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JVP boycott of APRC helps LTTE- Vitarane

Apr 1 (TN) Science and Technology Minister Tissa Vitarane, chairman of the All Party Representatives' Committee (APRC) appointed by Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse in June 2006 to work out a political package to find a lasting political solution, said Saturday that the JVP is helping the LTTE by not participating and submitting its political proposals to the APRC to solve the ethnic conflict. more..

Thanthai Chelva's 109th anniversary commemorated

Apr 1 (TN) Mr. S.J.V.Chelva- nayakam, founder of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchchi (ITAK) and fondly called by Tamils as "Thanthai" (father) was remembered on his 109th birthday as Jaffna Bishop of South Indian Diocese Rt Rev.Jebanesan, Thanthai Chelva Trustee, garlanded the statue of late leader Mr.Chelvanayakam located near the Duraiappah stadium in Jaffna within the High Security Zone (HSZ) at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, sources in Jaffna said. more..

President under fire

Apr 1 (HM) It is never easy being Sri Lanka’s president. The island’s chief executive has to deal with a seemingly intractable civil war, a faltering foreign-aid- dependent economy and a crumbling infrastructure. It is even more difficult being Mahinda Rajapakse these days. The rural politician, who became a human-rights activist and trade unionist on his way to becoming the most powerful person in the country, now spends time behind an extraordinary wall of security. more..

Karunanidhi asks PM to take urgent action to demonstrate firmness to find a lasting solution to attacks on fishermen

Apr 1 (AT) As the death toll in the firing on Indian fishermen off Rameswaram –Kanyakumari belt has risen to five, with a fisherman succumbing to bullet injuries on Friday, Tamil Nadu chief minister Muthavel Karunanidhi.has cautioned Delhi that the situation was likely to go out of control unless "some stern measures are taken to make Indian waters safe for fishing by Indian fishermen". more..

The Flying Tigers

Apr 1 (AT) The most surprising thing about the first ever Air Tiger attack was our own surprise at it. That the Tigers possess one or more light aircrafts was an open secret. Obviously the authorities should have expected the LTTE to use these aircrafts against a Lankan target any time (why else would the Tigers bother to acquire them?). Equally obviously the authorities did not expect such an attack and were taken unawares when it happened. more..

Lantos Calls for Calm, Return to Negotiations in Sri Lanka

Apr 1 (AT) Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, calls for calm and return to negotiations in Sri Lanka. Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA) issued the following statement on 30 March, regarding the recent resurgence of violence in Sri Lanka: "I am dismayed to learn of the continued escalation of violence in Sri Lanka. more..

The Palmyrah Palm of Jaffna

Apr 1 (AT) The Palmyrah palm (Borassus fabelliformis) retains the name palmeria brava bestowed on it by the Portuguese. It grows not only in the Northern part of Ceylon but also in the Southern part of India. It is also to be met with as a natural curiosity in the Straits Settlements in some of the Islands of the Malay Archipalago, in Arabia and even in the Gibraltar where travelers say there is a solitary tree. more..

Lara and the Murali factor

Apr 1 (CI) West Indies and Sri Lanka have played 42 one-day internationals of which West Indies have won 24 and Sri Lanka 17. However, the majority of West Indian wins have come before 2000, since then Sri Lanka have won eight of 11 matches. They've met five times in World Cups, West Indies winning four times and Sri Lanka's only win coming in the 2003 World Cup. more..

Sri Lanka look to come out guns blazing

Apr 1 (CI) The last time these two teams met, the match lasted only slightly longer than The Pirates of the Caribbean. It may have been an inconsequential qualifying game, with both sides assured of a place in the Champions Trophy, but West Indies were utterly humiliated on a lively Brabourne Stadium pitch. Farveez Maharoof was the bowling star that day with 6 for 14, and Sri Lanka waltzed past the target of 81 in just 13.2 overs. more..

Plenty to gain in a West Indian win

Apr 1 (CI) If there is an opportunity for this tournament's profile to slip any further it lies in Sunday's match in Guyana. Too much has already been taken away from the World Cup. Murder and the talk surrounding it has left a bad taste in the mouth. The teams with the biggest followings have been dismissed in the first round. Locals, alienated by the prices and culture and of this sanitised mega-event, have stayed away from even those games featuring the home side. more..

Lokuarachchi stars with bat and ball

Apr 1 (CI) A thrilling unbeaten stand of 139 in 18 overs between Kaushal Lokuarachchi and Chamara Kapugedera powered Sri Lanka A to a five-wicket against Bangladesh A at the Colts Ground in Colombo. They were in trouble having lost half their side for 146 in pursuit of 285, but the sixth-wicket pair were so dominant that the winning runs came with 39 balls to spare. more..

Human cost of Sri Lanka's jungle battles

Apr 1 (GU) Two children stand on the roadside staring into the thick darkness of a banana plantation, their slender shoulders droop from the weight of ammunition around their necks, their eyes betray unadulterated terror. The younger of the two, no more than 13, looks close to tears. Towards the jungle, across from the bleak strip of pensinsula that separates the town of Batticaloa from the Sri Lankan mainland, comes the penetrating thud of shells from government field guns. more..

Suspend shipping project linking India, Sri Lanka: BJP

Apr 1 (IANS) Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former union minister Murli Manohar Joshi has demanded that the work on a shipping project linking India and Sri Lanka be suspended with immediate effect. 'I had visited places near the project site and have found out that the if the present alignment of making a channel takes place it would destroy a sacred monument, Setu Mandir, which is revered by millions of people from all religions. more..

India to remove port curbs on Sri Lankan tea, apparel

Apr 1 (Hindu) India has agreed to remove port restrictions on tea and apparel from Sri Lanka under the Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The decision was announced at the end of two days of technical-level negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that concluded in Colombo on Thursday. more..

Air and sea search for Sri Lankan boat

Apr 1 (Hindu) The Navy and Coast Guard launched an extensive air and sea search on Friday and Saturday for a Sri Lankan boat which reportedly opened fire on the Indian fishing boat, `Red Sun.' Pilots reported very little fishing activity in the area and no sign of the Sri Lankan boat, H. Saxena, Commander, Duty Staff Officer for Commanding Officer, said. more..

World Cup asks itself where have the fans gone

Apr 1 (Reuters) Organisers of cricket's showpiece event at one of the world's dream tourist destinations are facing empty seats inside stadiums and poor business with vacant hotel rooms outside them. The seven-week Cricket World Cup in the West Indies was promoted as a perfect sports tourism package, with sun-drenched beaches and the chance to watch the sport's elite contest its biggest one-day prize. more..

Policeman, rebel, die in eastern Sri Lanka, military says

Apr 1 (AP) Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels detonated a roadside bomb in eastern Sri Lanka on Saturday, killing a police commando, while soldiers killed a guerrilla in a separate clash, the military said. The blast occurred in the town of Kaluwanchikudy, in a region where some of the heaviest fighting has taken place as the government seeks to oust the Tamil Tigers from their bases there, the military's media center said. more..

Tennis ball the secret for Slinger Malinga

Apr 1 (BBC) Want to develop a bowling action like Lasith Malinga? Try bowling with a tennis ball. Malinga grew up in Galle, in the south of Sri Lanka, doing just that. If you have tried to bowl over-arm with a tennis ball in the office, or your mother’s lounge, you will have found the exaggerated bounce a problem. Try it side-arm and it skids through normally, although you may not be good enough to take four wickets with successive balls in an international, as Malinga managed against South Africa last Wednesday. more..

Australia wary of Sri Lanka's king of sling

Apr 1 (BT) LASITH Malinga came to the attention of Australia long before he detonated with an unforgettable blitz of four World Cup wickets in as many balls against South Africa this week. Though the world champion does not play Sri Lanka until April 16 in Grenada, it is already planning for the threat posed by the wild, young slinger from Galle — not least how to decipher that ball at the point where it blends in with the umpire's tie, so unusual is his action. more..

TBC case details

Apr 1 (ISL) When the case commenced on March 29, 2007, four witnesses were cross examined after an hour of legal argument between the legal representatives of the accused and the Crown Prosecution attorney for the Metropolitan Police. The arguments were centred on inadequate evidence and police not producing CCTV recording of the incident and the translation of the verbatim of the political discussion programme at the time of the incident on 8 June 2007. more..

Scarred Sinhala conscience

Apr 1 (AT) Driving from Colombo to Kandy last week with a Sinhalese passenger from Ampara revealed some disturbing aspects of Sri Lanka’s conflict. The man is married with two small children and lives in an interior village about 3 km from Tamil villages in Ampara. He states that during a particular military offensive in the area against the LTTE in the late 1990’s, the Sinhalese villagers decided to treat the soldiers who had camped near a Tamil village. more..

Vendors of war, peace and the country advertise themselves!

Apr 1 (AT) Some piquant one-page advertisements in Sinhala have been appearing in the newspapers with a circular logo which carries an identification legend which says: "We who sell peace are not Sri Lankans." At the bottom of the page is an explanatory description of the name, the aims and purposes of this organization. more..

LTTE leader Prabakaran's son ran the now famous air-bombing operation, LTTE spy-wing angry

Apr 1 (AT) LTTE leader V.Prabakaran's son, Charles Anthony has planned and oversaw the execution of the recent air raid in the Katunayake airbase. He is also now placed in the ranks in par with "deputy leader" of the LTTE, considerably disturbing the rank and file of the LTTE's spy wing, reported the Sunday Lankadeepa, the weekend broadsheet published in Colombo. more..

President's message to mark Meelad-Un-Nabi

Apr 1 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a message to mark the Meelad-Un-Nabi, celebration said: "Together with millions of their fellow religionists throughout the world, the followers of Islam in Sri Lanka celebrate Meelad-Un Nabi, the birth anniversary of the Holy Prophet Mohammed, today. On this important day one is reminded of the basic teachings of the Holy Prophet which laid emphasis on peace and harmony. more..

Ian Daniel to lead Development Squad in Bangladesh

Apr 1 (CI) Sri Lanka have picked a 17-member Development Squad for the tour of Bangladesh from April 20 to May 13, which includes a one-day triangular tournament also featuring Pakistan, followed by two four-day matches with Bangladesh. The side, captained by Ian Daniel has the required talent and potential to push the Sri Lanka A players to perform better. more..

Down-to-earth behaviour makes Sri Lankan cricketers popular

Apr 1 (Gulf) Humility and the Sri Lankan team always go together. Despite being considered as world class performers, what impresses one and all is their down-to-earth behaviour. As soon as the players arrive at the stadium, all of them are seen lining up to collect their kit bags from the bus. Right from Sanath Jayasuriya to Chaminda Vaas to Muttiah Muralitharan, everyone is in the queue. more..

People misidentify SLAF aircraft in bid to report suspicious flying objects

Apr 1 (LNP) The emergency telephone number 116 set up by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) to seek public information on suspicious flying objects has generated an overwhelming response, but the avalanche of calls received from alert citizens anxious to help, have so far related to sightings of SLAF aircraft itself. more..

Tigers seek propaganda mileage from airbase bombing

Apr 1 (LNP) The LTTE is attempting to extract maximum propaganda mileage from last Monday`s bombing of the Sri Lanka Air Force`s (SLAF) Katunayake airbase despite its failure to disable the fighter aircraft squadron. TamilNet on Friday quoted S.P. Thamilchelvan telling the media in Kilinochchi that the air strike was `a one hundred percent successful mission` and that it was a `precision air strike` despite the target being missed. more..

Immigration and Emigration Operation Manual launched

Apr 1 (LNP) The Immigration and Emigration Department (IED) of Sri Lanka together with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched an updated and revised version of its operation manual recently. P. B. Abeykoon, Controller, Immigration and Emigration identifying the long felt need for a well-documented manual sought IOM`s assistance in this regard. more..

Lankawa ehema thamai

Apr 1 (LNP) Last Monday`s LTTE air strike on the Katunayake airbase is already a fading memory in the public mind. As Sunil Perera of the Gypsies famously sings, Lankawa ehema thamai, I don`t know why! Hopefully, this is not the case where it matters most in the defence establishment. Predictably, the LTTE sought to get the maximum publicity mileage for their first airborne attack on a military facility and, judging by a Thamilchelvan interview posted on TamilNet on Friday, that is a continuing effort. more..

Referendum on Ceasefire Agreement?

Apr 1 (SAMN) The Government plans to hold a referendum to determine the fate of the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) signed by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, the then Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. President Mahinda Rajapaksa is seriously considering holding a referendum to decide whether the Government should continue to abide by the controversial CFA, a high ranking official of the Presidential Secretariat said Saturday, more..

TNA MPs escape claymore attack

Apr 1 (SAMN) Two TNA parliamentarians narrowly escaped a claymore mine blast in an LTTE-held area close to Kilinochchi on Thursday one of the MPs said Saturday. An LTTE cadre was killed in the blast and two others were injured as their vehicle — a white jeep similar to the one in which parliamentarians Selvam Adaikalanathan and K. Sivanesan were travelling — was caught in the explosion on the A9 highway in the Old Murukandy area, 12 kilometres south of Kilinochchi. more..

SLFP to propose abolition of presidency

Apr 1 (SAMN) The abolition of the executive presidency is one of the main features in the SLFP’s proposals to be handed over to the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) which is studying a political solution to the ethnic conflict. On Friday, the SLFP Central Committee met to discuss the amendments to the proposals and decided to meet again on Tuesday for further discussions, Minister John Seneviratne said. more..

Power cuts in the horizon

Apr 1 (SAMN) A power cut of 30 to 60 minutes will be imposed during peak hours, if the country does not receive rain in the next three weeks, Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne said Saturday. He said that due to the continuing dry weather, water levels at the hydroelectric power reservoirs were running low and peak-hour power cuts would have to be imposed if the rains did not come soon. more..

Countering air strikes: improve trade, joint ventures and goodwill overseas

Apr 1 (SO) The March 27, 12.45am terrorist attack on the military air base in Katunayake has thus far not borne much impact on Sri Lanka's tourism industry. Regardless, the hospitality industry expects, immediate, intelligent, disciplined and stringent measures to plug a repetition of an attack, for, the losses to the industry, could be much. more..

Nine TUs demand pay hike

Apr 1 (SO) Nine trade unions, led by the powerful Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya (SLNSS) on Friday demanded a Rs. 2,500 salary hike or 25 per cent increase from private sector employers for its four-million labour force. The trade unions also set April 8 as the deadline failing which they would resort to trade union action. more..

TID questions Shivajilingam

Apr 1 (NS) Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian and TELO leader M.K.Sivajilingam had been questioned by the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) for nearly ten hours on Friday. Summons had been served on him by the TID on March 27, asking him to appear before the TID officials. The Nation learns that prior to questioning the parliamentarian, the TID had also informed Speaker W.J.M.Lokubandara about it. more..

‘Flying Tigers’ add intensity to Eelam war

Apr 1 (NS) If those in the government thought that the sky was the limit because of the launch of the new budget air line Mihin Air, they were in for a rude shock last week: the attack on the Katunayake Air Force base by the LTTE startled the government, the Armed Forces as well the average citizen. It was not so much the damage caused by the attack that jolted the powers that be. more..

Commission probing HR violations to visit crime scenes

Apr 1 (NS) The Commission of Inquiry probing into some of the prominent cases of human rights violations and extra-judicial killings is set to visit several scenes of crime in the East next month, The Nation learns. The Commission would be joined by several members of the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) who are in the country when they make the field visits on April 17. more..

UNP wants Mangala, Sripathi issue in the limelight

Apr 1 (NS) The main opposition United National Party in a bid to keep the Mangala Samaraweera – Sripathi Sooriyarachchi issue alive has appointed a committee to keep the issue rolling among the public. A committee led by UNP National Organiser S.B. Dissanayake and comprising several others including Johnston Fernando has been entrusted with the task, party sources said. more..

How the LTTE got its planes and trained pilots: Kadir warned Chandrika

Apr 1 (ST) The LTTE acquired two light aircraft from Indonesia in early 2005, intelligence sources in Colombo told The Sunday Times yesterday. Then Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar had alerted President Chandrika Kumaratunga to this effect in a confidential letter following information received by then Defence Secretary Chandrananda de Silva and conveyed to then Foreign Secretary H.M.G. S. Palihakkara. more..

Defence chief drops bombshell on India

Apr 1 (ST) Most Sri Lankans woke up to the shocking news last Monday morning. By dropping four crude bombs at the main base of the Sri Lanka Air Force at Katunayake, the LTTE had demonstrated they have now developed an air strike capability no matter whether it was primitive or not. What was disturbing was the fact that the news came when official accounts boasted of the Tiger guerrillas being badly weakened and only very little had to be done to defeat them. more..

Air Tiger thunderbolt jolts nation

Apr 1 (ST) It was close upon midnight last Sunday when commandos on duty at the Police Special Task Force (STF) detachment in Ganeshapuram, between Vavuniya and Mannar, heard the roar of engines overhead. Though visibility was restricted, they figured out that the noise came from two low flying aircraft with no lights. This aroused suspicion. more..

Plantation fund to help RPCs

Apr 1 (ST) The Government will be implementing the Plantation Fund in a bid to ease the financial constraints faced by plantation firms. “We are fully aware of the financial constraints faced by some of the RPCs. It is with this in mind that we envisage implementing the Plantation Fund, which would especially be of great benefit to RPCs which are unable to obtain financial assistance from the banking sector,” more..

Peace talks dead if Sri Lanka shuns truce -rebels

Apr 1 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers said on Sunday there is no chance of resuming peace talks if the state refuses to base them on a tattered peace pact. A 2002 ceasefire agreement (CFA) is dead on the ground -- with near daily air raids, land and sea battles and ambushes -- but it still holds on paper, and the LTTE insist it must form the basis of any return to talks. more..

Sri Lanka bombs 2 rebel bases amid reports it plans to back out of cease-fire

Apr 1 (AP) Sri Lanka's air force pounded two Tamil Tiger rebel positions early Sunday, the military said, amid reports the government was looking for public support to formally back out of a cease-fire deal with the rebels. Helicopter gunships hit a rebel mortar position near the village of Omanthai in retaliation for mortar fire from the area, the military's media center said. more..

Report: Sri Lanka mulls referendum on pulling out of cease-fire with Tamil Tigers

Apr 1 (AP) Sri Lanka's president is considering a referendum to ask if the country should formally withdraw from a cease-fire deal with Tamil rebels that has all but collapsed amid months of intense fighting, a state-run newspaper reported Sunday. However, officials in President Mahinda Rajapakse's office denied the report. more..

Sri Lanka seeks to scrap truce with Tigers: report

Apr 1 (AFP) Sri Lanka plans to hold a referendum on whether to maintain a fragile five-year-old ceasefire between government troops and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, a state-run newspaper said Sunday. The government of President Mahinda Rajapakse hopes to "soon" hold the vote on the controversial February 2002 truce arranged and put in place by Norway, the Sunday Observer said. more..

JVP political bureau gets two letters of resignation from Weerawansa

Apr 2 (LeN) It is being reported to 'LeN' that the JVP political bureau has received two letters of resignation from its propaganda secretary and parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawansa, without mentioning a date, asking for resignation from his party membership and MP post. According to information available Weerawansa has handed over these two letters on a request made by the political committee of the party. more..