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Chinese market for Sri Lanka's blue sapphires

May 9 (LNP) The National Gem and Jewellery Authority`s (NGJA) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Hasitha Tillekeratne recently had discussions with China's Ambassador in Sri Lanka Madam Xluping Yang on gem exports to China. Ambassador Xluping said that the Chinese considered Sri Lanka's blue sapphires a symbol of good fortune and prosperity and called upon the Gem Authority to take steps to provide every Chinese family with an authentic blue sapphire, from Sri Lanka. more..

'IDPs suffering from chickenpox being taken care of'

May 9 (AD) Around 8,000 civilians who have fled the ‘no fire zone’ are suffering from chickenpox, said Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. They are being provided necessary care and medication in the welfare centres, he added. According to him, they had suffered the outbreak prior to their arrival in cleared areas and sent to welfare camps. In addition, health authorities have reported cases of diarrhea at these camps, more..

Earth has not anything to show more unfair

May 9 (LNP) 'Earth has not anything to show more fair,' wrote Wordsworth of the breathtaking view of the mist clad London from the Westminster Bridge way back in 1802. But today the earth has nothing to show more dreadful and unfair than what is unfolding at the British Parliamentary Square, where terrorism is being advocated openly. On Wednesday, LTTE activists launched a mob attack on the Chinese Embassy in London in full view of the British police. more..

Polls results prove masses had better grasp of ground realities - Prelate

May 9 (DN) The results of the Western Provincial Council elections has proved that the masses had a better grasp of present ground realities than some politicians and political parties, Most Ven. Tibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera said. The Maha Nayake Thera also noted that it was time to unite, shedding petty political differences in supporting President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s endeavour in more..

Illuminating the spirit of Vesak!

May 9 (DN) Amidst the serenity and tranquility of Vesak, a range of brilliant lights, mind soothing music and melodious recitals of verses relating age old tales, take centre stage. Thousands of blinking bulbs in a variety of vibrant shades paint striking patterns upon pandals. Such creations with the combined efforts of the public, highlight the collective spirit of the season and set the tone of the wisdom behind the Buddha’s teachings to his disciples. more..

Clean water for rural villages

May 9 (DN) Under the second community based clean water project undertaken by the Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Ministry around 3.5 million people in the country will receive clean water by December 2009, Urban Development Minister and Matale District Parliamentarian Rohana Dissanayake said. The Minister made these remarks at a function held at the auditorium of Matale Pradeshiya Sabha recently. more..

Wanni Operation 8th May

Railway workers want Treasury to release funds for staff loans

May 9 (Island) The ACREGU is urging the Finance Ministry Secretary to take immediate action to release monies to get their relief loan without further delaying it. However, the Financial Ministry sources said that it is highly unlikely that they would take measures to release monies. The union said that if the Finance Ministry is going to continue to drag their loan they would join hands with the other trade unions to discuss future action. more..

Lanka still a British colony– Dr JJ

May 9 (Island) UNP MP Dr Jayalath Jayawardena says that the allowing British MPs to visit welfare centers in Vavuniya while ignoring the Opposition MPs requests to do so indicates that Sri Lanka still is a colony of the Great Britain. "We are elected by the people of this country and have a right to visit welfare camps. But the Government prefers the MPs elected by British people’s vote over us. This indicates the subjugation to colonial mentality," more..

In the midst of tightened security: Vesak celebrations go on apace

May 9 (Island) Devotees thronged to temples country wide celebrating the Vesak festival despite the heightened security warnings yesterday (8). In Kandy the premises of the Sri Dalada Maligawa and the main devales were crowded with devotees and those observing ‘Ata Sil’, on Vesak Poya which commemorates the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha. A number of food and flower dansalas were in operation. more..

Muslim leaders condemn attack

May 9 (DM) Muslim political leaders roundly condemned yesterday’s Maligawatte shooting incident which killed one person and injured nine, and called for the government to arrest the dangerous trend. SLMC General Secretary MP Hasan Ali said the sanctity of places of religious worship should be preserved, and the government should take steps in this regard. Otherwise, Mr. Ali said this would lead to an unpleasant and complicated situation in the future. more..

Tamil refugee camp horror stories 'wrong': British MP

May 9 (DM) Horror stories in Britain about conditions in Sri Lanka camps housing hundreds of thousands of Tamil refugees are wrong, a British MP said on Thursday night. Gordon Liberal Democrat Malcolm Bruce, chairman of the Commons overseas development committee, said there may be shortages but refugees he spoke to were happy to have escaped the fighting in the north of the island state. more..

Fund-raising a snag, say NGOs

May 9 (DM) NGO representatives have reportedly told President Mahinda Rajapaksa that they had a problem in raising funds on their own now since most donors were making their contributions through the UN agencies as emergency relief. The President had a meeting with the NGO representatives on Thursday to discuss their problems and action that needs to be taken to resolve them. more..

Sri Lanka's new medical college fills void

May 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Institute of Technological Studies (ITS) which has formed a partnership with a foreign partnership to start a medical college says its output will be readily absorbed in to healthcare sector. ITS head E M S Edirisinghe, who is also the president of the Oasis, a private hospital says there is a shortage of qualified doctors in the country. He said Oasis hospital would need thirty or forty doctors immediately to fill its entire cadre. more..

Seylan Bank chase nears finish line

May 9 (LBO) Two financial firms, Lanka Orix Leasing Company and Sampath Bank are most likely to have submitted bids for a one-third stake in Seylan Bank, market sources said. Sri Lanka's banking regulator, the Central Bank, which put Seylan under the wings of state-run Bank of Ceylon, said Thursday two of five who expressed interest in the bank has put in bids. Among those who expressed interest and were given an information memorandum were more..

Indian PM rubbishes talk of sending army to Lanka

May 9 (BS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today rubbished the talk of sending army to Sri Lanka and favoured a political solution to the problem of Tamils within a united and federal set up, brushing aside the views of parties in Tamil Nadu, including ally DMK, pitching for a separate Eelam. "What is possible and what is not possible, I think it is a matter of speculation. But quite frankly we are dealing with a sovereign state Sri Lanka..a sovereign country. more..

'LTTE eyeing west coast to enter India'

May 9 (PTI) The LTTE, pushed to a narrow stretch in Sri Lanka by its army, is trying to infiltrate into India through the western coast, a senior Navy officer said on Saturday. "As the Navy is closely monitoring the Tamil Nadu coast, we realised that people from Sri Lanka, including LTTE cadres, were trying to illegally enter from the west coast," Vice-Admiral S K Damle, flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Southern Naval Command, told PTI here. more..

'LTTE obstructing supplies to NFZ'

May 9 (PTI) The Sri Lankan Government has claimed that the LTTE rebels were obstructing relief supplies being sent for the thousands of Tamil civilians stranded in the No-Fire-Zone even as the Tigers assured "full commitment" to the humanitarian mission. Essential Services Commissioner General S B Divaratne said the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has not expressed willingness to send food items to the civilians trapped in the No Fire Zone by sea. more..

'India trying to help Tamils in Sri Lanka'

May 9 (IANS) India is doing what it can to help the beleaguered Tamil community in Sri Lanka lead 'a life of dignity and honour', Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Saturday. The prime minister told journalists while on a campaign tour here that he was 'deeply concerned over the very difficult situation in Sri Lanka' where thousands have died in a military onslaught aimed at crushing the Tamil Tigers. more..

80 LTTE cadres killed; Army moves closer into Tiger areas

May 9 (PTI) Sri Lankan Naval forces on Saturday foiled a Sea Tiger attack and sank two rebel boats killing 14 militants, whereas the advancing army moved deeper into the LTTE-held territory and captured an embankment after fierce clashes that left 66 Tamil Tigers dead in the embattled north. "At least 80 Tiger rebels, including 14 sea Tigers, were killed as troops advanced forward to capture the remaining Tiger held areas around the 'No-Fire-Zone'," more..

Navy sinks Tiger boats as Sri Lanka troops advance

May 9 (AFP) Navy sank two Tiger boats carrying 14 rebels on Saturday as ground troops killed at least 35 guerrillas just outside the newly demarcated "safety zone" for civilians, the military said. Sailors attacked the flotilla off the coast of Mullaittivu where the LTTE are making a final stand against advancing government troops. Two guerrilla boats were sunk and the navy believed that there were at least 14 Tigers on board, more..

Rights group: Sri Lanka shelling hospitals

May 9 (AP) Human Rights Watch on Saturday accused Sri Lankan forces of repeatedly striking hospitals in the northern war zone with indiscriminate artillery and aerial attacks that have killed scores of people, a charge the military denied. The New York-based group claimed military commanders responsible for ordering or conducting such attacks "may be prosecuted for war crimes." The accusation came amid growing international concern for more..

Casualties of war await final battle

May 9 (NP) She was just 18 and trapped behind rebel lines, and her family was worried. Then they got a phone call. She had made it out of the war zone to a displaced-persons camp. The bad news was, she had been injured by an artillery shell while escaping across a lagoon. The next day, her older brother left Colombo to see her. He talked his way past the guards and found her, but he was taken aback by the conditions at the camp. more..

Sri Lanka arrests 3 UK television journalists

May 10 (AP) Sri Lankan police arrested three journalists for London-based Channel-4 television news Saturday on charges of tarnishing the image of the government security forces. Nick Paton Walsh, the channel's Asian correspondent told the Associated Press by telephone that he had been arrested along with producer Bessie Du and cameraman Matt Jasper. Walsh said he and the crew were being driven to capital Colombo with police escort. more..

LTTE activity in Tamil Nadu

May 10 (LG) The STRATFOR, the US strategic security organisation, has assessed that the support in Tamil Nadu for the LTTE means they can exploit the international border to their advantage. Logistic-wise and infrastructure-wise India is best place for them. It said, I quote “The Tigers use India in much the same way that the Taliban and al Qaeda use Pakistan. The Tigers' logistical and training infrastructure in India is especially important during times (like the present) when the Sri Lankan government is hammering them.” more..

Is the LTTE really finished ?

Amnesty to Tamil Tigers who surrender!

May 10 (LG) I recently read in the print media that the Minister for Disaster Management & Human Rights Mr. Mahinda Samrasinghe saying that the Government is ready to grant amnesty to LTTE cadres who surrender. Is he serious? Is he kidding? This will be like granting another life line for them to recoup and recommence terrorist activities at a latter stage. Don’t forget that the Tamil Diaspora is still financially and logistically strong. more..

Heavy shelling and cluster bombing reported

May 10 (LG) Indiscriminate artillery barrage continued throughout Wednesday night and in to Thursday morning. Day time when ICRC ship arrived it fell silent. But it restarted fiercely once the ship left, said Tamil National Reporter. Many shells hit Mullivaikkal beach area and inside the civilian areas in the morning. Heavy shelling and cluster bombing started in the evening around 6 pm and still continues said our reporter. more..

Sri Lanka railway national museum to be inaugurated on May 11

May 10 (AT) The Sri Lanka Railway National Museum will be inaugurated jointly by Minister of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and Minister of Road Passenger Transport Lasantha Alagiyawanna on May 11. Lots of valuable information on the heritage of the Sri Lanka Railway is vividly depicted in this Museum. The railway network in Sri Lanka was introduced to the country by the British in 1864. more..

“Priyanka-Nalini meeting took place with Karunanidhi’s knowledge”

May 10 (Hindu) AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa on Saturday asked Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi to reveal the mystery behind the meeting between Priyanka Gandhi and Nalini, an accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. “There is a suspicion that the Sri Lankan military stepped up its offensive against the Tamils only after the meeting between the two,” she said while campaigning more..

Manmohan hopes all segments of Tamils will be consulted

May 10 (Hindu) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday expressed the hope that a “final political settlement” on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue would be arrived at “in consultation and in cooperation with all segments of the Tamil population.” Dr. Singh was responding to a question on the inclusion of the LTTE too in the “discussions with all shades of Sri Lankan Tamil opinion,” which he mentioned in his written statement at a press conference here. more..

Sri Lanka board to take ICL decision on Thursday

May 10 (CI) The SLC will hold an important interim committee meeting on Thursday to decide on the future of ICL-contracted players, including former captain Marvan Atapattu. Nishantha Ranatunga, the interim committee chairman, said that chairman DS de Silva was keen on lifting the ban and allowing past cricketers to be involved in the game, and it was likely that a positive decision would be reached. more..

Anything but ‘safe’ zones

May 10 (SL) Amidst accusations against the Sri Lanka military of shelling the designated civilian safe zone, it was at the least, contradictory to hear the Sri Lankan President claiming that he had indeed ordered to stop the use of heavy weapons in the offensives that are likely to end within days. The accusation of bombing the safe zone comes at a time when the LTTE too stands accused of using civilians as a human shield, severely compromising their physical safety. more..

The flip side of media freedom

May 10 (SL) A malice borne of intolerance” is how the essential nature of the chief architect of two wars in Sri Lanka was described recently in a fundamental rights petition to the Supreme Court. N. Vithyatharan, editor of the Tamil newspapers Sudar Oli and Uthayan was abducted in broad daylight and subsequently admitted into police custody. He was suspected of helping orchestrate the last aerial attack by the LTTE in Colombo, repeatedly vilified in local media as a terrorist and released without any charge last week. more..

Is the LTTE really finished ?

‘Our main concern is the civilians’

May 10 (SL) Excerpts of an interview with Army Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara on the status of the war. Q: Since January this year, what exactly are the casualty figures for this war? A: It is not possible to give exact numbers. So far we haven’t given figures to the media. We have suffered casualties but they are minimal when compared to those suffered by the LTTE. Q: How successful has the current military campaign been? more..

Central Bank report into Golden Key was squashed by none other than Nivard Cabraal

May 10 (SL) Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal was responsible for preventing action being taken on the findings of a 2006 Central Bank report that found Golden Key to be˜in violation of the Finance Companies Act No. 78 of 1988. While it was mistakenly reported last week that the investigation into Golden Key was effectively squashed by the previous governor of the Central Bank Sunil Mendis, more..

Mervyn and all that jazz...

May 10 (LB) We know that it seems such a colossal, unforgivable, deplorable waste of time (not to mention newsprint) to comment on anything the indefatigable Mervyn Silva does. But bear with us because, heck... we just can’t help ourselves. From the billboards, it is not patently clear what the man had done in Rome to deserve so much praise. We are left assuming that it must have been something along the lines of what he regularly does here — and more..

The international versus the local

May 10 (LB) The president spoke to the diplomatic community last week about the ongoing military operations and the need for the international community to — you guess ——keep their hands off. Earlier, he had met the British parliamentary delegation headed by Des Browne, and has according to one of the participants, lost his temper and said “you are treating us as if we are a colony.’’ The tactics seemed to have worked; the MP reported back in UK that the horror stories about the IDP camps are just not true. more..

Judge Chithrasiri’s ‘double role’ debated

May 10 (LB) In an unexpected turn of events, President Mahinda Rajapaksa - who decided only two weeks ago to appoint a sitting Appeal Court judge as tax chief - has instructed outgoing Commissioner General of Inland Revenue, S Angammana to remain in his post. Angammana had left the department on April 30, to take up position as director-general (revenue) of the Finance Ministry. Under fresh instructions, however, he is back as tax chief. more..

Joining Wimal, was political suicide say NFF members

May 10 (LB) The National Freedom Front (NFF), formed last year by one-time JVP firebrand and MP Wimal Weerawansa, has begun to show signs of disintegrating almost as fast as it was constituted, according to reliable sources. An inside source told LAKBIMAnEWS, that three prominent NFF activists, and politburo members namely Secretary Nandana Gunathileka, Kamal Deshapriya and Senarathna Silva, are fed up with the ‘behaviour’ of Weerawansa and more..

Wanni operations 9th May

About 5,000 people join Tamil protest in Toronto

May 10 (CTV) More than 5,000 people descended on Queen's Park Saturday afternoon to speak out against a civil war in Sri Lanka. The peaceful demonstration ended at around 6 p.m. Traffic was clogged as thousands of Toronto Tamils marched along the downtown core, chanting for the end of violence against Tamils living in Sri Lanka. Participants said they want the U.S. and Canadian governments to impose a ceasefire that has been ignored by the Sri Lankan government. more..

Of India, Dr.Manmohan Singh and Sri Lanka….

May 10 (GDI) “Sri Lanka is a sovereign nation and it is not easy to march the Army into another country. There is what is called international law. I am sure people who are talking on these lines of creating a separate Eelam by sending the Army are aware of it”- Indian Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh at a press conference, New Delhi,May 09,2009. It is said that great, far sighted and charismatic leaders, men of passion and idealism speak the truth. more..

Thugs of Maradana shooting identified

May 10 (LT) Police media spokesman, Mr. Ranjith Gunasekara told that the underworld gangsters, Who involved in killing a person near Maligawaththa Jumma Mosque on the 8th, have been identified. He has told the media that the investigations were carried out to arrest the suspects for the shooting that killed one person and injured six other people, that took place in front of Maligawaththa Jumma Mosque on the day before yesterday (8th) and was able identified the thugs. more..

A few words to the self-loathing Sri Lankans

May 10 (GV) Of late people who made a living out of Sri Lanka-bashing have been changing their tune a bit, but obviously it’s not easy for them to get off their habitual groove. Let me illustrate by taking the case of Gehan Perera, whose career, like those of his ilk, I have been following with increasing disgust. Perera is the head honcho of the highly lucrative National Peace Council. more..

55, 58 Divs advance further to rescue civilian hostage held by LTTE

May 10 (MoD) Infantrymen of Air Mobile Brigade under command to 58 Division further advanced into the "No Fire Zone" capturing LTTE strong positions in general area Karaiyamullivaikal yesterday, 9 May. According to the available sources, hours-long fighting took place in the area as LTTE terrorists launched stiff resistance on advancing troops. However, troops of 6 Gajaba Regiment (6 GR), 5 Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment (5 VIR), 1 Sri Lanka Light Infantry (1 SLLI) and 17 Gemunu Watch (17 GW) more..

Defence Secretary directs police: Ensure safety of IDPs valuables

May 10 (MoD) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has directed the police to take immediate measures to protect valuables such as jewellery and cash of Internally Displaced Persons. A large number of IDPs have brought their valuables along with them to the camps. To ensure the safety of the IDPs valuables, the Defence Secretary has instructed the police to ensure the safety of the IDPs belongings. more..

3,000 litres of water go to produce 1 kg of paddy

May 10 (CT) A Sri Lankan farmer uses 3,000 litres of water on average for the production of one kilo of paddy, a survey has found. This has been reported by ‘Lankadeepa’ which has quoted director (budgets) of the Finance Ministry Mahinda Saliya. Results of the survey indicate that a Sri Lankan’s average annual consumption is 110 kg of rice, the production for which 180 kg of paddy is required. more..

Controversy over position of Inland Revenue chief

May 10 (CT) Former commissioner general of Inland Revenue S. Angammana has been reinstated on an acting capacity following his temporary transfer to the Finance Ministry with a service extension. Deputy commissioner A.A. Amararatne said justice in the Appeal Court K. Chitrasiri, who had been appointed as Inland Revenue chief from May 04, had not assumed duties. Department sources say this follows objections by trade unions t more..