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Sri Lanka stick to the tried and true

Mar 28 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will stick to the tried and tested formula they employed to defeat New Zealand in their group match when they clash in Colombo on Tuesday for a place in the World Cup final. The Sri Lankans thumped New Zealand by 112 runs in their last group match as the Kiwi batsmen found the Sri Lankan spinners too hot to handle and were shot out for 153 inside 35 overs. Seven wickets went to the spinners on that occasion with the wily Muttiah Muralitharan bagging four. more..

Taking children off the streets

Botham, Vaughan tour Sri Lanka’s war zone

Mar 28 (Reuters) Former England cricketer Sir Ian Botham yesterday visited Sri Lanka’s former war zone to oversee plans to build a sports complex. Botham flew to the project site at Mankulam, 300 kilometres (187 miles) north of Colombo, organisers said in a statement. “I am hugely impressed by the plans for a new sports complex site which will regenerate communities and encourage reconciliation,” the statement quoted Botham as saying. more..

Now, MCA needs to find seats for Lankan Prez Rajapakse

Mar 28 (IE) A probable all-Asia World Cup final at the Wankhede stadium will result in making that seat for the April 2 an even more coveted property than what it is right now, with the high and mighty expected to fly in from neighbouring nations. Offices of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse have sent in a request for 30 seats in the ICC president’s box should the Lankans line up for a second successive World Cup final at Mumbai. more..

Colombo, the nerve centre of Sri Lanka cricket

Mar 28 (National) While the rest of the subcontinent gets ready for a fixture touted as the biggest cricket match in history in Mohali, here in Sri Lanka the two most parochial nations in the sport continue to prove that size is not everything. New Zealand have comfortably the smallest pool of players to pick from out of any of cricket's leading nations, but even they have to defer to the minimalism of their hosts in tomorrow's World Cup semi-final. more..

BBC correspondent blocked from attending Jaffna Festival

Mar 28 (TN) Ministry of Defense has refused permission to BBC Colombo correspondent Charles Haviland from attending cultural festival in Jaffna, sources in Colombo said. The "Jaffna Music Festival” organized to celebrate the diverse traditional folk arts for three days from 25th – 27th March, is being organized by the Norwegian Embassy, USAID and implemented by Sevalanka Foundation, according to reports from Jaffna. The reason for the refusal was not communicated to the BBC correspondent, more..

New Zealand Prime Minister has declined the invitation

Mar 28 (NZPA) New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has declined an invitation from President Mahinda Rajapakse the cricket World Cup semifinal between the two countries. New Zealand play Sri Lanka in Colombo tomorrow for a place in the finals after beating South Africa by 49 runs on Friday. A spokesman from Mr Key's office said he had to decline the invitation. Rajapakse asked Key to visit the island after the home team crushed England by 10 wickets to reach the semi-finals

TGTE rift deepens

Mar 28 (NN) The rift in the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) has further escalated with leading LTTE activist V. Rudrakumaran removing some of the members who were against him. According to reports the self proclaimed ‘speaker’ of the TGTE Pon Balarajan, sent letters over the weekend to some members of the TGTE saying they have been expelled. The members who were removed had identified themselves as TGTE Democrats and more..

Millionaire’s daughter murdered in her home

Mar 28 (DM) The daughter of a wealthy businessman from Millagashandiya in Bandaragama had been hacked to death with a sharp instrument while she was alone in the house on Saturday, Bandaragama police said. The father and brother of the victim, 27-year-old Harshani Nilushika Jayaweera, had been out of the house attending to business activities at the time of the tragedy. The girl’s father had come home at around 1.30 pm and found his daughter lying in a pool of blood inside the garage. more..

Gangaramaya Chief Incumbent to Opposition Leader: Support President

Mar 28 (DN) Gangaramaya Viharaya Chief Incumbent Ven Galaboda Gnanissara Thera yesterday called on Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to support President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s efforts to rebuild and develop the country. The Thera said so during a ceremony attended by both the President and the Opposition Leader at the Temple premises yesterday morning. On the occasion President Rajapaksa opened the newly constructed Buddhist Art Gallery at the Viharaya premises. more..

Estate Union seeks consolidated wage

Mar 28 (DM) As the two year collective agreement on the daily wages for estate workers signed between the two main estate sector workers unions and the estate owners is coming to an end on March 31, efforts are underway to introduce a major change in the salary structure by making it a single component wage. The UNP led Lanka Jathika Estate Workers Union (LJEWU) and the government ally, Ceylon Workers Congress are more..

Ranil W sends Dr. JJ to meet TN fishermen

Mar 28 (Island) Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena, MP, is planning to meet Tamil Nadu fisheries societies this week to discuss ways and means of resolving a deepening dispute between Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu fishermen. The Gampaha District MP told The Island yesterday that he had received instructions from UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to initiate a dialogue with the TN fishermen. more..

UNP urges govt not to play politics with ‘fuel price adjustments’

Mar 28 (Island) UNP MP Dr Harsha de Silva says the UPFA shouldn’t play politics with the price of fuel for the benefit of the ruling coalition. The economist says the country cannot afford to continue with what he called politically motivated price adjustments. He was responding to a query by The Island whether the govt would increase the price of diesel and petrol before the conclusion of the next round of LG polls due to mounting losses. more..

Sri Lanka transport investments to get speedy approval

Mar 28 (LBO) The Sri Lankan government is seeking private investment proposals to modernise the neglected transport system and will give investors speedy approvals. A new transport master plan is being prepared to economically move people and freight, said Dhammika Perera, secretary to the ministry of transport. Investments are needed to modernise the existing infrastructure and systems which more..

Textile sector unaffected by EU subsidy cut

Mar 28 (IRIN) More than seven months after the European Union (EU) suspended its preferential trade agreement with Sri Lanka in protest over the country’s human rights record, the subsidy cut has had little impact on the sector targeted, according to government officials. Many of the country’s 250,000 textile workers - who tend to work 12 hours a day, six days a week for a monthly salary of US$150 - had feared they would lose their jobs under the cut. more..

'SLN holds record after WWII'

Mar 28 (DM) Sri Lankan Navy was the only navy that had earned the reputation of destroying 10 enemy ships after World War II, Navy Commander Vice Admiral Somatilake Dissanayake said yesterday. Speaking at a function for the commissioning of a group of Naval officers at the Naval and Marine Academy in Trincomalee, the Navy Commander said that the Navy got its significance in Sri Lanka’s defence especially due to the fact that the country was surrounded by the ocean. more..

SLFP shares LG bodies’ top slots with partners

Mar 28 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has directed that the appointment of Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of LG bodies won by the UPFA would be made strictly on the basis of the highest number of preferential votes polled by candidates. In keeping with the presidential directive, constituent parties of the UPFA will run several LG Authorities, including the Tissamaramaya Pradeshiya Sabha. The UPFA won 205 LG bodies out of 234, more..

LLRC completes public sittings

Mar 28 (NN) The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) completed public sittings yesterday and is expected to finalize its final report by May 15 as scheduled, LLRC media coordinator Lakshman Wickramasinghe said. Wickramasinghe said that the LLRC was able to hold public sittings in all the scheduled areas in the North and East as well as the South of the country but were unable to complete hearings in Polonaruwa owing the floods. more..

Sri Lanka could risk ‘half-fit’ Murali

Mar 28 (AFP) Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara has admitted that even a half-fit Muttiah Muralitharan could be risked in Tuesday's World Cup semifinal against New Zealand. The world record breaking off-spinner, who will retire after the World Cup, has been carrying a hamstring injury and also picked up a knee problem in the quarter-final win over England. But the 38-year-old is so crucial to Sri Lanka, that Sangakkara could be tempted to make the gamble. more..

Ian Botham 'shocked' by Sri Lanka war damage

Mar 28 (AFP) England cricket legend Sir Ian Botham has described his shock at the destruction and hardship that Sri Lanka's war-displaced civilians have had to face, following his tour of the region. Botham, who on Sunday visited Sri Lanka's former war zone to oversee plans to build a sports complex, said he was "horrified" to hear tales of young children dragged off to fight the decades-long war that ended in May 2009. more..

Fonseka’s private secretary ordered released on bail

Mar 29 (AD) The Court of Appeals has ordered the release of Captain Senaka de Silva, who acted as Sarath Fonseka’s private secretary, on bail. Senaka de Silva had been remanded on a charge of employing army deserters during the last presidential election campaign. When the bail appeal on behalf of Senaka de Silva had been brought forth at court the government attorney had stated that he does not object to the request. Therefore he was ordered released on a cash bail of Rs.100, 000 and more..

President questions blocking media from north

Mar 29 (BBC) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has questioned the director general of Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) on preventing foreign journalists visiting northern Sri Lanka. Lakshman Hulugalle, has been hurriedly summoned by the president to 'Temple Trees' where he was having a breakfast meeting with foreign journalists on Monday. Following the questioning of the MCNS director general requested foreign journalists to contact him personally if permission to the north is denied in the future. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 28.03.2011

India denies reports on abduction of three Lankan fishermen

Mar 29 (NN) The Indian High Commission has denied reports that a group of Sri Lankan fishermen had been captured by Indian fishermen. A press release by the Indian High Commission in Colombo said that the three Sri Lankan fishermen from Valvettithurai were arrested by the Indian Navy for poaching in Indian waters. “The High Commission of India wishes to affirm that these reports are false, malicious and baseless. The three Sri Lankan fishermen in question were found poaching in Indian waters. more..

Murali to raise cash for war-displaced

Mar 29 (AFP) Sri Lanka's legendary bowler Muttiah Muralitharan plans to travel overseas to drum up funds to build a sports complex for war-displaced civilians. Muralitharan, who holds the world record for 800 Test and 538 one-day wickets, wants to build the centre in northern Sri Lanka to build a new life for thousands of children in the former war zone. "Financially we are not a wealthy country. But we have to help these people to rebuild their lives. I plan to travel abroad and more..

Sri Lanka power conspiracy alleged in fuel move

Mar 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's power ministry has alleged that a private sector conspiracy could be behind the sudden withdrawal of fuel supplies to a thermal power plant which had failed to pay arrears. It said in a statement the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, under the petroleum ministry, had stopped supplying heavy fuel oil to the Yugadanavi power plant which supplied low-cost electricity to the Ceylon Electricity Board which comes under the power ministry. more..

Sri Lanka credit growth not alarming: CB Governor

Mar 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's 28.1 percent credit growth in the 12 months to January 2011 "is not alarming" because it is growing from a low base following a credit crunch two years ago, but the trend is being watched, Central Bank governor Nivard Cabraal said. In 2009, Sri Lanka's credit contracted and started to grow only in 2010. "It is taking up the slack," Governor Cabraal said. "Because it is growing from a low base it is not alarming." more..

'You can't play too much to the crowds'

Mar 29 (OI) Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara today asked his teammates to remain calm and not pay too much attention to playing to the gallery on the eve of their World Cup semi-final against New Zealand. Sri Lanka thrashed England on their way to a crushing 10-wicket win over England in the quarter-final at the same wicket that will be used for the semi-final at the R. Premadasa Stadium here. "The guys have done that pretty well and tomorrow is not going more..

Mismatch unless NZ can raise game

Mar 29 (CI) In the months leading up to the World Cup, New Zealand had traipsed through the subcontinent, copping defeat after defeat: they failed to make the final of a tri-series in Sri Lanka, were hammered 5-0 in India, and between those two beatings they were humiliated in Bangladesh, where they lost 4-0. "We played like d****, really," Mark Greatbatch had fumed. They then lost a one-day series 3-2 at home to Pakistan. more..

Vettori surprised at used pitch

Mar 29 (CI) Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand captain, is not impressed with the use of the same pitch for Tuesday's semi-final as the one that was used for the quarter-final against England on Saturday. "They've told us we're playing on the same one as England, which is very surprising for us," Vettori said on the eve of the first semi-final against Sri Lanka. "Playing a World Cup semi-final on a used wicket; we would have thought it would be mandatory to more..

Govt 'not aware' of LTTE detainees

Mar 29 (BBC) National Languages and Social Integration Senior Minister in Sri Lanka says that he is not aware of Tamil Tigers suspects detained without charges for longer periods. Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara requested to provide a reports of LTTE suspects detained in military camps so that the government can take appropriate action. "If we are provided with a report whether there are suspects in Boossa camp without being charged, we will check with more..

Vettori considering three-spinner attack

Mar 29 (CI) Daniel Vettori would make a bad bridesmaid. He wouldn't fit the role of the person dressed up to walk down the aisle behind someone more important. He is the important one. At the best of times, Vettori is abrupt - probably not intentionally, but because it's part of his character. He is a no-nonsense kind of guy who gives a straight answer to most questions. Whether he expected to be sitting in a press conference as the more..

A Spice Authority to boost production

Mar 29 (GDI) Minister of Small Export Crops Promotion Reginold Cooray said the government is making arrangements to reinstate the Spice Authority, which was annulled by the UNP government. He said that it is vital to reinstate this institution to promote the spice production in the country, as spices have become a vital export product. The Minister said a Parliamentary Act to establish the Spice Authority has now been drafted for submission to the Cabinet. more..

'I always believe people are right'

Mar 29 (GDI) I always believe that the people are right, but no one should harm innocent citizens, stated President Mahinda Rajapaksa responding to questions with regard to attacks on Libya by coalition forces, during a meeting with foreign media correspondents today (28) at Temple Trees. He reiterated, ‘we are not with anyone killing civilians and cannot accept the violation of the sovereignty of any country’. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella joining the discussion stated that more..

On the smugglers’ trail: Sun Sea’s Canadian link

Mar 29 (NP) In the office of Thailand’s Anti Human Trafficking Division, Colonel Panya Pinsook flips through photos of engine parts, sacks of food, plastic oil drums -and the Canadians caught with the cache of supplies. Police found the provisions during a raid on a Bangkok apartment building last June. They suspect it was being stockpiled for the ship MV Sun Sea, which was then being readied for a human smuggling run to Canada. more..

Bishop of Mannar donates land to 52 IDP families

Mar 29 (AN) Mgr Rayappu Joseph, bishop of Mannar, has donated a piece of land to 52 Tamil Catholic families who were displaced from their village of Mullikkulam (Mannar district), so that they can build homes and start a new life there. The Sri Lankan navy has in fact taken possession of the village "for security reasons", without providing further explanation to the expelled inhabitants. Fr. Victor Soosai, vicar general of the diocese, said in the northwest of the more..

Organized begging

Mar 29 (NN) The Railway Department says it was compelled to strictly ban begging at railway stations and other property belonging to the department from today in order to crackdown on organized begging by individuals and groups. The Director of planning at the Railway Department Wijey Samarasinghe told News that some of these beggars are known to be involved in pick-pocketing, drugs and selling train tickets to frequently sought destinations at black market rates. more..

India's project for displaced Tamil civilians delayed

Mar 29 (HT) The ambitious Indian project to build 50,000 houses for the displaced Tamil civilians in the north seems to have been delayed. Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Monday that the pilot project of 1000 houses is likely to take off in July. The foundation stone for the pilot project was lai d last November by External Affairs Minister, SM Krishna, amid much fanfare. And, the project was announced in June 2010. more..

'Govt leaders scared to go before people'

Mar 29 (LB) Recent elections were certainly more democratic than what was before. Of course, it was not a democratic election where the opposition could be happy about the results. Both the UNP and the JVP went on to say that the election was held under state terror, and misuse of state power. That is obvious and to be expected. I have participated in elections under the UNP when Ranil was a minister, where thuggery and corruption was quite open and abundant. more..

Whether it’s a drink or some surfing ...

Mar 29 (LB) The job of a capitalist company and its senior managers is to maximize returns to owners and shareholders, and prop up their own salaries and bonuses. That’s normal and though no fan of capitalism, to the extent that Sri Lanka needs a mixed economy, I think it’s acceptable that capitalists and their managers typify this norm, and do so lawfully and ethically, while exhibiting good governance practices. If in addition some senior managers entertain the public with more..