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Attack on Sri Lankan cricket team: One year on, police yet to make significant headway

Mar 3 (DT) It has been a year since the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team – in which a dozen gunmen attacked the team bus with rifles, grenades and pistols, wounding six players, a British coach and a Pakistani umpire and killing seven policemen. Since the attack, two assailants have been arrested, one was shot and killed while one of the facilitators was identified and is in prison and more..

Can Sri Lanka government that robs Peter to pay Paul hoodwink IMF?

Mar 3 (LP) Sri Lanka overshoot its 2009 budget deficit target set by the IMF for a $2.6 billion loan. High post-war reconstruction costs are attributed for this by central bank officials. Sri Lankan leaders are clever or perhaps corrupt enough to handle the delegations sent by the IMF or any other international body and it will somehow manage to obtain the next tranche also although it is delayed due to economic mismanagement of the Sri Lanka government. more..

A Failed Colour Revolution?

Mar 3 (LG) When a presidential election was prematurely called, many citizens were united by a single resolve: to defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa than to make Sarath Fonseka win and let the devil take the hindmost. But not all may have been aware of the external ramifications of a Fonseka victory. Is there reason to suspect that the stage had been set for what has come to be known as ‘Colour Revolutions’? If so, the attempt may have been foiled by loyalist soldiers and more..

Sri Lanka think tank highlights regional market prospects

Mar 3 (LBO) Sri Lankan exporters have a virtually untapped opportunity in south Asia's huge market that could compensate for difficulties in accessing traditional Western markets, a new study has said. "For Sri Lanka, south Asia is increasingly becoming important as a trading partner," said Saman Kelegama, director of the Institute of Policy Studies, a think tank which published the study. more..

Underworld in the fore of Sri Lanka`s next General Elections?

Mar 3 (LG) Of the many “firsts” little Sri Lanka lays claim to in the world (the 1st woman Prime Minister, the only country where Father, Mother and Daughter were voted in as thecountry’s leaders – to name just two) this must be only country where dregs of society - – killers, extortionists, abduction experts, drug-traffickers, gun runners, jail birds – are chosen by leading political parties as District Organisers, candidates and more..

Indian HC grants bail to 15 Lankan Tamils

Mar 3 (EB) The Madras High Court has granted bail to 15 Sri Lankan Tamils, who were arrested and remanded in judicial custody for offences under various sections of the IPC including Section 307 (attempt to murder). The charge against Padmaraja and 14 others was that while they were being kept in the Special Camp for Refugees at Chengalpattu, they demanded the release of some of the refugees from the camp and more..

Sri Lanka government interest burden high in 2009

Mar (LBO) Heavy borrowings from the domestic market at high rates in recent years had pushed up interest payment costs on Sri Lanka's government debt last year, a finance ministry report said. Interest payments on foreign and domestic debt increased 45 percent in 2009 to 308 billion rupees from the year before, according to the fiscal report released ahead of elections due in April. more..

Kalpitiya to be an International Green Resort

Mar (MoD) Kalpitiya provides an ideal location for nature-based tourism. Its strategic location and abundance of natural resources, close proximity to Wilpattu National Park, Cultural Triangle and international airport, makes it an ideal destination for an exotic branded location. The objective of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority in developing Kalpitiya is to create a unique, branded international green resort for more..

Sri Lankan election: Tamil party splits in four

Mar 3 (wsws) The April 8 parliamentary election in Sri Lanka has accelerated the break-up of the TNA, which functioned as the political mouthpiece of the LTTE prior to its military defeat last May. None of the four competing factions represents the interests of the Tamil masses. Rather what is taking place is a sordid scramble by sections of the Tamil elite to reestablish positions and privileges in the Colombo political establishment. more..

300 more buses to join 4900-strong SLTB fleet

Mar 3 (GDI) General Manager of Sri Lanka Transport Board Livinis Bamunukulasuriya said the board will expand its services further. The GM said 300 more buses will be added to its fleet this year and currently 4,900 buses are in daily operation. He said further that new semi-luxury and luxury bus services will be launched connecting Colombo with leading cities including Jaffna, Anuradhapura, Matara and Kandy. more..

On the Jeanne Thwaites Formula of getting clean candidates

Mar 3 (DN) Ranil Wickremesinghe looks like an unfit, unskilled, reserve goalie in an under 13 soccer team facing up to a penalty kick by Ronaldo. He can’t save a goal even if his life depended on it. He’s let so many slip through his legs over the past six years that it is a wonder he’s still out there in the field. He should have retired or been retired a long time ago. But then again, as Team Manager, Team Owner, Team Captain and Team Coach he can more..

US can learn from Sri Lanka - US Congressman

Mar 3 (MoD) "We have lots of lessons we can learn from Sri Lanka. We should take advantage of it," US Congressman, Pallone Jr. said. Addressing a gathering of Sri Lankan expatriates in New Jersey, Pallone said that US should be thankful as a country that Sri Lanka was successful in rooting out terrorism. He said the US has been fighting its own battle against terrorism, both at home and abroad regardless of the reasons for it. more..

Northern libraries to get books worth 4 million

Mar 3 (GDI) The National Library and Documentation Services Board has launched a programme to develop all libraries in the North that were destroyed due to LTTE terrorism. According to the National Library and Documentation Services Board, the programme aims to distribute books among 110 Public Libraries in the North. Distributing books worth 4 million rupees was initiated in Vavuniya. more..

5000 more French tourists expected here

Mar 3 (GDI) The Government’s target is to attract more than 5000 additional French tourists to the country before the end of the year. This has been referred to by Minister of Export Development and International Trade Prof. G.L.Peiris. The Minister said they were now emphasizing particularly on specialized tourism such as eco-tourism and health tourism. more..

UPFA hopeful of improving on recent victory

Mar 3 (GDI) All UPFA Candidates made a pledge at the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura last 27th to carry out peaceful, disciplined and exemplary campaigns", General Secretary of the SLFP Maithripala Sirisena said today at a media conference held at the Mahaweli Center. Minsiter Sirisena said the UPFA headed by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party has launched a strong election campaign with its allies. more..

Three million visitors to North in two months

Mar 3 (MoD) There have been three million local and foreign visitors to North in the months of January and February. This has come about with the opening of the A9 highway. The visits by the large number of tourists have proved to be a boon to the traders in Jaffna, whose income continue to soar. It is reported that there has been a huge demand for ornaments and food items of traders engaged in more..

State intelligence units list journalists supportive of the opposition and NGOs

Mar 3 (LNW) State intelligence units have prepared a list of names of active journalists and NGO activists and has given points to them according to the work carried out by them, reliable sources told Lanka News Web. The list it is learnt contains the names of 35 persons and is divided into three sections 1-9, 9-23 and 23-35. They have been categorized according their work and a brief description about of each individual is also carried before each name. more..

Navy rescues foreign fishermen

Mar 3 (MoD) The Navy rescued 12 foreign fishermen who were found on a distressed multi-day fishing vessel in the seas 300km east of Sangamankandai Sunday night. The rescued crew were brought to the Galle harbour yesterday morning. Navy spokesman Captain Athula Senarat said a vessel with crew including 11 Indonesian nationals and a Thai national on a multi-day fishing trawler in the seas 300 km off Sangamankandai was observed by more..

Tourism industry diversified for rural uplift

Mar 3 (MoD) Sri Lanka is popular for attracting foreigners since ancient times. Marco Polo described Sri Lanka as "the finest island for its size in all the world". Tourism has become the most vibrant sector of Sri Lanka following the end of war. Tourist arrivals have increased immensely providing a huge boost to the country's economic growth. Following the end of the war upto January end, nearly 400,000 tourists have visited Sri Lanka. more..

More Botanical gardens in Sri Lanka

Mar 3 (MoD) In keeping with the Government’s porgramme to establish botanical gardens, the construction of two botanical gardens has begun in Hambanthota and in Illukowita in Awissawella. Under the porgramme 10 more botanical gardens will be set up Island wide by the year 2016. The estimated cost for the construction of the botanical Garden in Hambanthota, which is also the first botanical garden to be set up in the dry zone, is Rs 500 million. more..

DNA goes door-to-door, claims web petition blocked by govt.

Mar 3 (LNP) The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) which contests the upcoming General Elections under the leadership of General (Retired) Sarath Fonseka kicked off its island-wide campaigning by distributing handbills yesterday. The handbill contains an address by the retired General to the masses and the distribution initially began in Colombo and will spread island-wide, said DNA General Secretary Vijitha Herath, more..

Boon for railways from container traffic to North

Mar 3 (MoD) Sri Lanka Railways has earned a Rs. 28 million income transporting 300 containers carrying essential goods by rail to the North after a lapse of 20 years. Two special trains carrying 300 containers consisting essential goods and equipment required for the Sri Lanka Army left the Colombo Fort Railway station to Thandikulam station in Vavuniya. more..

Fonseka aide wanted in Belgium —CID

Mar 3 (DM) The Attorney General’s Department is to file legal action on behalf of Belgium against an aide of General Sarath Fonseka, who is wanted in that country over an illegal money transfer case, CID sources told Daily Mirror Online. According to the CID sources, Belgian authorities are likely to visit Sri Lanka soon, to file action through the Attorney General’s Department to recover the money which had allegedly more..

Dissolved Parliament meets urgently on the 9th

Mar 3 (LeN) The Parliament which was dissolved is meeting in an emergency session on the 9th March to extend the emergency regulations. Under section 70 subsection 7 of the SL constitution, the President is vested with the power to summon the Parliament. Accordingly, the Parliament is meeting on the 9th. The Parliament Speaker has announced that by an extraordinary gazette notification on the 5th the Parliament will be summoned on the 9th. more..

Passport applications to be scanned and stored

Mar 3 (DN) The Immigration and Emigration Department started a document scanning project on March 1 and computerizing all documents and data covering a period of 12 years scanning 56 million documents. The documents to be scanned include the applications for passports and supporting documents including the birth certificates, NICs, photographs. The project would be concluded by August 30. more..

Manawadu jumps ship?

Mar 3 (LT) Major General Manawadu whose behavior in the arrest of General Sarath Fonseka sparked controversy, is said to have left the country, in fear of his life. The Human Rights Commission was due to question him concerning the arrest of the General – it is significant that he has left the country at the very moment of questioning, given the fact that all the others who were involved in the arrest have already been questioned. more..

Police burying their heads in sand

Mar 3 (LNP) This country is a jungle of laws and there seems to be a policeman behind every bush. Roads are full of heavily guarded checkpoints, though the war is a thing of the past. There is also a very heavy presence of combat ready armed forces personnel at every nook and corner as if to counter an impending terror strike. But, illegal activities continue unabated. Yesterday, we carried a news item on illegal sand mining in the Kelani Ganga at Peliyagoda. more..

CID seizes auctioned Army Defender

Mar 3 (DN) The CID conducting investigations into the recovery of Rs 75 million made up of several foreign currency denominations found in four vaults at a private bank belonging to Asoka Thilakaratne, had taken into custody a black Defender Jeep which is alleged to have brought the money to the bank. Asoka Thilakaratne is the mother of Danuna Thilakaratne, son-in-law of General Sarath Fonseka. more..

Poor language proficiency among State Officers - Survey

Mar 3 (DN) The very low percentage of officers proficient in Tamil in the Public Administrations service is hampering the full implementation of the Official Language Policy, a survey conducted by Official Language Commission revealed. According to the survey, the availability of officers proficient in Tamil in 44 of the offices which were surveyed located outside the Northern and Eastern Provinces, where the administrative language is Sinhala, is at a low level. more..

UPFA to win two thirds majority

Mar 3 (GDI) The UPFA will definitely secure two thirds majority in parliament at the coming general election. The surveys conducted so far have established this fact and the UPFA has already commenced the propaganda campaign for the upcoming General Election at the grass roots level, the Minister of Media Laxman Yapa Abeywardena said at a media conference more..

Stone removal leaves southern CM shocked

Mar 3 (Island) Southern Province Chief Minister Shan Wijelal de Silva has called for an immediate probe into an alleged fraudulent land purchase which cost the Southern Provincial Council millions of rupees. He said that he was shocked to find that a sum of Rs. 59.2 million had been paid to remove stones from a plot of land demarcated for the construction of the Neluwa Hospital. "This amount had been paid only for clearing the land of stones. more..

Rs. 1,000 bn export losses in 2009

Mar 3 (Island) Former Chairman of the Export Development Board Rohantha Athukorala says Sri Lanka’s exports have lost 1,000 billion rupees in 2009 due to the global economic crisis. Referring to Central Bank data, Athukorala, a marketer by profession, said export earnings declined by 12.9 percent in 2009 which amounts to a loss of US$ 7,084.5 million, almost thousand billion in rupee terms. Athukorala made these observations in an article published more..

'Nil Balakaya' to the fore: President takes initiative to ‘Crown’ Namal

Mar 3 (LeN) There are reports that following the results of the General elections, a powerful young Parliamentarians’ group led by Namal Rajapakse of the 'Nil Blakaya' is in the making as part of the future political programs of the UPFA. According to sources close to the party, the President himself is directly involved in this program. more..

'UNF to focus on grass root level election meetings'

Mar 3 (Island) The UNP will place greater emphasis on holding pocket meetings throughout the country during the upcoming parliamentary election, an alliance spokesman said yesterday. The General Secretary of the UNP, Tissa Attanayake told ‘The Island’ that they would educate the masses about the true state of the economy and the magnitude of corruption prevalent in the current administration. more..

‘One-Stop breast clinic’ at Lanka Hospital

Mar 3 (Island) A ‘One-Stop’ clinic for patients with breast-related conditions has been launched by Lanka Hospitals. Addressing a press conference to mark its launch on Monday(01), hospital Consultant Oncological Surgeon Dr. Naomal Perera said the concept allowed the patient to get her imaging (ultrasound scan and mammography) performed on the same day following consultation with the breast surgeon. He said the ‘One Stop Breast Clinic’ concept was introduced in the US to combat the rising cases of breast cancer. more..

Madduma Bandara adds to confusion

Mar 3 (DM) The UNF nomination list controversy in the Moneragala district took a new turn yesterday with the party’s district leader Ranjith Madduma Bandara hitting out at UNF Uva provincial council member Janaka Tissakuttiarachchi whose name was deleted from the nomination list leading to the initiation of an inquiry into the matter by the party. Mr. Madduma Bandara told the media that the nomination list submitted to the District Secretariat was more..

“Ayubowan...... Jaffna Welcomes You”

Mar 3 (TC) Thirty years of armed struggle and the ‘Disney Land’ dream of the Liberation Tiger’s being made to ‘bite the dust’, the people of the North and East are striving to progress with what was left behind. Busloads of Sinhalese are flocking to the Northern Province daily. The entire stretch of Pannai Bridge is flooded with tourist buses from the South. People from distance places sitting in barren lands and more..

Populist moves vs prudence

Mar 3 (DM) The populist belief is, that it is inauspicious to go for price hikes during election times. As such it did not come as a surprise when Minister Bandula Gunawardena announced that the domestic gas prices will remain the same for another two months. One cannot help but wonder as to why the government could not crack the whip all these years. The Sri Lankan electorate remembers well how the vegetable prices were slashed almost overnight in the run-up to presidential polls and more..

FR violation petition filed seeking voting rights for IDPs

Mar 3 (DM) A Fundamental Rights violation petition was filed before the Supreme Court alleging authorities had failed to ensure the right of IDPs living in the Northern and Eastern Provinces to participate as citizens of Sri Lanka in the democratic process of exercising their votes. The Centre for Policy Alternatives in a petition filed through Attorney-at-Law Mohan Balendra cited Commissioner of Elections Dayananda Dissanayake, more..

Religious leaders push for free and fair poll

Mar 3 (DM) Expressing fears that the upcoming general elections would not be a free and fair one, the Congress of Religions comprising leaders of major religions in the country yesterday called on all political party leaders not to allow its candidates to engage in violence and character assassination. The Congress stressed on the need to allow Elections Commissioner to carry out the powers vested in him more..

Muthuhettigama wants mental patients given franchise and sanity test on all MPs

Mar 3 (Island) Controversial Southern Provincial Councillor Nishantha Muthuhettigama yesterday said that the patients undergoing treatment at mental health institutions also should be given the right vote and ballot boxes sent to those hospitals. He said that he was the only politician who had been declared mentally sound by doctors and urged the political leaders to have all MPs to be elected tested for their mental health. more..

New Police investigation unit

Mar 3 (DN) A new police investigation unit will be set up to inquire into complaints of alleged misconduct of organized groups and individuals who engage in deceiving people by using the names of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and their family members. These organized groups and individuals constantly use the names of the President and Defence Secretary as their relatives or close friends. more..

'Why wait till end of elections to reduce Ministers'

Mar 3 (UNP) Opposition and UNF leader Ranil Wickremesinghe challenged the President who promises to reduce the Ministers from the colossal 112 to 35 after the Gen. elections to prove his mettle by reducing it within this week. What was the obstruction that militated against the President to wait so long to think of reducing the Ministers? more..

Day 22 and no charge

Mar 3 (IL) It has been 22 days since the illegal arrest of General Fonseka and the government is yet to come up with an official charge. However, surprisingly, they have come up with a verdict - according to the military spokesman the General is to get 5 years in prison. Even though the government is able to get false statements and false witnesses, they are yet to make a law of the land false - more..

CID raids home of Hashan Tillakaratne, questions him

Mar 3 (CT) Cricketer-turned-politician Hashan Tillakaratne had his home searched and later questioned by the CID in connection with the whereabouts of his cousin Danuna Tillakaratne who is on the run. Armed with a search warrant, the CID raided Mr. Tillakaratne's house in Piliyandala today, reports said. Today, police recorded a statement from him regarding Danuna, more..

Sripathi's wife resigns from SLFP (M) positions

Mar 3 (CT) Dilrukshi Sooriyarachchi, wife of the late MP Sripathi Sooriyarachchi, has resigned from all her party positions in the SLFP Mahajana Wing. In a statement, Mrs. Sooriyarachchi said her decision was prompted by what she called an attempt by leader Mangala Samaraweera to be the only one to get elected to parliament from the party. Claiming that Mr. Sooriyarachchi had changed all his political aspirations for the sake of Mr. Samaraweera, more..

VIDEO: We agree and disagree with President - Keheliya

Mar 3 (AD) While Uthuru Wasanthaya, Nadenahira Udamaya and Development in the South are at a pace, why should we in the Central region feel left out, asks Minister Keheliya Rambukwella. The former UNPer and present UPFA Minister said this addressing a gathering at Yatinuwara in Kandy. He added that though he has a strong bond with President Mahinda Rajapaksa there are certain times and issues that they disagree with each other. more..

TULF reiterates call for Indian model

Mar 3 (CT) The TULF, in its election manifesto, has reiterated its call for a decentralization of powers in Sri Lanka along the Indian model. Leader of the party V. Anandasangaree said a unitary constitution was unlikely to devolve powers to the Tamil areas. The merge of the north and the east would harm no one, he observed, adding that the Tamils, Muslims and others displaced by the war should be resettled in their own homes in the Wanni. more..

U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka to use new online form for visa applications

Mar 3 (USE) The U.S. Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka will soon start requiring the use of the newly-developed DS-160 non-immigrant visa (NIV) application which incorporates existing NIV forms into one interactive, online form. For all NIV appointments starting March 17, 2010, applicants will need to fill out the DS-160 form, which will be available online March 12, 2010. more..

Pakistan marks one year since Sri Lanka attacks

Mar 3 (AFP) Pakistan on Wednesday marked the first anniversary of a deadly attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, striving to revive the game in the cricket-mad nation and forge a path out of isolation. Seven Sri Lankan players and their assistant coach were injured and eight Pakistanis killed when attackers on foot opened fire and hurled grenades at the cricketers' bus en route to the Gaddafi Stadium in the eastern city of Lahore. more..