovakian aircraft Zlin 143 and its implications have been discussed in detail in an earlier article by me published on 03 Jun 2005 vide SAAG paper number 1401 available here . more..

Pakistan and the attack on Sri Lankan cricket team

Mar 7 (TC) It would, perhaps, be useful to recount a brief description of the attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan. Sri Lankans were heading to the Gaddafi Stadium for the third day’s play in the second Test when they were ambushed in a gun, grenade and rocket attack. “This morning around 0845 local time there was an unfortunate incident where the Sri Lankan team’s bus was targeted by the terrorists. more..

Situation Report (Mar 7) by SLA

Mar 7 (SLA) A TOTAL of two hundred and thirteen (213) IDPs leaving their homesteads in LTTE-held areas in MULLAITTIVU arrived in Security Forces-held areas on Thursday and Friday. The exodus of seventy seven males, seventy females, thirty seven boys and twenty nine girls reached the troops in the general areas of MUNAI in JAFFNA, KOKUVIL, CHUNDIKULAM, NALLIYATHANNIKEDUVAI and KEVIL in MULLAITTIVU seeking protection against LTTE atrocities. more..

'LTTE lethal cargo cleared during CFA'

Mar 7 (MoD) The recent recoveries by the Security Forces have made a startling revelation that the LTTE was in possession of state-of-the-art weaponry and most modern communication equipment that have been transported to uncleared areas after getting clearance from Colombo harbour and Customs, Government Defence Affairs Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. more..

The cost of war - Under Prabhakaran`s jackboot for about 30 years

Mar 7 (LNP) While Sri Lanka unable to bear the chill winds of the global financial crisis is negotiating a loan package of $ 1.9 billion with the IMF to tide itself over, reports say Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona has placed the loss the country has suffered due to her protracted war at $ 200 bn. However, if the external costs are also factored in, the figure should be much higher. more..

The path to win peace

Mar 7 (DN) We are working on forging a sustainable political solution acceptable to all Sri Lankans. This solution must not only guarantee social equity and fundamental freedoms but also empower every citizen through sharing power between the centre and the periphery - bringing the Government closer to the people. Fortunately, with the LTTE having removed itself from negotiations through intransigence, we could work with the democratic minority parties which had been sidelined and hounded previously, more..

Lanka can play key role at APRSCP - Dr. Shun Fung Chiu

Mar 7 (DN) Sri Lanka can play an important role in the Asian Pacific Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production (APRSCP) to stimulate the promotion and implementation of sustainable consumption and the greener products, said President APRSCP Dr Shun Fung Chiu. “The Asia Pacific region has half of the world’s population and anticipates a very high growth. more..

Nimal admits Nat. Hospital ‘Cats’ dead

Mar 7 (Island) Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva admitted in Parliament that both CT scan machines in the Colombo National Hospital are not functioning. The two scanners had stopped functioning owing to technical problems and the National Hospital authorities had taken action to re-direct patients to other hospitals such as Jayewardhanepura and Lady Ridgway Children’s Hospital for the services, he said. more..

Ranil seeks explanation on IMF loan

Mar 7 (Island) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday demanded that the government should explain to Parliament all details pertaining to its obtaining a 1.9 billion US dollar loan from the International Monetary Fund. The Prime Minister or the Finance Minister must inform the House of the interest rates and related conditions, Wickremesinghe said. more..

Compromise on Police, Land powers for PCs

Mar 7 (DM) With the humanitarian operations in the North on the verge of ending, a group of ruling party politicians are preparing a set of proposals for a more meaningful implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The group comprises Ministers Tissa Vitarana, D.E.W. Gunasekara, Rajitha Senaratne, Dilan Perera and Douglas Devananda, Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, and Western Province’s former Chief Minister Reginald Cooray. more..

Rare black leopard a new species?

Mar 7 (DM) Environmentalists yesterday said the discovery of a carcass of a rare black leopard in Deniyaya on Thursday may turn out to be a new species, but stressed a proper conclusion could be made only after full investigations. Well known Environmentalist Jagath Gunawardene told the Daily Mirror that the melanin form of the carcass would make it a new species. “The bright black colour is something unusual and makes it different,” more..

Besieged Tigers in defiant politico - military 'last stand'

Mar 7 (DM) There was a time when the LTTE organization controlled about 15,600 sq km of territory in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. Today, the beleaguered Tigers formally occupy only about 60 – 65 sq km area in Mullaitivu district. Currently this tiger – controlled territory consists of three sectors. A littoral strip of land of around 40 – 45 sq km extending from Pokkanai in the North to Vattavaakal in the South is the primary sector. more..

Sri Lanka says its forces kill 32 Tamil rebels

Mar 7 (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers assailed the last slice of land still controlled by ethnic Tamil separatists, killing at least 32 rebels, the defense ministry said Saturday. The military has driven the Tamil Tigers from nearly all their northern strongholds in an all-out offensive aimed at ending the South Asian island's quarter-century civil war. Up to 200,000 civilians are cornered along with the holdouts in a strip of jungle and more..